Movie makers in miniature

Video cameras have come a long way in a few years, we compare three of them.

The video camera has come a long way since the early 1980s, when it was a cumbersome and expensive device that only a select few had the strength to lug about on holiday or to their child's annual school play.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and the technology has transformed our lives, allowing us to easily capture special moments on celluloid - or in this case, memory cards. And with video capability now available on many gadgets, from mobile phones to MP3 players, many users can also enjoy their ubiquitous 15 minutes of fame on social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

If the video function on your mobile or music player is limited, there is a good range of affordable, pocket-sized digital camcorders to choose from. Felicity Glover looks at three of them.

Sanyo VPCCG100 Flash Memory Camcorder

Snapshot This funky, pistol-grip camcorder is ergonomically designed and combines both video and still photography capabilities.

Zoom in Weighing in at 176 grams, the device can record movies in high-definition (HD), as well as take high-resolution photos of up to 16 megapixels. With a 12x double-range zoom and 38mm wide-angle lens, you'll never miss capturing life's perfect moments.

Pause Ensure you take advantage of the digital image stabiliser and "face chaser", essential features for clear, good-quality videos.


Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5K/P

Snapshot "Capture and upload your life on the go" is the motto of the Sony Bloggie. And in this day and age, what better way to get your mug on social networking sites potentially hours before your friends?

Zoom in The Bloggie allows users to shoot 360-degree videos in HD quality, which Sony says is perfect for YouTube uploads. Other features include a 6 cm screen, a self-timer and a built-in USB arm that connects directly to your computer.

Pause It's great that the Bloggie is compatible with both Mac and PC, but its still-photo feature offers just five megapixels.


Kodak PlaySport

Snapshot Designed to use in the great outdoors, the PlaySport is a rugged, waterproof pocket camcorder that looks more like a mobile phone (although slightly heavier).

Zoom in Waterproof to just over three metres, adrenalin-junkies will appreciate the PlaySport's image stabiliser and sun-glare shield. With a 4x digital zoom, it is also extremely easy to use. Similar to the Bloggie, it falls a little short on still-picture quality, offering just five megapixels.

Pause From the sand to the sea to the snow, the light-weight PlaySport will capture your action-packed adventures in full HD, necessary for good-quality uploads to your favourite social networking sites.