by Tom Barrance | Updated March 2022
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These cameras are some of the most user-friendly options for shooting video. Most of them have big zoom ranges and good image stabilisation, though image quality (especially in low light) won’t be as good as DSLRs/mirrorless cameras or prosumer camcorders.
Avoid sub-$100 (£100) cheap camcorders with unfamiliar names. They have very small sensors, no image stabilisation, and crude digital-only zooms. If that’s all you can afford, you’ll get better quality with a used or refurbished Canon or Panasonic.
Mid-range camcorders have better image quality, and some have features like microphone and headphone sockets.
The Canon HF-R800 is the most affordable camcorder with a microphone socket (if you’re in the US – there’s no PAL version). They’re now discontinued, but you can pick them up used or refurbished.
Consumer camcorder pros
- Easier to film with than smartphones or DSLR/mirrorless
- Some are small and unobtrusive
- Easy to handhold
- Image stabilisation is usually better than DSLRs
Consumer camcorder cons
- Image quality won’t be as good as DSLR/mirrorless cameras, especially in low light
- School students