best video cameras of 2016

Best Video Cameras of 2016


The rise of mobile phones and tablet computers as means of shooting stills and video have rather left dedicated video cameras on the side-lines a little. The concept of the traditional camcorder feels a little, well, old, really.


But that’s absolutely not the case. These are not a technology string that has run out of twine and there remains a huge interest in dedicated video equipment. Products run from entry level to fairly professional devices, and there is something to suit almost any need and pocket. Camcorders come in three basic levels:


Entry level: cheap and easy to use, but don’t be fooled by the High Definition (HD) stickers that adorn them – good optics cost money and without those, your videos are always going to be blurry – and stick to your phone camera. These tend to have a just a record’ button so you have no real control over the input.


Intermediate level: pretty good optics and a good level of steady zoom too. These are usually fitted with a good quality LVD viewing screen too, and this should be at least 260,000 pixels, and you should expect image stabilisation too.


Expert level: You should check that cameras at this level have three separate sensors for red, blue, and green, to make the most of the colour options, and manual controls allowing you total control over whatever you are shooting. You should expect a good learning curve with a high wend camcorder, rather than the point and shoot only options of the entry level units. These will be shooting 4K video and will have the optics to make everything crystal clear. Suffice to say, you will be spending a fair bit of money on these camcorders.


So it seems to come down to money, however that isn’t the only criteria, and there are significant differences between models and even some from the lower quality end that perform well. Here, we look at some of the best camcorders around.


Panasonic HC-V250EB-K

Panasonic HC-V250EB-K

Retailing at around £250 – though you can get some good deals on it – the Panasonic HC-V250EB-K is not only a versatile camera for the price but also a mouthful to pronounce.With excellent optics fitted, this is a camera that really can record full HD – even at 9X zoom – and won’t break the bank. The V250EB-K has a neat feature not found amongst that many camcorders which allows it to pair with Wi-Fi enabled devices such as computers and tablets to give a live feed from the camera. That means you can use the camcorder in all sorts of situations including security and baby-monitor purposes.


The V250EB-K comes with anti-blur technology so that you get a clean picture even as you pan and zoom, and touch-enabled 2.7 inch LCD and Dolby sound, you have a complete package in the Panasonic.


Black High StogaDfunSTD003

Cheap and cheerful, are words that sumup the Stoga, as it comes in under £50, but doesn’t have too bad optics. It says HD on the side but that doesn’t mean that you’ll get high quality movies, but luckily the reasonable lens on the Stoga helps get a good image, and almost makes it worth the money in itself. While its controls are basic and the LCD slightly foggy, if you are looking for a cheap – almost throwaway – camcorder, Storga fits the bill.


Sony HDR-PJ620Sony HDR-PJ620

Sony HDR-PJ620

The old adage about “never mind the quality, feel the width” fits with the Sony HDR-PJ620, which is quite a handful, but is also quite a camera. Definitely at the top of the intermediate range, this beauty is big in the hand bit big on features too. Fitted with Sony’sBalanced Optical SteadyShot system, you can be assured of steady and blur-free shots every time you record, and is reckoned to be around 13 times better at balance than a system using standard steady shot software. Inbuilt Wi-Fi lets you stream your footage as you shoot, so you can have it running through to a connected tablet or laptop, or even having it streaming live through your website or uploading to laptop, or even having it streaming live through your website or uploading to YouTube.


However, the pièce de résistance with the Sony is the built in projector in the casing outside of the generous 3 inch LCD screen, which allows you to project recorded footage straight on to a wall – it’s set to infinity so will always be in focus but will diminish in quality as the spread grows – for others to see without having to download or try watching it through the integral LCD.


Currently retailing at around £450, the Sony is a fairly serious camera and one that you will be taking gorgeous footage with for years to come.


Panasonic AG-DVX200

Panasonic AG-DVX200

Wanna make proper movies rather than just videos? Then this is the kit for you! Looking a lot like some disintegrator from Star Trek, this top end video camera will capture video at a true 4K, and include sound to match, but then, it’s just what you would expect from a price tag of around £3,500!! However, to put it in perspective, the Panasonic comes in well below some other cameras that don’t perform as well. Panasonic are well known for their high end cameras and there is plenty in the DVX-200 to attract the serious filmmaker as well as the very enthusiastic amateur. Having a large 4/3 type sensor, it will produce very high quality output, regardless of how much action is going on in front of the lens.


With 13X zoom out of its Leica lens system and a whole bunch of changes that can be made at the touch of one of the myriad buttons, you are going to take time to get to know it, but it will be worth doing that and getting the most out of this awesome piece of kit.


The DVX-200 is deceptively lightweight given its size, and pretty easy to use all day long and the controls are nicely placed to make it a breeze to handle. It will shoot 4K at 120 FPS, but does suffer from not having interchangeable lenses, however unless you are David Attenborough, that isn’t going to matter too much.





Being pitched as a professional video recorder, though at only half the price of the Panasonic AG-DVX-200, the mid-sized Canon, is a force to be reckoned with. It can be considered to be a either a top end intermediate camera or a low end professional job, but either way, it has tons of functionality and ability to help you make excellent video movies. Unfortunately, unlike many cameras of its level, the Canon requires a CFAST 2.0 card to be able to record 4K internally and these can be fairly pricy, but it will shoot HD without problem. It has all the stabilisation you need and it will make your movies step up into the professional level without really trying. Being a bit like a weird–shaped DSLR camera, its controls are pretty easy to pick up (especially when compared to the Panasonic DVX-200) so most people won’t find it an issue./h4> 

Camcorders and video cameras are definitely not going to be knocked off their perch by the arrival of video on mobile phones, and if you do fancy doing a little more than point-shoot-upload to YouTube, then almost any of these cameras will do the stuff for you.