Camcorders: The Mini-DV vs. Mini-DVD Mystery

When It Comes to Camcorders, Do You Want Mini-DV or Mini-DVD?

Christmas is right around the corner and my wife wants a new camcorder to catch all of those glorious Christmas morning memories. While I think still shots are much better for this occasion (can't hear one child screaming that the other's gift is better if there's no sound) she's insisting on motion picture. I relented and agreed, but little did I know that I was about to get a crash course in mini-DV vs. mini-DVD. Wondering what the difference is? Let me share the fruits of my quick education.

What's the Difference?

Okay, if you're anything like me you're getting that "deer in the headlights" look right about now. "DV vs. DVD? What's the difference?" It's okay -- I asked the same question. I knew that DVD stood for digital video disc and that DV probably stood for digital video, but that's as far as my genius went.

Turns out, there's a distinct difference between mini-DV and mini-DVD. mini-DVD is just what it sounds like. The camcorder records to miniature DVDs. Mini-DV, however, is a bit more confusing.

A mini-DV camcorder is a camcorder that records to -- of all things -- tape. Yes, that's right... A mini-DV camcorder records on tapes. However, before you assume that anything recording to tape is inferior to that which records to DVD, think again.

It turns out that mini-DV camcorders have better image quality than mini-DVD camcorders. However, the mini-DVD camcorders are more convenient to use than the mini-DV camcorders. So, to make a long story short, that which is "better" really depends on what you're looking for.

Quality vs. Convenience

In the war between mini-DVD and mini-DV camcorders, it all comes down to a matter of preference. If you're all about quality and you don't care what it takes to get it, a mini-DV camcorder is going to be your camera of choice. If, however, you want quickness and convenience, then mini-DVD is probably the way to go.


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