If you’re shopping for a digital video camera you’ve probably seen the term flash memory camcorder. Wondering what flash memory is? It’s starting to become the de facto standard for camcorders and for good reason. Flash memory is essentially the same kind of memory chip you find in a thumb drive. It’s a special type of chip called an EEPROM which stands for “Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory” It’s a mouthful of techo-jargon but what that means is that it’s a computer chip that stores information even when no power is supplied. That means that it will store data even when your device is turned off.
The benefits of a camcorder with flash memory as opposed to a MiniDV or other camcorder, is speed of access, ease of use, and ruggedness. Tapes tend to degrade much quicker than any other type of media, not to mention the fact that tape’s days are probably numbered. If you want to find a particular scene on a tape camcorder you’ll have to search the tape, and then play back your scene in a 1 to 1 ration. That means if it’s a 10 minute scene it will take 10 minutes to import it into your computer. If you’ve got a complete 2 hour tape you’ve got to wait two hours. With a flash camcorder it’s a simple matter of transferring a file. You don’t have to wait 2 hours to download a whole tape.
The ruggedness is another factor in favor of flash memory digital camcorders. Because the information is stored on a chip there are no moving parts to wear out. The tape eject mechanism is very complex and not exactly sturdy. The flash memory camcorders are much lighter and more rugged and immune to shocks and drops. There are some hard drive camcorders that won’t work above a certain altitude and the tapes are affected by heat and cold. The flash memory isn’t affected by altitude or temperature as much.
Be sure to check out some of the strengths of flash memory camcorders vs. other types. There are some misconceptions that they’re not as high quality as other kinds of camcorders but it’s simply not true.