I have spent the last few weeks reading all I can about camcorders as I’m currently in the market to purchase one. After much thought, I have decided that I want a camcorder with a HDD as this will provide me with minimal on going costs as well as the added benefit of high transfer speeds to my MacBook Pro for editing.The question is I need to decide between SD and HD camcorder. Would you give me some advice?

Before buying a camcorder, many people may be faced with a dilemma of choosing bewteen a SD camcorder or HD camcorder. Although HD is where technology is going for, are you ready for HD camcorder, in addition to the higher price for HD camcorder and corresponding video editing software? Let our short guide help you make the decision, and move a little closer to owning the right camcorder for you.

Standard Camcorder vs HD Camcorder

Most of the HD camcorders out on the market are made to record either SD or HD, but there are also models that are HD-only. Naturally, HD camcorders are more expensive that standard camcorders. But with the technology's proliferation in the last few years, prices are steadily decreasing and they are becoming more and more affordable. In many ways, an HD camcorder functions in the same manner as a standard camcorder but has some specific features and considerations. Following is advantage and disadvantage of SD camcorder and HD camcorder.

  Advantages Disadvantages Resolutions
SD Camcorder - Less expensive camcorder, video-editing computer, and content delivery.
- Easier and less time to edit SD than HD
- Not as good quality as HD
- Will be replaced by HD
640x480 (4:3)
720x576 (5:4)
704x576 (12:11)
720x480 (3:2)
HD Camcorder - Better image for watching on computers can handle HD
- SD available by editing with needed software
- Will not be behind in the race once HD videos online become standard
- Compatible problems before HD era comes
- Expensive or difficult to edit
1024x768 (16:9)
1280x720 (16:9)
1440x1080 (16:9)
1280x1080 (16:9)
1920x1080 (16:9)
3840x2160 (16:9)

What you need with the Camcorder

In addition to the higher price for HD camcorder and corresponding video editing software there are several areas in which SD and HD camcorders provide a different result. Deciding what is important to you will help you to decide which type you need.

Watch Camcorder Videos on TV

You need a HDTV to watch your HD camcorder videos. Otherwise, SD image quality is what you get even if you have a HD camcorder. To watch camcorder videos on TV, here is the general work flow: Switch the input on the TV to the connected jack, connect your camcorder to TV (refer to camcorder manual) and make settings on camcorder before playing video on TV.

But, will you always bring camcorder with you? If not, you could burn camcorder videos to DVD disc for disc player. For those who has recorded HD video (usually AVCHD) and wants to play with a general DVD player, a AVCHD Converter is required to convert HD video and burn the AVCHD video to DVD.

If your camcorder is a DVD camcorder which shoots video to directly record onto DVD disc, it is very convenient to playback video on TV with compatible DVD player. However, don't insert an HD DVD disc into a SD DVD player because the disc may not be ejected or the data may be damaged.

Publish Camcorder Videos on Web

Whatever it's SD camcorder or HD camcorder, the recorded video is not very suitable to publish on web. A fast and powerful computer may be required to edit the video for smaller size and web-friendly. You also need find one powerful video converter software to improve the efficiency and save the money (bandwidth) . For now, FLV is the most popular web video format. At the same time, many giant companies use their private formats to publish web video, like Apple for the MOV format and Microsoft for the WMV format.

Decision time

In the end the most persuasive factor in your decision will probably be price. An HD camcorder is likely to set you back more than an SD camcorder. It is up to you whether the differences outlined above will influence your decision away from the solely thrifty. Do research thoroughly though. With patience you can find some excellent deals, even on top of the range HD camcorders.