Camcorders: Your Mother's Day Gift Guide

A roundup of camcorders for every type of mother, from technophobes to soccer moms.

Happy Mother's Day, Ma!

If you’re feeling particularly generous this Mother’s Day, why not splurge out on a digital camcorder for your dear old mommy? She’s sure to appreciate it more than the obligatory Macy's gift card or box of suspicious ‘Quality’ chocolates (those things have ‘bargain bin’ written all over 'em.)

A camcorder is the perfect ‘thank you’ gift for all those years of devotion — it’s useful, long-lasting and expensive enough to show her you care. The only thing you need to do now is decide which camcorder model to get her. This is where we come in.

Much like sons and daughters, no two mothers are alike — a camcorder that would make a fine gift for one mum might be an expensive paperweight for another. Whether your progenitor is a rough-'n'-tumble soccer mom or a tech-befuddled Luddite, you’ll find a camcorder on this list to suit her needs. So go on. Do it for your mummy!

The Fashionista Mom: Sony DCR-SX40 ($260)

The Sony DCR-SX40 is an ultra-stylish camcorder tailor-made for yummy mummies’ handbags. It records standard-definition video to removable flash Memory Sticks and comes with a 60x optical zoom.

Fashion-conscious mothers are sure to appreciate the light weight and small dimensions, not to mention the sexy red finish. It’s also a breeze to use, thanks to Sony’s omnipresent Easy button. If your mum wants to look ‘killer’ while shooting video, this is the camcorder to get her.

Check out our review of the Sony DCR-SX40.

Sony DCR-SX40 — product detail

Sony DCR-SX40 — product detail

The Extreme Sports Mom: Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Camera ($132)

The Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Camera is best suited to outdoor moms who habitually force their family to go on punishing nature hikes and grim kayaking adventures. If your mother’s never seen a river she couldn’t cross or a mountaintop she couldn’t ski down, this camcorder has her name written all over it (in sweat and blood, probably).

The ATC3K Action Camera consists of an all-in-one rubberized unit that can be attached to helmets, boats or bike handles with the supplied accessories. It’s knock-proof, freeze-proof and even waterproof (to a depth of around three metres). In other words, it’s tough enough to remain by her side long after the rest of the family has begged off/wimped out.

Check out our in-depth review of the Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Camera.

Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Camera — product detail

Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Camera — product detail

The Blogger Mom: Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam ($88)

Some mums have an opinion about everything. If it’s on the news, they’ll definitely have some choice words to say on the subject — from the weekend rain to the world economic climate. Instead of weathering the storm yourself, why not introduce her to the blogosphere? That way, the whole world can have an earful too. The Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam is a beginner-friendly Net cam with built-in YouTube support.

The Vado's on-board media-management software will automatically launch when your mum plugs in the device, allowing her to upload clips in a few easy mouse clicks. The unit comes with 2GB of built-in memory, which will store around an hour of video at the highest quality setting (in other words, gas-bagging mums will be in for a bit of a challenge).

Check out our in-depth review of the The Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam.

Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam — product detail

Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam — product detail

The videophile mom: Canon HG21 ($899)

Canon has always been the queen of the castle when it comes to camcorder image quality, and the Canon HG21 is easily one of the best of the bunch. If your mum knows her way around a camcorder and is keen to capture lifelike footage, this model is definitely worth the extra dosh. Though it only comes equipped with a 1/3.2-inch CMOS sensor and a gross pixel count of 3310k, the Canon HG21 produces some of the best video quality we’ve seen.

We were particularly impressed by the clarity of our footage, which was sharp and well detailed — even for a Canon camcorder. It also performed well in our low-light tests, with the noise levels failing to obstruct picture clarity. The HG21 comes equipped with a massive 120GB hard drive, which can record between 11.5 and 46 hours of video, depending on the selected quality level. Videophile mums — accept no substitute!

Check out our full review of the Canon HG21.

Canon HG21 — product detail

Canon HG21 — product detail

The Technophobe Mom: Panasonic SDR-S26-K ($300)

If your mom was born during the Baby Boomer era, she might be a bit rubbish with modern technology. (That said, she can probably make clothes from scratch with a needle and thread, which makes her a better survivalist in the event of a nuclear holocaust.) The Panasonic SDR-S26-K is an entry-level camcorder that makes everything nice and easy for novice users.

Its main draw is probably the Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, which adjusts camcorder settings on the fly to suit the changing environment. Other user-friendly tools include built-in face detection and Panasonic’s celebrated advanced optical image stabilizer (OIS), which provides shake-free recordings. The unit also comes with a 70x optical zoom lens for getting nice and close to distant action.

Check out our in-depth review of the Panasonic SDR-S26-K.

Panasonic SDR-S26-K — product detail

Panasonic SDR-S26-K — product detail

The Soccer Mom: Sony HDR-XR200 ($835)

The Sony HDR-XR200 has more deluxe bells-and-whistles than a kitted-out SUV — which makes it the perfect camcorder for up-and-at-'em soccer moms. This Full HD handycam comes with all the latest trends in camcorder technology, including 5.1-channel surround sound, an Optical SteadyShot (Active) mode, face detection, smile shutter functionality and super-slow steady shot — perfect for capturing that winning goal.

Crucially, it also comes with an built-in GPS and geo-tagging, which means she’ll never get lost on her way to a school carnival or sporting event. With 120GB of built-in storage, she’ll also be able to capture each and every minute of her child’s star performance.

Sony HDR-XR200 — product detail

Sony HDR-XR200 — product detail

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