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Best Camcorder 2019 • 0 Camcorders Reviews

What's a camcorder?

A Camcorder is a special form of film camera with integrated video recorder. This is also indicated by the name because it combines the terms Camera and Recorder. As a compact camera, it is ideal for shooting sports events, filming family occasions and on vacation.

Often such a device also offers the possibility to integrate a few smaller effects directly into the video. Among the best known effects are, for example, the coloring of the recording with the color tone sepia or a blue tone or the well-known black-and-white effect, which is supposed to convey the impression of old video recordings. Very popular was also the so-called Motion Shot Video mode, which can divide a video recording against a fixed background into several individual sequences, which can then be overlaid with different intervals. Some devices also offer the possibility to show small title in the video, which gives information about the date and the topic.

If you have created some videos, you can transfer them to a computer with a small connecting cable and edit them there. However, some users prefer to rely on a direct transfer from the memory card to another storage medium. To do this, the camcorder's memory card must be removed and inserted into a suitable card reader. This is also possible for less experienced users without problems, because you only have to open a small flap on the camcorder and the memory card comes out with little pressure.

In the meantime, there are even models that allow control of several camcorders simultaneously. This is done via a WIFI system. For example, you can control the camera of your smartphone with your camcorder and thus add another angle of view to the same situation. Many camcorders offer the function of integrating this second viewing angle directly into the video as a picture-in-picture collage. This radio technology also makes it possible to use the camcorder as a monitoring device. All you have to do is place it in the right place and you can then switch it on and off from any place with your smartphone. This of course requires a working Internet connection.

How does a camcorder work?

The heart of every camcorder is the Lens, which is usually attached to the front of the camcorder. They allow light to enter the device, which used to be a film, but is now captured by a light-sensitive sensor. This sensor is divided into many small areas, each of which is calculated individually by the processor. The color value and brightness are calculated for each area. The built-in computer now combines all these small areas into a large image and can also detect when a scene has not been properly illuminated, for example. Then corrects the system on request automatically corrects this error and the user gets a perfectly illuminated and appealing picture.

The chip on which the light falls during recording is usually very small, so that the complete device can also be kept very small. Depending on how many small areas this surface is divided into, a picture that is as sharp and authentic as possible can be produced. This is what the manufacturers call the pixels. With a value of nine megapixels, this area is divided into three thousand times three thousand pixels, so that each of these individually calculated areas is very small.

This has the advantage that the image can be split into many small elements and a capture as sharp as possible is created. But the more megapixels that are used, the larger the video file. Therefore, the manufacturers developed many different compression formats, which reduce these very large files to a minimum, without causing large quality losses.

Which compression is used can be chosen by the user in almost all cases. However, a lossless format such as AVI is often selected for the recordings and the file is then later reduced in size with a computer program. So you still have a very good version of the video that you can store in your archive. Each file format has its own specific advantages and disadvantages, about which one should inform oneself in detail.

Another disadvantage with these very small pixel areas is that there are crossfades between the individual areas, which is later recognizable as so-called noise. This is especially the case when you have to film in poorly lit rooms. Here, only a very high-quality processor and a correspondingly powerful program can ensure that a sharp image is possible even under these circumstances.

In addition, each camcorder has a microphone that records ambient noise. This, too, is now fully digital, so that the audio tracks can be separated from the video track and post-processed on the computer using editing software. You can then see on the screen the respective deflection of the recording and can easily detect tips and adjust them down. In this way you achieve a pleasant tone that does not constantly become louder and quieter.

Almost all camcorders use a powerful battery pack as their power source, which must be recharged regularly. Of course, it is also possible to connect the device to the socket. The disadvantage here is that you are no longer as mobile as with a rechargeable battery and depend on a nearby power source. The duration of such a battery nowadays is at least two hours. In all cases, however, it is possible to buy a suitable replacement battery so that the service life can be easily increased.

The image processor plays a major role in the generation of photos and video images and is therefore an important quality feature. The hardware interpolates together with the software algorithms all information on image color and brightness. Apart from the pixel data for the color tones, brightness and contrasts, we also control the entire image scene. The performance of the processor determines how high-quality the image will ultimately be. The image processor should therefore reduce errors and sharpen details. This is especially important when filming, so a high processor speed is required for moving images. The higher the quality of the processor and the faster it works, the more complex are the algorithms used to process the images.

With image processing the video stream is compressed and adapted to the specified output format. These are, for example, MPEG2 or AVCHD formats. When the pictures or videos are saved, the data either ends up as a file on the memory card of the camcorder or as a video stream on a magnetic tape. Both options allow direct access to the saved image or video files.

Advantages & Application areas

The advantages of a modern camcorder are obvious. Due to its stable construction and its modern technology it can be taken everywhere without any problems. Some models are even waterproof and can withstand very low temperatures below freezing. This makes them ideal for use on your next holiday without having to worry about something breaking.

The biggest advantage is that you can capture all important moments at any time. Whether the birth of your child, the wedding, the marriage proposal or the schooling of your offspring, a camcorder always helps to make these moments unforgettable.

There is hardly anything more beautiful than to watch video recordings of his children again after a few years, how they learn to walk or say their first words. Such memories are priceless and are captured with a beautiful video for eternity. Since the modern devices are very inexpensive and easy to use, nowadays everybody can buy a camcorder to create his own personal chronicle.

But also in other situations a camcorder is faithful to its purpose. For example, it is used to teach people how to present themselves well in front of a group. A participant gives a lecture, which is recorded simultaneously with a video camera. Then you can use the video to show the speaker what he has done well and where he needs to make more efforts. Especially the posture, facial expressions and vocal range can be shown very well, as the speaker often perceives this very differently from the audience.

Also in Sport a camcorder is used this way. Especially in athletics or dancing it is about perfectly executed movements, which you learn best by watching yourself again on video, how the process looks like from the outside, to eliminate the last mistakes and practice a perfect performance. In football, a recording makes it possible to check whether a collision between two players was a foul or whether everything went correctly. Since these situations happen in milliseconds, you can study the video in slow-motion mode afterwards to avoid or correct wrong decisions.

Also very common is the use of a camcorder as monitoring device. Today's models can be controlled via WIFI with a smartphone, so you only have to place the device in the right place to keep an eye on your home. Such a video camera can also be used as a surveillance camera for small children without any problems.

Finally, such a device offers creative minds the opportunity to artistically operate and create their own movie. There are no limits to creativity here. The big advantage of digital camcorders is that the recordings do not have to be converted before they can be processed on a computer. All you have to do is take out the memory card or connect the camcorder to your computer via cable and you can quickly load your videos into an editing program and work them out into a great movie. Today, every amateur has access to highly professional machining options.

Some of the camcorders from the test have a display on which you can view the recordings. So a first impression is already possible, but the quality cannot be determined exactly by the quite small format. On the sports field or during a family outing, however, you can check whether you have the desired scene in the picture. For the transport of camcorders there are the perfectly fitting original bags, which protect the device well. In addition, these carrying bags make carrying a comfortable affair, because even if the cameras do not weigh much, a shoulder strap is pleasant. So you can keep your hands free and still have your camcorder handy.

What types of camcorders are there?

Although the basic technique in every camcorder is more or less the same, there were still big differences in many tests between the different models.

The most common type is the so-called Handheld Camcorder. Designed to be held and guided with one hand, it is the most popular outer shape for a camcorder. It is characterized by the fact that it is very compact and you can unfold a small monitor on the left side of the device, which replaces the normal viewfinder.

This monitor is often designed as a touch screen, so you can use it to operate all the functions of the camcorder. A hand strap ensures that the device cannot fall down. The advantage of this design is that the device fits very well in the hand. Disadvantageous to other forms is the slightly larger conception, although a handheld camcorder still usually finds room in a normal jacket pocket.

Also very popular for a long time, but now somewhat out of fashion, is the so-called pistol grip. Here no hand strap is used, but a handle pulled downwards, which gives this form its name. Also here the fold-out LCD monitor is integrated into the handle and can be folded out and turned out. The advantage of this construction is that it is very easy to film with one hand and the whole device can be built much smaller than with the handheld form. Disadvantage at this system is that there is usually not much space with this form and so only very simple technology can be used.

Another type of camcorder are those that look like a smartphone. They are very flat and compact and are therefore suitable for carrying in a trouser pocket. They offer the user a display and buttons underneath to operate the camcorder. The big advantage is that you can always carry such a device with you without any problems. Another disadvantage is that there is very little space for technology in the small outer shell, making these devices more suitable for fast and short shots.

Extreme athletes know the so-called helmet cameras, which enable very spectacular shots. As the name suggests, these small cameras are attached to a helmet and provide the spectator with the I perspective of the athlete. This is a great effect, but even with this design, the light sensitivity is severely limited due to the small lens. Effects or a zoom are also not found here, as these functions could limit the waterproofness.

A very modern form of camcorder is the 3D Camcorder, as offered by Sony. This will certainly become the standard in a few years, but at the moment such models are still quite expensive and often not fully developed. Nevertheless, they offer the user the possibility to create videos in 3D and watch them on a corresponding TV.

The camcorders can have a fixed lens or be equipped with interchangeable lenses. Several connection systems are available. When adding further exchange motifs, the existing connection must therefore be checked. Typical camcorders have for example the C-Mount or the CS-Mount, the system Arri PL or the B4 bayonet. Compared to the models with exchangeable lens, the devices with fixed lens are mostly cheaper, moreover this is typically a zoom lens. To change the focal length range, it is necessary to use a lens attachment.

A special form of the camcorder is the action camcorder. This is a relatively small model for mobile use. Due to their low weight and small format, these action cameras can be mounted on devices or vehicles, for example to follow a ride with a BMX bike or a remote-controlled car.

 

test criteria: How the camcorders were tested

Each camcorder was subjected to a comprehensive and critical test by test subjects, which was always the same.

First, the packaging of test subjects was evaluated in which the device was delivered. Here the test persons paid particular attention to whether the actual cardboard box in which the camcorder was placed was padded sufficiently in the actual shipping box to protect the sensitive device from damage.

Then the testers looked closely at the technical data of each video camera. The resolution provided by the device was of particular interest here. Actually almost all models offer a very high resolution, which is called HD. But there are some differences here, because HD is not always the same as HD. Very high quality camcorders offer a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

This is called Full HD. But if you take a closer look at some models, these data are cleverly manipulated. Through interpolation, image sensors with 1.5 megapixels can also be described as Full HD, although they do not offer the required resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Here the missing details are added by the software. This naturally leads to a completely different qualitative result. Therefore, tests were carried out and the real megapixels were always found out.

If you want to use your camcorder for sports recording, you need a device that offers high frame rates. The frame rate is always given per second. Simple camcorders have a frame rate of thirty frames per second, while the higher quality camcorders already have a frame rate of sixty frames per second in various tests. The more frames per second that can be processed and recorded, the smoother the video will run later.

An always topical and hotly discussed topic is the battery life. Here you should not rely too much on the manufacturer's specifications, which usually specify a runtime that is only possible if you only record a video in normal mode and do not apply any effects. Watching videos on your camcorder also consumes an enormous amount of battery life and should be restricted as much as possible.

When buying, you should make sure that the battery guarantees a minimum battery life of two hours, otherwise you will have to constantly change and recharge the battery. It is advisable to buy a replacement battery directly, so that you can always charge one set of batteries while the other is being used.

In today's models, a image stabilization function is usually also used, which helps to ensure smooth camera operation even when the filmer is moving. Here, test subjects in the test paid particular attention to how this stabilisation function behaves when zooming, because especially when the Teles is in full use, there is a lot of camera shake if this function does not work well.

In addition to these basic things, subjects continued to pay attention to the sound quality of the microphone, annoying operating noises recorded, and the general processing quality of the camcorder. There are also big differences in the autofocus, which doesn't support filming when the setting is bad, but rather becomes a problem, as it has to be constantly readjusted. If the device offered the possibility to use a WIFI function or a built-in projector, the testers of course also tested these additional functions.

What to look out for when buying a camcorder?

If you decide to purchase a camcorder, you will be confronted with a large number of devices, all of which have their very special advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you should be aware in advance what you will be using the video camera for and which functions you will not be able to do without in the long run.

First of all, the camcorder should be well in the hand. What is far too small for some is perceived by others as the perfect handy size. The preferences are quite different and so you should take the time to take the device also before the purchase for a few minutes in the hand. Beginners will surely get along well with a quite simple device.

If you can do without a touchscreen, you'll get a camcorder for very little money, with which you can create very high-quality videos.

Basically, you should first place additional technical functions, such as optical effects, which can be inserted directly into the device, at the rear and instead make sure that the camcorder offers the highest possible resolution. This guarantees not only razor sharp images, but also minimizes the image noise that occurs in bad lighting conditions and can be very negative when viewing.

The LCD Display, which replaces the normal viewfinder on many modern camcorders, should also be looked at carefully. It should be anti-reflective if possible, so that you always have a good view of the recording even in the wild and in bright sunlight. Anyone who has ever worked outdoors with a non-reflecting laptop knows how important this can be.

If you have a display with touchscreen function, you should also test it extensively. Many models do not have a very good pressure point and so you need a lot of strength and patience until you have called the appropriate option. You should also have a close look at the menu navigation, because some manufacturers offer a lot of options, but you have to work your way through a lot of submenus, which is out of the question for many users.

If you also want to use a tripod, you should make sure that the camcorder has an appropriate device on the underside with which you can mount the device on the stand.

Even a high-quality lens should have the selected model, preferably from a qualitatively demanding traditional company such as Zeiss. The better the lens, the better not only the image quality, but also the optical zoom. It is precisely on this point that the spirits divide. Some swear by the optical zoom, which usually allows no more than forty times magnification, but is rated qualitatively much better for many users than a digital zoom, which has to calculate the image files.

Besides other basic things like the battery life, the option to use large memory cards and the general handling of the camcorder you should not underestimate the customer service. If you buy a device from a well-known manufacturer, you can be sure that you will be able to repair it in a few years as well as buy suitable spare parts. Even very basic things like the purchase of a suitable bag or a replacement battery can be done much easier with a renowned manufacturer than with an unknown manufacturer from the Asian market.

Basically, you should keep in mind that inexpensive devices often have some serious weaknesses, which can become a burden when used regularly. As with almost all technical devices, it is recommended to take a little more money into your hands and fall back on a very high-quality device, with which you will still have a lot of fun in some years. Especially beginners believe that they should rather choose an inexpensive product, but forget that even a beginner with a high-quality camcorder can make much better recordings. This way the fun of the new hobby is maintained for a long time and is not spoiled by badly designed devices.

The other connection options of the camcorder should also be checked when selecting the device. Especially if you also want to record the sound, the accessory shoe and the input for the microphone should not be missing. An accessory shoe is also required if an LED light is used every now and then.

Short information about leading manufacturers

  • Sony
  • Canon
  • Panasonic
One of the leading manufacturers in the field of camcorders is without a doubt Sony. It is the third largest Japanese electronics group, offering a very large and wide range of technical equipment, mainly in the consumer electronics sector. The company was founded in 1946.

Since the nineties of the twenty-first century, Sony has been offering products from the digital cameras range. Especially the Handycam series of the company quickly became famous and was sold millions of times. The company received a further boost in this area when it took over Konica Minolta's camera division in 2006, thereby eliminating an unwelcome competitor. The technology from Konika Minolta's range was used for the company's first SLR camera and in parts adapted to the camcorders.

Also Canon is a Japanese company that stands for very high quality in the camcorder sector. The company was founded as early as 1937 in Tokyo, originally to offer a cheaper competitor product to the Leica and Contax instruments. Canon offers a wide range of camcorder models that are designed for specific target groups. The Legria series, which is distributed in the USA under the name Vixia, is aimed at beginners and hobby filmmakers, who nevertheless do not want to do without a very good film quality.

This product range was divided into the HF R series for beginners, the HF M series for hobby filmmakers and the HF G and HF S series, which are already aimed at professional filmmakers. The letters that follow these abbreviations indicate whether the device has built-in memory or can only store video data on memory cards.

If the digit behind the abbreviation has two digits, it offers an internal memory, but if it has three digits, the camcorder uses external memory cards for storage. For professional users, the company offers the Cinema EOS series, which was designed for very high-quality film shoots and has the advantage that interchangeable lenses can be used.

The third company that has fought for a special position in the highly competitive camcorder market is Panasonic, which was also founded in Japan. The company has been manufacturing high-quality electrical appliances since 1918. Especially for hobby filmmakers the manufacturer offers very high-quality camcorders with a mature technology.

At this point, it should also be noted that you should definitely choose a reputable manufacturer. Nowadays, many unknown producers from Asia offer camcorders that at first glance promise exceptional features at a very low price. Here one should become immediately skeptical, because Quality has its price .

Often the technical data of the camcorders are glossed over or simply not true and so the owners of such camcorders are annoyed with simple teething troubles that have long since been eradicated. Sony, Canon and Panasonic have been working on highly functional devices for decades and such an experience cannot be offered by smaller companies. Not for nothing are the camcorders of these traditional companies to be found again and again on the front places in every test.

Internet vs. specialized trade: where do I buy my camcorder best?

Anyone who decides to buy a camcorder is also faced with the question of where to get this technical device from. Nowadays there is the possibility to visit a dealer directly and get an explanation of the different camcorders, but of course you can also order a camcorder comfortably from home. What pros and cons this has in each case, we would like to briefly explain to you in the following.

If one decides for the purchase in a shop, then the biggest advantage is that one is advised by a real person. In a joint conversation, it is often much easier to find out which model really suits you best. Even if you visit a shop, you have usually already informed yourself extensively on the Internet about this topic and often have to choose between two or more models. Here you can have the camcorders that come into question demonstrated in real and also decide for one of them because of the haptics. A specialist salesperson can usually still give the decisive hint, which perhaps cannot be found in the net. Often, however, it is also a gut decision regarding the best handling or the best appearance.

However, also specialist shops usually have not all models in stock, which you would like to have a look at in reality. Only particularly large chains can have more than twenty models in stock and thus meet even the most unusual customer requirements. Since students or temporary staff often work here to save money, professional advice is also not always guaranteed . In addition, the cost of renting the store and storage space is also reflected in the price and so camcorders in a retail store can be much more expensive than in the Internet, where competition is fierce.

Because concerning the prices one can hardly surpass Internet in the meantime. As the dealers only pay for storage space, the desired models are usually available in large quantities from stock and the desired colour is always available. Often the suppliers on the net also offer the possibility to clear great bargains at special sales or weekend sales. The advantage over a normal shop is that you can see at a glance whether the desired device is still available or already sold out. If you take the (often long) road to the nearest technology dealer and find out that all the promised offers are already sold out, this can quickly cause some trouble.

The biggest shortcoming of Internet shopping has always been a missing consultation, but of course the providers keep up with the times and now almost all offer a hotline, where you can talk to highly specialized employees who have a suitable answer to all questions. If this is not the case, they usually search for the desired information within a short time and then report back.

The problem with warranty cases was also solved excellently. Nowadays it is common that in case of a defect you can request a return label, that you only have to print it out and stick it on a cardboard. Without having to pay postage fees, the defective device is then sent free of charge to the manufacturer or the distributor, who then takes care of all further steps. Since the distance to the post office is often shorter than to the specialist shop, the customer is also relieved in this respect. We therefore recommend a purchase on the Internet, because one is on the safe side and one can rely in almost all cases on a good customer service, since a bad treatment of customers quickly gets around and can mean the end for a company in the network.

If you take a closer look at the product descriptions of the Internet shops, you will often learn more about the camcorders and accessories than if you were in the store. In fact, the concentration when searching from home is often much better and one is also more concerned with the detailed device data. Who reads something and looks at the pertinent photos, remembers the information by this visualization, while the explanations in the retail shop are rather forgotten. This is also an important plus point for research and purchase on the Internet.

Useful accessories

For camcorders there is a quantity of accessories, which can be purchased optionally. The most important area is certainly that of the storage and care of the sensitive device. Basically you should afford a suitable bag for the camcorder from the beginning, in which not only the video camera, but also the suitable accessories in the form of memory cards, batteries and suitable cables can be stored. A suitable cleaning set should also be ordered and used right from the start.

In order not to shake the video recordings too much, one should finally also afford a small tripod on which one can screw the camcorder. There are many different models, which are all quite light and can be pushed together very small. Very popular is the so-called Gorillapod, which can also be attached to pipes or uneven surfaces due to its special design.

But the most beautiful video recordings are of no use if you can't put them in scene properly. Here a good cutting software performs great services. These are now very easy to understand and allow even absolute beginners to create very impressive videos.

A secret tip is the program Edius 7.

This is a easily understandable cutting software, which offers many functions for little money and can also process many formats. Also the Windows Movie Maker, which comes with every Windows version, is very easy to use and allows you to quickly edit your favorite videos.

Alternatives to the Camcorder

Nowadays it is not only the case that camcorders can take photos, but that digital SLR cameras can also record videos. They offer a good alternative if you don't want to buy a second device. The big advantage of a digital SLR camera is that it is very easy to exchange the lenses and thus has a wider range of effects and settings.

Also the adjustment possibilities are much more extensive with a digital SLR camera , than with a camcorder. Here you can of course set the aperture or the iso value, which most inexpensive camcorders unfortunately do not allow.

Continuing links and sources

Under the link http://www.cnet.com/topics/camcorders/ you get to a very detailed page, which introduces all possible camcorder models and partly also discusses them. Besides a lot of information about these models and about camcorders in general, you will find small videos about the devices and many links. The only drawback of this site is that it is in English language.

Also the large online encyclopedia for information technology offers a very informative article about camcorders. Under the address http://www.itwissen.info/definition/lexikon/camera-recorder-Camcorder-Kamera-Recorder.html one finds a very good article to this topic, which is recommended particularly for beginners.

To stay up to date, it's worth subscribing to Facebookpage https://www.facebook.com/CamcorderInfo/. So you always get the current news delivered to camcorders and no longer miss the most important updates.

The Amateur Film- und Fotoclub Kappelrodeck offers under the web address http://www.fotoclub-kappelrodeck.de// an article which helps the beginner to create better home videos. With numerous tips and tricks you can easily understand what makes a good recording and how to do it as an amateur.

The best tips and tricks for video shooting can be found in the PC Magazine at http://www.pc-magazin.de/ratgeber/tipps-tricks-zum-videodreh-1537025.html. Here you will find a well explained step by step guide for the correct preparation and execution of a video shooting. These tips are very suitable for beginners, but they can also show old hands the basics that characterize a good film and which are all too often forgotten.

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