After dropping a few hundred dollars on a camcorder, you may not be eager to part with any additional cash on accessories. But there are some add-ons that are crucial to protecting and enhancing your camcorder and the videos it's recording. Here's a look at some must-have camcorder accessories.
A high quality camcorder case is among the most important accessories you can buy for your camcorder. A case will protect your camcorder from the elements and make it easier to carry your camcorder on long journeys. A quality case will have plenty of room for your other extras, such as memory cards, tapes or disks and even personal items such as cell phones, music players and keys.
Read more about what to look for in a good camcorder case before you buy your camcorder bag to ensure you get the right one for your camcorder.
If you own a DVD, Mini DV or Blu-ray disc camcorder, you'll need to have plenty of extra disks and tapes on hand for storing your recorded videos. Blank DVDs and Mini DV camcorder tape are widely available in a range of retail stores and online. Blank Blu-ray discs are not as widespread, but can be readily found online. For more on the different camcorder memory formats, see this Guide to Camcorder Memory Formats.
If you use a flash memory camcorder that does not offer internal memory, you'll need to buy an SD/SDHC card or a Memory Stick Pro Duo card (if you own a Sony camcorder) to store your photo. When shopping for a card, try to buy the highest capacity you can afford. The higher the capacity, the more video it will store. See this Guide to SD/SDHC Camcorder Memory Cards for more information on what to look for when shopping for flash memory for your camcorder.
There's a reason why professional photographers and videographers use tripods (and single-legged monopods): they're useful! Of course, they're also large and not always convenient to carry around. Still, for certain occassions like long sporting events and recitals, using a tripod can not only make things easier on you arms but also improve the quality of your video.
If you're filming a game from the top of the bleachers or a concert from the back rows and using your camcorder's optical zoom lens to get closer to the action, it will be very sensitive to motion. As steady as you think you can hold your camcorder, you can't hold it steady enough to prevent camera blur (even if you camcorder has optical image stabilization). A tripod will ensure that video is steady.
No matter what storage format your camcorder uses, burning a DVD of your video is still one the best ways to store it for the longer term. Many camcorder manufacturers sell accessory, standalone DVD burners that connect directly to the camcorder via USB cable or Firewire. A DVD movie of your footage can be burned directly from the camcorder without using a PC.
Many camcorders will feature a dedicated button for burning a DVD when connected to a burner from the same manufacturer. For this reason, it usually makes sense to purchase a burner from the same manufacturer as your camcorder.
Of course, if your computer has a DVD burner built-in, there's no need to run out and purchase one. So be sure you don't have an internal DVD burner in your desktop or laptop before buying an external burner.