These days, it is easy to find inexpensive, lightweight camcorders of a quality that less than a decade ago would have cost close to $1000. In fact, it is almost too easy. With all the cameras on the market today, it can be hard to choose. Here is a break down of 5 of the top contenders.
Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera There are few names as well known in photography as Kodak. The PlaySport, which retails for only $150, can capture 720p HD at 60 frames per second – and it can do it underwater. It accepts external SD memory cards and an extra battery is less than $50 through Amazon. It is designed specifically to be used one-handed, but there is an optional remote also available. Possibly the best feature is the ability to cycle through 3 different filters for viewing the screen, so that, even in bright sunlight, you can see what you are recording. This is the best camera under $200 for anyone who records a lot of outdoor, action video.
Flip UltraHD Camcorder If you are looking for a small video camera with HD quality that you can keep with you for unexpected events, Flip Video has created the UltraHD, priced at $199.99. This is not the camera for the person who takes lots of long videos. This is the camera for the person who wants to be able to take short movies, and conveniently transfer them to the computer without a lot of trouble. The Flip has a retractable USB that plugs it directly into your PC for easy transfer. It holds up to 2 hours of footage, and does not accept SD cards.
Sony MHS-CM5 bloggie HD Video Camera It’s under $190 and has the trusted Sony name on it, but those are not the only reasons to choose the bloggie. It is slim, with a quick zoom – and the ability to zoom in the middle of filming – and a better microphone than other comparably priced models. The only real drawbacks are the quality in a low light setting, and the 1 hour (+/-) battery life. Good quality for the price.
Kodak Zi6 Pocket HD Camcorder The Zi6 is not the HD camera for the tech-savvy person who wants to make professional quality footage to edit and upload. The Zi6 is the cheap starter camera for the person who wants to practice with a decent HD recording device made by a trusted name before spending a lot of money.
Samsung HMX-U20 The HMX-U20 is probably the median between the Kodak PlaySport and the Flip UltraHD. Like the Flip, it has a swing-out USB, but it has the name brand and closer quality to the Kodak, as well as accepting external memory cards. It is recommended that only the Samsung-suggested SD HC brands be used for best quality of audio as well as video.