Looking to buy camcorder for family use.. film baby and stuff.. which type to buy? dv tape, mini-dvd, sd or hdd? what r the pros and cons of each? any models to recommend? cannot afford too high end hor.. ;p
Resolution. HD is the best but requires a lot of computing power to process. The processing part is probably the most complex among all. Not too sure about this but I expect there to be software bundled with the camcorder - the simple basic type. For more flexibility and creativity you would have to get other software and it won't be as easy to use. Also, resources for processing HD is not as readily available as for other formats like DVD since it is still relatively new.
Recording format. Needless to say, HD is the best. Next, I wouldsay is mini-dv, followed by MPeg2 (DVD, HDD camcorders), and lastly the MPeg4 (usually SD type). In terms of ease of processing, MPeg2 & MPeg4 are the easiest and often they can be played on a computer or standalone player directly without any processing. HD and mini-dv will require at least some processing first. Note that depending on the encoding parameters used, it is possible for MPeg4 to have a better quality video than MPeg2 but often it is not.
Recording medium. There are 5 - tape, HDD, memory card, optical disc & built-in solid state memory. Tape is susceptible to fungus and must be kept in a dry cabinet. Also, you will need the camcorder to capture the recording. HDD has flexibility & more featues when used on the camcorder but is the most vulnerable to damage (e.g. dropping the camcorder can "kill" the HDD). Optical discs stores the least amount of data but you have the option of being able to play it directly on a standalone player and it's cheap. Memory cards are more durable than optical discs but are more expensive (they are also a lot smaller in size). Built-in memory doesn't cost any extra and doesn't add to bulk and weight but once used up, you can't record anymore until you either erase it or transfer it out (note that some models have internal memory and can also take memory cards).
I have left out older media like VHS tapes, etc. as these are obsolete.