Last updated: August 10, 2021

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A camcorder is the combination of a camera and a recorder. Good quality photos and videos can be captured even with an inexpensive model. Basically, the resolution and the lens determine the quality of the recordings and the price of the product. Many camcorders offer additional functions such as image stabiliser, night vision function, face detection, anti-shake function, external microphone and much more.

Whether you're a YouTuber or hobby filmmaker, or just want to capture memories with friends and family, there's a perfect camcorder for your needs. In this camcorder review 2021, we have explained the most important topics and questions to help you choose your camcorder.




Summary

  • With a camcorder you can capture memories as photos or videos. You can take a camcorder with you wherever you go - on holiday, at family reunions, as a YouTuber or as a hobby filmmaker - because it is small and light. Despite their size, camcorders can provide excellent video and photo quality.
  • Basically, the main factor to consider when making a purchase decision is the video resolution. This is usually specified in SD, HD, Full HD and 4K. However, other features such as the lens, battery life and memory format of the camcorder also play an important role when it comes to video and camcorder quality.
  • Camcorders can also impress with other features such as night vision, image stabiliser, face detection, HDR function, connections and accessories.

The Best Camcorder: Our Choices

Camcorders: buying and review criteria

Camcorders can be equipped with various functions and features.

In the following section, we have explained the most important criteria that you should read carefully when deciding which camcorder to buy to find the best possible camcorder for your needs.

Video resolution

Digital images are made up of small dots called pixels. And video resolution measures how many pixels an image contains. This means that pixel length times pixel height equals resolution. SD, HD, Full HD, also called 2K, 4K and 8K are common video resolutions.

We advise you not to buy a camcorder with SD resolution, as the video quality at this resolution is not convincing.

A Full HD camcorder is ideal for fast movements in the video and for slow motion effects in video editing. In addition, a Full HD camcorder offers more detail in the image than an HD camcorder.

A 4K camcorder has four times the resolution of a Full HD camcorder. The colours are better and the saturation and contrast are higher.

Lens

The lens plays a crucial role in the image and video quality of the camcorder. The speed of a lens is the largest aperture you can set on the lens and tells you how much light passes through the lens. The smaller the number, the more light gets through the lens and the better the quality of the videos and photos. Disadvantages of camcorders with high light intensity are that the lenses are larger and thus the weight of the camcorder and the price.

For indoor recordings, we recommend a wide-angle lens, as it allows you to capture a large area of the surroundings on the video.

The focal length of a lens is given in mm. It is the section of the image that is seen in the video. With zoom lenses, you can change the image section because they do not have a fixed focal length. Most camcorders in the low to medium price range offer a maximum focal length of 37mm.

The advantage with a zoom lens is that you don't have to change the lens every time you have a new shooting situation. The disadvantage is that with these lenses, the quality of the video and photos deteriorates immensely when you zoom in.

The very expensive camcorders offer an optical zoom. The difference between optical zoom and digital zoom is that with optical zoom the quality of the recording does not deteriorate. With digital zoom, an enlargement is made from the existing image, whereas with optical zoom, the lens is used to enlarge the image by a physical process.

Memory format

A distinction is made between two types of main memory. On the one hand, there are camcorders that store the files on a hard disk. These types store the videos directly in the camera. With the second type, the files are not stored directly on the camera, but on a memory card.

  • Hard disk: There are two different types of internal storage. A standard hard disk and a flash memory. The former is heavy and has moving parts. However, this variant has a lot of storage space. In contrast to the standard hard disk, a flash memory offers less storage space. On the other hand, the memory is light and has no moving parts.
  • Memory cards: The videos are not stored on the camcorder, but on a small memory card. The speed of the card plays an important role here. SD recordings without sound do not need such a fast card as, for example, full HD videos with sound. The performance of the memory card therefore depends on its speed, but also on the data memory. The data memory is given in gigabytes. The speed indicates how fast data can be written to the memory card.

Connections and accessories

There are various accessories for a camcorder, such as microphones, flash lights, LED lights and headphones. Before you buy, make sure your camcorder has a built-in accessory shoe at the top where you can snap in your LED light or microphone.

In difficult conditions, you can improve your video quality immensely with external accessories.

Your camcorder should also have the appropriate inputs for headphones and microphone. Another important point is that your camcorder should have an HDMI port in case you want to connect it to your TV.

Camcorders: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

We have answered the most important questions about camcorders in this section.

Who is a camcorder for?

A camcorder is suitable for anyone who is interested in taking photos and videos or simply wants to capture beautiful memories. You choose a different camcorder depending on your needs. For family events and holidays, the cheaper versions are enough. With these products, you can easily take quality pictures and share them with family and friends.

For YouTubers, a product with wifi, image stabilisation and motion capture is best. As a YouTuber, make sure you either buy a model that comes with an external microphone or has a port so you can connect one. This way you can convince with good video and sound quality.

Camcorder

The autofocus on a camcorder describes the ability to focus on the desired subject. (Image source: Jakob Owens / Unsplash)

For advanced hobby filmmakers, we recommend going for the slightly more expensive version. A camcorder with a wide-angle lens and optical zoom offers very good quality recordings. We also recommend a product that allows you to produce detailed and lifelike footage even in backlit or dark situations.

What types of camcorders are there?

There are many different types of camcorders. We will introduce you to the three most important ones here.

Type Description
HD camcorder for hobby filmmakers and normal use
4K camcorder for professional hobby filmmakers, cinema-ready
Action cam for outdoor and sports shooting

An HD camcorder is perfectly adequate for normal use, such as filming holidays and family events. For youtubers and hobby filmmakers with more experience, we recommend a 4K camcorder. These products are a bit more expensive, but with the quality that these 4K camcorders can produce, you can present your video on YouTube or as a film.

Camcorder

The visible radius of action cams is 180 degrees. That is why their lenses are usually called fisheye lenses. (Image source: Yuriy Kostin / Unsplash)

An action cam is ideal for shots that have a lot of movement in them, as it is able to produce shake-free videos and photos thanks to the image stabiliser. Plus, most action cams are waterproof, so you can create great underwater shots.

How much does a camcorder cost?

Depending on the features of the camcorder, the price can vary. Basically, the resolution and lens determine the price of the camcorder. However, other factors such as image stability, night vision and accessories also play a role.

Type Price
HD camcorder 50 - 80 euros
Full HD camcorder 80 - 300 euros

HD camcorders are the cheapest option. As the resolution increases, so does the price. A full HD device is therefore more expensive. A camcorder with an optical zoom is more expensive than one with a digital zoom, because with the former the quality is not lost when zooming.

What are the alternatives to a camcorder?

Not only camcorders are suitable for producing video and photo recordings. We present the following two alternatives: Digital cameras and smartphones.

Alternative Features
Digital cameras compact, HD and 4K resolution
Smartphones light, always with you, apps for editing, synchronisation with PC, poor battery life, less storage space

Nowadays, smartphones can produce very good quality footage. One advantage of smartphones for video recording is that you always have the phone with you. However, the battery sinks quickly when filming. Make sure you always have your charger with you. In addition, you can either edit the videos immediately on an app on your mobile phone or you can synchronise your mobile phone with your computer and edit the files on the computer.

Camcorder

Some smartphones nowadays are also equipped with a wide-angle function and image stabiliser. (Image source: Eaters Collective / Unsplash)

Digital cameras are very handy and thanks to their flat shape and light weight, you can take them anywhere. Similar to camcorders, you can buy a digital camera in HD and Full HD resolution.

How do I transfer the videos to my computer?

There are three ways you can transfer your files to your computer:

  • Wlan
  • USB cable
  • Memory card

Some camcorders are equipped with wifi, so you can easily send your files to your computer without a cable or memory card. Most camcorders have a memory card that you can easily remove and insert into your computer to upload your videos and photos. Most camcorders also have a USB port. With the USB cable you can connect your computer to your camcorder and save the files. Before you buy a camcorder, make sure it has a USB port if you want to save your files this way. Some camcorders even have a USB cable integrated in the device, so you always have it with you.

Conclusion

If you want to capture beautiful moments or produce creative videos and photos, a camcorder is ideal for you. They are small, light and very easy to take with you. Despite their size, camcorders convince with very good recording quality, be it a cheaper variant or an expensive camcorder. Of course, the better the lens and video resolution, the higher the price. But additional functions and accessories also determine the price.

A large number of camcorders have a battery life of about 90 minutes. Some camcorders can be charged while recording. If you don't have a power socket nearby, you will need to charge several batteries in advance and take them with you.

Photo source: Rawpixel/ 123rf.com

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