You’ve figured out that a camcorder is not only handy for recording personal milestones, but also for snazzy sales presentations and Web marketing. Trouble is, the new digital technology that makes video so easy to edit and manipulate also makes choosing a camcorder, well, confusing. Brands, options, and prices range from Volkswagen Beetle to Range Rover. Anyone for a test shoot?

Canon ZR50MC, $899
Pros: Three shooting modes include video, digital, and progressive photo — the last designed for crisper still shots. Great zoom at 22X.
Cons: No MPEG capability, although you can transfer files to a digital video-ready computer through the built-in analog-to-digital converter.
Bottom line: Others may have more digital bells and whistles, but at this price it’s a nice first step up from analog.
Panasonic Palmcorder Multicam PV-VM202, coming spring 2002, $2,299.95
Pros: This loaded, top-of-the-line camera does double duty as a digital video camcorder and 1-megapixel still camera. Includes MPEG-4 capabilities for transfer to the Web, and it captures four-color video in very low light.
Cons: Check the price tag.
Bottom line: Two products in one, so the high cost can be justified, but it may be worth waiting a few months to see if the price drops.
Network Handycam, $1,699.99

Pros: The smallest
digital videotape yet, the MicroMV, is 70 percent smaller than the MiniMV, but still records one hour of MPEG-2 video. Weighs 12 ounces and measures 4 inches by 3 inches by 2 inches.
Cons: Requires Sony-only technology, tapes, and hardware.
Bottom line: Pricey, but did we mention tiny? Saves space in that already-overloaded laptop bag.