Web video for beginners

Buying a Camcorder

Here are my Top 10 Tips & Rules for buying a camcorder that will stop you wasting a lot of time and money.

CLICK HERE for the best value camcorders we personally recommend.

To learn about the different types and models of camcorders available, click here.

[1] DO NOT buy a DVD camcorder.....ever! They may seem convenient and easy to use, but everything from video quality to putting it on your computer is a nightmare. Stay away!

[2] Never buy a used camcorder. Camcorders are actually quite delicate things and a camcorder that has been dropped on the floor may look perfect on the outside, but is a ticking time-bomb on the inside. Avoid at all costs.

[3] When buying a camcorder, never make a purchase from an unknown website for a price that seems too good to be true. They are a scam. These unscrupulous con artists operate what is known as 'Bait & Switch' fraud.

The chances are you will never receive your camcorder at all, or you may only receive the camcorder with no battery, manual etc. When you ask for these essential (normally included) accessories, you will suddenly find you need to pay extra for them. A lot extra.

Operators have been known to become very aggressive and pester you with phone calls and emails to buy extended warranties and accessories. They also have your credit card details and may find payments being made from your card without your permission.

These criminals are always on the move closing and opening new websites every few months, so do be alert. Some names to be aware of include broadway photo, ritz photo, 86th St Photo, dBuys.com, iBuyDigital.com, iBuyPlasma.com, RealDealShop.com, DigitalMegaStore.com, CentralDigital.com, Time2Envy.com, Quest 4 Cameras and Quest4Cameras.com, but there are lots more.

The golden rule is 'If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is'. Do not be tempted by ridiculously low prices.

[4] Only buy your camcorder from a respected and reputable website. I recommend only buying camcorders from Amazon, B&HPhoto, Adorama and NewEgg.

Amazon is my favorite retailer for buying a camcorder, as you know you are protected if anything goes wrong and their customer support is excellent. Their prices are very competitive. CLICK HERE to discover camcorder bargains at Amazon up to 90% off (Remember to click on 'camcorders' in the left hand column).

[5] Always use a credit card when buying a camcorder. That way, you will take advantage of the extra insurance and protection the credit card companies offer with each purchase.

[6] Never purchase a camcorder over the telephone. This is a common practise used by some fraudulent retailers, as you have no proof you didn't authorise additional payments from your card for extended warranties etc.

[7] Ebay can be a great place for buying a camcorder, but you do need to be very careful. Only buy from an Ebay 'PowerSeller'. Never buy a used camcorder. Pay using Paypal, for extra protection.

[8] You can use the 'silly' low prices used by disreputable retailers to your advantage. Get a credit card with "purchase protection." This is where the credit card company agrees to refund the difference if you purchase an item and later find it listed somewhere else cheaper (Normally within 30 days) e.g. AMEX small business card.

Find an advert in an electronic or camcorder magazine (has to be a printed ad and not on the web) for the camcorder you want to buy at a 'silly' low price from a retailer you wouldn't normally do business with.

Purchase the same camcorder from Amazon or B&HPhoto using your new credit card, and then send a photocopy of the 'low price' advert to your credit card company and they will refund the difference (up to $500).

[9] When buying camcorder, never buy anything using Western Union. This payment method is used by Nigerian and Chinese con artists. You send the money, it is never seen again.

[10] Never buy a 'grey' import camcorder. It will not come with any warranty, and always make sure the camcorder you buy is the right video system for your country (NTSC or PAL).

Below you will find my personally recommended camcorders that offer all the features you require at a great price (And from a reputable retailer)...

Sanyo VPC-HD2000A HD
Canon Vixia HF R200 HD
Canon HTC
Canon Vixia HF M301 HD

If you have a bigger budget, and looking for the very best video quality, here are my current top camcorder recommendations for 2011...

If you have any video related questions, please click HERE to ask Mr Video!

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