I was in the market for a new camcorder. Our video camera which used mini DVs finally stopped working. We searched online and in stores literally for days. We researched everything from SD to HD to hard dirve to flash drives. We almost bought, then stopped, learned more along the way.
We were looking for a camcorder that took pictures as well as video. Our old camcorder a Panasonic could take video as well as 3 MP photos.
However, I did not realize how much more confusing the world had become with the emergence of SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) cameras. Now there are also cameras with hard drives, solid state drives, removeable flash storage and who knows what next.
Then there was the whole camera issue. We had a 3MP camera before, now we realize maybe we need better quality. I will tell you that it is very hard to find a camcorder that takes high quality photos without paying a lot of money. I mean close to $1000 or more.
So I went through an emotional roller coaster. Starting with a plain SD camera in the $250 range to deciding on a $750 HD camera with a 250 GB hard drive to going back to a $350 SD camera that took better photos. However, everytime I read comments about the camcorder I had finally chosen I would learn it did not have image stabilizer, the photo quality was poor, it had no flash and on and on.
Then one day at Best Buy I had a huge learning. The sales person said what is more important quality photos or video. Huh? Wow. I said photos really. Well he showed me a Canon camera that took 720 P video. Unlike other cameras that could shoot video this one could zoom in while shooting video.
Amazing and it only cost about $350. I did end up buying one to use in my business and it works well. EXCEPT I can hear the camera lens zooming when I am videotaping. Not enough of a problem for me in my work as I usually do not zoom. I read about this issue on Amazon in one write up however someone else wrote it was just from releasing the zoom switch. I found out it is not the switch... it is the actual noise from the zooming picked up by the stereo microphones.
So I continued my research as I wanted a camcorder for home use. I found by accident a Panasonic version of the camera. It has a slightly weaker zoom of 18X optical. However, I cannot hear any noise from zooming. This for home use is a big deal and it was even slightly cheaper.
So after DAYS of searching (literally probably 30 plus hours of researching, comparing, shopping) I made my decision. I bought the Panasonic camera.
This article may seem to make it look like a pretty easy process. I tell you it was not easy. I wanted a solid camcorder that took good pictures. You cannot go back in time to capture those memories. I think I found a great choice.
I hope I can save you a lot of time and energy looking for a great camcorder and camera. I am not a professional, but I am not too bad of a photographer.
I highly recommend this camera
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35
sold by Amazon. It was worth the searching. It really has changed my view on cameras and camcorders. At slightly over $300, it is a bargain - 720p HD with 12 MP photos.