Graduations, Weddings, and Vacations; Best Ways to Save the Memories

It's that time of year again. One kid is finally graduating and the other is getting married. If you're going to a graduation or a June wedding and want to capture it for posterity, Retrevo has a few suggestions for some great high definition camcorders and a few digital cameras too. HD camcorders deliver amazingly sharp pictures and will fill the screen of your widescreen HDTV . Any one of these HD camcorders might also make a good gift.

Just in Time for Summer: All-in-one HD Pocket Camcorders
There's a growing number of camcorders that you can hold with one hand, are small enough to fit in your pocket, and take high definition videos and high resolution digital photos. Although not quite high definition, the amazingly popular Flip Video Ultra Series has taken the camcorder market by storm. It stores 60 minutes of very good quality audio and video on a pocket-sized camcorder. It’s small, lightweight, and super simple to operate. It has a flip-out USB plug and built-in software that makes it very easy to show videos on your computer, TV set or upload them to YouTube. Users give this under $150 camcorder very high marks. For high definition in a similar package and price tag, the Aiptek A-HD has a pistol grip, shoots 720P video and 5 MP stills. It sells for a very reasonable $150. A new contender from DGX , the DGX-569V lists for $169. It has a big 3 inch screen and also shoots 720P video or 5 MP stills onto built-in flash memory or an SDHC flash memory card.

Flip Video Ultra Series
Aiptek A-HD
Flip Video Ultra Series Aiptek A-HD DGX DGX-569V

Handheld Camcorder With Lots of Buzz

Sony HDR-TG1
  A new super-small Sony camcorder, the $899, Sony HDR-TG1 is vying for the smallest camcorder prize. It weighs 10 ounces, is not much bigger than a small point and shoot camera and stores 1080i video on a flash memory card. It goes on sale on May 30, 2008 and you can pre-order it on amazon.com now.

Some More Light and Small HD Camcorders
If you want more features and storage and don't mind the fact that these camcorders won't fit in your pocket there are plenty of small, full-featured camcorders to choose from that won't break the bank.

Tape-based camcorders like the Canon HV-20 at $700 are still an all around good value. For around $800 you can get its successor, the Canon HV-30 which offers some minor enhancements including an improved LCD screen. Reviewers say it's a "great camcorder," that delivers, "great video quality."

The new Panasonic HDC-SD9 stores 1080p AVCHD formatted video on an SD flash memory card. It’s very small and light weight and offers image stabilization and face detection technology similar to what’s being offered on many new digital cameras. It gets some mixed reviews and sells for around $700.

The Sony HDR-SR12 is a bit pricey at $1300 but you get an HD camcorder and a 10 MP still camera with a large 120 GB hard drive and Memory Stick that can store up to 15 hours of HD video. The Sony HDR-SR11 offers the same camcorder with a 60 GB hard drive for $1100. Both offer a big 3.2 inch high resolution LCD screen.

Canon’s new Vixia HF10 is getting high marks for quality and ergonomics. It’s small, lightweight and stores 1080P video to flash memory. Reviewers say this $900 camcorder offers a good alternative to Sony’s $800 HDR-CX7, Memory Stick-based camcorder especially for those who don’t care for Sony’s sometimes criticized touch screen interface.

Canon HV-20
Panasonic HDC-SD9
Sony HDR-SR12
Canon Vixia HF10
Canon HV-20 Panasonic HDC-SD9 Sony HDR-SR12 Canon Vixia HF10

Prosumer Camcorders
Just in case, you want to play in the big league and have a desire to impress the professional photographers at the graduation or wedding then you should consider one of these high quality HD camcorders that turn out broadcast quality video for under $4000. The Canon XH-A1 costs around $3200 and gets very high ratings. Reviewers caution this camcorder is not for novices. The Sony HVR-V1U costs around $3000 and gets high marks for image quality even though some reviewers question its low-light capability. The Panasonic AG-DVX100P costs around $2400 and gets good reviews but not as good as the Canon.

Canon XH-A1
Sony HVR-V1U
Panasonic AG-DVX100P
Canon XH-A1 Sony HVR-V1U Panasonic AG-DVX100P

Powerful New Digital Still Cameras
If a camcorder isn’t on the list this year, there are some cool new digital cameras offering features that make it hard to take a bad picture. Face technology that optimizes the picture around flesh tones and faces along with optical image stabilization that calms a shaky camera are two essential features to look for in a compact, point and shoot camera. The Canon SD1100 fits easily in a pocket or pocket book, offers 8 MP, image stabilization and new face technology. It comes in many colors and can be purchased for under $250. The Canon Powershot A560 is a 7.1 MP compact camera with a 4x optical zoom and face technology but no image stabilization it can be purchased for around $130. A step up from the Powershot A560 would be the $300, Nikon Coolpix 5100. The 5100 shoots 12.1 MP, has optical image stabilization and offers a big 2.5 inch LCD screen, and 3.5x optical zoom.

Canon Powershot SD1100
Canon Powershot A560
Nikon Coolpix 5100
Canon Powershot SD1100 Canon Powershot A560 Nikon Coolpix 5100

Be the Life of the Party with This Camera

Sony DSC-W170
  The $300, Sony DSC-W170, is a fun new camera that performs some very cool image editing right on the camera. The "Smile Shutter" works with the face technology to detect "smiling" faces. Software in the camera, called, "Happy Face Retouch," can turn a frown into a smile after a picture has been taken. This camera could make you the life of the graduation or wedding party.

Retrevo For Gadget Needs
Don't forget to check out Retrevo's Camcorder Product Advisor for the best values in camcorders along with camcorder reviews and camcorder manuals. The Digital Camera Product Advisor identifies the cameras with the best bang for the buck. You'll also find reviews and manuals for all popular gadgets and gear like GPS, HDTV, Laptops, and more.


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