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

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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Panasonic HC-X920
Hands On Review

Panasonic's popular X900 camcorder received a big upgrade in the X920, going from three 1/4.1” sensors to three larger 1/2.3” sensors. The value is all in the X920's three backside-illuminated sensors, optical image stabilization and wind noise reduction systems, instead of extras like flash memory and a high capacity battery. Coming in at around $1,000, the Panasonic X920 is definitely worth a look for those looking for a boost in video quality without breaching the four figure price point.

Panasonic X920: Body & Design

Larger then most mainstream models, the Panasonic X920 is still fairly compact for an advanced model, considering there's not one but three sensors inside. Weighing in at just under a pound, the X920 is comfortable to grip and isn't too bad at packing up for travel either.

The zoom, photo capture and mode slide are all at the top and comfortable to operate with one hand; the record button sits at the back, right at the thumb for easy access. Besides the record button, the only other thing at the back of the camcorder is an optical viewfinder, which pulls out for more comfortable use.

The Panasonic X920 makes it easy to take quality video and stills.

At the left side is the 3.5” touchscreen LCD. When folded, the touchscreen hides the on/off and optical image stabilization buttons, as well as the HDMI, A/V and USB ports. An Intelligent Auto button sits at the top left to easily switch to the most used mode. Wi-Fi options are also accessed through a button near the top of the camcorder.

The front of the X920 features a nice manual ring, plus a lens hood for the f2.8, 34.1 mm Lecia lens. Options for an accessory shoe, microphone and headphones sit just in front of the grip on the right.

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Latest Articles on Camcorder HQ

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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5 Reasons to Buy a Dedicated Camcorder

Chances are, you already have some sort of device for recording movies. The phone in your pocket may even take HD video, and your digital camera probably does a halfway decent job at footage too. With all the devices that now capture video, is the camcorder market dying? Does someone with a smartphone in their pocket and a good digital camera in their bag even need a camcorder?

There's no question that the camcorder market is changing, but as more smartphones and cameras offer higher quality HD video, manufacturers are vamping up the perks of owning a dedicated camcorder. If you only shoot short clips for sharing on the internet, a digital camera or smartphone may be all you need. But if you want to shoot the entire football game, zoom in on a single player and then share on your TV at home, you need a dedicated camcorder. Still not sure? Here are five reasons to pick up that dedicated video cam:

Longer record times. Most digital cameras won't record more than a half hour of video at a time. The tech specs detail the maximum record time for each model. Cameras aren't designed for long videos, the memory card space and battery life don't handle them well. Cell phone video limits are generally even shorter. HD video on a digital camera is great for taking short clips to share online, but don't expect them to capture an entire concert, game or event with continuous footage.

Better video and sound quality.Just because a camera or cell phone has 1080p HD video doesn't mean the quality will be the same as a camcorder with 1080p. Another important factor to consider is the frames per second (fps). A good camcorder will record at at least 60 fps, while most cameras shoot at 30 fps or less. Motion like panning is blurred with slower fps speeds. Camcorders also generally have better built-in mics or ports for adding sound equipment, meaning the audio quality from a dedicated camcorder also beats cameras and cell phones.

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Latest User Comments & Reviews

Need adive (Mark — 03/08/2014)
I was thinking of getting this however I notice alot of users stating it has a rather annoying 'chirping auto focus' sound when recording. I do understand it can't be perfect due to it being a budget camcorder however can you recommend one similar in price and spec that won't have the annoying chirping sound or one that its not as noticable. After watching a few videos about it (and I do like the quality for a budget camera) the chirping would drive me up the wall .. Initially its to be used to record videos of my newborn child when it arrives in a few months for family in other parts of the world so it will be getting used a fair amount in 'quiet scenes'.. Later on however it will be used for holidays, parties traveling etc
View Discussion
Hillary Grigonis (03/12/2014)
Hi Mark. Congratulations on your growing family! We have a page of recommendations just for new parents here:  You'll also want to look into the Canon HF R300 and JVC GZ-E300.
elura100 max capacity for sd card (ness — 02/23/2014)
What is the maximum sd card capacity for elura100a?
View Discussion
Hillary Grigonis (02/25/2014)
The Elura 100 takes DV tapes, not SD cards.
Does the camera play well with Apple and Final Cut Pro X? (Guy Raymond — 01/30/2014)
Is the JVC GZ-EX555BUS FinalCutPro X friendly?

Is it Mac friendly?
View Discussion
Hillary Grigonis (02/21/2014)
Yes, this camera will work with Final Cut Pro X and a Mac. You will need to switch the file type to iFrame for the best compatibility, but this camcorder can record in iFrame files.