Camcorders have changed dramatically since the days of the huge, VHS bazooka used in the 1980s. Modern camcorders are smaller, lighter, more full featured and cost a fraction of their colossal cousins of the past. One of the differentiating features of these modern cameras is the type of storage they use. Most have dropped media such as tapes and standard hard drives because they can be less reliable and more expensive to maintain. Today's camcorders often use either flash memory or an SSD hard drive to hold your precious video until you transfer to your computer.
Flash camcorders are the most common and inexpensive of these two newer formats. While these camcorders may have a small amount of built-in memory, they typically utilize SD flash memory cards as the media of choice to hold the bulk of the data. These cards are available at any local electronics store and come in SD, SDHC and SDXC formats. The original flash format, SD, has less capacity and slower speed than the two newer formats. When the media is full, simply take it out and insert it in a card slot or an external card reader to deposit the data on your computer. These camcorders are often priced low, but they require that you purchase memory separately.
Solid State Drive camcorders are a new entry into the camcorder arena, although SSD hard drives, while much more expensive then their standard hard drive predecessors, have been available for several years. These large-capacity hard drives are fixed in the camera and require hooking the entire camera to your computer to transfer the video. They boast a lightning-fast start-up and response time, low energy usage and rugged durability. The cost for a true SSD camcorder is five or more times higher than inexpensive Flash alternatives. Fixed storage promotes the best practice of transferring your video as you go rather than leaving it on your camera or SD card where it may be lost or damaged.
Flash memory is common and available wherever you travel. Knowing you can buy more memory allows you to film whatever you want without the fear of running out of memory and being required to stop and upload your device before resuming, a time-consuming and inconvenient process especially when filming a big event. The memory is small -- about the size of a postage stamp -- and easy to mail to a relative or store with your camera. Advanced SD memory in the SDHC and SDXC formats is available in 64GB and larger and boasts a fast transfer rate.
Solid State Drive camcorders, like computers that use this technology, are designed for speed and efficiency. While priced much higher than their flash cousins, these devices are designed for serious users or professionals. For example, the Samsung 64GB SSD Wi-Fi HD Camcorder is network accessible, offers full 1080p high-definition video and allows for previewing in thumbnails on its LCD screen. SSD camcorders store between one hour and several hours depending on the resolution and filming habits you use when filming and may offer SD slots for added capacity.
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