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Rank
Kagoo Score
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Price
Optical Zoom
Weight
Total Megapixels
Max Video Resolution
Release Date
#1

Sony HDR‑AS30

498 Reviews
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$279.99

1x
Info
65g
Info
11.9MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Dec 2012
#2

Transcend DrivePro 200

234 Reviews
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$97.95

1x
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84g
Info
3MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jul 2013
#3

Sony FDR‑AX700

16 Reviews
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$1,898.00

12x
Info
1kg
Info
14.2MP
Info
3840 X 2160 (4K) pixels
Info
Sep 2017
#4

Panasonic HC‑W850

17 Reviews
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$1,020.99

20x
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360g
Info
12.76MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Mar 2014
Save $101
#5

Panasonic HC‑V770

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$447.99

20x
Info
353g
Info
12.76MP
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1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
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Mar 2015
#6

Ricoh Theta S

332 Reviews
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$199.96

1x
Info
125g
Info
14MP
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1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
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Oct 2015
#7

Canon XF100

3 Reviews
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$1,894.89

10x
Info
1kg
Info
2.37MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jan 2011
Save $95
#8

Sony FDR‑AX100

297 Reviews
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$1,298.00

12x
Info
790g
Info
14.2MP
Info
3840 X 2160 (4K) pixels
Info
Jul 2015
#9

Veho Muvi HD NPNG

60 Reviews
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$319.00

1x
Info
81g
Info
8MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Apr 2012
Save $108
#11

Sony HDR‑CX405

681 Reviews
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$49.93

30x
Info
190g
Info
9.2MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jan 2015
#12

Zoom Q4

114 Reviews
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$49.99

1x
Info
167g
Info
3MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Nov 2014
#13

Zoom Q8

36 Reviews
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$280.00

1x
Info
260g
Info
3MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jan 2016
#14

Sony HDR‑AS300

18 Reviews
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$239.99

1x
Info
107g
Info
8.57MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Oct 2016
#15

Polaroid ID975‑RED

15 Reviews
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$133.33

10x
Info
771g
Info
16MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Nov 2016
Save $177
#16

Sony HDR‑CX240

304 Reviews
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$79.99

27x
Info
190g
Info
9.2MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Oct 2014
Save $73
#17

Sony FDR‑AX53

163 Reviews
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$774.50

20x
Info
635g
Info
8.29MP
Info
5440 X 3056 pixels
Info
Jan 2016
Save $19
#18

Zoom Q2N

63 Reviews
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$129.99

1x
Info
90g
Info
3MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jan 2017
#19

Garmin Virb X

7 Reviews
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$196.68

1x
Info
151g
Info
12MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Sep 2015
#20

ACTIVEON Solar XG

6 Reviews
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$85.62

1x
Info
270g
Info
14MP
Info
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Oct 2015
Save $436

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema

40 Reviews
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$285.00

n/a
355g
Info
n/a
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
Info
Jan 2014

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What Are The Best Camcorder Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every camcorder and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated camcorder brand is Sony with an average rating of 84%. Compare all award winning camcorders.

Rank Brand Number of Camcorders Price Range Average Rating
#1
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Sony Camcorders 147 $50 - $9,101
84%
5,448 reviews
#2
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Canon Camcorders 112 $50 - $11,999
67%
441 reviews
#3
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Panasonic Camcorders 107 $178 - $10,835
53%
183 reviews
#4
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Samsung Camcorders 37 $60 - $69
43%
93 reviews
#5
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JVC Camcorders 85 $299 - $2,744
35%
32 reviews
#6
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ION Camcorders 28 $45 - $316
35%
14 reviews

Trending Camcorder Comparisons

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Canon
XA30
$1,563.37
Better brand
VS
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Sony
HXR-NX100
$1,498.00
More popular
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Panasonic
HC-X1000
$2,899.00
Considerably
better user
reviews
VS
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Sony
PXW-X70
$2,059.00
$840 cheaper
Better brand
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Sony
PXW-FS5
$4,248.00
Better brand
VS
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Panasonic
AG-DVX200
$3,495.00
$753 cheaper
More popular
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Sony
FDR-AX1
$4,564.04
Better brand
VS
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Panasonic
AG-DVX200
$3,495.00
$1,069 cheaper
More popular
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Sony
HXR-NX5R
$2,898.00
Better brand
VS
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Panasonic
AG-UX180
$2,995.00
More popular
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Panasonic
HC-X1000
$2,899.00
More popular
Considerably
better user
reviews
VS
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Sony
PXW-X70
$2,059.00
$840 cheaper
Better brand
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Canon
XF100
$1,894.89
$164 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Sony
PXW-X70
$2,059.00
User reviews
are a lot
better
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Nikon
Keymission 170
$150.61
User reviews
are moderately
better
VS
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Xiaomi
Yi 4K
$144.00
Four more
awards
Better brand
Expert reviews
are a lot
better
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Sony
HDR-CX455
$330.60
More popular
VS
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Canon
Vixia HF R80
$239.13
$91 cheaper
Better brand
loading image
Sony
PXW-FS5
$4,248.00
Better brand
VS
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Panasonic
AG-UX180
$2,995.00
$1,253 cheaper
More popular
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Panasonic
HC-V770
$447.99
Vastly better
user reviews
VS
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Canon
Vixia HF R82
$299.00
$149 cheaper
Better brand
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Sony
HDR-CX405
$49.93
$179 cheaper
Expert reviews
are better
VS
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GoPro
Hero 5
$228.95
More popular
Better brand
A bit better
user reviews
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Sony
HDR-CX675
$498.00
More popular
Hugely better
user reviews
VS
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Canon
Vixia HF R82
$299.00
$199 cheaper
Better brand
loading image
Sony
PXW-Z150
$2,998.00
$175 cheaper
More popular
VS
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Canon
XF405
$3,173.40
Better brand
loading image
GoPro
Hero
$80.00
$50 cheaper
Better brand
More popular
VS
loading image
Zoom
Q2N
$129.99
A little better
user reviews
loading image
Canon
XF400
$2,228.70
$569 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Sony
PXWZ90V
$2,798.00
More popular
loading image
Sony
PXW-X160
$3,789.97
Better brand
VS
loading image
Panasonic
AG-DVX200
$3,495.00
$295 cheaper
More popular
loading image
Sony
HDR-AS50
$135.49
$9 cheaper
Better brand
VS
loading image
Xiaomi
Yi 4K
$144.00
One more awards
User reviews
are appreciably
better
Expert reviews
are better
loading image
Sony
HXR-NX100
$1,498.00
$522 cheaper
More popular
VS
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Canon
XA35
$2,019.99
Better brand
loading image
Panasonic
HC-W580
$347.99
$83 cheaper
More popular
Hugely better
user reviews
VS
loading image
Canon
LEGRIA HF R86
$430.82
Better brand

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhat is an 'action camcorder'?
AAn action camcorder is a very small recording device meant to be worn on clothing or attached to a helmet. It's normally used to film extreme sports or give a 'first person' view of what the subject sees.
QWhat's the difference between 'optical' and 'digital' zoom?
AOptical zoom uses the hardware of the camcorder to physically move the lenses, enlarging the captured picture. Digital zoom uses software to further enlarge the picture. This means digital zooms can go far beyond the range of optical zooms, but the quality is much worse, and degrades sharply as the image is zoomed in.
QWhat is an 'image stabiliser'?
AAn image stabiliser detects and compensates for small judders and shakes while filming, meaning the resulting video is far smoother and still.
QWhy is a big sensor size important?
AA larger optical sensor produces better quality videos, because more light can be brought into the lens at once, This leads to larger, more highly-detailed videos and photos.

Camcorder Buying Guide

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.

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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

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

Digital image stabilistaion 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.

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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.

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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:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 $29 to $11,999 and in total we found prices for 166 camcorders. On average, a new video camera costs $1,329 and 80% of video cameras are priced between $50 and $3,285. The most expensive video camera that we found is the Canon XF105 at $11,999, and the cheapest is the Vivitar DVR785 at only $30.

Camcorder Brands - Price Range

The highest average video camera price out of all brands is Blackmagic Design camcorders with an average price of $2,942. Blackmagic Design camcorders start at $285 and their most expensive video camera costs $5,995.

Sony video cameras range in price from $50 to $9,101, and the average price of Sony video cameras is $2,273 which is the second highest average price of all video camera brands.

Canon video cameras range in price from $50 to $11,999, and the third highest average camcorder price out of all brands is Canon video cameras with an average price of $1,665.

Video Camera Brands - Average Ratings

We have analysed 1,950 expert reviews and 10,266 user reviews for video cameras and used this information to calculate the average rating for each brand of video camera. The top rated video camera brand is Sony with an average rating of 84%. The second best brand is Canon with 67% and the third best brand is Panasonic with 53%.

Biggest Video Camera Retailers

We found 109 current offers for camcorders from eBay making it the biggest camcorder retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Walmart for whom we found 76 current offers for camcorders. The third biggest retailer is Adorama with 56 current camcorder offers.

When Are Most New Video Cameras Released?

We looked at the release dates for new camcorders over the last 3 years, but couldn't see any obvious trend. The biggest month in 2017 for new camcorder releases was January, with 12 new camcorders released that month. In 2016 most new camcorders were released in October, with 25 new camcorders released that month. In September 2015 27 new camcorders were released making it the biggest month that year for new camcorder releases.

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 $73 on a typical $1,329 new camcorder by waiting 6 months before buying.

Optical Zooms

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

Across the range of video cameras, the optical zooms range from 1x to 78x. The optical zooms of most video cameras range from 1x to 7x. The Panasonic HC-V250, which sells for $480.99, has the biggest optical zoom and is a 50x optical zoom camcorder. The Zoom Q4, which sells for $165.00, has the smallest optical zoom and is a 1x optical zoom video camera.

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

Weights

'Weight' denotes the weight of the camcorder, including battery.

The weights of video cameras range from 50g to 7.4kg. The weights of the majority of video cameras range from 0g to 400g. The Blackmagic Design URSA EF, which is priced at $3,650.00, has the heaviest weight and is a 7.4kg camcorder. The video camera with the lightest weight is the Vivitar DVR936, which is a 50g video camera and sells for $88.24.

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

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 camcorders, the total megapixels range from 0.3MP to 50MP. The total megapixels of most video cameras range from 0MP to 3MP. The video camera with the biggest total megapixels is the Sony PXW-X160, which is a 50MP camcorder and currently retails for $3,789.97. The video camera with the smallest total megapixels is the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam 180, which is a 0.3MP camcorder and is priced at $38.00.

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

Max Video Resolutions

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

The most frequently found max video resolution amongst new camcorders is 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels. We found 480 camcorders that are video cameras that have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels. We found 60 video cameras that are video cameras that have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (4K) pixels, making 3840 x 2160 (4K) pixels the second most common max video resolution amongst new video cameras.

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.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Camcorders?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying camcorders. For each retailer it shows the total number of camcorders where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying camcorders. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was eBay. 90 of their camcorder prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

Proportion of Camcorders for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for camcorders by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of video camera prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's video camera prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was eBay. 82.6% of their video camera prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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