How to choose the right video camera

From 4K to tiny action cams, here are the best choices.

Smartphones put 4K video in our pockets, but there is still a lot, they can’t do. 50x manual zoom or advanced settings. With a dedicated video camera, you won’t even have to delete apps to make room for more storage. The number of new video cameras launched each year, however is slowly dwindling. Chances are, a smartphone may be enough for you, but if you’re ready to step up to a real camera, here are the best video cameras, you can buy right now.

Sony AX700

Why should you buy this:

Beautiful 4K footage from a large, 1” sensor and bright zoom lens.

Who is it for:

Those, who aren’t afraid to drop some cash for great image quality.

How much will it cost:

$1,800

Why, we picked the Sony AX700:

Sony’s 1” sensors have dominated the compact camera market for years. And while those same sensors are much newer to video, the larger sensor shows promise for video quality, that’s way above the average camcorder. The 14.2 megapixel 1” sensor gathers more light than traditional ½” and 1/3” sensors, common to camcorders, bringing a serious image boost over the typical consumer camcorder. 4K is recorded at 30 frames per second and 100 megabits per second.

However, the larger a sensor is, the harder it is to put a long zoom lens in front of it. Fortunately, Sony still managed to tack on a 12x zoom to the AX700. The f/2.8-4.5 aperture is bright for the category and a built-in neutral density filter will assist when the surroundings are too bright, helping to keep the shutter speed down so that your video doesn’t look too jittery.

The sensor and lens work together with a 273 point phase detection auto focus for smoother focusing with more accurate subject tracking. Advanced features like HDR, a 960 fps super slow motion mode, hot shoe connection and a S-Gamut and S-log color grading give the AX700 professional-level features.

On the exterior, the camera offers a handful of manual controls, including a multifunction lens ring, that controls focus or zoom. Dual SD card slots allow for plenty of storage and uninterrupted recording.

The $1,800 price tag is nothing to blink at, but handful of video cameras with similar features sit at even higher process. Canon also has a video camera series with a 1” sensor and 4K, but it starts at $2,500. For a compact, high resolution fixed lens video camera, the AX700 is the one to beat.

Panasonic HC-VX1

Why should you buy this:

4K resolution without the 4-figure price.

Who is it for:

The serious consumer, that wants solid video quality without spending a fortune.

How much will it cost:

$800

Why we picked the Panasonic HC-VX1:

The Panasonic VX1 packs both 4K 30fps videos and a solid 24x zoom lens, so the video camera earns big points for versality. The lens, besides the wide zoom range, also has a bright aperture. And if zoom is more important, than resolution, the 48x intelligent optical zoom combo crops the 4K down to plain old HD.

Besides the high resolution sensor and bright zoom lens, the VX1 also boasts 3 different types of stabilization for smoother handheld shots.

Canon Vixia HF R800

Why should you buy this:

Record an entire little league game with enough zoom to get up close to your favorite player.

Who is it for:

Consumers who want the zoom and long recording times that they can’t find on a smartphone.

How much will it cost:

$250

Why we picked the Canon Vixia HF R800:

It may not have 4K or a huge sensor, but it plops a huge 32x zoom lens on the front that can be expanded all the way to 57x, using the advanced digital zoom option hidden in the manual settings. The 1080p HD at about 60fps probably isn’t going to win any contest for image quality, but it’s a good video camera for recording family memories and outings.

Despite the cheap price, the HF R800 brings a lot to the table. Dynamic image stabilization controls camera shake on 3 different axis, slow-motion and time lapse and the Highlight priority mode will keep clear skies and bright objects properly exposed.

The HF R800 also uses a touch screen and stores video to SD cards, but if you want built-in storage, look at the slightly pricier Canon Vixia R82 or R80. Arguably, the best part about the R800 is its $250 price.

GoPro Hero6

Why should you buy this:

Great image stabilization and 4K/60fps video.

Who is it for:

Anyone with a love for extreme sports, outdoor adventures or who needs a camera small enough to fit and mounted anywhere.

How much will it cost:

$400

Why we picked the GoPro Hero6:

Action camera is becoming a misleading title. These tiny cameras can be used in a much wider variety of settings, than the name entails, from extreme sports shots to recording Netflix-level movies. The GoPro Hero6 can handle pretty much anything you can ask of a tiny camera.

While GoPro is seeing more competition, than ever before, 4K at 60fps and incredible electronic image stabilization help keep the Hero6 at the front of the pack. The Hero6 records better color and dynamic range than earlier models and offers up to 240 fps for recording super slow-motion playback.

Even with the enhanced tech inside, the Hero6 still feels familiar for users of earlier GoPro models. The body is waterproof without a case and a touchscreen makes the camera easier to navigate.

At Gift Video Production, we offer professional Video Editing services. If you are up for the challenge to shoot your own footage, we will bring them to the next level, while helping you keep your production costs down.

 

 

 

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