Top HDV Camcorders

Camcorder reviews to aid your search

While many of today’s digital cameras offer the ability to capture HD video, you will enjoy much better overall quality and more in the way of advanced features if you purchase a camcorder. When shopping for digital camcorders, the factors you should take into account include media type(s), battery life, manual controls, zoom lens capabilities and battery life. Optional features to look for are editing software bundles, remote controls, LCD touch screen controls, webcam capabilities, interval shooting capabilities, and analog to digital conversion features.

With that in mind, here are our picks for the best-value high definition camcorders on the market:

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Sony HDR CX700V

With a generous amount of internal memory, the Sony HDR CX700V is one of the top-performing HD camcorders on the market. While its video capture specifications are comparable to other models in its price range, what sets this model apart is its ability to capture excellent quality still images as well as video. It also features one of the highest recording bit rates in its market segment, which means that it offers some of the best video quality for your buck.

While this is an excellent all-around performer, there are a couple of knocks against this model. The most glaring drawback is its relatively short zoom lens, which only gets as high as 120x. Similar models offer as much as three times that zoom capability. It also doesn’t perform as well in low light situations as some other camcorders in its class.

Specifications:

  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Digital zoom: 120x
  • Maximum recording time: 39.75 hours
  • HD recording time: 7.9 hours
  • Memory: 96 GB; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatible
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Panasonic HDC TM900K

With a 700x digital zoom, this camera offers you a great deal of shooting flexibility, allowing you to get right up close while still retaining the ability to capture excellent detail from long distances. The image quality is crisp and clean, and Panasonic is well-known for providing durable, reliable and long-lasting consumer electronics.

On the down side, though, the Panasonic HDC TM900K has only 32 GB of built in memory. This was the smallest amount of any camera we tested. You can make up for it by adding memory cards, but the relatively meager memory may prove to be a drawback if you’re shooting for extended periods of time.

Specifications:

  • Optical zoom: 12x
  • Digital zoom: 700x
  • Maximum recording time: 12 hours
  • HD recording time: 2.75 hours
  • Memory: 32 GB; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatible
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Canon VIXIA HF S21

Offering image quality that compares favorably to the other camcorders on this list, the Canon VIXIA HF 121 also features dual memory card slots, allowing you to keep shooting and shooting and shooting without worrying about running out of storage space. However, it only offers 64 GB of internal memory, which lands it in the middle of the pack, and it has a resolution of only 8 megapixels. This is fine if you’re just making home movies, but if you want professional quality, you may want to seek out a more expensive camera with superior resolution.

Specifications:

  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Digital zoom: 200x
  • Maximum recording time: 24.5 hours
  • HD recording time: 5.9 hours
  • Memory: 64 GB; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatible
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Sony HDR CX560V

Sony is well-known for providing customers with reliable, quality electronics, and this camcorder offers excellent video quality and high performance in all sorts of lighting situations. You may also be drawn to its embedded GPS feature, which enables you to tag your video so you know exactly where and when you shot it. However, it offers 64 GB of internal memory, which is only average, and it is also one of the heaviest models we covered in these camcorder reviews.

Specifications:

  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Digital zoom: 120x
  • Maximum recording time: 100 hours
  • HD recording time: 20 hours
  • Memory: 64 GB; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatible
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Panasonic HDC HS900K

This is one of the top hard drive camcorders on the market, offering a whopping 220 GB of internal memory. It also offers a 700x zoom lens, which is one of the most impressive ranges in its class. However, this camera is priced a little high because of its memory capabilities, and some advanced features have been omitted to keep the price tag as low as possible.

Specifications:

  • Optical zoom: 12x
  • Digital zoom: 700x
  • Maximum recording time: 26.3 hours
  • HD recording time: 5.25 hours
  • Memory: 220 GB; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatible