Which Panasonic camcorders are best?
Panasonic is a well-known and respected brand for a reason. Even their lowest, cheapest offerings feature the quality and features that any budding videographer or experienced artist wants and needs to complete their next great opus. You don’t need to know the gritty details of cinematography to use a Panasonic camcorder, either. They’re almost always just point and shoot capable.
The best Panasonic camcorder is the Panasonic X1500 4K Professional Camcorder. True 4K camera quality combines with stabilization technology to record the absolute best possible quality video you could ever want, and Wi-Fi capabilities make transferring and playing back that video easier than ever.
What to know before you buy a Panasonic camcorder
Video related features
When it comes to Panasonic camcorders, these are the aspects of video recording that you need to know about: the image sensor, resolution, frame rates, and zoom.
- Image sensor: The image sensor is a special chip that measures the light coming in through the lens to create the image for your video. The larger the chip, the clearer the images. Most Panasonic camcorders use chips that are 1-2.3 inches, but professional-grade camcorders can use chips that are a full inch in size.
- Resolution: The image sensor also sets the limits of your maximum resolution. Most Panasonic camcorders shoot at either 1080 pixels or 4K resolution. However, some Panasonic camcorders offer a resolution called “Cinema 4K”, slightly wider and has a bit more pixels than the standard 4K.
- Frame rates: Video is an illusion created by taking as many or as few pictures in the space of a single second as possible, then quickly showing those images in order. This is called the frame rate, measured in frames per second. Most Panasonic camcorders include options for 24, 30, 50 and 60 FPS.
- Zoom: Panasonic camcorders use a technology called optical zoom in their camcorders. Optical zoom refers to the ability to move the glass elements inside the lens to create natural magnification. It’s why the zoom quality is better than your digital camera, which uses digital zoom, a software that magnifies the image at the loss of quality.
Panasonic camcorders generally include either a microphone built into the camcorder’s body or a rotatable microphone attached to the body’s exterior. However, built-in microphones have very low audio quality compared to attaching an external microphone with the rotatable exterior microphones in the middle, qualitatively.
What to look for in a quality Panasonic camcorder
Panasonic camcorders usually include special bonus software that gives options like slow motion, time-lapse, and even an 8 millimeters simulation.
High dynamic range video recording in a Panasonic camcorder allows you to capture more details in difficult lighting conditions like limited or excess lighting.
Wi-Fi in a Panasonic camcorder gives you several additional quality-of-life abilities. It allows you to copy your videos to a computer with the most ease and even allows you to double your camcorder as a webcam or a baby monitor with the help of an app downloaded to your phone or tablet.
How much you can expect to spend on a Panasonic camcorder
Panasonic camcorders can be found at almost any price that fits both your budgeting range and desired features and overall quality. For those looking to get started recording video and audio, Panasonic models are available for $400 or less, while the top-of-the-line Panasonic camcorders can run anywhere from $1,000-$4,000. There are plenty of excellent mid-range opinions between $400-$1,000 as well. For a more detailed budget breakdown, visit the Panasonic camcorder buying guide from BestReviews.
Panasonic camcorder FAQ
Why should I buy a camcorder if I already have a digital camera that can shoot excellent video?
You probably don’t need to if you already have a great camera and the various lenses and other pieces of equipment to turn it into a video shooting machine. That said, a camcorder will often have excellent zoom lenses built-in, so if recording at a distance is a priority, then a camcorder can still be a good option.
How easy is it for me to transfer my videos to a computer for storage, playback, and editing?
Very easy. Many Panasonic camcorders come with a USB cable for fast transferring, or you can always purchase a very affordable cable if it doesn’t. You can also transfer over Wi-Fi if the camcorder has that capability or by using a memory card if all else fails.
What are the best Panasonic camcorders to buy?
Top Panasonic camcorder
What you need to know: This Panasonic camcorder is power-packed with a lot of features.
What you’ll love: The built-in Wi-Fi capabilities make playback and sharing video incredibly easy.
What you should consider: Some complaints that low light performance isn’t great.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Panasonic camcorder for the money
What you need to know: If audio recording is top on your list, this Panasonic camcorder should be your selection.
What you’ll love: A 2x zoom microphone is the audio recordists’ dream, but the 1080 pixels and 90x video zoom don’t leave the visualists behind.
What you should consider: There’s no Wi-Fi in this model, forcing you to buy and use a memory card for video sharing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you plan on recording outside most of the time, this Panasonic camcorder with bright spot reduction is perfect for you.
What you’ll love: Its 5-axis balancing helps provide a stable picture, and the 20x zoom combines very well with the 1080 pixels capture.
What you should consider: The camera icons don’t go away during Wi-Fi streaming playback, which can be distracting for many.
Where to buy: Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.