Somewhat surprisingly, Canon’s FS100 is the only standard-definition (720 x 576) resolution camcorder in this group. Most of the sub-£200 camcorders reviewed here compress their video files quite heavily so the image quality isn’t always quite as good as you’d expect. The FS100, however, provides good DVD-quality video that will be suitable for home movie buffs who want to produce more than just simple YouTube snippets. It’s extremely light and compact, and you can just about slip it into a jacket pocket when you’re on the move. The 37x optical zoom is impressive, although the image can get a bit grainy at full zoom. Unfortunately, you’ll need to supply your own memory card before you can get started.
The design of Creative’s Vado is clearly inspired by the Flip, right down to the built-in USB connector that folds into the body of the camcorder. It has the same 640 x 480 resolution and image quality as the Flip, as well as a 2x zoom option and 2GB internal memory. However, it craftily improves on the Flip by including a rechargeable battery and an option for switching between high- and standard-quality in order to increase the recording time - one hour at high-quality and two hours at standard. It also undercuts the Flip on price, coming in at just under £80. The Vado Central software that lets you upload clips to YouTube is already installed on the camcorder for immediate use, but we were disappointed to see that this only runs on PCs and not Macs.
Next page: Flip Ultra
Bundled memory? No thanks
Nice set of reviews, but it's strange that you place such value on built-in or bundled memory. Surely most people own memory cards already? I don't want the price of my gadgets being pushed up by unwanted integrated memory. The kind of pathetically small cards that are typically included just end up left in a drawer anyway, replaced with whatever size of memory card is currently offering the best value for money (e.g. 16GB at the moment).
Re: Panasonic HDC-SD9 (Jolyon Ralph)
You also forgot the other bad things about this camera:
- SD card can not be read by PC, so you need to read it through the camera attached via USB
- in order to access the camera over usb, you are forced to attach it to external power. No accessing usb while on batteries. Yes, silly isn't it?
- the tripod thread seems incompatible with my tripod (which works fine with all my other cameras)
Apart from that, I have to note that Nero8 (Nero vision) handles the recordings perfectly.
Dont forget your phone
Many phones can take video as well as or even better than the lower end of this round-up, & have a colour screen thrown it. You are much more likely to remember to carry your phone than a camcorder, so if you want to be able to capture youtube moments learn how to use it...
I have a Tony Hawk helmet cam as I didnt want to strap my phone to my head when snowboarding! However, it is dreadful - 320x240 res @ something like 15fps, monstrous battery consumption & doesnt work with rechargable batteries. And the battery compartment is actually too tight for the batteries - I have to peel the graphics off them to get them to fit! I think I'll flog it on ebay to someone who hasnt read this post!
Aiptek and Toshiba apparently the same
I think that the Aiptek and the toshiba are actually the same hardware internally, so you probably should go with the cheapest (in France the Aiptek is actually cheaper than the Toshiba, which is why I bought that one).
What I can say about the Aiptek is that battery life is far from stellar, but the it arrived with 2 battery packs in the box, which made up for it.
The video files produced by these cameras are sometimes difficult to handle, however I had good results transcoding the files with the free application mediacoder (http://mediacoder.sourceforge.net/).
Video quality is OK during the day, however in low light condition my Aiptek has problem producing quality video. Don't expect the quality of a £600 HD camcorder in a £200 one.
I can vouch for the FS100
C'mon guys, this ain't no review, Ten of the Best ?, List of the latest more like,
I bought the Canon FS100 in April,
I wanted a simple Camcorder that recorded to memory card, no moving parts etc.
Its SD, not HD, but it outshines some of the cheap HD cams I've used,
after all it's got real Canon optics.
Battery life is great,
software isn't too bad,
beyond 20x optical zoom hello, mr pixelface, below 20x, clear and sharp, good colour balance
I get hours on an 8Gb SD card.
Top requirement for me, an external microphone socket, this makes ALL the difference.
Overall a fantastic camera, I probably wouldn't have bought it if I simply looked at the spec sheets, I'm glad I applied more thought