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Compare the 10 Best Camcorders - August 2017

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Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every camcorder on the market in the UK to determine our top 10 list. In total we compared over 733 camcorders, 24,000 reviews and 6,440 prices. Last updated 11 August 2017.

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£219.90
Save £38.09 (15%)

#1 Sony HDR‑PJ410

HDR-PJ410
The best scoring camcorder under £500, with a very reasonable price and great features
95
Reviews
57 Reviews
94
Value for Money
Excellent
87
Features
Fully-Featured
79
Age
2 Years Old
90
Overall Score
Excellent
30x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
9.2MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
210g
Aug 2015
Weight
Release Date
MobiCity UK £219.90
PC World Business £257.98
Argos £257.99
View Details
£220.00

#2 GoPro HERO5

HERO5
Les Numeriques.com - 5 StarTrusted Reviews - Recommendedtecnogeekies.com - GoldPhotographyBlog.com - Recommended
The highest scoring Waterproof camcorder around, with multiple awards and a very good price
90
Reviews
5 Awards
90
Value for Money
Excellent
92
Features
Fully-Featured
78
Age
2 Years Old
89
Overall Score
Excellent
4200 X 2800 pixels
12MP
74g
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
Weight
Sep 2015
Release Date
eBay £220.00
John Lewis £259.00
Argos £259.00
View Details
£164.99

#3 Canon Legria HF R606

Legria HF R606
A low cost and positively reviewed 32x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution video camera, with great features
90
Reviews
36 Reviews
95
Value for Money
Excellent
87
Features
Fully-Featured
72
Age
3 Years Old
88
Overall Score
Excellent
32x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
3.28MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
235g
Feb 2015
Weight
Release Date
Ebuyer Business £164.99
Flubit Deals £167.29
Amazon UK £209.99
View Details
£249.00
Save £37.21 (13%)

#4 Canon LEGRIA HF R86

LEGRIA HF R86
techzine.nl - Silver
A fully featured and top-value 32x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution video camera, with an industry award
78
Reviews
1 Award
92
Value for Money
Excellent
90
Features
Fully-Featured
89
Age
7 Months Old
87
Overall Score
Excellent
32x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
3.28MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
240g
Jan 2017
Weight
Release Date
Wex Photographic £249.00
Flubit Deals £273.81
Amazon UK £286.96
View Details
£96.99

#5 GoPro HERO Session

HERO Session
mashable.com - Mashable Choice01net.com - 5 StarM3.idg.se - Recommended
An award winning and low cost 8MP, 1/4" optical sensor size camcorder, with good features and one of the lightest weights on the market
93
Reviews
3 Awards
95
Value for Money
Excellent
71
Features
Good Features
81
Age
1 Year Old
86
Overall Score
Excellent
8MP
74g
Apr 2016
Total Megapixels
Weight
Release Date
eBay £96.99
Amazon UK £148.30
PC World Business £148.99
View Details
£219.99

#6 Sony HDR‑CX450

HDR-CX450
A top-value and excellently reviewed 30x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution video camera, with good features
95
Reviews
4 Reviews
91
Value for Money
Excellent
74
Features
Good Features
79
Age
2 Years Old
85
Overall Score
Excellent
30x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
2.29MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
250g
Jan 2016
Weight
Release Date
Argos £219.99
Amazon UK £257.00
View Details
£52.00

#7 HTC RE

RE
99mac.se - Recommended
A sensationally light weight and bargain price 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution 16MP camcorder, good for shooting underwater
85
Reviews
1 Award
96
Value for Money
Excellent
79
Features
Good Features
74
Age
2 Years Old
85
Overall Score
Excellent
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
16MP
66.5g
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
Weight
Aug 2015
Release Date
eBay £52.00
e-GlobaL Central UK £134.99
View Details
£177.94

#8 Sony HDR‑CX405

HDR-CX405
A best selling and impressive value for money 30x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution video camera, with good features and fantastic user reviews
91
Reviews
962 Reviews
96
Value for Money
Excellent
74
Features
Good Features
68
Age
3 Years Old
84
Overall Score
Excellent
30x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
2.29MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
215g
Jan 2015
Weight
Release Date
Amazon UK £177.94
Wex Photographic £188.95
PC World Business £198.99
View Details
£169.00

#9 Canon HF R806

HF R806
A great value for money and very popular 32x optical zoom 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels resolution camcorder, with very good features
92
Value for Money
Excellent
89
Features
Fully-Featured
88
Age
7 Months Old
83
Overall Score
Excellent
32x
1920 X 1080 (Full HD) pixels
3.28MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
233g
Jan 2017
Weight
Release Date
Bristol Cameras £169.00
Amazon UK £179.00
Wex Photographic £249.00
View Details
£249.00
Save £33.84 (12%)

#10 JVC GZ‑R415

GZ-R415
A powerful and bargain price 40x optical zoom 3680 x 2760 pixels resolution video camera
87
Value for Money
Excellent
96
Features
Fully-Featured
80
Age
1 Year Old
82
Overall Score
Excellent
40x
3680 X 2760 pixels
10MP
Optical Zoom
Max Video Resolution
Total Megapixels
290g
May 2016
Weight
Release Date
Amazon UK £249.00
View Details

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Camcorder Brands

Find out how camcorder brands compare. The average rating for each brand is based on the rating of all of their camcorders. Click on a link to compare all camcorders made by your favourite brand.

Logo Brand Number of Camcorders Price Range Average Rating
Sony logo Sony Camcorders 45 £110 - £13,662 82%
Canon logo Canon Camcorders 28 £21 - £4,299 74%
Panasonic logo Panasonic Camcorders 23 £130 - £3,799 83%
Other brands Other Camcorder Brands 90 £29 - £5,149

Finding the Right Camcorder for You

Although VHS players are long gone, everybody still wants to preserve their best memories. Pictures are great ways to do that, but for many occasions you really need a video to put yourself in the moment again. Or perhaps you are a film maker looking for a professional camera that is not too bulky? Do you post video diaries on YouTube during your trips? Whatever you like to do, there's a camcorder for that.

Of course, this isn't 1997 anymore, and your choices are not limited to Super 8 and VCR. Before buying a camcorder, you need to look at what kind of video camera and quality do you need, how often you will use it and how you plan to watch the videos.

By knowing your needs and matching them to the options available, you will be able to shoot your family videos, that great football match, the concert ever of your favourite band and your YouTube blog too!

Sony HDR CX900

Key Camcorder Features

Resolution

The image resolution determines the number of pixels the image you shoot contains. In most cases, this is the most important factor to look at when choosing a camcorder. Today, a good camera will have a resolution between 1080p and 4K. These are also known as Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and Ultra High Definition (3840 x 2160 pixels). Although a 4K camera sounds attractive, it is only worth the higher cost if you have the ability to view the result on a 4K screen. TVs and monitors that work at 4K UHD are becoming more widely available and 4K recording will become more widespread in the future too.

Sensor Size

The larger the resolution on a camera, the larger the sensor needs to be in order to capture the video in good quality. While most cameras with the same output resolution will have a similar sensor size, sometimes there are differences. Some 4K cameras for example use 1” sensors but others used 1/2.3” sensors. While a smaller sensor will work for average recording conditions, a larger sensor will show its worth in low-light scenes as it allows it to capture more light.

Bit Rate

In terms of image quality, the bit rate is usually the third item to look at when comparing two cameras that have the same resolution and sensor size. The bit rate describes the amount of data that is generated by the camera when it records. The more data it produces per second of film, the better the image quality will be. A difference between a 24 MBPS (megabytes per second) camera and a 28 MBPS one will be very subtle, but still noticeable. The bit rate is also important for another reason: file storage. At 25 MBPS it takes about one hour to fill up a 16GB card. Recording at a higher bit rate means your memory card will fill up more quickly. When recording at a higher bit rate it is usually a good idea to invest in a memory card with higher capacity or download the content onto a computer at regular intervals.

Image Stabilisation

Unless you are filming from a tripod or have very steady hands, having a camera with good image stabilisation is essential to prevent your recordings turning blurry, particularly when using zoom. There are two main types: optical and digital image stabilisation. Optical Image Stabilisation is the most effective type to keep your videos sharp. Small gyro-sensors inside the lens shift moveable glass elements to offset the motion of the camcorder. Digital Image Stabilisation uses software to calculate the best way to avoid shaky images. It might mean that only certain pixels of the camcorder’s sensor are used for the final image. Digital stabilisation is not as effective as optical stabilisations and it is worth checking the type used before buying a camcorder that id not specific about the stabilisation type it uses.

Zoom

A good optical zoom can make a big difference when you are recording. If you are shooting sports, wildlife, airplanes, concerts and anything else, which is a considerable distance away, a minimum of 25x optical zoom is recommended. Filming people only a few metres away can be done with 10x or even 5x zoom. Optical zoom is always preferred to digital zoom because it captures the full frame at the highest quality. Digital zoom simply crops and enlarges a portion of the image reducing the resolution of the result.

Aperture

This is especially important if you are going to shoot in low-light environments like concert halls, caves and at night. The aperture of a camera defines how big the opening in the camera lens is which allows light in. The larger the opening, the more light is allowed in and the higher the quality of a low-light image will be. Aperture is measured in f-stops, with a smaller number representing a larger opening. For example, f1.8 is great for low-light settings whereas f5.6 and higher might result in an image that is too dark.

Audio Quality

Good quality audio is essential to capture the atmosphere of a football match or the music of a concert. It is important to check the quality of the built in microphone when buying a camcorder. Most budget options will have a mono microphone, which records only one channel. This can make the audio feel lifeless and flat and a high quality stereo microphone will be a much better option. If you are after the highest sound quality, using an external microphone will give the best results.

Memory

Most cameras will offer a certain amount of internal memory. Some camcorders used to have and internal hard disk drive (HDD) but this is now becoming less common as flash memory has become cheaper and takes up less space. The internal memory can be extended by inserting an SD card. If you use your camera for short scenes or are downloading files to your computer frequently, a relatively small SD card will be sufficient. To shoot hours of video at a time will require a large SD card or even multiple cards that can be exchanged when full.

WiFi

Being able to connect to your camcorder wirelessly opens up a lot of possibilities which you may or may not find useful. WiFi can allow some cameras to connect to a smartphone, which can then be used as a remote control.

Battery Life

If you plan to record for a long time, or be outside and away from a plug, a long battery life is essential. Battery life can vary between camcorders so it is worth checking the manufacturer’s specifications before making your decision. Batteries can be replaced on some camcorder models allowing to extend recording times. You can replace the camcorder battery with a spare one when it runs out and continue recording straight away.

Camcorder Types Explained

After checking the specifications, you probably have an idea of what you need in a camera. This brings us to the next step: finding the type of camera that has all the features you need. Most camcorders fall into one of four categories:

Canon HF R38

Mainstream Camcorders

These are the workhorses of the family. Here you will find the camcorders that pack all the basic features, can record footage at good quality and will serve the regular home user very well. Examples here include the low-ends of the Canon VIXIA, Sony CX and Panasonic V ranges. Despite being relatively simple, most mainstream camcorders will work for sport events, concerts, family videos and much more while having a lower price tag than other options. These are the best choice unless you have more specific requirements.

Sony HXR NX3-VG1

Advanced & Professional Camcorders

At some point the good old family camera may not make the grade, and then comes the time to look for models that pack in some high-end features. You will only be in this situation if you have specific requirements for which the good old mainstream camcorder wasn't made for. This includes very low light capture, 4K capability, image stabilisation, HD audio and other specific features. Each advanced camcorder has a different range of features, but most will give you high end results that can benefit both professional and demanding amateur users.

JVC Full HD pocket camcorder

Pocket Camcorders

These small camcorders allow you to take them with you wherever you go without having to take a bag, and they are usually very affordable too. One of the downsides are a usually a compromise in image quality. While you can still find good options in this range, there are physical limitations to the size of sensor that can be built into a small camera. For the usual blogger who just needs a basic camera with low-end HD options, this will do. If you need more options or features (including handles), look at mainstream camcorders instead.

GoPro Hero 4

Wearable/Action Camcorders

If you are planning to attach your camera to something that will move, shake, turn or swim, you definitely need an action camera. The most popular and recognised camera in this niche is the GoPro series, but there are alternatives from Sony and other brands too. Most action cams are waterproof making them ideal for surfing, swimming, snowboading and diving.

Finding the Right Camcorder for Every Situation

Home Videos

Taking home videos of your children and family can be done in reasonable quality with a less expensive camcorder but you might still prefer Full HD resolution to less detailed alternatives.

Sports

If you like filming sports, particularly ones played in arenas and other settings where lighting may not be ideal, a camcorder with a good low-light performance is crucial. Look for a long zoom lens and optical image stabilsation to make sure you can capture the action without losing focus.

Video Blogging

If you tend to record mostly at home, a pocket camcorder might be all you need. This is an inexpensive way to get started. You could even consider using a good quality webcam. If you plan to film outside you might require more features like a good optical zoom and image stabilisation.

Film & Documentaries

With YouTube, Vimeo and other online streaming services allowing Ultra High Definition Uploads, a 4K camcorder might be worth considering to make sure you achieve the highest possible quality and prepare for the future. For the best results, look for good image stabilisation, a big aperture and a large sensor that can handle low-light shots. A powerful zoom wouldn't go amiss either if the action is happening further out. Alternatively, if you are working on a set where you have the ability to adjust the lighting and prevent unexpected camera movement, a high-end 1080p camera on a stable mount might be adequate.

Camcorder Retailers, Prices and Features

Camcorder Prices

The price range of video cameras is from £21 to £16,980 and in total we found prices for 178 video cameras. On average, a new video camera costs £1,036 and 80% of video cameras are priced between £79 and £2,934. The cheapest video camera that we found is the Sony HDR-MV1 at only £22, and the most expensive is the Sony NEX-VG30 at £16,980.

Video Camera Brands - Price Range

Sony camcorders start at £22 and the most expensive Sony video camera costs £16,980. The highest average video camera price out of all brands is Sony camcorders with an average price of £2,398.

Blackmagic Design camcorders start at £799 and the most expensive Blackmagic Design camcorder costs £2,936. The second highest average camcorder price out of all brands is Blackmagic Design camcorders with an average price of £1,761.

The %8highest average video camera price out of all brands is JVC video cameras with an average price of £1,226. JVC video cameras start at £142 and the most expensive JVC video camera costs £5,149.

Video Camera Brands - Average Ratings

We have evaluated 1,002 expert reviews and 15,996 user reviews for video cameras and used this data to calculate the average rating for each brand of camcorder. The top rated camcorder brand is Benq with an average rating of 93%. The second best brand is Transcend with 89% and the third best brand is Canon with 87%.

Biggest Camcorder Retailers

The biggest video camera retailer by number of products currently for sale is eBay. We found 84 current video camera offers from eBay. The second biggest video camera retailer is Argos with 65 offers. That means eBay is significantly bigger than Argos when it comes to video cameras. Wex Photographic is the third biggest retailer with 44 current offers.

When Are Most New Camcorders Released?

Most new video cameras tend to be released between January and February. For the latest camcorder features you may want to consider waiting until January 2018. It's also worth keeping in mind that the price of the current video cameras tend to drop off when the next models are released. In February 2016 27 new camcorders were released making it the biggest month that year for new video camera releases. 32 new video cameras were released in September 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new video camera releases. In 2014 most new video cameras were released in January, with 29 new video cameras released that month.

How Fast Do Video Camera Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, video cameras drop in price by 6%. That means a saving of £58 on a typical £1,036 new camcorder if you wait 6 months before buying.

Optical Zooms

An optical zoom lets you enlarge the subject without having to move closer to it.

Comparing all video cameras, the optical zooms range from 1x to 78x. The optical zooms of most video cameras range from 7x to 13x. The PanasonicHC-V270EB has the biggest optical zoom. This camcorder is a 50x optical zoom video camera and is priced at £179.99. The PanasonicHC-V270EB, which is on sale for £618.69, has the smallest optical zoom and is a 10x optical zoom camcorder.

An optical zoom lets you zoom without loosing image quality. Digital zooms will simply enlarge the pixels and make the image look blurry.

Max Video Resolutions

Video resolution is the amount of pixels that make up each frame of the recorded video.

1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels is the most popular max video resolution amongst new camcorders. We found 368 camcorders that are video cameras that have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) pixels. We found 31 camcorders that are video cameras that have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (4K) pixels, making 3840 x 2160 (4K) pixels the second most frequently found max video resolution amongst new camcorders.

A higher video resolution means that each frame will be more detailed and sharper, with less blurring or smudging. This leads to a far higher quality video.

Total Megapixels

A megapixel (MP or Mpx) is one million pixels, and is a term used not only for the number of pixels in an image, but also to express the number of image sensor elements of digital cameras or the number of display elements of digital displays. For example, a camera that makes a 2048 1536 pixel image typically uses a few extra rows and columns of sensor elements and is commonly said to have "3.2 megapixels" or "3.4 megapixels", depending on whether the number reported is the "effective" or the "total" pixel count (as opposed to the 2048 1536 = 3,145,728 finished image pixels).

Across the range of camcorders, the total megapixels range from 0.3MP to 50MP. The total megapixels of most camcorders range from 2.7MP to 5.1MP. The PanasonicHC-X920, which is available at £679.99, has the biggest total megapixels and is a 38.28MP video camera. The camcorder with the smallest total megapixels is the PanasonicHC-X920, which is a 2MP video camera and currently retails for £78.99.

A larger number of megapixels increases the sharpness of images and video.

Optical Sensor Sizes

Optical sensor size is one of the most important factors affecting the image quality produced by a camcorder. The sensor is what processes the light from the lens and transfers it into a digital image.

Comparing all camcorders, the optical sensor sizes range from 1" to 4/3". The optical sensor sizes of the majority of video cameras range from 0.13" to 0.28". The camcorder with the largest optical sensor size is the SonyNEX-FS100, which is a 4/3" optical sensor size camcorder and can be purchased for £999.00. The SonyNEX-FS100 has the smallest optical sensor size. This video camera is a 1" optical sensor size video camera and can be purchased for £247.98.

A larger optical sensor produces better quality results, because more light can be brought into the lens at once, This leads to larger, more highly-detailed videos and photos.

Weights

This denotes the weight of the camcorder, including battery.

The weights of camcorders range from 50g to 7.4kg. The weights of the majority of camcorders range from 50g to 300g. The video camera with the heaviest weight is the SonyBRC-H800, which is a 4.3kg camcorder and can be purchased for £8,107.20. The SonyBRC-H800, which can be purchased for £109.00, has the lightest weight and is a 50g camcorder.

A lighter camcorder is easier to handle when recording and to carry when travelling.

Biggest Video Camera Retailers

We found 84 current offers for video cameras from eBay making it the biggest camcorder retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Argos for whom we found 65 current offers for video cameras. The third biggest retailer is Wex Photographic with 44 current camcorder offers.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Camcorders?

The shop that most frequently offered the cheapest price on video cameras is eBay and offers the cheapest price on 47 video cameras.

Proportion of Camcorders for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

The cheapest shop by number of camcorder for which they offer the cheapest price is eBay with the cheapest price on 56% of its video cameras.

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