Analog Camcorders
Are you getting the most out of your personal camcorders? Find out how to use analog devices for high resolution playback

Are you getting the most out of your personal camcorders? Find out how to use analog devices for high resolution playback


Camcorders have evolved rapidly over the last 20 years. From the first analog video camera, top manufacturers like Sony have been working to bring the latest camcorder technology into your home. What was once exclusive to movie cameras and the film industry, is now widespread. Digital camcorders are directly competing with the analog video camera.

Itís not uncommon to find a video camera that transfers to both analog and digital playback systems. This guide will help you learn more about camcorders, through a breakdown of the analog formatting.

Before purchasing your home movie cameras read this whole web site. Making an educated purchase on camcorders is a wise way to spend your money.

Analog Camcorders

In the early days of television, analog video recording didnít exist. A technique called kinescope recording was utilized to copy shows for broadcasting at stations that werenít connected with the networks.

Almost immediately, it was obvious that the kinescope method was inferior. Scratchy and low quality resolution actually forced the industry into the future.

As a way to develop better picture and sound quality, engineers created something called analog video recording. This method records the moving images onto a magnetic strip.

This discovery revolutionized the television industry and brought more shows to wider audiences.

Soon home movie cameras were introduced to the market. Now, you could record your own memories on analog video camcorders. As we all know, it soon became a popular trend.


Over the years, video cameras have been created in five formats. Each, in its own time, served the growing needs of the personal video camera.

For instance, analog camcorders can play back on the following formats:

  • 8mm
  • Hi8
  • VHS
  • VHSC

Before 8mm or hi8, the first standardized video format that was created for the consumer market was the betamax. Today, recognized betamax technologies include HiFi audio.

The first camcorders were large and bulky, with long cords. Although new and exciting to the public, VHS formats were hard to carry around. In order for families to record their vacations, a smaller format was needed.

Camcorders began to evolve in order to accommodate the growing popularity of the camcorder. VHSC was a compact version of VHS, offering systems for editing pictures and sound.

SVHSC was superior to all formats before its time, as it offered a higher line count for higher resolution. High coercive tape was the key to greater resolution, but unfortunately it also created color smears and hazes.

Many of us still have our memories recorded on 8mm tapes, from the popular days of the handheld camcorder. Small and compact, 8mm was the first consumer video recorder that used imbedded tracking.

Providing 2 hours of slow tape speed, 8mm offers 240 lines of resolution for sharp and clear imaging. Viewing all your 8mm tapes through a VCR connection is convenient for fast playback.

8mm tapes also offer the option of using the Hi8 format. Although the price of Hi8 is higher than 8mm, youíre quality of imaging is much better. For instance, Hi8 offers 400-440 lines of picture resolution.

Transferring signals onto a magnetic tape head soon showed signs of limitations. For instance, with analog recording, you have few options of how high your frequencies can go. Another drawback is the long time it takes for the tape to travel by the head.

Soon, digital technology came along, which has since revolutionized the potential for the personal camcorder.

Models & Brands

Analog manufacturers of all five different format styles can be found online.

Quality 8mm tapes are still found with Exabyte, IBM, Imation, Maxwell, Sony and Verbatim, in model series like D8, AIT and Mammoth.

Find higher resolution Hi8 tapes from Sony, TDK, Fugi, Samsung, JVC and more in our online buyers guide.

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