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Compare the best video cameras
Take your video-recording skills to the next level.
Most video cameras record higher quality video and audio than our smartphones, making them solid investments for the amateur or serious videographer. Find the best model for your needs by comparing overall features, price and video quality.
Top video cameras
|Optical zoom||Effective pixels||Weight (oz)||Purchase|
|Canon VIXIA HF R800||$260||32x||2.07MP||8.3|
|Canon Legria HF G40||$1,120||20x||3.09MP||31.7|
Why buy a video camera?
If you primarily use your smartphone or digital camera to record videos, consider upgrading if these features are important to you:
- Video quality. Generally, the quality of video recordings is higher in camcorders than in digital cameras and smartphones. Some digital cameras offer HD recording, but they’re typically more expensive than HD camcorders and don’t usually record high-quality audio.
- Microphone. Most camcorders have significantly better microphones than digital cameras or smartphones. Many camcorders allow you to zoom in on the sources of specific sounds and some offer surround-sound recording.
- Zoom. Even ultra-zoom cameras don’t typically offer the zoom capacity of a camcorder, and many digital cameras don’t allow you to use a zoom lens while recording video. You can find camcorders with up to 60x zoom lenses and — unlike digital cameras — camcorder microphones won’t pick up the noise of the zoom lens.
- Internal storage. Like digital cameras, camcorders allow you to record on memory cards. However, many cameras also feature high storage capacity internal hard drives.
- Ease of use. Camcorders are easy to hold for long periods of time while filming. They’re usually better at reducing the shakiness of footage than still cameras.
- Action cams. Action cams — GoPro’s Hero cameras, for example — can capture sports, outdoor activities and extreme adventures. They are durable and typically mountable so you can capture the action hands-free.
What are the drawbacks of video cameras?
Specialized video cameras aren’t for everyone. Springing for one might not be for you if:
- Your smartphone does the trick. Many smartphones allow you to record HD and 4K video. If you’re happy with the video quality of your phone camera, it’s not worth buying a camcorder.
- You wouldn’t get your money’s worth out of it. Video cameras typically range from $250 to $5,000. If you just want to record videos of all the cute positions your dog sleeps in, your smartphone already offers everything you need.
Which video camera is best for me?
The best video camera for you depends on your budget, what you plan to film and the conditions you’ll be filming in. Someone who wants a camcorder on-hand to capture every important moment of their toddler’s growth will have very different needs than a filmmaker who wants to shoot their latest masterpiece.
Check out the best and worst aspects of using these popular models below:
|The good||The bad|
|Canon VIXIA HF R800|
|Canon Legria HF G40|
If you want to upgrade your videos from what your smartphone is capable of, a video camera could be a good fit. Compare your options based on price, video quality and overall features.
How did we choose these products?
To come up with our list of the best video cameras, we took into account price point, overall features, resolution and Wi-Fi capabilities. We also considered online reviews for each product.
Frequently asked questions
What kind of cameras do YouTubers use?
Most serious vloggers use a video camera as opposed to a smartphone. Flip-screen models tend to work best for taking selfie videos, since they allow you to see what’s in the field of view as you film.
What qualities should I look for in a video camera for beginners?
Start with a model that’s low-priced, lightweight and easy to use. You don’t necessarily need or want all the bells and whistles when you’re just starting out, as advanced features can make the camera more difficult to use.
What’s the difference between 4K and HD?
4K video cameras have a higher resolution than HD cameras.
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