The best camcorders in 2024: perfect all-in-one video cameras

The best camcorders can certainly compete with modern mirrorless cameras, but with the convenience of a big built-in zoom lens and in most cases, better audio options. 

With cameras for filmmaking now being available at every price point, more people are realizing that having a device that is designed solely for shooting video often means that when choosing the best camera for video, a camcorder is a much better choice than a multi-purpose camera phone. 

Did you know there is more than one type of camcorder? You might normally think of smaller, inexpensive all-in-one camcorders for casual use, but there's a growing professional broadcast market too, as demonstrated by the recent Canon XA75, for example.

There's plenty to consider if you're shopping for the best camcorder with the market ranging all the way from budget-friendly consumer camcorders to professional camcorders for TV broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking. 

We've put together a list of what we reckon are the best camcorders available on the market right now. From small, self-contained shooters designed for holidays and day-to-day casual shooting, to the best and latest 4K camcorders that produce footage of superior quality, there should be something for all users – and all budgets!

Chris George headshot
Chris George

Chris has been writing about photography and video-making professionally for nearly 40 years and has tested hundreds of different cameras and camcorders. He was the editor of Video Camera magazine, and a regular contributor to What Camcorder and Camcorder User. At the height of. the camcorder boom in the 1990s he wrote the book Teach Yourself The Camcorder

Our Top Picks

The best camcorders in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best for families

(Image credit: Chris George/Digital Camera World)

1. Sony HDR-CX405

Best for families

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 1,920 x 1,080px
Image sensor: Exmor R CMOS
Total pixels: 9.2MP
Dimensions: 54(w) x 59.5(h) x 128(d)mm
Weight: 190g

Reasons to buy

+
Irresistible price
+
Seriously compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Expect some noise from the small sensor
-
SDXC card required for 1080p

You don’t need to spend big to make great movies – Sony’s HDR-CX405 sells for well under $300 but also comes with a host of sophisticated tricks to help you make extremely polished films.

The camcorder can record simultaneously in XAVC S, AVCHD, and friendly file-sharing MP4 format. You can edit in-camera using the onboard Highlight Movie Maker and can even apply various visual effects without having to faff around with separate editing programs, which is a real bonus for those that want a simple solution.

There’s a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 30x optical zoom, with an impressive 26.8mm wide-angle setting. The camcorder even has 5.1 audio capture. Given the spec, you might be hard-pressed to justify spending more, making this one of the best camcorders for filmmakers on a budget.

Best affordable 4K camcorder

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony FDR-AX43

Best affordable 4K camcorder

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
Image sensor: Exmor R CMOS sensor
Total pixels: 8.29MP
Dimensions: 173 x 80.5 x 73mm
Weight: 625g

Reasons to buy

+
4K recording
+
Light and compact
+
5.1 channel microphone

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDR
-
Low-light performance can be noisy

The FDR-AX43 may be compact, but it doesn’t skimp on its features. Fronted by a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T lens, which includes a 20x optical zoom, 4K shooting (with super-down-sampling for 1080p displays), a low noise Exmor R CMOS sensor, and dual-video recording in XAVC S or AVCHD formats, plus easy to share MP4. 

For those who want as if you were there surround sound when viewing their footage on a home cinema or soundbar, there’s also a multichannel 5.1 microphone. However, expect limitations in low light, but if you’re in the market for an easy-to-manage camcorder, capable of 4K video, then this model is a fantastic choice, and that balance between functionality, portability, and the price is why it takes our #1 spot.

Although it looks like it has now been discontinued, it is still available to buy from several camera retailers. 

Best 4K compact

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony FDR-AX700

Best 4K compact

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 3,840 x 2,160px
Image sensor: 1.0-type Exmor RS CMOS sensor
Total pixels: 14.2MP
Dimensions: 169(w) x 89.5(h) x 196.5(d)mm
Weight: 600g

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
4K video quality
+
Built-in Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
Big for a palm-sized camcorder
-
Probably not for casual hobbyists

The Sony FDR-AX700 has a one-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor that shoots 4K video in both SDR and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HDR. Features include a 12x zoom, a big 3.5-inch viewfinder, dual SD card slots, and advanced phase detection AF. 

The FDR-AX700 uses XAVC S for both 4K and HD recording, with recording speeds of 100 Mbps for 4K, and 50 Mbps for 1080p. It will also shoot Full HD 1080p slow-motion at 120 fps. The brand’s BIONZ X image processor keeps images crisp and makes the FDR-AX700 one of the best camcorders for keen videographers and even aspiring filmmakers. A standard SMPTE timecode can be included in recordings.

Best price to performance

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Best price to performance

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 4K
Image sensor: CMOS 21.1MP
Total pixels: 8.2MP
Dimensions: 114 x 84 x 231 mm
Weight: 953g

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth 20x optical zoom
+
Simple run-and-gun usability
+
Dynamic image stabilization is good

Reasons to avoid

-
No waterproofing
-
Limited to the integrated lens
-
Low-light capabilities not class-leading

The Canon HF G70 stands out as a solid pick for those seeking a user-friendly video camera that delivers good quality straight off the bat. It's likely to gain traction among wedding photographers adept at using DSLRs or advanced mirrorless cameras for stills but seeking a dedicated video setup.

While the controls aren't flawless, the five assignable buttons offer a decent level of customization, enhancing its adaptability. However, the absence of Wi-Fi connectivity might deter content creators from seeking seamless sharing options. Moreover, its lack of serious waterproofing doesn't align well with the needs of outdoor filmmakers.

For those serious about video production, hybrids like the Panasonic Lumix S5 II present a compelling alternative. Offering interchangeable lenses, enhanced durability, and a plethora of filming formats, these options double up as stellar stills cameras, a feature the HF G70 lacks.

Priced around $1k (£1k), the Canon HF G70 appears ideal for those eyeing a camcorder in this budget range. Yet, I find it challenging to outright recommend due to Canon's enthusiast EOS R mirrorless models excelling in both video and stills. However, the HF G70 holds its appeal for individuals who are comfortable with the functionality and handling of a traditional camcorder, prioritizing simplicity over extensive video modes, codecs, or formats tailored for intensive editing.

Read our full Canon Vixia / Legria HF G70 review

Best for Professionals

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic HC-X2000

Best camcorder for professionals

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 3840 x 2160px
Image sensor: 1/2.5-type MOS Sensor
Total pixels: 8.29MP
Dimensions: 129 x 159 x 257mm (5.08 x 6.26 x 10.1in)
Weight: 1.5kg / 3.31 lb (with battery and handle)

Reasons to buy

+
Prosumer form factor
+
Superb image quality
+
Incredibly versatile
+
Detachable handle with built-in light

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be unwieldy for the unwary

If you're wanting to shoot like a pro, then this Panasonic HC-X2000 is the best run-and-gun camcorder on our list. Capable of recording 2160p at 60fps, it’s designed for event videographers and enthusiasts. 

Weighing in at 1.5kg it isn’t a casual option, but it is much lighter than its predecessor the HC-X1000 and you can remove the handle with its built-in LED light and mic holder, if you need to travel light. It features a large 3.5-inch color touchscreen and has two XLR professional microphone inputs for professional audio options and dual SD card slots. Not only can it shoot 3,840x2,160 up to 60fps, but can also shoot slow motion at 120fps in Full HD 1080p. 

Best zoom range

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony HXR-NX80

Best zoom range

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 4K
Image sensor: 1" CMOS
Total pixels: 21.MP
Dimensions: 260 x 245 x 151 mm
Weight: 2168g

Reasons to buy

+
4K shooting
+
Dual zoom lengths (18x/24x)
+
Telephoto zoom range

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
Expensive

This is a 4k professional camcorder that you can take wherever you go and can capture stunning and highly detailed 4K HDR video. This compact, palm-style camera offers phase-detection Autofocus (AF) along with HDR capabilities in a relatively small body. 

Suitable for corporate events, broadcast news, and television production, the HXR-NX80 camcorder features a stacked 1" Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 14.2MP, an 18x Zeiss optical zoom in 4k or 24x in 1080p, an OLED viewfinder, and a 3.5" touchscreen LCD monitor. 

This camcorder records 4K in XAVC S 4K codec, and it includes S-Log3/S-Gamut3 functions for additional image control. Additional features include built-in 2.4 GHz for multiple streaming options via RTMP/RTMPS protocols, making this the best professional camcorder for a vast number of applications. 

Best for weddings

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Best for weddings

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 3840 x 2160 px
Image sensor: 1/2.3" type CMOS Sensor
Total pixels: 21.4MP
Dimensions: 109 x 84 x 182 mm
Weight: 750g

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile video formats
+
Professional mic inputs
+
Comfortable and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks Wi-Fi connectivity
-
Hybrid autofocus can be slow

The Canon XA65 stands out as an excellent option for professionals seeking a high-quality video camera without the hassle of swapping lenses or diving deep into exposure settings. Upgrading from the HF G70 to access enhanced audio controls and XLR microphone inputs through its detachable handle is a worthwhile consideration.

However, its limited connectivity, lacking Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, does limit its versatility. Still, the option to stream live events via UVC remains a viable choice. While the design is practical, it lacks the flair to excite, and the absence of waterproofing restricts its use in adverse outdoor conditions.

Comparatively, hybrid Canon cameras like the Canon EOS R6 Mark II deliver superior video quality, and versatile autofocus across various filming formats, and double up as proficient still cameras, a feature the XA65 lacks.

Priced around $2,299/£2,000, the XA65 offers value by eliminating the need for additional lenses. It caters well to videographers focused on quick, news-oriented content or documentaries rather than aiming for visually stunning cinematic productions. Despite feeling somewhat dated initially, I found the XA65's handling and simplicity highly enjoyable. Although it may have niche appeal in a shrinking market, professionals who prefer the traditional camcorder form factor without requiring a larger sensor will find the XA65 a reliable companion.

Read our full Canon XA65 review

Best for journalism

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Best for journalism on the streets

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 3840 x 2160px
Image sensor: 1-inch type CMOS Sensor
Total pixels: 13.4MP
Dimensions: 110 x 91 x 214 mm
Weight: 990g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and comfortable to hold
+
Detachable handle adds mic ports
+
1-inch sensor delivers great footage

Reasons to avoid

-
4K recording limited to 25fps
-
Pricey compared to mirrorless rivals
-
Very specific use case

The Canon XA75 presents a unique balance – powerful enough for broadcasting yet discreet. This feature makes it an ideal companion for covering live events such as conferences and weddings, where remaining inconspicuous is paramount. Having filmed multiple weddings using various top-tier hybrid cameras, I found the XA75's form factor notably more user-friendly compared to a DSLR. Its low-light performance also pleasantly surprised me, rivaling that of my Canon EOS R6.

However, despite being Canon's top-tier professional camcorder, the absence of a Wi-Fi module feels constraining. In situations where swift content sharing is essential – common when using a camcorder on the move – relying solely on SD cards or USB-C transfers becomes a limitation. While this might not hinder everyone's workflow, it's a consideration, especially for wedding photographers aiming to create a seamless post-production process.

Another point of contention lies in its pricing versus capabilities. At this price range, the maximum UHD 4K30p video recording capability seems underwhelming. Comparable camcorders like the Panasonic HC-X2000E offer 4K 50p/60p at a higher bitrate, while the Canon EOS R6 Mark II mirrorless camera provides 6K 60p ProRes RAW via HDMI. Nonetheless, the XA75 excels in critical areas such as autofocus tracking, power zoom, XLR inputs, and uninterrupted continuous recording, catering precisely to the needs of working professionals.

Despite these drawbacks, the XA75 stands out for its practicality. Its ease of use, particularly in live-streaming scenarios, positions it among the top choices for camcorders.

Read our full Canon XA75 review

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

7. Panasonic HC-V180

Alternative ow-cost option

Specifications

Max recording resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Image sensor: 1/5.8-inch BSI MOS Sensor
Total pixels: 2.51 megapixels
Dimensions: 53 x 59 x 116mm (2 x 2.3x 4.5 inch)
Weight: 220g

Reasons to buy

+
Budget price
+
Huge 50x zoom
+
5-axis image stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Small sensor size
-
No external microphone or headphone sockets

How to choose the best camcorder

If you're considering returning to the world of camcorders for the first time after adventures many years ago with 8mm or VHS-C tape, you might be wondering why you need one at all. 

The key advantage of owning a camcorder over a camera phone is that you get a vast optical zoom lens built-in, meaning you can get closer to your subjects without compromising the quality of your image. This is particularly useful when shooting sports and wildlife, and is also something that sets camcorders apart from the best action cameras.

Of course, camcorders are not the only choice for videographers. The best cameras for filmmaking have the advantage of not only providing a gorgeous picture but also offering the capacity for the user to swap lenses. The best cinema cameras, meanwhile, are designed more for prosumers and professionals, but come with a price tag to match; whilst content creators working on their own will likely be more interested in the best cameras for vlogging.

Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 


His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.


He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.

With contributions from