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Choose a camcorder based on how you'll use it
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Prices for digital camcorders range from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. It's easy to get caught up in the array of available features, and lose track of what is really good value for your needs.
If you're just using it for fun or to capture some family moments, you'll probably be fine with a simpler--and cheaper--point-and-shoot camcorder. If you're planning to do something more intensive, you'll need to spend more (but ideally just on those features). For example, if you're fine with auto-focus--as most consumers are--then a cheaper camera should work for you. If you want to be able to manually focus, you'll need something more expensive. In that case, try to find a model which is still basic but with that extra feature covered.
Similarly, if you plan to do minimal editing and then store the footage on CDs or a hard drive, a cheaper camcorder will do. If you plan to make movies, you'll want one of the more expensive models with semi-professional features.
Overall stick with the simpler models when you can, especially if you plan to upgrade in the next couple of years - the money you'll save now can help fund that next purchase.