Higher Number, Better Video?
You’ve been reading about the different high definition resolutions for a while now. When it comes to pocket camcorders then there’s really only two different resolutions that are of any interest: 720p and 1080p. You sometimes will see that 1080p is also referred to as FullHD. But what does it really mean and are these numbers the only distinguishing factors for picture quality?
720p vs. 1080p Pocket Video Cameras
When you look at digital still cameras then your head might be spinning with all the different megapixel cameras that you can get. Who really still knows what is necessary and what is overkill? In the world of pocket video cameras this is somewhat simpler as there’s standardized resolutions to deal with.
What Is A 1080p Pocket Video Camera?
What do the numbers mean though? It’s pretty straightforward actually. 720p means that your captured image has a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels whereas 1080p stands for 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. In simplistic terms this means that the higher the resolution, the sharper and less granular the image. That’s somewhat true and not. It also depends on the quality of the TV or monitor that you use to view the captured video. You might find some TV’s with a better perceived picture quality at a 720p resolution compared to a 1080p resolution. However, in most cases, it’s simply that a higher resolution results in a better picture.
Most pocket video cameras allow you to capture videos in 1080p. So, life is good, isn’t it? Well, kind of. The resolution is not the only ingredient that makes a good video. What else you might wonder?
Frames Per Second
The next thing to look at besides the resolution is the frames per second that are recorded. You might have seen it before under the abbreviation fps. What does it mean? Simply put, it’s how many images are taken per second that then result in a video. The human eye is capable of processing around 10 to 12 frames per second as individual images. If your video source records and plays faster than those 10 to 12 fps then you start to see video instead of single images.
But how does that impact the quality of the video you take? It somewhat depends. If you make a video of somebody walking down the street then you’ll get awesome quality with 30fps. There’s no lag and no visible flickering for such slower moving scenes.
However, when you record high-speed scenes like action or sports, you might experience flickering at a 30fps setting. That’s why most pocket camcorder manufacturers like Kodak and Sony recommend to switch to 720p/60fps recordings for action and sports while using the 1080p/30fps for general video recordings.
Most pocket camcorders record in either or both 30 fps and 60 fps. Keep in mind though that they do not record every resolution with every fps setting. Most pocket video cameras allow you to record the following combinations:
- 1080p at 30 fps
- 720p at 30 fps
- 720p at 60 fps
Impact On Memory Needs
One last point you want to consider in addition to the video quality is the memory consumption. Both resolution and the frames per second rate impact how much memory you will need to store the video you shoot. If you have a pocket camcorder with built-in and non-expandable memory you might have to be a lot more aware of your memory consumption. If you need to add as much video footage as possible, you have to start recording your video with lower resolution and lower fps settings. If you can expand your memory with SDHC memory cards then you potentially always record on the highest possible resolution and fps settings.
Our Conclusion And Recommendations
And combining all these different pieces of information leads straight to our recommendation. Make sure when you buy a pocket camcorder that you purchase one that supports Full HD at 1080p, has at least a setting to record in 720p with 60 fps and allows you to expand your memory with SDHC memory cards as needed. Which pocket video cameras fulfill those requirements you may ask? Look at our pocket camcorder reviews to find out. A little hint – check the Kodak Pocket Video Camera Reviews and the Sony Pocket Video Camera Reviews and you’ll be able to find a camcorder that fits your needs!