A camcorder is a self-contained portable electronic device with video and recording as its primary function. It is typically equipped with an articulating screen mounted on the left side, a belt to facilitate holding on the right side, hot-swappable battery facing towards the user, hot-swappable recording media, and an internally contained quiet optical zoom lens.
The earliest camcorders were tape-based, recording analog signals onto videotape cassettes. In 2006, digital recording became the norm, with tape replaced by storage media such as mini-HD, microDVD, internal flash memory and SD cards.
More recent devices capable of recording video are camera phones and digital cameras primarily intended for still pictures, whereas dedicated camcorders are often equipped with more functions and interfaces than more common cameras, such as an internal optical zoom lens that is able to operate silently with no throttled speed, whereas cameras with protracting zoom lenses commonly throttle operation speed during video recording to minimize acoustic disturbance. Additionally, dedicated units are able to operate solely on external power with no battery inserted.