What factors should I consider when contemplating what type of camcorder I need?
First, how will the camera be used? Will it be primarily spontaneous every day use? Will the primary use be outdoors or when traveling? Perhaps the use may be more of a photo-enthusiast, or even a more highly advanced professional. Fortunately there are options best suited for each. For everyday use, for someone on the go, or for someone who just wants great pictures without all the fuss we recommend a Point-and-Shoot camera. For use outdoors and in travel situations we recommend a waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof …or “rugged” camera. If long zoom situations may be a factor or if you are looking for a mid-level performance camera with some advanced features we recommend an Ultra-zoom compact camera. For the photo enthusiast or more advanced professional we recommend a feature packed high performance DSLR camera.
What features should I consider?
Cameras have many recent advancements including ease of use, image sensing, light processing, speed, zoom and even networked connectivity. If ease of use is your thing, consider the overall product size and how easy the camera is navigate and setup to quickly take a desired photo. Point-and-Shoot is generally the best options. When it comes to image quality, light processing and speed (both speed of focus and speed of frames per second) a CMOS sensor in DLSR cameras is your best option. If high zoom is critical, many SLR and DSLR cameras have high zoom options for you. Optical zoom, or the zoom function of the camera at the time the picture is taken, is one feature. Digital zoom, or the zoom function of the camera after the image has been taken, is another feature. Many cameras also offer integrated Wi-Fi or support Wi-Fi SD Cards which provide networked connectivity enabling automatic uploading of images to a home network or online photo service.
How important is a fast focus or processing?
If speed is the name of the game, avoid Point-and-Shoot cameras and choose a faster focusing and faster processing SLR or the fastest option, a DSLR camera.
Is it important for dual use pictures & movies?
All styles of cameras offer dual use models or models that offer the user the ability to shoot still images and video footage. The key here is primarily the additional features the higher end models will offer like image stabilization, HD and advanced audio capture capabilities.
What else should I consider?
Some additional factors to consider are battery life, image quality in low light, and if an integrated view finder is necessary. Battery life can vary from camera to camera, style to style, so it is simply important to check and compare your options. If image quality in low light situations may be an issue, a camera with a highly sensitive CMOS sensor is going to be your best option. Many cameras have removed the manual view finder from the camera body and replaced it with an LCD screen view finder. Many other cameras offer both. If you often find yourself in bright light situations or a manual view finder can be very helpful, avoiding the glare and difficulty viewing an LCD screen in direct bright light.