One of the most exciting things about the invention of the smartphone is that it gave everyone their own miniature personal video camera. Any hilarious or heartwarming moment could be captured in an instant and shared with others in just as long.
While smartphone cameras are convenient, they still aren’t as good as the real thing. If you are trying to get a high-quality home movie or shoot something more professionally, a smartphone camera will limit you both in time and overall video quality.
- 1 Best Camcorder In 2020 – Top 10 Rated Reviews
- 1.1 1 Sony FDR-AX33 – Best Compact Camcorder
- 1.2 2 Panasonic 4K HC-X1000 – Best Television Camcorder
- 1.3 3 Sony FDRAX700 – Best 4K Camcorder
- 1.4 4 Canon VIXIA HF G60 – Best Semi Professional Camcorder
- 1.5 5 Canon XA40 – Best Documentary Camcorder
- 1.6 6 Canon VIXIA HF G21
- 1.7 7 Sony CX405 Handycam – Best Budget Camcorder
- 1.8 8 Sony FDRX3000 Action Cam – Best Camcorder for Water
- 1.9 9 Panasonic HC-V770
- 1.10 10 Canon VIXIA HF R800 – Best Beginner Camcorder
- 2 Best Camcorder Buying Guide
- 3 Got The Right Accessories?
- 4 So, What Is The Best Camcorder?
The best camcorder does the job better…
Believe it or not, camcorders still exist, and they are advancing right along with technology as well. There are a ton on the market so if you are looking to get yourself a quality video camera, it can be tricky trying to wade through all the options.
That’s why we have rounded up some of the best camcorders for you to check out and help you find the right one for you.
Best Camcorder In 2020 – Top 10 Rated Reviews
1 Sony FDR-AX33 – Best Compact Camcorder
We are going to start our list with a sleek and compact camera that comes from a brand that everyone will know and love.
Super compact with loads of features…
The Sony FDR-AX33 is an 8-megapixel camcorder with 10x optical zoom that can deliver brilliant 4K video in 24P and 30P. You can view your subject as you’re shooting through the live-view 3.1-inch LCD touchscreen. There’s even an LCD viewfinder, which is good for shooting in bright light.
Captures stills as JPEG files…
This camcorder allows you to manually set the focus, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance by using the manual control ring. The maximum aperture goes to f/1.8 and the shutter speed ranges from 1/30 to 1/10000. It captures video at a resolution of 3840×2160 at 30p frames per second and 20-megapixel stills, as JPG files.
You can store your video and photos on an SD card or MemoryStick Pro Duo memory card but there is no internal storage, so plan accordingly.
The Zeiss Lens offers a balanced optical Steady Shot image stabilization system. A 5.1 surround sound mic picks up high-quality audio and manual controls allow you to get the absolute best audio quality.
You can connect, backup, control, and share effortlessly over a Wi-Fi connection. What’s more, you can livestream videos as well, giving you the ability to broadcast live.
- Manual controls.
- Zeiss Lens.
- Wi-Fi enabled.
- LCD touchscreen could be improved.
2 Panasonic 4K HC-X1000 – Best Television Camcorder
If you are not so much an amateur videographer or you are at least ready to make the jump to creating more professional style content, then you may want to consider the next camcorder on our list.
Ideal if you need it for television transmission…
The Panasonic HC-X1000 Camcorder can help ease your way, or jump right into 4K recording. The camera shoots cinema 4K at a true 24p and Ultra HD with frame rates that are broadcast compatible, so it is ideal if you need it for television transmission.
The HC-X1000 is equipped with a 1/2.3″ MOS sensor that utilizes built-in Venus processing engines that deliver full HD quality by scaling the 4K image. You can also switch between NTSC and PAL frequencies to find the most optimal output.
Supports two optical image stabilization modes…
This camcorder boasts a Leica Dicomar lens that offers 20x optical zoom as well as a geared iris ring for manual control. The camera supports two optical image stabilization modes, one for 4K and one for HD.
Two viewfinders too…
Who doesn’t love options? This camcorder possesses two viewfinders that allow you to shoot most optimally and comfortably. An EVF offers a traditional tilt-up view, or you can pull out a high-resolution LCD touch screen. The touchscreen is located above the lens for a natural viewing experience when shooting handheld.
So how can I actually use this?
It records in Mp4, Mov, or AVCHD codecs. The camera has two SD card slots, which allows you to use relay or simultaneous recording. When recording HD you can use Panasonic’s unique background recording mode.
- 20x optical zoom.
- Two viewfinders.
- Leica Dicomar lens.
- Dual SD card slots.
- Not great in low-light settings.
3 Sony FDRAX700 – Best 4K Camcorder
This isn’t the first time you are seeing a camcorder from Sony on the list, and it won’t be the last! Believe us, we aren’t biased towards one company or the other, Sony just knows what it’s doing when it comes to high-quality video recording.
Brilliant 4K recording…
The FDR-AX700 is the ideal camera if you want brilliant 4K recording without paying a professional price. It might appear small, but there is no lack of special features that can work for anyone.
The Zeiss Lens offers 12x optical zoom that offers sharpness from corner to corner. If you are trying to capture detailed landscapes, you are going to be pleased with the result. The lens ring allows you to focus and zoom in a smooth, natural way.
Hold focus on moving subjects with 4K face detection and object tracking technology…
This camcorder offers an accurate autofocus system that uses 273 focus points. Focus is an integral part of video recording, especially when it comes to 4K imaging. With its high-speed BIONZ X processing engine, the FDR-AX700 can hold focus on subjects like pets or children at play that are sometimes too fast-moving to capture properly. Following your subject is made even easier with improvements like 4K face detection and object tracking technology.
That’s not all…
Dual media slots allow for extended recording time by automatically switching to the next memory card when the other is full. Simultaneous recording also copies to both SD cards at the same time, which is great if you plan on giving the video to someone else but still need a copy for yourself.
- 12x optical zoom.
- High-quality autofocus.
- Dual media slots.
- Shaky zoom.
4 Canon VIXIA HF G60 – Best Semi Professional Camcorder
Up next on our list of the best camcorders is another great option for serious video enthusiasts.
Semi-professional filmmakers will love it…
The Canon VIXIA HF G60 not only gives you stunning 4K quality video, but a large 1-inch sensor and 9 blade iris diaphragm are going to produce near-cinematic style video at 60p. Slow-motion mode also gets up to 60fps. If you are serious about capturing near-perfect detailed videos, you can’t get much better for this price.
This camcorder offers 15x optical zoom that maintains 4K ultra HD quality throughout the entire range. Get the same quality up close or from way back. Plus the 5 axis image stabilization is offered in 3 different modes to provide smooth footage no matter which way you are shooting it.
Crisp and clear output…
This VIXIA camcorder also features Canon’s exclusively developed dual pixel CMOS autofocus. This works not only with standard shooting but also with other high-frame rate modes that require crisp and clear output in every frame.
At only 2.1 pounds, this camcorder allows you to have maximum mobility that a larger camera just couldn’t offer. It’s a great transitional camera for the person with limited camcorder knowledge but high aspirations.
- 9 blade iris.
- 1-inch sensor.
- 15x optical zoom.
- 5 axis image stabilization.
- CMOS autofocus.
- Stabilization needs improving.
5 Canon XA40 – Best Documentary Camcorder
The next camera on our list is once again from Canon and offers budding professionals an entry-level yet high-quality option for documentary or other journalistic endeavors.
The Canon XA40 records ultra HD 4K 30p and Full HD 1080p60. These videos are captured to dual SD card slots for relay and simultaneous recording, and it also outputs to a mini-HDMI port. It can output up to 1920 x 1080p 60fps through its mini-HDMI output.
Journalists making documentaries will love it…
The XA40 is equipped with an integrated 20x optical zoom and an eight-bladed circular iris for a smoother and more natural look. Optical and electronic image stabilization help to automatically compensate for shake and blurring.
A 3″ touchscreen LCD allows for clear and effortless navigation, control, and view finding. You can also use the physical viewfinder for more traditional shooting.
Four channels of linear pulse code modulation audio…
When it comes to audio, the XA40 features four channels of linear pulse code modulation audio with manual and automatic recording levels. Audio can be picked up with the built-in stereo microphone or Two XLR inputs and a 3.5mm stereo mini input allow for the addition of an external mic.
The best part?
This camcorder allows both slow and fast motion video recording at up to 60fps. If you are making an extreme sports documentary or simply capturing moments of your rowdy children or animals, this camcorder is a great option.
- 20x optical zoom.
- 4k 30p video.
- Eight-bladed iris.
- Optical and electronic image stabilization.
- 4 channels of LPCM audio.
- Video quality is not as high as other options.
6 Canon VIXIA HF G21
This next camcorder on our list is the scaled-back version of the Canon VIXIA G60 in that it doesn’t offer 4K quality video. However, it still provides Full HD videos and other features that make it a great option.
The VIXIA HF G21 camcorder records in 1080/60p quality that effortlessly captures quick-moving subjects with vibrant detail and color. It can produce internet-ready, easy-to-share MP4 files at 35 Mbps, and AVCHD files at 28 Mbps.
It also features a Genuine Canon HD Video Lens with 20x optical zoom. With some upgraded elements, there is a significant reduction in flare and ghosting, which produces sharp and clear images with little to no distortion.
This camcorder possesses an 8-blade iris, which helps to smooth out typically out-of-focus elements to make them appear more true to nature. The manual focus ring gives a professional touch that allows for precise control. You can even change the setting to use the ring as the zoom mechanism.
Ideal viewing angle…
The key to capturing excellent video is being able to properly frame everything as it happens. The LED panel on this camcorder provides an ideal viewing angle and improved touch responsiveness that helps you optimize the shot and overall control. The quarter-inch viewfinder provides nearly 100% field of view coverage that allows for accurate composition. You are also able to tilt the viewfinder 45 degrees for even more shooting freedom.
- 20x optical zoom.
- 1080/60p quality.
- 8 blade iris.
- Touch-sensitive LED panel.
- Dual SD card slots.
- Users report shaky focus and zoom.
7 Sony CX405 Handycam – Best Budget Camcorder
We told you that you’d be seeing Sony show up again, and that’s because of their incredible ability to produce high-quality cameras for every end of the spectrum. The portability and size of the CX405 make it one of the best camcorders on a budget.
Easy editing and easy sharing…
With this compact palm camcorder, you can shoot brilliant 1080p videos at a 60p frame rate. All videos are captured in MP4 or AVCHD codecs. This allows for easy editing and easy sharing of all your best content.
The large, unique Exmor R CMOS sensor helps to enhance image clarity and reduce noise in low lighting. The patented BIONZ X image processing engine produces a more vivid and lifelike image quality while maintaining a rapid processing time.
The exclusive Zeiss lens delivers an impressive 30x optical zoom by combining high-end electronics and sensor technology. SteadyShot technology offers advanced image stabilization that keeps videos free of blur and shakiness in even the toughest conditions.
So what makes this camcorder so affordable…
Not only do you get this great camera with your order, but Sony also includes 32GB Ultra UHS-I microSDHC memory card, a convenient holster case, and an 8-inch table tripod. That’s more than you will get with most camera bundles and it all comes at a fraction of a price.
Still not convinced?
Sony offers a limited 1-year warranty against any potential manufacturer defects. You can buy this camcorder knowing that Sony has the utmost confidence in their products.
- Exmor R CMOS sensor.
- BIONZ X image processing.
- 30x optical zoom.
- Cannot shoot in 4K.
- Users report poor sound quality.
8 Sony FDRX3000 Action Cam – Best Camcorder for Water
Alright, we promise this is the last Sony camcorder on our list, but believe us when we say this one will blow you out of, or should we say into, the water.
Splashproof and freezeproof…
The Sony FDRX-3000 is an adventure-ready action camera that is ready to go with you anywhere. It features a tough body that is both splashproof and freezeproof. But if you want to take it a step further, you can enclose it in the included waterproof body for protection down to 200 feet below the water. Whether you want to capture breathtaking dives or high-speed action on the slopes, this is the camera for you.
4K resolution is combined with Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to deliver unparalleled video quality in any condition.
But is it good for water sports?
Optical stabilization works to cut the effects of camera shake more effectively than digital stabilization. This is done by having the lens and sensor work and move together as one unit. This helps keep the video stable and makes the FDRX-3000 the best camcorder for sports.
This camcorder also offers unparalleled connectivity options via Wi-Fi, HDMI, and USB. Easily upload videos directly to your desktop and edit them using the Action Cam Movie Creator or send them to your tablet or smartphone with the Action Cam App.
- Splashproof and freezeproof body.
- Waterproof casing.
- 4K quality video.
- Optical stabilization.
- Wi-Fi enabled.
- Waterproof casing blocks out sound.
- Battery drains quickly over Wi-Fi.
9 Panasonic HC-V770
Up next on our list of the best camcorders, we are featuring another great option for amateur videographers who are also budget-conscious. The Panasonic HC-V770 may not look like much, but we promise you it has enough functionality to earn it a second look.
Handles tricky shooting situations…
First off, it features a unique HDR Movie function that combines two images that are taken at different exposure times. This limits blown highlights and blocked shadows to create excellent quality videos. In tricky shooting situations with backlighting or low-lighting, you can capture images that are nearly identical to what you would see with your own eye.
It also utilizes a 20x optical zoom with a 4-drive lens system. By driving each lens group separately, the ranges are reduced, resulting in power zooming and crisp image quality. This also contributes to its compact body.
Capture subjects at two different angles or distances…
Using a Wi-Fi connection between the camcorder and your smartphone, you can unlock a world of unique and advanced features. For starters, you can use your device to capture subjects at two different angles or distances. You can also use the Panasonic Image App to use your smartphone to control the camcorder or as an alternative viewfinder.
- HDR movie function.
- 20x optical zoom.
- 4 drive lens system.
- Wi-Fi enabled.
- Users report complicated set-up.
- Poor battery life.
10 Canon VIXIA HF R800 – Best Beginner Camcorder
Last, but certainly not least, on our list is among the cheapest and smallest you can find. Do not let this fool you though, this camcorder makes a fantastic camera for both the beginner and professional.
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 features an impressive 52x advanced zoom that can easily capture subjects at any distance. The telephoto power ranges from 32mm all the way to 1853mm which allows you greater creative control over your videos while limiting disruptions. This is a great option for capturing large gatherings or animals in the wild.
Full HD video is great for novice users and beginners…
Videos are captured in beautiful 1080/60p that can capture even the quickest moving subjects. This detail and lifelike rendering of edges, combined with enhanced color and tonal gradation, demonstrates the wide-ranging ability of Full HD video. Videos are captured at a rate of 35 Mbps, which adds to the overall video quality.
The VIXIA HF R800 has slow and fast motion capabilities that help you create unique and customizable videos. Slow-motion images can be captured at 0.5x speed, which is great for viewing high-speed sports footage. Fast motion can reach up to 1200x, which can condense 20 hours of footage to a one-minute clip.
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery…
This camcorder is powered by a high capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Not only can you shoot for longer, but intelligent technology can accurately indicate remaining battery life so that you won’t be caught off-guard by a dead battery.
- 52x advanced zoom.
- Full HD video.
- Slow and fast motion shooting.
- Powerful battery.
- Poor sound quality without an external mic.
- No built-in memory.
Best Camcorder Buying Guide
Now that you have been able to have a glimpse into the wide world of video capturing technology, you probably have a better idea of which camcorder is the best fit to match your needs.
However, we realize that the technical specifications can get a bit confusing which makes the decision-making process a tricky one. That’s why we have put together this handy buying guide with the most important factors to consider before making your final decision.
- Video Quality
This is the reason we are here right? You want the best possible video quality for capturing your intended subjects that also fits squarely in your budget. However, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to video quality, so let’s get into the weeds a little bit.
First off, modern camcorders are going to offer you the option of 4K Ultra HD or 1080p Full HD. This correlates to their overall resolution. When it comes to 4K, that simply means there is a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. With 1080p, there’s only 1920 x 1080 pixels.
So if you are looking for better overall quality go with 4K. But, keep in mind 4K is best combined with a 4K television for viewing purposes. Don’t waste money on a more expensive camera if it isn’t going to do much of a difference.
Another factor that contributes to video quality comes from the sensor. Generally speaking, the larger the sensor, the better the overall image quality. A sensor simply captures light and converts it into an image. So if you have a larger sensor, that means more light is captured and the image is more lifelike.
The last factor to consider is image stabilization. Stabilization is the ability for your camcorder physically or electronically to suppress the effect that shaking has on the image.
Digital image stabilization uses internal software to calculate movement and then adjusts the pixel count accordingly. Optical image stabilization uses small sensors within the lens to rapidly move pieces of the lens glass to offset motion. Optical stabilization is considered the most effective because it isn’t subject to computer errors.
This depends on what you will be shooting and where you will be doing it. If you will be taking it long distances and need it to fit into luggage, then obviously a smaller handheld camera is the way to go. However, while not always true, smaller cameras usually produce lower-quality videos since they aren’t able to house features such as large sensors.
Larger cameras are more ideal for people that will be using their camcorder for a more professional production. But pay close attention to the specifications, because you could potentially end up with a larger than necessary camera that has the same features as a much smaller one.
- Zoom Lens
The zoom lens of a camera gives you the ability to “pull in” the objects you are shooting to make them appear closer than they are without losing image quality. So a camcorder with an optical zoom of 20x can make something appear 2 times closer than one with 10x.
The standard camcorder will give you 20x optical zoom, but you can easily find ones that go beyond 30x. The higher the zoom, the greater range of shooting options you have.
Make sure you are not being fooled by going for a camcorder that offers a high zoom level that uses digital zoom. This zoom is done electronically and essentially just crops the image and lessens the resolution.
We are talking a lot about what the camcorder itself can do, but much about what you do with the footage afterward.
Generally, you can view footage on a television directly from the camera if it is compatible with an HDMI cable. This is a great way for you to quickly and effortlessly playback your favorite moments.
However, if you are serious about filmmaking, you probably want to make edits before viewing. In that case, you would need to upload your content to a computer through a USB port which is standard on nearly every camcorder on the market.
If you really want the most out of your camcorder in terms of connectivity then you should seek out a model that is Wi-Fi enabled. This eliminates the need for wires, and also allows you to put your content directly on your smartphone or tablet. Usually, this will mean there are corresponding applications to download that offer a full range of editing and sharing options.
Got The Right Accessories?
So, What Is The Best Camcorder?
We’re confident that we have provided you with all the necessary information to find the best camcorder for your lifestyle. At the same time, sometimes you need someone to point you in the right direction. That’s why we want to offer you our top pick. For us, the…
… combines portability, affordability, and high-end video quality into a great camera for beginners and pros alike. With 1080p resolution, 20x optical zoom, and optical image stabilization you would be hard-pressed to find a better camera for this price.