Can My Digital Camera Replace My Camcorder

Like many things in life, that's a somewhat ambiguous question that can be answered with a yes, no, and maybe. It all depends on:

■ What kind of videos or movies you shoot

■ Where and how your videos are seen or displayed

■ What your personal expectations and definition of quality happen to be

The answer will be yes when you're shooting home-type movies for the Web, since it's likely that your digital camera has the capability to record serviceable clips that will look and sound okay.

On the other hand, no, you can't reasonably expect to record the same kind of image and audio quality you're accustomed to getting from your fancy, pricey digital video camcorder that has a three-CCD image sensor, 16-bit sound capability, and a top 20X optical zoom lens that you love to show off on your state-of-the-art 42" HDTV plasma home entertainment system. Come to think of it, the most expensive still digital camera can't take videos nearly as well as the least expensive DV camcorders.

And the best answer is maybe, if all you happen to have handy is your still digital camera when that once-in-a-lifetime occasion or opportunity happens where you want to record movies for posterity or public broadcast (like a UFO landing in your back yard).

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