For many years almost all camcorders used VHS tapes. I remember when they were two devices with a big cable that ran between them. Then they made the small VHS camcorders. In those days I do not think I ever owned a camera myself, but I shot about 6 VHS tapes worth of the kids with cameras that I was working on. Then along came YouTube and I bought my first digital camera to make YouTube videos. It was a Sony TRV-250 that I bought on EBay for $50 because it was dead. I fixed it up and used it for some video's but then I bought a Sony TRV-530 for $100 on EBay because it supported analog as well as digital tapes, it has a microphone jack, and worked at lower light levels. I must have shot 30 or 40 video's using that camera. It is on the left in the picture above.
Next I bought some Sony HDR-HC5's on EBay for $250 each. On one of them the tape door jammed because the white magnetic strip theft deterrent was in the way. Another had a steel anti theft cable attached to it, that was easy to remove. They used the mini-DV tape format, and feature a Full HD 1080i 4 mega pixed image sensor. One of them is in the middle of the picture above.
Now I have made another leap forward in camcorder technology, I have bought a Hard drive based Camcorder. It is a Sony DCR-SR82 that I bought on EBay for just under $250. It is on the right in the picture above. I picked this model out because it has the boot for adding a boom microphone, a 1 mega pixel picture, and forward facing built in microphones. Many of the hard drive based models do not have the boot and the built in microphone faces up!