Video recording itself has been known for a long time, but models for domestic use first appeared on the market about 30 years ago. Initially, they were rather bulky and capricious in terms of operating conditions, but as technological progress developed, their dimensions decreased, the principle of operation changed, and such devices themselves became cheaper and cheaper. Today in digital technology stores you can find a large number of different models for almost every taste.
If you are just starting to improve your skills in the field of camera work, then our article will be very useful to you. Here we will not only give a rating of the best budget camcorders of 2019 with a detailed analysis of their useful qualities, but also tell you what exactly you should pay attention to when buying such a device.
How to choose the right budget video camera?
Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase products with high quality characteristics at a not very high price. However, you can get a pretty decent picture even when shooting with a relatively cheap camcorder. To do this, be sure to pay attention to three key factors – resolution, sensitivity and stabilization. The matrix of such products is unlikely to be able to provide a natural color reproduction, so you can not pay special attention to this factor.
Resolution (not to be confused with resolution) directly affects the clarity of the picture, including when shooting dynamic scenes. It is measured in lines. In order for the image to please the eye, you should choose devices with a resolution of 1500 or higher. Otherwise, watching the footage on the big screen will be at least not very comfortable.
Sensitivity allows you to get video with good detail in certain lighting conditions. The higher this parameter is, the more details can be seen on the frame even in conditions of insufficient natural light. Often, cameras are equipped with a special super-amplification mode, when using which the incoming amount of light is amplified by special technologies. At the output, even in semi-darkness, it will be possible to obtain a clear image, which will show a large number of objects that fall into the frame.
The device stabilizer is useful if the operator plans to shoot handheld without using a tripod or other similar devices. In the absence of this element, strong shaking will be observed in the frame. All technologies that provide intra-chamber stabilization can be divided into two groups – mechanical and electronic.
The first type is a lens system that, when shooting starts, is suspended in a magnetic field. Their position is adjusted automatically. There is a technology in which not lenses, but a matrix is placed in a magnetic field. Due to the displacement of the elements relative to each other, the light beam always hits the same area of the matrix, so the frame jitter is minimized. When digital stabilization is working, a set of position sensors (usually they include a gyroscope and an accelerometer) automatically register the position of the shift, its speed and direction. All received information is redirected to the processor, which gives a command to a system of magnets that change the position of optical lenses or the matrix itself.
When choosing models to include in our review of the best budget camcorders, we were primarily guided by the factors discussed above, but the price-quality ratio was taken into account. In the review, you will not find very expensive models, however, all the presented devices have the maximum functionality and practicality for their price, are distinguished by the use of the latest technologies and durability of use.
Top 10 Inexpensive Camcorders
10. Rekam DVC-540
Before us is one of the cheapest models that can only be found on today’s market. This camera uses a CMOS sensor to capture the picture, the diagonal of which is 8.08 megapixels. This part was originally developed for installation in mobile phones, tablet computers and laptops. It consumes a minimum amount of energy and has a high photosensitivity. The overall dimensions of the products are small – the camera can easily fit in the palm of an adult. A microphone jack is provided. It connects to a personal computer via a miniUSB port, but the footage can be immediately viewed on a TV – there is an HDMI connector for this. Both of them are closed with a special rubber plug, which does not allow dust and moisture to penetrate to them. In front there is a special glass of increased strength, which protects the lens from various mechanical damage, dust accumulation, and so on.
The maximum video resolution is 1920×1080 pixels, if necessary, you can take a photo – in this case, this parameter increases to 5120×3840 pixels. Frame rate – up to 60 frames per second. Shutter speed – 1/12 s. Video is recorded with the .mov extension, photos – .jpeg.
- There is a time laps mode, which is mostly found in expensive cameras;
- The transmission dynamics are well thought out;
- Has a tripod mount;
- Wi-Fi Direct mode is set to allow remote control of the camera;
- Very low cost;
- Possibility of fine tuning.
- The viewfinder screen is dark, it is problematic to see anything on it;
- The kit does not include a protective cover that would cover the lens glass;
- The claimed zoom is much higher than the actual one.
9. Panasonic HC-V130
It has compact overall dimensions and simple operation. The designers equipped the device with a high-quality matrix and a high-power lens. This allows you to take the camera with you on business trips and long trips. It is possible to use a variety of creative modes. Shooting is carried out in Full HD, and even videos in high resolution can be personalized. The camera has a wide-angle lens with a 38x optical zoom. Due to this, you can shoot with high quality even moving objects that are at a considerable distance. The device has a unique intelligent shooting mode that increases the digital zoom up to 75x. The BSI sensor provides the highest picture quality even in low natural light conditions.
When using the photo mode, frames with a resolution of 8.9 megapixels are obtained. Most of the parameters are set automatically, so the electronics will automatically adjust to the existing conditions. The weight of the product is only 220 g.
- Low weight and miniature overall dimensions;
- Allows you to get a very clear picture even in low light conditions;
- There are several story modes;
- Automation works instantly;
- You can not use manual modes;
- The operation is very simple.
- Weak regular battery;
- The location of the USB connector is not well thought out.
8. Canon LEGRIA HF R806
A fairly simple and very reliable product developed by one of the world’s most famous companies engaged in the manufacture of photo and video equipment. Unfortunately, it did not have wireless modules installed. However, manufacturers have foreseen this moment too – if necessary, you can install a special Flash-Air card into the device, where the Wi-Fi module is built in, so the problem of wireless control and data transfer is solved quite easily. The product is characterized by low weight and original ergonomics. The camera fits comfortably in the hand, and is also fixed in the palm of your hand with a special soft strap. The palm will not sweat under it, so you can easily walk with the camera for a whole day. The strap does not slip off even with a wet hand.
The control system is simple – the rocker for zooming in and out of objects is located under the index finger, and the recording start button is installed under the thumb. The product is switched on by simply opening the screen with the viewfinder. In close proximity to it there is a button that starts viewing, as well as a compartment for installing a memory card and connectors for connecting a microphone, connecting to a TV and a personal computer. The brightness and backlight of the display can be adjusted according to the lighting conditions. The diagonal of the display is 7.5 cm. Thanks to a reliable battery, the camera can work without interruption for 3.5 hours. Files are recorded in .mp4 format, but the quality, despite the resolution, remains at the highest level.
- Affordable cost;
- Compact overall dimensions;
- Well thought out product ergonomics;
- High zoom;
- Stabilizer efficiency;
- Extended set of effects and filters.
- Wireless modules are not provided;
- There is no purely manual mode here.
Canon LEGRIA HF R806
7. Camcorder JVC GC-XA1EU
The device was created mainly to work in extreme conditions. In this regard, it was decided to place it in a rubberized case of increased strength, which is additionally tightened with bolts. The mass is quite serious, so some users get the impression that the product is exclusively metal. The assembly is of high quality, no creaks or backlashes were found. Management is carried out by six buttons, and two of them are really metal. In the lower part, you can find two threaded holes for attaching to the tripod head, and there are special mechanisms here that do not allow the camera to rotate on a tripod. The back side is a hinged cover that seals all slots and connectors: there is a slot for a memory card, a USB port, a mini-HDMI output, and a removable battery. If desired, the owner can purchase an additional one and shoot twice as long.
Comes with a lithium-ion battery. Its capacity is 1050 mAh, which allows you to get an output of 3.7 V. A full charge will be enough for use for 75 minutes of continuous video recording, and the battery charges for about 3 hours if a special bundled adapter is used. If you charge the battery via the USB port, then this time may increase by about two times. The mass of the product is only 126 g. It has a 1/2.5 CMOS matrix, its resolution is 5 megapixels, so the picture quality is very high.
- Compact overall dimensions;
- Very convenient fastening;
- The body is made of rubberized materials;
- It is possible to shoot underwater;
- Acceptable video quality.
- If you use the camera to shoot in Full HD resolution, the battery lasts approximately one hour.
Camcorder JVC GC-XA1EU
6. Sony DCR SX65E
An elementary-to-use pocket-sized camera, which is notable for its small overall dimensions and, at the same time, quite decent capabilities. First of all, this model is equipped with a 37mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. This item allows you to capture high-quality videos and high-resolution photos. According to the manufacturer, the device is equipped with a 60x optical zoom, with which you can take pictures of excellent clarity, even distant objects. Unlike the reviewed models, the device has a decent amount of built-in memory – this figure is 4 GB, which is enough for about 3 hours of video recording in the highest quality. If desired, the user can install an external memory card Memory Stick Pro Duo or SD / SDHC.
The built-in software of the product allows you to quickly transfer the captured videos to a personal computer or download them from the Internet. Despite its compact dimensions, this camera allows you to record video in the highest quality (of course, for amateur shooting) with standard definition. One of the main distinguishing points is the ability to record sound without using an external microphone. The matrix has a resolution of 80 megapixels, there is also a 3-inch LCD display.
- Small overall dimensions;
- Excellent sound quality;
- Touch type display;
- Decent amount of built-in memory;
- Extensive zoom options;
- Excellent quality of shooting in the conditions of the street.
- The manufacturer did not think over the image focusing system very well.
Sony DCR SX65E
5. JVC Everio GZ-R435
Despite the fact that this model has been on sale for more than two years, it still remains popular with users. According to the owners, this camera is mainly intended for people who lead an active lifestyle and like to make long trips. There is not only a Wi-Fi adapter that allows you to immediately transfer files to a personal computer, laptop or upload them to the Internet, but also an LED backlight. With its help, you can compensate for the lack of natural light, and without loss of image quality. The kit comes with everything you need to operate the camera and charge its battery, as well as for a wired connection to a computer or TV. The lens has a thread with a diameter of 37 mm, which allows you to screw on protective or neutral filters.
The case is made of high-strength plastic, which allows it to withstand even falls from a significant height. The assembly is of high quality, no manufacturing defects were found. There is only one physical button here – with its help the user can start or stop recording. The zoom rocker helps to smoothly and accurately adjust the focal length indicator. The display is touch sensitive and very easy to use. The design is protected, thanks to which the camera is able to work in almost any conditions – in frost, heat, rain, dust. There are all necessary ports for connection with external devices.
- An elementary control system that can be understood in a few minutes;
- Intuitive interface;
- Pleasant to hold in hands;
- Sound recording provides high definition;
- Ability to use dynamic zoom;
- You can take pictures of subjects while recording.
- The frame rate cannot be adjusted.
JVC Everio GZ-R435
4. Sony HDR-CX405
Another very compact design that you can carry with you all the time, and the quality of both photos and videos will ultimately be much higher than the footage from your smartphone. The device is quite simple, there are almost no external controls, and all connection interfaces are securely closed. The resolution is decent, as is the light sensitivity. The device has an ultra-high magnification zoom – it is about 70x. The mass of the camera is about 215 grams, which allows you to carry this product with you all the time. The hand strap helps secure the camera firmly and prevents it from falling. What distinguishes this camera from more expensive models is the manual mechanism for opening the protective shutters of the lens, and you need to remember this all the time. Otherwise, dust and various other contaminants will accumulate on this element.
All connectors for connecting external devices are located behind the folding screen. The battery capacity is 1240 mAh, so the camera can work offline for about 2 hours when working in AVCHD format with a recording speed of 18 Mbps. At the same time, the weight of the product is only 215 grams. If necessary, you can install Memory Stick Micro or microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
- Low cost;
- In the presence of sufficient natural light, it shoots just fine;
- Good optical stabilization system;
- Decent sound quality;
- Auto focus;
- If you upload directly to the Internet, then the quality is practically not lost.
- When there is a shortage of natural or artificial light, grainy images appear.
3. Panasonic HC-W580
In third place for the best budget cameras was another product of the world famous company. The product belongs to the middle price range, which means that it will cost significantly less compared to semi-professional and professional products. The design is additionally equipped with another camera, which is located in the display frame. In the production of the camera, only reliable materials were used, the build quality is quite high – no backlashes or creaks were found during testing. The camera lens is equipped with automatic shutters. Preparing the product for work takes just a couple of seconds – for this you just need to tilt the display. The second camera, if necessary, can turn absolutely in any direction, as well as tilt up or down.
The battery capacity is 1940 mAh, thanks to which it is possible to ensure continuous video recording in the highest quality for 151 minutes. There is an HDR mode that lowers the overall level of contrast, due to which the user has much more options for post-processing shots and videos. Sensitivity in case of lack of natural light leaves much to be desired, however, near objects will be seen quite well.
- Well-thought-out image stabilization system, regardless of the shooting mode;
- High quality picture for videos;
- Excellent build;
- The battery allows you to work for a long time offline
- A bit pricey compared to other models.
2. Sony HDR-CX290E
Although this camera has a small overall dimensions, it provides a fairly wide frame of shooting. The diagonal of the lens is 26.8 mm, due to which the picture is as clear and saturated as possible. This model has a natural color reproduction. The zoom here is extended – 55x. Image processing is performed in automatic mode, so you can shoot an object with high definition in just half a second after pointing at it. The matrix has a high sensitivity, so all the features of this camera can be used even in low light conditions. Video recording of dynamic scenes is made with high detail, which allows you to comfortably view the recorded videos even on large-screen TVs. For this, the original BIONZ technology is used, based on a similar processor.
This allows you to significantly improve the quality of the picture even if the object moved very quickly in the frame. The frame rate of shooting is 50 frames per second, and the resolution can reach 1920×1080 pixels. The detail of the photos is even higher. The design has a touch-type LCD screen, which is also characterized by a high level of contrast and wide viewing angles. All settings here are automatic, but some of them can be set manually.
- Possibility of professional customization using standard parameters;
- The presence of a touch screen;
- Relatively large matrix eliminates the presence of noise;
- Quality stabilizer;
- Intuitive interface.
- The ergonomics of the product will take some time to get used to.
1. Zoom Q4n camcorder
This is the most advanced camera in its price range. The main difference of this model from other similar devices is the presence of ten different kinds of presets at once, designed for different kinds of lighting. Thanks to these features, the device is able to capture video of the highest quality, regardless of lighting conditions. In particular, the picture will be equally clear on the street on a sunny day, in a nightclub or at sunset. The recorder provides shooting in various formats, while the maximum quality is 2304×1296 pixels. The aperture is improved and supplemented with a wide-angle lens with a sweep of 160 degrees. The zoom is digital, five-speed.
Another important point associated with this product is the incomparable sound recording quality. It is produced in stereo format due to two built-in microphones, which are equipped with an active noise reduction system, so the human voice will be perfectly audible even under adverse conditions. If desired, the product can be synchronized with any device equipped with a Wi-Fi module, as well as immediately upload recordings to the Internet.
- Pretty good video quality, and there are a number of pre-installed features;
- Changeable viewing angle;
- Excellent sound without the use of external microphones;
- The sensitivity can also be adjusted manually.
- There is no cap included to protect the lens from damage.
Zoom Q4n camcorder
In conclusion, a useful video
Our review of the best budget camcorders has come to an end. We have tried to provide as much information as possible for each model so that you can choose the camera that best suits your needs. If we have not resolved all your questions, then you can always additionally ask in the comments to this article. We will promptly respond to each message and provide a number of additional information that will help you make your choice.