With the large number of high-definition (HD) hardware now flooding the market, almost everyone can now afford to watch crystal-clear movies and play ultra-realistic video games. Because of this exposure to HD, people are beginning to have the same standards even when it comes to amateur videos and pictures.

hd camcorders for beginners

Trying to remember precious moments caught on standard definition cameras can be a forgettable experience when the images turn out dark, grainy and sometimes unrecognizable. This is mostly the case, especially when the camcorder used is old. Instead of opting for camcorder repair, people can just get themselves a brand-new HD camcorder.

So for those who want to keep their most treasured memories in the best image quality possible but don’t have a clue on where to start, consider the following features before buying an HD camcorder:

Quality

The jump in quality from Standard Definition to HD is immediately noticeable, as colors pop out more, light shines brighter and everything is just sharper. But there are actually different versions of HD: 720p, 1080p and 1080i.

The numbers basically refer to the number of lines being used to display images. In this context, the more the better—making both 1080 versions better than 720p.

The letters refer to how the video is recorded. The “p” stands for progressive scan video, recording each line from 1 to 720 or 1080 without skipping. The “i” stands for interlaced video, recording lines by skipping one before another. Progressive scan trumps interlaced, as things look much clearer in 1080p than 1080i.

Some camcorders boast of supporting “Full HD,” which basically means it’s in 1080p or i, where your videos and pictures can go as high as 1920×1080 resolution.

Image Stabilization

Shaking hands are almost unavoidable when using camcorders. HD camcorders usually come with optic image stabilization to keep the photo or video from wobbling. This means the lens is fixed in place through the machinery of the camcorder.

HD camcorders usually have both optical and digital zoom, but having more optical zooming is better. Like in image stabilization, the camcorder’s actual lens is used in optical zooming, keeping things from afar focused. Digital zooming just enlarges the image when optical zooming is pushed as far as it can go, making things pixelated in the end.

Storage

This can be the biggest downside to HD camcorders, as HD videos and pictures take up a lot of space.  Picking an HD camcorder with only 8GB of internal memory can lead to frustration, as it easily fills up. And if you’re on the go, you’ll have to delete files to make space.

Fortunately, getting a low-storage camcorder isn’t an automatic death sentence, as many allow for external memory in the form of SD cards. There are normal SD cards which only have up to 2GB, SDHC which go up to 32GB, and SDXC which start at 64GB and can go as high as 128GB. Being the latest kind, however, SDXC cards won’t be compatible with most HD camcorders released before 2011.

The speed at which files can be saved into a computer is determined by the SD card’s class rating. For HD camcorders, there are Class 4 cards which record video files at 4MB per second, Class 6 at 6MB per second, and Class 10 at 10MB per second. Class 4 is fine for saving short videos, while 6 and 10 are more suited for really long ones.

These are just the biggest things newbies should take into consideration before spending on an HD camcorder. Although they have definitely become more affordable, they are still an investment that should be researched extensively before purchase.

Jay Manangan is a part time writer and marketing consultant for Repair Labs. An industry-recognized specialist in Laptops, HD camcorder, Gaming Consoles, LG, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, iPhone and iPad accessories as well as iPad and iPhone Repair.