Best Camcorder 2016
Camcorders aren't hard to find--in fact, there are so many options, digging through all the specs to find one that will perform better than your smartphone can be hard to do. That's why we've reviewed all the specifications and features and picked out what we think is the best camcorder of 2016 in each category. Since the best video camera for the YouTube producer isn't going to be the same as the best camcorder for new parents, we've divvied up the top options into separate categories by both features and price. Some of these camcorders are brand new in 2016, while other older models still earn a spot, either because they haven't been upgraded yet, or because the upgrade isn't worth the extra cash.
What should you expect to find on a camcorder in 2016? 1080p HD video is universal, while 4K is available on high-end models that are priced close to a grand. Most now include Wi-fi, which allows you to pair the camcorder with your phone for wireless uploads or even to use an app to remotely control the recording. Features like zoom and built-in storage capacities are increasing. High frame rates for smooth motion like 60 fps aren't too hard to find, though most 4K camcorders don't boast that spec quite yet.
The list of best camcorders for 2016 will likely change as the year goes on, but these are the most promising video cameras on the market right now.
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 Sony CX440 has a lot of tricks up its sleeve for a $300 camera. That's because Sony didn't sacrifice video quality to keep the price low. With 1080p HD video at 60 fps and 50 Mbps, the CX440 offers excellent quality for the price range. Features like optical image stabilization and backlight compensation will help too. The CX440 even offers Wi-fi and 8 GB of memory. What's sacrificed for that lower price? The screen is a bit smaller than most and the construction isn't as good. Low light video isn't the greatest either, but considering the price, the CX440 offers excellent value.
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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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Sony impressed last year with a 4K camera for under $1,000. The Sony AX53 improves on that even more, increasing the sensor size for improved low light performance, while still keeping the price within the same range. Sony also doubled to amount of optical zoom and a five-direction mic. Add in the five-axis image stabilization and the Sony AX53 should be an excellent performer.
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- Panasonic HC-WXF991
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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