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Camcorder Reviews

Updated: May 27, 2015 09:54
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#1
alaScore 100

GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition

Despite increasing competition from rivals, the GoPro is still the definitive action cam, and the...

13 expert reviews | 240 user reviews

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#2
alaScore 99

Gopro HERO 4 Silver Edition

GoPro deserves credit for breathing life back into the stagnant camcorder business. While...

7 expert reviews | 417 user reviews

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#3
alaScore 99

GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition

Like the Hero3, the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition's strongest attributes are its excellent video...

43 expert reviews | 4089 user reviews

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#4
alaScore 98

GoPro Hero3+ plus Black Edition

Like the Hero3, the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition's strongest attributes are its excellent video...

17 expert reviews | 1221 user reviews

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#5
alaScore 98

Dji Phantom 2 Vision +

Although the price puts it out of reach for many people, the Phantom 2 Vision Plus V3 is an...

5 expert reviews | 7 user reviews

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#6
alaScore 97

Canon Legria HF G30

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

11 expert reviews | 94 user reviews

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#7
alaScore 97

Panasonic HC-W850

In the world of HD camcorders , there is one main feature you need: 1080p resolution filming at a...

7 expert reviews | 2 user reviews

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#8
alaScore 97

JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

After making several improvements and adding a list of new features to its first action cam...

9 expert reviews | 21 user reviews

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#9
alaScore 97

Sony FDR-AX100E

While the Sony FDR-AX100 is probably not going to be the first choice for professional shooters...

8 expert reviews | 40 user reviews

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#10
alaScore 96

Panasonic HX-A500

Overall, the thing that impresses about the Panasonic HX-A500 is the quality of its results...

9 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

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#11
alaScore 96

Panasonic HC-X920

The Panasonic HC-X920 is one of the better camcorders we've tested, but it falls just short of...

15 expert reviews | 100 user reviews

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#12
alaScore 96

Panasonic HC-V720

The Panasonic HC-V720 ($549.99 direct) is a midrange camcorder with a modest (for its class) 26x...

13 expert reviews | 157 user reviews

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#13
alaScore 96

Garmin VIRB Elite

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

13 expert reviews | 65 user reviews

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#14
alaScore 96

Sony HDR-AS30V

Sony has announced a new HD "action cam", the HDR-AS30V. With an included waterproof housing that...

14 expert reviews | 141 user reviews

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#15
alaScore 96

Canon LEGRIA mini X

The Canon Legria Mini X has a fantastic articulating screen for shooting selfie videos but its...

9 expert reviews | 12 user reviews

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#16
alaScore 95

Sony HDR-CX900E

This Sony Camera is very useful for everyday life and the HDMI connectivity is very user friendly...

2 expert reviews | 131 user reviews

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#17
alaScore 95

Panasonic HC-X900

The HC-X900M is the replacement for last year's HDC-TM900 flagship HD camcorder from Panasonic...

34 expert reviews | 171 user reviews

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#18
alaScore 95

GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition

The GoPro Hero 3's video quality is simply the best among the helmet cameras we tested, and we...

19 expert reviews | 3372 user reviews

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#19
alaScore 95

Sony HDR-AS100V

Sony's Action Cam series used to be the affordable choice for extreme videographers, but at $299...

5 expert reviews | 157 user reviews

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#20
alaScore 95

Polaroid Cube

When Polaroid announced its budget-priced, miniature action cam, the Cube ($99.99), in mid-2014...

12 expert reviews | 30 user reviews

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#21
alaScore 95

Sony FDR-X1000V

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

2 expert reviews

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#22
alaScore 94

Kodak Pixpro SP1

There aren't many action camera makers that can boast a waterproof enclosure and an integrated...

2 expert reviews

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#23
alaScore 94

Drift Innovation Ghost S

If an action camera is going to cost as much as our Editors' Choice GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, it...

5 expert reviews | 9 user reviews

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#24
alaScore 94

Toshiba Camileo X-Sports

An afforable action camera to challenge GoPro

5 expert reviews | 4 user reviews

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#25
alaScore 94

Drift Innovation HD Ghost

Action cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but all feature the same basic fixed wide-angle lens...

14 expert reviews | 14 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.

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    Camcorders on alaTest

    alaTest.com has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2921 sources to help you choose the best Camcorder from top brands like Canon, Flip Video, Jvc, Panasonic, Samsung and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase
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