Top 10 Digital Camcorders
Under $600

If you're a beginner in digital videography, you'll very quickly realize one important fact: Digital video can a pretty expensive hobby!

These days, most digital camcorders will set you back hundreds of dollars. How can you find a good model that suits your needs but won't burn too deep a hole in your pocket?

Let me help you by listing out the top 10 budget camcorders in the market today.

The digital video captured by these video cameras will put your analog footage to shame - which means they are excellent value for money.

Canon ZR300

The Canon ZR300 is a full featured MiniDV camcorder from the Japanese brand name. With a 16:9 widescreen recording mode, a large 2.4 inch LCD display and powerful 22x optical zoom, this unit is a best seller in the market.

Sony DCR-HC21

The Sony DCR-HC21 is anothe hot seller in the camcorder market. It comes with a 20x optical zoom and an ample 2.5 inch touch-screen LCD. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens and Super SteadyShot stabilization system are also hot selling points.

Panasonic PV-GS150

The Panasonic PV-GS150 is a powerful 3-CCD camcorder. There's powerful 10X Leica optical zoom lens and a nice 2.5 inch LCD display. The 3-CCD camera system is a huge plus - the colors captured by this camcorder are absolutely brilliant. You'll be hard pressed to find 3-CCD technology in this price range.

Sony DCR-HC42

The Sony DCR-HC42 is another popular but reasonably priced camcroder. The high quality Carl Zeiss lens gives a nice 12x optical zoom, while the 2.7-inch touch panel LCD provides very user-friendly menus. A highly recommended alternative to the Sony DCR-HC21.

JVC GR-D250

JVC makes very good camcorders - the JVC GR-D250 is no exception. This compact unit is very stylish, comes with a large 2.5 inch LCD display and 25x optical zoom. A great choice for shooting family videos or amateur movies.

Panasonic PV-GS31

The PV-GS31 comes with a 680,000 pixel CCD, a powerful 26X optical zoom and a large 2.5 inch color LCD display. I also like the image-enhancing MagicPix feature that creates rich videos under low-light conditions. The Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) system that  compensates for hand jitter also works well.

JVC GR-D93

JVC likes to make their camcorders fun and enjoyable to use. The JVC GR-D93 is one such camcorder. Throw in a 10x optical zoom and a 2.5 inch LCD display, along with still shot and image stabilization features - and we have a winner.

Canon Elura 70

A highly popular model, the Canon Elura 70 has a 18x optical zoom and a large 2.5 inch LCD. The Elura series of camcorders come with great features, including a bundled wide-angle lens, digital photo and M-JPEG movie modes. along with Direct Print capability. Highly recommended model.

Hitachi DZ-MV730A

The Hitachi DZ-MV730A camcorder provides all you need to take great home videos. The 16x optical zoom and clear 2.5 inch LCD screen get you in one the action fast and simple. Direct recording of the video onto DVD makes playback and distribution a snap. If you want a good DVD camcorder, this is definitely one model to consider.

Panasonic VDR-M50

If you're looking for a DVD camcorder, the Panasonic VDR-M50 might be right up your alley. You can record digital video and still images onto removable 8cm DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs, without going through a computer. Coupled with a large 2.5 inch LCD screen, 18x optical zoom and great low-light performance - the VDR-M50 is an extremely popular choice out there.

Conclusion

If you ask me which of these ten camcorders I'd pick when I walk into an electronics store, I'd say it'd be a close fight between the Panasonic PV-GS150, Sony DCR-HC42 and the Hitachi DZ-MV730A. The 3-CCD technology of the PV-GS150 is an absolute steal at its price, while Sony, on the whole, has always made very good camcorders, with excellent video quality and features. The Hitachi DZ-MV730A is also one of the best DVD camcorders I've come across. Do check out one of the above models when you're out shopping for that camcorder - good luck!


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