The best 10 camcorders in comparison

Which are the best camcorders of 2019?

Best camcorders of 2019 (1 - 5)
camcorder comparison
Comparison winner
camcorder comparison
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero7 Black
Comparison winner
Sony FDR-AX33
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero6 Black
Comparison winner
Sony HDR-PJ810
Comparison winner
GoPro Fusion
Comparison winner
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000
Comparison winner
Canon XC10
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero7 Silver
Comparison winner
Garmin Virb Ultra 30
Comparison winner
Sony HDR-PJ650V
Image
100points
89points
89points
88points
86points
84points
84points
83points
82points
82points
Best price
Best price
Summary
Summary
  • Design (99)
  • Videography (100)
  • Optics (53)
  • Audio (40)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (100)
  • Design (77)
  • Videography (82)
  • Optics (100)
  • Audio (52)
  • Battery (86)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (76)
  • Videography (69)
  • Optics (70)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (90)
  • Design (87)
  • Videography (75)
  • Optics (79)
  • Audio (71)
  • Battery (71)
  • Features (84)
  • Design (47)
  • Videography (81)
  • Optics (74)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (88)
  • Features (90)
  • Design (63)
  • Videography (69)
  • Optics (68)
  • Audio (38)
  • Battery (100)
  • Features (77)
  • Design (63)
  • Videography (99)
  • Optics (79)
  • Audio (52)
  • Battery (85)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (99)
  • Videography (71)
  • Optics (52)
  • Audio (4)
  • Battery (63)
  • Features (80)
  • Design (100)
  • Videography (30)
  • Optics (71)
  • Audio (19)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (77)
  • Design (88)
  • Videography (75)
  • Optics (71)
  • Audio (80)
  • Battery (71)
  • Features (61)
Pros
Pros
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • More microphone(s)
  • More megapixels (main camera)
  • More battery power
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • Brand lens
  • Zoom microphone
  • Flip-out screen
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • More microphone(s)
  • More megapixels (main camera)
  • Zoom microphone
  • Flip-out screen
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • More battery power
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • More microphone(s)
  • Brand lens
  • More battery power
  • Brand lens
  • Flip-out screen
  • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Brand lens
    • More megapixels (main camera)
    • Zoom microphone
    • Flip-out screen
    Cons
    Cons
    • Battery power
    • Built-in optical image stabilization
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Number of microphones
    • GPS
    • Dustproof and water-resistant
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Compatible with Android
    • Stereo microphone
    • Battery power
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • 24p cinema mode
    • Microphone input
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • Battery power
    • GPS
    • Dustproof and water-resistant
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Compatible with Android
    • Burst mode
    • Microphone input
    • LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel
    • 24p cinema mode
    • Touch screen
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Touch screen
    • LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Number of microphones
    • GPS
    • Dustproof and water-resistant
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Compatible with Android
    • Microphone input
    • Removable battery
    • Battery power
    • Built-in optical image stabilization
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Stereo microphone
    • Number of microphones
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • 24p cinema mode
    • Slow-motion video recording
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • Stereo microphone
    • Battery power
    • Dustproof and water-resistant
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Compatible with Android
    • 802.11n Wi-Fi connection
    • Wi-Fi connectivity
    Design
    LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixelThe device has an LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel, resulting in sharp and crisp images. Pixels in some displays (like AMOLED) share one subpixel to preserve space. This can result in a less crisp, slightly blurred image.
    LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixelThe device has an LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel, resulting in sharp and crisp images. Pixels in some displays (like AMOLED) share one subpixel to preserve space. This can result in a less crisp, slightly blurred image.
    Flip-out screenFlip-out screens can be useful for tricky shots.
    Flip-out screenFlip-out screens can be useful for tricky shots.
    Dustproof and water-resistantThe device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.
    Dustproof and water-resistantThe device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.
    Touch screenYou can operate the device easily, by pressing the screen with your fingers.
    Touch screenYou can operate the device easily, by pressing the screen with your fingers.
    Weather-sealed (splashproof)The device is protected with extra seals to prevent failures caused by dust, raindrops, and water splashes.
    Weather-sealed (splashproof)The device is protected with extra seals to prevent failures caused by dust, raindrops, and water splashes.
    Total score for "Design"
    Total score for "Design"
    Videography
    24p cinema mode24p is a video format (24 frames per second) traditionally used in cinema. Nowadays, it is used to create film-like motion characteristics.
    24p cinema mode24p is a video format (24 frames per second) traditionally used in cinema. Nowadays, it is used to create film-like motion characteristics.
    Burst modeThe burst mode, also called serial shot mode or continuous shooting mode, allows you to shoot multiple photos in a row.
    Burst modeThe burst mode, also called serial shot mode or continuous shooting mode, allows you to shoot multiple photos in a row.
    Continuous autofocus for moviesWhen recording movies they stay focussed and sharp.
    Continuous autofocus for moviesWhen recording movies they stay focussed and sharp.
    Slow-motion video recording
    Slow-motion video recording
    Video recording (main camera)The maximum resolution available for videos shot with the main camera. Although it may be possible to choose among other frame rates, those recordings usually have lower resolutions.
    Video recording (main camera)The maximum resolution available for videos shot with the main camera. Although it may be possible to choose among other frame rates, those recordings usually have lower resolutions.2160 x 60fps1920 x 60fps2160 x 60fps1080 x 60fps2496 x 30fps1080 x 60fps2160 x 30fps2160 x 30fps2160 x 30fps1080 x 60fps
    Total score for "Videography"
    Total score for "Videography"
    Optics
    Brand lensThe lens is made by a reputable photographic equipment manufacturer, as opposed to a low-cost unbranded lens.
    Brand lensThe lens is made by a reputable photographic equipment manufacturer, as opposed to a low-cost unbranded lens.
    CMOS sensorCMOS image sensors are slowly replacing CCD sensors, due to reduced power consumption and better image quality. They can be very compact and cost relatively little to produce.
    CMOS sensorCMOS image sensors are slowly replacing CCD sensors, due to reduced power consumption and better image quality. They can be very compact and cost relatively little to produce.
    Manual white balanceWith manual white balance you can choose the most accurate setting and avoid the green, blue or red hue which can occur in auto mode. You can also change the setting for artistic effect.
    Manual white balanceWith manual white balance you can choose the most accurate setting and avoid the green, blue or red hue which can occur in auto mode. You can also change the setting for artistic effect.
    Megapixels (main camera)
    Megapixels (main camera)12MP20.6MP12MP24.5MP18MP8.2MP12MP10MP12MP20.4MP
    Built-in optical image stabilizationOptical image stabilization uses gyroscopic sensors to detect the vibrations of the camera. The lens adjusts the optical path accordingly, ensuring that any type of motion blur is corrected before the sensor captures the image.
    Built-in optical image stabilizationOptical image stabilization uses gyroscopic sensors to detect the vibrations of the camera. The lens adjusts the optical path accordingly, ensuring that any type of motion blur is corrected before the sensor captures the image.
    Total score for "Optics"
    Total score for "Optics"
    Audio
    3.5mm audio jackWith a standard mini jack socket, you can use the device with most headphones.
    3.5mm audio jackWith a standard mini jack socket, you can use the device with most headphones.
    Number of microphonesMore microphones result in better sound quality and enable the device to filter out background noise.
    Number of microphonesMore microphones result in better sound quality and enable the device to filter out background noise.313232121N.A.
    Microphone inputA microphone port allows connecting external high-end or specialized microphones.
    Microphone inputA microphone port allows connecting external high-end or specialized microphones.
    Zoom microphoneZoom microphones record high-quality audio and enable you to record sound from a distance. They can be useful for recording meetings, lectures, and presentations.
    Zoom microphoneZoom microphones record high-quality audio and enable you to record sound from a distance. They can be useful for recording meetings, lectures, and presentations.
    Stereo microphoneA stereo microphone allows to record audio files or movies in stereo without an external microphone.
    Stereo microphoneA stereo microphone allows to record audio files or movies in stereo without an external microphone.
    Total score for "Audio"
    Total score for "Audio"
    Battery
    Battery level indicatorAn indicator shows you when the device has low battery.
    Battery level indicatorAn indicator shows you when the device has low battery.
    Battery power
    Battery power1220mAh1960mAh1220mAh1030mAh2620mAhN.A.1865mAh1220mAh1250mAh980mAh
    External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) so that you can either extend the internal storage with affordable memory modules or you can retrieve data, such as photographs, easily from a memory card.
    External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) so that you can either extend the internal storage with affordable memory modules or you can retrieve data, such as photographs, easily from a memory card.
    Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
    Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
    Removable batteryThe battery is removable and can be replaced by the user if broken.
    Removable batteryThe battery is removable and can be replaced by the user if broken.
    Total score for "Battery"
    Total score for "Battery"
    Features
    Compatible with AndroidIt is compatible with a range of Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.
    Compatible with AndroidIt is compatible with a range of Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.
    GPSGPS enables global positioning, useful in map, geo-tagging or navigation apps.
    GPSGPS enables global positioning, useful in map, geo-tagging or navigation apps.
    HDMI outputDevices with a HDMI or mini HDMI port can transfer high definition video and audio to a display.
    HDMI outputDevices with a HDMI or mini HDMI port can transfer high definition video and audio to a display.
    802.11n Wi-Fi connection802.11n is a wireless standard released in 2009. It has faster transfer rates and improved security compared to its predecessors - a, b and g.
    802.11n Wi-Fi connection802.11n is a wireless standard released in 2009. It has faster transfer rates and improved security compared to its predecessors - a, b and g.
    Wi-Fi connectivityThe device can connect to Wi-Fi.
    Wi-Fi connectivityThe device can connect to Wi-Fi.
    Total score for "Features"
    Total score for "Features"

    How to choose the best camcorder

    Recording videos is now easier than ever before. There are many types of camcorders and plenty of options for each budget. However, if you want to shoot high-quality videos, you'll need a camcorder with high video recording resolution and high optical zoom. If you like recording your sports adventures, you definitely need to look for an action cam which is weather sealed. To help you find the best camcorder, we compiled a list with the most important specs and features you should look for.

    Design

    Since a camcorder would always be in the list of items to bring during any trip, you would want the camcorder to be as small and compact as possible without sacrificing usability, or without the disadvantage of not having the features you would want to have to capture a great moment in your life. But of course, a smaller gadget would have much less internal space in it, therefore reducing the space that additional parts could sit into, limiting the manufacturers as to what hardware dependent features they could put into their products. A display for example, would be really hard to fit into a very small and compact camcorder. Adding an optical zooming capability would prove to be an impossible challenge as well since optical zoom relies on multiple sizable lenses to act as sort of like a mini telescope. The same goes for Wi-Fi capability, which requires a WLAN module, a flash which of course would need space for the bulb and its housing, and pretty much any feature which requires an additional part to be installed. Take into consideration as well the fact that a smaller camcorder would have less space for a bigger sized battery pack, which would mean less useful running time for the device.

    Simply put, a smaller sized camcorder would have less features and less impressive specifications than larger sized alternatives in a general sense. That said, find your own definition of right balance between size and specs. Have a list of all the features and the specs you would want to have, and look for the most compact camcorder out there from the brand that you trust the most.

    When it comes to the materials used, most camcorders would be mostly made up of:

    Plastic - mostly in the form of a polycarbonate, plastics are used in most portable devices these days because it is considerably much cheaper to produce and mold into shape much more easily than other materials and still provides great heat and shock resistance. The material is also very flexible, which is great if the internals won’t be affected by the bends when pressure is applied to the surfaces of the camcorder while it is in the baggage with all the other belongings thrown in with it. Mostly though, a flexible housing is not recommended since internal connections may be severed, even though it will provide a softer landing for the device in the case that it falls to the floor. The GoPro Hero Plus LCD’s housing is made up of plastic.

    Metal - aluminum alloys are used as the housing of some camcorders. Aluminum alloys are much more durable than polycarbonates. Its flexibility would still depend on the other metals mixed with the aluminum, but most aluminum alloys are generally less flexible than polycarbonates. Metals are less likely to go back to its original form when bent, which is what happened to the infamous Apple iPhone 6 Plus’ “Bendgate”. Cases like this are rare though, and metals are still considered by many as the better material for the job. The Canon XL H1A is an example of a camcorder with metal chassis.

    Sensor

    Since the imaging sensor is the most important part of a camcorder, it is crucial that we are very knowledgeable with the specifications related to the sensor. Buying a camcorder with a crappy sensor is like acquiring a phone which struggles with sending messages or making calls. You should therefore carefully look at these particular specifications when looking for a camcorder:

    Megapixel - this is the number of pixels in the sensor. One (1) megapixel would mean the sensor has 1 million pixels. A pixel is like a digital tile of color. An image would be composed of thousands or millions of different colored pixels. Therefore, the higher the Megapixels value of a camcorder, the higher the resolution of the video it can take.

    CMOS - stands for “Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor”. Compared to the more traditional CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) sensor, CMOS sensors are much more energy efficient. It also has a data throughput speed that’s multiple times higher than that of a CCD since it has much more channels in data readouts, usually 3 - 8 times more. That allows for more frames per second to be taken in Burst Mode. CMOS sensors also evolved to being the superior sensor when it comes to low light performance from being the worse in the job due to improvements being made to the technology brought about by the demand from smartphones.

    BSI - a back-illuminated sensor uses the very same parts as a front-illuminated sensor would use but arranges it in such a way that the wires are behind the photocathode layer, thereby reducing the light that the wirings would have blocked if it were in the front. This in turn improves low-light performance of the sensor at the expense of a more costly manufacturing process.

    Sensor Size - a larger sensor can use more light information in the production of the images, thereby dramatically increasing image quality. A larger sensor also improves the focusing of the camcorder especially in isolating a particular subject in the scene.

    Optical Lense

    The lens is the part of the camcorder that helps the sensor create the image by redirecting the light that comes through the assembly, correcting optical aberrations in the process. It is also responsible for focusing tasks, and controlling the amount of light that comes through the camcorder assembly, in other words, the exposure. The lense of the camcorder can either be built-in or interchangeable in the case of System Cameras. A camcorder with interchangeable lenses allows the user to choose a lens of his choice according to his needs. Most systems would come packaged with a default lens, so it is still worth checking out just how good this lens would be.

    Magnification - the lateral magnification of the lens is the ratio between the size of subject in the image produced, and the real size of the subject.

    Optical Image Stabilization - OIS works by continuously adjusting the inner lenses in real-time while the camcorder is in use to adjust the direction of the light coming through the assembly in a way to stabilize the video being captured when there’s too much vibrations.

    Optical Zoom - the lenses are adjusted to zoom in on the subject. This method does not sacrifice the image resolution as it doesn’t digitally zoom in by simply enlarging the image. The higher the optical zoom rating, the closer you can zoom in on the subject.

    Prime Lens - a prime lens is when the lens has a fixed focal length, removing the optical zooming capability as a consequence. On the other hand, a prime lens has much fewer groups of inner lenses ,improving optical purity.

    Focal Length - the focal length is related with the zooming capabilities of the camcorder. The maximum focal length determines how much the lens can zoom-in on the subject while the minimum focal length determines how much the lens can zoom-out.

    Wide Aperture - the aperture size is measured in focal ratio or f-number (e.g. f/2.8). The smaller the number, the wider the aperture. A wide aperture allows more light to go through, helping in reducing blur by not requiring too much exposure.

    Viewfinder

    Some camcorders would have a viewfinder in them in addition to live view in their LCD displays if they have one. A viewfinder is particularly beneficial when capturing while zoomed in. Using the viewfinder would mean the camera is against your body, therefore providing a much more stable platform than holding it to your front in order to see what you are capturing through the LCD screen.

    The viewfinder can either be Electronic, or Optical. An Electronic viewfinder is basically a small LCD display that you peek in. The advantage of an EVF over OVF is that you see exactly how the image or video is going to look like after capturing. Opting for an optical viewfinder on the other hand will provide you with better clarity and dynamic range, and also eliminates the delay found in some EVF systems.

    Video Capturing Capabilities

    Video Recording Quality - there are two things that matter when determining the video recording quality, the maximum video resolution, and maximum frames per second (fps). Higher video resolution and FPS means the video can be much clearer and runs much smoother. The bitrate is also of value in estimating the quality of the video recording. The higher the bitrate, measured in Mbps, the higher the quality might be.

    24p - a standard in cinema style video capturing, in which the video is captured in 24 frames per second with progressive scanning.

    AVCHD - Advanced Video Coding High Definition is the standard and the most popular format among professional camcorders.

    AF Tracking - a camcorder with autofocus tracking analyzes the image that the sensor captures and keeps track of the object that it is focused on, and stays focused on that object even if it is moving. Some camcorder can also focus on multiple objects at one time.

    5.1 Surround Sound Recording System - the camcorder can record sound from all directions so that the audio has 5 full bandwidth channels, and a low-frequency effect channel.

    3D - some camcorders can record videos in 3 dimensions, so that the videos can be played back in a 3D display.

    Image Capturing Capabilities

    Burst Mode - a mode in which multiple pictures are captured in one go. The number of pictures that the camcorder can take per time value is measured in frames per second.

    HDR - another mode in which the camcorder captures multiple standard dynamic range images and merges it together to produce a High Dynamic Range image.

    Panorama - a mode in which the camera is panned around to create a wide-angled image.

    Other Specifications

    Connectivity - Most camcorders would have USBs as the standard in connecting with other devices. Firewire is also used among professional audio and video equipements. In addition to wired connections, a camcorder may also have Near Field Communication (NFC) for short-range communication, as well as Wi-Fi (Wlan) for longer range wireless communication with other devices.

    GPS - some camcorders would have a GPS module inside so that it could track the whereabouts of the user, and integrate that information in the video.

    Focus Motor - in system camcorders, the body could either have a Built-in Focus Motor. This is useful since there are lenses which don’t have their own focus motor. Attaching a lens without a focus motor on a camcorder which also doesn’t have a focus motor built-in requires the user to do the focusing manually. Almost all modern camcorders wouldn’t have a built-in focus motor in their bodies since almost all lenses in the market today have their own motors.

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