Last year (2007), I tried to record a choral concert at my church with my $700 miniDV camcorder (with all it's cords, tapes, special batteries, etc.). It was tethered to the wall b/c only 3 of my 5 proprietary batteries would hold a charge at all and only for a short amount of time. When I played the concert back on the TV, the sound was horrid and the video was lousy because I had to place it far away from the action. It wasn't worth the effort to do the 'real time' capture to the computer, let alone the required conversion to a format compatible with WMP or to make a DVD. Cut to '08. I bought a $150 Flip Video Mino and recorded the whole concert in 18 pieces to match each song and reading (kind of on-the-fly editing out the silence between useful content). I could get to it to start and stop it because it sat on a tripod right near the action where I sat. When I got home, I plugged it in and in a few minutes, everything was on my computer, ready to burn a DVD-ROM to share with fiends who wanted to watch on their computers. It would have been just as simple to push a couple different buttons to make a playable DVD. All this for less than 1/5th of what I paid for the larger camcorder not including the $$ I shelled out for all the extra -- now unusable -- proprietary batteries. The people who reviewed the video playback on a computer are shocked at how good it looks. I need to make special mention that the sound is REALLY good. I was shocked at how good it sounds (and NO tape mechanism buzzing during the quiet parts!). All that said. I returned this and opted for another product because the following limitations were important to me. - internal, proprietary battery. Can't do ANYTHING if your battery dies. Can't even have a spare proprietary battery on hand. - internal, non-expandable memory. Can't do MUCH if you're out and run out of memory (except delete stuff that you may not want to). It records an hour, so that probably works for many occasions as it did for my concert recording above. But I had to be careful not to 'waste' any memory. - doesn't record in HD (not so important if you're watching on a regular TV, but it looks better on an HD TV or computer than less detailed video does). Now, if you don't mind these limitations, this would be an excellent product for you. It records very nice video at VGA quality and the sound is great. It's portable (slips into a pocket), and SIMPLE to use.
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