The central part of a DV camcorder is the CCD, or

Charge Coupled Device. This sensor creates a video

picture by recording the light intensity to recognize

an image or shape, along with the color levels to

reproduce a full color picture.

There are several tape based DV camcorders that have

both color eyepiece viewfinders and a flip out TFT

LCD screen to view the action as well as the previous

recorded footage. Most tape-less models however,

only offer the TFT screen to preview your captured

video and to view while you make a recording.

When you need to get closer to the action, a zoom

lens can be a great feature. Don’t get swayed by

the digital zoom figure however; as no matter how

large it may be, you should always base your final

decision on the optical zoom.

The optical zoom will give you a true indication of

the video image, where digital zooms interpolate the

available pixels to zoom in on an image. Optical

zooms will normally range around the 10X mark, with

digital zooms ranging from 100X and above.

The auto focusing systems are great as well, although

manual focus options can be ideal for low light or

when focusing on a subject against a landscape. Being

available on most video cameras, the manual focus

control can be found as either a ring on the lens

or as a dual button system on the body.

Most video cameras these days will provide a tilting

feature in the camera itself, although this feature

should be avoided unless you don’t intend to edit

the video on a computer. The title effects on

many cameras are quite limited and cannot be

removed afterwards.

Almost all new high definition video cameras will

use a rechargeable Li-ion battery, even though a

spare battery might be useful as the batteries are

unique to each camcorder maker and normally each


Most of the latest cameras allow you to capture

digital still images onto a removable flash memory

card. The most popular media is SD or MMC, but

Sony and Samsung cameras often capture to a memory


If your video camera doesn’t offer still image

capabilities, you can always perform a capture of

the screen in your editing program. Always remember

that the image resolution when capturing a still

this way will always be 640X480, which is actually

less than 1 MB, or Mega Byte.

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