By .

Our selection of the best HD camcorders under $400 is the simplest guide to figuring out your most suitable model, as this list has been narrowed down to only the top rated camcorders that are able to record in full HD and available between $300 and $400.

Browse All Top HD Camcorders Under $400 »

JVC GZ-EX515

JVC GZ-EX515BUS- HD Everio Camcorder


#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

JVC GZ-EX515
Sony Handycam HDR-CX160
Sanyo VPC-CS1
Sanyo VPC-CG10 HD Flash Memory
Sony HDR-TG5V
JVC GZ-EX515BUS- HD Everio Camcorder
Sony HDR-CX160E High Definition AVC, AVCHD Camcorder
Sanyo VPC-CS1 Camcorder
Sanyo VPC-CG10P 40MB HD Camcorder
Sony HDR-TG5V High Definition Handycam Camcorder with Built-in GPS Receiver and 10x Optical Zoom
[?]
ReviewGist
Score
[?]
ReviewGist
Score
[?]
ReviewGist
Score
[?]
ReviewGist
Score
[?]
ReviewGist
Score
Release Date
Mar 2013
Jan 2011
Jan 2010
Mar 2009
Apr 2009
Recording Format
High Definition
High Definition, AVC, AVCHD
High Definition, MPEG-4, AVC, H.264
High Definition, Flash Media
High Definition,AVC,MPEG-4,H.264,MPEG-2
Optical Zoom
38.0 x
30.0 x
10.0 x
5.0 x
10.0 x
Recording System
NTSC
NTSC
NTSC, PAL
NTSC, PAL
PAL
Camcorder Type
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Memory Still Resolution
8.3 MegaPixels
3.3 MegaPixels
3.3 MegaPixels
10.0 MegaPixels
4.0 MegaPixels
Recordable Media
SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
High Definition, AVC, AVCHD
High Definition, Flash Media
High Definition, AVC
Use
Video, Photo Viewing

  • The JVC GZ-EX515BEK offers an impressive feature set at a surprisingly low price. Image quality is good, however it's the breadth of features that mark the GZ-EX515BEK out. It incorporates the latest version of JVC's Wi-Fi connectivity, a host of creative options, and even an accessory shoe and microphone input. The only missing features are independent shutter and iris control. Overall though, for less than £300 it's a capable and well-rounded camcorder.


  • Typical for their price class, the no-frills Sony Handycam HDR-CX130, CX160, and XR160 produce generally subpar HD video, but if you're not picky you'll probably be fine. The CX130 is the best buy of the three, as long as you go cheap on the memory card.


  • While we do like the improvements Sony made to the CX160, the camcorder is not the best model in its class. The Canon HF R21 held a slight edge in terms of performance, although there were areas where the CX160 was the better model (battery life and image stabilization, for example). Since the CX160 ($499 MSRP) is on the upper end of the price range for an entry-level model, we also recommend looking at cheap mid-range HD camcorders like the Panasonic HDC-TM90 instead.


  • Part of Sony's lineup of revamped HD Handycams, the HDR-CX160 is a model related to the HDR-CX130 but offering several improvements, including a back-lit "Exmor R" CMOS sensor and Wide Angle G lens, extensive zoom and built-in flash memory, and new automated features.


  • With a design and shape that's fairly unique to the type of product, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 is a camcorder that has a few more features than other competitive models. Along with being able to record full HD video 1080p, the camcorder can also take 8 megapixel photos.


  • - The location and jerky response of the switch makes producing a smooth zoom difficult.
    - It's unfortunate that the pocket-sized Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 makes producing even mediocre images so difficult.
    - The camcorder's performance is disappointing because the specs look reasonable.
    - The VPC-CS1 produces mediocre images and is difficult to use.
    - The VPC-CS1’s small size was appealing; it could slip it into my jersey pocket.
    - The 2.7-inch flip-out LCD screen looks decent.


  • Despite a poor low-light performance, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 remains a decent little camcorder. It looks great, comes with some nice features and takes attractive video in optimum lighting.


  • Sanyo's dual-camera Xacti VPC-CG10 has the design and features to easily shoot both HD-quality movies and 10-megapixel photos, but slow performance and mediocre photos keep it from being a solid do-it-all device.

  • Rating Unavailable

    - The joystick isn't precise enough for quick, responsive control over manual image adjustment or menu navigation.
    - This tiny S/N option is easy to miss, especially if you don't know to look for it.
    - The joystick is easy to reach and the handle is comfortable.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The FaceVsion TouchCam N1 HD Webcam is a bit hefty, but it packs a lot of power into its 720p HD video capture. The Microsoft LifeCam HD-6000 shoots 720p HD widescreen video and includes in-depth features in its software.

  • Rating Unavailable

    - The HDR-TG5V has some noticeable noise and its image is quite fuzzy.


  • - Outdoor shots were vibrant, highly resolved, and smooth—even when we had the camcorder’s 10x optical zoom pushed to the maximum—and auto-focus was smart and quick.


  • - The camera is fairly responsive and there is a flash to aid in low light photography.