Removable flash memory–based camcorders
Removable flash memory is currently the 'new black' of the camcorder industry, with all major vendors supporting a high-def version of this format. Its benefits over digital tape and DVD are numerous, including the ability to hot-swap between camera and computer, less power consumption (and thus longer battery life), sound-free operation and compact camcorder sizes. Indeed, the smallest high-def camcorders on the market all adhere to the flash memory format. This makes them a good option for frequent shooters.
Flash-based camcorders are generally smaller than their HDD/DVD counterparts.
Removable flash memory comes in a variety of different ‘flavours’, depending on the camcorder manufacturer at hand. The main types are SD/SDHC (used by Canon and Panasonic), Micro-SD (JVC) and Memory Stick (Sony). They all basically do the same thing, although SDHC cards are more widely supported.
SD/SDHC is the most widely supported memory card format. Examples of removable flash memory-based high-def camcorders:
1. Panasonic HDC-SD9 (RRP: $1869) — “The HDC-SD9 is an evolutionary upgrade of the SD5. While the majority of changes are arguably minor, they combine to lift the camcorder head-and-shoulders above its predecessor, not to mention the majority of competitors.” Panasonic HDC-SD9.
2. Sony HDR-TG1 (RRP: $1599) — “The HDR-TG1 is the smallest HD camcorder we've ever reviewed. To a certain extent, its portability comes at the expense of video quality. However, it still offers an impressive performance across the board. Enthusiastically recommended.”
3. Canon HF10 ($1699) — “For an AVCHD removable flash memory camcorder, the HF10 is close to flawless. It offers superior video performance, better build quality and more modes and features than any of its high-def rivals. Highly recommended.” Canon HF10.