“12 Gizmos of Christmas”: #9 – Digital Camcorders

Coming in as the ninth most wanted category of Gizmos wanted for the 2004 holiday seasons are digital camcorders. There are many types of digital camcorders but we chose the most popular and best-selling ones for our list including digital camcorders from JVC, Sony and Panasonic.

There are many different formats of digital camcorders including MiniDVD, MiniDV and Digital 8mm are the digital formats and the analog formats include VHS-C, Super VHS-C and Hi8. We like the MiniDV format so that’s what we focus on.

The first featured item is JVC GRD230 MiniDV Digital Camcorder w/10x Optical Zoom.

JVC’s Ultra-Compact Series Mini DV camcorders feature a fun, stylish design unique to JVC. The initial model in this series features JVC’s DV Navigation, which displays thumbnails for each recorded scene to make it quick and easy to find specific material. Also featured is a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, 10X optical/500X digital zoom, USB connectivity, Video CD creation, e-mail video clips capability, NightAlive and include an 8MB SD card.

The features of the compact, versatile GRD230 are accessible right out of the box. The record button is right under your thumb, and the digital still shutter button is exactly where your index finger comes to rest on top of the unit. Playback and mode functions are likewise clearly marked and easy to reach under the flip-out LCD screen. The camcorder’s well-thought-out design manifests itself in a dozen other thoughtful details as well. One of our favorites is that closing the LCD screen turns the power off, and opening it turns it on, which facilitates quick-draw shooting and means you’ll be unlikely to run down the battery accidentally.

The next pick from the digital camcorder category is Sony DCRHC40 MiniDV Digital Handycam Camcorder w/10x Optical Zoom.

The DCR-HC40 MiniDV Handycam gives you all the features you’d expect from a Sony camcorder in an ultra-compact design that’s as beautiful as the images it captures. It features a 1.0 Megapixel Advanced HAD imaging chip and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens which combine to capture video with incredible detail and clarity, making every video picture perfect. It also includes a huge 2.5″ hybrid SwivelScreen touch panel LCD display with a 3D menu system, Super NightShot Plus infrared recording, USB streaming, and digital still image capturing on MemoryStick DUO media. Only Sony could pack so many features in a camcorder so small.

The final item the Geeks picked in this category is Panasonic PVGS9 MiniDV Compact Digital Camcorder w/20x Optical Zoom.

The Panasonic blends innovative technologies with new, simple-to-operate controls, Panasonic’s entry-level PV-GS9 camcorder is an affordable entry into digital video with powerful features. Panasonic continues to innovate, adding more optical zoom capability while reducing the overall size. This MiniDV camcorder features a 20x optical zoom, ultra-fast 1.3-second start-up time, digital stills saved to tape, and webcam capability. For a step up in price, the Panasonic PV-GS12 offers digital electronic image stabilization and enables you to save digital stills to SD/MMC memory cards.

Please comment on our choices for the most wanted digital camcorders and make sure you check back tomorrow to see our three picks for HDTV products!