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What to look for when choosing a camcorder

Not clear about camcorders? We’re here to help! This section explains everything you need to know.

Image sensor

The image sensor is the bit that captures the light from the lens, which the camcorder’s main processor then converts into a digital image.

Sensors come in different sizes and are measured in megapixels – the more pixels, the higher the quality of video. CCD sensors are the standard, but CMOS sensors are known for their low-light performance, super-fast focusing and better battery life.

Still image capture

Most camcorders can take still images – in other words, they can mimic a digital camera.

In fact some clever camcorders can take still photos while simultaneously recording video, so there’s no need to switch settings.

Optical zoom

Optical zoom is the best way to get closer to your subject without moving an inch. The alternative is digital zoom, although this just enlarges the centre of the image and can reduce image quality.

Image stabilisation

Even a tiny wobble can cause a big problem in your videos. Image stabilisation compensates for shaky hands, so you get a super smoother recording.

Optical image stabilisation is better than the digital as it reduces shakes even when zooming in.

Face detection technology

This intelligent technology automatically finds and focuses on faces – all you have to do is point and press ‘record’. Most face detection camcorders also let you adjust the colour and brightness of the recording to accurately reproduce skin tones.

LCD screen

The bigger your camcorder screen, the more you’ll enjoy watching what you’ve recorded. Some models even come with touchscreen controls so you can control your camcorder features from the screen.


Say goodbye to the “oh why wasn’t I recording?” feeling. Camcorders with a pre-record function magically start recording three seconds before you press ‘record’ so you’ll never miss a thing.

In fact, pre-record camcorders are recording from the moment you switch them on, but only start saving the images once you tell them to.

One touch upload

Don’t mess about uploading your masterpiece – one touch upload gets your videos up on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites with just a few clicks, making it extra easy to share your recordings with friends and family.

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