If you have not purchased a camcorder in the past few years, you may be amazed by how much things have changed. I prefer to have a pretty good idea of what I am looking for when it comes to purchasing electronics before I get to the store. You will have to decide if the size of the camcorder is an important factor for you. Camcorders can range in size from large professional models to tiny pocket cameras. Pocket camcorders are clearly easy to take along anywhere as you can put them in purses and pockets for convenience. These don’t typically have as high of a video quality to them compared to larger cameras but this is somewhat to be expected. When compared to the pocket models larger camcorders have better video quality and ultimately more features also. As far as memory goes, you probably want to look at flash and hard drive camcorders. As you may have noticed, if you have done even some early exploring of the camcorder market, there are not many analog video recorders left and dvd recorders are also hard to find. Most camcorders use hard drives and flash sticks now. SD cards are required for camcorders that use flash drives. Hard drives are internal to the camcorders and don't require anything extra. One of these is really not better then the other. It is all up to personal preference. The advantages of the flash drives are it is easy to swap them out for as long of recording time as you need. Hard drives are nice because you don’t have to carry extra cards. Again this all comes back to personal preference and what your needs are. I personally like to look at camcorders that have a high optical zoom verses a high digital zoom. The optical zoom has to do with what the lenses and the camera its self can do physically. The digital has to do with what the computer is able to do. The digital zoom should be looked at as a bonus. The optical zoom is completely dictated by the quality of lens. If you have a bad lens, the digitial zoom will be lacking also. You really should look for a camcorder that has a nice image stabilization system. You will find the videos with the image stabilization on will be considerably less jerky. You may wish to consider the newest options in 3D technology. Again this is a feature that you may or may not need. If you don't have a 3D tv, you may decide you can save a bit of money and not get a camcorder with this option.