The Product

High Definition Hard Drive (HD) Video Camera

As Hard Drives (HD) become cheaper and smaller, they are slowly starting to replace removable media in many consumer devices. A major advantage of an HD Video camera is that you don't have to bother with tapes or DVDs. Another advantage of an HD Video camera is that like your regular digital camera, you won’t have to worry about recording over existing video. New files are simply added to the camera until it reaches capacity.

The other new trend in video cameras is the ability to record in 1080p, which is the same High Definition quality that many consumers now have on their home televisions. While there are currently limitations to displaying and recording High Definition video to DVD, you only get one chance to record in High Definition and these issues will work themselves out over time and more devices are coming out each day to store and play your videos digitally without ever needing a DVD.

Recommended
Sony HDR-CX7 AVCHD 6.1MP Video Camera
Sony  HDR-CX7 AVCHD 6.1MP Video Camera
Pros
  • Records videos in Standard or High Definition
  • Can watch videos in HDTV
Cons
  • Requires a large USB hard drive to back up files

Sony has combined two great technologies with the Sony HDR-CX7 Video Camera, Hard Drive Storage and High Definition Recording. With this camera, you can record your home videos in Standard or High Definition (AVCHD format) and then watch them on your HDTV using an HDMI cable or component. The camera also boasts a 6.1MP CMOS sensor, which will take excellent still pictures either on the hard drive or on a removable memory stick. This model is about 30% less than the price of the HDR-SR1 / HDR-SR5 models that were released not too long ago. I have read a lot of video camera reviews and people seem to be very happy with this model. Recording to a hard drive is very convenient and Sony is known for the quality of their video cameras. My last Sony MiniDV based camera is still going strong after almost eight years with no sign of slowing down.

Devil's Advocate:

Keep in mind that in the absence of tapes, you will probably need a large usb hard drive to properly back-up your files. Additionally, although you can play High Definition video on your HDTV from the camera, you will also not be able to transfer High Definition video to DVD until a standard is reached and that may be a few years out. This camcorder also uses a newer file format (AVCHD) and lot of current editing software does not yet support the new format. So either you have to use Sony's supplied software on windows, or you wait until your software company produces an update that supports the format.

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