Digital Video Cameras

Written by Charles Peacock
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Digital video cameras have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and have almost completely overtaken the tape-based analog cameras that preceded them. Digital video has a lot of advantages over analog video, and as the prices continue to drop, more and more people have been making the switch. If you've been on the fence about buying a digital video camera, I can assure you that the quality and prices have finally reached a point where they make sense for almost anyone looking for a good video camera.

Varieties of Digital Video Cameras

Digital video cameras come in several different formats, based on the type of media they use to store the video that you shoot. The first digital video cameras used tape--usually Hi8 or MiniDV. These cameras still exist--and they're quite good--but they suffer from the same problem as old analog cameras: you're forced to physically fast forward and rewind to find different parts of your video.

Cameras that use newer storage technology like flash memory cards and recordable DVDs are much better for quick access to your video. In addition, they make it much easier to transfer video to your computer when you're ready to do some editing. The disadvantage of these formats is that the media is usually far more expensive--but since you can just keep dumping old video onto your computer's hard drive, you can re-use your memory card or DVDs.

Flash memory cameras are the newest addition to the digital video mix, and their main advantage is their incredibly small size. The largest flash memory cards can only hold 10 to 20 minutes of video, however, so if you're planning on shooting more than that in one day you'll probably want to keep a laptop on hand or buy an additional card. Keep in mind that these cards can cost several hundred dollars, so you'll want to factor that in to the cost of the camera itself.

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