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Best Budget Camcorders

Now that pretty much every kind of gadget is a capable camcorder -- mobile phones, tablets, even digital still cameras -- the appeal of low-end stand-alone camcorders is a bit limited. But manufacturers are still finding ways to keep budget-friendly video cameras relevant with impressive zoom ranges and creative interfaces. Below, you'll see our favorite affordable camcorders at $300 or less.

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Ricoh WG-M1

Coming from a manufacturer with a history of rugged cameras, the Ricoh WG-M1 looks to compete with the likes of the Go Pro and Sony action cams. The WG-M1 has an unusual design to say the least, but unlike most action cams, it still manages to fin...

Grade: A- Price: $200.00

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Sony CX440 Handycam

Sony's 2015 CX440 offers quite a few features for the average consumer, yet still sits at an affordable $300.Video quality certainly isn't sacrificed to keep the price low. The Sony CX440 can shoot 1080p HD video at a smooth 60 fps frame r...

Grade: A- Price: $298.00

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Sony CX405

The Sony CX405 is essentially the CX440 re-wrapped without the wi-fi and built-in memory. Without sacrificing on video quality though, it makes for an excellent budget option.While 1080p HD video isn't hard to come by for under $250, a 60 fps ...

Grade: B+ Price: $228.00

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GoPro Hero Session

The leading action cam manufacturer is going big--with a tiny camera. GoPros have stuck with a similar exterior for several years, but the new GoPro Hero4 Session is completely different, with a cube-like design and a teensy, tiny weight of just 2...

Grade: B+ Price: $213.00

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Sony CX330

Sony's Handycams tend to be pretty solid shooters and the CX330 looks like it has made all the right cuts to hit the under $350 mark without going cheap on quality. The Sony CX330 shoots at a nice 60fps speed, and while the 1/5.8" sensor ...

Grade: B+ Price: $300.00

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Sony CX240

The Sony CX240 appears to be nearly identical to the CX330 with the exception of a slightly smaller zoom and the absence of wi-fi. It still has the same 1/5.8" backlit sensor and bright f1.8 maximum aperture at the wide end, so video quality ...

Grade: B+ Price: $184.00

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Panasonic HC-V380

Panasonic has added a bit more zoom to their mid-range consumer option, packing a 62x optical zoom and a 90x intelligent zoom into the V380.The Panasonic V380 records 1080p HD video at a smooth 50 fps. The 62x optical zoom, paired with a hybrid im...

Grade: B+ Price: $290.00

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Sony MV1

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 th...

Grade: B+ Price: $298.00

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Canon VIXIA HF R50

Sitting pretty in the middle of Canon's 2014 HF line, the HF R50 offers 8 GB of built-in memory and wi-fi, along with the same sensor/lens/processor combo as the HF R500 and HF 52. The memory and battery allows for up to three hours of continu...

Grade: B+ Price: $265.00

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Sony AS20

Sony's highly reputable action cam line has seen it's latest addition with the Sony HDR-AS20, a $200 1080p HD camcorder that packs in quite a few features for the price. Among the list of features is a battery that can record up to 150 min...

Grade: B Price: $130.00

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Sony Handycam HDR AS50

The Sony HandyCam HDR AS50 is redefining the action cam just a bit. Where traditional action cams are a mount-it-and-leave-it style, the AS50 offers wide and narrow shooting perspectives as well as the ability to zoom while shooting. The extra fea...

Grade: B Price: $198.00

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Panasonic HC-V160

The Panasonic V160 is the manufacturer's budget model for 2015, offering a pretty minimal list of specifications for a pretty attainable $230 price tag.The sensor is a 1/5.8" backlit version, which is on the small side, but Panasonic does...

Grade: B- Price: $239.00

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Contour ROAM2

Contour is one of the top sellers when it comes to action cams and their latest ROAM2 has been met with positive early reviews. This cam shoots at 60 fps and doesn't need any add-ons to become water resistant. Plus it's lightweight and low...

Grade: B- Price: $115.00

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Sony HDR-AS200

Amid the buzz over Sony's 4K action cam, the manufacturer also quietly introduced a modest upgrade to their HD action cam, the Sony AS200. Though it doesn't pack in the 4,000 pixel resolution, the AS200 offers a good handful of features fo...

Grade: B- Price: $15.00

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Canon VIXIA HF R60

Canon seems to be devoting their attention to the videography from their DSLRs--their 2015 camcorders (at least their January releases anyway) appear to be nearly clones of last year's models. The exception? They now have wi-fi. The Canon R60 ...

Grade: B- Price: $230.00

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Polaroid Cube

We're not sure what we like more about Polaroid's new action camera--the size, or the price. Measuring less than an inch and a half, the Polaroid Cube only retails for $99, which makes it both attainable in price and size.The tiny action c...

Grade: B- Price: $100.00

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Canon VIXIA HF R700

The little sibling to the R72 and R70, the Canon VIXIA R700 is the company's most affordable camcorder for 2016 with a $299 list price. And while the R700 eliminates the wi-fi and built-in memory, with the same sensor and lens, video quality s...

Grade: B- Price: $299.00

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Canon VIXIA HF R800

The Canon Vixia RF800, in a nutshell, is a $300 camcorder that can do (at least) one thing your smartphone can't: zoom.The RF800 offers a 32x optical zoom lens, combined with digital zoom for a 57x hybrid zoom. That's paired with a 3.82 me...

Grade: B- Price: $299.00