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Cameras & Camcorders Buying Guide

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Whether you are an industry professional, an avid hobbyist or an absolute beginner, when the time comes to buy a new or used camera the incredible amount of choice available to you can be both overwhelming and confusing.

Knowing what camera or camcorder will be best for you will all depend on what you are going to be shooting and what you want to achieve with your footage. So, to try and help make the task a little easier, we have broken down some types of camera and what they are used for so that you, the customer, know exactly what you are getting.

Types of Cameras & Camcorders:

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras (above) are the most popular types of camera for digital photography and are used by all experience levels from beginner to pro. DLSR cameras save photos digitally so that they can then be uploaded straight to a computer. They replaced film-based SLR cameras early in the millennium and have remained the most used kind of interchangeable lens camera ever since.

GoPro Hero 4

GoPro cameras (above) are small, personal high definition cameras which are typically used for capturing extreme action photos and videos. They are known for being lightweight and versatile and can be used with all sorts of mounts and accessories such as helmet mounts, chest mounts, surfboard mounts and telescopic poles to shoot footage that is right in the middle of the action.

Cinematic camcorders are high-end pieces of equipment which are used in filming high definition footage for large scale broadcast projects making them more suited to advanced users. Typically, they offer a dynamic range, wide colour gamut and shoot in HD, 2K and 4K for pristine image quality.

For filming 3D footage stereoscopic camcorders are used. These cameras feature two or more lenses with separate image sensors for each. This helps to mimic human binocular vision which allows the user to capture 3D footage. This is another type of camera which is more suited to expert and professional use and is not recommended for beginners. 


A viewfinder (above) is a device which the user looks through before recording a video or taking a photograph so that they can compose and often focus the picture. Viewfinders are usually bought separately to cameras as accessories, although they do come built into DSLRs.

Advanced Video Coding High Definition (AVCHD) cameras are compatible with a file-based format used in the recording or playback of high-definition video. The format was jointly created by Sony and Panasonic for consumer camcorders to capture 1080 and 720p footage using highly efficient codec technologies. Handheld camcorders which use AVCHD are professional standard, but can be operated by most users. Sony cameras which employ the AVCHD format are branded as NXCAM.

If a camera is advertised as recording in 720p then this refers to its footage having 720 horizontal scan lines (in a 1280 x 720 resolution) and the P stands for ‘progressive scan’. 720p is a format of high definition television (HDTV). Similarly, some cameras will be labelled as being 1080p, which refers to footage that is 1920 x 1080 in resolution giving it a higher definition than 720p.

We hope this guide has helped make the task of choosing a camera a little easier for you. You can browse the full range of camcorders and digital photography cameras in the DigiBroadcast online store.

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