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Camcorder Reviews

Updated: Sep 16, 2014 03:27
Storage Media Type
alaScore 100

GoPro Hero3+ plus Black Edition

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

14 expert reviews | 1494 user reviews

alaScore 99

Panasonic HC-W850

Although it has an 8 in its name, the HC-W850 is bears closest resemblance to the Panasonic HC...

5 expert reviews

alaScore 99

GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition

With the HD Hero2, GoPro established itself as the go-to name for action cameras. The GoPro Hero3...

28 expert reviews | 4822 user reviews

alaScore 98

Canon Legria HF G30

If you don't mind paying a $600 premium, the G30 delivers some of the best performance we've ever...

6 expert reviews | 53 user reviews

alaScore 98

Garmin VIRB Elite

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

10 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

alaScore 97

Panasonic HC-X920

The WiFi features are a good start, but we'd like to see more from Panasonic's next flagship.

9 expert reviews | 76 user reviews

alaScore 97

Kodak Pixpro SP1

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

2 expert reviews

alaScore 97

iON Air Pro 3

If you go somewhere amazing, or do something incredible, chances are the Internet wants to know...

5 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

alaScore 97

Panasonic HC-V720

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

12 expert reviews | 96 user reviews

alaScore 96

Sony HDR-PJ780VE

Sony's new Handycam is a top top-end piece of kit, but whether it's worth the £1,199 price tag is...

6 expert reviews | 62 user reviews

alaScore 96

JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

If you’re in the market for a rugged camera for capturing all of your outdoor exploits, the JVC...

5 expert reviews | 12 user reviews

alaScore 96

Sony HDR-AS100V

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

5 expert reviews | 7 user reviews

alaScore 96

Drift Innovation HD Ghost

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

13 expert reviews | 13 user reviews

alaScore 96

GoPro Hero3+ plus Silver Edition

If you like GoPro's camera design and just want solid HD video, you might be able to save...

8 expert reviews | 713 user reviews

alaScore 96

Contour Contour+2

The Contour+2 is a compact solution for capturing great-looking sports footage in HD, but its OS...

28 expert reviews | 786 user reviews

alaScore 95

Canon Legria/Vixia HF G10

There are full-manual controls, a wide range of cinematic filters, and excellent low-light...

27 expert reviews | 273 user reviews

alaScore 95

Panasonic HX-A500

Panasonic is tackling the action camera and wearable trend in one go, with its HX-A500 action...

7 expert reviews

alaScore 95

Toshiba Camileo X-Sports

An afforable action camera to challenge GoPro

3 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

alaScore 95

Panasonic HC-X900

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

27 expert reviews | 156 user reviews

alaScore 95

Canon Legria HF R48

Great picture quality, useful Wi-Fi functions and a good price make the HF R48 a Best Buy

6 expert reviews | 45 user reviews

alaScore 95

GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition

Click to EnlargeThe GoPro Hero 3's video quality is simply the best among the helmet cameras we...

10 expert reviews | 3067 user reviews

alaScore 95

Panasonic HC-V520

The Panasonic HC-V520 ($399.99 direct) is an entry-level camcorder with an impressive 50x zoom...

7 expert reviews | 153 user reviews

alaScore 94

Sony HDR-AS100VR

By far the most user-friendly action cam you can buy

2 expert reviews | 15 user reviews

alaScore 94

Gopro HD HERO 2

This little camera/video recorder is so amazing! Great video, even under water. Full color, clear...

19 expert reviews | 324 user reviews

alaScore 94

Sony HDR-CX410VE

Good connections, but video quality could be better and we're surprised there's no Wi-Fi

5 expert reviews | 106 user reviews


    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.


    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 has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2736 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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