Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Point and Share Camcorders Status Report

People, it is a bad/good/bad time out in the wild for those that want to purchase a point and share camcorder. Let me put it this way, if you are going to do it buy now, there may be no tomorrow.

I'm a ground level grunt. A canary with a irritated nose. I see clearance stickers and understand the back story. Over the past few weeks I've been observing a lot of good sales.

How good?  I picked up a Kodak Zi10 for $45 yesterday. Broke my heart to do it but I wasn't going to leave it on the shelf. If I lay eyes on that Zi12 camcorder I'll get it too. The odds are in my favor.

Brick and mortar retailers have a problem. People know that Kodak is getting rid of their cameras and camcorders. The Zi10 sold for $179 retail. If you (the average consumer) are aware of Kodak's bankruptcy troubles then you are not going to buy that camcorder at that price knowing that your support and upgrade options are limited.

On the other hand, if they are blowing them out of the store at 1/3 the price and you are camcorder or tech savvy then hell yeah,  I'll pick it up.

Stores like Target, Wal-Mart and the membership stores have a choice. Either sell to the uninformed at a standard price (and have people talk trash about them) or flush the stock out and make up the difference in men's underwear.

Wait, let me show you a bit of an ad from Fry's.

It isn't just Kodak. Check out that Sony action. Ignore that pink Bloggie and dig the two on the right. Those are Sony Bloggie Touch camcorders . Those are dang nice recorders. Let me tell, you those are not the retail prices for those little darlings.

Now yes, at Fry's they very well might be open boxes or demo units. But at some point you are going to see those prices in standard retail chains and they will be brand new, never been touch waiting for a good home.

After the sales, then what? If Sony, Panasonic, Samsung (oh please not Samsung) and others decide the market is extinct then there will not be any compatible replacement products for those that do not want to use their phone to take videos.

Not everybody has or wants an iPhone. Some of the Android phones are just not good enough to replace a dedicated camcorder. Especially on the lower end of the phone market.

I have said this before. Yes, phones can record video but that doesn't make it a camcorder. To abandon that segment of the market is foolish but I'm not in advertising and marketing and haven't dated a bean counter in years.

Not that being a bean counter is a bad thing. All persuasions are welcomed here.

There are folks that are not tech savvy enough to move up to a basic level camcorder. Some of them should but they won't. The void is making a comeback.

I have been leery about posting camcorder recommendations because when Kodak bailed it was a sign that others might follow. Maybe this is a hiccup but I don't think so. 

So, things are changing but the facts remain:
Don't let the frugal get in the way of common sense.  If you don't need it do not buy it. If you know you will be recording at events, sport meet-ups or dance recitals you need a camcorder with optical zoom. Save your money and buy what you need, not what you can afford right now.
You will have to do your homework before you even think about making a purchase. If you are not computer savvy or you don't like figuring things out then this type of shopping isn't for you.
If you buy a closeout camcorder and it doesn't work out it is your problem.  You might find legacy help on the product web site. Or not. Check the warranties, terms of service and anything else you need before you plunk down a single dime for a closeout camcorder.
When you are in a store, look up, look down and look for the clearance label. If you know what you are getting into it is a sad but great time to buy.

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