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Compare the 10 Best CamcordersOctober 2017

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Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every camcorder on the market in the US to determine our top 10 list. In total we compared over 733 camcorders, 26,000 reviews and 4,930 prices. Last updated 17 October 2017.

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$34.99

#1 Sony HDR‑CX700

HDR-CX700
Digital Versus - 5 StarLes Numeriques.com - 5 Star
An award winning and bargain price 10x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution video camera, with great features
97
Reviews
2 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
85
Features
Fully-Featured
90
Overall Score
Excellent
10x
1920 X 1080 pixels
12.3MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
395g
Sep 2013
Weight
Release Date
$34.99
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$89.95

#2 Transcend DrivePro 100

DrivePro 100
megaobzor.com/ - Recommendedua.gecid.com - Quality Award
A staggeringly light weight and very good value for money 1x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution video camera, with very good features and an industry award
96
Reviews
2 Awards
97
Value for Money
Excellent
82
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
3MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
72.6g
Jul 2013
Weight
Release Date
$89.95
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48% Off
$83.25
Save $76.74

#3 Zoom Q2N

Q2N
The highest rated camcorder under $500, with very good features
96
Reviews
40 Reviews
97
Value for Money
Excellent
82
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
3MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
90g
Jan 2017
Weight
Release Date
$83.25
Save $76.74
eBay logo
B&H Photo $159.99
Best Buy $159.99
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45% Off
GoPro Hero
$149.99
Was $275 (17 days ago)
Target
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28% Off
$213.99
Save $83.35

#4 Sony HDR‑CX405

HDR-CX405
A low cost and best selling 30x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution video camera, with fantastic user reviews and very good features
95
Reviews
978 Reviews
97
Value for Money
Excellent
82
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
30x
1920 X 1080 pixels
9.2MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
190g
Sep 2015
Weight
Release Date
$213.99
Save $83.35
Overstock logo
B&H Photo $224.00
Focus Camera $228.00
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21% Off
$59.99
Save $16.00

#5 Polaroid POLC3

POLC3
The best rated camcorder under $100, with very good features
94
Reviews
63 Reviews
98
Value for Money
Excellent
82
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
6MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
113g
Dec 2012
Weight
Release Date
$59.99
Save $16.00
eBay logo
Overstock $98.99
Best Buy $99.99
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47% Off
$99.00
Save $88.99

#6 Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam

8MP Trophy Cam
A top-value and classic 1x optical zoom 1280 x 720 pixels resolution video camera, with very good features and a staggeringly light 50g weight
93
Reviews
125 Reviews
98
Value for Money
Excellent
81
Features
Fully-Featured
86
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1280 X 720 pixels
8MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
50g
Nov 2012
Weight
Release Date
$99.00
Save $88.99
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Amazon US $161.00
Factory Outlet Store $187.99
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50% Off
$69.99
Save $70.00

#7 Samsung Gear 360

Gear 360
adrenaline.uol.com.br - Silverwhatnext.pl - Yes01net.com - 4 StarLydogbilde.no - Especially Recommended
A best selling and affordable 1x optical zoom 3840 x 1920 pixels resolution video camera, with multiple awards and one of the highest image qualities available
92
Reviews
10 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
3840 X 1920 pixels
30MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
152g
Sep 2016
Weight
Release Date
$69.99
Save $70.00
eBay logo
Focus Camera $149.00
Amazon US $329.99
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27% Off
$265.99
Save $99.18

#8 GoPro Hero 3

Hero 3
insidehardware.it - GoldPC Mag - Editor's Choiceallround-pc.com - Recommended ProductLydogbilde.no - Especially Recommended 5 Star
A very popular and bargain price 1x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution video camera, with multiple awards and great features
94
Reviews
5 Awards
95
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
5MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
163g
Dec 2012
Weight
Release Date
$265.99
Save $99.18
Amazon US logo
Overstock $323.18
Tech For Less $349.97
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25% Off
$148.74
Save $50.26

#9 Garmin Virb X

Virb X
01net.com - 4 Star
A bargain price and award winning 1x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution camcorder, with very good features
94
Reviews
1 Award
95
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
84
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
12MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
151g
Sep 2015
Weight
Release Date
$148.74
Save $50.26
eBay logo
Factory Outlet Store $229.99
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$149.99

#10 GoPro Hero

Hero
mod-your-case.de - Goldwired.com - FetishDigitaltrends.com - Editor's ChoicePocket Lint - Editor's Choice
A bargain price and very popular 1x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution camcorder, with multiple awards and great features
92
Reviews
4 Awards
97
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
84
Overall Score
Excellent
1x
1920 X 1080 pixels
5MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
110g
Dec 2012
Weight
Release Date
$149.99
Best Buy logo
Pictureline $149.99
Target $149.99
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Camcorder Brands

Find out how camcorder brands compare. The average rating for each brand is based on the rating of all of their camcorders. Click on a link to compare all camcorders made by your favourite brand.

Logo Brand Number of Camcorders Price Range Average Rating
Sony logo Sony Camcorders 46 $35 - $14,475 83%
Canon logo Canon Camcorders 31 $50 - $3,026 73%
Panasonic logo Panasonic Camcorders 24 $198 - $10,835 81%
Other brands Other Camcorder Brands 77 $28 - $2,744

Today's Best Camcorder Deals

17% Off
Sony PXW-FS5
$4,748.00
Was $5,749 (6 days ago)
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$2,575.00
Was $3,995 (2 days ago)
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Trending Camcorder Comparisons

Finding the Right Camcorder for You

Although VHS players are long gone, everybody still wants to preserve their best memories. Pictures are great ways to do that, but for many occasions you really need a video to put yourself in the moment again. Or perhaps you are a film maker looking for a professional camera that is not too bulky? Do you post video diaries on YouTube during your trips? Whatever you like to do, there's a camcorder for that.

Of course, this isn't 1997 anymore, and your choices are not limited to Super 8 and VCR. Before buying a camcorder, you need to look at what kind of video camera and quality do you need, how often you will use it and how you plan to watch the videos.

By knowing your needs and matching them to the options available, you will be able to shoot your family videos, that great football match, the concert ever of your favourite band and your YouTube blog too!

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Key Camcorder Features

Resolution

The image resolution determines the number of pixels the image you shoot contains. In most cases, this is the most important factor to look at when choosing a camcorder. Today, a good camera will have a resolution between 1080p and 4K. These are also known as Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and Ultra High Definition (3840 x 2160 pixels). Although a 4K camera sounds attractive, it is only worth the higher cost if you have the ability to view the result on a 4K screen. TVs and monitors that work at 4K UHD are becoming more widely available and 4K recording will become more widespread in the future too.

Sensor Size

The larger the resolution on a camera, the larger the sensor needs to be in order to capture the video in good quality. While most cameras with the same output resolution will have a similar sensor size, sometimes there are differences. Some 4K cameras for example use 1” sensors but others used 1/2.3” sensors. While a smaller sensor will work for average recording conditions, a larger sensor will show its worth in low-light scenes as it allows it to capture more light.

Bit Rate

In terms of image quality, the bit rate is usually the third item to look at when comparing two cameras that have the same resolution and sensor size. The bit rate describes the amount of data that is generated by the camera when it records. The more data it produces per second of film, the better the image quality will be. A difference between a 24 MBPS (megabytes per second) camera and a 28 MBPS one will be very subtle, but still noticeable. The bit rate is also important for another reason: file storage. At 25 MBPS it takes about one hour to fill up a 16GB card. Recording at a higher bit rate means your memory card will fill up more quickly. When recording at a higher bit rate it is usually a good idea to invest in a memory card with higher capacity or download the content onto a computer at regular intervals.

Image Stabilisation

Unless you are filming from a tripod or have very steady hands, having a camera with good image stabilisation is essential to prevent your recordings turning blurry, particularly when using zoom. There are two main types: optical and digital image stabilisation. Optical Image Stabilisation is the most effective type to keep your videos sharp. Small gyro-sensors inside the lens shift moveable glass elements to offset the motion of the camcorder. Digital Image Stabilisation uses software to calculate the best way to avoid shaky images. It might mean that only certain pixels of the camcorder’s sensor are used for the final image. Digital stabilisation is not as effective as optical stabilisations and it is worth checking the type used before buying a camcorder that id not specific about the stabilisation type it uses.

Zoom

A good optical zoom can make a big difference when you are recording. If you are shooting sports, wildlife, airplanes, concerts and anything else, which is a considerable distance away, a minimum of 25x optical zoom is recommended. Filming people only a few metres away can be done with 10x or even 5x zoom. Optical zoom is always preferred to digital zoom because it captures the full frame at the highest quality. Digital zoom simply crops and enlarges a portion of the image reducing the resolution of the result.

Aperture

This is especially important if you are going to shoot in low-light environments like concert halls, caves and at night. The aperture of a camera defines how big the opening in the camera lens is which allows light in. The larger the opening, the more light is allowed in and the higher the quality of a low-light image will be. Aperture is measured in f-stops, with a smaller number representing a larger opening. For example, f1.8 is great for low-light settings whereas f5.6 and higher might result in an image that is too dark.

Audio Quality

Good quality audio is essential to capture the atmosphere of a football match or the music of a concert. It is important to check the quality of the built in microphone when buying a camcorder. Most budget options will have a mono microphone, which records only one channel. This can make the audio feel lifeless and flat and a high quality stereo microphone will be a much better option. If you are after the highest sound quality, using an external microphone will give the best results.

Memory

Most cameras will offer a certain amount of internal memory. Some camcorders used to have and internal hard disk drive (HDD) but this is now becoming less common as flash memory has become cheaper and takes up less space. The internal memory can be extended by inserting an SD card. If you use your camera for short scenes or are downloading files to your computer frequently, a relatively small SD card will be sufficient. To shoot hours of video at a time will require a large SD card or even multiple cards that can be exchanged when full.

WiFi

Being able to connect to your camcorder wirelessly opens up a lot of possibilities which you may or may not find useful. WiFi can allow some cameras to connect to a smartphone, which can then be used as a remote control.

Battery Life

If you plan to record for a long time, or be outside and away from a plug, a long battery life is essential. Battery life can vary between camcorders so it is worth checking the manufacturer’s specifications before making your decision. Batteries can be replaced on some camcorder models allowing to extend recording times. You can replace the camcorder battery with a spare one when it runs out and continue recording straight away.

Camcorder Types Explained

After checking the specifications, you probably have an idea of what you need in a camera. This brings us to the next step: finding the type of camera that has all the features you need. Most camcorders fall into one of four categories:

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Mainstream Camcorders

These are the workhorses of the family. Here you will find the camcorders that pack all the basic features, can record footage at good quality and will serve the regular home user very well. Examples here include the low-ends of the Canon VIXIA, Sony CX and Panasonic V ranges. Despite being relatively simple, most mainstream camcorders will work for sport events, concerts, family videos and much more while having a lower price tag than other options. These are the best choice unless you have more specific requirements.

Resource ID 4

Advanced & Professional Camcorders

At some point the good old family camera may not make the grade, and then comes the time to look for models that pack in some high-end features. You will only be in this situation if you have specific requirements for which the good old mainstream camcorder wasn't made for. This includes very low light capture, 4K capability, image stabilisation, HD audio and other specific features. Each advanced camcorder has a different range of features, but most will give you high end results that can benefit both professional and demanding amateur users.

Resource ID 5

Pocket Camcorders

These small camcorders allow you to take them with you wherever you go without having to take a bag, and they are usually very affordable too. One of the downsides are a usually a compromise in image quality. While you can still find good options in this range, there are physical limitations to the size of sensor that can be built into a small camera. For the usual blogger who just needs a basic camera with low-end HD options, this will do. If you need more options or features (including handles), look at mainstream camcorders instead.

Resource ID 6

Wearable/Action Camcorders

If you are planning to attach your camera to something that will move, shake, turn or swim, you definitely need an action camera. The most popular and recognised camera in this niche is the GoPro series, but there are alternatives from Sony and other brands too. Most action cams are waterproof making them ideal for surfing, swimming, snowboading and diving.

Finding the Right Camcorder for Every Situation

Home Videos

Taking home videos of your children and family can be done in reasonable quality with a less expensive camcorder but you might still prefer Full HD resolution to less detailed alternatives.

Sports

If you like filming sports, particularly ones played in arenas and other settings where lighting may not be ideal, a camcorder with a good low-light performance is crucial. Look for a long zoom lens and optical image stabilsation to make sure you can capture the action without losing focus.

Video Blogging

If you tend to record mostly at home, a pocket camcorder might be all you need. This is an inexpensive way to get started. You could even consider using a good quality webcam. If you plan to film outside you might require more features like a good optical zoom and image stabilisation.

Film & Documentaries

With YouTube, Vimeo and other online streaming services allowing Ultra High Definition Uploads, a 4K camcorder might be worth considering to make sure you achieve the highest possible quality and prepare for the future. For the best results, look for good image stabilisation, a big aperture and a large sensor that can handle low-light shots. A powerful zoom wouldn't go amiss either if the action is happening further out. Alternatively, if you are working on a set where you have the ability to adjust the lighting and prevent unexpected camera movement, a high-end 1080p camera on a stable mount might be adequate.

Camcorder Retailers, Prices and Features

Camcorder Prices

The price range of camcorders is from $27 to $14,475 and in total we found prices for 182 camcorders. The average price of a new video camera is $1,208 and the 80% of video cameras are priced between $65 and $3,158. The Sony PXW-FS7K is the most expensive video camera that we found at $14,475, and the Kodak Super 8 is the cheapest at only $28.

Camcorder Brands - Price Range

Sony video cameras range in price from $35 to $14,475, and the highest average camcorder price out of all brands is Sony video cameras with an average price of $2,377.

Blackmagic Design video cameras range in price from $797 to $2,995, and the average price of Blackmagic Design video cameras is $1,814 which is the second highest average price of all camcorder brands.

The average price of Panasonic video cameras is $1,809 which is the third highest average price of all camcorder brands. Panasonic video cameras start at $198 and the most expensive Panasonic camcorder costs $10,835.

Camcorder Brands - Average Ratings

We have evaluated 865 expert reviews and 18,423 user reviews for camcorders from across the internet and used these reviews to calculate the average rating for each brand of video camera. The top three camcorder brands are Benq, Transcend and GoPro. Benq has an average rating of 92%, Transcend has an average rating of 89% and GoPro has an average rating of 89%.

Biggest Video Camera Retailers

We found 182 current offers for video cameras from Walmart making it the biggest video camera retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Amazon US for whom we found 147 current offers for video cameras. The third biggest retailer is eBay with 104 current video camera offers.

When Are Most New Video Cameras Released?

Most new video cameras tend to be released between January and February. For the latest video camera features you may want to think about waiting until January 2018. Also the price of the current video cameras may drop off just before the latest models are released in January. The biggest month last year for new camcorder releases was February, with 28 new camcorders released that month. 31 new camcorders were released in September 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new camcorder releases. January was the biggest month in 2014 for new camcorders, with 33 new camcorders released that month.

How Fast Do Camcorder Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, camcorders drop in price by 5%. If you are prepared to wait then you could save an average of $63 on a typical $1,208 new video camera by waiting 6 months before buying.

Optical Zooms

An optical zoom lets you enlarge the subject without having to move closer to it.

Comparing all camcorders, the optical zooms range from 1x to 70x. The optical zooms of the majority of camcorders range from 1x to 7.1x. The PanasonicSDR-S70 has the biggest optical zoom. This video camera is a 70x optical zoom video camera and is available at $249.99. The PanasonicSDR-S70 has the smallest optical zoom. This video camera is a 1x optical zoom video camera and is priced at $39.99.

An optical zoom lets you zoom without loosing image quality. Digital zooms will simply enlarge the pixels and make the image look blurry.

Max Video Resolutions

Video resolution is the amount of pixels that make up each frame of the recorded video.

We found 768 video cameras that are video cameras that have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels, which makes this the most popular max video resolution amongst new video cameras. We found 768 camcorders that are video cameras that have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, making this the second most frequently found max video resolution amongst new camcorders.

A higher video resolution means that each frame will be more detailed and sharper, with less blurring or smudging. This leads to a far higher quality video.

Total Megapixels

A megapixel (MP or Mpx) is one million pixels, and is a term used not only for the number of pixels in an image, but also to express the number of image sensor elements of digital cameras or the number of display elements of digital displays. For example, a camera that makes a 2048 1536 pixel image typically uses a few extra rows and columns of sensor elements and is commonly said to have "3.2 megapixels" or "3.4 megapixels", depending on whether the number reported is the "effective" or the "total" pixel count (as opposed to the 2048 1536 = 3,145,728 finished image pixels).

Across the range of video cameras, the total megapixels range from 0.3MP to 50MP. The total megapixels of most video cameras range from 2.7MP to 5.1MP. The camcorder with the biggest total megapixels is the SonyPXW-X160, which is a 50MP video camera and sells for $3,789.97. The SonyPXW-X160, which is on sale for $239.99, has the smallest total megapixels and is a 0.48MP camcorder.

A larger number of megapixels increases the sharpness of images and video.

Optical Sensor Sizes

Optical sensor size is one of the most important factors affecting the image quality produced by a camcorder. The sensor is what processes the light from the lens and transfers it into a digital image.

Across the range of camcorders, the optical sensor sizes range from 1" to 4/3". The optical sensor sizes of most video cameras range from 0.13" to 0.28". The SonyPXW-FS7K, which is available at $14,474.99, has the largest optical sensor size and is a 4/3" optical sensor size video camera. The camcorder with the smallest optical sensor size is the SonyPXW-FS7K, which is a 1" optical sensor size camcorder and is priced at $2,399.00.

A larger optical sensor produces better quality results, because more light can be brought into the lens at once, This leads to larger, more highly-detailed videos and photos.

Weights

This denotes the weight of the camcorder, including battery.

Comparing all camcorders, the weights range from 50g to 7.4kg. The weights of the majority of video cameras range from 50g to 300g. The camcorder with the heaviest weight is the SonyPDWF-800, which is a 4.3kg camcorder and is available at $49.95. The SonyPDWF-800, which sells for $434.00, has the lightest weight and is a 50g video camera.

A lighter camcorder is easier to handle when recording and to carry when travelling.

Biggest Camcorder Retailers

The biggest video camera retailer by number of products currently for sale is Walmart. We found 182 current video camera offers from Walmart. The second biggest video camera retailer is Amazon US with 147 offers. That means Walmart is significantly bigger than Amazon US when it comes to video cameras. eBay is the third biggest retailer with 104 current offers.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Camcorders?

With the cheapest price on 80 camcorders, eBay is most frequently the cheapest video camera store.

Proportion of Camcorders for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

The store that most frequently offered the cheapest price on video cameras is eBay and offers the cheapest price on 76.9% of its video cameras.

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