Our testers considered durability, video quality, and battery life when using these video cameras and outlined the key takeaways here so you know what to look for when shopping.
Nikon COOLPIX P1000
Note: This camera is available used on Amazon.
For travelers, sports photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 takes you directly into the heart of the action by allowing you to shoot far-off subjects. The video camera features an impressive 3,000mm optical lens, Nikon’s most powerful zoom lens.
The Coolpix P1000’s lens is one-of-a-kind and one of the best on the market. You can view your expanded horizons with the video camera’s 3.2-inch LCD.
Combined with the optical lens, the video camera’s resolution complements its zoom capability. The P1000’s 3840 x 2160 pixels provide ultra-HD resolution. Regardless of a low-lighting or action-heavy scenario, you can employ the video camera’s auto-focus, image stabilization, and other pre-programmed settings to catch the best possible visuals.
The P100’s features, including time-lapse and RAW shooting capabilities, don’t stop there. The sound quality is just as impressive as it records authentic stereo sound directly through the in-camera audio. Zooming in for the ideal up close and personal is easy as the Coolpix P1000 weighs just 3.12 pounds and measures 5.8 x 7.1 x 4.7 inches.
Max Photo Resolution: 16 MP | Max Video Resolution: 30 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: 125x | Screen Size: 3.2 inches | Battery Life: 250 images per charge
Best for Beginners
Sony HDRCX405 HD Handycam
Sony’s HDRCX405 is the best video camera if you’re new to video recording.
The HDRCX405 shoots Full HD video, 1920 x 1080, at 60p recording. The video camera boasts respectable zoom specs such as 30x optical and 60x clear image (digital) zoom. Other features include a 9.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, SensorSteadyShot image stabilization, and an intelligent auto mode.
Not only is the HDRCX405 easy on your pockets, but it’s also easy to record with. The video camera has a 2.7-inch clear LCD with face detection.
While the HDRCX405’s technology is relatively basic, it certainly gets the job done. The video camera is a great introductory budget video camera, especially for beginner video camera users.
Max Photo Resolution: 2.29 MP | Max Video Resolution: 30 fps | Connectivity Options: USB, HDMI, Multi Terminal | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: 30x | Screen Size: 2.7 inches | Battery Life: Approximately 2 hours, 35 minutes
Easy on the pockets
The AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K camera may fit you if you want a quality camera without breaking the bank.
The action camera can achieve a native resolution at no higher than 25fps. Even better, the EK7000 can shoot 2.7K footage at 30fps.
For still photos, a 16MP camera captures picturesque mirror selfies even in low-light settings. Though the video camera’s built-in image stabilization is electronically powered instead of the more adaptive optical image stabilization, the technology is just as functional.
AKASO has designed a camera chassis that is waterproof up to 131 feet so that you can seize underwater sports photography or film coral reef life.
Whether underwater, on land, or air-bound, you can tackle almost any action shot as the EK700 is well-equipped with accessories. The video camera’s built-in Wi-Fi functionality provides the option to control the camera remotely.
Accordingly, you can view the footage currently being filmed on your phone. You can also immediately share the content you’ve recorded. With this Wi-Fi feature, there’s no need for a laptop or special cable to complete an improvisational data transfer.
Max Photo Resolution: 16 MP | Max Video Resolution: 60 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: N/A | Screen Size: 2 inches | Battery Life: 90 minutes
DJI Osmo Action Cam
If you’re an adventure-seeker, you’ll need a durable video camera that can withstand various situations and activities while on the go. DJI has designed its video camera so that its features are thoroughly protected. For example, the DJI Osmo Action Cam’s lens has three layers of protection to reduce glare and a coating to protect against elements such as water and dirt.
Thanks to its protective coat, the video camera can be submerged up to 11 meters and can be taken into environments that dip as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about damaging your video camera to get the perfect shot. Wherever you are, you can charge the removable battery, which lasts about 90 minutes while on the go.
The Osmo Action Cam offers more than just ruggedness. The video camera’s features include an 8x slow motion, custom exposure setting, and timelapse. To switch between different settings and modes quickly and easily, the camera has a QuickSwitch button. You can also control the camera with your voice if you need to perform basic commands.
Whatever the setting, Ultra HD 4K at 60fps 100Mbps guarantees vivid, lifelike videos. RockSteady bolsters the Osmo Action Cam’s video quality; DJI’s RockSteady technology ensures bumps or movements in real life don’t result in irregularities on-screen.
Max Photo Resolution: 12 MP | Max Video Resolution: 60 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: N/A | Screen Size: 1.4 inches (front), 2.25 inches (back) | Battery Life: Up to 135 minutes
What to Look For in a Video Camera
Any person buying a new video camera should critique each model based on these three top factors:
- Durability dictates the environment where you can record.
- Video quality affects the final produced video.
- Battery life determines how long you’re able to record your videos.
1080p or 4K filming, screen display, and the type of terrain (underwater, sports, etc.) your video camera can survive in are also essential but more personal decisions.
How important is resolution?
Resolution is an overall measure of how many pixels make up an image, thus a good indicator of image sharpness and clarity. How much it matters depends on what you’re shooting and for what purpose. For amateurs, particularly those on a budget, it’s less of a concern, but high resolution is crucial for pros looking to wow their clientele with beautiful footage.
What features do you need?
Most videographers will benefit from high-quality zoom functionality, a large, clear viewfinder for previewing the action, and manual balance, exposure, and focus adjustment controls.
What are the top video camera brands?
While there’s a growing field of competition in the video camera space, several brands have an established pedigree with good reason. Canon, Nikon, DJI, and Panasonic provide reliable, high-end cameras supported by generous warranties and customer service.