Digital camcorders come in a variety of formats and price points. The three most common levels of digital camcorders are consumer, prosumer, and professional. Consumer cameras are targeted towards average users. These work well for recording school recitals, documenting family vacations, making home movies, and other basic tasks. Most of the controls on consumer cameras are automated, although some might give you slight control over functions such as brightness and focus. They cost a few hundred dollars and rarely go above a thousand.

The next step up is the prosumer model. These are used by many videographers - that is, a person who records video professionally. They offer more direct control and functions and are generally of a higher quality that consumer cameras. Prosumer digital video camcorders are often used for micro-budget movies and professional wedding videos. The highest quality digital video cameras on the market are professional digital cameras. Digital feature-length movies are shot in on this type of camera. The price for such a camera is in the range of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unless you are a professional in the field of film and video production, you will most likely stick to consumer level high definition camcorders. These cameras come in multiple formats. Among these formats are mini-DV, HDV, and HD. Simply put, this is the type of encoding the camera uses to capture video. HDV and HD stands for high definition video and high definition, respectively. However, they are not the same thing. The amount of space taken up by an HDV camera's video file is less than the amount taken up by an HD camera's.

Digital high definition camcorder models also output to different formats. Some may capture to a hard drive while others may output to DVD. Though becoming less common, many cameras also allowed you to record to mini DV, a small, digital version of a videotape. The type of output you plan to use depends on the purpose of your video. If you plan to save your videos for posterity, you may decide to get a camera that outputs directly to DVD. If you to share videos with friends and family online, you might consider getting a flip camcorder that allows your video to be transferred to a computer via its hard drive.

Whatever high definition camcorder you choose, be sure to do the market research needed to find the perfect camera in your price range and quality expectations. Camcorder shops online can direct you to the right reviews and reliable information so you can make an educated decision before you purchase. I recommend going to your local electronics store to see what models you like and usually the staff is pretty knowledgeable and can give you sound advice.