Which Video Camera is Best for You?


In the ever-changing, innovative world of video production, making a new camcorder-purchasing decision requires up-to-date knowledge of the latest features available, along with an understanding of tried-and-true technology. Even seasoned professionals will need to take some time to research the myriad choices offered, then carefully determine which camera fits their needs. The specific requirements of wedding videography add another dimension to the process.

Reliability, exceptional video in low-light conditions, and high optical zoom range are some of the more important features you should be looking for when selecting a video camera suitable for wedding coverage. In addition, consider media format, audio inputs and the size and “look” of the camera. A handheld camera might shoot HD video, but will you stand out as a "professional" videographer without a decent-sized camera on your shoulder, or a solid tripod?

As you look over the wide range of cameras, you will, no doubt, be taking your clientele into account. Will you be covering high-end weddings with multiple cameras, are you currently at the entry level or perhaps shooting your very first wedding for a family member? Do you want all the bells and whistles or are you a purist who prefers sticking to the basics and keeping life simple? Ultimately, your list of preferences is unique to your work style and ergonomic requirements. In order to assist you with your decision, we have reviewed a variety of models selected specifically for capturing a couple's wedding-day memories.

Advanced and Intermediate-Level Camcorders

The Sony PXW-Z280 is the successor to a perennial favorite—the PXW-X200. It records up to 4K video at 60p using the efficient XAVC Intra and Long GOP codecs with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. To fit into existing workflows, MPEG HD422, HD420, and DV recording options are available. Dual SxS memory card slots are provided, while simultaneous recording to two cards is possible for instant data redundancy and backup copies of your files. With 4 channels of high-quality, 48 kHz, 24-bit LPCM, you will have all the audio capabilities needed to cover every element of a wedding weekend. Shooting in low light is no problem with this camcorder. Three 1/2" Exmor CMOS sensors and a fast maximum aperture (f/1.9 on a 17x optical zoom lens) will thrill you with the exceptional video you can capture under the chandeliers, in dimly lit reception halls. Weighing only 6.6 pounds, this camera is heavy enough for stability, yet won’t wear you out during hours of shooting. For a semi-shoulder mounted solution, the Sony PMW-300K1 is also worth considering.

Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder

Sony’s PXW-Z190 Full HD XDCAM Camcorder features three 1/3" Exmor CMOS sensors. While it won’t reach the low-light capabilities of the larger 1/2" sensors of the PXW-Z280, its 25x Sony G zoom lens offers more reach than the PXW-Z280. The PXW-Z190 offers 4:2:2 recording in a variety of codecs, with up to 3840 x 2160 at 59.94p available in the XAVC Long GOP codec. Another useful feature is the camcorder’s Wi-Fi remote capability, which is invaluable for the “one-person band” shooting with two or more cameras, as it will let you monitor and control setting remotely using your smartphone or tablet.

The GY-HM650SC ProHD Sports Coaching Camera adds sports coaching-specific functionality to JVC's GY-HM650, and it is designed to interface with the XOS Thunder HD Platform for reduced upload time for practice and game footage. The camera features superb low-light performance, a lightweight and user-friendly design, and exceptional advanced features, providing capacity for fast, efficient, and high-quality mobile newsgathering. The camera records 4:2:0 but has a live output of 4:2:2.

JVC GY-HM650SC ProHD Sports Coaching Camera

Sony’s HXR-NX5R is another solid performer. Its versatility in capturing different formats may fit nicely into your profile, as well. Able to record 1920 x 1080p video at 23.98/29.97/59.94 at 50 Mb/s in XAVC S and at 17 to 28 Mb/s in AVCHD, as well as 1920 x 1080i video at 59.94 also in AVCHD. For legacy production compatibility, the camera can also record DV resolution video at 59/94i. This camera is versatile and easy to operate. The zoom range gets extremely high marks (20x G-Lens, optimized for advanced image processing with 40x Digital Zoom) and you can choose to record on Memory Stick PRO Duo Hybrid Card or SDXC cards.

If you are looking for a camera that supports both NTSC and PAL standards, Panasonic has built a camera for you to consider: The AG-UX180 4K Premium Professional Camcorder. In today’s marketplace, worldwide compatibility might be an important enough factor to give this camera a closer look. Like many of the other cameras in this category, the AG-UX180 captures video at a variety of 50 and 60 Hz based frame rates. Featuring a 1"-type MOS sensor and capturing at 8-bit 4:2:0 the AG-UX180 also can capture at variable frame rates up to 120 fps. Another camera that shoots in 50 and 60 Hz frame rates is the Sony PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM Camcorder, which features a form similar to the HXR-NX100 Full HD Camcorder, but shoots in 4K. It utilizes Sony’s XVAC 4:2:0 8-bit intra-frame recording format, as well as supporting MPEG2 and AVCHD for HD recording to match legacy products. Of course, you can also record 1080p video if your workflow isn’t ready for 4K file sizes. Read a hands-on review of the PXW-Z150, to see 4K video taken at 24 (23.98) fps and HD video at 120 fps.

Entry-Level and Intermediate Camcorders

For some, it may be hard to think of an HD camcorder as an entry-level camcorder, but that is about where we are today. Read on for entry-level and intermediate camcorders that will produce High Definition video and provide professional-quality audio, as well.

The variety of options in this class are surprisingly good. Beginning with Panasonic’s well-balanced and impressive AG-AC30 Full HD Camcorder with Touch Panel LCD Screen & Built-in LED Light. The AG-AC30 looks much like the cameras in the advanced category, yet weighs only 3.3 lb. Since it shoots HD 1080p /1080i and boasts two XLR inputs, this camera does provide you with excellent pictures and sound, especially in optimal conditions. It also features Five-Axis Hybrid optical image stabilization, which makes for smoother handheld videos.

Panasonic AG-AC30 Full HD Camcorder with Touch Panel LCD Screen & Built-In LED Light

Featuring a 1"-type sensor, yet sporting roughly the same form factor as 1/3"-type sensor camcorders, the Sony PXW-X70 is a powerful little HD camcorder. It shoots Full HD at either 50 or 60 Hz frame rates, has select variable frame rates of 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60 in 60 Hz mode and 1, 2,3, 5, 12, 25, 50 in 50 Hz mode. It features an integrated 12x optical zoom, and mounting the included XLR handle unit with microphone holder adds two XLR inputs for recording professional audio. A paid upgrade enables the PXW-X70 to record in 4K, which makes it an excellent choice if you aren’t quite ready to start shooting in 4K, but don’t want to buy a whole new camera when you do.

If you are looking for an easy-to-use, entry-level camcorder with a professional look, Sony’s HXR-MC2500 Shoulder Mount AVCHD Camcorder is an excellent choice. It weighs a hefty 6.2 lb, sports a nifty flip-up LCD above the color viewfinder, and has an ergonomic handle with Record button and zoom control for those essential low-angle shots. It has a single 1/4" Exmor R CMOS sensor and is equipped with a built-in LED light to assist in lower-light situations. There is a 3.5mm mini-jack input and a built-in 2-channel stereo shotgun microphone.

Sony HXR-MC2500 Shoulder Mount AVCHD Camcorder

As with the advanced and intermediate level options, Sony also offers a 4K consumer camcorder with their FDR-AX100. The 1" Emxor R CMOS sensor is large – approximately 8x larger than typical camcorders. This lets you get some cinematic shots with a pleasing shallow depth of field. What makes the camcorder truly versatile is its recording options, letting you capture 4K Ultra HD 3840x2160 video at 24 and 30 fps, as well as Full HD 1920x1080 video in XAVC S or AVCHD, or up to 720p in web-optimized MP4. Like the HDR-PJ810V, it also features a 12x optical zoom lens and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC support even lets you use your smartphone or tablet.

As you can see from this diverse sampling of excellent camcorders, the variety of file formats, lenses and audio packages can be quite a bit to digest. You will likely see one or two cameras that pique your interest and will serve your clients’ needs as well as your own. When you reach that point, come into our NYC SuperStore, you can also visit us on the Internet for a live chat, or contact us by phone at 1-800-606-6969.


Hello, My wife and I (and 5 sons) are musicians/singers/entertainers who have had to reinvent ourselves due to the pandemic shutdown of venues. We purchased a couple of camcorders (Panasonic HC-V770, Canon HF-R800) some lights and a huge green screen to cover a wall in our former living room to make it into a video studio to record or shoot live Zoom videos and Facebook Live videos. My main issue is trying to get a full body shot from less than 10 feet away (small sized room) seems impossible with the cams I have. Are there any that can get a full sized, head to toe shot from 6-8 feet?

Hi Stephen - 
 The issue you are referring to is quite comon with consumer-grade camcorders.  There is no remedy for the Canon VIXIA HF R800, but for the Panasonic HC-V770K you could add a wide-angle accessory lens to capture the full subject:  

Raynox HD-6600PRO-49 Wide Angle Conversion Lens (0.66x) B&H # RAHD6600P49:
The Raynox HD-6600PRO-49 Wide Angle Conversion Lens is designed to fit onto lenses with a 49mm filter thread. Providing 0.66x magnification this wide angle conversion lens helps you capture beautiful landscapes, large groups, and tight spaces. Utilizing the 72mm front thread, filters can be added for obtaining the just the look you desire. Touted by Raynox to be distortion free (-1.3%), the HD-6600PRO-49 has a 3 element/3 group construction. Featuring a high-resolution optical design that delivers 350 lines/mm, the lens also boasts an anti-reflective coating for enhanced light transmission.

Thanks for the response Mark. I was considering a Sony A6400 with a wide angle lens. Do you think that setup would work to get a full body shot from 6 feet away? And which lens under $200 would you recommend?

Hi Stephen - 
The Sony Alpha 6400 with the 16-50mm lens should work well for you.
Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens B&H # SOA64001650

  • 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Real-Time Eye AF & Real-Time Tracking
  • XGA Tru-Finder 2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3.0" 921.6k-Dot 180° Tilting Touchscreen
  • Internal UHD 4K Video, S-Log3, and HLG
  • Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC
  • 425 Phase- & Contrast-Detect AF Points
  • Up to 11 fps Shooting and ISO 102400
  • E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

    If you would like a prime lens recommendation:
    Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Lens (Silver) B&H # SO1628 
    E-Mount Lens/APS-C Format

  • 24mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Compact Pancake Design
  • Internal Focus
  • Seven-Blade Circular Diaphragm
  • Optional Ultra-Wide & Fisheye Converters

Hi, We are a House of Worship currently using 4- Marshall CV 730 PTZ's. We are considering upgrading our main camera (center) shot with a cinema camera while using the PTZ's for side and fill in shots. We will need a telephoto 70-200mm lens because of the range and will need another lens to do interview style work as well. My current choices range from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6k Pro to the C300 Mark III. I like that they both can accept EF. Should we start with the BM 6k and invest in really good glass? Then we could work towards the C300 and use the same glass? There's so many choices! TY!

Hi Jake - 

I like your thinking Jake - soundls like a plan!



I'm a middle school theatre teacher, and we're looking to record our fall performance year (we'll stream it at a later date).... Do you have any recommendations of video cameras for this purpose?  (Our budget is under $1000, and I don't know if there's anything that could do reasonably well for that price.)  Thanks so much for your help! 

Hi Hannah - 

Canon VIXIA HF G21 Full HD Camcorder (Refurbished) B&H # RBCAHFG21 

  • Full HD 1080p60 Video Recording
  • 1/2.84", 2.9MP HD CMOS Pro Sensor
  • Canon HD f/1.8-2.9 Zoom Lens
  • 20x Optical, 400x Digital Zoom
  • Intelligent Optical Image Stabilization
  • 3.0" LCD Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 2x to 1200x Slow-/Fast-Motion Capture
  • Records AVCHD & MP4 to 2 x SD Card Slots
  • 8-Blade Aperture, Wide Dynamic Range
  • Highlight Priority Mode
  • Add this microphone:
  • Canon DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone  B&H # CADM100

    The Canon DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone delivers high-quality stereo audio recordings to various Vixia-series camcorders. The microphone attaches to your camera's advanced accessory shoe for cable-free installation.

Good eve, I am looking for a video camera to record professional looking music videos and short films.I'm looking for something versatile. Through my research I have seen that the Canon XA-50 records good video. I'm wondering if there are any better options out there. Thanks.

Hi Daniel -

The Canon XA50 is a fine choice.

Canon XA50 UHD 4K30 Camcorder with Dual-Pixel Autofocus: B&H # CAXA50 

Key Features

  • 8.29MP, 1" CMOS Sensor
  • Up to UHD 4K30 Video Recording
  • Mini-HDMI Output
  • Integrated 15x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Dual XLR and Mic/Line Audio Input
  • 5-Axis Optical Image Stabilization
  • Dual-Pixel CMOS Autofocus Feature
  • Dual SD Relay and Simultaneous Recording
  • DIG!C DV 6 Processor
  • 3" Touchscreen LCD, Tiltable Viewfinder


Hi, I am looking for a 4k camcorder to record classical music videos, specifically piano, in mostly indoor (and sometimes low-light) environments, and would be looking to capture detailed close-ups of fast-moving hands. I am not shy about reading manuals or learning manual settings, and want to upgrade from a 2.7k camera. I would truly appreciate any advice!

Hi Theodora - 

 Take a look at these two camcorders:

Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder B&H # SOPXWZ280  

  • Three 1/2" Exmor R CMOS Sensors
  • 4K 60p Recording
  • Integrated 17x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Electronic Variable ND Filter
  • Supports XAVC Intra/Long, MPEG HD, DVCAM
  • Supports S-Log 3
  • Supports HLG for an HDR Workflow
  • Simultaneous 4K/HD Recording
  • 12G-SDI Output Supports 4K 60p
  • Built-In 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi
    Panasonic AG-UX180 4K Professional Camcorder B&H # PAAGUX180Q  
  • DCI 4K Resolution, 1"-Type MOS Sensor
  • 8-Mode Gamma, MOV/MP4/AVCHD Formats
  • 3G/SD-SDI, 8-Bit 4:2:0 HDMI Output
  • Variable Rate Recording up to 120 fps
  • 24 to 480mm Lens, 20x Optical Zoom
  • 5-Axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer
  • 2 x SDHC/SDXC Card Slots, UHS-I Support
  • Built-In ND Filters, Variable Gain

Hi, am looking for camcorder to record events, but I will need to shoot from maybe 30 feet behind to a stage, maybe width of 5ft and it need to be clear. Any recommendation? 

Hi Le - 
The AG-UX180 4K Premium Professional Camcorder. In today’s marketplace, worldwide compatibility might be an important enough factor to give this camera a closer look. Like many of the other cameras in this category, the AG-UX180 captures video at a variety of 50 and 60 Hz based frame rates. Featuring a 1"-type MOS sensor and capturing at 8-bit 4:2:0 the AG-UX180 also can capture at variable frame rates up to 120 fps. 

I am curious what you think about today's phones versus camcorders? Thanks!

Hi Robin - 

Many of today's smartphones certainly offer terrific video.  But they lack any type of substantial optical zoom capability or native ability to add very high quality professional grade  microphones.   

So, as much as I understand, for beginners, like me, good cameras not allowed. A simple camcorder where I can have sharp footage. For that I must spend 10000 of dollars to have such simple stuff?

Hi Normunds -

We have referred to cameras such as the Panasonic AG-AC30 which sells for $1249.00, as ideal entry-level professional cameras, because of the XLR microphone inputs and other features they offer. Here is a non-XLR audio camera that offers great performance for the novice shooter:

Panasonic HC-VX1 4K HD Camcorder  B&H # PAHCVX1  

  • 4K30 MP4 HD Video & 26MP Stills
  • 1/2.5" Back-Illuminated MOS Sensor
  • 24x Leica Dicomar Optical Zoom
  • Wireless Multi-Cam Smartphone Function
  • 32x 4K & 48x HD Intelligent Zoom
  • Three OIS Stabilizer Systems
  • 5.1-Channel Wind-Shielded Zoom Mic
  • Equalized, Active-Contrast Mode
  • HDR Mode Offers Wider Dynamic Range


Greeting and good evening,

Firstly, great article and very informative. I have been researching and doing my homework for a video device which would perform great outdoors. The bulk of my necessary shooting would be dawn and dusk, low light outdoor environments, with some midday shooting. I was wanting to use a camcorder that is great for a run 'n gun setup with built-in ND filters that shoots at least 4k at 30p and has a good autofocus that will track the subject without getting caught up in the brush and twigs. I was hoping for something that would minimize post production for me. XLR ports are not a must, but would be nice to have to run a lav and shotgun mic. My budget is roughly $2,000. I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thank you for your time. 

The Canon XA50 is a great choice.  It has a 1" sensor for a solid low light performance and shoots 4K at up to 30fps.  It has Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus, Built In ND Filters and XLR Inputs.  It is a great choice!


Hi there,

I’ve recorded my first guitar course with an old Canon Vixia HG21 which did a decent job.  I’m now in the market for a new dedicated camcorder which will be used only in my 13’ x 12’ studio.  The 2 main problems with the old HG21 were not enough clarity & the focus wasn’t consistent (the main focus is on the guitar & hands).  I would occasionally get a blur on the fingers as they moved along the guitar neck. Also, I’m wondering if a camera that shoots MP4 rather than Avchd, would create smaller files (I’m creating guitars courses on video for customers to download from my website). Could you please recommend a camcorder in the $1000 - $2000 range?  Thanks!

Hi Domenic - 

Consider the Sony HXR-NX80 4K NXCAM with HDR & Fast Hybrid AF B&H # SOHXRNX80 

Key Features:

  • Single 1" Exmor RS CMOS Sensor
  • XAVC S 4K (3840 x 2160) at 100 Mb/s
  • 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Live Streaming
  • 4K HDR with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus (AF)
  • Zeiss 12x Optical, 18x Clear Image Zoom
  • FHD to 120 fps & Super Slow to 960 fps
  • XAVC-S (4K/HD) & AVCHD Recording
  • S-Log3/S-Gamut3 Imaging Options
  • 2 x SD Card Slots, Relay & Simul Modes

    Take the Sony HXR-NX80 4K NXCAM camcorder with you wherever you go to capture rich 4K HDR video. This compact, palm-style camera offers phase-detection Autofocus (AF) and HDR capabilities in a compact, palm-style body. Suitable for corporate events, broadcast news, and television production, the HXR-NX80 camcorder features a stacked 1" Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 14.2MP, a 12x Zeiss optical zoom, an OLED viewfinder, and 3.5" touchscreen LCD monitor. This camcorder records 4K in XAVC S 4K, and it includes S-Log3/S-Gamut3 functions for additional image control. Additional features include built-in 2.4 GHz for multiple streaming options via RTMP/RTMPS protocols.

    The HXR-NX80's Fast Hybrid AF uses high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm to offer highly accurate focusing and tracking, especially useful for individual operators. In movie recording mode, use the appearance of phase-detection AF frames to monitor your subject's focus. The HXR-NX80's 3.5" touchscreen is used to quickly switch focus among subjects. AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range, and Subject Switching Sensitivity can each be configured to suit different subjects and content styles.


I am looking for a beginner/intermediate friendly level video camera that works well when filming surfing. The quality does'nt need to be top of the line because my filming isn't but I'm looking for something with decent range with good autofocus when zooming. any specific video cameras come to mind?


Hi Jordan - 

Canon Vixia HF W11 Waterproof Camcorder B&H # CAHFW11

Compact, durable, and capable, the Canon VIXIA HF W11 Camcorder is ready to shoot in nearly any scenario. Recording home videos, events, or recitals, the 40x optical and 60x dynamic zoom ensures you can get the shot from the back of the room. And weighing in at only 10 oz and measuring 5" in length, this tiny camera can go with you anywhere.

Record up to 1920 x 1080p60 AVCHD video on the internal 32GB flash memory or add a separately available SD card in the built-in SD card slot. You can also snap 2MP stills while simultaneously recording video. A waterproof rating up to 16.4', shockproof rating up to 4.9', and freezeproof rating down to 14°F make the W11 a highly durable camera in rough conditions. Advanced image stabilization keeps the image steady while reducing shake and jitter, especially at longer focal lengths.

The W11 includes a built-in battery that lasts for up to 4.5 hours of continuous recording with optimal settings, and it can be charged via the included USB cable or AC adapter. The camera is also compatible with a separately available 5V, 5200mAh portable battery. Its 3" touch-panel LCD makes it easy to access settings and to enable advanced features such as face tracking and time-lapse recording. A built-in auto LED light can be activated when shooting in low-light situations. Included are an AC adapter with adapter cable, USB Type-A to micro-USB Type-B cable, and an AV cable.

I am looking for a camera to use in live streaming on facebook (1 - 1.5 hour sessions - I will be selling clothing). I would also like to record the products for upload.

I have researched DSLR cameras, but found many overheat after 10 minutes or simply shut down even though they are rated as great cameras for streaming. Then I was advised to look at camcorders - any advice on either DSLR or camcorder would be great!


Hi I have a Canon Vixia GX10 and I'm recording talking head style business videos.  My studio (just my office) is only 12-14 ft deep and I'm not getting the strong DOF blur that I'm seeking.  The aperture max is f/2.8 and only f/3.2 in Aperture Priority mode.  So, the blur of the background is only slight.  The subject is 3-4 ft from the camera and the background is 6-8 ft behind the subject.  Can I get a much stronger blur with a f/1.9 or so?  Which cameras/lenses should I consider?  I noticed the Vixia HF G50 has good aperture but smaller CMOS.  Other options were $7500+.  I'd like to stay sub $3500 (stretch), $2,000 (comfortable).  Thank you!

Another camcorder is not going to work for your needs in this case.  The Aperture is only one part of the equation.  The other parts are sensor size and focal length.  In your case and with your budget you'll need to look at a DSLR.  The Canon 90D is a great choice and you could pair it with Sigma's 35mm F/1.4.  This will give you some nice bokeh.

Canon 90D - https://bhpho.to/2tnsFHT

Sigma 35mm - https://bhpho.to/2sxuLEh

I use a pair of Canon Vixia HG21 camcorders to capture musical theater performances for a non-profit. It's low budget. When a spotlight illuminates a performer, and the surrounding shot is dark, the bright image gets washed out. The video capture has a hard time with the light contrast. I'm using automatic settings. The theater lighting is variable throughout the show. If I zoom-in on the brightly lit performer, the image becomes balanced. But if I stay wide, the brightly lit performer's face is washed out.

What camcorder feature upgrade provides a better contrast in this kind of situation? Are there camcorders in the <$1500 range that provide this ability?

The issue here is the very wide dynamic range between the spotlit performers and the rest of the stage. No cameras under $1500 are going to help you with their "automatic" settings, and more expensive cameras are geared for those who are working manual settings. This means, unfortunately, that you will have to learn the manual settings for the Canon or other camera. You can use a white balance and exposure cards like https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1191325-REG/x_rite_msccvpr_colorchecker_video.html before the show starts to manually set your exposure. Trying to get everything visible? That's something even $10k cameras shooting RAW with $15k lenses would have difficulty with. You just have to expose for what's important in the shot (actor or background).

Please advice:

I have an efficient audio recording project studio. We do mostly audio recording collaborations among musicians.

Two Rock bands (Drums , Percussion, Guitars, Bass, Key, Vocal), A Jazz Trio, A few Vocal Songwriters. We are performing musicians with audio recording projects at various level.

We have the necessity of doing some videos of the process of recording songs and perhaps simple B-Rolls to add to the final video.
We do not intent to obtain a super quality/elaborated, advanced video result. Our main target is audio. But we find out that our target audience enjoy and respond well to this type of videos documentation plus creating this kind of video content helps our web presence and to promote events.

I am not counting on continuig using what I have a the moment for photo/Video but will mention it just in case. I have a Blackmagic Pocket cinema camera (The old one not the 4k), Canon SLRs EOS 5D and EOS 40D. Several lenses, Manfrotto tripod…. I have a basic hobbyist knowledge on photography. Also I can navigate Final Cut Pro and have an elementary color-correction knowledge.
So far what I do is set the Blackmagic in a corner of the live recording room and go with our business of recording audio and then sync some of the resulting video to the recorded songs.

Now we like to do a little better and enhance with close-ups and some B rolls.
Considering we are not video experts I have been planning on buying a video camera: Easy to use, as much automation as possible, with fast auto focus that we can mount in a Gimbal Stabilizer.
I do not have sufficient knowledge to identify a video camera and rig (Gimbal)  for this purpose. The idea is to have a moderated trained camera person in the live recording room to video record sessions with minimal interference as we record audio. Meaning not huge video rig or super brilliant lights.
With the resulting video plus some B Rolls and photos we will be able to compose the video documentation we pursue using Final Cut Pro.

It looks like we need a decent small camera with a good lens (lenses?) that can work on less than ideal light conditions and some sort of Gimbal stabilizer mount to be able to record close-ups, simple interviews and outside B Rolls.

Recommendations really appreciated.

Thank you

Nice article. So many cameras. Lots of changes in technology from when I started working in the field 30 years ago, can be overwhelming. Looking for some event coverage suggestions. Each Spring I cover a handful of dance recitals. The gear is rarely the problem, its the people using it. I'm considering throwing in the towel and seeing if I can run one camera myself and set up 4 others static. So 2 things.

1. IS there a camera made yet that we can trust to run at an event like this with such variation in lighting to run at AUTO IRIS?

2. If such a thing exists yet.  Ummm Can it be aquired for under $1K?  Dance recital revenue doesn't justify $50k-$100K in gear. Rental is an option though I guess.  Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Camcorders have come a long way.  The Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder would be a great option to film recital that will have auto settings which work very well, BH #PAHCVX981K.  It is within your budget as well.


Looks like quite the camera for under a grand. Thanks for the feedback!

I've been doing small studio setups and would like to output to high quality video either in full HD or 4K. I'm coming from using a medium format digital still camera (Fuji GFX-R) so high quality is in my blood. I looked at the Panasonic GH5s but a dedicated video camera seems like a better idea. Suggestions??

For a small studio setup a dedicated camcorder would be a great choice.  The Panasonic AG-CX350 is a great choice.  It record 4K at 60fps, has a 20x zoom lens, 1" sensor and XLR inputs for higher quality microphones.


Hi, I'm thinking about getting a video camera to record footage of rallies and mobilizations, along with interviews and general environmental B-rolls for a documentary type of production. Hopefully it can have 2-3 audio inputs(Lavaliers and/or shotgun mic), most importantly, some smooth zoom buttons such as the sony z150 but preferably smaller size. Any recommendation? 

If you are looking for a camcorder like the Z150 only smaller the Z90v would be the perfect choice.  It will work great for what you described and it has 2 XLR inputs to use professional quality microphones.



Hello...I am looking for a smaller video camera that can do 4K that has great auto focus features.  Suggestions?  I travel a lot internationally and do humanitarian type photography, would like to stay under $1500.  Thanks for the help!

The Canon Vixia G50 would be a great choice.  This is a 4K camcorder that is smaller in size and will give you fantastic results.  The auto focus will work very well as well.




I am researching a milti use camera /cameras primarily for live stage performance as in music concerts and church services hdmi capable for streaming if need be .

Presently i use 4 camera angles to create music vidios and concerts .

All consumer models 

Sony 220,sony 230,sony 675 and a canon old lol.

I get scattered results Small venue  usually looks best larger venue has yielded embarrassing results. 

I was considering the sony 2500 do to budget for the 1st camera but fugured i would get s more pro opinion. 

I am not a pro but not a beginner eather looking to produce quality products for my customers  ty 

The MC2500 has a small 1/4" sensor.  For a more professional image we suggest looking at the Sony NX100.  This has a much larger 1" sensor which will give you much better results.



Hi there, I am trying to find an entry/medium level video recorder to take out on wildlife photography trips especially for using with bears and whales. Will be shooting in low light sunrise and sunset times of the day, and want quality video that is portable and lightweight that can fit in along with my normal photography gear.  Just trying to add some quality video to go along with my still photography.  Any suggestions?  I keep reading reviews and get more confused the more I read.

Hopefully for under $1000.  Thanks!

The Panasonic HC-WXF991K is a great choice.  It is in your budget and will give you beautiful 4K resolutions.  It also has a Back Illuminated 1/2.3" sensor for a better performance in lower light.



Hello, I am interested in taking videos of nature and landscapes. Can you please suggest video camera that renders colors very well and has good auto focus. Ability to shoot timelapses and slow motion are bonus.

Hi Pooja - 

The Sony FDR-AX53  - B&H # SOFDRAX53 (https://bhpho.to/2n7y2Uc) is a palm-sized Handycam camcorder that combines a Zeiss 20x optical zoom lens and a high-sensitivity image sensor to produce crisp and high-quality UHD 4K video. The Exmor R CMOS image sensor supports UHD 4K video capture at 24 or 30 fps using Sony's XAVC S codec and features pixels that are approximately 1.6x larger than the previous model for enhanced performance in all conditions, particularly low-light scenarios. The camcorder also features Sony's Balance Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology to help produce smooth and stable footage throughout the zoom range. Further enhancements include improved autofocus speed and accuracy, a lower-noise built-in microphone, and a high-speed 1080p 120 fps recording mode to create high-resolution slow-motion content.  

Capture 4K still images continuously over an extensive period of time at a selected constant interval from each shot to the next, edit the entire sequence of still images in post-production, and enjoy playback of that series of images as a time-lapse movie.  

Hi there! I have a podcast channel on YouTube or much rather, am just starting out with one. I'm looking for a video camera that can do long recordings at a decent 1080p60fps or even 4k (Would be a bonus). I already have 2 Canon cameras for 2 different angles and I just need one more now and I want this new one now to be the main or front angle. Could you guys help point me in the right direction? 

Hi Soban - 

Record high-resolution 4K video with the compact, black Canon Vixia HF G50 4K Camcorder (B&H # CAHFG50 ). The G50 features a DIGIC DV 6 image processor, an 8-blade circular aperture, 5-axis image stabilization, a 20x optical zoom in 4K, and up to UHD 4K30 resolution.

 Product Highlights:

  • Record up to UHD 4K30 Video
  • DIGIC DV 6 Image Processor
  • 8-Blade Circular Aperture
  • Dual SD Card Slots
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • Slow- & Fast-Motion, Interval Recording
  • 29.3 to 627mm, 20x Optical Zoom in 4K
  • 3" Touchscreen LCD, Tiltable EVF

I'm a nature photographer who is interested in doing some video work in the outdoors.  (I'm often around rushing water.)  Any recommendations for $350 or less?

Hi Karl - 


he black JVC Everio GZ-R460BUS Quad Proof HD Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (B&H # JVGZR460BUS) records up to 1080p60 HD AVCHD video at bit rates up to 28 Mb/s to SDHC/SDXC media cards, and 1920 x 1080 at up to 24 Mb/s to 4GB of internal memory. Designed with JVC's rugged Quad Proof camera body, the Everio GZ-R460BUS is built to capture your adventures, no matter what the weather. This rugged camcorder is waterproof down to 16', shockproof from falls up to 5', dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14°F. The camera's back-illuminated 2.5MP CMOS sensor uses JVC's Falconbrid image processor to record 1920 x 1080 HD video to SD media cards, or to the 4GB of internal memory storage. Still photos can be captured at 10MP.

The Everio GZ-R460's Konica Minolta HD lens features a 40x optical zoom and 60x digital zoom. Advanced image stabilization (AIS) reduces camera shake when handholding the camera. View while recording and playing back footage on the 3" touchscreen LCD. Image capture features include time-lapse recording, face detection, and special effects like Grainy B&W, Food, and Baby modes. Additional camera features include a rechargeable internal battery lasting up to five hours, a built-in zoom microphone, and 37mm filter compatibility.


Quad proof design is waterproof down to 16', shockproof up to 5', dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14°F
Record 1080p60 in AVCHD at up to 28 Mb/s, and 1080i60 AVCHD video at bit rates up to 24 Mb/s
40x optical zoom and 60x dynamic zoom
4GB of internal memory storage
Rechargeable internal battery runs up to five hours. The camera also charges via USB and optional portable batteries (not included)
Back-illuminated 2.5MP CMOS image sensor
Card slot for recording to SDHC/SDXC media
Captures up to 10MP still photos
3" touchscreen LCD panel for viewing and playback
Advanced image stabilization (AIS) compensates for camera shake
Y-shaped grip belt for stable handholding
Professional-style zoom lever
Pressure-sensitive touch panel can be used even when wearing gloves
The camera will continue to record even when the LCD panel is closed
Built-in technology reduces wind noise picked up by the microphone
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