Which is better: that fancy $5,000 digital camcorder with the professional lens, microphone inputs and every available feature and function or the basic $300 8mm model on the shelf at your local StuffMart? The answer is so obvious that actually verbalizing it seems ridiculous. The answer, of course, is it depends!
You wouldn’t put on a tux to mow your grass or do your gardening in a glitzy gown. That would be silly. Sometimes jeans and a sweatshirt are exactly what you need. The key is determining just that: what do you need? The reality is that you may not have dreams of directing a drama, producing a program or making a movie. Maybe your goal is to simply shoot footage of your friends and family. If you need a T-shirt, not a tux, keep reading. Analog camcorders are the jeans and sneakers of the camcorder community. They are familiar, casual and comfortable enough to use every day. If you spill something on them it’s no big deal and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg either.
Who Are They Good For?
Make no mistake, if you want to make video for money, these models are not for you – they’re meant for the rest of us. They’re the best bet for the beginner and the budget-minded. Analog camcorders are made for moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas. They’re tools for teachers. They’re toys for teenagers. Better yet, they’re affordable (some less than $250), so they are worry-free. And they’re easy to use, so just about anyone can operate them. If you are new to video or can’t justify spending a thousand dollars or more on a camcorder, there’s good news: you don’t have to. One of the able analog models in the accompanying buyer’s guide grid may be just the hot ticket.
Features to Find
While all analog models are relatively affordable and easy to operate, there are some differences to identify. Again, the key is deciding which ones you need and which ones you can live without. The following are some features to consider as you shop for an analog camcorder:
8mm and Hi8 tapes do not fit into your VCR for playback. To view the footage on your TV, you’ll need to cable the camcorder into your VCR (or television). While this is not hard to do, anyone who does not want to deal with cables and connections might select a VHS-family model.
If you are looking for an affordable, worry-free camcorder that offers automatic operation, an analog model may be just what you need. Like they say, if the shoe fits, wear it. If your kicks are canvas Keds instead of leather loafers, an analog camcorder may be a comfortable fit.