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 for Novices | Kodak PlayTouch
The Kodak PlayTouch hides a number of impressive features behind its bone-simple touchscreen interface: full HD (1080p) recording and video-editing capability; the ability (via an HDMI cable) to play on your HDTV; a 5MP still camera; and near-automatic uploading to Facebook, Flickr, and other social sites using the pop-out USB arm and included software. It’s also compatible with your Mac or Windows computer, so you can save and play movies in whichever format you prefer. Though just as novice-friendly as some Flip models – it even has a “Safe Mode” to keep the kids from accidentally deleting files – this one looks and feels more like a serious camcorder. I didn’t spend much time with the capture effects (they felt a little gimmicky), but having the ability to shoot in sepia, black and white, high-saturation and grainy “1970s film look” is a fun feature. I was especially impressed with how well the PlayTouch performed in the variable lighting conditions that make up an average day. The camera’s glare shield makes it easy to see what you’re shooting on sunny days, and when you’re shooting in low light (generally shoot-and-shares’ Achilles heel), you’ll see more than just shapes and shadows.