Monday 15 May 2023

Yikes, Camcorders are Disappearing


    I have been taking photos for more than 50 years.  Twenty-four years ago, I stopped using a 35mm camera and instead, started taking still photos with a camcorder.  Here is how that happened:

    I was thinking about buying a video camera and went into a drugstore that sold them.  The clerk allowed me to pick one up and play around with it.  I immediately liked its cylindrical shape.  I found it very easy to hold with its strap that went around my hand, but what really sold me was the camcorders range.

    It automatically focused on something a couple of inches (7 cm) away, and it also allowed me to zoom in on things, very far away.  I always had to change lens on my 35 mm camera to do that.  The camcorder did it all, without having to lug around a lot of heavy lenses.  Even though it was built to take video, it also allowed me to take really sharpe photos and after I bought it, that is mostly what I used it for.  Just about all of the photos you see on my blog have been taken with a Sony camcorder.

    I have gone through several camcorders in those 20 years.  The first one used a tape to record a video or photo.  When it’s tape mechanism started giving me trouble, I got a camcorder that put the video or still on a memory card instead of a tape and that worked a lot better.  I damaged another camcorder when it fell into the Fraser River when a canoe I was in tipped over.

    This winter I noticed that my camcorder was no longer able to give me a good photo in the bright light, like a scene with a lot of snow.  It couldn’t adjust and the photos always were faded and I was unable to tweak or correct the photos using my computer.  

    I decided to buy myself a new camcorder and when I got to the same big drugstore, I couldn’t find any camcorders.  When I asked the clerk, I was told they don’t sell them anymore.  “Yikes,” I thought, what am I going to do?” 

     None of the other stores I checked, had any camcorders either.  When I went online to Amazon, there were some camcorders, but they were the same model as my old one.  It seems that camcorders were no longer a thing.  I guess everyone just uses their phones for videos these days and while you can buy bigger and fancier video cameras, there seems to no longer be a market for camcorders.  

    I ended up buying the same camcorder as the one that was malfunctioning, at least I am familiar with it, and I hope it will last me.  

    Below is an example of the faded photos from my malfunctioning camcorder that could no longer adjust to bright lighting conditions.

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