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Best pocket camcorders for the holiday season

November 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
When it comes to shooting home videos, the choices are ever-expanding. You can now use smartphones and digital cameras to make quick videos. But a better option is a pocket video camera, which are easy to use and cost a lot less than a full-sized camcorder.The latest pocket camcorders are super slim and small enough to fit into, well, a pocket. Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen, ranging in price from $65 to $250, from brands like Kodak, Creative, Sony, and Flip.

Tester Elias Arias says first you have to adjust your expectations.

"Pocket camcorders don't deliver the video and audio quality that full-size camcorders do," said Arias.

But most let you easily upload video to social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube, and you can even do simple editing.

Consumer Reports' testers find the sound quality is compromised. But tests show the video quality is better.

"Most pocket camcorders don't pick up the fine details," said Arias. "But that can be fine for sharing videos with friends and family."

There are several good choices, including the $135 Kodak Playsport ZX3. It shoots very good video in normal light, offers almost 90 minutes of battery life, and is waterproof.

Also recommended is the $140 Creative VF0624, which it delivers very good picture quality even in low light and has an even longer battery life.

Pocket camcorders, like regular camcorders, have different recording formats. Consumer Reports says depending on how you'll use a camera this can make a difference.

The recommended Creative camcorder has built-in memory. The Kodak Playsport uses memory cards, which is a plus if you're traveling because you can carry extra cards and you don't have to download your video while you're away.


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