- Page 1 TrustedReviews Awards 2010
- Page 2 Laptops Award 2010
- Page 3 Best PC
- Page 4 Computers Award 2010
- Page 5 Best Mobile Sat-Nav Application
- Page 6 Best Sat-Nav
- Page 7 Sat-Nav Award 2010
- Page 8 Best Smartphone
- Page 9 Best Budget Mobile Phone
- Page 10 Mobile Phone Award 2010
- Page 11 Best PC Component
- Page 12 Best PC Monitor
- Page 13 Readers’ Choice: Product of the Year
- Page 14 Product of the Year 2010
- Page 15 Best Software
- Page 16 Best Budget Printer
- Page 17 Best Workgroup Printer
- Page 18 Best Home Office Printer
- Page 19 Best Photo Printer
- Page 20 Printer Award 2010
- Page 21 Best Portable Media Player
- Page 22 Best Home Audio Product
- Page 23 Digital Camera Award 2010
- Page 24 Best Projector
- Page 25 Best TV Over £750
- Page 26 Best TV Under £750
- Page 27 Televisions and Projectors Awards 2010
- Page 28 Best Desktop-Replacement Laptop
- Page 29 Best Netbook
- Page 30 Best Portable Laptop
- Page 31 Best Budget Compact Digital Camera
- Page 32 Best Advanced Compact Digital Camera
- Page 33 Best Headphone Product
- Page 34 Best Surround Sound Product
- Page 35 Best Blu-ray Player
- Page 36 Home Cinema Award 2010
- Page 37 Best Overall Camcorder
- Page 38 Best Budget Camcorder
- Page 39 Camcorder Award 2010
- Page 40 Best DSLR and System Cameras
- Page 41 Readers’ Choice: Company of the Year
Over the last year, high definition video has moved entirely out of the realm of early adoption, and now even a number of pocket models offer HD. Lucky then that the next big thing is already here, and that’s 3D video.
However, it’s still very much at the first stage. Panasonic has released the first credible 3D camcorder for the rich semi-pro or enthusiast, the HDC-SDT750, and you can pick up a cheap 3D shooter in the shape of the Aiptek 3D i2. However, with its early teething problems, we’re not quite ready yet to recommend this format.
So HD remains the format of choice if you want the best camcorder currently on the market. It’s also now the format of choice if you’re on a budget as well. There has been little change in recording formats, with AVCHD remaining the most widespread option, although more general MP4 has also found favour. This is because one of this year’s developments, 50p Full HD shooting, is not supported by AVCHD. So camcorders wishing to offer this option have had to look elsewhere.
The continually falling price of Flash memory has meant that there are signs of this storage format taking over, although there are still plenty of models using hard disks, which offer greater capacity.
With the core camcorder features remaining relatively static, competition has moved onto other areas. In particular, image stabilisation technology has improved. Now many higher-end camcorders offer more than one choice of stabilisation, tracking different frequencies and axes. So whether you’re shooting whilst walking, recording from a moving vehicle, or simply trying to get a solid shot when operating handheld at full zoom, the top models from the likes of Panasonic and Canon are more likely than ever to keep your footage stable.
Another feature gaining in popularity is the Advanced or Intelligent zoom, which is a happy halfway house between purely optical and digital telephoto. Whilst the former physically moves the lenses to zoom in, the latter just blows up the frame digitally, resulting in a loss of resolution. But many recent camcorder models have sensors with more pixels than is required for Full HD. So you can crop into the sensor area to provide a zoom that doesn’t lose resolution, although it can reduce low-light sensitivity.
Overall, though, the last year has been one in which camcorder pricing has returned to the direction we have come to expect for all devices containing semiconductors: down. At the beginning of 2009, the weakness of the pound and general recession problems meant that camcorder pricing actually went up slightly. But now you can buy a decent Full HD model for as little as £230, and our high-end choice is still under £800. So this Christmas you can seriously consider high definition video making, even if 3D isn’t quite there yet.