The age of full HD footage is upon us with entirely automated, hardware stabilized and broadcast quality video in the palm of our hands and one such exceptional video camera is the Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder. This best video camera is as lightweight as it is smartly designed. It is a gadget built with an enlarged zooming capacity, larger memory space, and superior image stabilization; features that will make you want to carry it with you everywhere you go.
The small structure of this best video camera is designed with many valuable features like a mini-USB terminal, HDMI output, and AV port along with a standard 3-inch LCD screen. Some of the best video cameras on the market are gadgets built with exceptionally advanced features without offering convenience as part of the user experience. But that’s not the case with this best video camera. Canon’s renowned SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization technology helps to provide immovable footage across the complete zooming spectrum. With a 3.28 megapixel Full HD CMOS image sensor and DIGIC DV 4 image processor, the video quality is as flawless as you’d expect from the best video camera.
If you’re looking to make a significant upgrade then we would recommend the Panasonic HC-X920 3D Ready HD 3MOS Digital Camcorder. This is another best video camera but with a price tag slightly on the costlier side. And once you read about the kind of high-quality and flawless footage it offers, you won’t mind spending such a steep amount. This best video camera has sensors that are built to provide a combined capacity 38.28 megapixels, which is more than most excellent DSLRs. Its top quality setting offers 1080p at 60 frames per second along with a full HD video performance, so we recommend you to stick to this particular setting if you want to achieve a video that is more detailed when replayed than recorded. The exclusive Active Mode for image stabilization enabled us to obtain a comparatively smoother, more wobble-free footage quality while recording in motion, such as walking. Once you learn how to manage this best video camera and all its advanced features, which is not such a difficult task due to its simple menu, you will find nothing better in performance with regard to price than this laudable gadget here.
For buyers who want the best video camera but don’t want it to surpass their tight budget constraints, the Sony HDR-CX240 Video Camera is an ideal choice. Like the other Sony models, this too is packed with a built-in USB cable, HDMI micro cable, USB AC adapter, and USB connection support cable. So you don’t have to worry about making compromises due to the low-cost. With a 2.7-inch wide LCD screen, this best video camera is equipped with Sony’s Clear Photo technology that is popular for producing bright and sharp results despite the gadget’s comparatively lower 230k dot resolution. Without Wi-Fi connectivity, it has many other special features like the Clear Image zoom capacity that is a fun element to use when traveling, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor that works well under low light setting, and enhanced face detection features along with 7 new picture effects for both capturing videos and still images, especially for people who like to use casual settings. It’s a great affordable option for those who find their smartphones’ video and image potential confined.
What you should know before reading on
In our technologically advanced world today, every gadget that was created a year back faces tough competition by an even better gadget created today. This also applies to the best video camera. Today’s camcorders are built smaller in size and are comparatively slender than the older models. The best video camera will easily fit in your hands and carry a weight of only half a pound. The two types of best video cameras; full-size and action cam models both have the ability to provide HD quality resolution while a third type, the 4K-resolution model, which is excessively costlier than the other two, is slowly gaining popularity, although targeting only the affluent class.
Today’s best video camera enables the user to achieve a lot more than just a high-quality video footage. One can now customize these HD quality videos with music using the laptop or PC and then later even add these videos to your DVD or Blu-ray player. With access to various kinds of video editing software, we were able to combine our superior quality recorded footage with remarkable digital stills, graphics as well as text; the options are countless.
What to look for in the best video camera
We all know how important resolution is when it comes to the best video camera, especially HD camcorders. So we made it a point only to take into consideration and test the best video cameras on the market that had a resolution of 1080p. Models under 720p were not considered to be eligible for our list as these did not match up to the standard HD quality. So based on resolution, we selected some of the best video cameras for our list while we also took into account some other equally important elements.
Video and Image Quality
The way to determine video and image quality while buying the best video camera is to note the frame rate of the gadget. Any standard model comes with 30 frames per second capability but the best video camera that can help obtain videos to be played on HD TVs should also have 60 seconds per frame capacity. Zoom capabilities, low light settings, and focal length are all equally important as these factors help in contributing to the better quality and more crisp video footage.
In order to make the experience more comfortable and convenient for you, studying the design of the best video cameras was an important process in our decision-making. Holding the device while filming should be an enjoyable experience so it’s important that your best video camera is light in weight. Second design factor to take into consideration is the size of the LCD screen as bigger is always better. Thirdly, the number of memory cards you can use with one device. This factor is crucial for professionals as well as travelers. Other design features such as a direct HDMI port, internal storage, maximum recording time, and battery lifespan are all essential factors to scrutinize if you wish to buy the best video camera.
Upon reviewing many best video cameras, we realized the importance of advanced features, which helped in producing better results and also offered the best user experience. Out of all the best video cameras that we tested, there were only less than 3 models that didn’t have an intelligent auto mode, image stabilization, and face detection. So, obviously, we eliminated them from our list. For professional videographers who often use the best video cameras on the market, these 3 features are extremely important. Other additional advanced features such as Wi-Fi connectivity and video and image filters should also be taken into consideration before you make that decision.
Our best pick: Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder
Top Pick: Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder
The world today will not settle for anything less than a full HD camcorder that provides high-quality videos with an array of some advanced features. The Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder has proven to live up to such high expectations by not only offering a wide range of features but also an admirable resolution. Part of the exceptional VIXIA collection, this best video camera films in 1080p and the best part is that you can choose to film at any high frame rate or choice of resolution. We tested it out by filming in 1080p with a high frame rate of 60p, something that you should do too if you’re planning to put the video on DVD, otherwise, 30p is apt for regular YouTube vloggers.
Like most best video cameras on the market, this one too is pretty light and small in size with a traditional 3-inch touchscreen LCD display and touch-based settings and tools as well. The Canon VIXIA HF-R52 has quite a remarkable intelligent auto system that worked remarkably well in selecting the most relevant settings to suit the surroundings and provided maximum focus. We were also quite impressed with its face-detection feature, which enabled us to use this best video camera to cover moving subjects quite flawlessly. With double memory card slots and 32GB integrated storage for more convenience along with built-in Wi-Fi facility and compatible smartphone app for more domination, this best video camera is one of a kind, given its reasonably moderate price.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Very rarely we come across a product, especially a gadget like the best video camera, that is built with only a single defect which is not at all subjective. This particular flaw is inbuilt so there’s no chance of another user experiencing a different outcome in such an aspect. The Canon VIXIA HF-R52 does have a pretty decent Wi-Fi feature but it doesn’t quite live up to the standard level. It fails to provide a consistent and reliable connection. Upon testing this feature, we kept losing the Wi-Fi connection every now and then. But the upside to this glitch is that Wi-Fi connectivity is nothing but an extra, additional feature and doesn’t play any role in having an impact on the overall usage and functionality of this best video camera. So we let it slide. Apart from this, the manual focus of the best video camera seems to be a tad clunky but, again, this is a subjective matter so it might differ from user to user. Rest assured, this best video camera is a camcorder to seriously consider.
Our step-up pick: Panasonic HC-X920 3D Ready HD 3MOS Digital Camcorder
Panasonic HC-X920 3D Ready HD 3MOS Digital Camcorder
The fancy Panasonic HC-X920 3D Ready HD 3MOS Digital Camcorder comes with all the manual settings you will require in order to shoot professional videos. This best video camera offers a resolution of 1080p that you should tune at 60 frames per second if you want to obtain HD quality. Even though it is a 3D-ready device, you have to go through the trouble of actually buying Panasonic’s 3D lens attachment to make use of such a phenomenal addition. But one thing always leads to another so we admire the initiative. Like all best video cameras on the market, the Panasonic HC-X920 is also equipped with intelligent auto and image stabilization, which seemed a tad pointless since this best video camera was created for video professionals and enthusiasts who like to make use of manual settings only.
Upon thoroughly testing this best video camera, we marked that, under low light conditions, it doesn’t cause any problems while recording the footage and the anti-shake capacity is highly competent with only a few best video cameras being able to live up to it. The feature that we found exceptionally noteworthy is this best video camera’s innate ability to convert HD video to mp4 format. This can prove to be extremely useful if one has a knack of editing on old software that tends to conflict with HD video. To be honest, after reviewing this best video camera we rated it higher than we thought we would.
Our budget-friendly pick: Sony HDR-CX240 Video Camera
Sony HDR-CX240 Video Camera
If you want to buy a simple HD camcorder with a compact design and affordable price, then the Sony HDR-CX240 Video Camera is the perfect option for you. With a 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second for HD and 30 frames per second for YouTube settings, this inexpensive best video camera is built with easy controls and extra features that enable you to fully customize the videos. Although we were not quite impressed with its small buttons and manual navigation than we were with its full HD video camera. But after using it for a couple of hours and after gaining an understanding of this best video camera’s features, the small buttons and manual navigation didn’t seem to bother as much.
The smart gadget’s intelligent auto mode that provides you with the best-required settings based on your surroundings along with the face detection feature are quite up-to-the-mark in performance and efficiency. Basically, the Sony HDR-CX240 is a pretty neat and straightforward camera that is created with all essential features that one needs in order to capture memories on film.
Best video camera for low light
Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder
Since poor performance in low light is the most common negative feedback in the best video cameras, we decided to list down a few that are specially created to perform exceptionally well in low light conditions. The Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder was easy to use as we had expected it to be. The gadget’s intelligent auto settings are perfect for beginners as they rely on the smart technology that is built in the gadget to figure out the exposure and other appropriate settings for them. With the help of its auto-flashlight feature, we were able to switch from light to dark without lifting a finger, literally. For professionals, who like to dig deep into the settings, there are multiple features that they can manually change to suit their requirements. The phenomenal semi-automatic type modes called scenes make the purchase worthwhile as it enables the user to film with some presets such as low light, dynamic, and more. You can make use of advanced modes that are able to produce stop motion as well as slow motion HD footage for various video recording purposes. This best video camera’s ability to take photos while filming totally justifies its attractive price. By far this is the best video camera for low light and it has been for quite a while now.
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Another best video camera for low light is the Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder. It is an upgraded version that has been carefully constructed and priced accordingly to cater to the average user. This best video camera is packed with some remarkable video recording and still image capturing components, especially in low light settings. Even though it lacks a large image sensor, the manufacturer did an excellent job by utilizing that space for a highly competent image stabilization system known as the Balanced Optical SteadyShot. Upon testing this technology, we were able to achieve flawless video quality, especially during 4K shooting or filming in an unsteady motion. The audio quality with the built-in microphone was also pretty impressive. Two elements that we didn’t like in this best video camera are its touchscreen LCD, which is not sensitive, and its slightly problematic menu. But we can assure you that, by chance, if you happen to lose this best video camera, it is highly likely that instead of switching over to another model, you will end up buying the Sony 4K HD FDRAX33 all over again.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder
The ultimate beast when it comes to video recording, especially in low light, the Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder has the phenomenal ability to capture each and every detail. Its price tag may scream luxury but it’s all worth it once you lay your hands on this thing. This best video camera for low light consists of a remarkable lens hood that can administer the light entering the lens. The biggest and possibly the only flaw we found in this best video camera is that it provides the capacity of only 30 frames per second, which makes it unfit if you like to watch your videos on a TV screen or monitor, as the quality gets compromised. With a resolution of 1080p, integrated 32GB storage, two memory card slots, and the capacity to record for more than 12 hours straight, this best video camera will surpass your expectations, as it did ours, if you’re a professional videographer or an amateur filmmaker.
Best video camera for YouTube
Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder
There is no single stop solution or the right choice when it comes to buying the best video camera for YouTube as the best suitable choice highly depends on individual budget and requirements. Keeping this mind, the Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder is an affordable and best video camera for YouTube professionals. Upon testing, we obtained a resolution of 1080p and full HD quality. Our team of testers really enjoyed using this best video camera as it has a pretty remarkable zoom that is 38x optical, whereas the digital zoom goes up to 77x. With this valuable gadget, you can record a video and capture a still image both at the same time. We got a picture quality of 8.9 megapixels, which is perfect for most users. We tested this best video camera with a 64 GB card and a larger battery so running out of memory or power was not a problem at all. Ideal for YouTube vloggers, travelers, and professional videographers, this best video camera doesn’t have a built-in light source and its low light potential is also quite poor, but these two elements don’t seem to matter if you want to buy the best video camera for YouTube.
Sony HDR-CX220 HD Handycam Camcorder
From a practical point of view, the Sony HDR-CX220 HD Handycam Camcorder has a pretty decent design and functionality combined with a price that is enough to gather the required attention from people who want to buy the best video camera for YouTube. This device has the ability to record HD quality videos with a 27x optical zoom. Upon thoroughly testing this best video camera, we can tell you that it is resourceful enough to be used under most conditions; a quality that you normally don’t get in such moderately-priced models. But there is one particular glitch that can make many YouTube vloggers’ heads turn the other way; this best video camera doesn’t come with an external microphone input. So if you are willing to overlook this flaw by covering it up with benefits such as the lightweight design and built-in USB along with USB extension cable and HDMI cable, and many more such remarkable features that you will come across as you keep using the gadget, then, evidently, you will have absolutely nothing to worry about.
GoPro HERO4 Silver
Hearing about it and even reading about the popularity of the GoPro HERO4 Silver as the best video camera for YouTube made us test this one of a kind product, and its results are what actually made all the speculations come true for us. This best video camera is an ideal choice for an aspiring vlogger. Upon testing it we realized the kind of high, cinema quality video this gadget delivers. It also provided us with the opportunity to be able to film with a comparatively wider angle. It’s got Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features that are quite smoothly compatible with the smartphone, which you can use to manually control this best video camera. We also tested the GoPro HERO4 Silver’s multiple built-in video editing features right on the device itself. This best video camera opened the door to creativity so it’s the most logical choice for people looking for the best video camera for YouTube. Given the price, we were quite surprised with the amount of fun and practical features we got with this thing. The video+ mode automatically triggers the camera to capture still images while a video is being recorded. With a pretty decent sound quality as well, this best video camera seems like it was manufactured by YouTube so that more vloggers could use the platform.
Best video camera for travel
Panasonic HCV700K 3D Full HD Camcorder
Travelers love to capture memories from their various adventures and bring them home, as these memories play a very important role in their lives. And now, since videos are gaining popularity among the masses, it’s always better to own the best video camera for travel. So, one such exceptional model is the Panasonic HCV700K 3D Full HD Camcorder. The mid-range price makes it a pretty affordable gadget for budget-friendly travelers. Upon testing this best video camera for travel, we found that its performance under low as well as bright lights is exemplary and the optical image stabilization feature enabled us to obtain a shake-free video quality. The intelligent zoom image is identical to the optical aspect of the zoom. Given its price, this best video camera is generously equipped with a 28mm wide-angle lens and offers a resolution of 1080p HD. This best video camera for travel is an ideal choice for someone who wants to achieve flawless video quality without putting in too much of an effort, as it has the ability to automatically provide great footage in any kind of low as well as bright lighting. You might not find the battery life and LCD screen to be quite impressive, but we can assure you that this model is one of the best so far in the mid-range category.
JVC Everio Camcorder Quad Proof HD Camera
For travelers, pictures are great still memories of their wonderful adventures but at the same time, there’s something truly amazing about recording a video as a real part of their whole experience. Keeping this mind, our second best video camera for travel is the JVC Everio Camcorder Quad Proof HD Camera. We established, upon testing, that this best video camera for travel is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof as well as freezeproof; qualities that every adventurer looks out for. Its portability is also quite impressive as this best video camera can be easily placed in your bag and even your pocket. We found the video quality to be exceptionally spotless, sharp, and HD quality. In order to achieve the best results, our team of testers conducted a thorough research and based on the results, used the UXP setting without the face detection using an SDXC card that gave a tremendous quality. But you will have to make use of the Pinnacle Studio HD14 editing software in order to edit such a video on your laptop or PC and then later convert it to the format of your choice. With so many benefits that are further enhanced by durability, this best video camera should be your go-to option for travel.
Sony HDR-GW77V HD Handycam 20.4 MP Camcorder
The best video cameras are no longer the kind of gadgets one used to mount on the shoulders to record videos while on the go. They have now evolved, especially the best video cameras for travel, and are built the size of a smartphone. One such phenomenally designed best video camera for travel is the Sony HDR-GW77V HD Handycam 20.4 MP Camcorder. Different in shape and style from the rest of the best video cameras on our list, this waterproof blue beast offers 20 megapixels with a resolution of 1080p full HD along with a 10x optical zoom. Upon examining and putting this best video camera to test, we noticed that it offers a very short lag between flipping the screen and recording videos, unlike other models. The auto adjustment feature that quite smoothly alters the exposure, white balance, and scene on its own while you’re filming a video proved to be highly useful in outdoor situations. We also enjoyed using the slow motion feature that will offer a whole new level of creativity and fun to your traveling experience, hence the exorbitant price tag. This best video camera for travel is a different kind of a camcorder entirely and we mean that in the good sense.
Wrapping it up
All things aside, reliability, outstanding video quality under low light settings, and large optical zoom range are some of the most essential features to take into account while buying the best video camera, whether it’s for YouTube, wedding, travel, or short films. Although it’s true that the kind of best video camera you want to purchase depends on the kind of purpose you’re going to use the gadget for, but sometimes renowned companies like Canon have a knack for creating versatile products that fit each and every purpose in the best possible manner and one such gadget is our best pick, the Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder. And it doesn’t matter if you think that our best pick is not the right choice for you because we have other multiple best options for you on our list. So no matter what your video needs, there is the best HD video camera out there waiting to be grabbed by you.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.