While smartphones have made camcorders a little less relevant in everyday situations, the camcorder still cannot be replaced with a smartphone. Even if you are rocking a Google Pixel 2 XL or an iPhone X, a camcorder will almost always offer better audio-visual capabilities while recording because it’s a dedicated device. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that every camcorder out there is worth buying, and on that note, let’s take a look at six things to consider before buying a camcorder.
No smartphone in the market has true night vision, so it makes sense that if you are buying a dedicated recording device, it has infrared night vision capabilities. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to buy the best infrared camcorder these days because there are a few mid-range products which are offering this feature without sacrificing too much on the quality of the recorded clips.
Pocket Camcorders are Not the Ideal Options
It may seem like the perfect device as this new generation of ultra-compact, low-budget camcorders are easy to carry around and come with a bunch of smart features for seamless sharing. However, they are usually pretty bad for lowlight imaging, don’t have night vision and don’t even come close to the image and audio quality offered by their bigger brethren. This is definitely a deal breaker since most of us already have a smartphone to take care of our daily, less serious capturing needs and there’s no point in investing into something with similar or perhaps even comparatively poor capabilities.
While 4K is ideal, the costs will shoot up if you want to buy a fully-featured camcorder that records high-quality video in 4K, has night vision, and all the other bells and whistles. Nevertheless, you cannot go below the 1080p resolution either because that would just be an awful and outdated investment.
Digital zoom is bogus; disregard it completely because it’s the same as cropping a picture/video post-capture and will just lower the quality of the photo or video. A 10x optical zoom would be ideal and also the minimum expectation, however, take that “48x optical zoom” advertised by many companies with a pinch of salt. The thing is, the more you zoom with a camera, the harder it becomes for the image stabilizer to keep things steady, resulting in shaky and unusable footage/image.
Image Stabilization is a Must
Presence of both optical and electronic image stabilization is ideal, but optical stabilization is by far, the most important of the two. Never buy a camcorder that doesn’t have good optical stabilization.
At the end of the day, the budget is perhaps the biggest constraint or we would all be just buying the Panasonic Varicam 35 and be done with it! Therefore, it is suggested that you set your budget prior to the actual shopping and stay true to that, or you will end up spending more than you should on a camcorder. On the other hand, don’t settle for anything that’s way below your maximum budget either.
Another factor to consider before buying your camcorder is the use. What are you buying it for? Is it going to accompany you on relaxing, family vacations or do you need something to make a film with? Are you the luxurious tourist or are you the avid explorer? Can a Go Pro be more effective for the kind of adventures that you go on? Once you consider all these factors and manage to make a budget, it is almost guaranteed that you will end up with a useful and high-quality product.