5 Must-Have Camcorder Accessories

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5 Must-Have Camcorder Accessories

Buying a camcorder, like any other major electronic appliance, is an exciting process and making a decision can take some time. However, when choosing and purchasing a model, it is important to also consider what other accessories might be useful for the camcorder's intended purpose. This article details the top 5 must-have accessories to make the most out of a camcorder.

1. Carry Case

These are one of the most basic accessories and also one of the most inexpensive. Camcorders scale in price quickly, therefore, it is important to protect the equipment from water damage, impact damage, and general scratches that can affect not only its aesthetic appearance, but also its functionality. Here are some important considerations to make when choosing the best carry case to buy for a camcorder..

Comfort

The material and the means in which the case is worn or carried must be comfortable. This is especially important for heavier models of camcorder or for those venturing into open space on long expeditions. If a carry case is worn badly on the body, it can cause pain in the neck, shoulder, or back.

Durability

A padded, durable carry case prevents damage from being inflicted on the camcorder by impacts, as well as preventing any sort of liquids from splashing onto the equipment.

Accessibility

The case should allow quick access to the equipment contained within if working in an environment where reaction to spontaneous moments is required. This may include filming wildlife, where good photography opportunities can be missed if reactions are too slow.

Flexibility

The carry case should accommodate for extra accessories, such as lenses and lighting attachments, while also allowing the rearrangement of items within the case to maximise space.

2. Memory Card

Some camcorders ship with internal hard drives that can hold a fair amount of video footage. However, most have very limited internal capacity for high-definition video and the higher the quality of a video, the more storage space that it will take up. Therefore, having a memory card to slot into the camcorder can exponentially increase the amount of storage space that a memory card has.

Memory cards for camcorders come in a wide range of storage capacities, including 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and higher, though the higher levels of storage are generally not required for low-level users that use their camcorder for hobbies, video blogging, or family occasions. The types of card used for camcorders are either SD or SDHC cards, with SDXC also sometimes being used.

The cards are generally placed by their manufacturer into one of several different classes: Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, Class 10 and Class 16. This helps to determine which cards are appropriate for each kind of camera or camcorder. Camcorders should generally use a memory card Class no lower than 4, for 720p video, or 6 and above for full 1080p high-definition video.

3. Tripod

Tripods are very useful pieces of equipment not only for professional photographers, but for hobbyists also. They are used to mount onto the floor - or other surfaces depending on the model of tripod - in order to hold the camcorder in place without the need for a human operator. This allows everybody to be involved in a video shoot, without the operator being excluded. It is also very useful in reducing or completely eliminating any camera shake, which can cause motion blur in a video, thereby reducing the quality of footage captured. The following table describes the different considerations to make when buying a camcorder tripod.

Material

Three of the most commonly used materials to create camcorder tripods are aluminium, basalt, and carbon fibre. Aluminium is relatively cheap compared to other materials, which reflects on the price of the tripod. However, it is one of the heaviest types of material used for this purpose, despite being known as a light metal. Carbon fibre is lighter than aluminium and thus easier to transport. One drawback is that this material can suffer some structural weakness when exposed to extremely harsh temperatures, being known to shatter in very rare occasions. Basalt contains a glass fibre central core, coated with a basalt layer. They are very inexpensive to purchase, but are generally worse in all areas then the aforementioned two materials, including rigidity and strength.

Design considerations

Camcorder tripods have varying designs of heads, which the camcorder mounts to. Some of these include ball and pivot models, detachable heads and integral models that cannot be removed. The legs of the tripod should also be considered carefully, as some are detachable where others are not. Some are fixed in certain positions with little flexibility, whereas others can be bent and wrapped around difficult and obscure positions, such as on fence posts or poles.

Optional extras

These include extras such as spirit levels, mounted on the tripod structure to determine whether it is stable, and hooks mounted underneath to weigh the tripod down and reduce the chance of it tipping over. This reduces the likelihood of the whole structure damaging the camera if it falls.

4. Spare Battery

One of the worst things to happen with a camcorder is having the battery expire in the middle of an important event, job, or holiday, particularly when access to a mains electricity supply is not available. Therefore, carrying a fully-charged, spare battery is essential for those who do not want to miss a moment of footage. The following table lists a number of battery types used in camcorders, including their advantages and disadvantages.

Disposable AA batteries

These batteries are used commonly in many household electricals and as such are widely available. They are relatively inexpensive; however costs can quickly mount up when purchasing replacements frequently. Unfortunately this would be the case with camcorders, as these sorts of batteries are not sufficiently powerful enough, when taking into account all of the functions they have to power the camcorder for long periods. It is not uncommon for such camcorders to manage less than 20 minutes on a single set of AA disposable batteries. The advantage that these have is their wide availability and ease of replacement, when cost is not considered an issue.

Rechargeable AA batteries

Rechargeable AA batteries draw similarities to those listed above, though are often capable of lasting a little longer. They also have the advantage of being rechargeable, which helps to offset some of the higher costs associated with disposable versions. Their one drawback is the potential for memory effect, whereby batteries, if charged from a semi-depleted state repeatedly, can suffer a permanently lowered maximum capacity.

Lithium ion cells

Lithium ion batteries are by far the most popular and commonly used in digital and DSLR cameras, and camcorders, and as such are generally included in the camcorder packaging when purchased new. When purchased separately, they can be quite expensive. These batteries have the longest life by far, and can be recharged hundreds of times without negative effect.

5. USB or HDMI Cables

The majority of camcorders feature an LCD screen that allows footage to be played back and viewed on the model itself. However, these screens are usually quite small and not always capable of high-definition playback, even if recording in this format. Therefore, if the camcorder contains a USB or HDMI slot, it is likely that it can be connected to a computer or television respectively, in order to play the video in a larger size and clearer resolution.

If the equipment has these capabilities, then it is common for the package that the camcorder is sold in to contain the relevant cables; however, this is not always the case. Fortunately, these cables are very inexpensive, with both kinds of cable essentially being the cheapest kind of accessory available. Due to their use in other applications, HDMI cables are widely available.

Finding Camcorder Accessories on eBay

Camcorder accessories are widely available on the eBay marketplace. In order to find all of the listed accessories in this article, buyers should start on the eBay homepage and click through the Electronics section listed on the left-hand side of the website.

From here, the Cameras & Photography category will be visible, which contains the Camera & Photo Accessories subcategory. It is in this subcategory that the above listed accessories can be found, and the search listings can be narrowed down by using the search filters available on the left side of the page.

Conclusion

It is important to consider purchasing certain accessories when buying a camcorder, as there are many that can improve the functionality of the device or offer protection when carrying or not using it. These items can all be found on the eBay marketplace.

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