Best Camcorder 2017
Video cameras range from tiny devices that can be mounted anywhere to high-end, high resolution options -- but with so many options on the market, which ones will shoot the best YouTube-worthy videos, and which ones won't get you anything more than a smartphone can?
4K is quickly becoming easier to find in anything from action cameras to prosumer camcorders. Wi-Fi offers easier uploads by wirelessly transferring files to a smartphone or even enabling live broadcasts. While fewer companies are making consumer options with the convenience of smartphone video, there are still a number of camcorders that will zoom farther, record longer and capture higher resolutions than what can fit in your pocket -- or waterproof cameras that you can take on adventures that would sink your smartphone.
Here are the best camcorders hitting the shelves in 2017.
While 2017 has brought a number of budget cameras, our 2016 pick still stands here for 4K quality and a wider range of features. A replacement could be coming later in the year, or the update could be another year out yet. Here's what we had to say about the VX981 last year:
The Panasonic VX981 is a consumer camera that puts 4K quality in a fairly accessible price. The VX981 boasts 4K at 30 fps, though only in the MP4 format, as well as full HD video at 60 fps. The backlit sensor and wide lens should make this model just as solid at shooting in low light conditions, but the update also gives the VX981 in-camera editing capabilities. That allows users to stabilize 4K footage and save it as 1080p, while Wi-fi will allow users to wireless transfer those edited files to a smartphone. While originally listing at nearly $1,000, a price drop makes the 4K quality more readily accessible to consumers, making it one of the top consumer-level cameras of 2016.
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The Canon VIXIA HF R800 offers a good mix of features for $300, including an incredible 37x zoom that makes it an excellent option for recording kids sporting events and getting up close to the action. The 2017 version includes a backlight compensation mode that essentially helps you get better shots in crappy lighting without knowing much about video. The update also includes a new slow motion mode. Unlike the R80 and R82, the R800 doesn't have built-in memory, so compare the cost with the R800 and a large memory card to just picking up the R80 instead.
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GoPro normally updates their flagship every two years, but as the company struggles financially, they've already announced that the Hero6 will be out in 2017. We're not sure when, but until then the 2016 pick, the Hero5 Black stands, with the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 also a worthy contender for the number of neat sensors and overlays. Until then, here's what we had to say about the GoPro Hero5 Black:
"The company that started the action camera craze is back, and the GoPro Hero 5 keeps the camera's much-loved image quality and small size, and re-imagines the rest. The expected housing is gone -- the camera is waterproof to 33 feet without it. Image stabilization is also a much welcomed addition as several competitors gain the feature. And to make controlling a camera in the middle of the action easier, the manufacturer has added voice control. The action camera market is crowded with several solid options, but the company's history and wide range of accessories likely give the latest GoPro an edge."
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- Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
360 is still in it's infancy, which means you shouldn't expect the same level of quality and usability of a regular camera when you pick up a 360 option. Each model usually still has a few quirks since the tech is so new, but if you want to be an early adopter of 360, take a look at the Nikon KeyMission 360. Remember, the resolution of a 360 camera is wrapped around the entire perspective, so "4K" here isn't on the same level as 4,000 pixels on a TV screen. This is another 2016 release, and could very well be dethroned as the year progresses, but here's what we had to say when we first nominated this camera:
"When Nikon decided to announce their first action cam, they did so with flair. The Nikon KeyMission creates 360 degree videos, so viewers can change their perspective and watch action from any angle. The early videos from the KeyMission looks pretty impressive, and while the 360 camera took it's time reaching the market, it's finally available for a new perspective on action videos."
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