Pocket camcorder reviews: Features explained
With the improvement in the video capturing ability of mobile phones, the popularity of the pocket camcorder has declined in recent years. However, they still offer a good alternative to the bigger, more expensive camcorders, especially if you just want to point and shoot.
They can be particularly appealing to those who don't want to get bogged down in instruction manuals and features. On the whole they are very simple and straightforward to use.
You can typically find buttons for one-touch recording and playback on a pocket camcorder, and the means to skip videos and fast forward or rewind, but very little besides.
Very few models offer more advanced features, but this can be godsend to those who just want to take some quick footage.
A major problem with most pocket camcorders is that they do not allow you to optically zoom. Instead, you are limited to the digital zoom, which may be as little as x2.
Digitally zooming has a detrimental effect on the video quality, and often your subject will appear out of focus.
Very few pocket camcorders have autofocus functions, meaning that footage can look particularly poor in panning shots or when you step closer to a subject, as the camcorder doesn't adapt its focus.
Some pocket camcorders have LCD screens that can be flipped out and rotated. These screen can be useful if you are holding the camcorder above your head or filming yourself.
It used to be the case that pocket camcorders didn't film in high definition. However, most models available now can shoot in 720p or 1080p, meaning that they will give you a very clear image.
Even though pocket camcorders can record in high definition, they will rarely give results to rival a larger camcorder. They can struggle particularly in dim light or artificial light, delivering poor contrasting and inaccurate colours. However, for point and shoot work, and uploading to YouTube, the results will be good enough.
Videos taken on a pocket camcorder should look decent on a computer screen, but on a larger TV more of the flaws will be apparent.
This is partly down to the size of the screen, but also because most pocket camcorders record in a file format that isn't best suited to TV screens.
Pocket camcorders have very small, basic internal microphones, and this can lead to rather poor or even muffled sound, and you won't be able to add an external mic to improve it.
Pocket camcorder batteries come in two types - built-in, and removable. Those with removable batteries tend to take AA batteries, which can be useful if you want to do a lot of filming, as you can replace them as soon as they run out. Rechargeable models are convenient, but will naturally require you to charge them regularly.
When it comes to saving your recordings, most pocket camcorders will offer built-in flash memory, or removable cards, like an SD card. SD cards are a cheap solution, and built-in memory can be convenient.
When it comes to uploading videos onto the internet with ease, pocket camcorders leave many of their bulkier cousins in the shade.
Many pocket camcorders have built in USB connectors. These flip out to let you connect the camcorder directly to a computer.
Most of these come with plug and play software built in, which is installed to your computer the first time you connect the camcorder. Using the camcorder's software you can quickly and easily upload videos directly to websites such as Facebook and YouTube.
There can be some loss of resolution when you upload a video to YouTube, and the footage won't look as smooth or as sharp as it might when viewed directly on the camcorder.