A camcorder is a portable electronic device (generally a digital camera) for recording images and audio onto a storage device. The camcorder contains both camera and recorder in one unit, hence the name. This compares to previous technology where they would be separate.
Video cameras were originally designed for broadcasting television images--see television camera.
Video is captured by way of the camera lens, and is sent to a CCD (charge_coupled device), possibly processed, compressed, and then to final storage.
We can generally distinguish between digital and Personal Computer can be made into a digital video editing machine with the use of digital editing software - a light version with limited features is often included with digital cameras.
There are various storage devices and respective formats for camcorders, please see the video page for details. The latest camcorders also record on a flash memory device (in MPEG-1, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4) or directly on DVD (either DVD-RAM or DVD-R) in MPEG-2 format. Other digital tape recorders transfer their video content in DV format over a IEEE 1394 connection to a computer, where the huge files (approx. 2GB for 5 minutes on PAL DVD resolution) need to be edited and compressed or played back on tape. The transfer speed is currently 1x, which means one hour footage needs one hour to transfer.
Besides classification in analog and digital camcorders, they can also be classified by consumer products, semi-professional products and broadcast quality products. Product cycles are 6-12 months, 2-4 years and 5+ years respectively.
They can also be used to record personal events for future reminiscing, or even as an artistic tool.
In 1984, Kodak introduced the first camcorder. A year later Sony introduced the first HandyCam model (but nowadays, a handycam is a generic name, because is used by other companies, like Panasonic).
- Buyer's Guide to Digital Camcorders for the UK Market (http://www.navito.co.uk/digital-camcorders.aspx) from Navito UK