The latest camcorders are small, light, affordable and capable of shooting HD video. PC Advisor reviews 12 delectably diminutive devices.

Compact camcorders: conclusions

Today's camcorders barely resemble the bulky beasts of old. In terms of look and feel they now have more in common with MP3 players and mobile phones than with video cameras of yore.

With the rise in popularity of filesharing and social-networking sites, the focus is on all-inclusive fun as much as technological advancement. If you're in the market not just for a small camcorder but one that shoots HD footage, it's worth mentioning that you'll inevitably end up with huge video files - and if your hard drive is already groaning with image files, MP3s and video clips, it might be well worth investing in an external add-on.

Of the 12 models we reviewed here, we preferred the tactile rubber bodywork of the Creative Vado HD over the shinier FlipVideo MinoHD, although the MinoHD was more user-friendly and intuitive to use. Both Kodaks scored highly for ease of use, as did the Wiki model - although that was something of a wannabe. We'd have given late entrant Sony some serious praise were it not for the price tag. We're hoping they bring the Webbie's UK price tag into line with the US pricing, pronto.

Despite the impressive showing of several ‘candybar' models, however, it was the pistol-grip camcorders that really wowed us. Now their prices are as low as £150 (£69 if you count the Medion model along with the camera brands) grabbing a ‘real' camcorder with a proper zoom, image stabilisation and the convenience of flash memory storage is our recommendation.

It may not shoot in HD, but the Panasonic SDR-S26 with its 70x zoom and incredibly lightweight, compact proportions is the one the others need to beat. If you absolutely have to have HD, meanwhile, the Sanyo VPC-CG10 with its 720p HD shooting and 10Mp stills is the best overall.


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