With the explosion in popularity of the high action camcorders, 2015 brings a series of camcorders that are sure to please. Read on to find the best camcorder for 2015.
When searching for the Best HD Camcorder for this year, I took a look at 5 different models that were released as new or re-released as a bundle. In this Year I will Compare the following models in this review
1. GoPro Camera HERO+ LCD HD Video Screen
2. Samsung HMX-F90 HD Digital Video Camcorder (bundle)
3. Blusmart Wifi Sj45000 20MP action camera 1080p wi-fi sports camera HD 170
4. Panasonic HC-WX970 4K Ultra HD camcorder with built in twin video camera
5. Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorders
The First camcorder in the running is the new entry-level GoPro Camcorder which features a 1/2.5″ sensor that can record in full 1920 x 1080 resolution at 30 frames per second or 1280 x 720 resolution at 60 frames per second. This camcorder also can capture 5 Megapixel still photos and includes a built-in microphone with the ability to do burst still shooting.
- Great Entry Level Price into the GoPro Market
- Great Battery Life of 4-5 hours
- Durable and waterproof up to 110 feet down
- Battery Not Removable
- Camcorder cannot be removed from external case
- No Remote Capabilities
GoPro Full Specs
- Record 1080p 30 and 720p 60 video
- 5 MP photo capture
- Time Lapse for making a series of still photos over time into a video
- Burst Photos Mode for capturing high action shots and getting just the right moment
- Durable and waterproof up to 110 feet (40m),
- Compatible with all GoPro Mounts (60+) and accessories
- GoPro Software included for viewing and sharing content
- External memory of Micro SD Cards up to 32 GB (Class 10 or UHS-1 Required) (not included with the camera)
- Not necessarily the top of the line of the GoPro cameras, but it gets the job done
- Non-removable from the case
- Internal Battery – cannot be removed, 1.5 Hrs of video per session
- No remote capabilities
(included with the GO Pro Silver 3 or white editions)
- 2 hrs 45 min 1080p/30 recording battery time
GoPro Sample Footage
The second camcorder on the lineup is the Samsung HMX-F90, a traditional handheld camcorder with an inexpensive price tag and an entry-level bundle price. This camcorder features a 1/3.2″ Sensor, slightly smaller than the GoPro 1, and 1280 x 720 30 frames per second recording and is bundled with 11 different accessories, everything you would need to get started in making a decent entry-level film for a school project or making a business documentation. This camcorder also features a large 52x optical zoom without distorting the image – a great feature for parents looking to film their kids’ sports games from across the field.
Samsung HMX-F90 Pros
- Great Entry Level Price
- Good F-Stop rating for low-end camcorder
- 52x Optical Zoom
- No External Audio mic options
- Windows only software
- File gaps show up every 20 minutes for longer recordings, leaving a disconnected feeling when watching the videos
- No 1080p
Samsung HMX-F90 Full Specs
- Entry Level Price of under $229
- 1/3.2″ sensore size (5 MP pixels)
- Lens F-Stop 1.8~4.9
- Kit includes 11 accessories, 32 GB SDHC Card, Carrying Case, Lens Cleaning Kit, 50″ Xtech tripod with case, HDMI Cable, Mini Table-top tripod, Hero Fiber Ultra Gentle Cleaning Cloth
- 52x zoom, 720p recording
- 3 Hour Battery Life
Samsung F90 Demo Footage
The next Camcorder in the running is the Blue-smart WiFi SJ4000 20 MP action camera. This camcorder has 1/3″ Image Sensor, with many good features. A direct competitor to the GoPro Series, this mini Camcorder has many similar features, including 1920 x 1080 30 frames per second recording, 12 mega pixel still photo capture, and a body that is water-resistant up to 30 meters. One feature that sets apart this camcorder line is the bundled in wifi connection including support for Android and iOS (iPhone / iPad) devices, allowing you to control the device completely with your phone.
This is a handy feature if you have the camcorder in a difficult to reach place such as mounted on top of a helmet or in your car. Other features include 1080 degree turnover shooting, Mini HDMI out to hook up this unit directly to a HDTV for playback, and Mini-USB for charging and uploading footage. This camcorder records to Micro SD Cards up to 32 GB in size, and footage can be uploaded and shared easily from any Windows PC.
Blusmart SJ4000 Pros
- Affordable Entry Level Price
- Full 1080 resolution video
- Integrated WiFi with Mobile Access
- Large Video Sensor for the price
- Waterproof to 30 meters
- Not Compatible with GoPro Mounts and Accessories
- Not Compatible with Mac OS X or Linux – Windows only
- Limited to SDHC Cards, and 32 GB total storage size
Blusmart Wifi Sj4000 Full Specs
- $99.89 (yellow model)
- 1080p/30 fps, 12 MP stills
- WiFi connection support for both android and iOS systems
- 180 degree turnover shooting,
- camera HDTV TV out
- water-resistant to 30 meters.
- Compatible with GoPro waterproof Box,
- 140 degree wide-angle lens silver $118.99
- Use the ismart DV application before using the wi-fi unction
- 12 Mega Pixels CMOS Sensor
- 1.5″ LCD (640×480)
- USB and Mini HDMI (Type D)
- Water resistant to 30 meters
- SD Card support up to 32 GB Class 10
- 900 ma battery
- H.264 video compression:
SJ4000 Demo footage
The next Camcorder in the lineup is the Panasonic HC-WX920 Ultra HD Camcorder. This device is a bit different as it’s not an under water high action camcorder but rather a semi-professional shooter’s solution as it has the latest standard of video resolution – 4K (with 4 times the number of pixels as a 1080p picture) manual ring controls and a large collection of other handy features. I included this camcorder in the list because it fits my requirements of a camcorder that’s less than $1000.
The two biggest unique features of this camcorder include the 4K resolution and the presence of a second Camcorder lens that looks back at you while you shoot your video. A second one of these units can also be purchased and the video from that camcorder can be used to make a picture in picture or a split view shot.
This is an interesting move by Panasonic. It seems like they are trying to give a simple interface hookup option for videographers to quickly switch back and forth between camcorder views when shooting a live event such as a church service, corporate training or a wedding.
If the ability exists to switch between camcorder angles live right inside the recording, then you would not have to use a video mixer or third-party board to produce the last output shot, and you could potentially have a mixing video board solution right at the day of the event. This could drastically cut down on the editing time and make it a lot easier to do same day edits for weddings and other live events.
This camcorder can also allow for remote viewing of the footage of the day using the Panasonic Software or with the use of a wireless router, this camcorder can wirelessly stream live events to Ustream, making it an ideal budget choice for school sporting events, church service and business functions.
The camcorder also features a low light environment / night mode setting allowing it to be used as an HD wireless Baby Monitor or Home Security Camera.
Panasonic H-WX970 4K Pros
- 4K Resolution Video
- 1080P filming at 120 Frames per second – the same broadcast quality standard used in the NFL
- Professional Shooting Bit Rates
- Second Lens for Shooting 2 Angles
- Built in WiFi for Integrated picture in Picture or a second angle from another camcorder
Panasonic HC-WX970 4K Cons
- Expensive Consumer Camcorder
- Not Waterproof, Limited portability
HC-WX970 Full Specs
- Future-proofed 4K Ultra HD Recording with exclusive 4k photo pause
- Use a second built-in camera or connect a second smart phone video camera wirelessly for a picture in picture effect
- Exclusive High Dynamic range
- 5.75″ by 8.9″ by 4.05″
- SDXC Card Storage up to 128 GB
- 1.55 lb
- Capture the family and take a selfie at once, or use your smart phone as a sub-camera, to shoot from two angles at the same time,
- HDR photo averaging
- 20x optical zoom with 4 drive lens system
- Baby Calendar auto creation mode
- Remote Shooting / Remote viewing with the Panasonic Image app
- Real-time Broadcasting on USTREAM, in full HD resolution
- Baby Monitor function
- Home Monitoring
- Auto Transfer (wireless PC copy)
- Highlight playback and easy share
- Wireless TV playback, to play back footage on wireless connected TV’s (with a wireless access point)
- 1080p recording at 120 FPS
- Wind-filtering built-in Mic
- Leica Dicomar Lens
- 8 MP BSI Sensor
- 3.5 mm input jack and seat to accommodate external mic
- Panasonic HD Writer software allows making Blue-ray movies from the footage
- Auto correcting tilted still photos
- 5 axis OIS image stabilization
- Night Mode
HC-WX970 Demo Footage
Sony 4K HD Video FDRAX33 Full Specs
The Final Camera for this lineup is the Sony 4K HD HFDRAX33, a Sony Semi-Pro Camcorder with great manual controls and a full 1 Inch Sensor for Awesome Light exposure and picture quality.
The FDRAX33 Comes standard with the ability to shoot in 4K resolution, twice the horizontal and vertical lines of resolution as 1080p video. It also features a manual control ring for adjusting the Iris (eye), the Shutter speed, the exposure, and the white balance of the camcorder.
For shooting modes you can shoot in AVCHD, MP4, and XAVC, allowing lightning fast importing of footage going out to your PC or Mac
This camcorder features a large 3″ viewing screen for playing back video, and captures audio at 5.1 Channel surround sound.
The camera features a built-in wi-fi connection allowing easy wireless transfers backups and remote capture of footage using Sony’s software.
- Great Sensor Size
- Good Manual Controls
- Good options for Capturing footage in multiple formats
- No underwater / high action abilities
Sony FDRAX33 Full Specs
- Capture 4k/24p/30p video
- Manual control ring for iris, shutter,exposure,white balance
- Versatile shooting with XAVC S(TM)3, AVCHD and MP4 shooting modes
- .27″ EVF 201K and touch screen 3″ extra fine LCD
- 5.1 surround sound mic with manual audio controls
- Automatically create highlight 7 video in mp4 from multiple clips
- Connect, control and backup with built-in WiFi with NFC2/Wi-Fi
- Broadcast live on USTREAM direct from the camcorder
- HDD Recording format
- 1″ Sensor Size
Sony FDRAX33 Demo Footage
With the variety of camcorders out on the market for 2015, there are many great choices. Considering all of the options and the Camcorders in my opinion the best camcorder for 2015 is the Go Pro Hero 1 with LCD Screen.
I know I’ll get some hate mail for coming into this conclusion, but with the combination of great high action use, 1080p and a price of less than $400, this is an easy choice for anyone that’s looking to get into the world of videography. When you combine the price, the number of accessories available, the great sensor size and the ease of use, the GoPro Hero with LCD Screen is my top choice for the best camcorder of 2015.
While the 4K future abilities are nice for the Panasonic and Sony Models reviewed, as of this writing 4K resolution devices really haven’t become the mainstream standard for video. Perhaps by the year 2020 this will be the biggest standard out there for video quality and capture, but it’s not quite there yet. I did like the wi-fi built-in abilities of both camcorders, but the same thing can be accomplished with an eyefi 32 GB Card.