Best Camcorder Reviews 2017

A good camcorder can make a huge difference next time you go on vacation or when you throw a party in your yard. Today's video recording cameras are sophisticated and they offer exceptional video quality. However, it can be quite difficult at first to pick the right one, especially if you are new to such devices. Luckily for you, we took the time to research the market and discovered 5 excellent camcorders that come in a mixture of price ranges and are worth every penny! Take a look at our finalists and you might find something matching your tastes.
Overview
PROS
CONS
Our Top Choice
Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam
Amateurs can create professional quality videos at a price that is lower than a “pro” grade camcorder. But still enough features or pros who don’t want to spend that much.
Great for both amateurs and professionals. Lots of rich features – 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound, image stabilization & manual mode
Doesn’t have a lot of add on accessories. Need an adapter for XLR sound.
Best Value
Canon VIXIA HF G40 HD Camcorder
Good for beginners or professionals who don’t want to put out a lot of money. Great value for the price.
Easy to operate. Produces vibrant high definition images. WiFi remote. Can customize the buttons and dials. Works with all lighting conditions.
Doesn’t have XLR input. Some people report that location of customizable dial is awkward.
Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder
Compared to other mid-range consumer camcorders, this one ranks at the top of the class. Affordable price.
Excellent recording time – up to 25 hours. Produces videos with great audio and video detail
Although it has WiFi option, operation is a little slow.
GoPro HERO4 Music Bundle
Smart choice for people who want a camcorder that’s easy to use and good for action and adventure videos.
Easy to use with single button operation. Waterproof and durable. LCD touch screen
Average audio quality. When WiFi is enabled some people report a humming noise.
Samsung F90 Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen
Great budget priced camera for people who want to great videos that are better than smart phone. Simple to use.
Produces videos with better quality than smartphones. Affordable price for the quality features including 52X optical zoom. Portable
No WiFi option. Auto-focus feature is a little bit slow.

(Updated )
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Watch Our Camcorder Review

How Do I Choose the Best Camcorder?

At some point one might ask himself: "why do I need a camcorder if my phone already has a camera?" and this is a good question. Today's smartphones and even tablets are equipped with highly-advanced sensors that can capture incredible images and video footage.

However, you might be happy to know that there is always room for improvement. A camcorder is a purposely built device that focuses on taking crystal-clear pictures and videos, it does just a few tasks and it does them very well. A smartphone's camera captures great pictures, but at some point you will start to see its limitations. Therefore, if you are visiting many exotic places every year or you simply want to videotape your baby sleeping peacefully in her crib or making his first steps, getting a camcorder is the right thing to do!

After we performed a thorough analysis, we came to the conclusion that it is a good idea to stay away from very cheap camcorders as they have a poor-quality construction and they might even break down after a while. On this review, we focused on highly-advanced camcorders that come in a mixture of price ranges, pack a lot of useful features and deliver clear, sharp images and video footage. Chances are that regardless of your current budget, you might find something suitable to your tastes in our list!

A short side note here, in this review you might find something as the "prosumer category". If you are not familiar with this term then you should know that this is not a typo, prosumer actually means a person who consumes and produces media. The prosumer category includes camcorders designed particularly for people who consume and produce a lot of media (prosumers).

Now let's take a look at some of the most important aspects you need to pay attention to when shopping for camcorders.
Price
Camcorders come at different prices and they all have certain features and options, so it is easy to become distracted when researching the broad camcorder market. To avoid getting distracted and eventually ending up paying too much for a video recording device, make sure that you know your budget right from the start! Afterwards, analyze your needs by asking yourself these questions:
  • Do I need a large LCD screen when I am filming?
  • Do I require a lot of storage space? You usually do, particularly if you film in HD quality or better.
  • Am I going to film in low-light conditions very often?
  • Do I need a compact and lightweight camera for easy carrying?
When you have an answer to these questions, you will be able to make a better decision when picking your favorite camcorder.
Features
Apart from basic capabilities like taking pictures and videos at different resolutions, modern camcorders also pack a lot of interesting features under their belt. For example, some high-end cameras feature Wi-Fi connectivity. Others have an LCD touchscreen display. Other camcorders come with 52x optical zoom which can be useful if you film something situated at a long distance (such as an UFO maybe). Make sure that you don’t rush through the features section of our finalists as they contain vital information about a camcorder and these features will directly influence your experience in the future.
Construction and Design
The construction and design section is also important because it showcases details about how a device has been built, what interesting feature perks it has and many other great information. For example, some camcorders have been purposely built with a large LCD display, others feature a powerful battery that offers a generous lifespan and so on.
Performance and Ease of Use
At the end of the day, how a camcorder performs is probably the most important thing. In this section you will find out more information about how is it to live with a particular camcorder on a day-to-day basis, what types of video footage it can capture, what's the quality of the pictures taken, etc. Check this section too and you will find vital info about how a particular camcorder behaves.

What is the Best Camcorder?

The good news is that there are dozens of good cameras on the market to choose from. The not-so-good news is that picking one from so many can be quite daunting or even intimidating for some people as you don't really know which one is more suitable for you. Still, we are here to help you! We have narrowed the list down to 5 great camcorders which come from prestigious brands.
Our Top Choice
The Sony NEX let's anyone create professional quality videos - without the professional knowledge - right out of the box!
Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam

Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam


Features
The Sony NEX-VG30H is an incredible camcorder packed with a plethora of features. It comes with something that you don’t find in a lot of camcorders – an interchangeable lens mount. Most camcorders come with a single built in lens, but with the mount, the NEX lets you exchange lenses, making it possible to fully customize your shot. Another great feature rarely found in camcorders is the Multi-Interface Shoe which gives users the ability to use a variety of Handycam ® accessories and professional level microphones. The NEX makes zooming in and out easy and smooth – you never lose focus with its PowerZoom mode. The one major drawback of the NEX is that it’s not good for slow motion filming because it has a maximum frame rate of 60fps. For most users, this isn’t a big deal – especially considering all the other great features it has.
Construction and Design
Sony’s NEX is at the top of our list because of its ability to produce incredible high definition images and video that can match professional standards – so much so that many pros have turned in their standard DSLR camcorders and made the switch to the Sony Handycam. The professional level features are amazing, yet simple enough to use for amateur videographers. Produce cinematic quality videos with the huge sensor, image stabilization (which creates smooth video whether the camera is moving or sitting still) and built in, on-board audio system. One of the top features that the NEX offers is the ability to record in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, without any additional accessories! For professional quality videos, without paying the price for a “professional” camcorder, the Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam is absolutely the best choice in the prosumer category.
Performance and Ease of Use
What makes the Sony NEX-VG30H stand out in the prosumer camcorder category is the fact that you can create pro quality videos and films, without the professional knowledge – but it’s still powerful enough for professional videographers. The camcorder has two modes – automatic and manual. With automatic operation, it’s as simple as point and record. The camcorder automatically adjusts shutter speed, exposure, aperture, lighting, and sound, which is great for amateurs and people picking up videography as a hobby (or pros who just want to take simple videos). With the manual mode, professionals or hobbyists looking to expand their knowledge, you get control over the video effects you want to use. While the Sony NEX does offer great audio with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, it doesn’t have a XLR microphone built in. However, for professionals who want this, Sony offers a XLR adapter which can be purchased separately. With a price tag that is higher than other prosumer camcorders, the Sony Handycam is a great choice for professionals who want something that doesn’t have the limits associated with standard DSLR’s or the amateur who is ready to take their video taking skills to a higher level!

The thing that people love most about the Sony NEX is that it lets them shoot professional quality videos without having to learn all the tricks of the videography trade. With all the fully automatic, as well as the customizable, settings, anyone can pick up the camcorder and start shooting – with amazingly stunning results. Professionals love the Sony Handycam just as much because it is more versatile than standard DSLR camcorders – and produces results that are just as good. Whether you are looking to create cinematic movies, record “television quality” footage of sporting events or capture all of life’s precious moments with a professional looking feel, the Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam makes it possible for anyone to look like a top quality videographer!
Best Value
Shortly after we did review of the VIXIA HF G30, Canon released an updated model in early 2016, the VIXIA HF G40. The new version has all the same professional-quality features such as the Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens but they added new ones so you can create cinema-quality dynamic range effects.
Canon VIXIA HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, Full HD video and 20x High Definition Optical Zoom Lens

Canon VIXIA HF G40 HD


Features
For users who are shopping for a prosumer camcorder with professional level features, but who don’t want to pay the NEX price tag, the Canon VIXIA HF G40 HD (and its predecessor the VIXIA HF G30) ranks at the top of the list for its wide range of cinematic filters. The on-board, built in color grading system gives users the ability to control the look of what they are filming without having to worry about having to deal with color correction later.

This camcorder has a lens with lets you zoom up to 20X – although some users don’t like the fact that this option starts with a wide 26mm lens view. Although the Cannon VIXIA produces great sounding audio, it doesn’t have the option to use XLR input – which for most users is fine, but professional videographers might want to use a different camcorder if this is important. This camcorder makes it possible to slow down recording up to 40% or speed it up by 25% -- both without losing focus or image quality.

In terms of upgrades, there are two significant ones in the G40, the first is a new and improved HD CMOS PRO Image Sensor which boasts a 3.09 Megapixel 1/2.84" CMOS (as compared to 2.91 Megapixel 1/2.84" CMOS with the G30).

The other upgrade is a brand new setting called “Looks” which makes it possible for users to utilize two new creative visual effects – Wide Dynamic Range Gamma and Highlight Priority Gamma. According to Canon, the new options make it possible to...

”capture visual characteristics that might otherwise be lost due to video compression. This allows for the creation of video that can realistically convey the three-dimensional feel of blue skies and clouds, the translucence of water and the luster of metals.”

All in all, this is one fantastic camcorder!
Construction and Design
The Canon VIXIA G40, 2016’s upgrade of the VIXIA G30, falls in the proconsumer camcorder category, rivaled only by Sony’s NEX in terms of video and image quality (but Canon added some incredible improvements so time will tell who jumps into the lead!) It comes at a significantly lower price point than the NEX, but still costs more than many other camcorders in the consumer category. While the VIXIA G40 does have a lot of professional level features, it may not be enough for some “true professionals”, but for amateurs, hobbyists and most professionals who want a great video camcorder, without paying the Sony price, you will absolutely love the sound and image quality it offers.
Performance and Ease of Use
Because the VIXIA HF G40 is so new, reviews are still coming in. But since it shares the same base specs as the previous model, along with some great improvements, we can turn to users of the older model to learn about their experiences. Canon VIXIA HF users report that they love the fact that it offers both an automatic mode and the ability to use the customizable dial and five customizable buttons to set up functions according to personal preferences (although some users report that the placement of the dial can be awkward to use). The VIXIA offers the ability to manually control visual settings such as exposure, aperture and shutter speed. The camcorder comes with an app-less WiFi remote (you can use any device to control the camera) and users can upload their videos using WiFi. Another great function is the fact that the camcorder has two storage slots which means that you can save your footage on two memory cards at the same time – and you can choose to record two different formats. This makes converting video formats take less time because it’s done automatically. All in all, the Canon VIXIA makes it possible to create stunning videos without professional knowledge.

The reviews are still coming in for the VIXIA HD G40, but if things like the 4.8 star Amazon rating for the G30 are an indication of how happy users are with this camcorder, we can expect great things from the 2016 model. The Canon VIXIA HF series of camcorders are designed to provide professional level features without the higher price tag of other prosumer camcorders. It is the perfect choice for home users who want to produce high quality video footage without any necessary videographer expertise, for budding video hobbyists as well as professionals who may want a second camcorder that doesn’t have the limits that come with standard DSLRs. If you are someone who wants to be able to shoot great videos and upload directly to YouTube, you can do that with the Canon VIXIA. While this camcorder costs more than “consumer level” devices, it’s built to last, versatile and produces video with exceptional sound and image quality – making it an affordable choice for amateur home videographers who don’t want to sacrifice on features.
The Panasonic HC-V770 Camcorder has an exclusive high-dynamic range feature that reduces bright spots for professional looking results.
Panasonic HD Camcorder with Wireless Smartphone Twin Video Capture

Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder


Features
The Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder features an elegant design and it has a supplemental WiFi app which lets users control the camcorder with a smartphone or camera. Not only does this let you set up the camcorder and access the functions remotely, it also lets you simultaneously shoot footage from your device – literally giving you two angles of the same shot. With the WiFi app, you can connect the camcorder directly to your computer or device and shoot and broadcast live feeds. Parents can use this feature to set up the camcorder as a baby monitor (or to keep an eye on the nanny) because they can watch what’s being recorded right on their PC or mobile device.

Panasonic is in the process of completing software upgrades that should fix the minor complaints that some users have had about the WiFi sometimes being a little slow. The Panasonic HC-V770 has some nice visual effect features including slow motion recording (up to 240 fps), time lapse recording, 8mm filming and a miniature effect. For uses who want the ability to automatically track the movement, the optional Remote Pan Tilt Cradle accessory can soon in and out, and tilts to follow the subject being recorded.
Construction and Design
For camcorders in the consumer category, Panasonic’s HC-V770 HD Camcorder is our top choice because of the stunning and vibrant videos it produces for the cost. Although this is a “mid-range” camcorder, it doesn’t mean that you are sacrificing on image or sound quality. Consumers can record in low light but still get great image details. The camera offers several audio features such as automatic “smart functions” that an isolate and determine audio sources and the ability to record in 5.1-channel sound. This camcorder does a great job of distinguishing from background noises and the actual audio that you want to focus on. For everyday amateur users, the Panasonic HC-V770 is the perfect choice for videos with high quality sound and images, at an affordable price.
Performance and Ease of Use
For a mid-range consumer camcorder, the Panasonic HC-V770 has a lot to offer. The camcorder has an HDR mode which automatically corrects for exposure and lighting, making it possible to dynamically capture a wide range of colors. With this functionality, no longer do you have to worry about filming in bright sunlight or a dimly lit room. Another awesome function is the five-axis hybrid optical image stabilization which lets you create smooth video while moving the camera or using the zoom feature, as well as when the camcorder is stationary. This is great for many amateurs who tend to have shaky hands when recording. While the camcorder will automatically adjust for visual effects, you can also manually adjust things such as shutter speed, focus, lighting and sharpness. Compared to other consumer level camcorders, the Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder is without a doubt at the top of the class in terms of functionality.

One of the things that both professional and amateur videographers love about the Panasonic HC-V770 is that the 64GB memory card makes it possible to shoot 25 hours of great quality video all at once (as compared to DSLRs which typically have a 10 minute clip limit). Features such as image stabilization, correction for both bright sun and dim light and the ability to isolate audio, make it the perfect choice for recording family gatherings, weddings, school plays, sports events and any other of life’s unforgettable moments. The WiFi app lets users remotely control the camera, set up video monitoring and broadcast live feeds and podcasts. While there are prosumer camcorders like the Sony NEX that offer a bit more in the way of features, for the price difference, most home consumers are more than happy when they choose the Panasonic HC-V770 HD as their video camera.
For adventures who want to shoot footage right in the middle of the action, GoPro HERO4 gets the job done.
GoPro HERO4 Music Bundle available in Black and Silver, plus a special Session Bundle

GoPro HERO4 SILVER


Features
GoPro doesn’t need any introduction as it is a leading manufacturer of professional camcorders and cameras. The GoPro HERO4 Music Bundle is an amazing video recording device that will help you immortalize the most beautiful moments of your life and preserve them for eternity. One unique feature that this device offers is an LCD touch screen. Already a simple to use camcorder, the easy to follow menu on the touchscreen makes operating the camcorder a breeze.

Although the resolution is only 720p for this mode, the HERO4 makes shooting slow motion footage possible because it lets you record at up to 120fbs. The SuperView mode gives users a wide angle lens for shooting panoramic scenes. You can also use the GoPro to shoot time lapse video. For users who want the ability to remotely control the camcorder, or who want to broadcast footage as a live feed, you will absolutely love the options available with the GoPro WiFi app.
Construction and Design
The GoPro HERO4 is our top pick in the “adventure” category in terms of the video quality it offers, for the price. Although the image and sound quality are not as great as some more expensive camcorders, what it offers in terms of portability and durability makes it a top choice for people on the go. Because this camcorder is waterproof, you can even take it snorkeling, surfing, swimming or out in the rain! While it does have a relatively low-quality camera lens, it has a 12MP sensor and can record in 4K. One of the things that the GoPro HERO4 Silver does really well is capture movement and outdoor adventure experiences like skiing, skydiving and sports events. If your goal is to create a scripted cinematic film, this camcorder doesn’t have the features you will need, but if you want a capture life’s fantastic moments, it’s one of our top picks!
Performance and Ease of Use
As an action camcorder, the GoPro HERO4 stands out for its simplicity, portability and durability. Users can turn on the camcorder and immediately start recording with the “one button” mode. It also has a ProTune option which will optimize the image, adjusting and enhancing settings automatically. For people looking for a camcorder that is small enough to take on any adventures – and can withstand both drops and water – the HERO4 is a great choice. On the negative side, this camcorder doesn’t work will in low light situation and doesn’t offer as many audio features as other camcorders. The camera does offer a nighttime lapse mode, but if you want to capture experiences “after dark” this may not be the best choice. One feature that many sports enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies absolutely love is the built in accessory port which makes it possible to mount the camcorder to dashboards, helmets or whatever.

While there are some limitations to the GoPro HERO4, for users looking for an action camcorder to capture all their adventures, it is the perfect choice. Portable, durable and waterproof, the HERO4 is designed for capturing life’s high speed moments and is great for adrenaline junkies, active sports enthusiasts and thrill seekers – capturing all the action as it is happening, moving with you. Add the optional mount and you don’t even have to hold the camcorder. For people looking for a camcorder to simply sit back and record what is happening around them, this may not be the best choice. But for the adventure seeker who wants to capture POV footage from right in the middle of all the action – GoPro!
With Samsung F90 you can capture those special moments in 1280x720p HD.
Samsung Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording

Samsung F90 HMX-F90BN/XAA - Black


Features
The last one in our list is the Samsung F90 Camcorder, a budget-friendly and useful video recording device designed for everyone. Keeping in mind that the Samsung F90 is a budget camcorder, it doesn’t have anywhere near as many features as more expensive models but the ones it does have, make it a decent camcorder for users who are price conscious – or who just want something small that lets them record a bit better than they can with their mobile devices.

The camcorder has a removable SD memory card slot, and HDMI port and a 2.7 inch touch screen. The built in lens is decent with the ability shoot fro 35mm to 229.8mm, and it has a 5MP CMOS sensor. Although the camcorder isn’t WiFi compatible, it does have a built in editing program with many users enjoy. All in all, the F90 is an easily portable camcorder that is simple to operate.
Construction and Design
The Samsung F90 is a budget camcorder, so it doesn’t have anything close to the number of features that more expensive camcorders offer, but for the amateur who wants to create videos that are better than what they can do with their smartphone, it’s our top pick. Although the 720p video resolution is lower than most smartphones (typically 1080p), it has features that produce better quality images. For example, it has a sensor that takes in a good amount of life, has a larger and higher quality lens and offers 52X zoom capability (way beyond what phone camera can do). The Samsung F90 is portable – small enough to fit in your bag or pocket – and has an ergonomic design that makes recording feel much more natural. For consumers who are looking for a small and easy to use camcorder, without having to spend a lot of money, this is our top pick.
Performance and Ease of Use
When it comes to choosing a budget camcorder that is easy to use and offers good quality for a low price tag, the Samsung F90 is a great option. With its automatic aim and record functionality, you can capture videos better than you can with your smartphone – yet it’s still small enough to go with you anywhere. This camcorders has gotten rave reviews for its ability to capture sharp videos with vibrant colors – although some users have reported that it can be slow to auto-focus. Unlike a smartphone, the 52X zoom function lets you capture great detail from a distance – even if you are way up in the nosebleed section. Some of the visual settings can be manually adjusted, but if you are someone who wants to have full control over things like aperture and exposure, this camcorder isn’t your best option. Another favorite function that amateur videographers love is the one-touch sharing feature which allows for instant video upload to YouTube.

Out of all of the budget cameras out there, the Samsung F90 is our pick both for its price and ease of use. Small enough to fit in your pocket, this camcorder is perfect for people who just want to capture life’s moments at a higher quality level than they can with their mobile devices. Not only does it create better video than a smartphone, but the design makes it much more natural to operate. If your goal is to get a good video camera without spending a lot, then the Samsung F90 Camcorder is the one that we would recommend. Not only is it affordable, but it will get the job done!

Get the Best Camcorder of 2017!

We hope this review has saved you some time doing research, but more importantly, helped you move closer to choosing the best camcorder for your needs. We have highlighted 5 great options, from reputable brands but remember - if you want something different, simply click a link and take a look at other options the brands offer.

Our Top Choice
Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam
Best Value
Canon VIXIA HF G40 HD Camcorder
Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder
GoPro HERO4 Music Bundle
Samsung F90 Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen