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Camcorders : How to choose

How to Choose a Camcorder  page 8 of 9

Camcorder Connections and Accessories

Camcorder Accessories

In addition to the camcorder itself, many manufacturers include some accessories such as remote control, cables, chargers, battery, software for copying video to computer, carrying strap and owner's manual. You may want to purchase additional items such as a tripod, carrying case, extra battery, higher capacity memory card, external microphone or external light.

The remote control can come in handy when viewing your video on the TV. The memory card can store your still photos. Remember a digital still camera will often give you far better pictures than a camcorder. Many digital camcorders with photo capability also feature a movie mode in either MPEG or M-JPEG format. This mode lets you record short video clips (at reduced frame rates) and save them to flash memory in a file size that's easy to attach to an e-mail message.

Some camcorders now offer a video streaming, or web-cam  function. This means you can use your camcorder to transfer live or taped footage (usually in MPEG or M-JPEG format) to your PC, usually through its USB port, and show that video to friends on the Internet.

You want to have a fully charged battery before shooting your video. Having a backup battery in case you exhaust the primary has often been a life-saver in the field.

Camcorder Hookup

Today's camcorders have a variety of connection options to hookup to TV, VCR, DVD recorder or computer. Typically the USB and RCA audio/video cables are included in the box. These cables allow you to hookup your camcorder to TV, VCR or computer. A Firewire or iLink digital video cable is usually not included but can be purchased at electronics stores.

FireWire (Apple) or i.Link (Sony) is a high-speed serial bus that allows for the connection of up to 63 devices. It is widely used for downloading video from digital camcorders to a personal computer or DVD recorder. Also known as the IEEE 1394 standard, the i.Link connector and the High Performance Serial Bus (HPSB), the first version of FireWire supported 100, 200 and 400 Mbits/sec data transfer rates and a distance of 4.5 meters between devices.

FireWire Connectors
The 6-pin socket is commonly found on desktop computers. A 4-pin version is used on laptops and audio/video devices. The faster FireWire 800 requires a 9-pin connector. Almost all modern digital camcorders have included this connection since 1995. FireWire is used on the Apple iPod music player. Sony's implementation of the IEEE-1394 is known as i.Link, and uses only the four signal pins, discarding the two pins that provide power to a device.

Most camcorders, even digital camcorders have analog A/V outputs to connect to your TV, VCR, etc. Analog camcorders typically use RCA phono cables (yellow video, white and red audio) to connect to TV or VCR.

Digital camcorders can use RCA cables or S-video cable to hookup to a standard TV or if the camcorder is High-Definition, use a component A/V cable or HDMI cable connection to devices with component video and/or HDMI ports such as HDTV.

USB, iLink and RCA A/V ports RCA audio/video cable

Camcorder hookup to TV or VCR - Composite video, stereo audio

How to connect camcorder to TV, VCR, HDTV

Firewire (iLink) hookup to copy video to DVD

DV IN/OUT i.Link

Virtually all consumer digital camcorders have a small 4-pin FireWire (IEEE-1394) connection.

FireWire connecting cables

There are three types of cables with which to connect FireWire devices. They are as follows:

4-pin to 4-pin
Used between camcorder and computer (or DVD Recorder), where the FireWire (i.Link) socket is of the smaller type;

4-pin to 6-pin
Used between camcorder and computer where the computer ports are of the 6-pin type;

6-pin to 6-pin
No consumer digital camcorders contain the larger 6-pin jack but computers have these ports.

USB 2.0

You can also use a USB 2.0 cable to connect your camcorder to a computer.

The smaller "Mini-B" end connects to the camcorder while the larger "A" end connects to computer's USB port.

See USB - Universal Serial Bus

Which Camcorder Should I Buy?
Digital Camcorders - Digital8
Digital Camcorders - MiniDV
MicroMV, solid state memory cards
Digital Camcorders - DVD
High-Definition Camcorders
Digital Camcorders - Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Camcorder Connections and Accessories


How to connect camcorder to TV, VCR, HDTV
How to connect camcorder to PC
Video Editors for PC and Mac
Photo Gallery of camcorders
Camcorder Buying Guide

Canon Camcorders
Sony Products

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