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Check out these cool video camcorders
Priyanka Joshi
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April 22, 2006

Summer is here, and that's not news. A few lucky beings will take a holiday break and the rest will look at them longingly. The lucky ones, of course will prepare themselves by shopping for the right holiday gear and camcorders are a must-have to capture the holiday season.

"It's like Diwali for the Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion)-strong camcorder market in India," says Ajay Mehta, CEO, MCC Group (exclusive channel partners for JVC in India).

The market, modestly pegged at around 1,50,000 units this year, is almost virgin territory for leading players like JVC, Sony, Canon and Kodak.

Domestic holiday buyers are going more and more digital, with the need for a digital video camcorder on an increase. The Mini DV is the hottest segment for Canon. "Consumers are looking at camcorders with more than 1 megapixel camera, so that they can shoot both still and video," says Alok Bharadwaj, president, Canon India.

Sifting through the dozens of options, both price and feature wise, available in the market this holiday season can be a daunting task. Experts offer a simple piece of advice: Focus on what you want and how much you want to pay.

The mantra is to look for camcorders that are easy to use, easier to edit, have better picture, better sound, are compact and lighter to carry.

Digital camcorder manufacturers JVC and Sony, gyrating along with the holiday mood, have introduced smaller models equipped with more features and better performance at lower price points - the same as in other technology categories.

Says Ravi Karamcheti, MD, Kodak (India), "While consumers are able to reap the benefits of lower prices and increasing technologies, it is the manufacturers who must not only keep up with, but also exceed user demands."

Recording formats can be confusing, and you will need to be clear about which features you really need, but with all the models on the market offered up to industry standards such as Sony, Panasonic, JVC and Canon, there is a type and a price that will satisfy anyone who is looking to make some high quality video recordings.

"Recording information digitally, whether it is on tape, DVD or hard disk, means there is no loss of quality after repeated plays. It also makes it simple to input all recordings into your PC for editing, and that means you can create effects previously only available to professional filmmakers," says Mehta.

Even as the digital camera market remains way ahead at 2,27,250 units in 2005 and is anticipated to touch 9,00,000 units by 2007, the digital camcorder market remains the focal point for most players.

As consumers increasingly make the switch from analog to digital, manufacturers strive to increase the performance of their cameras, at lower price points, and with more creative advertising.

Sony and JVC seem to give a higher level of importance to the concept of "value for money", which is why the duo have launched products at price points that were unheard of in the camcorder arena.

"The Indian market is just graduating from tape-based media to formats such as DVD discs, which are quite famous in international markets," reasons Ken Nakazawa, division head (digital imaging), Sony India. Simple cost analysis will tell us a MiniDV tape is highly accepted because of its "value for money" in terms of cost and recording time.

Sony is betting on the DCR-HC36 (priced at Rs 25,990) or DCR-HC46 (at Rs 31,990) as the best buys for the season.

It also recommends the DVD Handycam, priced at Rs 34,990 that can play back the videos taken on a conventional DVD player.

JVC, on the other hand, has priced its goodies rather attractively. With D350, a digital camcorder with 32x optical zoom, tagged at Rs 19,990, the company is out to kick start a price war this season. JVC is also adding a hard disk camcorder with 20 GB onboard memory, MG20, at Rs 39,000 for serious buyers.

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