Digital Camcorders Basics – What You Need To Know

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Digital video camera basics

If you are thinking of buying a digital camcorder for the first time, it might help to have some basic knowledge about the working and functionality of the camcorder. Knowing that beforehand will enable you to make the best use of your digital video camera.

Due to the wide range of camcorders available in the market, it might be a bit difficult to choose the right camcorder for you.  Getting to know the basics of a camcorder can help you make the right decision. You have to consider the cost, the purpose and the features you want while choosing a digital video camera.

Anyways first and foremost you need to know the various components of a digital camcorder and how they work. So let us get on with it.

Components of a Digital Camcorder

A digital camcorder works on digital signals, from the camera to uploading videos on the computer. So most of the components accordingly work on digital principles. Following are the key components of a digital video camera.

Camera Lens

Yes, one of the most important parts of a camera.  It works on the principle of gathering light from the source and transmitting it to the light sensitive electronic chip to store it as a digital image. A good lens is crucial if you want a clear picture. They come in different types like a zoom lens, flat lens or a wide angle lens.


LCD Viewfinder

The LCD viewfinder or screen displays the video image and enables the user to:

  • Check the camera angle
  • Frame the shot
  • Adjust the focus as required
  • Access various features of the camera
  • Set the exposure and adjust the white balance

Power Supply Unit

The power is supplied by a battery that fits into the camera thus making it portable. It can then be used as per requirement. Digital camcorders also come equipped with an AC power supply for charging the battery. The camcorder can also be connected directly to an AC power source for static or indoor use.

Video Recorder and Media Storage

Back in the 80s and 90s, camcorders were rather bulky, and along with the recording, video editing was also done in the camera. 20 years later, video editing is now done on the computer by uploading the videos to your computer. Also the capacity for storing videos has increased multi-fold thanks to memory cards. Call that a technological revolution!

Video Camera Microphone

Video cameras come with an inbuilt microphone for picking up sounds in the environment. Some camcorders also have the option of fitting an external microphone for more sensitive sound pickup. It enhances the ability to pickup sound even better.

Camera Image Sensor

This is a light-sensitive chip converting the light received through the lens into electrical signals. (CMOS or CCD). They provide video signal to the camera when read out electronically.

The image sensor is also responsible for adjusting image size and light sensitivity.

After having knowledge of the various components of a digital camcorder, let us see the different types of camcorders available on the market.

Types of Camcorders

Camcorders come in different sizes, costs and amenities depending upon your budget.  Whether you are making a professional video or shooting casually, there is the right camcorder waiting for you. Broadly, digital camcorders can be divided into three main types.

Standard-Definition Camcorders

These are the camcorders that first came into the market and have been a big success. However, these days due to the popularity of HD video cameras, standard definition camcorders are taking a backseat. Nevertheless, they are a good option if you want a camcorder with great features and not too pricey. Also, the video files of a standard camcorder are smaller in size and so more files can be stored.

digital camcorder basics

Pocket-Sized Camcorders

Pocket-sized camcorders are quite popular these days. Due to their small size, they can be easily transported and you can shoot videos on the go. They are also pretty inexpensive due to their small size, but still have got almost all the important features. Modern pocket-sized camcorders also come as waterproof and shockproof. However, one disadvantage of pocket-sized camcorders is the lower quality of audio and video as compared to HD digital camcorders.

High-Definition Camcorders

HD camcorders are the most purchased camcorders in the market currently; they shoot videos that are of very high quality and very sharp. Even then, they are quite compact and can be carried easily. Compared to the previous two types, they are easily the best. They come with excellent features like touchscreen LCD, bigger lenses and more memory. The video size is fairly large and so there must be adequate space in the memory card while shooting the videos.

Knowing the basics of a camcorder can help you in making the right decision when you go to purchase one. So, remember to select a camcorder that you think includes all the features that you desire.

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