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I didn't buy the digital camcorder because I have played digitally recorded video on my analog TV, frankly I can't tell the difference. The only plus for a digital camcorder is that you can grab digital pictures from the video. But I would rather save the money to buy a good digital camera.
Some analog camcorder has "digital still" function. The video part is still analog, but it allows you to use it like a camera and take a low-resolution digital picture, and the price is about $200 higher. Don't buy this one! The picture quality not good at all. Again, you can buy a digital camera if you want digital pictures.
Most current models have a view finder. (the flip-out viewer). This is handy, even more for elderly. Another feature is night vision. I don't know what kind of people like this, for videoing nocturnal wildlife or voyeurism? :-)
For same features, Sony is about 10% more expensive than Panasonic/Canon, Panasonic is more expensive than JVC / Hitachi / Samsung. I think Sony is only good value when it has unique, must-have features for you. Otherwise the premium price might not be justified. The other reason i chose a panasonic is the tape it uses is C-VHS, which can be played directly in a home video-player.
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