Best Camcorder 2017 – Guide, Reviews, & Pro Tips

For many people, it’s been a while since they’ve researched or purchased the best camcorder for their needs and they may no longer know what to look for. Things have changed so dramatically and continue to advance regularly, leaving most people unable to keep up with the various conventions and options that have become integral parts of modern video recording.

Fortunately, we have created a guide that can help you choose the best camcorder that is going to meet all of your needs by laying out exactly what to look for. No need for guess work, just take a look at some of the top rated camcorders available on the market today.

Important Features to Look For

Since camcorders continue to have new specifications, it’s important to understand what you’re looking at and why those particular things may be desirable.

The first thing you’re going to want to look for is picture quality. More and more of the best cameras are high definition these days, largely because the technology has become cheaper to produce, but even cameras with the same resolution can end with different picture quality.

What you want is a clear picture that takes lighting into account so that it looks natural. It is possible for a picture to be so crisp that it doesn’t look quite real, so make sure that your camcorder can at least be adjusted.

You also want to make sure that you select the best camcorder with sufficient storage and the ability to move recordings onto another media, such as a computer or into a data cloud. There are a number of camcorders that restrict your ability to transfer data to only certain media, so it’s best to have as many choices as possible.

Finally, check the options to make sure that they have what you would like. The best camcorder may allow you to do rudimentary editing, some have a number of lighting and appearance choices. There are even a few that will upload your video wirelessly to a data cloud or some other place online. Find the things that you will use first, then look into what would just be fun.

Best Camcorder Top 6 Comparison Guide

PictureNameResolutionPriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameResolutionPriceRating (1-5)
1. Sony HDR-PJ790V High Definition Handycam Camcorder1080p$$$$$4.8
2. Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder1080p$$$$4.7
3. JVC Everio GZ-E200BUS Camcorder 40x Optical1080p$$4.4
4. GoPro HERO5 w/ Head Strap, Battery and Memory Card1080p$$4.3
5. Contour ROAM3 Waterproof HD Video Camera1080p$$4.3
6. Sony HD Video Recording HDRCX440 Handycam Camcorder1080p$$4.1

Reviews of the Top Rated Camcorders

1. Sony HDR-PJ790V HD Handycam Camcorder

The Sony HDR-PJ790V is very clearly and solidly on the high end of video cameras. Sony obviously pulled out all of the stops on this one, adding every dream feature that a professional could conceive of and putting it into one large package.

First, there is more on board storage in the HDR-PJ790V than in any other camcorder on the market. Ninety six gigabytes of storage makes for plenty of space to take the highest quality HD footage and not have to worry about transferring to a computer very often at all.

More than anything, the optical image stabilization technology makes this camera worth while. It is possible to be filming at full zoom and still expect not only a high quality video where even small details are apparent, but also notice hardly any camera shake despite the distance.

The added hardware considerations are also entirely unique to this best camcorder. For one, the camera microphone is held separate from the body of the camera so that it doesn’t pick up the electronics of the device itself.

Another interesting addition is the 100″ projector that can play at WVGA resolution (854×480). Combine that with a great on board editor and you have one of the best commercially available camcorders around.

2. Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder

Canon is not to be outdone with the VIXIA HF G40. One of the clearest, easiest, and best camcorder models to use with almost any computer or editing suite, the VIXIA HF G40 is in many ways designed to be as universal as possible.

It’s most salient and useful feature is that it records in MP4, which is fairly unique among cameras but is one of the best HD formats available and incredibly common online. Starting in this format significantly reduced encoding time for major editing and ensures great picture if you just want to use the raw footage.

The body design is really well conceived. It sits well in the hand and has heft to it, but isn’t very heavy so it’s easy to hold for extended periods of time. There is both a highly responsive touch screen and a physical pad to use as well, and the zoom rocker is very precise so you can get the exact distance you’re looking for.

Probably the largest drawback to the VIXIA HF G40 is that it has no internal memory at all. While this isn’t a huge issue, it is nice to know there are a few extra gigs on the camera itself, just in case.

3. JVC Everio GZ-E200BUS Camcorder

The JVC Everio GZ-E200BUS is a great starter camera for people who want to get a little more serious about their filming but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. It includes a lot of professional level features and very high quality, but the price is also reasonable for the average user.

What stands out the most about the JVC Everio GZ-E200BUS are the WiFi features. It’s great to be able to take a shot and immediately upload it to any number of different services for later use. Not only does this keep the on board storage free, it also makes sharing that much simpler.

The picture is remarkably clear both indoors and outdoors. You can even get some great shots in low light without having to worry about everything turning into a dim mess. The 1080p setting is very sharp and it’s easy to get some wonderful details, even when zoomed in to its highest magnification.

While it doesn’t have quite the quality of a professional camera, it certainly can capture some amazing footage and help take the first step into a more serious hobby.

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