Should I buy a camcorder or a digital camera?

“I have wanted to buy a digital camera for a long time. I want great photo quality, but I also want to capture movies too. I’m not sure what to buy. Camcorders record video, but most now capture still images too. Which one should I buy? I want a functional, easy to use and affordable camera that takes photos and video.”
Choosing a digital camera or digital camcorder really depends on what you plan to do with the camera once you have it. While it’s true that most digital cameras also shoot video and most camcorders also take photos, the results vary widely depending on which camera or camcorder you buy. In my own personal experience, the still photos I take with a camcorder never look as good as comparable still images taken with a digital camera. Flipping that around, many of the videos I take with a digital camera look as good or better than videos taken with consumer camcorders.
Decide what the primary function for your camera or camcorder purchase will be and buy something designed for that purpose.
Mostly Photos If what you really want to do is take photos wherever you go, with the occasional video thrown in the mix, buy a digital camera – Imaging Resource has a great overview on what to look for when buying a digital camera.
Mostly Video If your main goal is taking videos, with the occasional photo, buying a camcorder will likely get you better mileage – for more on which type of camcorder, read my camcorder buying guide.
Some of Both If you plan to take plenty of photos and video with your camera purchase, look for a good digital camera that also takes decent videos. You won’t be happy with the photos a camcorder takes if this is your only camera. Ideally, buying a camcorder for video and a digital camera for photos would be the perfect way to go, but realizing there are budget limitations, you’ll get the most mileage buying a digital camera and using it to shoot video.