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How to Choose the Right Video Camcorder Gift for the Holidays

written by: twhatley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/5/2011

Digital camcorders come in many shapes, sizes, and abilities. If you are thinking of buying someone a camcorder as a holiday gift, you need to read this article first. It will help you in selecting the right one.

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    Before heading to your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart to purchase that perfect camcorder as a Christmas gift for someone, there are a few things you need to think about first. After all, you want the person to get the most out of the camcorder. Finding the right one may take some effort but it is completely doable.

    First, think about the person the gift is for; know their personality, likes and dislikes. Try to know as much about them and their digital video needs before sitting down to look over camcorders. Based on their personality, the look and feel of their perfect camcorder should be easy to identify. Create a checklist and list the visual aspects of the camcorder first.

    Next, list their experience level. If you are purchasing for a seasoned videographer or an enthusiast, go with the one with the most high-tech features. Shopping for kids and novices are easy since most camcorders’ auto-capture feature is fairly simple to operate. List on your checklist the features that you know will be beneficial based on the experience level and needs of the gift recipient.

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    The next thing you need to know is what the person will most likely film with the camcorder. This is a little tricky to decide because you can’t possibly predict a person’s future filming habits and goals. You can, however, make some good assumptions based on their day-to-day life. For a parent or grandparent who spends a lot of time with children, it is safe to assume that they will be filming events such as Little League games and dance recitals. The perfect camcorder for them will have a high-powered zoom function. On the other hand, an adventurist may enjoy one that is durable and captures video in high-def. This way they can capture nature with the best picture quality available.

    For light features, know where the majority of the filming will take place. Some camcorders come with video light or night mode for filming in dark places and at night. This feature may also come in handy for the summer night games or parties.

    The source of output used when they are done with the video after filming is another thing to consider. Will the video be edited? Will it be played on a computer over the internet or on a television screen? These are very important things to know when it comes to special features and accessories available for the camcorder. Does the person have a HDTV? In that case, a high-def camcorder will deliver the best quality. Know the type of output cables that is needed so you can pick a camcorder that comes with the right ones.

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    Once you know and have listed all of the features that are necessary based on the individual, take it to salesperson to help you pick out the final product. Some other advice you may want to consider is:

    • Always go with the name brands, such as Sony, Panasonic and Canon.
    • Never buy a used camcorder as a gift to get more features. In the long run, it will be cheaper to buy a new one.
    • There is no need to pay the extra money for all the bells and whistles if they aren't needed.
    • Ultra-compact camcorders don't have the best quality and break easily.
    • Stay away from gray market camcorders.
    • Stick with a reputable dealer that offers additional warranties.

    Remember these tips and you should be fine. The individual will love their gift and have a camcorder they can use for years to come. If this is for Christmas, make sure your gift is one of the first to be opened so that they can get started right away.