Choosing a camcorder

Whether it’s a holiday, a wedding, or those first tiny steps, a camcorder is the best way to capture special memories. There’s a huge choice of camcorders on the market these days, and you don’t have to break the bank to own one. PriceRunner has found deals on hundreds of camcorders to suit a variety of uses, with models from the likes of Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and GoPro.

You’ll find MPEG4 models that conveniently capture video onto SD cards, mini DVD cameras that record footage directly onto disc, and HD hard disk camcorders that’ll have any budding director in their element.

If you need a little direction when picking out your new camcorder, then our buying guide above will help you find your mark.

Camcorders buying guide

Whether you’re an aspiring film maker or simply want to capture and preserve family memories, the camcorder is an essential piece of kit - but it can be difficult to navigate all those complicated product specs and tech-talk. Use our buying guide to help find the best camcorder for you, whether it’s a super-snazzy device with tons of smart features, or an easy-to-use point-and-shoot model.

Main features

Nowadays, the standard camcorder records high-quality digital video, which can be easily transferred to your computer or TV. Beyond this, camcorders are packed full of different features, from high-powered zoom to super-sharp definition. But there’s no sense in splashing out on a top-performance device if you only need the basics - so use this list to find the right features for you.

HD and Ultra HD

Many camcorders shoot in Full HD (1080p) which creates an immensely clear and crisp image. So if you’re after real-to-life recording, this is a must-have. But image-experts and aspiring movie-makers after the best possible image should look for a camcorder that records in Ultra HD, which is four times the quality of Full HD. Ultra HD camcorders tend to be significantly more expensive than Full HD.

Image Stabilisation

Some camcorders come with intelligent optical image stabilisation, to combat blurry and unfocused images. This feature is great if you want to record while walking or driving. It’s also a key addition if you’re doing a lot of recording in full-zoom, where the camera is more susceptible to vibrations.


When choosing your preferred camcorder, you should take its zoom capability into account. Focus on the optical rather than digital zoom - the latter zooms in on the captured pixels, while the optical is based on the extension of the lens. Casual users looking to record the odd football game won’t need more than a 25x zoom, but nature-film makers hoping to shoot wildlife and scenery from afar could go as high as 60x. Pair intense zoom with an optical image stabilisation feature to ensure you get the best video possible.


So, how does a camcorder actually store its video? Well, there are two key types of memory feature - an internal Hard Disk Drive, and a removable memory card. Camcorders with removal memory cards tend to be smaller, lighter, and more versatile, while camcorders with internal Hard Disk Drives are heavier. This is because the internal Hard Disk Drive can store hours upon hours of footage. While removable memory cards have somewhat limited capacity, the video can be easily transferred to a computer for storage and editing.

Screen size

The screen size of a camcorder is something else to think about. While you’ll likely upload your videos to your computer or TV soon after you shoot, it’s handy to have a spacious camcorder screen, to get an idea of what your video will look like immediately after it’s shot. Smaller camcorders come with a reasonable 2.5 - 3 inch LCD back-screen, while larger models offer more spacious flip-out screens.

What about audio?

Something people often overlook when searching for the perfect camcorder is the audio capability. The high-end image quality of a home movie isn’t any good if you can’t hear what people are saying. The small internal microphones of most modern camcorders provide low-to-average sound quality, so if you’re after crystal-clear audio, look for a camcorder that comes with a microphone output - this way you can hook-up an external mic.

Use-specific camcorders

While a camcorder with a mix of the above features can be used for just about any type of filming, there are some use-specific models. Action cameras, such as the compact and durable GoPro devices, can be attached to tripods, helmets, or sports gear, and often come in water-proof casing - perfect for high-energy outdoor sports filming. If you want to record a time-lapse travel video, or want to record your road-use in case of a car accident, an inexpensive dashboard cam is for you.

How much to spend?

Once you’ve figured out what features are right for you, you can start thinking about price. Camcorders have a huge price range, starting in the low hundreds and spiralling into the thousands of pounds - but those extremely high-end models are mostly for professional use.

A light, easy-to-use, and basic camcorder capable of shooting HD will put you in the £200 - £350 bracket. Both Sony and Panasonic offer excellent models in this range. If you’re considering a savvy Ultra HD device with superb smart-features - such as WiFi connectivity, touch-screen controls, and high-powered zoom - you should look to spend from £500 - £700.

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Related categories:


Max Video Resolution



Flash Memory

Recording format

Memory Cards

Built-in Memory

Max Supported Memory (GB)

Still Pictures

Still Pictures (MP)


Image Stabilization

Image Stabilisation Type

Flash / Light

Max Frames Per Second (FPS)




Remote Control


Optical Zoom


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