Top 10 3-CCD Camcorders

Want to become a serious video professional? Perhaps you want to make a feature film, or shoot wedding videos as a business.

Most professionals rely on higher end digital video cameras that come with 3 CCDs. CCD's, or charged-coupled devices, control how an image is captured into your video camera.

More CCD's will ensure better picture quality - but a heftier price tag.

Here's my round up of the top ten 3-CCD camcorders in the market today.

Sony DCR-VX2100

The Sony DCR-VX2100 builds on the proven video capabilities of the Sony DCR-VX2000. The VX2100 offers a 12x optical zoom, along with a 2.5 inch LCD display. I like the addition of a Hybrid LCD Panel for monitoring recording and playback - it provides a very bright picture even under a strong sun. The new dark gray camera body also looks superb.

Panasonic AG-DVX100A

The Panasonic AG-DVX100A is an upgraded version of the Panasonic AG-DVX100, a 24-frame video camera which allowed one to shoot low cost video with film-like results. The AG-DCX100A is offers higher image quality and more functions than its predecessor, along with a 10x optical zoom and a large 3.5 inch LCD screen.

Sony HDR-FX1

The Sony HDR-FX1 is the world's first consumer high definition camcorder, allowing you to play and record interlaced high definition video at resolutions up to 1440 x 1080. The three chip Advanced HAD CCD system, 12x optical zoom Carl Zeiss lens, image stabilization features and the huge 3.5 inch swivel LCD screen make this an extremely attractive buy.

Canon XL2

The Canon XL2 camcorder brings a host of performance and convenience features previously unseen in its class.  A powerful 20x optical zoom, 2 inch LCD screen, Canon Super Range Optical Image Stabilization, dual aspect ratios, various frame rate capabilities, image gamma and remote computer camera control - all this and more in this highly rated camcorder.

JVC GY-DV300

The JVC GY-DV300 is a very high quality 3-CCD camcorder that boasts 12-bit A/D, 24-bit digital signal processing and high-quality MiniDV recording. It also has a 14x optical zoom together with a 2.5 inch LCD screen. Of particular interest is the  'StreamCorder' technology which allows you to easily distribute your videos in real time over the Internet or intranet.

Canon GL2

The ever popular Canon GL2 is equipped with a 20x optical zoom lens, 100x digital zoom as well as an ample 2.5 inch LCD screen. The feature set in the GL2 attracts both newscasters and filmmakers - including a L-series Fluorite lens, optical image stabilization, three shooting modes and a built-in analog- digital converter. Very attractive camcorder for beginners and experts alike.

Sony DCR-VX2000E

The Sony DCR-VX2000E is one excellent camcorder. Combine excellent image quality, great low-light performance and an accurate autofocus - an we have a real gem here. It comes with a 12x optical zoom and a large 2.5 inch foldout LCD. A minor complaint is is that the focus ring doesn't override autofocus. Its a small issue though - this prosumer model delivers video that rivals that from a professional camera.

JVC GZ-MC500

The JVC GZ-MC500 comes with a 10x optical zoom and a 1.8 inch LCD display. The main selling point of this camcorder is that it records direct to a microdrive removable hard disk. JVC proprietary Megabrid imaging engine separately processes video and still signals, providing quality for each. There's also the unique rotating grip design - which gives the user stable single and two handed shooting positions.

Sony DCR-HC1000

The Sony DCR-HC1000 is a hot favorite amongst 3-CCD camcorder owners. From a feature and function point of view, it’s one of the best models I’ve seen. With a 12x optical zoom, a 2.5 inch LCD, Carl Zeiss optics and a progressive shutter, the DCR-HC1000 delivers outstanding digital video. I also like the amazingly compact design, multi-angle grip and the 4 channel surround sound audio support.

Panasonic PV-GS250

Featuring a 10x optical zoom and an ample 2.5 inch LCD display, the Panasonic PV-GS250 is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but isn't short on innovative features. The Leica Dicomar lens is a real plus, known for its ability to capture the most delicate video details. Other nice features include a Macro Zoom feature, great image stabilization, as well as a manual focus ring.

Conclusion

Which camcorder to choose, you ask? Hmmm .... for those who have just crossed into professional videography, the best choice is the Sony DCR-HC1000. Once you progress and become better, I'd choose to upgrade to the Canon GL2, Sony DCR-VX2100 or Panasonic AG-DVX100A . If you're into high definition video, then the Sony HDR-FX1 is a clear choice.

Remember, it is ultimately up to you - these are my recommendations only. Check with professional videographers in your area to see what models they use.


Edit Digital Videos With Ease

If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out Corel VideoStudio Pro. This software allows you to quickly create and share a movie using built-in templates, special effects, titles and transitions. You can apply unique effects such as stop-motion animation, time-lapse and chroma key to create brilliant digital videos.


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