Thanks to online video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, it's easier than ever to upload your camcorder videos to the Web for friends and family to enjoy. But some camcorders make the process of uploading Web videos and some, well, don't. These are the best camcorders for taking Web-friendly video. Want to know what makes a camcorder "Web friendly?" Click here!
(Note: these are not web cameras for video conferencing, but traditional camcorders. If you want to learn about Web cams, see here.)
The Panasonic HM-TA1 gets the nod not simply because it has a built-in USB port for easy connections and built-in software for easy uploading - it's also one of the few pocket camcorders that doubles as a Web cam. You can make your Skype video calls over the TA1 using its extended USB cable, and then unplug when you're ready to shoot home movies. Expect to pay about $169.
The Flip UltraHD ($199) offers 720p high definition video recording in a lightweight, extremely easy to use package. It earns Web-friendly points for its flip-out USB connection (for easy connection to a PC) and built-in FlipShare software, which streamlines the process of uploading your Flip videos to popular online video sites. With 4GB of internal memory, everything you need for recording and transferring vids to the Web is right there in one elegantly simple package.
3. Kodak Zi8
A high quality, high defintion pocket camcorder, the Kodak Zi8 doesn't offer the flip-out USB arm like the Flip UltraHD, but it does include built-in software for simple uploads. It has a few more features than the UltraHD as well, but records to SDHC memory cards, not internal memory. It's one more thing to buy, but does afford the opportunity to record much longer clips than the Flip UltraHD.
Samsung's SMX-F44 is a standard definition camcorder that records in the computer-friendly H.264 video format. It has the best optics of the bunch, with a 52x optical zoom lens as well as 16GB of internal memory. Like the models above, the SMX-F44 has built-in software (dubbed intelli-Studio) that speeds uploading from the camcorder, through the PC and onto the Web. You will have to use a USB cable as the SMX-F44 doesn't have a built-in USB plug.
5. JVC GZ-HM300
JVC's Everio GZ-HM300 is a high definition flash memory camcorder. It's the priciest of the bunch, but boasts a 20x optical zoom lens, time-lapse recording, face detection and a pair of SDHC card slots with relay recording - so when one card is full, the camcorder seamlessly switches video recording to the other. The GZ-HM300 earns its Web friendly credentials with a dedicated YouTube uploader button, which launches supplied desktop software for sending your videos to the popular online destination.