The Ten Best Camcorders

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The Independent Online

1 Canon MVX450 £400

This Canon has a stretch 2.7in screen and an advanced sensor to deliver detailed 16:9 footage. It uses cheap MiniDV tapes, and can add a selection of digital effects. Its 20x zoom and LED light are perfect for Hollywood close-ups.; 0800 616 417

2 Samsung VP-X220L £500

An extreme-sports camcorder that's fully weatherproof and comes with 2gb and an external lens that can be mounted on a snowboard helmet or armband. It also doubles as an MP3 player, voice recorder and data-storage device.; 08702 420 303

3 Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 £800

This is the smallest and lightest camcorder here - it records on to a tiny 2gb memory card. It can record in high definition, but footage isn't as rich. Switch to still mode and you can shoot decent five-megapixel photos or use it as a voice recorder.; 01923 246 363

4 Nokia N90 Free with contract

The bulky N90 camcorder-phone's 320x240-pixel clips aren't amazing, but it's invaluable if you want to make and share movies, wherever you are. The similar Nokia N93, coming soon, will have higher-resolution video and a Carl Zeiss zoom lens.; 08450 455 555

5 Sony DCR-TRV270 £220

The TRV270's Digital8 system gives good-quality video and lets you play back old 8mm and Hi8 tapes, although you might find it tricky to find blank media. This camcorder also has a 20x zoom, a built-in video light and an infrared night mode.; 08705 111 999

6 Hitachi DZ-GX3100 £450

This Hitachi records to small DVD discs that you can slip straight into most domestic players - no editing and no computer required. Its 15x zoom is better than average and you can even grab small still snaps.; 08457 581 455

7 Fujifilm FinePix V10 £190

The V10 is a neat, cheap, five-megapixel camera that can also save colourful and smooth movie clips to its memory card. It weighs just 155g but packs in a stunning 3in colour screen and even has a couple of basic games you can play between takes.; 020-7586 1477

8 JVC Everio MG-77 £750

A 30gb built-in hard drive can store up to 37 hours of video or seven hours of high-quality films, stored digitally for editing on a PC.DVDs can be burned without a PC with a compatible DVD recorder. It comes with a 10x zoom and 2.7in LCD.; 08703 305 000

9 Panasonic NV-GS27 £200

The cheapest, but with the largest zoom: a 30x lens ideal for nature or sports action (use a tripod to avoid camera shake). Few manual features, a decent 2.5in display and simple, one-handed operation. Video on MiniDV tapes looks good, too.; 08705 357 357

10 Sony HDR-HC3 £1,000

High definition (HD) is a new video standard with four times the detail of normal TV. The HC3 combines super-sharp HD recording (on to affordable MiniDV cassettes) with a Carl Zeiss zoom lens. It can also be connected to a HD flat-panel TV.; 08705 111 999