Best camcorder

Audio & Video Accessories

Ever wonder how digital image stabilization works? Most modern cameras come equipped with sensors that detect the movements of a camera. The result is a clear and stable video.

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Which camcorders are best?

Whether you need extra storage, higher video quality or longer battery life, sometimes the camera in your phone simply isn’t enough. That’s when it’s time to buy a camcorder to capture your most important trips and memories. 

If you’re looking for the best camcorder, we highly recommend the GoPro HERO9 Black, a step up from our previous recommendation of the Hero MAX. With 5K video support, 20 MP photos, a touch screen and a host of other extra features, you won’t find much better camcorders out there.

What to know before you buy a camcorder

What will you be recording?

Before making any significant purchase, it’s important to keep in mind how you will be using your camcorder. Is it for logging vacations or intense off-road biking trails? For family reunions or for making movies? The ideal camcorder may differ depending on your specific needs. For example, you may need a more rugged and robust build if you plan on shooting video during an intense activity. 

Storage

The greater the video quality means the more storage you will take up. Most video cameras will have support for an SD or microSD card. Newer models will even have support for automatic cloud uploads, although you will need to sign up for a service before you can enable this feature.

Accessories 

Don’t assume that your camera will come with everything you need. You may need to purchase a grip, arm or tripod to take more stable shots. A remote may help you record with greater ease, and a lens may help develop clearer and more detailed videos. If you plan on filming underwater, a special waterproof case may be necessary as well.

What to look for in a quality camcorder

Resolution

Similar to television resolution, camcorders will record in specific resolutions, typically 1080p or 4K, although some advanced camcorders may reach 8k. This refers to the number of horizontal lines of pixels in a video or image produced by the camera. For a camcorder with 1080p resolution, this refers to 1080 lines of horizontal resolution. 4K refers to 4,000 lines of horizontal resolution. The greater the resolution, the higher the picture clarity.

Battery life 

Most camcorders operate on a replaceable or rechargeable battery pack. It’s a good practice to always carry a charging cable or replacement battery in the event your camcorder runs out of juice. It’s equally important to know generally how many hours your camcorder can record on a full charge, so you’re not caught off guard mid-shoot.

Stabilization

No matter how steady your hand is, you’re likely to experience some shakiness while recording. Modern stabilization technology will help alleviate some of the shakiness, resulting in a smoother overall recording experience. Be sure to look up a few videos of your camcorder’s stabilization technology online to get a better idea of how effective it is.

How much you can expect to spend on camcorders

For basic, generic brand camcorders, expect to pay as low as $60. For big name brands with advanced features, additional peripherals and superior video quality, camcorders can reach as high as $400.

Camcorder FAQ

What is FPS?

A. You may notice some cameras display a number followed by “FPS.” This is an acronym for “frames per second” and refers to how many frames are recorded per one second of footage. For example, 4K60fps means the camcorder is capable of recording 60 frames per second of 4K footage. The higher the FPS, the smoother and more fluid the overall video footage.

Can I use a camcorder as a webcam?

A. The answer depends on your specific camcorder model. Some camcorders can connect to your PC via a USB cable and then operate as a webcam for live streaming, online teaching or YouTube recording. 

What’s the best camcorder to buy?

Top camcorder 

GoPro HERO9 Black

GoPro HERO9 Black

What you need to know: A fully waterproof camera with a touch screen. 

What you’ll love: With SuperPhoto technology, this camcorder automatically picks up all the best image processing. The most astounding part is that this camcorder has a small profile and weighs only 11.2 ounces.

What you should consider: Despite being advertised as a webcam, users report that the webcam feature is actually in beta and has several known issues.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top camcorder for the money

Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V180K

Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V180K

What you need to know: A traditional camcorder design with a new touch-enabled display.

What you’ll love: This camcorder is ideal for people looking for the classic design for recording family get-togethers or vlogs. The intelligent zoom lens can capture far away footage in high definition. 

What you should consider: The camera only supports HD with no 4K support, meaning it’s lagging a generation behind in terms of resolution quality.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

Sony FDR-AX43 UHD 4K Handycam Camcorder

Sony FDR-AX43 UHD 4K Handycam Camcorder

What you need to know: An image-stabilizing camera with a wide-angle zoom lens.

What you’ll love: This camcorder features a low-light sensor. The built-in gimbal is reportedly 13 times more effective than other stabilization systems, creating smoother video recordings for professional uses.

What you should consider: This is one of the most costly camcorders and geared mostly to video professionals or companies. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Leo Herrera-Lim writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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