Which is the best mini-camcorder?

December 21, 2009 3:36:04 PM PST
While you may not be interested in posting video to YouTube, your kids might be, so here's the lowdown on camcorders that make it easy to upload video to the web.Twenty hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube. If you've got a budding Steven Spielberg, you may be considering a pocket camcorder for a gift. Consumer Reports has the scoop on mini moviemakers.

Jack Alexander, 13, loves to shoot home movies with his Flip video camera. He says it's more convenient than a regular camcorder.

"It's not like a really big thing you need to tug around with you," Jack said. "It fits right in your pocket."

Consumer Reports checked out 14 different pocket camcorders all priced $200 or less. Included were ones from Flip, Sony, and Kodak. Testers evaluated both video and audio quality.

Elias Arias with Consumer Reports said, "They don't compare well to full-size camcorders in terms of video quality, or even audio quality. But for their convenience and size, you can't beat them."

Then there's the newest iPod Nano that lets you shoot video.

"Compared to other pocket camcorders, the iPod Nano's video is as good as the best we've seen in pocket camcorders," Arias said. "However, the audio begins to distort as it gets louder."

Testers found all the devices make shooting videos nearly foolproof. Once you're done shooting, you can easily connect the camcorder to your computer, where you can save, edit and share videos. Consumer Reports says the Pure Digital Flip Video Ultra HD for $200 had the best video quality and is the easiest to use. Or consider the Kodak ZI8 for $180. Along with decent video quality, it has some great features, like image stabilization and an audio input that lets you adjust your recording levels.

If you like the small size of pocket camcorders but want a real video camera, for $250, Consumer Reports says consider the Sony Handy Cam DCR SX60. It's still small enough to fit in your pocket. And while it only shoots standard definition, the video quality is better than all of the high-definition pocket camcorders. Plus this camcorder has a zoom lens ? unlike many pocket camcorders. Not all are Mac compatible, so male sure you know the kind of computer is being used before buying one of the mini camcorders.


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