How much Camcorder Memory?

What Size of Memory Should I use in my Camcorder?

Gone are the days where the length of your
f ootage is governed by the length of tape in your machine. These days the amount, and quality, of recordings is dependent upon the amount of memory available to you. There are a wide range of digital camcorders now available, and a wide range of memory types and sizes to go with them. If you are looking to invest in a new camcorder one of your main considerations should be memory, and this short guide is a good place to start working out exactly what you need.

Types of Camcorder

The basic choice of camcorder, in terms of memory, is now between those with an internal hard drive or flash drive, and those that use external flash memory devices; SD cards or memory sticks. The amount of memory you need will depend upon the quality of the footage you are recording. A High Definition (HD) camcorder will record better quality pictures and sound, but will require more memory per minute of footage. A Standard Definition (SD) camcorder will use less memory, but with a loss of footage quality. Your choice of memory size is dependent upon your filming needs; fast action sports footage will be much better on a HD camcorder, holiday and event videos will probably come out fine in SD.

Internal Memory

Hard drive – An internal hard drive offers you the most memory, which translates directly into more recording time. Unfortunately there is a trade off with battery life; hard drives contain small working parts which create a drain on the battery, so your camcorder power will not last so long. Internal hard drives offer memories of up to 120 GB, but these camcorders can be quite expensive. The cheaper ‘smaller’ devices, with 30 to 40 GB will give you proportionally less time. Generally your camcorder will give you 18 hours of SD recordings for every 8GB, or 10 hours for HD.

Flash drive – Camcorders with flash drive internal memory are usually smaller and lighter than their hard drive alternatives, but they usually also have less memory. They do however offer a higher speed of access to your footage, and larger memory than most camcorders which rely on external flash drives; SD cards.

External memory: SD cards or memory sticks

You can now buy SD cards in a wide variety of sizes. The smaller cards, up to 16GB are not too expensive, but newer cards with up to a 64GB will set you back a fair amount. The advantage of course, is that you can purchase as many cards as you like. If you plan to record a lot of HD footage you will need to invest in several cards, or one of the larger ones. For the ultimate in flexible memory there are camcorders available with both hard drive and removable storage compatibility, if your budget can stretch enough to accommodate them.

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