The camcorder used to be the pride of every amateur videographer. But with today’s digital cameras and smartphones, is there still room for the standalone camcorder?
It wasn’t long ago when we’d get out our camcorders to record special family moments, like weddings and birthdays, or to get footage of humorous pratfalls that we could then sell to You’ve Been Framed (for a rather appealing £250).
Now, a lot of us own several devices capable of recording video, such as smartphones, digital cameras and even tablets. Does anyone shoot with a home camcorder any more?
Last year, the makers of the popular Flip camcorder, Cisco, decided to cease production of its pocket-sized camcorder. And in January this year, a US research firm revealed that sales of camcorders in the Christmas period of 2011 dropped by a massive 43%.
It would seem that we’re falling out of love with the camcorder.
Smartphones and digital cameras takeover
Although I own a camcorder myself, I have to admit that it’s been collecting dust on the top of my wardrobe (the resting place for all my electronics before they’re ‘stored’ in the loft) for a couple of years now.
The last few family gatherings have all been documented on my smartphone and digital SLR, which are always to hand, and both capable of recording at the high-definition 1080p. Not only that, but footage taken on my smartphone can be easily uploaded to YouTube or shared by email in an instant, without the need to ever connect it to a PC.
The results aren’t going to have James Cameron fearing for his job, but for what I want, it’s fine. People also seem more at ease with being filmed on a mobile or digital camera; whip out a camcorder, and suddenly everyone’s giving you their best side and casually checking their hair in the mirror.
Relegated to amateur film makers?
That’s not to say we should forget about the camcorder entirely. Over the last few years, the internet has provided a fantastic platform for amateur film makers, many of whom are producing exceptional works with their trusty devices.
But for those of us who just want to capture Auntie Jean blowing out her birthday candles, or the family dog riding a skateboard, do we really need the expense of a dedicated camcorder?
So, are you a die-hard camcorder fan, or do you find yourself reaching for your camera or phone to capture special moments?