Camcorders have come on in leaps and bounds in the last decade, even with the plethora of smartphones with excellent cameras. Camcorder manufacturers have moved from devices based on tapes and hard disks to gadgets with solid-state flash memory. Some of the latest models can shoot footage which rivals TV broadcasts.
Sometimes, a phone camera just won’t cut it. For those occasions, camcorders are still the tech of choice. Here is our camcorder and video camera buying advice, along with some of the best camcorders available in the UK.
Top 10 Best Camcorders In The UK 2021
Below are our pick of the best camcorders on the market or alternatively, read on to find out more about the information you should know before buying a camcorders.
1. Panasonic HC-VXF990 Camcorder
This Panasonic’s camcorder has a great lens from Leica, and an advanced sensor to go with it. The results look fantastic, with clear, sharp images boasting faithful colours.
There are lots of features to make it easier to shoot video, like automatically tracking your subject and stabilisation that can be added after you’ve filmed. Difficult manoeuvres like zooming slowly can be done by the camera, too.
It also has an HDR movie function for more dramatic video by combining two images shot with different exposures, though this only works in HD, not 4K, resolution.
2. Sony FDR-AX43 | Ultra HD (UHD) 4K Compact Camcorder
The FDR-AX43 may be compact but it doesn’t skimp on features.
Fronted by a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T lens, the FDR-AX43’s niceties include a 20x optical zoom, 4K shooting (with super-down-sampling for 1080p displays), a low noise Exmor R CMOS sensor, and dual-video recording in XAVC S or AVCHD, plus easy to share MP4.
For those who want convincing surround sound when playing back their footage into a home cinema or soundbar, there’s also a multichannel 5.1 microphone.
Expect limitations in low light, but if you’re looking for an easy-to-manage but capable 4K shooter, then this model is a fantastic choice, because there is balance between functionality, portability and price.
3. Sony HDR-PJ620 Full HD Camcorder
Sony produces a wide range of camcorders for all skill levels, and its mid-range models like the Sony PJ620 are among the best on the market.
This camcorder features Sony’s proprietary image stabilization to minimize shake when shooting freehand, which can prove invaluable when used with the 30x optical zoom, which would otherwise amplify unwanted movement. Spot-focus, intelligent auto, wind noise reduction and smile shutter make things even easier when capturing home movies.
The Sony PJ620 also features a built-in 25-lumen projector, but this soon becomes rather hot – more of a gimmick than a useful tool, and this camcorder’s only real letdown.
4. Sony FDRX3000RFDI.EU R AKA-FGP1 Ultra HD 4K Action Cam
The Sony FDR-X3000 is a decent action camera with its 120 fps frame rate and burst shooting that can capture fast-moving actions. It also comes with a Motion Shot LE to shoot a whole action series in one frame.
Thanks to its 60M underwater housing, the FDR-X3000 becomes a good waterproof camcorder.
This action camcorder includes a Balanced Optical SteadyShot feature to reduce any camera shakes during the video shoot. It’s paired with a Live-View Remote to give you full command over its operations.
Other features include a built-in stereo microphone, Highlight Movie Maker, and 4k time-lapse capture to transform pictures into a movie.
5. GoPro Hero 7 Black
GoPro is our go-to choice for action cams and with the Hero 7 Black, it’s developed perhaps the best 4K shooter yet for action aficionados. No matter how rough that Black Diamond ski run, the Hero 7 Black’s HyperSmooth video stabilisation will ensure that your footage is buttery smooth.
TimeWarp combines exemplary image stabilisation with time-lapse photography – and to ensure you always get the correct exposure, there’s SuperPhoto, a handy AI scene option.
The Hero7 Black records 4K with HDR up to 60fps, and Full HD at an impressive 240fps, for excellent slow-motion sequences.
It’s also waterproof down to 10m, without the need for a dedicated housing. To make life easier on the piste, there’s voice control. The camcorder responds to 12 separate commands, just remember to shout “Take a photo!” when you’re doing something really gnarly.
6. DJI Osmo Action Camera
Very similar in appearance to the GoPro, the DJI Osmo Action camera has some wonderful features of its own; making it a good option to consider if budget is a factor.
Two screens on this model make it easy for you to immerse yourself in the shooting experience in high-quality, or capture the perfect selfie.
Shooting mode on this camera allows you to naturally transition between complex lighting conditions, for greater depth and detail.
7. Sony HDR-CX405
The Sony HDR-CX405 is a great budget option for anyone that is happy with 1080p video quality and wants a video camera that’s super compact and portable.
Despite the handheld form factor this camcorder offers 30x optical zoom with the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens. You get intelligent features like optical SteadyShot and Intelligent Active mode to offer a smooth finish.
Onboard editing is even an option using the Highlight Movie Maker. This can be saved on the memory card with both XAVC S and AVCHD recorded simultaneously if you want.
The USB cable is tethered for easy file transfer as well as recharging and you get 5.1 audio with the built-in microphone.
8. The Actitop Full HD Camcorder with IR Night Vision Video
This is one of the better budget camcorders that come with night vision. Unlike some of the other budget night vision video cameras that promise 4K video when in reality they offer a maximum of 3K video, the Actitop Full HD camcorder stays true to its word. You can record 1080p FHD videos in the daytime and with the help of the IR mode, take videos in pitch dark settings.
It has the option of being remotely controlled, can record while being charged and with an 8 megapixel CMOS sensor to capture high-quality images and videos, it is ideal for beginners and amateurs who are looking for an infrared camcorder.
It comes with an external mic in the box. Now an external mic is of significance because if you want to go ghost hunting or capturing paranormal phenomena, you need to be able to capture even the slightest sound. The inbuilt recorder in most camcorders might not be enough to capture very faint sounds. Hence and external mic can be of great use.
Finally, it comes with a battery that can record in 1080p up to 2 hours at a stretch. This is much needed especially when you’re ghost hunting in the dark and do not want to miss out on any important footage while you’re ‘out there’.
9. JVC GZ-R495 QuadProof Camcorder
The JVC GZ-R495 QuadProof Camcorder records HD video and has the robust QuadProof body by JVC. QuadProof means that the camera is waterproof up to 5 meters, resistant to falls from a height of 1.5 meters, dust-resistant (IP5X classification) and frost resistant to temperatures of -10° C.
The camera combines a 2.5 megapixel CMOS sensor with the JVC Falconbrid image processor that captures 1920 x 1080 progressive HD video using its 4 GB internal memory, or SD memory cards. The camera can capture 10 MP photos or simultaneously save HD video and 2 MP photos.
The Konica Minolta HD lens of the camera features 40x optical zoom, 60x dynamic zoom and 200x digital zoom. There is also an Advanced Image Stabilizer (A.I.S.) that reduces the effects of unwanted camera shake.
10. Panasonic HC-V160EB-K Full HD Camcorder
Panasonic isn’t really hyping the HC-V160 as much as the high-end consumer camcorders but the Panasonic HC-V160 does represent a nice step forward to a world where the most affordable camcorders are good enough for casual users.
The image stabilizer should be a huge help since the video won’t suffer from shakiness if you cannot keep your hands still. The added boost to the Intelligent zoom could help in those rare situations where you really need to get up close to the subject but physically can’t and you don’t want to rely on the digital zoom.
Finally, the wide-angle improvement is a nice little bonus for vacationers. Just be sure to evaluate the Panasonic HC-V270 first before buying the HC-V160 as you might be tempted to fork up an additional $70 to get Wi-Fi, touchscreen controls, 1080p/60p support and a better image stabilizer.
How To Choose The Right Camcorder?
Finding the best camcorder can be difficult, especially if you are unsure of what to look out for. Here are some things to consider when buying a camcorder:
Currently, the best camcorder resolutions are 4K, although these devices are also the most expensive. Most camcorders come with at least high-definition resolution, which should be fine for most people, although be mindful that some camcorders only have a standard definition resolution.
2. Video Controls:
One of the main benefits of a camcorder is how efficient they are recording video footage. It is a good idea to look for a camcorder that offers a range of video controls, as this allows for precise control over what you record, making it possible to capture quality footage in many settings. For instance, having control over features such as field of view, white balance, and shutter speed allow for more versatile recording and better footage in general. However, advanced video controls are always necessary, especially for beginners.
Camcorders come with a variety of features, any of which you may find useful. For instance, flip-out screens allow you to view footage before and during recordings, while autofocus can be a great feature for anyone unsure of how to manually focus. Newer features such as built-in Wi-Fi are also becoming quite popular, as they let you wirelessly upload videos and photos to a computer or to share them instantly on social media. Consider which features may be helpful and what will allow you to get the most from the camcorder.
If you’re intending to get employment as a specialist videographer, developing some of the high-level functionality will be genuinely beneficial. Understanding what you require from your camcorder will undoubtedly and instantly result in ‘price range’ considerations, which will filter your choices into a practical purchase.
Your daily routine is an issue that can significantly impact your camera decision. An excellent camcorder that does not match your way of life can become entirely worthless. In a wide range of camcorders available in the market, we hope our list above help you out in looking for the best suitable one.