My team and I have spent few weeks on a search for the best video camera for movie making and we have finalized Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD as the best video camera in the market for user range.
We have considered a good number of factors before finalizing this camera. We considered these factors before choosing the camera: Price, Zoom capabilities, Connectivity, Quality, Portability, Continuous shooting modes.
Ultra-sharp 4K Ultra HD recording, Camera editing for 1080p displays, Camera has a 20X optical zoom, Allows Wi-Fi connectivity, Camera shoot a 60fps HD clip and slow it down to 24 fps.
Growth in videography has seen advancement in the making of video cameras used to shoot movies. The quality of a movie is largely dependent on the quality of the video. Videographers thus need to choose the best camera that will produce high definition pictures on board. Currently, there are lots of options to choose from in the market, from Flip Cams that cost a hundred bucks to more superior camcorders that go for well over a thousand dollars. The good thing is that manufacturers are constantly releasing high-quality camcorders that don’t necessarily cost a fortune. What exactly determines what camcorder you should buy? That depends on your shooting situation and the kind of features you are looking for. Here are five of the best camcorders on the market presently.
Our Selected 5 Best Video Cameras For Movie Making
Canon’s announcement that they would be releasing the new XA30 was welcome news for event shooters and documentary producers. This camcorder, which features the latest and most impressive video recording abilities, looks designed for professional use if the price tag is something to go by. Still, it’s a camera anyone can have and operate without problems. The Canon XA30 has a design that’s undeniably professional looking, although it is quite lightweight. The camcorder features Canon’s latest new HD Pro CMOS image sensor, which makes its performance in low light quite remarkable. This sensor eliminates the difficulty that camera users often face while trying to adjust their cameras in a way that outputs what they’re seeing. With the new sensor, you get images that reflect exactly what you see with your eyes. Thus, you only need to focus on the scene you’re shooting without worrying about the quality of images. You also get a +3dB upgrade to your signal-to-noise ratio, which makes it possible for you to get very clear pixels when working in environments with poor lighting.
The camcorder features a new 20X optical zoom lens. Expect an amazing zoom range of 35mm, while the minimum image distance is 23.3″. Unlike its predecessors, the Canon XA30 features an improved eight-blade design. This feature makes your images appear more natural and realistic. The camcorder has an easy to use standard zoom ring. The ring allows you to make use of the available sensitivity modes. The flexibility of the lens is quite remarkable, allowing you to use a wide variety of adjustments. You can easily adjust everything including recording modes/ codecs and frame/bit rates. If you wish to shoot a documentary or film, you can always use the default frame rate, which is 24p. During shooting out in the field, you have the option to speed up or slow down your video because it’s available during playback. This feature is made possible by the camcorders upgraded software. For action movements, you can slow down footage, while speeding is ideal for time-lapse. You can also create time-lapses on the spot, thanks to the interval recording feature.
|Price||A new Canon XA30 professional camcorder is listed at $1879.|
|Zoom capabilities||The camcorder features a new 20X optical zoom lens. Expect an amazing zoom range of 35mm, while the minimum image distance is 23.3″.|
|Connectivity||The Canon XA30 can be connected wirelessly to your smartphone or other computers where you want to transfer files. The camcorder has a wide array of connectivity options including Wi-Fi.|
|Quality||The Canon XA30 has a design that’s undeniably professional looking.|
|Portability||The camcorder is quite lightweight and comes with a handle for more comfortable handling.|
|Continuous shooting modes||Impressive in burst mode, as it has 50fps.|
CANON VIXIA HF G40
Videos are a big thing today, and every day, stunning new ones hit YouTube and other social sites. What’s amazing is that many of these high-quality videos are made using smartphones, thanks to the latest technologies in lens productions, making it easy to shoot impressive 1080p and 4K videos. Add that to the cutting-edge software people have access to, and it’s easy to see why it’s currently so easy to come up with such impressive productions. But no smartphone can shoot better videos than a dedicated Canon camcorder, especially the VIXIA HF G30 that hit stores back in 2015. The camcorder made it possible to shoot top quality videos without needing to spend a fortune on a big camcorder. And now with the Canon VIXIA HF G40, things are even better. So, what exactly sets this one of a kind camcorder apart?
One of the instantly recognizable things about the HF G40 is the 3.5-inch OLED display. Expect an electronic viewfinder too, as well as a lens hood that comes with a barrier. The camcorder does not come with internal memory, but that shouldn’t be a problem as it is equipped with dual SD slots. The total weight of the camera is about 1.7 pounds, but with a grip so fine, it feels very comfortable to use. Other notable features in the camcorder include an HDMI cable, an interface cable and a wireless controller. And if you’re looking to use other Canon accessories, the camcorder is compatible with 5.1-ch surround mic, as well as the Video Light VL-5.
This camcorder is designed to record 1080p/60p video in both MP4 if you are looking for small sized videos for sharing. If you’d like to record files for archiving, then you are better off using the AVCHD formats. While both of these are achievable by using just one SD card, using the dual recording feature available in the camcorder makes it possible to record a session and save it in both AVCHD and MP4 formats. You could also do relay recording using both SD cards, which allows for longer recording sessions as you can combine both SD cards. The camcorder will swiftly transition to the next SD card once the first one runs out of space without interrupting the footage. Of course, having two SD cards is much better than having one since you don’t lose all your files in case one SD card gets destroyed. Another impressive feature with this camcorder is the impressively powerful dual-band Wi-Fi module which has a capacity for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The camcorder can connect to wireless networks, allowing pairing with smartphones and computers within the network.
What makes the HF G40 different from the VIXIA HF G30 is its new Looks setting that has some imaging effects that are lacking in the camcorder’s predecessor. The imaging effects make it possible to make the videos look better depending on the scene. As a result of the advanced HD CMOS Pro image sensor, the Canon VIXIA HF G40 makes each recording both sharp and highly detailed. The camcorder has top-notch low-light performance and will capture dim sessions without adversely affecting the camera’s pixel resolution. And with a low-luminance noise rating of +3 dB, you’ll never have issues capturing scenes in areas with poor lighting. Also, deserving recognition is the camcorder’s image stabilization feature which is markedly better than that of previous models. The feature allows for better stabilization of the camera across all zoom levels. When it comes to zoom, the VIXIA HF G40 features an impressive 20X optical zoom HD video lens. This feature helps the user sneak into greater detail from a long distance away, and when coupled with the image sensor and processor, then it becomes possible to get some high-quality recordings.
|Price||It’s a highly advanced camcorder that goes for $785.|
|Zoom capabilities||The VIXIA HF G40 features an impressive 20X optical zoom HD video lens.|
|Connectivity||The camcorder has an impressively powerful dual-band Wi-Fi module which has a capacity for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The camcorder can connect to wireless networks, allowing pairing with smartphones and computers within the network.|
|Quality||The Canon VIXIA HF G40 makes each recording both sharp and highly detailed. The camcorder has top-notch low-light performance and will capture dim sessions without adversely affecting the camera’s pixel resolution. And with a low-luminance noise rating of +3 dB, you’ll never have issues capturing scenes in areas with poor lighting.|
|Portability||The total weight of the camera is about 1.7 pounds which makes it easy to carry around.|
|Continuous shooting modes||Capable of up to 59.94 fps, which is very remarkable.|
Since 2016 the Panasonic WXF-991K has been generating positive vibes among lovers of camcorders around the world. The camera’s shape has earned it the name “football” form factor, although it isn’t the only camcorder built with this appearance. While this impressive video recorder may share similar looks with other camcorders that have been produced over the years, it does feature some unique features that set it apart from other cameras. For instance, this camera is one of the select few that feature UHD 4K. The other camera in the market with this feature is, of course, the Sony AX33. Even then, the Panasonic boasts a 20x optical zoom compared to the Sony’s 10x optical zoom. The Panasonic WXF-991K has a second camera on the flip out display. The obvious question, of course, would be why a second camera is necessary on the camcorder. Well, there are various possible reasons why the manufacturer may have decided to include this unique feature. First of all, the twin camera works perfectly for a blogger who wants their face to be part of what they’re discussing.
Secondly, the second camera makes it possible to capture all people present on an occasion, including the one who’s shooting. Additionally, the camera is perfect for behind the scene videos. The camera smoothly rotates to capture images that are towards the operator to the side or towards the front, allowing for a second angle. Just rotate the camera to the selfie mode to turn it on. The camera lets you zoom into a section once you’ve captured a 4K shot. You can select the speed of the zoom and make a new clip. The camera also makes it possible to shoot a 60fps HD clip and slow it down to 24 fps. This is especially impressive if you do not fancy using a computer for those functions.
When operating the camera in very windy conditions, you may need to be careful that the wind doesn’t blow it away, particularly if you’re mounting the camera on a tripod as the camera is rather light. Aside from that problem, you should be fine as the wind reduction feature on this camcorder works wonderfully, reducing noise significantly. Being a consumer camera, the camera doesn’t have too much information in the shadows if you are shooting during very sunny days where there are prominent shadows. Still, the camera does possess the auto exposure feature which helps a lot in these conditions. Of course, if you are looking for something more professional oriented, you may opt for a camera that allows more manual control when it comes to exposure since the WXF991K does not provide that option. When shooting in areas of low lighting, you may notice that the more is apparent and somehow distracting. Otherwise, the camcorder functions quite impressively. You’ll fall in love with the 20X optical zoom. The zoom has an impressive focal length that measures between 30mm and 626 mm. In short, shooting from a long distance away isn’t a big problem if you can keep the shot steady. Other camcorders that are peers to the WXF991K tend to have half the performance.
|Price||The Panasonic WXF-991K is trading at about $1000 for the 4K + viewfinder option on Amazon.|
|Zoom capabilities||The camera has a 20X optical zoom. The zoom has an impressive focal length that measures between 30mm and 626 mm.|
|Connectivity||Allows Wi-Fi connectivity.|
|Quality||The camera performs rather wonderfully, even during cloudy days. You have the option of cropping, stabilizing, zooming or tracking a shot into HD from the camera. The camera lets you zoom into a section once you’ve captured a 4K shot. You can select the speed of the zoom and make a new clip. The camera also makes it possible to shoot a 60fps HD clip and slow it down to 24 fps.|
|Portability||One of the impressive things about this camcorder is that it’s neither bulky nor very robust as it is made of plastic.|
|Continuous shooting modes||Can manage 60 fps in HD clip.|
In the last few years, various manufacturers have demonstrated an interest in releasing 4K camcorders. Sony, in particular, has been one of the companies that have unveiled more than just one 4K camcorder within that period. The first ever 4K camera by Sony was the much talked about FDR-AX100 which debuted at $2000. Later, in the following year, the manufacturer followed up its first 4K camcorder with a new release, the FDR-AX33. This new camcorder traded at half the price of the previous model. It seems like that price resonated well with consumers, for the latest Sony Camcorder, the FDR-AX53, which was an improvement of its predecessor, went for the same price when it was released. The newest 4K camcorder hit the stores in 2016, and with its many refinements, the product may soon be a good enough reason for consumers to ignore the FDR-AX33. One of the most striking improvements on the camera is the improved ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T lens. The new lens allows one to shoot videos at 26.8mm wide angle. Unlike in the FDR-AX33, the optical zoom of the FDR-AX53 has been doubled to an impressive 20X. And there’s the clear image zoom feature that allows the user an artificial boost of up to 30X for 4K and 40X for the HD. Compared to the digital zoom, the clear image zoom looks quite awesome.
The camcorder also features am more Exmor R CMOS sensor that now has 1.6X bigger pixels as compared to the previous model. The result, of course, in much better performance in low light. And compared to the FDR-AX33, this camcorder autofocus is a jaw-dropping 40 percent faster. And with this model, you need not worry too much about vibrations, thanks to the 5-axis Intelligent Active mode on the camera’s Balanced Optical Steady Shot (BOSS) image stabilizer. The only problem, of course, is that this mode does not work on the 4K video. Thanks to the several shooting modes that have been added to the Sony FDR-AX53, it is now possible to capture 4K time-lapses, a nicety that was sorely lacking in some previous models. What even more, people can record 120/100fps slow-motion video at HD. The sound performance is better too, with the inbuilt 5.1 channel microphone featuring a new structural design. And while the mainstream non-4K Sony cameras lack an electronic viewfinder, the FDR-AX53 features one.
|Price||This camcorder goes for $800.|
|Zoom capabilities||The optical zoom of the FDR-AX53 is 20X. And there’s the clear image zoom feature that allows the user an artificial boost of up to 30X for 4K and 40X for the HD. The clear image zoom is impressive.|
|Connectivity||Other notable features of the camcorder include built-in Wi-Fi and NFC so you can pair the camcorder with your smartphone.|
|Quality||This camera features lots of advanced shooting options that let you produce quite impressive content. For instance, there’s a multipurpose ring to allow you to adjust the zoom, IRIS, focus, exposure, shutter speed and so on. The electrical viewfinder is also excellent for live preview, while a dedicated manual button on the side lets you choose the mode assigned to the manual ring.|
|Portability||The camera is neither bulky nor heavy.|
|Continuous shooting modes||Available|
Sony HDR-CX900 is one of Sony’s most remarkable video cameras in the market at the moment. This camcorder is rather large, not the kind of camcorders you put in your pocket when on holidays. The camera is similar to its higher-end brother Sony FDR AX100 except for the fact that it doesn’t contain the 4K UltraHD video feature that its counterpart does. Still, the standard 14MP resolution video that Sony HDR-CX900 shoots is quite impressive. These videos are saved as XAVC-S files and with a greater data rate to increase the detail on them, unlike in traditional AVCHD. The camera also comes with a 1-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor, which quite large for a camcorder. With 20-megapixel resolution for still images, users can expect nothing less than the best quality images.
Sony HDR-CX900 also boasts a lot of manual controls, an interesting thing for a Sony product. There’s a high number of on-screen options, physical dials, and buttons for control. The majority of consumer camcorders feature sensors that are somewhere between a sixth and a third of an inch. That’s what makes Sony HDR-CX900, with its 1-inch sensor, such an unusual beast. Of course, the implication is that this camcorder can function well in areas that have lower light due to the greater sensitivity provided by, the larger area of the sensor. Sony HDR-CX900 has better sensitivity in low light than its peers. And for those blurred background looks, the camera’s ability to provide shallow depth means that you get exactly what you’re looking for. Thanks to the 20 megapixels that the sensor of this camcorder boasts, users can expect detailed still images. The feature also provides for plenty of working space while videoing, so there’s enough stabilization.
However, keep in mind that stabilization is acceptable when the camera is in standard mode. When you switch the camera to active mode, you certainly get much better stabilization, but image quality suffers for it. One of the best features of Sony HDR-CX900 is that it allows the user to switch it to a 24p mode. Well, you’ll need to reboot you’re the camcorder and format the memory card for that to happen, but after that, you are good to go. The 24p mode is welcome news to those that love the film mode. If you’re into conventional video shooting, this camcorder has traditional AVCHD which is up to 28 Mbps / 50p. You also get 50 Mbps recording mode, and the files are stored in XAVC-S format. Most editing software can easily cope with this format, although it is best to use Sony’s software, the Vegas Pro 12.
Sony HDR-CX900’s sound is provided by a 5.1-capable microphone that is built just behind the lens ring. Naturally, the camera will pick up noise occasioned by handling the camcorder. Of course, you can always use a low-cut filter to eliminate wind noise. To reduce sounds coming from behind the camera, you can apply the camera-operator-removal function. This feature helps you focus solely on sounds coming from the front of the camera during filming. As always, you can achieve better sound by adding an external mic. Just use the 3.5 mm jack provided for that purpose and plugged in a headphone socket in the socket provided for better monitoring.
|Price||This camera is listed at $1298 on Amazon.|
|Zoom capabilities||The camcorder has an optical zoom of 12X and a clear image zoom of 24X.|
|Connectivity||The camcorder features Wi-Fi control through an app for your mobile phone. Once you switch it on, it turns the camcorder into a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing your camera to connect to it. You can download any mp4 files from the camcorder to your phone and share them on social media networks.|
|Quality||Thanks to the 20 megapixels that the sensor of this camcorder boasts, users can expect detailed still images. The feature also provides for plenty of working space while videoing, so there’s enough stabilization.|
|Portability||The camcorder weighs approximately 790g, making it easily portable.|
|Continuous shooting modes||Available|
How I picked the best
In choosing the camera, I looked at some factors. First of all, I wanted a camera that was not too pricey. Seeing as I wasn’t looking for a professional camcorder, my budget was about 1000 dollars. Fortunately, I found that most consumer dedicated camcorders went for a price in that region. Secondly, I wanted a camcorder that would produce high-quality images and footage. While my first option was to get a 4K camcorder, I was open to getting a decent 1080p option. I also wanted a camera with 20X optical zoom lens for higher quality shots. Such features as compatibility came into play too as I wanted a camcorder that’s easy to handle and move around with.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Video Camera for Movie Making (Buying Guide)
When picking a camcorder, it’s essential to realize have a budget. As you draw a budget, it’s important to have an idea how much a decent camera goes for at the moment. Of course, a camcorder’s features will determine how much the camera costs. Expect to pay the price in the region of $1000 for a consumer dedicated camcorder with the 4K capability and 20X optical zoom. A professional camcorder will usually be listed for a price higher than that, from $2000 or thereabouts.
The zoom capability of a camera does affect its performance significantly. Some decent camcorders have a 10X optical zoom. However, there are many improved models that have 20X optical zoom lens. These are better as they have a higher zoom range. That said, it’s smart to consider how flexible a camcorder is when it comes to operating the zoom function. There are those that have a focus assist function to help the user zoom and focus on images precisely. Some let you select the part of an image you want to zoom easily. Opt for a camcorder with both high optical zoom and which are easier to operate.
Fortunately, most camcorders have the connectivity feature. They can connect to your smartphone and other computers through Wi-Fi, allowing you to share footage and pictures from the camera to your other devices. If you want to transfer raw footage to someone else, you can do that via the cloud, or to any private server that uses FTP. To add to that, the camcorder should be able to connect to any wireless hotspot, computer, wireless-enabled smart TV, smartphone and so on. Simply download the app and use to control the camera while shooting.
Some camcorders feature the advanced HD CMOS Pro image sensor, which makes each recording both sharp and highly detailed. You want a camcorder that has top-notch low-light performance too, one that will capture dim sessions without adversely affecting the camera’s pixel resolution. Check the low-luminance noise rating, so you never have issues capturing scenes in areas with poor lighting. Also, deserving recognition is the camcorder’s image stabilization feature which. The feature allows for better stabilization of the camera across all zoom levels. Again, it’s always good to choose the 20X optical zoom HD video lens. This feature helps the user sneak into greater detail from a long distance away, and when coupled with the image sensor and processor, it becomes possible to get some high-quality recordings.
A camcorder’s portability will usually depend on, among other things, its weight and size. While most camcorders will not be small enough as to fit in your pocket, they will usually have a handle that makes them much easier to handle and carry around.
Continuous shooting modes
The camcorder’s continuous mode, also known as burst mode or sports mode, lets you capture several photos in quick succession. Some camcorders have a high fps, allowing you to capture many still images per second so you can choose the best. The processing power of the camera is the biggest determinant of the speed at which it captures successive photos.
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Is this for me?
What makes this camcorder ideal for you is that it can fit in a wide array of occasions. For instance, budding filmmakers who are making simple stories that have few or no crew can make great 4K productions using this camcorder. It’s also the perfect piece for family use at home or during vacations. And for the traveling videographer who wants to make quality videos without needing to use professional cameras, this camera comes in handy. Educators will also find this camcorder useful for class settings as a teaching and learning tool. Finally, social media enthusiasts who love producing typical everyday content can go for this camcorder too.
Why trust me?
Having worked with camcorders for many years and sampled different models of cameras over the years, I know a thing or two about the features that make for a good camera for shooting videos. Indeed, I have tested different brands, shooting in a variety of environments to establish the quality of footage and images each camera offered. This is the reason you should take my recommendations seriously.
The camcorder market offers quite impressive options for enthusiasts, and with enough research, you should be able to get just what you are looking for. The cost of the camera is a factor while choosing a camera, but it should never be the top factor when you are selecting an item. You’ll be surprised how good some discounted cameras are when compared to their more expensive peers. Still, expect that professional camcorders will cost much higher than the consumer dedicated ones. Ultimately, look for features like zoom, image quality and flexibility in operation as you pick a camera.
Ultra-sharp 4K Ultra HD recording, Camera editing for 1080p displays, Camera has a 20X optical zoom, Allows Wi-Fi connectivity, Camera shoot a 60fps HD clip and slow it down to 24 fps.