When it comes to filming videos, cameras come in all different shapes and sizes. We still remember the day (almost 10 years ago) when we first saved up for a camcorder to bring around us on our travels and times with friends. The ease of use was great with these — amazing optical zoom, great versatility with holding it (the strap is great for keeping it sturdy), and the relatively compact size was ideal for carrying it around when we weren’t using it. Not to mention the quality is high up there. Today we researched some of the best camcorders for the to help you shopping adventures.
Are Camcorders Still Relevant Today?
The term camcorder is used to describe the self-contained and portable device that has video capture and recording ability as its primary function. The earliest camcorders were tape based and recorded analog signals that were used in videotape cassettes. In the year 2006 (a decade ago, which is still crazy for us to think), digital recording became the norm and the tape was replaced by storage media like SD cards and flash memory. Most of the electronic cameras that were built in 2006 provided the recording ability that put them in the category of camcorders. It used to be either you have a camcorder or you’re lugging around one of those old-school VHS recorders and looking outdated.
Jump to our time now, many devices are able to record video now (we’ll call them video camera types), including things in our pockets with smartphones and also traditional digital cameras, but these are not considered to be camcorders. Even with the continual emergence of both DSLR cameras for video and mirrorless camera for video, camcorders give them a run for the money when it comes to certain advantages with the size and optical zooms it provides us, not to mention affordable price when DSLR\mirrorless cameras start to get really high up there.
We think the best camcorders are still relevant today, especially if they fit within your budget and overall needs when it comes to recording video.
The Best Camcorders for the Money
Canon VIXIA HF R700
The Canon VIXIA HF R700 is considered one of the best camcorders in the market today and it uses something called a ‘SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer’ and ‘Advanced Zoom’ that can capture steady video of 3.28 megapixels with a full HD CMOS Image Sensor. The DIGIC DV 4 image processor captures video with 1920 x 1080 resolution (the standard nowadays), and it helps to offer outstanding imaging performance. You can record full HD video onto a removable SD memory card.
This camcorder also helps to ensure the high quality capture even for moving subjects, and it has a 3 inch touch panel with LCD to increase brightness and a new user interface to make it easy to view the video and navigate the menu. It’s pretty affordable as well.
Up next, the Sony HDRCX405 is considered to be another one of the best camcorders to capture your memories in detail. It focuses on carefree yet functional approaches to getting to the heart of the subjects. It has a built-in USB port which makes capturing and transferring images super easy. The camera is supported by high bit-rates to record action filled HD movies in high resolution (1080\60fps). The image sensor has a great sensitivity to light for outstanding low light image capture. It has a pretty high-quality Exmor R CMOS image sensor (found in some DSLR cameras) and a BIONZ X image processing engine.
The lens is also of ZEISS make, which is a pretty famous technology for optical performance in cameras and lenses. So what’s with all this fancy terminology? If you’re not concerned with all that, this camcorder is up there when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of overall build, price and video quality. It rivals the previously listed camcorder for being the best, and if you have a few extra bucks you can go this route instead.
Although the noticeable price increase, the Panasonic HC-V770 is the solution for those wanted to spend a few more extra bucks on their camcorder for some side features and overall quality. It uses a Leica Dicomar 20x optical zoom lens and has four separate optical groups with maximum aperture. It keeps that pesky image vibration to a minimum to aid in steadier handheld shooting. The adjustable settings give the user access to the stabilization mode that is appropriate for the type of shooting depending on what you’re doing – off for tripod work, normal for regular handheld work, and strong for times when things get shaky.
The Wi-Fi does more than just capture the video from the camera of your phone – it enables you to shoot from two different angels at once (you can preview the image live using your mobile device). As the best camcorder within the higher price-point, it comes with a little baby monitor function which makes the camera able to be used like an IP surveillance camera with a viewing remote feed. As you can see, there are some extra features here that aren’t necessarily a must, but may be exactly what you’re looking for to make the price tag well worth it.
View price of the HDV-301: US
Here’s a bit of an unknown brand (it’s one of those Amazon-only specific manufacturers) and we’re usually not into adding one of these into our shopping guides but the reviews were way too high to ignore. The Sereer HDV-301 is extremely cheap, especially for those looking to save some money and grab a simple solution for a camcorder. It is considered the best budget-friendly camcorder by many, and it has been praised for the for high quality infrared night vision.
It supports an external wide angle with its macro shooting lens. It has full HD video output (1080p), 16x digital zoom, and the maximum mega pixels. It has a 3.0 inch LCD touchscreen and it has an SD card slot that supports a SD of 32GB. Its battery is rechargeable and it can be used to take video for over 90 minutes or to take photos for less than 150 minutes. Check it out and see what we mean and let us know what you think in the comments.
The Sony FDR-AX53/B is a top-of-the-line camcorder that is way above average when it comes to overall power and quality in a camera. Before you let the price point fool you, this bad boy can film in a whopping 4K video resolution. With 16.6 megapixel photographs and a 3.0 Xtra Fine LCD touchscreen that displays with 921 dot resolution, this thing definitely gives those popular DSLR cameras a run for their money. The camera can also be connected to an HDTV by the use of an HDMI output port.
It is easy to trim the selected portion of the 4K video or the image frame in order to fill the screen to achieve full HD quality. It has additional enhanced connectivity with remote controls and is NFC and Wi-Fi enabled. This will let the person use their tablet or smartphone to control the camcorder which isn’t a requirement but definitely convenient if you desire a function like this. The camera has many audio options, and the automatic image feature can be used for easy point and shoot operation. It has enhanced manual control and it gives creative freedom for those who can afford — you won’t be disappointed. It made it into our best 4K video cameras post for a reason.
Last but least, the Panasonic HC-V380K is a handheld camcorder that makes it easy for video creations to come to life. It has solid and efficient features such as multi-camera scene picture in picture capture, and it can add a Wi-Fi link to a mobile device camera. The 50x optical zoom has 5-axis image stability and it offers 90x intelligent zooming that can help the user get close to the action.
Its creative controls and intelligent auto plus mode enhance the creative possibilities, especially when paired up with its 1080p video resolution. It can fit many people within the shot and can capture group images without a problem even in small rooms. It is the best camcorder within the middle price-point that brings distant subjects closer with clear recording capability — grab it if you didn’t want a necessarily cheap camcorder but one that brings you some definite power in your hands.