Camcorders 2013

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Edit Static BlockCamcorder HQ offers unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations from camcorder experts and everyday users looking to share their own experiences. We're not a store, but we'll help you find a great camera at the best price. Throughout the site, you'll find some of our most popular camcorders as well as links to reviews, comparisons, and guides. Click to Read More About Camcorder HQ

Latest Camcorder Hands On Reviews

Panasonic W850
Hands On Review

There aren't too many camcorders out there that can be described as unlike any other camcorder, but the Panasonic W850 may just fit the bill. That's because it's not a camcorder—it's two. The W850 has a secondary lens to record picture-in-picture footage from two different vantage points simultaneously, without any editing.

But as with any other camcorder toting an unusual selling feature—we have to ask, is this camcorder only about that—or can it live up to our expectations for video quality and usability? With manual shooting, a front control dial and an improved sensor over older models like the Panasonic V720, it certainly has potential on paper. We spent some time on a Panasonic W850 review to find out how it really performs.

Panasonic W850 Review: Body & Design

The Panasonic W850 is a compact camcorder that fits comfortably in one hand. There's a hand strap at the left and a flip out LCD screen at the right. At the edge of the screen is the second camcorder, which is turned on simply by flipping it out. It can record what is directly behind the camera (i.e. the operator), any angle to the left of the screen or what's in front just by turning the small camera. It's an interesting feature and the design makes it easy to use.

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Sony HDR-MV1
Hands On Review

Camcorders, traditionally, have always been about the video quality, forcing consumers to go into a much higher price point to achieve matching sound quality. But Sony has developed a $300 camcorder designed specifically for the musician, where the audio quality is the number one priority. The Sony MV1 Music Recorder is essentially the manufacturer's popular action cam, only with a 120 degree microphone and Linear PCM sound for excellent audio.

Sony is claiming that their music recorder can help aspiring musicians get their big break—but can the audio on a $300 camcorder really measure up to that standard? What better place to find out than in Nashville.

Sony MV1 Music Recorder: Body & Design

I tested the MV1 as part of a marathon review session with several Sony models. At the time I was trying to test out the audio on the camcorder, I was also juggling two other cameras—so I quickly noticed that the MV1 fit in my pocket (and by pocket I mean the smaller pockets in women's jeans). The MV1 is very small, fitting nicely into the palm of your hand, though there's no strap to keep it secure.

The front of the MV1 houses the wide angle lens (of course) and two microphones, pointed in opposite directions for that 120 degree sound. The LCD screen is at the side, but it doesn't flip out like many camcorders. The menu button and joystick control for accessing different options is also at the side. The back allows access to the battery, micro SD card and various ports, including microphone and headphone slots.

While the size of the MV1 is excellent, the design makes it a bit awkward to use. The screen is at the side, so it's hard to see what you are actually recording while using the camcorder handheld, unless you turn your neck in an odd angle. The MV1 is really designed more to use with a tripod, to set up, point at the stage and leave it alone. There's no zoom, just a 120 degree wide angle lens and 120 degree sound designed to capture the entire stage, not focus on any one particular band member.

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Latest Articles on Camcorder HQ

Camcorder Bit Rates: What are they, and why are they important?

When it comes to shopping for a camcorder, there's a whole lot more than just megapixels and HD to consider. When all other factors are equal, there's one trait with is a good indicator of the better video quality: MBPS.

The video you record is really data, called bits. The more data or bits, the camera records, the better the video quality will be. But unlike a still picture, videos have the element of time added in. Bits are measured, for camcorders anyways, in megabits per second (MBPS). The more data a camera records per second, the higher the video quality.

Very low MBPS will have a noticeable affect on video quality. The camera isn't capturing as much data as it records, which makes distortion more likely. Contrary to what you see on every crime drama on TV, you can't add add data back into a video once it's recorded—if it's pixelated, it will always be pixelated. The difference between 24 MBPS and 28 MBPS is much more subtle, but 28 MBPS will have slightly better video quality.

The Canon HF R500 can record in 35 MBPS in MP4 and 28 in AVCHD.

Say you are comparing two cameras, and both record in 1080p HD video. One records in 28 MBPS, while the other in 35 MBPS. If all other factors are equal, the camcorder with the 35 MBPS will have the best video quality out of the two.

Some say MBPS only matters when you are choosing a new camcorder. But that's not entirely the case. The more data the camcorder records, the more space the video will take up on the memory card or internal memory. While you'll get the best video quality with a high MBPS, your memory card will fill up faster. Camcorders have options to adjust the quality so you can choose whether the video quality or the memory card space is more important.

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2014: What To Expect For New Camcorders
HD video has been popular for several years now, in fact, it's rather hard to find a standard definition camcorder anymore. But in a few years, HD may not even be the standard anymore. With the introduction of dozens of new camcorders at CES, we have a good idea where camcorder technology will take us in 2014. The most notable is 4k, which isn't brand new this year, but is headed to compact consumer models. If you're looking to upgrade your camcorder this year, you'll want to check out these trends.

The Sony AX100

4K isn't just for the professionals anymore.

4K resolution is exciting—imagine seeing so much detail, you'll want to start using a pore refiner. I saw Sony's AX1 during a media event last year, and while I wasn't able to test it out myself, I noted how big it was but also how exceptionally detailed the footage was.

Sony will be releasing a smaller consumer version of the AX1, the AX100 that is less than half the size and about half the price. It's got a huge one-inch sensor, so even low light videos shouldn't be a problem. The Sony AX100 shoots in 30fps instead of the better 60fps and doesn't have any built-in memory, but expect to be amazed at the level of detail that 4k resolution brings, particularly if you also have a new 4k TV to view the footage on.

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Latest User Comments & Reviews

kim (04/27/2014)
i'm having problems downloading and editing from this camera? what do you suggest?
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Hillary Grigonis (04/29/2014)
Hi Kim. First, check and make sure you are recording in a file type that is compatible with your computer. For example, I'm on a Mac and can't open AVCHD, so I record in MP4. If that doesn't help, let me know a few more details and I'll see what I can do to help!
Do a side by side comparison between the Hero3+ and the Sony as100v (Lisa Neary — 04/21/2014)
I have compared the GoPro Hero3+ side by side with the new Sony HDR AS100V and the IQ of the Sony in color, detail, lack of blur makes the GoPro look second rate by comparison. I am not mean enough to say somewhat like a VHS recorder by comparison. The Sony can even make the sky blue, something the GoPro still cant do decently. Maybe I concentrate on IQ because I dont use any equipment underwater or at 200 mph.
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Hillary Grigonis (04/22/2014)
Thanks for the input, Lisa. The Sony camera's we've been able to do hands-on tests with have always done well with enhancing the blues in the sky!
Don't sell this camcorder short (John Nelson — 04/20/2014)
It is great camcorder. Took helicopter ride in Kauai. The wide angle movies were amazing, along with the image stabilization (copter was bouncing around in the mountain air)
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Hillary Grigonis (04/22/2014)
Thanks for the input, John!