Babble Best Picks:
Along with diapers and a car seat, a video camera is essential for any new parent's maternity-ward checklist. Of course, you'll also want a camcorder that delivers long after Mom and baby have come home. So, whether you're capturing everyday milestones, connecting with friends and family, or even looking to film the family version of Avatar, here are our picks for the best camcorders.
- Aaron Burgess
Best All-in-One for Home Moviemakers | Sony Handycam HDR-CX350V
If you’re upgrading from a VHS camera or even an earlier digital camcorder, you’ll feel like a pro behind the LCD screen of Sony’s ultra-compact HDR-CX350V. With a 7.1MP still camera (3.5MP if you’re converting video into snapshots) to match its full-HD shooting capabilities, the HDR-CX350V can deftly handle baby’s first photos as well as clips of future milestones. Though it’s an HD champion, the HDR-CX350V also shoots in standard definition, which means you can enjoy clear, crisp videos even if your computer or TV isn’t capable of handling 1080/60p resolution. Built-in 32GB flash memory gives you ample room for saving footage before you need to transfer it to your computer, and even if you don’t have a PC, you can save videos to an external drive using Sony’s Direct Copy feature. Okay, so how does it shoot? To be honest, I’m still getting my head around the options (GPS? A camera that auto-shoots when your subject smiles?), but a few things push this one ahead of the pack for home moviemaking. The wide-angle lens is among the best you’ll find in camcorders of this range – even if you’re shooting a birthday party in a cramped space, you can easily capture the whole scene. Likewise, image stabilization is freakishly good – you could be zooming around a go-kart track and not display so much as a shake. Additionally, if you’re shooting at nighttime or in weak indoor light, you can get crisp footage even at full zoom. There’s a bit of a learning curve with this one, but you’ll have fun growing into it.