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Camcorder recommendations

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am considering purchasing a camcorder for upcoming family trips (not just disney). We have a gopro type camera and just dont find it best for our current situation.

I would like a basic camcorder under $300, something easy to pack in a backpack and pull out to start recording without much fuss.

Any recs?
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
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Camcorders at that budget are really not that good. At 300 and under you are probably better off just getting a small point and shoot camera that also does video. For the most part camcorders are only better for video than digital cameras because of the form factor and the fact that some camcorders have an eyepiece instead of just a screen to look at on the back like a cheaper point and shoot camera. But when you are spending only 300 you are probably not going to find a camcorder with an eyepiece only a flip out screen which is only marginally better than a screen on the back of a camera.

You might look at a Sony DSCWX350, Sony DSCH300 or Panasonic Lumix fz80... all are simple point and shoot cameras that also do video. The 300 only shoots 720p while the 350 shoot 1080 and the Panasonic does 4k but at only 30 fps.... But all will give you decent zoom which is the one thing you probably want in something you are going to shoot video with. You can probably find both at best buy, I would suggest you go there with an SD chip of your own, put it in the cameras and take some video with them that you can then take home and look at. I think you'll find either one gives you a better image than your gopro... a gopro might do 4k but the lenses and sensors aren't ideal for someone that wants to shoot more than just the action cam type video. I would probably lean toward the Panasonic as it does give you the eyepiece although it is probably the largest of the three and cost the most of the three as well.

If you are dead set on an actual camcorder then you really need to spend a lot more to get something that is worth your time, sub 300 camcorder are just not worth it.
 

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Camcorders at that budget are really not that good. At 300 and under you are probably better off just getting a small point and shoot camera that also does video. For the most part camcorders are only better for video than digital cameras because of the form factor and the fact that some camcorders have an eyepiece instead of just a screen to look at on the back like a cheaper point and shoot camera. But when you are spending only 300 you are probably not going to find a camcorder with an eyepiece only a flip out screen which is only marginally better than a screen on the back of a camera.

You might look at a Sony DSCWX350, Sony DSCH300 or Panasonic Lumix fz80... all are simple point and shoot cameras that also do video. The 300 only shoots 720p while the 350 shoot 1080 and the Panasonic does 4k but at only 30 fps.... But all will give you decent zoom which is the one thing you probably want in something you are going to shoot video with. You can probably find both at best buy, I would suggest you go there with an SD chip of your own, put it in the cameras and take some video with them that you can then take home and look at. I think you'll find either one gives you a better image than your gopro... a gopro might do 4k but the lenses and sensors aren't ideal for someone that wants to shoot more than just the action cam type video. I would probably lean toward the Panasonic as it does give you the eyepiece although it is probably the largest of the three and cost the most of the three as well.

If you are dead set on an actual camcorder then you really need to spend a lot more to get something that is worth your time, sub 300 camcorder are just not worth it.
So we do have a Nikon D7000 that we use for pictures. I know it has video capabilities, but it's bigger than I'd like to be able to pull out quickly for a video. I also have an iphone 8, which takes decent video, but its not great in low light situations.

What camcorders would you recommend that won't break the bank, but are better than the sub $300 i am looking at? I don't mind paying a little more for something with vastly better quality. The one I was considering was the Cannon hf r800, had decent reviews and can get it for just under $200 with sales. I don't need anything fancy, but don't want to pay for something that would be of similar quality to my iphone.

I might do what you suggested and take a chip of my own to the store to see and compare. Never thought of that!
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
So we do have a Nikon D7000 that we use for pictures. I know it has video capabilities, but it's bigger than I'd like to be able to pull out quickly for a video. I also have an iphone 8, which takes decent video, but its not great in low light situations.

What camcorders would you recommend that won't break the bank, but are better than the sub $300 i am looking at? I don't mind paying a little more for something with vastly better quality. The one I was considering was the Cannon hf r800, had decent reviews and can get it for just under $200 with sales. I don't need anything fancy, but don't want to pay for something that would be of similar quality to my iphone.

I might do what you suggested and take a chip of my own to the store to see and compare. Never thought of that!
The problem you are going to have is in getting decent quality in low light. Low light video or photos is one of the most difficult things to do and usually is only accomplished by throwing more money into your equipment than you really should.

The canon you mentioned is not going to give you very clear low light results. Here is a youtube sample of someone shooting in their house with it and as you see it is pretty grainy quality.


If you want to stick with the camcorder shape instead of going to a camera I would say check out a sony cx405 it will be about the same price as your Canon but gives you cleaner low light video.
 

Jahona

Well-Known Member
Which GoPro do you have? The fixed wide angle on the GoPro can be great for most things but it does limit you. One thing that I've found as a boon when shooting with a GoPro is using a 3-axis gimbal. It creates great smooth motion.

The problem is there's not much in the sub $400 category that will really wow you. A competent camcorder will typically run you $500 or more. I've personally never been impressed with the entry level camcorder market. To go on what @thomas998 has said, a point and shoot that also does video isn't a bad option. You won't get crazy zoom but you will get some competent performance out of it. A video DP I know tend to carry around a Sony RX100. You can get some of the previous models for a decent price. The 1 inch sensor will perform better in low light than most entry camcorders that typically have smaller sensors.
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
Which GoPro do you have? The fixed wide angle on the GoPro can be great for most things but it does limit you. One thing that I've found as a boon when shooting with a GoPro is using a 3-axis gimbal. It creates great smooth motion.

The problem is there's not much in the sub $400 category that will really wow you. A competent camcorder will typically run you $500 or more. I've personally never been impressed with the entry level camcorder market. To go on what @thomas998 has said, a point and shoot that also does video isn't a bad option. You won't get crazy zoom but you will get some competent performance out of it. A video DP I know tend to carry around a Sony RX100. You can get some of the previous models for a decent price. The 1 inch sensor will perform better in low light than most entry camcorders that typically have smaller sensors.
I started to suggest that first RX100 mark I, because it was in the sub 400 price range... but didn't because its zoom is very limited. If the OP didn't care about the zoom then it would be a good choice.... Unfortunately the RX10 versions with the better zoom come at a price point well above the RX100's and are probably a bit big for trying something you can easily carry anywhere. We have a RX100 mark II that we take to concerts and such because its very small and good in poor light, but zoom wise its horrible.
 

Jahona

Well-Known Member
I started to suggest that first RX100 mark I, because it was in the sub 400 price range... but didn't because its zoom is very limited. If the OP didn't care about the zoom then it would be a good choice.... Unfortunately the RX10 versions with the better zoom come at a price point well above the RX100's and are probably a bit big for trying something you can easily carry anywhere. We have a RX100 mark II that we take to concerts and such because its very small and good in poor light, but zoom wise its horrible.
Curious how the lens on the III-V model and the new one on the VI compare to the original 24-100. I've not personally used the rx100 so now I'm curious which specific model my DP had on him.
 

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The problem you are going to have is in getting decent quality in low light. Low light video or photos is one of the most difficult things to do and usually is only accomplished by throwing more money into your equipment than you really should.

The canon you mentioned is not going to give you very clear low light results. Here is a youtube sample of someone shooting in their house with it and as you see it is pretty grainy quality.


If you want to stick with the camcorder shape instead of going to a camera I would say check out a sony cx405 it will be about the same price as your Canon but gives you cleaner low light video.
Since it can be so difficult to understand all the specs as a lay person, which one shows that the sony cx405 is better in low light than the canon hf r800? The two seemed to get comparable reviews.

If I can't get a semi-decent camcorder under $4-500 than I will likely just stick with my iphone. I want something dedicated for video that is better than my phone.
 

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
what about the sony cx455? Its just under $400 and reviews are decent
 

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You might look at a Sony DSCWX350, Sony DSCH300 or Panasonic Lumix fz80... all are simple point and shoot cameras that also do video. The 300 only shoots 720p while the 350 shoot 1080 and the Panasonic does 4k but at only 30 fps.... But all will give you decent zoom which is the one thing you probably want in something you are going to shoot video with.
I have done a little more research on these cameras you recommended, and the Sony DSCWX350 may fit the bill for us. We haven't been lugging our Nikon DSLR with us on trips since we have had a kid, because they come with enough accessories! So we have been relying on our phones for pictures. This may give us a better pics and video quality than our iphones can. In your opinion does this seem true?

I want to thank you a lot for providing me feedback!!!
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
I have done a little more research on these cameras you recommended, and the Sony DSCWX350 may fit the bill for us. We haven't been lugging our Nikon DSLR with us on trips since we have had a kid, because they come with enough accessories! So we have been relying on our phones for pictures. This may give us a better pics and video quality than our iphones can. In your opinion does this seem true?

I want to thank you a lot for providing me feedback!!!
For the most part yes you will get better results from this camera than from most cellphone cameras. There are always some small exceptions and the last iPhone X does have a fast lens.... so if you were comparing this camera with an iPhone X and only shooting wide angle shots you would likely not see any difference and could even see a very slight win with the iPhone, but that would only be in very specific conditions. This camera would still have optical zoom capabilities that you cannot get in any cellphone. If I were given a choice between using this camera or an iPhone X on a trip for my photos and video I would take the camera over the iPhone.
 

Nala06

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
For the most part yes you will get better results from this camera than from most cellphone cameras. There are always some small exceptions and the last iPhone X does have a fast lens.... so if you were comparing this camera with an iPhone X and only shooting wide angle shots you would likely not see any difference and could even see a very slight win with the iPhone, but that would only be in very specific conditions. This camera would still have optical zoom capabilities that you cannot get in any cellphone. If I were given a choice between using this camera or an iPhone X on a trip for my photos and video I would take the camera over the iPhone.
This helps a lot. Thank you!!
 

RScottyL

Well-Known Member
Which GoPro do you have? The fixed wide angle on the GoPro can be great for most things but it does limit you. One thing that I've found as a boon when shooting with a GoPro is using a 3-axis gimbal. It creates great smooth motion.

The problem is there's not much in the sub $400 category that will really wow you. A competent camcorder will typically run you $500 or more. I've personally never been impressed with the entry level camcorder market. To go on what @thomas998 has said, a point and shoot that also does video isn't a bad option. You won't get crazy zoom but you will get some competent performance out of it. A video DP I know tend to carry around a Sony RX100. You can get some of the previous models for a decent price. The 1 inch sensor will perform better in low light than most entry camcorders that typically have smaller sensors.
I agree! While a GoPro 7 Black would be the best currently in the GoPro line, it will not do well with low light! It does have extra help with the in camera stability that previous models didn't have!

For you to find something really good, you would need to go about $1000!

Josh from YouTube channel ResorTV1 has a Sony a6500, which does really well in low light, but the body alone is about $1000:


 
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Jahona

Well-Known Member
I agree! While a GoPro 7 Black would be the best currently in the GoPro line, it will not do well with low light! It does have extra help with the in camera stability that previous models didn't have!

For you to find something really good, you would need to go about $1000!

Josh from YouTube channel ResorTV1 has a Canon a6500, which does really well in low light, but the body alone is about $1000:


Yeah, it mainly comes down to the tiny sensor in the GoPro and issues with noise. I found when using my GoPro as a primary camera for the trip I took it on, that it performed well in most situations that I threw it at. Here is what I shot this on my GoPro Hero 4 Black several years ago and it didn't do to bad on dark rides. Peter Pans Flight was the worst offender. I denoised the heck out of it and it's still grainy. But for just amateur footage that I just wanted to capture the experience it didn't do to bad.


 

fractal

Well-Known Member
I agree! While a GoPro 7 Black would be the best currently in the GoPro line, it will not do well with low light! It does have extra help with the in camera stability that previous models didn't have!

For you to find something really good, you would need to go about $1000!

Josh from YouTube channel ResorTV1 has a Canon a6500, which does really well in low light, but the body alone is about $1000:


Do you mean Sony a6500?
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
Yes, sorry about that!

I corrected it!
Then you wouldn't have to spend the 1000 for Sony a6500 if you were looking for that quality video as a Sony a6000 would give you pretty much the same 1080 video. No 4k in it but it does cost about 50% less. Probably will see price drops of it even more now that Sony has come out with their latest a6xxx camera. It won't be long until they officially discontinue the a6000 which is still a very capable camera for most people but lacking the 4k and a few other bells and whistles.
 

RScottyL

Well-Known Member
Then you wouldn't have to spend the 1000 for Sony a6500 if you were looking for that quality video as a Sony a6000 would give you pretty much the same 1080 video. No 4k in it but it does cost about 50% less. Probably will see price drops of it even more now that Sony has come out with their latest a6xxx camera. It won't be long until they officially discontinue the a6000 which is still a very capable camera for most people but lacking the 4k and a few other bells and whistles.
True!

Me personally, i would go for the 4K video! You can shoot in 4K now, and edit it for 1080p if you do not have the computer capable of editing 4K. When you do get a computer capable of it, you would still have the 4K files available!
 

Jahona

Well-Known Member
True!

Me personally, i would go for the 4K video! You can shoot in 4K now, and edit it for 1080p if you do not have the computer capable of editing 4K. When you do get a computer capable of it, you would still have the 4K files available!
There's a lot of benefits of shooting 4k and editing at 1080p. Shrinking a 4k file down to 1080p tends to provide a sharper image. You also have the flexibility of cropping in on a 4k image without loosing resolution or quality. The other benefit is you can stabilize the footage in post and crop in as well without a loss of quality.

Here's a good article going into more detail. https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/downscaling-4k-1080p-online-compression/
 
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