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If there’s a chance your camcorder will get jostled or bounced around, your best bet is a flash memory camcorder. While tapes are most prone to recording problems when they get bounced about, even had drive machines can suffer from jostling. I’ve been told that DVD camcorders have more “bounce resistance” than tapes, but I don’t have any experience with DVD camcorders. If you’re not going to bounce your camcorder around, the acquisition format really doesn’t matter except for storage expenses, tape being the cheapest by far.
However, when it comes to ease & speed of getting video into your computer, tape is the big loser. Tape takes real-time to capture. Hard drives, DVD’s and flash memory cards all store video in a file format. So their video will transfer at the rate your IO port works, which is damn fast these days. So you can’t really choose one as faster or easier on the whole.
But really, acquisition formats are best chosen by field requirements. If you plan on shoot lots & lots of video out in the field, tape is by far the most economical choice with hard drives being the most costly due to size limits. (And always calculate recording time using the highest quality settings.) I haven’t seen any really good consumer grade camcorders that use flash memory to store full-frame 30fps video, but they are sure to be on the way. DVD recording seems to be the best compromise between field recording cost & ease of importing.
In the pro markets, Panasonic promotes flash memory recording using its P2 cards. While Sony’s top end ENG/EFP camcorder uses full-size Blue-ray DVD’s for acquisition. But either of these systems cost more than a new Mercedes. Even pros consider them pricey. But they do illustrate the equality of the two formats. Since consumers don’t really have a flash memory option, it would seem DVD recording would be the best compromise between recording cost, convenience and portability.
Good luck with your choice. I hope this helps you identify the factors most relevant to your particular needs.