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Putting Together The Best Camcorder Package For You
Although the basics of camcorder design have not really changed all that much over the years, the reality is the camcorder on the shelf today has many night-and-day differences from its brethren of yesterday. So before you plunk down some serious cash or some heavy-duty plastic to go home with the camcorder of your dreams, you should explore what to look for and which pictures are essential for any home videographer to have.
Power To Spare
Probably the single biggest change in camcorders over the last year is in battery power. This is the year that virtually all manufacturers have left nickel-cadmium batteries behind in favor of the new lithium-powered cells of today.
Why? Because unlike NiCds, which eventually lose their ability to take a charge, lithium batteries will always charge to maximum capacity no matter what their discharge level is at the beginning of the charging cycle. Let's say you record for an hour using NiCds and when you're finished, the battery is discharged by about 50 percent. You put it on the charger and bring it back up to full power. The next time you use your camcorder after an hour goes by, instead of being discharged about 50 percent, you discover your battery is completely drained! In real life, this so-called memory effect doesn't happen overnight, but gradually you'll find that your camcorder NiCd batteries have less and less charge life and eventually will no longer accept a charge--so you're off to the store to buy new ones.
Today's new high-capacity lithium batteries have absolutely no memory effect, no matter how often you …