The Difference between Digicam and Camcorder

For newbies to the video world like me, taking video using a camera recorder, also known as camcorder, is still a mystery. Why bother using this gadget if the same job could be achieved by our beloved digicam? Digicam or digital camera, comes with video recording feature almost as standard.

A nice brain teaser. Search Google and pick “difference digicam and camcorder” as keyword or keyphrase to get the answer… there are around 2,1 million results! That’s a lot; pick the top 10 and read what they say. Couldn’t find the answer in a short nice with a bit pop technical article. Experts, where are they? Aha, the cute lady in the camera shop over there maybe could provide some enlightments. She could, and telling us all the nitties gritties fluently which unfortunately ..we don’t understand. Too technical. We failed to ‘upload’ and store all information into our head at once. Memory status, ‘error’.

So I decided to find the answer on my own using logical thinking learnt from the past in high school.

Function is different. The main purpose of a digicam is to capture still picture or image, and a camcorder is to take sequence of images which set the video. Therefore the memory required to store a video image is much larger then still image. This the first difference, memory capacity.

If memory is not a big issue why don’t we just function the digicam as camcorder?

Another good question.

Quality of image is different. Let’s take a brief look how image is created in our gadget. See picture. There are 3 main elements: the lens, the light source (coming from the object), and the image capture screen. A high quality image needs good lens, enough light, good screen.

The lens doesn’t affect much the quality of image (a pinhole works fine, remember?); what matters is the dimension of lens. Dimension controls the amount of light captured. A simple demo is shown below. Line represents amount of light.

The illustration disturb me that in less light condition there will be less information (less details) which means less quality! A large amount of light means a lot of information, full of details, which results in high quality. No wonder we never get high quality images from gadgets with small sized lenses found in cellular phones, webcams, surveillance cams, and the like.

Camcorder is capturing dynamic moving objects; the amount of light captured changes accordingly as either objects move or camcorder moves. Potentially there will be less light which returns poor quality video image. On the other hand digicam is static, enough time to collect light from the object. So here is the second difference, same amount of light in digicam and camcorder, delivers different outcomes (quality). Digicam is better.

Last element is the image screen, which is fully populated by millions of submicron sensors for converting light into electronic image. Conversion process in digicam is pretty straightforward, almost instant like printing or stamping. Conversion in camcorder is different; image is being converted through scanning, measured as speed in megabit per second (Mbps). Faster scan speed means better quality. This is the third difference, method of image creation in digicam is like printing, in camcorder is like scanning.

Camcorder or Digicam? Knowing all their distinct characteristics, we come into conclusion that the difference between camcorder and digicam lies in their underlying technologies. Camcorder is dedicated for video recording and digicam for still picture. The digicam offers good quality for picture but poor for video; the reverse must be true, camcorder is good for video and bad for taking photos.

If you do like taking photos more than video choose digicam, otherwise pick camcorder, like photos and video get both. Simple, isn’t it.

😀 2nd post in engish

this is my 2nd post in english (still learning), my first post is The Blogger’s Red String.

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2 comments on “The Difference between Digicam and Camcorder
  1. […] Maenan Bele…maspoedjo on Mama… Beliin Maenan Bele…‘The Blogger… on The Difference between Digicam…The Difference betwe… on ‘The Blogger’s Red…The Difference betwe… […]

  2. […] looking for to better blogging. this is my first try to blog in english; 2nd blog The Difference between Digicam and Camcorder update: have to wait awhile to get and plot the […]

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