Digital camcorders are becoming the standard for home video. They are easy to use and allow for easy video editing on the desktop. You can also send video to friends and family across the internet. These cameras have the same kinds of functionality that the older, larger, clunkier cameras have, including being able to hook them up directly to the tv or vcr.

But these smaller and sleeker digital camcorders offer a wide range of new possibilities for not only just taping and showing video, but also for editing video and creating your own video production. Therefore, I recommend that if you are planning to purchase a camcorder that you stick with what is referred to as the MiniDV format. This is just another name for a digital camcorder.

When buying a camcorder, be sure to look for the following:

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is a technical process that helps you get a sharper image. As you hold a camera, it is natural for your hand to shake slightly. A camcorder with image stabilization will correct for this shake automatically. If the digital camcorder does not have this feature, it is more likely that your video will be blurry from the shaking of the camera as you film.

External Microphone Jack

Camcorders come equipped with a microphone. However, you will likely find that this microphone does not work well unless you are very close to your subject. This is not always practical or possible. Therefore, you will eventually want to buy a better microphone to attach to your camera. This external jack will be necessary to hook up that microphone to your camera. So, be sure that your digital camcorder has one. Don’t worry about buying the microphone now. You can buy it later after you have tried out your camera for a while to see how useful a better microphone might be for your situation.

Manual Controls

Practically every camcorder you can buy will have automatic controls and settings. When you are just beginning at shooting video, these will do just fine. However, if you are an experienced videographer, or if you want to eventually learn to master advanced video techniques, you will want to buy a camera that allows you to turn off the automatic controls and settings and use the camera in manual mode. In manual mode, you will be able to change the settings as you would like. If you are just looking for a camera to shoot footage of family and friends on a casual basis, then manual controls may not be very important to you.

Having a digital camcorder will allow you to capture special events, family gatherings or other activities and view them today and many years later. Whether you are capturing your child’s first steps or that once-in-a-lifetime vacation, you will be glad you had a digital camcorder.