Camcorder video cameras are still worth buying

Advice: camcorder

Are you new to film and looking for a video camera with a good price-performance ratio? I have been selling devices in the photo and video trade for almost 25 years and know that many cameras in a certain price range are very similar in terms of their features. That doesn't make a purchase decision easy. During the purchase advice, it was always very important to me that the customer got along with the device. But how do you know when you order on the Internet, for example? If you click on the following terms, you will get a short explanation. In doing so, I explain what I consider important in the manufacturer's information and what not:

If you always take your camera with you, travel a lot, or mainly shoot action sports, a light weight is useful. In general, however, with a little more weight in your hand you can film without a tripod, because with a light device you shiver more. Given the size of the camera, I would make sure that it is really comfortable in the hand. A mini camera is not well suited for large hands (and vice versa), as you cannot reach the important functions such as the record button or the zoom rocker with your fingers.
The light intensity of the lens is more important than the zoom intensity! The rule is that a smaller number is the better value. The lenses of the entry-level models all move in the range of +/- aperture 1.8 to 4.2 (= 1.8 in wide angle, 4.2 in telephoto). These are excellent values ​​and you don't have to pay so much attention to the differences between the individual cameras. The lux value is also important. It provides information about the minimum illuminance. The lower the number, the better. All of the camcorders listed below are 3 or 4 lux, which is a good value. More expensive models often offer an even better lux number. Be careful with no-name cameras: you usually save not only on price, but also on optical quality and thus on light intensity.
Many manufacturers advertise their devices with a particularly powerful zoom lens. For me, this is not a purchase argument. Do not make your decision dependent on the fact that camera X has a 'great' 50x zoom and camera Y 'only' 20x. However, if you're a bird watcher, a powerful zoom lens can be very interesting. Then your equipment must have a stable video tripod. Incidentally, the 'digital zoom' is completely unimportant because here only a section of the original image is magnified. The picture quality gets worse.
If you look at the terms for clip storage, you might get dizzy. There's AVCHD, AVI, FLV, MPG4, 3GP, to name a few. The file extension of the video clips is also different with a Panasonic than with Canon or Sony. There is no uniform information here. All devices presented below record in full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. A distinction is often made between 1080i and 1080p. I think that will hardly make a noticeable difference in your recordings. You can also choose a lower resolution on the camera, e.g. if you are making recordings for the Internet. The current highest standard is 4K, which is sharper than full HD due to the high resolution (at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels). If you present your films on a television of this new standard, you can think about this additional expenditure. But remember: the film sequences also take up a lot more space on the memory card and on the computer.

Some camcorders are currently not available (due to the corona pandemic?)!

Panasonic HC-V 380 - Branded device at an affordable price

  • very good price-performance ratio
  • good 28mm wide angle lens
  • optical and electronic image stabilizer
  • reliable autofocus
  • Lightweight: only 254 grams
  • Zoom strength: 50 times magnification
  • Price: approx. 235 €
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JVC GZ-RX601 - The robust action camcorder

  • shockproof, waterproof QuadProof housing
  • frost-resistant, insensitive to dust
  • Weight: 295 grams
  • Use of filters (37mm)
  • Can be used as a surveillance camera with the app
  • built-in long-life battery (charging is possible while filming)
  • Zoom strength: 40 times magnification
  • Price: approx. 330 €
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Sony HDR-PJ 410 - Video camera with integrated projector

  • Integrated projector for film playback (image size up to 5 meters)
  • very good 26.5mm wide angle lens
  • optical image stabilizer
  • USB cable integrated in the hand strap
  • Please note: The camcorder is operated with micro SD cards or the Sony memory stick
  • Price around € 300

Panasonic HC-W580EG - The compact camcorder for high demands

  • balanced exposure in light and shadow (details more visible)
  • 28mm wide-angle optics
  • Twin camera: a smartphone can be used as a second camera via WiFi
  • optical and electronic stabilizer
  • Zoom microphone
  • Weight: 264 grams
  • Zoom strength: 20 times magnification
  • Price: approx. € 340

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Panasonic HC-VX11 - Highest resolution at a great price

  • 4K and FullHD resolution
  • bright Leica quality lens
  • extreme wide angle (25mm)
  • high quality optical stabilizer
  • large 3 ″ display
  • Weight: 971 grams
  • Sensor resolution: 8.5 megapixels
  • Minimum lighting: 1.5 lux
  • Zoom strength: 24x magnification
  • Price: approx. 540 €

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Sony FDR-AX 53 - Highest quality with an optical viewfinder

  • the only compact device with an optical viewfinder
  • 4K and full HD resolution
  • great shots under difficult lighting conditions
  • high quality sound recordings with 40% less noise
  • first-class image stabilization
  • Slow motion videos at 120 frames / sec.
  • Zoom: 20x Zeiss lens
  • Price: approx. 700 €

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Panasonic AG-AC 30 - Professional camera for high demands

  • practical handle on the top
  • XLR connection for 2 additional microphones
  • Recording on 2 SD memory cards (backup function)
  • built-in LED light for brightening up portraits
  • Lens ring with manual focus and aperture setting
  • retractable, fold-out monitor
  • Zoom: 20x magnification
  • Price: approx. 1420 €

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Categories: Filming & Editing