Digital cameras: Getting the most from your digital camera Taking videos with digital cameras
Nearly all compact digital cameras have a movie mode to let you record quick clips.
Typically, all you have to do is switch the camera to movie mode, press the shutter button and the camera will start filming. Press the shutter button again to stop recording.
HD video recording with digital cameras
Many newer digital cameras offer HD movie recording. This may be with a resolution of 720p, or an even higher resolution of 1080p - also known as full HD.
Even at the highest quality setting, the quality of digital camera video falls short of what you can expect with a full-sized HD camcorder.
The sensors inside digital cameras are not as well-suited to video capture as the sensors inside camcorders. Conversely, most camcorders do not take still photos as well as a decent camera.
See our expert Which? reviews of the best HD camcorders.
With some cameras, you can use zoom during filming, although sometimes just digital zoom as opposed to optical zoom. Digital zoom, as when taking still photos, reduces image quality.
Just like with still photos, footage is stored onto the memory card, although recording movies can take up a lot of memory space.
Unless you set a lower quality setting, if you want to take more than a minute or two of footage you'll usually need a memory card with a large capacity, much larger than the camera's internal memory or small memory card supplied.
Watching your film
Watching videos on an HD TV.
If your camera has a video-out function, and nearly all do, you can also view your movie on a TV if your TV has a video-in socket. Connect the two with the cable supplied, and switch your camera to playback mode to play.
Some cameras with HD video functions offer HDMI-out sockets. Using an HDMI cable, you can connect the camera to your HD TV to view your video in high-definition quality.
However, you may find that your footage looks less impressive when viewed on a large HD TV screen. Motion can appear to be slightly jerky, particularly when you're capturing panning shots or fast-moving subjects.
One of the reasons for this is that digital cameras tend to record videos in a format (such as Motion Jpeg) that is not best-suited to playback on an HD TV.
Proper HD camcorders tend to record videos in file formats which are tailored for playback on an HD TV.
Read our expert Which? reviews of the best HD TVs.
Watching videos on a computer
If you connect your digital camera to a computer or laptop, you can watch your videos back on the computer screen.
Depending on the quality of the original footage, this may have its drawbacks. If your camera can only record in standard definition, VGA footage, then increasing the size of the video to fill a computer screen will emphasize the lack of detail.
HD footage may look better on a computer screen, as the larger screen will do justice to the detailed footage. Digital cameras tend to record in formats that are best suited to being played back on computer screens, though some jerkiness may remain in fast-moving subjects.