Getting started in HD video, part 1

Everything you always wanted to know about HD video (but were afraid to ask).

DVD/Blu-ray camcorders

Guide to HD.

High-def DVD camcorder with 8cm disc.

DVD/Blu-ray camcorders are a popular choice for entry-level users due to their familiarity and ease of use. Most camcorder manufacturers offer at least one high-def DVD model in their current line-up. As the name of the format implies, DVD camcorders record video directly to 8cm discs which can then be played on your Blu-ray player or a HD-capable optical drive. This makes them a convenient choice if you want to quickly enjoy your high-def movies with a minimum of fuss (i.e. there's no need to muck around with cables or computers).

Guide to HD.

One disadvantage of Blu-ray camcorders is that they are not suited to extensive editing. While it is possible to transfer the footage to a computer, it can be a complicated process and the video quality often suffers in the conversion. Naturally, you’ll also need to buy yourself a Blu-ray player as the AVCHD format won’t run in a regular DVD player.

Examples of high-def DVD camcorders:

1. Sony HDR-UX20 (RRP: $1599) — “Sony's HDR-UX20 delivers reasonable high-def visuals for the asking price, but some of the issues that plague DVD camcorders remain unchecked.”

Guide to HD.

Sony HDR-UX20.

2. Canon HR10 (RRP: $2099) — “The Canon HR10 is a decent enough DVD camera, offering impressive high-def visuals at a relatively affordable price. However, there are several competing models on the market which offer a superior performance.”

Guide to HD.

Canon HR10.

3. Panasonic HDC-SX5 {RRP: $1700) — “Despite being soundly beaten with the ugly stick, this is a quality piece of hardware capable of capturing beautiful high-def video. If you can get past the bulky design, you won't be disappointed.”

Guide to HD.

Panasonic HDC-SX5.

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