DVD has become the new standard for digital media, overtaking cassettes, which dominated the market for decades. As expected, camcorders also updated their storage capabilities, with several being introduced in the early to mid-2000s capable of recording to digital video discs, though these are being replaced by hard drive and flash storage cameras. With these cameras, the primary options available are MiniDVD and standard DVD.
MiniDVDs have a diameter of 8 cm as compared to the standard DVD, at 12 cm. The smaller size of MiniDVD also leads to a smaller camera, a more convenient option, though this difference is often negligible. A larger disc needs a larger disc writer, so standard DVD cameras are decidedly about a third larger in terms of surface area (the weight is affected by mere ounces). Some have argued, though, that a larger camera is easier to handle than a smaller camera because of the larger, more spaced-out buttons, and many are willing to sacrifice a small fraction of portability for greater ease of use.
MiniDVDs have a storage capacity of 1.4 GB, while standard DVDs hold about 4.7 GB. This equates to only about 20 minutes of footage for a MiniDVD disc or just 10 minutes or so of high-definition footage. Standard discs can hold much more: about 50 minutes of standard footage and 25 of high-definition footage. This fact alone renders MiniDVD camcorders inconvenient at events such as weddings or sporting events, where you will most likely have to change discs multiple times.
MiniDVDs are less prone to scratching than standard DVDs, due to the fact that standard DVDs are simply larger, providing a wider surface for scratching. Because of that wider size while retaining the same thickness of a MiniDVD, they're also easier to break or snap. From a camcorder standpoint, MiniDVD camcorders are typically smaller and thus more fragile than a standard DVD camcorder.
Each camcorder format can record to various types of DVD and MiniDVD discs. Standard DVD has four largely recognized formats; DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R+, and DVD-RW+. DVD-Rs mean that they can be recorded only once, so if you make a mistake shooting there's no fixing it.
DVD-RW indicates a disc that is rewritable, which can prove convenient if you ever need to try something over and don't want to waste a disc. The trade-off is quality, though, with each re-recording generating a slightly lower quality picture.
DVD-R+ and DVD-RW+ are discs that are dual-layered and hence have twice the space of a standard disc. Only certain camcorders are capable of recording dual-layer discs, so check specifications before buying.
MiniDVDs accept only two types: the DVD-R and DVD-RW with no dual-layered options. Nearly all MiniDVD camcorders can record media onto both of these formats.
DVD camcorders are becoming a thing of the past, and as such their prices are dropping dramatically. You can typically find a DVD camcorder, like Sony's popular DCR-DVD series, for as little as $200. MiniDVD camcorders are still in production to an extent, but they, too, are fading in the wake of MiniDV and HDD. They can be found at prices even cheaper than standard DVD camcorders, with some being as low as $150 new from online merchants.
- "Old media 2" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: john_a_ward (John Ward) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.