With the advancement in technology smartphones, digital cameras and iPods are capable of recording video. So, why do we need to buy a camcorder really? The answer is: Because of its video and audio quality. Most mid-level camcorders provide high quality 1080p video recording and most smartphones and digital cameras can’t match this quality. Camcorders come with built-in mic that provides perfectly crisp audio, which you can’t find in digital cameras or smartphones. In addition, most camcorders come with internal memory along with memory card slot that helps to store abundant amount of video content on the device itself. But when it comes to choosing a camcorder, it is important to consider a few specifications and be familiar with a few terms such as types of camcorders, resolution of the camcorder and features such as image stabilizer, autofocus, optical zoom, digital zoom, 3D capability, etc.
Things to Look for While Buying a Camcorder
Types of Camcorders
There are two types of camcorders – full size and action cams.
- Full Size Camcorders – Today’s full size camcorders are much smaller in size and compact compared to analog camcorders. They contain at least 10x optical zoom lens, 3D capability, GPS receivers and built-in projectors.
- Action Cams – Action cams are specially designed for shooting outdoor sports activities such as biking, surfing, snowboarding, etc. They are used for capturing hands-free video. But the extreme compact design of action cams leads to lack of certain features such as viewfinder and LCD screen.
- Resolution – Most camcorders come with high-definition resolution video. Most budget camcorders are capable of recording high definition video of 1280 x 720 pixels or 1920 x 1080 pixels. There is also a new type of higher resolution HD camcorder available in the market, called the 4K video camcorder that has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
- Audio quality – Most camcorders come with built-in microphones that provide better sound quality than smartphones or digital cameras. There are a few advanced models that come with external microphone which helps to improve the sound quality of the videos.
Most advanced camcorders have a plethora of important features such as LCD monitor, autofocus, image stabilizer, etc.
- Flip-out LCD – Flip-out LCD viewers are becoming more and more common in full-size camcorders but it is less common in action cams. Some camcorders come with wide-screen LCD with an aspect ratio of 16:9 which is same as the ratio of HDTVs. Higher end camcorders also include touch-screen LCDs. LCD screens help to review the video and it makes it easier to use the camcorder.
- Image Stabilizer – Image stabilizer feature minimizes the shaking that occurs while you hold the camcorder and shoot a scene and helps you to take steady visuals. Stabilizers are either electronic or optical and some high end models have both.
- Full-Auto Switch – This feature present on the camcorder provides point-and-shoot advantage. It automatically adjusts the shutter speed, color balance, focus and aperture of the camera.
- Autofocus – This feature adjusts the camera to provide maximum sharpness in a frame. Many models come with manual focus override that helps to improve focus in low light situations.
- Zoom – This is a common feature present in all camcorders that allow the user to zoom in and out on a subject with the press of a switch.
- Optical Zoom – Most camcorders have an optical zoom ration from 10:1 to 50:1. In other words, they are said to have 10x optical zoom or 50x optical zoom.
- Digital Zoom – Many camcorders also come with digital zoom that have a range of 400:1 or higher. Digital zoom produces comparatively lower picture quality compared to optical zoom.
- 3D Capability – Some high end camcorders have the capability to capture to 3D videos and still photos. The camcorder does this by capturing two different images or uses software to represent different perspectives of the left and right eye which creates a sense of depth.
- Built-in Projectors – Some camcorders come with built-in projector or pico projector. The projector is usually embedded on the back of the flip-out LCD screen. These projectors are capable of projecting decent quality images.
- Viewfinder – This feature is no longer available in most mid-range models, but it is still present in some high end models. An electronic viewfinder helps to user to compose a shoot without the need of the LCD display. This is especially useful in bright light situations where it is difficult the see the LCD.
- Wi-Fi connectivity – More and more modern camcorders are coming with WiFi connectivity option. It is an extremely beneficial feature that allows the user to transfer videos and photos wirelessly to the computer or upload them directly to social networking sites.
- 4K Resolution – Some high end camcorders come with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) that offers 4 times the resolution of any high definition camcorder. The high resolution of these camcorders ensures finer details.
Best Camcorders in India
The Panasonic HC-V180 is a basic consumer camcorder that contains a number of useful features such as low light capability, good audio quality, zoom, image stabilization, etc.
The camera takes smooth, crisp and clear footage and provides impressive quality for its price.
The camcorder is extremely compact and lightweight and easily fits in the pocket.
It can deliver a resolution of up to 1920x1080pixels, full HD video and 60 frames per second.
The 1x 2.51 Megapixel 1/5.8″ MOS Sensor present in the camcorder does an impressive job at capturing fast movements and its optical/digital image stabilization feature minimizes shaking of the video even when recording high pace sports.
It has a 50x optical zoom which is quite impressive and it also features a 90x intelligent zoom that combines both optical and digital zooming, digital up scaling and sharpening.
The battery power of this camcorder is highly efficient. It can capture up to 2 hours and 32 minutes of continued recording in highest footage quality.
Low light ability of the camcorder is far better than expected for the price. It makes the footage appear comparatively brighter even in low light conditions.
The Panasonic HC-V180 is an amazing lightweight camcorder that works as good as any high end model.
Available on Amazon.in
The Sony HDRCX405 is an extremely compact, portable and light weight camcorder that saves a lot of space and cuts out the weight but it has fewer features compared to other camcorders in the same price range.
It weighs just 6.7 ounce and comes with a built-in USB cable so that the user can instantly transfer data or charge the camcorder without looking for the USB cable.
Because of the small size of the camcorder, it has a small 2.7 inch display and lacks touchscreen capabilities.
The Clear Photo technology present in this camcorder improves the look of the video previews.
This camcorder supports both MP4 and AVCHD codecs and allows you to record 50Mbps 1080p video at 60p.
The camcorder features a 26.8 wide angle ZEISS lens that provides decent video quality.
It has a modest 30x optical zoom and a powerful Clear Image Zoom that offers zooming up to 60x.
It also has a Face Detection feature that considerably improves the video quality of footages involving people.
The intelligent Auto mode of the camcorder automatically adjusts shutter speed, focus, aperture, color balance to take perfect video footages.
The Steady Shot image stabilization feature cuts out shaking and lets you shoot smoother videos.
Available on Amazon.in
The Canon XA10 is possibly the smallest professional camcorder that contains a multitude of features and provides high quality imaging.
Although, the Canon XA10 is no larger in size than other consumer camcorders, but it has numerous external features such as a detachable handle, additional zoom control, lockable start/stop record button, manual audio controls, external microphone mount and phantom powered XLR ports.
It comes with full manual control, 64GB internal storage along with SDHC/SDXC card slots which maximizes the storage to over 4TB.
The camcorder features a 1/3-inch CMOS Image Sensor that makes use of AVCHD codec and records up to 24Mbps with a 4:2:0 color space.
The 10X HD zoom lens offers 35mm equivalent of 30.4mm – 304mm and 8-blade iris that provides sharp and crisp images.
It has a Touch LCD display which provides crystal clear video preview and also contains a wide range of functions.
The Canon XA10 is truly a larger than life professional camcorder that has excellent features, easy usability and quality imaging.
Available on Amazon.in
G-Shot DV-505 is a lightweight and compact pocket size camcorder suitable for making videos on the move.
It has a 2.4 inch LCD screen that helps you to preview your recording easily.
It is compatible with Windows Vista, XP and 2000 operating system that enables the user to easily process the images and videos.
The 5MP CMOS of the camcorder enables you to take high quality digital video along with voice recording and still camera feature.
It features 4x digital zoom, built-in Mic and speaker that ensure clarity of the images and videos along with decent audio recording.
It has a 256 MB inbuilt memory that can be expanded up to 4GB using an external SDHC card.
Available on Amazon.in
The Seree FHD 1080P is an extremely affordable camcorder with some solid technical specifications – featuring 60 fps video recording and built-in WiFi connectivity.
It features a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor that can shoot full HD video in 1920 x 1080P, 1280 x 720P, 640 x 480P and 1280 x 720p format. It has a video recording capacity of 60 frames per second.
It has a 3 inch TFT LCD touch screen with 270 degree rotation for easy viewing and shooting.
It is powered by a lithium battery that can provide continuous video recording for up to 5 hours.
This camcorder provides great value for money and can easily compete with big brands such as SONY and Panasonic.
Available on Amazon.in
This brings us to the end of our list of best camcorders in India and Panasonic HC-V180 Full HD Camcorder is our top pick from the list because despite being a basic camcorder, it has plenty of useful features, good image and video quality, decent audio quality, high resolution and amazing low light abilities so that it can easily compete with any high end models.