High-Def Camcorders

New high-definition camcorders you're seeing in stores have the same look and feel of standard camcorders -- but wait 'til you see the video.

Consumer Reports just tested 14 HD camcorders from Canon, Panasonic, Sony, and JVC.

They cost anywhere from $700 to $1,400.

To test for image quality, Consumer Reports' Elias Arias recorded images on this set using different lighting conditions.

"There's a world of difference between standard-definition clarity and high-definition video clarity. It's really the detail that stands out the most," says Arias.

Details like the texture on this sweater and the definition of the petals on these flowers are what distinguish a high-definition recording.

When deciding on which HD camcorder to get, a big part of the decision is how you want to record the images. Some record onto mini-DV tape, others onto Mini-DVDs and some use flash memory cards.

There are also HD-camcorders that use hard disk drives.

"We have four media formats to choose from which will affect how much you can record, how you want to edit on your p-c at home and each one has its plusses and minuses," says Arias.

Among the HD camcorders Consumer Reports recommends this $800 one from Panasonic, model hdc-sd-1.

It records onto high-definition memory cards and has very good image quality. This camcorder also has an excellent three-inch LCD viewfinder.

But before you buy an HD-camcorder; be sure you have an HDTV so you can fully experience the clarity of movies you're taking.

And, Consumer Reports says be aware, while more and more HD-camcorders are coming on the market, standard-definition camcorders are still selling briskly and cost a lot less. They record onto mini-DV tape and go for around $250 each.

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