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Camcorder Reviews

Updated: Feb 10, 2016 22:35
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#1
alaScore 100

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

Like them or not, consumer drones are here to stay. Government regulations have eased...

23 expert reviews | 303 user reviews

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#2
alaScore 99

GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition

GoPro. Action cam. For many, the terms are synonymous. It goes to show you just how much success...

30 expert reviews | 4139 user reviews

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#3
alaScore 99

GoPro Hero4 Session

There’s a lot to like about the smallest, simplest GoPro, but its biggest hurdle is its price. At...

32 expert reviews | 582 user reviews

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#4
alaScore 98

TomTom Bandit

The TomTom Bandit ably addresses several pain points with other action cams thanks to its quick...

19 expert reviews | 83 user reviews

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#5
alaScore 98

Sony FDR-X1000V

Sony’s 4K Action Cam is very good camcorder that delivers good-looking picture quality and smooth...

18 expert reviews | 245 user reviews

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#6
alaScore 98

Garmin Virb XE

If you have other Garmin or ANT+ devices that are compatible with the Virb then it's an easy...

7 expert reviews | 71 user reviews

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#7
alaScore 97

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

When DJI announced its Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced ($999.99) drones earlier...

7 expert reviews | 80 user reviews

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#8
alaScore 97

Gopro HERO 4 Silver Edition

The GoPro Hero4 Silver takes everything we liked about the Hero3+ Black -- especially the solid...

21 expert reviews | 4934 user reviews

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#9
alaScore 97

DJI Osmo

The DJI Osmo camcorder captures steady 4K footage, even when handheld, but battery life and audio...

13 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

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#10
alaScore 97

HTC RE Camera

The HTC Re camera is extremely cute and friendly. Its design is “human” and that makes it very...

37 expert reviews | 330 user reviews

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#11
alaScore 96

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition

Other camera companies may deny it, but GoPro created the action-cam market. With so many...

30 expert reviews | 4938 user reviews

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#12
alaScore 96

Sony FDR-AX33

We absolutely recommend the Sony FDR-AX33. This camcorder is built with the average-joe user in...

5 expert reviews | 173 user reviews

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#13
alaScore 96

Panasonic HC-WX970

The bottom line for the Panasonic HC-WX970 is that it is an absolutely excellent choice for...

9 expert reviews | 43 user reviews

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#14
alaScore 96

Drift Stealth 2

The Stealth 2 is a good action camera if we were still in early 2014, but many new cameras have...

8 expert reviews | 167 user reviews

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#15
alaScore 96

Sony HDR-AS200

The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS200V is an HD video recording device in the vein of the GoPro and costs...

6 expert reviews | 359 user reviews

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#16
alaScore 96

GoPro Hero+ LCD (CHDHB-101)

The GoPro Hero+ LCD isn't exactly a bargain for its entry-level specs, but if you appreciate a...

6 expert reviews | 350 user reviews

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#17
alaScore 95

Canon Legria HF G30

The Canon Vixia HF G30 is expensive, but if you're serious about home movies it's worth the money.

14 expert reviews | 401 user reviews

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#18
alaScore 95

Sony HDR-AS100V / AS100VR

Built-in image stabilization and high bitrate recording make this Sony's best Action Cam yet, but...

15 expert reviews | 1142 user reviews

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#19
alaScore 95

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ / Vision Plus

At under £700 now, the Phantom 2 Vision Plus V3 is an awesome piece of kit and delivers great...

10 expert reviews | 53 user reviews

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#20
alaScore 95

Panasonic HC-W570

With optical image stabilisation, Wi-Fi, and the selfie-orientated secondary lens, the Panasonic...

6 expert reviews | 45 user reviews

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#21
alaScore 95

Xiaomi Yi

​The Xiaomi Yi Action Cam's video quality and shooting options are well above other cameras in...

9 expert reviews | 231 user reviews

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#22
alaScore 95

Garmin VIRB Elite

Garmin is jumping into the action camera field staked out so thoroughly by GoPro with the Virb...

21 expert reviews | 674 user reviews

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#23
alaScore 95

Panasonic HC-VX870

The Panasonic HC-VX870 brings mainstream camcorder 4K shooting to a new affordable sub-£700 level.

4 expert reviews | 70 user reviews

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#24
alaScore 95

Polaroid Cube+ / Plus

The Polaroid Cube+ keeps all the good stuff from the original Cube -- namely its design, simple...

5 expert reviews | 217 user reviews

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#25
alaScore 95

Panasonic HX-A1

The HX-A1's size and price offer a decent option for buyers, but there are better choices.

8 expert reviews | 4 user reviews

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    Buying Guide

    Buying Guide - Camcorders

    Many cellphones and digital cameras have a built-in record setting, but for high quality recordings that will stand the test of time you need the outstanding performance and advanced features of a dedicated camcorder unit. There is a camcorder that meets every need, from compact units that can be used on the go, to professional models with cinema-quality lenses. Before you shop for a new camcorder, make sure you have in mind what types of events you will be recording, and purchase a model that matches your individual needs.



    Contents

    What to Look for in a Camcorder

    Zoom – Every camcorder comes with a zoom lens that lets you get closer to your subject. Each camcorder has some sort of zoom lens, camcorder manufacturers don't always distinguish clearly between digital and optical zoom. Most modern camcorders have at least a 10X optical zoom, which should be more than adequate for general usage. A digital zoom crops and magnifies your footage after the optical zoom is fully extended. This method leads to grainy, pixelated, and generally unpleasant-looking images. In a nutshell, the more optical zoom, the better.

    Resolution – Like televisions, digital camcorders are available in standard definition and high definition (HD). Standard definition models will cost less than high definition on average. They'll deliver video quality suitable for viewing on a computer or non-HDTV. HD camcorders will produce wide-screen video suitable for viewing on an HDTV.

    Image Sensor – There are two main types of camcorder image sensors: CCD (charge coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor). Both types of image sensor technology contain hundreds of thousands or even millions of pixels. Commonly, a camcorder with a CMOS sensor will offer better battery life than one with a CCD. The number of pixels on an image sensor is not the only factor influencing the quality of the video captured. The physical size of the sensor matters as well. Larger image sensors can capture more light than smaller ones, even if they have fewer pixels.

    Image Stabilization – Unless you plan on doing all your shooting from a tripod mount, you will need a camcorder that features image stabilization; luckily, this feature is available on all but entry level camcorders. Each manufacturer has a different name for their image stabilization technology, but within each price point they all perform similarly.

    Audio – Audio is an overlooked aspect of camcorder performance, and poor sound quality has ruined many recordings. If you plan on recording events in which the sound quality is just as important as the image quality, get a camcorder that has the audio performance to match your needs.

    Storage Medium – Most camcorders store footage on flash memory devices, SD cards, and the like, which offers the greatest level of convenience for the casual user. Many of the most advanced models record on mini-cassettes, which are fine for professional applications, but require conversion to put footage onto DVDs or flash media. A flash memory based camcorder will be lighter in weight and smaller in size than a hard drive-based camcorder, but won't offer as much internal storage.

    Battery – Battery life is an important consideration: the amount of recording and playback time you'll get out of a battery varies, but most camcorders are able to record for at least an hour with the included battery. If you plan on recording long events (sports events, concerts, etc.), make sure you get a model with sufficient battery life, or order an additional battery. Keep in mind that repeatedly reviewing the footage you just shot will drain your camcorder's juice quickly.

    Accessories – There are many accessories available to help improve the performance of most camcorders, particularly among the more advanced models. Additional lenses allow for better picture quality and additional zoom, tripods and mounts allow you to film the action smoothly, and microphone upgrades can improve the audio. There are even waterproof kits that let you take your camcorder underwater. Many compact models assemble some connectors on a dock, so if you plan to connect to a friend's TV or want to offload video while traveling, make sure the connectors you need are on the camcorder and won't be left at home.

    Popular Camcorder Brands

    Panasonic and Sony have long been famous for the quality of their camcorders, and both brands offer models at a range of different performance levels and prices. JVC is famous for high-end models with a full range of add-ons and accessories, while Canon has gone one step further – although expensive, their best models recoup the investment by being appropriate for professional film and television use. Flip Video specializes in entry-level camcorders for those on a budget and casual users.

    Popular Camcorder products

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    Camcorders on alaTest

    alaTest.com has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2988 sources to help you choose the best Camcorder from top brands like Gopro, Panasonic, Sony, Dji, Garmin and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase

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