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Three Great, Affordable Camcorders

Last updated on 03/01/2011

Times are tough, and it seems like camcorders are more complicated and expensive than ever before. Don't worry; affordable, capable camcorders are still available, able to provide excellent video quality and high levels of user friendliness. Take a look at our three favorite simple, affordable camcorders.

Pure Digital Flip Video Mino (Black)
Remarkably Simple!
The Pure Digital Flip Video Mino is something of a sensation, a forehead-slapping, "Why didn't I think of that?" kind of idea. While most camcorders have been adding more and more features and becoming more and more complicated, Pure Digital has stripped all the inessentials out of their Flip Video line. When you buy the Mino, what you get is a video recorder capable of taking TV-quality clips, and that's it. This nifty gadget only has three substantial buttons, play, record, and delete, as well as a four-way directional pad for navigating your archive of clips. The memory is built in, as is the USB connector. Everything is simple with the Mino, and it's perfect for affordable, no frills video recording.
Creative Vado
Small and Affordable
Hot on the heels of the Mino is the Creative Vado, yet another small, simplified video recorder. It bears a striking resemblance to the Mino, vertically oriented and quite sleek, and also has a built-in USB connector for easy transfers to a computer. It also has 2GB of internal flash memory (also like the Mino), and can record up to an hour of TV-quality video. Though it's not easy to distinguish from its famous competitor, the Vado does outdo the Flip Video Mino in one regard: price. The Creative Vado is roughly half as expensive as the Flip Video Mino and still manages to provide comparable specifications. Users have, so far, lauded the Vado, and given it very high ratings, so affordable doesn't necessarily mean cheap in this case.
Our Favorite MiniDV Camcorder
[Read our full JVC GR-D850 Review] The JVC GR-D850 is our favorite MiniDV camcorder, as it demonstrates that cassette-tape based recording isn't dead and that it's still a fair alternative for consumers interested in an easy-to-use, affordable recording experience. We conducted a hands-on review of this camcorder and found it to have excellent image quality, a comfortable form factor, and an impressive user interface. It easily bested comparable competition from Canon and Sony, two manufacturers that tend to have a better reputation than JVC.