17 April 2013 by Shifali Rao
When it comes to the best professional-grade camcorder, there are many things to look for when seeking a high-end model. A general rule to follow is to look for the following: high lens quality, a large lens diameter, large imaging chips, the ability to record in full HD or even 3D, advanced sound, manual controls on the outside of the camcorder, and ability to handle low compression formats.
The quality of the lenses is the most important features that go into making a professional camcorder, and is often overlooked in the manufacture of any other consumer camcorder. A good rule to follow is that in addition to a quality lens, the larger the lens the more light it lets in for the imaging chips to capture. A good figure is 72mm diameter or larger.
As these imaging chips are capturing the image, it is important that you have a big enough chip to capture all the high quality images and video. Popular choices are a 3CCD or 3CMOS (1 chip for each primary color - Red, Green, Blue). For the best camcorders this should be atleast 1/3". An important point to note is that the larger lenses and larger chips directly correlated to better low light behaviour.
Now that you have captured the images on the chips, it is important that you are able to record onto these chips high quality video. It is vital that, in this day in age, you are able to record in full HD if not also in 3D. Also make sure that as you are recording on these formats that they are compatible with newer editing software that will be used in the production phase or your video recording.
Now that you have great video, you need great audio. The best professional camcorders have have a secure/robust dual XLR connection (left and right audio) rather than a 1/8" stereo audio input. XLR mics are also more preferable.
With both a high quality audio and video, it is vital that your camcorder compresses the video to fit on to whatever media you are using. The compression level of the video is the key as a high compression results in reduced video quality and vice-versa. What you really need is a low compression format which will give a good video quality. The best professional camcorders support either of DV/HDV, DVCPro/DVCProHD, XF, XDCAM/HDCAM, Digital Beta and similar pro-grade compression formats.
It is also important that you have manual controls available on the outside of the camera so they are readily accessible and at your fingertips. Most of the leading brands like Panasonic, Canon and Sony include zoom, white balance, exposure, audio gain and neutral density filter selection.
This might seem like a lot but the best professional camcoders need to have superior image quality, high portability, and competent performance to satisfy the needs of independent film makers and videographers.