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What is a Digital Camcorder?

A digital camcorder is very similar to a traditional video camera, with the major exception being that it records footage on a digital CCD rather than on tape. These camcorders work via the same principles as digital still cameras, and use internal memory or a removable memory card to store footage. They are self-contained devices that are basically a video camera and video recorder in one. The major advantage of the digital format is the ability to instantly view the footage that was just captured right there on the camera.

If you’re in the market for a new digital camcorder, you may be overwhelmed by the myriad features and specifications of the different devices. The challenge is to focus on the features that really matter and ignore all the marketing hype.

Important Digital Camcorder Specs

The following is a list of specifications you will want to pay special attention to when comparison shopping for a digital camcorder:


Find out how long the internal battery lasts, and how much an extra battery will cost you. I recommend choosing a camcorder that takes Lithium Ion or Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries, as they last a bit longer. Nickel-Cadmium batteries have a shorter life and require more maintenance.


The 3-CCD or 3 chip camcorder provides the highest quality image—but this comes at an increased price. You may not find it necessary to splurge for a camcorder of this quality, but it is worth considering if it fits your budget.

Manual controls

While most of the better camcorders offer automatic exposure and focus, it’s nice to have the option of manual control. Look for control rings on the lens, as they are easier to use than the switches or knobs on the side of the camcorder.

Microphone connector

To ensure the best sound quality you will want a camcorder that accepts an external microphone. This will make a very noticeable difference in the overall quality of your footage. Most digital camcorders come with a mini-jack connector for an external microphone, and the more expensive models use a 3-pin XLR connector. These connectors are referred to as balanced audio connectors, and are used in high end public address systems and microphones.

Optical zoom

Manufacturers have a sneaky way of tricking consumers by listing big numbers on what they call digital zoom. Ignore this and focus on the optical zoom, as it describes the actual zoom power of the lens. On better camcorders it will be in the 12x-25x range. Digital zoom is achieved by cropping the image captured by the CCD and enlarging the pixels to blow up the image. This results in a significant decrease in image quality. The optical zoom feature allows the camcorder lens to zoom in and out while maintaining full resolution.

Purchasing a Digital Camcorder

Now that you have a basic understanding of what the various digital camcorder specifications actually mean you will be able to make an informed purchase. If you are looking for quality devices at cheap prices, consider ordering your digital camcorder from China. High quality camcorders are available at wholesale prices.


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