A Flash memory camcorder is a video camera
that records on SD, SDHC, Memory Stick, Compact Flash, and
a few other types of memory cards. Flash memory camcorders
are arguably the most prevalent and popular type of camcorder
into 2010 and beyond. They have existed since the early
2000s, but their adoption did not begin until recently.
The format uses small "Flash"
cards to store video, usually in the MPEG-2 video file type.
Some camcorders also use MPEG-4, and many can also take still
photographs, just like a traditional digital camera. These camcorders
are usually easy to use, right out of the box, just like a conventional
In addition, most flash camcorders are extremely small, and
so they are perfect for those who travel frequently. Many even
fit into a pocket! Since memory cards are also quite small, the
device and its media together provide a portable video taping
solution. Memory cards are widely accessible throughout the entire
world, making additional storage space a cinch to purchase.
A digital Flash memory camcorder is also remarkably durable,
which gives it a leg up over its hard drive siblings. Unlike
hard drive camcorders, Flash camcorders do not have moving parts,
and is therefore shock-resistant. They can withstand a fairly
wide range of pressure. See our camcorder
video transfer page for tips
Flash video to DVD conversion is fairly simple,
since most Flash camcorders record video in the MPEG-2 file format,
the same codec used by DVDs. However, that fact also is the main
drawback to these types of camcorders: their weak editing abilities.
MPEG-2 is simply not
a format that was designed for significant video editing, and
very few video editing programs
are capable of interpreting or handling MPEG-2 files. Flash camcorders
are outfitted with this format because it is highly compressed
(thus using less drive space) and because of its quick compatibility
with most computers.
Video quality varies widely between Flash video camcorders. Higher-end
models arguably provide a better picture, although the incorporation
of higher-definition video and better codes in smaller versions
is drawing the two ends of the spectrum closer together over time.
But most Flash camcorders are ideally suited to shooting casual
video clips for Web use, not good-quality, archival video of your
family's important events. Converting
to DVD preserves
the exact quality of Flash video, but cannot improve it.
Along those same lines, the current crop of "pocket" Flash
camcorders should not be mistaken for their full-fledged video
camera cousins. Pocket camcorders have lower-quality optics and
a minimal zoom. They also usually only have three or four buttons
and a very small microphone located next to the lens. These cameras'
main selling point is their inexpensive price tag, and not the
quality of their video. If you use a lower-quality setting on our
pocket Flash video camcorder, your DVD
video transfer may look very poor indeed!