Best Camcorders

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 16, 2018
If you’re one of those people who love posting videos on social websites, YouTube, etc. and do it the same moment after taking the footage, we recommend you to get one of the camcorders. Packed in a small box like this, the camcorder comprises all the needed features of digital videos cameras and can offer you even more. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
SENSOR
LENS
ZOOM
STABILIZATION
RECORDING PARAMETERS
MEDIA TYPE
DISPLAY
INTERFACES
AUDIO
BATTERY
SIZE
WARRANTY
 
PROS

The model's HDR capabilities work wonders in terms of eliminating blown highlights and blocked shadows. The Wireless Multi-Camera feature will allow you to link up to three smartphones at the same time and record picture-in-picture from a number of different angles. The Leica Dicomar lens produces those subtle nuances and shading that the company is known for.

CONS

The package doesn't include an AC adapter. 

OUR VERDICT

The Panasonic HC-VX981K will prove to be a great choice for professionals and devoted enthusiasts who need a model with outstanding technical specifications, a few unique extra features, and serious editing capabilities to remove the need of dealing with clunky editing software.

detailed parameters
SENSOR

1/2.3" BSI MOS Sensor, 18.91 Megapixels

LENS

Leica Dicomar Lens, Focal Length: 4.08 – 81.6 mm, Aperture: F1.8 - F3.6

ZOOM

60x / 1500x

STABILIZATION

HYBRID O.I.S.+ with Active Mode

RECORDING PARAMETERS

MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, 3840 x 2160

MEDIA TYPE

SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card

DISPLAY

3" Wide LCD monitor

INTERFACES

1 x AV-out, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x Microphone in, 1 x Headphone out

AUDIO

AVCHD: Dolby Digital (5.1ch / 2ch)

BATTERY

Li-ion battery, 1940mAh

SIZE

2.56 x 2.88 x 5.47 inches

0.78 lb

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization technology instantly corrects camera shake, making even handheld videos that were taken at long focal lengths look sharp and steady. The Highlight Priority mode can be used to give an HDR-like quality to any video. The Framing Assistance feature reduces the zoom magnification when you lose sight of a subject during zooming.

CONS

Some users find the sound quality somewhat underwhelming. 

OUR VERDICT

We would recommend Canon VIXIA HF R800 to those filming enthusiasts who love shooting action-packed videos, be it formal ceremonies, footage of all sorts of animals in the wild, or amateur action movies. With this small camcorder, you'll be able to shoot great footage even while roaming around the scene.

detailed parameters
SENSOR

1/4.85" CMOS, 3.28 Megapixels

LENS

Canon HD Video Lens, Focal Length: 2.8 - 89.6mm, Aperture: F1.8 - F4.3

ZOOM

32x / 1140x

STABILIZATION

SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization

RECORDING PARAMETERS

MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, 1920 x 1080

MEDIA TYPE

SD/SDHC/SDXC/FlashAir memory card slot

DISPLAY

3" Wide LCD monitor

INTERFACES

1 x AV-out, 1 x mini HDMI, 1 x Microphone in, 1 x Headphone out

AUDIO

AVCHD: Dolby Digital (2ch)

BATTERY

Li-ion battery, 2760 mAh

SIZE

2.1 x 2.3 x 4.6 inches

0.68 lb

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS
There is a USB cable inside the strap. This Sony camcorder boasts the BIONZ X image rendering system. The HDRCX405 can film in two formats at a time and use one of 7 available effects. Sony's cutting-edge Face Detection function (with smile recognition) is supported.
CONS
A small sensor size. The image quality might seem disappointing in low-light conditions.
OUR VERDICT
This is a nice camcorder with a wide-angle lens and a smart filming mode. The gadget offers a wide choice of manual aperture and exposure settings owing to a special PlayMemories Home software.
detailed parameters
SENSOR
1/5.8 " Exmor R CMOS 2.29 Megapixels
LENS
Zeiss Vario-Tessar, Focal length: 1.9 - 57mm, Aperture: F1.8 - F4.0
ZOOM
30x Optical zoom, 350x Digital zoom
STABILIZATION
Optical SteadyShot
RECORDING PARAMETERS

AVCHD / MPEG-4 1920 x 1080

MEDIA TYPE
Memory Stick Micro, Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC
DISPLAY
2.64" Clear Photo LCD display
INTERFACES
HDMI Terminal, SD/SDHC/SDXC slot, Composite Video Out
AUDIO
Microphone, Monaural Speaker, Dolby Digital 2 Stereo, Dolby Digital Creator
BATTERY
Lithium Ion, 1240 mAh
SIZE

2.13 x 2.34 x 5.04 inches

0.47 lb

WARRANTY
1 year
PROS

Aside from the 5-axis image stabilization, the model comes equipped with a Level Shot feature that automatically detects and corrects tilting in images, so your footage will be crisp clear. The camcorder's creative filter effects that include 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, Miniature Effect, and Time Lapse Recording will provide more opportunity for creative expression.

CONS

Relatively low image resolution. 

OUR VERDICT

If you don't have that much money to spare on a camcorder but you still need a capable and effective device for vlogging purposes or any kind of video shooting that could benefit from the model's small frame, the Panasonic HC-V180K will prove to be right up your alley.

detailed parameters
SENSOR

1/5.8" BSI MOS Sensor, 2.51 Megapixels

LENS

Panasonic Lens, Focal Length: 2.06 - 103 mm, Aperture: F1.8 - F4.2

ZOOM

150x / 500x

STABILIZATION

HYBRID O.I.S.+ with Active Mode

RECORDING PARAMETERS

MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, 1920 x 1080

MEDIA TYPE

SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card

DISPLAY

2.7" Wide LCD monitor

INTERFACES

1 x AV-out, 1 x mini HDMI

AUDIO

AVCHD: Dolby Digital (2ch)

BATTERY

Li-ion battery, 1940mAh

SIZE

2.09 x 2.32 x 4.57 inches

0.47 lb

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The model's infrared sensor and its night vision capabilities will let you capture pretty much any object in the most dimly lit conditions. The camera's lens and the high-quality external microphone make the camcorder great not just for filming purpose but also for capturing media interviews, speeches, symposiums, and conferences.

CONS

Though the model shoots in 4k, its 2880-pixel width doesn't equate to Ultra HD.

OUR VERDICT

The 4k camcorder from Ansteker doesn't really offer enough to rival the most advanced options on the market. But for the sort of price tag that the model comes with, just the sheer ability to shoot in 4k and the wide angle of the lens make this camera worth the money that they're asking for it. 

detailed parameters
SENSOR

1/3.06" CMOS Sensor, 13 Megapixels

LENS

Super Wide Angle Lens, Focal Length: 7.36 - 80 mm, Aperture: F1.8 - F3.2

ZOOM

- / 16x

STABILIZATION

Image Stabilizing System

RECORDING PARAMETERS

MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, 2880 x 2160

MEDIA TYPE

SD/SDHC Memory Card

DISPLAY

3" Wide LCD monitor

INTERFACES

1 x mini HDMI, 1 x Microphone in

AUDIO

AVCHD: Dolby Digital (2ch)

BATTERY

2 Li-Ion batteries, 2300 mah

SIZE

1.96 x 2.48 x 4.74 inches

~0.6 lb

WARRANTY

1 year

Panasonic HC-VX981K

Top-Notch Specs

The Panasonic HC-VX981K is a lot of things but cheap isn't one of them. This is a high-end quality camcorder that offers far more than what you would get out of a budget model. Of course, the device's specifications speak for themselves. There's the 1/2.3-inch BSI MOS sensor that boasts 18.91 total megapixels. In terms of the motion image, the model offers 8.29 megapixels with true Ultra HD and a 16:9 aspect ratio or the 6.10 megapixels with Full HD resolution and 60 frames per second. In terms of still image, the camera utilizes 7.00 megapixels to shoot with a 3:2 aspect ratio or 8.29 megapixels with the standard 16:9.

In terms of optics, the camera comes equipped with an outstanding Leica Dicomar lens that is as good as the next Leica lens at producing those subtle nuances and great shading that the company is known for. The lens worked with the aforementioned sensor and the 4K Crystal Engine technology in order to suppress distortion, providing the customer with a consistently accurate rendering of the scene. While the lens itself provides a solid 20x optical zoom range, the Intelligent Zoom technology will allow you to increase the said range up to 40x for Full HD filming.

Review of Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Camcorder, 20X LEICA DICOMAR Lens, 5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S, HDR Mode

Simultaneous Multi Shooting

Though the specs are certainly top-notch, we would say that they aren't the camcorders most defining aspect as that title has to be reserved for all of the model's exceptional editing features and extra functions. Starting with the former, most people don't like dealing with complicated editing software and, with the camera's built-in cropping, panning, zooming, and subject tracking stabilization features, you won't have to.

The smooth zooming feature does a great job zooming-in on the subjects without making any changes to the angle of the camera. In terms of tracking, the model automatically keeps the subject inside the cropped area, so you won't have to spend the time trying to keep everything nice and centered as the camera does it for you. Speaking of the cropped area, the device's panning feature will allow you to effortlessly pan any scene, all you'll have to do is select the start and the end points. Other than that, the stabilizing technology is as great as it always were with Panasonic camcorders and so are the model's HDR capabilities that work wonders in terms of eliminating blown highlights and blocked shadows.

Finally, we did mention earlier the extra functions and though the camera has plenty of those, we feel the need to single out the Wireless Multi-Camera feature. Using the latter, you will be able to link up to three smartphones at the same time and record picture-in-picture from a number of different angles.

All things considered, the Panasonic HC-VX981K will prove to be a great choice for professionals and devoted enthusiasts who need a model with outstanding specifications, a few unique extra features, and serious editing capabilities to remove the need of dealing with clunky editing software.

Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Camcorder, 20X LEICA DICOMAR Lens, 5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S, HDR Mode in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Canon VIXIA HF R800 (1960C002)

Advanced Zoom Range

There's a lot to like about the Canon VIXIA HF R800. There's the camera modest size that stands at 2.1 x 2.3 x 4.6 inches in overall dimensions. There are also the 0.68 pounds of weight that put the model to the left of the camcorder weight spectrum. Most of the model's specs are nothing to scoff at either.

But first, we would like to focus on the camera's zooming capabilities as this is easily the most impressive thing about VIXIA HF R800. Thanks to the device's exceptional 57x Advanced Zoom range, problems with long-range shooting will become a thing of the past for you. Using the latter, even the least experienced filmmakers will have the ability to create engaging videos with a certain dynamic variety and the chances of you disrupting the action that you're shooting diminish significantly.

As you would imagine, a zoom like that will prove its worth in a variety of different scenarios. You can use it at formal ceremonies. It will be great for recording all kinds of animals in the wild. Of course, it can also be used to shoot candid family videos and anything that your heart desires. On top of that, there are also the camcorder's variable zoom speed settings that offer three fixed zoom speeds and 15 levels. With these settings at your disposal, you will have far more creative control over your own videos, so there's a better chance you'll be able to make your dream project a reality, making miniature elements appear grandiose and imposing at your will.

Review of Canon VIXIA HF R800 (1960C002) Camcorder

Outstanding Image Stabilization

The model's advanced zoom range aside, we reckon it wouldn't hurt to explore arguably the second most impressive characteristic of this camera - the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization technology. In the company's trademark fashion, the manufacturers have equipped the device with the sort of image stabilization that easily knocks the majority of competition out of the park. Without going into technical details, the technology instantly corrects camera shake, making even handheld videos that were taken at long focal lengths look sharp and steady. Naturally, this makes the model great for vlogging purposes.

Other than that, some of the camera's advantages include the Highlight Priority mode, which is essentially a gamma setting that you can use to give an HDR-like quality to any of your videos. There's also Framing Assistance, a nice little function that works wonders when you need to reduce the zoom magnification in those situations where you lose sight of a subject during zooming. Thanks to this function, it will be much easier for you to relocate your subject and zoom in again. Finally, there's the camera's surprisingly powerful DIGIC DV 4 image processor. The processor offers the sort of imaging performance that you wouldn't expect out of such an affordable model, capturing more light for brighter, virtually noise-free images even in dark scenes.

All in all, we would recommend the Canon VIXIA HF R800 to those filming enthusiasts who love shooting action-packed videos, be it formal ceremonies, footage of all sorts of animals in the wild, or amateur action movies. With this small camcorder, you'll be able to shoot great footage even while roaming around the scene.

Canon VIXIA HF R800 (1960C002) Camcorder in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sony HDR-CX405

More Features. More Fun.

The Sony HDRCX405 camcorder is distinguished by its great number of filming modes, additional features, and settings that all together facilitate the filming process and make it real fun. One of the most remarkable functions of the given camcorder is the Highlight Movie Maker tool that allows users to not only watch the recorded footage but also to apply filters and effects to it and then share it with other users online. With the Highlight Movie Maker, there’s no need to use any other editing software at all, for it’s got most of the tools and filters you could want to use to enhance the quality of your videos. The Motion Shot Video function is another great function with which you can combine the series of filmed frames at a desired interval. Speaking of the body of the camera, it’s designed to be ergonomic and comfortable to hold in hand, with a USB cable being fitted in a strap so that it couldn’t have been lost by any chance. The picture quality of the camera isn’t bad at all as the camera’s been equipped with ZEISS lens and Exmore R CMOS sensor and shot in Full HD.

Review of Sony HDR-CX405 HD Video Recording Handycam Camcorder

Interesting Fact

The first device that took a digital photo was found back in 1981 and produced by Sony under the name of Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera). At the time, that was a full-fledged digital mirror camera with removable lenses which ironically wasn’t even considered as a camera but a static camcorder. The resolution of the first camera was equal to 570 x 490 pixels only (0.28 megapixels) which today isn't a case even for the cheapest camera, but back then, these numbers were a real breakthrough. All footage recorded with the camera was saved on a floppy disk (remember this one?) that could hold no more than 50 photos.

Sony HDR-CX405 HD Video Recording Handycam Camcorder in the use

Accessories to Buy

To use your new camcorder on your trips in a more comfortable way, we suggest you consider using it together with one of the tripods that we've handpicked for you in this review.

Detailed review of Sony HDR-CX405 HD Video Recording Handycam Camcorder

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
SONY HDR-CX405 HD - Quick Review and Field Test

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Camera that is high quality and high resolution for a wonderful price.

Imaging

The camcorder has a very good zoom, excelent image quality

Display

Takes very clear video and looks great on HD screen when viewing.

Features

Great camera with lots of features. Beautiful pics of Alaska.

Connectivity

Easy to use. Not hard on the battery. No problems with connecting to the PC. Pleased with both video and camera features
 

Panasonic HC-V180K

Shoot More Footage

The Panasonic HC-V180K is a good camcorder for YouTube videos. It is also not a bad cam for those who like to go hunting. All in all, regardless of the applications that you have in mind, there's a good chance it will be able to meet your requirements.

Though the camera offers an all-around decent image quality and its technical characteristics are quite impressive given the sort of price tag that it comes with, we believe that the most salient characteristics are the model's size and weight. With 2.09 x 2.32 x 4.57 inches in overall dimensions, the device is more compact than the majority of similar options on the market. And with 0.47 pounds of weight, the model is easily one of the lightest camcorders out there.

And as much as some of the more technical characteristics often tend to take the spotlight when it comes to video production equipment and filmmaking gear, these numbers are far more important than one might think. Both the light weight of the model and its compact size will allow you to effortlessly change the angles and shoot more footage for an extended period of time. And while that is great on its own, the aforementioned elements are especially useful since they work great in combination with some of the other characteristics of this model like its image stabilizing technology and the intelligent zoom to bring you far more creative opportunities for expression.

Review of Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder

Let Imagination Run Wild

Now, as for those technical characteristics, we would first like to mention the model's 28mm wide-angle lens. Having the said 28mm of focal length at the wide end will allow you to fit more individuals and a large chunk of the background into your frame, and that is something that will prove to be especially useful in tight space scenarios. And since you'll be able to fit those subjects even as you film from up close, you will also be able to bring the microphone closer to the action, something that will obviously result in improved audio pick up. Though you won't have to worry too much about that as the model's 2-channel zoom microphone should be able to do a perfectly fine job providing clear audio at just about any reasonable distance.

Speaking of getting closer to the action, we simply couldn't afford to miss the 50x optical zoom and the 90x intelligent zoom, both of which will allow you to zoom in on the action without compromising your position. Plus, aside from the 5-axis image stabilization, the model comes equipped with a Level Shot feature that automatically detects and corrects tilting in images, so your footage will be as crisp and clear as it gets. Finally, let your imagination run wild with the model's creative filter effects that include 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, Miniature Effect, and Time Lapse Recording.

To sum it all up, if you don't have that much money to spare on a camcorder but you still need a capable and effective device for vlogging purposes or any kind of video shooting that could benefit from the model's small frame, the Panasonic HC-V180K will prove to be right up your alley.

Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

If you want to record indoors/low-light, or need the absolute best in video quality then spend the extra money to get something with a much larger sensor (not really available on any "camcorder"). Otherwise, you’ll love this!

Imaging

The zoom is amazing! I shoot most of my videos on a 1.6x crop frame Canon DSLR and there is no lens in the world that will get you 59x optical zoom

Features

Advanced operating manual available on Panasonic site for download.

Connectivity

Videos should be preset for MP4 or else the camera has to be connected through HDMI cable ( which is given along with the camera) and can be seen on HD TVs only.

Display

It's better if the view finder. otherwise ok.
 

Ansteker 4K

Affordable 4K Camera

Shooting in 4k is the end goal of any filmmaking enthusiast. Unfortunately, not everybody has the financial means to support this goal, so most people settle for a less demanding alternative and get themselves cameras that shoot in Full HD. Which isn't bad, don't get us wrong, but the latter offers 4 times fewer pixels to work with, so the difference in image quality can often seem staggering. On that note, we would like to introduce Ansteker, one of the most affordable 4k camcorders on the market.

Now, before we dig deeper into what it is that the camera has to offer, we should make one thing clear. Though the model is capable of making actual 4k photos, the highest video resolution that the camera supports is 2880 x 2160 pixels, which is the height of your standard Ultra HD resolution but not the width. That said, while it won't provide you with necessarily the same picture that you would get from a high-end 4k camera, what you'll get from it is still far better than Full HD.

Of course, if you feel so inclined, nobody is stopping you from filming in the said Full HD resolution, especially since you could rack up the frame rate from 30 to 60 frames per second, providing yourself and your viewers with the opportunity to experience a much smoother footage.

Review of Ansteker 4K Camcorder, 48MP 30FPS Ultra HD WiFi Video Camera IR Night Vision

Capture Natural Colors

Though what we have here might seem like an everyday camcorder, the model actually has an ace or two up its sleeve. One of those aces is definitely the infrared night vision sensor. The model's night mode that employs the services of that sensor redefines the limits of maximum low-light conditions that the user can work with. Of course, it will eat up your battery, but the night vision capabilities will allow you to capture pretty much any object even in the most dimly lit scenarios.

Though most of the model's specs are nothing to write home about, we can't say the same about its 0.39x wide angle lens and an external microphone. Both of these elements make the camcorder great not just for filming purpose but also for capturing media interviews, speeches, symposiums, and conferences. With the high-quality microphone, you'll be able to pick up the sound more clearly, so you won't have to waste your time editing out the all of the noise.

The 13 megapixels CMOS image sensor wouldn't be able to rival its high-end counterparts but it does bring some extra sensitivity that opens the possibility for capturing natural colors. Plus, there's also the processor's on-chip noise reduction technology that brings bright clarity to every frame. Finally, we would be remiss not to briefly mention the 3-inch touchscreen LCD monitor. The best part about it is that it features the sort of intuitive interface that allows the user to choose the right focal point, track all of the moving subjects, and shoots or watch videos with effortless ease.

Again, the 4k camcorder from Ansteker doesn't really offer enough to rival the most advanced options on the market. But for the sort of price tag that the model comes with, just the sheer ability to shoot in 4k and the wide angle of the lens make this camera worth your consideration.

Ansteker 4K Camcorder, 48MP 30FPS Ultra HD WiFi Video Camera IR Night Vision in the use

 

What Is a Camcorder?

No matter what technologies you’re used to, using a record video camera (also called camcorder) can benefit you in many ways. Combining the functionality of a recorder and a video camera, it can help you shoot all types of videos in high resolution, recording people’s voices in all environments. Camcorders will come to liking to those users who’re used to taking pictures with a camera to the eyes, and basically, all the rest who need a simple, traditional and quality equipment. Most fitted with displays, they allow instant review and control of the footage and use of other accessories like lenses, tripods, etc. Take a look at our selection of the best camcorders and make your choice!

If you need a gadget for filming under extreme conditions, including underwater, we can also recommend you to consider our review on the best action cameras.

What Features to Compare

The Sensor

The major choice criterion when buying any photo shooting equipment is the sensor specs. The bigger the area a sensor can catch, the better the picture will come out. Physical sensor dimensions typically range from ¼ to ⅙ inches, though on some of the most cutting-edge models it can be equal to ⅓ inches. The modern market presents two sensor types: CCD that allow taking high-resolution images with little-to-none noise, and CMOS that consume considerably less energy and aren't as expensive. The bigger number of pixels will also mean a better footage in the end.

The Lens

Another parameter that you need to consider is the lens. Most often than not, camcorders are fitted with lenses of either the same manufacturer or alternative options by other popular brands such as Zeiss or Leica. The field of view of the picture is directly affected by the maximum zoom rate, which means, if it is bigger the picture will also be much more clear and precise. Continuing analyzing the lens, you should also consider its diaphragm to get an idea of the pictures and videos sharpness. The diaphragm is usually written the following way - f/8, where the number tells you of the ratio 1:8. Make sure to consider the stabilization specs. This parameter isn’t less important than any other else, for when holding a camera in hands, vibrations and trembling aren’t a rare occurrence.

Video Recording

You should also consider video parameters and decide on a camera that saves video in the way that suits you better - on built-in hardware or SD card. If you choose a camera with two options available that would work even better. Speaking of video specs, the best camcorders are those that can shoot video in AVCHD, though, if you aren’t as demanding and need a camera for occasional use, you can choose from less expensive models that shoot in Full HD and HD. Being inferior and cheaper to the advanced models, nonetheless, they please with the footage quality in most popular video formats.

Convenience of Use

Video recording camera should also be pretty straightforward in use, have a display, expandable memory and remote control if necessary. Being powered by built-in batteries camcorders may differ in autonomous operating time. In order to pick the one that would last longer, you should opt for a camera with battery of 2000 mAh the least. The weight of the camera might not be a deal-breaker factor, but still should be considered if you plan to travel with it and take videos on the go.

Sources:

1. Jim Martin How to choose your next camcorder, PC ADVISOR. February 28, 2012.

2. David Elrich CAMCORDER BUYING GUIDEDigital Trends. June 1, 2012.

3. How to Choose a Digital Video Camera, wikiHow.

4. Best Camcorder Buying Guide, Consumer Reports. May 2016.

5. Meredith Krebs Finding the right camcorder, Crutchfield.

6. Digital Camcorders Have Advantages, Streetdirectory

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