The best 10 camcorders in comparison

Which are the best camcorders of 2020?

Best camcorders of 2020 (1 - 5)
camcorder comparison
Comparison winner
camcorder comparison
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero7 Black
Comparison winner
Sony FDR-AX33
Comparison winner
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero6 Black
Comparison winner
Sony HDR-PJ810
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero8 Black
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero5 Black
Comparison winner
GoPro Fusion
Comparison winner
Canon XC10
Comparison winner
GoPro Hero7 Silver
Image
GoPro Hero7 Black
100points
Sony FDR-AX33
90points
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000
89points
GoPro Hero6 Black
89points
Sony HDR-PJ810
88points
GoPro Hero8 Black
88points
GoPro Hero5 Black
87points
GoPro Fusion
86points
Canon XC10
84points
GoPro Hero7 Silver
84points
Best price
Best price
Summary
Summary
  • Design (99)
  • Videography (100)
  • Optics (53)
  • Audio (40)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (100)
  • Design (78)
  • Videography (82)
  • Optics (100)
  • Audio (52)
  • Battery (86)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (66)
  • Videography (69)
  • Optics (82)
  • Audio (54)
  • Battery (100)
  • Features (77)
  • Design (77)
  • Videography (68)
  • Optics (70)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (90)
  • Design (88)
  • Videography (75)
  • Optics (79)
  • Audio (71)
  • Battery (71)
  • Features (84)
  • Design (84)
  • Videography (98)
  • Optics (40)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (86)
  • Features (84)
  • Design (70)
  • Videography (76)
  • Optics (68)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (83)
  • Features (90)
  • Design (48)
  • Videography (81)
  • Optics (74)
  • Audio (23)
  • Battery (88)
  • Features (90)
  • Design (63)
  • Videography (100)
  • Optics (79)
  • Audio (52)
  • Battery (85)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (99)
  • Videography (72)
  • Optics (52)
  • Audio (4)
  • Battery (63)
  • Features (80)
Pros
Pros
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • Prime lens
  • More megapixels (main camera)
  • More battery power
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • Brand lens
  • Bigger screen size
  • AVCHD format supported
  • Brand lens
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • More megapixels (main camera)
  • Bigger screen size
  • AVCHD format supported
  • Zoom microphone
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Better video recording quality (main camera)
  • Brand lens
    • More megapixels (main camera)
    • More battery power
    • Better video recording quality (main camera)
    • Prime lens
    • More battery power
    • Brand lens
    • Bigger screen size
    • AVCHD format supported
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Prime lens
    Cons
    Cons
    • Built-in optical image stabilization
    • Number of microphones
    • GPS
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Manual ISO
    • Dust- and water-resistance
    • Stereo microphone
    • Number of microphones
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel
    • 24p cinema mode
    • Microphone input
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • Battery power
    • Number of microphones
    • GPS
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Dust- and water-resistance
    • Compatible with iOS
    • HDMI output
    • Built-in optical image stabilization
    • Manual ISO
    • Stereo microphone
    • Microphone input
    • Continuous autofocus for movies
    • LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel
    • Microphone input
    • LCD display with 3 subpixels per pixel
    • 24p cinema mode
    • Number of microphones
    • GPS
    • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
    • Dust- and water-resistance
    • Compatible with iOS
    • Compatible with Android
    • Number of microphones
    • Microphone input
    • Removable battery
    • Built-in optical image stabilization
    • Megapixels (main camera)
    • Stereo microphone
    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.
    Dust- and water-resistanceThe 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.
    Dust- and water-resistanceThe 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.
    Prime lensA prime lens has a fixed focal length. In general, these are sharper, with a wider aperture.
    Prime lensA prime lens has a fixed focal length. In general, these are sharper, with a wider aperture.
    Screen sizeThe bigger the screen size is, the better the user experience.
    Screen sizeThe bigger the screen size is, the better the user experience.2"3"N.A.2"3"2"2"2"3"2"
    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.
    AVCHD format supportedAVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a file-based format for the digital recording and playback of high-definition video. It's a standard popular among professional cameras and camcorders.
    AVCHD format supportedAVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a file-based format for the digital recording and playback of high-definition video. It's a standard popular among professional cameras and camcorders.
    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 recordingSlow-motion is an artistic video effect that makes time seem to go slower. It is achieved by recording a video at a higher frame-rate than the standard playback rate of 24fps or 30fps. Frame rates for slow-motion videos vary between 60fps and 960fps.
    Slow-motion video recordingSlow-motion is an artistic video effect that makes time seem to go slower. It is achieved by recording a video at a higher frame-rate than the standard playback rate of 24fps or 30fps. Frame rates for slow-motion videos vary between 60fps and 960fps.
    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 60fps1080 x 60fps2160 x 60fps1080 x 60fps1080 x 240fps2160 x 30fps2496 x 30fps2160 x 30fps2160 x 30fps
    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 ISOThis allows to manually set the ISO level.
    Manual ISOThis allows to manually set the ISO level.
    Megapixels (main camera)The number of megapixels determines the resolution of the images captured with the main camera. A higher megapixel count means that the camera is capable of capturing more details. However, the megapixel count is not the only important element determining the quality of an image.
    Megapixels (main camera)The number of megapixels determines the resolution of the images captured with the main camera. A higher megapixel count means that the camera is capable of capturing more details. However, the megapixel count is not the only important element determining the quality of an image.12MP20.6MP8.2MP12MP24.5MP12MP12MP18MP12MP10MP
    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.3123233312
    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 powerBattery power, or battery capacity, represents the amount of electrical energy that a battery can store. More battery power can be an indication of longer battery life.
    Battery powerBattery power, or battery capacity, represents the amount of electrical energy that a battery can store. More battery power can be an indication of longer battery life.1220mAh1960mAhN.A.1220mAh1030mAh1220mAh1220mAh2620mAh1865mAh1220mAh
    External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) that enables you to extend the built-in internal storage with affordable memory modules, or easily retrieve data, such as photographs, from the memory card.
    External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) that enables you to extend the built-in internal storage with affordable memory modules, or easily retrieve data, such as photographs, from the 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.
    Compatible with iOSIt is compatible with a range of iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch.
    Compatible with iOSIt is compatible with a range of iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch.
    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.
    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. Every smartphone has a camera capable of shooting video at 1080p or even more. You might ask yourself if it's even worth buying a standalone camcorder. The resolution is not the only specification that matters. Camcorders typically have larger sensors and lenses, capable of delivering optical zoom. A dedicated video camera enables you to have more control over the quality of the recording, even in low light conditions. And, if you enjoy recording your sports adventures, you'll need a waterproof action camera. To help you find the best camcorder, we compiled a list with the most important specs and features.

    Design and build

    Since a camcorder would always be in the list of items to take on vacation, a compact and lightweight device ideal for traveling. However, you would not want to sacrifice usability and quality. Smaller chassis are not able to house all components of professional video cameras. Adding an optical zooming capability, for example, would prove to be an impossible challenge since optical zoom relies on multiple sizable lenses that act as a sort of mini telescope. The same goes for Wi-Fi capability, which requires a WLAN module, a flash, which needs a lightbulb and other components, and pretty much any feature.

    You should also take into consideration the fact that compact camcorders have smaller battery packs, which translates into shorter battery life. Therefore, a smaller sized camcorder has fewer features and less impressive specifications than larger sized alternatives.

    That said, finding the right balance between size and specs depends on your preferences. We recommend that you compile a list of all the features and specs you would want to have, and look for a lightweight, compact camcorder that meets your criteria. You can use the filters on our category page to find the right camcorder for your needs.

    Most camcorders are made of plastic or aluminum alloys. Plastic, mostly in the form of polycarbonates, is used in most portable devices these days because it is considerably cheaper to produce compared to other materials and still provides satisfactory heat and shock resistance. It's also very flexible, which might be an advantage when you pack your camcorder tightly in your suitcase or backpack. However, flexible housing is not generally recommended since internal connections may be severed.

    Aluminum alloys are often used for the chassis, as they are much more durable than polycarbonates. Mixed with other materials, they can gain flexibility, but most aluminum alloys are generally less flexible than polycarbonates.

    Image sensor

    Since the image sensor is the most important part of a camcorder, it's crucial to be acquainted with its key specifications of the sensor. Here's what you should take into account:

    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 when isolating a particular subject in the scene.

    Megapixels

    Megapixels represent the number of pixels in the sensor, with one megapixel being equal to one million pixels. A pixel is like a digital tile of color. An image is composed of thousands or millions of different colored tiles. Therefore, the more megapixels a camcorder has, the higher the video quality will be. To find out more about megapixels and why they matter for image and video quality, you can consult our glossary.

    Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)

    Compared to the more traditional CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) sensor, CMOS sensors are much more energy efficient. A CMOS sensor has a data throughput speed that's multiple times higher than that of a CCD since it has many more channels in data readouts, usually 3 to 8 times more. The high data throughput speed allows for a higher frame rate in burst mode. CMOS sensors are also superior when it comes to performance in low light conditions, and have multiple other advantages about which you can read more here.

    Back-illuminated sensor (BSI)

    BSI sensors use the same parts as front-illuminated sensors, but the components are arranged in such a way that the wires are behind the photocathode layer. This way, the amount of light captured is increased because the wirings are not blocking it anymore. For more insights into backside illumination, you can read our description of the term.

    Optics

    The optical 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 be built-in or interchangeable in the case of system cameras. A camcorder with interchangeable lenses allows you to choose among various lens types.

    Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

    Optical image stabilization works by continuously adjusting the inner lenses in real-time to compensate for the camcorder's movement or vibrations. The detection of the movement is made possible by gyro sensors.

    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 merely enlarging the image, as it is often the case for smartphones. The higher the optical zoom rating, the closer you can zoom in on the subject.

    Viewfinder

    Some camcorders have a viewfinder in addition to the live view on the LCD. A viewfinder is particularly beneficial when capturing while zooming in. The viewfinder is placed on eye-level and allows you to place the camera against your body, therefore providing a much more stable platform compared to the situation when you hold it far from your eyes and look at the screen on the back.

    There are two types of viewfinders: electronic (EVF) and optical (OVF). An Electronic viewfinder is basically a small LCD display. The advantage of an EVF over an OVF is that you can see exactly how the final image or video is going to look. Opting for an optical viewfinder, on the other hand, provides you with better clarity and dynamic range, and also eliminates the delay found in some EVF systems.

    Video Capturing Capabilities

    Video recording quality

    Two things matter when determining the video recording quality: the maximum video resolution and maximum frames per second (fps). Higher video resolution translates into sharp and smooth video recordings. The bitrate is also valuable when estimating the quality of the video recording. The higher the bitrate, measured in Mbps, the higher the quality will be.

    Autofocus tracking

    A camcorder with autofocus tracking analyzes the image that the sensor captures and keeps track of the object in focus, even when it's moving. Some camcorders can also focus on multiple objects at the same time. You can read more about continuous autofocus tracking here.

    Focus Motor

    For video cameras with interchangeable lenses, the camera body may have a built-in focus motor. This way, no matter what type of lens you use, your camera will be able to keep objects in focus without problems. However, some lenses come with their own focus motor, so you don't necessarily need a camera body with a built-in focus motor. If such a focusing mechanism is missing from both the lens and the camera body, you'll have to focus manually. Nowadays, all professional lenses have built-in focus motors.

    Connectivity

    Most camcorders have USB ports to connect with other devices. Firewire is also often used on professional audio and video equipment. In addition to wired connections, a camcorder may also have Near Field Communication (NFC) for short-range communication, as well as Wi-Fi for long-range wireless communication with other devices.

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