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Consumer camcorders vary in price from $300 to over $1000 and primarily differ from professional camcorders with respect to smaller lens size/imaging chips and reduced manual controls. The biggest casualty of such reduced optical capabilities is the less than optimal low light performance.

The cheapest of consumer camcorders have the poorest low light performance and start with lens as small as 37mm-47mm diameter and a 1/6 inch small single imaging chip to match. Also missing are the exterior manual controls and minimal audio gain control.

At higher price points you can expect an increase in lens size to around 58mm diameter and increase in imaging chip size to around 1/3 inch. Other options to look for include includes manual audio controls and possibly a 1/8 inch stereo audio input.

As far as storage is considered most consumer camcorders default to flash memory or hard disc drive based storage. The video format is invariably AVCHD which is higher compression and consequently lower quality than the older HDV format. Downside to AVCHD being high compression is that it requires a lot more computing horsepower to edit.

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Panasonic HC-V720

Panasonic HC-V720 3D Ready 1MOS HD Digital Camcorder


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Panasonic HC-V720
GoPro HERO3
JVC GC-PX100
Drift Innovation HD Ghost
Sony HDR-PJ650V
Panasonic HC-V720 3D Ready 1MOS HD Digital Camcorder
GoPro HERO3 Black Edition Camcorder
JVC Everio GC-PX100 Full HD Camcorder
Drift Innovation HD Ghost Wi-Fi Waterproof Camcorder
Sony HDR-PJ650V High Definition Handycam Camcorder
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Release Date
Feb 2013
Oct 2012
Mar 2013
Dec 2012
Jan 2013
HDD Size
32.0 GB
0.256 GB
32.0 GB
Optical Zoom
21.0 x
10.0 x
12.0 x
Recording Format
Flash Media, High Definition
Flash Media, High Definition
High Definition
High Definition
Flash Media, High Definition
Recording System
NTSC, PAL
NTSC, PAL
NTSC
NTSC, PAL
NTSC
Camcorder Type
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Memory Still Resolution
4.14 MegaPixels
12.0 MegaPixels
12.0 MegaPixels
11.0 MegaPixels
5.02 MegaPixels
Recordable Media
High Definition, AVCHD, MPEG-4
Flash Media, High Definition, AVCHD
SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
Internal Flash Memory 256MB, microSD Up To 32GB
MPEG-4, MPEG-2, AVCHD
Use
Video
Video
Video, Photo Viewing
Video
Video

  • It's hard to get excited about a camcorder that offers so few performance improvements, but bear with us, because the Panasonic HC-V720â?? like its predecessorâ?? is a great deal.

    Minus a few slight changes, both for better and worse, the V720's image quality is quite similar to the V700's. But let's not forget how strong performance was to begin with. This camcorder's color accuracy and noise reduction are both solid, and sharpness is outstanding, surpassing competitors like Canon's HF M52.


  • The Panasonic HC-V720 may only have minor improvements in central areas, particularly image quality, but it does have enough additional features and enhancements to make it a worthy upgrade nevertheless. The additional image stabilisation options, 5.1 surround sound, and comprehensive WiFi features are all very welcome. With great performance and loads of features, this is a great mid-range camcorder.


  • The important thing when considering whether to get the Panasonic HC-V720, then, isn't whether it'll give you vastly improved image quality in your video over what some cameras or the best smartphones will do. Sadly, it often won't.
    But what it does is enable you to smoothly record footage that you couldn't get any other way: close-ups in sporting events; perfectly smooth tracking of a bird taking off; video from a boat that doesn't make people too seasick.


  • The GoPro Hero3 Silver and White editions are strong contenders in the sports camera market, but the faster, more powerful Black Edition is head and shoulders the best sports camera on the market today.


  • If you're looking to upgrade from your HD Hero2, the Hero3: Black Edition should give you plenty to be excited about. The enhanced video performance means your videos will be sharper, have more detail in low light, and moving subjects will look smoother than anything you shot with the Hero2. In addition to being both smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Hero3's built-in WiFi functions make it an easier camcorder to us, especially if you have a smartphone.


  • The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition delivers outstanding video quality and features like 4K that you won't find anywhere else.


  • So the ideal PX100 customer will be looking for a little bit of both: A person who's interested in improving their technique or someone else's, but also maybe shooting some game footage from the bleachers too. We do think this represents a large portion of coaches and parents, and if you're one of them, don't be afraid to buy this unique camcorder.


  • The JVC GC-PX100 is pricey but brilliant, and it's the best camcorder of its type in the market. If you're a serious videographer with demanding requirements, the PX100 is more than likely up to the task.


  • With Wi-Fi, an LCD, and a waterproof body, as well as some nice accessories, the Drift HD Ghost uses its features to beat back the action cam competition.


  • The Drift Innovation HD Ghost is a unique action camera with a rotating lens, but while video quality is good you can get better in this price range.


  • The HD Ghost is an excellent quality 1080p HD POV camcorder - with a handy remote control, to boot. It also also shoots high-quality JPEGs. The free iPhone application is also a nice bonus that's actually useful. Different types of mounts are included to make the HD Ghost package very complete, without the need to buy more accessories.

    If you can get over the tricky user interface - eventually you will - the HD Ghost delivers consistent, high-quality HD video and stills.


  • The PJ580 was priced below the PJ650V's competition, and had specs to match. The latest PJ-series camcorder is an upgrade, but it doesn't exceed what other manufacturers are doing. Ultimately, the choice you make among these three will have a lot to do with ergonomic preferences, specific feature needs, and/or the absolute need for 60p.


Top 5 consumer camcorder:

  1. Panasonic HC-V720 3D Ready 1MOS HD Digital Camcorder
  2. GoPro HERO3 Black Edition Camcorder
  3. JVC Everio GC-PX100 Full HD Camcorder
  4. Drift Innovation HD Ghost Wi-Fi Waterproof Camcorder
  5. Sony HDR-PJ650V High Definition Handycam Camcorder