What Is The Best Camcorder To Buy In 2020? 

 January 13, 2020

By  Jacqui Cheng

The first camcorder hit stores in June 1982. It was large, bulky, and used a mini-VHS format. The official slogan was, "inside this camera, there is a VCR." They were all the rage. People had a way to record their everyday lives and special events with a battery-powered, mobile device.

They could transfer these mini-VHS tapes into full-size VHS tapes, and they could share them with their families or replay them on their home VHS player. These early camcorders provided a way of remembering the past, and a way for people to have fun recording their own home movies.

As time went on, they only got better. High-definition hit the market, and camcorders were pioneering this new technology every step of the way. Camcorders got smaller, their battery lives became longer, and the picture quality was out of this world.


Then something interesting happened, people stopped using camcorders for a little while. Smartphone companies such as Samsung and Apple had developed great high definition video recorders built into their phones.

These phones had a decent amount of memory, and they were easy to transport, and they could also upload videos directly to the users' social media accounts. This was unprecedented.

Camcorders hadn't seen their last day, however. Electronics companies saw this as a challenge and only made their camcorders with better batteries, more storage, and some even could upload straight to social media.

In 2020, camcorders are better than ever. Even the best smartphones still aren’t able to compete with middle-of-the-road models, and certainly aren’t able to compare to high-end models. Plus, your phone's battery and data storage willbe preserved if you use a dedicated camcorder for video shooting.

However, whenever high-quality products come onto the market, there are also loads of cheap economy models that are there to compete. These cheap knockoffs often can’t deliver what they promise, and some will completely stop working after a few months of use.

To help make your decision easier and to prevent you from buying a less than satisfactory product, we’ve built up this ultimate buying guide and put together a few of our personal camcorder reviews and comparison tables. These are some of the best digital camcorders on the market, and you will get years of good use and high-quality video out of all of these. Let’s take a look!

Top 5 Best Camcorder On The Market

To help make your decision easier and to prevent you from buying a less than satisfactory product, we’ve built up this ultimate buying guide and put together a few of our personal camcorder reviews and comparison tables. These are some of the best digital camcorders on the market, and you will get years of good use and high-quality video out of all of these. Let’s take a look!

[amazon box=”B01A60T3R4,B01950TCEU,B01N7OAH3I,B00R5LHB0Y,B01A60SXSO” template=”table” ]

What is the Best Camcorder? Keep reading to find out!

Best 4K Camcorders

A few short years ago, 1080 pixels was considered top-of-the-line high-definition video. Recently, however, there has been a switch to “ultra-high-definition” video. This is referring to 4k quality, which refers to a horizontal screen resolution of 4,000 pixels. That’s almost four times the amount of picture clarity that is provided by 1080 pixel video.

To be able to display a clear picture on these ultra-high-definition screens, videos need to be shot with a camcorder that captures 4k videos. For this quality, you will have to pay a hefty price. However, there are few things that can compare to viewing your memories and home movies in a screen definition that's realer than life.

1. Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Camcorder

[amazon box=”B01A60T3R4″ template=”vertical”]

  • Incredibly sharp 4K Ultra-High-Definition recording
  • Built-in editing for 1080 pixel screens
  • Leica lens with 20X zoom capability and advanced image stabilization
  • In-camera editing cames shooting home videos a breeze
  • Surround sound quality recording
  • Tripod compatibility

If you're looking for the cream of the crop, then the Panasonic HC-VX981K is the best 4K camcorder for you. Panasonic has had a long history of producing quality electronics from, televisions, sound systems, and camcorders. It has a high price, but this model is worth every extra dollar that you invest in it.

  • Leica Lens

Panasonic only wanted to use the best for their flagship camcorder, and that's why they chose Leica. Leica manufactures some of the highest-quality lenses in the world. They are scratch-resistant and are made with unmatchable precision and attention to detail.

This unit has the Decoma lens which is capable of 20x zoom power. Many cameras will have a severe drop in quality when zooming in this far, but with this Panasonic, you will only notice a small difference.

This lens also has advanced image stabilization. Have you ever tried to record a video, and when re-watching it were thrown off by all of the shaky action and unclear picture quality? You will never have to worry about running into those problems with this model


The advanced image stabilization provided by the Leica Decoma lense will keep your video as clear and stable as is possible. If you have a shaky hand, it will automatically adjust to this and stabilize the image accordingly.

  • Surround Sound Quality

One of the problems that you will run into with cheaper units is that you won’t be able to get good quality sound out of your videos. What good is taking a video if you can’t hear what’s going on? You may as well go back a hundred years ago when they were still making silent films.


The Panasonic HC-VX981K not only records the sound of your video, but it records it in surround sound quality.

That means that you could playback your videos and home movies on your home entertainment system, and you would be able to hear sound coming out of your entire surround sound system. This is great if you are trying to film your own homemade movies!

  • TriPod Compatibility

If you're going to be doing a lot of filming, then you're going to want to buy a camcorder that has tripod compatibility. You can attach the Panasonic HC-VX981K to a wide variety of tripods, or you can pay an extra $20 and receive one directly with your camera. This will bring a whole new level of ease into your filming and allow you to take a hands-off approach.

  • In-Camera Editing

When you're shooting video, you're going to have a lot of ideas on the spot. This is especially true if you're working on film or artistic videos. When you have these ideas, you're going to want to act on them immediately, or else they may be forgotten.

In the old days, you would have to hook your camcorder up to your computer back home and edit everything from your desk, which can be a pain. The Panasonic HC-VX981K allows you to do almost all of the editing from your camcorder. You have the option to crop, pan, zoom, and track certain subjects by just touching a few buttons.

[amazon box=”B01950TCEU” template=”vertical”]

  • Cutting-edge video clarity with Zeiss lens
  • 3-inch LCD touch panel
  • Night shot ability
  • 4K Time-laps capturing
  • Built-in microphone reacts to zoom
  • Fast contrast detection

This unit is very comparable to the Panasonic in performance, but it is a good bit more expensive which we think will turn away many people. For that reason, we had to put it in second place.

However, if you are willing to dole out a couple hundred more dollars, then this Sony FDRAX53/B will prove to be one of the best professional camcorders that you will ever own. Let's check out the specs.

  • Zeiss Lens

Sony and Zeiss have been partnered for over 20 years, and collectively they have released some of the nicest cameras and camcorders on the market. Few other lens crafters put the amount of quality and detail into the engineering of their camera lens.

The Zeiss lens is encased in a high-quality aluminum casing which can protect the internal components from small drops and bumps. They use a special Advanced Aspherical lens which keeps the image compact and doesn't allow it to be impacted by distorting effects such as light, moisture in the air, or heat waves.


The outside of the glass is coated with a special Zeiss T coating which prevents flare from impacting your recording process. It automatically adjusts to bright flashes and prevents reflections from further distorting your video.

  • Night Shot Ability

One really nice feature about the Sony FDRAX53/B is its ability to shoot a clear picture even during the nighttime or in other dimly lit environments. The internal lens automatically adjusts to the low light levels and will add some extra brightness to your image.

Unlike cheaper camcorders' night mode, which adds an unrealistic and highly noticeable amount of brightness, this Sony unit adds just enough to brighten the picture without making it obvious. This makes it one of the best low light camcorders on the market.

  • Zooming Microphone

A particularly neat feature of this camcorder is that it has a built-in microphone which reacts to zoom. One of the problems that a lot of digital camcorders have is that whenever you're trying to zoom in on a particular area, the microphone still picks up the ambient sound from directly around the device.

This can ruin the effect of the zoom, and require you to do hours of extra sound editing from your workstation.

When you zoom on this camcorder, the microphone automatically adjusts only to pick up sounds coming from a farther distance. It blocks out the ambient noise and focuses on picking up only the lower frequency sounds coming from the object or person you're zooming in on.

Best Camcorders Under $300

We understand that not everybody has $700 - $1,000 to drop on the best 4k camcorders on the market. That’s why we’ve chosen to include our top three budget-friendly models. All of these have a good reputation and will provide you with years of quality service and use. Let’s take a look!

3. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder

[amazon box=”B01N7OAH3I” template=”vertical”]

  • 57x Advanced zooming capability
  • Top-of-the-line DV 4 image processor
  • High-definition CMOS sensor
  • Automatic image stabilization
  • LCD touch panel

Canon has been making quality cameras and camcorders for decades now, and they are a name that you can trust. This camcorder is very affordable and will cost you just around [amazon fields="B01N7OAH3I" value="price"] brand new, making it the best camcorder for the money.

This is the perfect option for a household camcorder which will allow you to capture all of life’s most important moments. Never forget another soccer game, ballet performance, or family get together. The Canon VIXIA can save it all.

  • LCD Touch Panel

The 3-inch recording display screen is a high-definition touchscreen panel. This makes it easy to make small adjustments and allows you to quickly change your settings. Now you won't have to spend time twisting a bunch of knobs and pressing buttons trying to figure out which button does what.

When you're wasting time trying to figure out what each of the buttons do, you're missing out on filming opportunity. Most film-worthy moments aren't going to wait for you to fiddle around with your camcorder. With the Canon VIXIA HFR800, just touch the LCD screen, and you'll be ready to record in seconds.

  • Automatic Image Stabilization

If you’ve ever tried to record a live sporting event with older digital camcorders, then you know just how frustrating it can be to keep the camera steady. When you’re trying to keep up with a fast-paced event where everybody is sprinting from one end of the field to the next, your hand will be moving around a lot which gives your video a very homemade, shaky quality.


This Canon camcorder has an integrated image stabilization feature that can sense when your hand or arm is vibrating. It will automatically recalibrate its sensors and stabilize your video feed. This will result in a clearer, more professional quality of picture.

  • DIGIC DV4 Image Sensor

The DV4 is a high-end image sensor that's usually only found in more expensive cameras. This amazing little image sensor offers exceptional video quality. It cuts out on a lot of the exterior noise and fuzz that can often ruin a good video. The DV4 also allows you to capture low-light scenes with ease.

4. Sony HDRCX440 Handycam

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  • Allows you to broadcast live
  • Can connect to other cameras
  • Facial detection
  • SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Wirelessly transfer video to your mobile device
  • 26.8mm wide-angle Zeiss lens

This Sony Handycam is one of the best camcorders for YouTube video recording. It can upload your digital movies instantaneously as long as you have a steady wifi connection. At just around [amazon fields="B00R5LHB0Y" value="price"], this camera is a steal considering all of the extra features that are included with it. Let's check them out!

  • Facial Detection

Whenever you’re recording a video, you want to draw extra focus on peoples’ faces. Lots of cheap units are known for blurring the subjects’ faces into the rest of the background which can give an unclear image and distort the perception. The Sony HandyCam immediately picks up on faces and gives them extra attention and detail.

  • Live Broadcasting

This camcorder has built-in compatibility with Ustream. This allows you to broadcast live video to your Ustream account. All of your friends and family can link to your unique Ustream address and watch the event as it happens.


This is great for families who have kids that are active in sports and extracurricular activities. Coaches and parents can live stream any events and share them with everybody who couldn't make it.

  • Easy To Transfer To Mobile

The Sony HandyCam can easily connect to your mobile device, which makes it easier than ever to upload your videos directly to social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. This camcorder also can record high-definition MP4 videos (the format used by social media sites).

This means that you won't have to spend extra time converting your files before uploading them.

5. Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder

[amazon box=”B01A60SXSO” template=”vertical”]

  • Built-in filters and video effects
  • Built-in filters and video effects2-channel zooming microphone
  • Ultra-compact design
  • Level Shot technology
  • 5-axis image stabilization

At around [amazon fields="B01A60SXSO" value="price"], this is the cheapest option on our list of camcorder reviews. However, just because it is the cheapest, does not mean that it is the worst. Panasonic is known for making high-quality products, and this inexpensive model provides the same level of functionality and features as many competing camcorders that cost over $300.

  • Built-In Filters and Video Effects

The Panasonic HC-V180K has a full array of built-in filters that make filming a fun and creative process. This is great for film students are artists who are trying to add some artistic flare to their project. You can shoot your videos in an 8mm or silent movie style. It even has time-lapse and miniaturization effects.

  • Level Shot technology

This camcorder comes with Panasonic's patented Level Shot technology. It automatically senses when the camera isn't level and adjusts the image accordingly. This is a great feature if you spend a lot of time doing handheld shooting.

Often, it can be quite hard trying to keep a steady and even hand. Level Shot ensures that you're getting the best picture possible, no matter what.

For What Purposes Can A Camcorder Be Used?

There are various ways to use camcordershere are some of them: 

  • Family and friend-related events video shooting
  • Art / Cinematographic 
  • Educational/Academic Purpose : training for interviews, presentation, new language learning, and other projects 
  • Special eventsWeddingsbirthdays...
  • Media Business video recording
  • Youtube and social media video shooting
  • Sports events taken fromexternal point of views 

Now, you certainly need a camcorder in your personnal or professionnal activities. Let's take a look at the next section to know how to choose a camcorder: the heart of our ultimage buying guide to camcorders.

How To Choose A Camcorder?

In this section of our buying guide, we will go through camcorder's caracterics to be aware of and to check to be able to compare differents products. This is a technical section which can be diffcult to understand right away. That's the reason why we put a user's FAQ that you can check if you have questions on camcorders.

The last part of this section is our top picks of camcorders. We compared lots of products using our criteria and we came up with some best buy camcorders. We try to keep it up to date as otfen as possible.

All Criteria And Features To Look For?

Now that you've seen our list of the best camcorder reviews let's take a look at all of the important features that first-time buyers will need to look out for. Knowing about these features will help you to make an informed decision so that you can get the camcorder that's right for you.


What Type of Codec/Format It Uses To Encode Video?

Depending on the type of medium you are going to be playing your video back on, you will need to consider what type of codec your camcorder uses. If you are using it primarily for social media, then you will want something that can record MP4 video. If you are trying to shoot high-definition films, then you will want to make sure that it can record in either 1080p or 4k.

At What Framerate Is The Video Encoded At?

When looking at video quality, the higher the framrate, the better the image. You will usually pay more money for a camcorder that records video at an ultra-fast framerate, but you can be sure that you are getting a life-like image.

HDR Compatibility: What About Screen Resolution?

If you are going to beplayingyourvideo back onto high-definition screens such as 1080p or 4k, thenyouneedyour camera to be HDR compatible. This willallowyou to shoot crystalclear images and playthem back on your HD tv withoutany issues.            

Video vocabulary:

Two high-definition formats
  • HD (high-definition or 720p) : 1 280 pixels par line × 720 lines ;
  • Full HD (1080p or 1080i) : 1 920 × 1 080, about 2 millions pixels per image.
Two very high-definition formats
  • UHD (ultra high-definition) : 3 840 × 2 160, about 4 times more pixels than Full HD format. This 16:9 format is designed to watch movies on TV screen.
  • 4K : 4 096 × 2 160, a little bit more than UHD format with a cinema aspect ratio. Some thin black lines will appear at the top and the bottom of the screen.
I and P :

What do they mean in 720p, 1080p, 1080i… they indicate the transmission mode of images

  • P  : progressive scanning. This is a way of displaying images in a sequence.mages are shown one after another.
  • I  : interlaced scanning. Interlaced images are shown.

High-dynamic-range video (HDR video) describes video having a dynamic range greater than that of standard-dynamic-range video (SDR video), which uses a conventional luminance coding (gamma curve).

Size / Weight

Sizes and weight of camcorders can be evaluated. This criteria will be about your feeling or your practical application requirements. For standard actual camcorders, usual sizes are: 6cm*13cm*6cm. The usual weight is 200g-250g.


This criteri depends on the features you need and your budget of course. There is a quite large panel of price. Starting from $80 for lower quality camcorder (unfamous brands) to $200-$400 for standard products. Then, for specific application or professional use, price can get easily to $2000-$3000. 

Shooting (Stabilization/Zoom)

How Much Optical Zoom Does It Have?

Zoom is an important feature to look at if you are doing a lot of filmingoutdoors. For instance, if you’re at a soccer gameyoumayneed to zoom in on where the action is all the wayacross the field. Look for a camera that has a high levelof optical zoom and can alsomaintain a quality image whileitis        zoomed in. 

Does It Have Image Stabilization?

If you move your arm, even slightly, during recording, this can cause video shake and blur  images. Optical stabilization will greatly help to keep your footage steady and smooth.

Storage Type

Some cameras have a built-in hard drive (HDD) with a limited amount of space and others use a removable and replaceable memory card SD/ SDHC. Built-in hard drives are usually a bit faster and easier to keep track of, but the replaceable memory card makes it easy to swap out your old card for a new one without having to delete video or upload it to the cloud. Older camcorder models use DVD and digital tape for recording videos.

Sensor / Lense

Are The Lenses Switchable?

If you want to film in a wide variety of environments and situations, then you will want a camcorder that allows you to switch out the lenses. This allows you to switch to a wide-angle lens for panoramic shots, or choose special filtered lenses which can enhance the mood of your film.

The Type Of Sensor

The image sensor on a camcorder is comparable to the processor in a computer. This dictates how clear your image quality and can control factors such as mirror distortion, flares, and how the camcorder performs in low-light situations.

Battery Capacity

Batteries are usually Lithium-ion type with a capacity of about 1000mAh. Depending on battery capacity and camcorder model, the video use can last between 2 and 5 hours, with charge time about the same time.

Usual Features

Wireless Connectivity 

If you want to upload or stream your videos to the internet easily, then you will want a camcorder that has built-in wireless connectivity (Wifi/Bluetooth). This will allow you to transfer your movies to your mobile device or in some cases allow you to directly upload them to social media sites.

Auxiliary Microphone Connections 

This is mainly a feature that professional filmmakers will need to look at. While most camcorders have a pre-installed microphone, if you are going to be shooting cinema quality shots, then you will want to be able to attach auxiliary microphones to your camcorder.

Tripod Compatibility

Most camcorders are compatible with a wide array of tripods, but there are a few on the market that are meant for handheld use only. Using a tripod gives you a hands-off approach and makes it easier to shoot videos of yourself.

Other connections

HDMI, USB connections are often integrated in camcorders.

Special Features

Speacial features are the ones that youcould need for specific reasons. Here are some examples: Nightshot / Waterproof /Wide Angle / Slow Motion / Remote Control Recordings

Users FAQ

How long  can a camcorder record?

It depends on two things : storage media and battery capacity. Th usual recording duration is between 2 and 5 hours. Of course, you can extend the duration recording by switching quickly with another SD card and/or battery you bought ahead.

Can a camcorder record remotely?

Yes! New generation of camcorders come with bluetooth phone connection, which allow you to take control of your video camera woth your phone with a dedicated app.

How can I connect it to my computer?

The most common connection features are USB or fireware cable connection. You can also find easily camcorders with wifi and/or bluetooth wireless connections.


Hopefully, you have found our guide to be helpful! We put together a list of the best 4k camcorders on the market as well as some more budget-friendly options. With all of the low-quality options on the market, it can be hard to choose the best camcorder for the money.

We have looked through hundreds of camcorders and have picked the cream of the crop for your viewing (and recording) pleasure. So what are you waiting for? Stop letting life's small moments pass you buy.

Many of these camcorders are at a record low price on Amazon and are Prime eligible. This means that you could get your camcorder delivered directly to your front doorstep and begin filming your first home movies in just two days.

Jacqui Cheng

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