There are many reasons to have a camcorder. For a filmmaker who is starting out, a camcorder can be amazing for shooting video and getting your feet wet. A traveler who wants to record their journey may want a great camcorder as well.
Video shooting used to be a thing of luxury, but nowadays, you can find a powerful camcorder for quite cheap.
In this article, we will look at some great camcorders under 200, what to look for in a camcorder, and tell you why a camcorder is the better choice when compared to a smartphone camera.
Best Cameras Under $200
There used to be a time when a camera under $200 would be low-quality, but not anymore. 4K has made 1080p, which still looks great, affordable.
You can find some good camcorders for under two Benjamins, and here are some we like.
|Canon Vixia HF R600|
|Kodak PIXPRO FZ201|
First Pick: The Canon Vixia HF R600
This camera is one of the best values out there, and here’s why. First, it appeals to people of all skill levels.
A seasoned videographer will love its advanced options, but it has simple features to make it accessible to new people of the field.
Its zoom is incredible. You can get up to 57x zoom, so people who need to shoot from afar should have no worries with this camera.
Also, it uses SD cards as storage, so you don’t have to worry about running out. Finally, the camera shoots in 1080p, making your videos crisp and clean.
You can be quite surprised at what this camera can offer you for that price. Give it a try.
Second Pick: Kodak PIXPRO FZ201
This camcorder looks a little more like a DSLR camera than what you expect a camcorder to look like, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Quite the contrary. It’s bulkier, but fits very well and does have an option to take photos too.
It’s not as powerful as the last camera, but it still packs a punch. With 720p video and 20x zoom, it’s respectable. It has a strong image stabilization as well.
It’s great if you want a little bit of both pictures and video. However, if you just want pure video, you may want to consider the other options.
Third Pick: Kodak Zi6
This one is great for people who want the convenience of a smartphone, but have it as a camcorder. This camera can fit right inside your pocket, and can record 720p video quite well.
It has a built-in USB drive as well, so you don’t have to worry about the hassle of plugging everything in and hoping the cables don’t disconnect.
One downside is that its memory card slot has limited storage. The card can go up to 32GB. For some, that may be enough.
For others, they’ll have a pocketful of cards as well. Overall, it’s a convenient camera and one that does have many things going for it, but it’s a bit different than a traditional camcorder.
Fourth Pick: RockBirds HDV-5052STR
This brand of camera is interesting. It’s lesser known than the bigger names out there, such as Kodak, Canon, or any other well-known brand, but it still packs a punch.
First, if you’re a streamer in an area with WiFi, you’re in luck. You can stream live with a WiFi feature. If you’re traveling and are using pocket WiFi, even better.
It has 32GBs of internal storage, an option for external storage, and is quite easy to carry and store.
Its zoom is digital, so it’s not the best around, but it is easy to focus on your subject. If you don’t need to focus that much, then you probably don’t have to worry.
We recommend checking this camera out and seeing what it can do for you.
Fifth Pick: AKASO EK7000
This is a camera that is focused on the action. Think of it as a GoPro for the 2019 age. If you’re shooting sports, or are explorers who are always on the go, this is the camera for you. You can attach it to anything to make shooting a breeze.
Also, it’s powerful. You would think that a camcorder under 200 would only go to 1080p. This bad boy goes up to 4K, with a small 12mp option if you want to take photos.
If you’re a sucker for video quality, you cannot go wrong. Attach it to anything and shoot some beautiful video.
To make it easier, it includes a remote you wear around your wrist to make shooting much easier. Also, it has a WiFi option to make it easy to stream video if you are in an area with WiFi and whatnot.
This is one of those cameras that feels like it should be too good to be true, but it’s highly rated and we say it’s definitely worth checking out.
Sixth Pick: JVC PICSIO GC-FM1A
We are finally near the finish line. Our final pick is a camcorder that does look a bit more like a phone, and it’s one of the most affordable camcorders available today. However, it packs a punch, with 1080p video and a camera that shoots 8 mp.
We are quite surprised at how much this camera can do for the price, but it does sacrifice some features to keep things cheap. Some of these may be a turnoff to people looking for a camcorder, while others may not care.
It does not have flash if you want to shoot photos, and there is no USB connection, meaning you have to take the SD card out.
This is usually not a bad option, but some people may not have an SD card slot on their computer, so beware. It’s one of those cameras that is good for the price, but unless your budget is shoestring tight, then you may want to buy something a little better.
Camcorder Under 200 : Buyers Guide
Chances are, you have a smartphone that shoots video. The cameras in smartphones have been improving at a rapid pace, but they still aren’t a match for DSLRs and cameras… for the most part.
Some smartphones have caught up to camcorders and can be just as good, if not better.
However, a smartphone is still a jack of all trades that appeals to a casual audience, while a camcorder is specifically designed for people interested in video.
So if you’re buying a camcorder, you’ll probably want one that is better than your smartphone.
Many camcorders are better, but you should probably look into the camcorder you want to purchase and see what it can do. Here are some things to consider
The camera’s zoom is quite important if you’re planning on shooting a video. Perhaps you need to shoot something from afar that you just can’t get close to.
Smartphones have been lacking in the zoom department, which camcorders have in spades.
A smartphone’s zoom is limited, or it’s a digital zoom, where the camera just closes up on your subject. This means that you’ll get a low quality, grainy video.
If you’re shooting a subject from afar, you do want to make sure the subject is clear, and you just can’t get that from a smartphone. Luckily, camcorders can have 10x zoom at the least, and can go even higher.
A Stable Image
Our hands shake. Even the calmest person is going to shake a little bit. When you shake while holding a camera, the picture or video can look shaky.
Image stabilization technology helps prevent this by keeping the video stable even if you shake.
Smartphones can lack image stabilization, or they may have a little, but it’s just not enough. A camcorder is built for a shaky hand. Of course, not all image stabilization is created equal.
There are different levels, and what you’ll need can depend on how much your hands shake. Five-Axis stabilization is the best around, with smartphones just not having the right amount for the job.
For a photographer or a videographer, light can be their best friend or worst enemy. Light can enhance the experience, but it can also mess up the video if there is little light.
Cameras have light sensors to help you see better in darker places, but not all light sensors are created equal.
When searching for a camcorder, and especially if you’re intending to do night shooting or shoot in places with low lighting, you need to have a good light sensor.
Smartphones lack a good light sensor, and in low light, video can look grainy or you can’t make up anything. A camcorder can have a powerful light sensor to keep the video crisp even in the lowest of lights.
When looking at a camcorder, see how good it shoots in a low lighting situation. If it’s enough for you, purchase it.
One thing you want to look for in a camcorder is how it stores its memory. Is there internal memory, external memory, or a combination of both?
Video takes up a lot of space, and the last thing you want is to run out of memory as soon as you’re getting a shot.
That’s another reason why camcorders can be better than smartphones. Phones used to have external memory options, such as using MicroSD cards, but those days are past us. Now, they use internal storage.
It can be a hassle to clear space if you’re trying to shoot a video. With a camcorder, you can swap cards or buy a card with tons of storage space.
Plus, transferring is easy. Just plug in your card and dump the video to your PC, or use USB. For smartphones, it can be a more annoying process.
You can get video off with a USB, but some don’t let you do that so easily. You can upload a video to a site, but that can take a while.
When searching for a camcorder, you’ll want one that has good mic quality. More professional shooters may use an external mic, but if you’re on a budget, a built-in mic in a camcorder may suffice.
When shooting, wind and other noises can mess up your audio. Good camcorders have filters to help rid yourself of those types of nosies.
As for smartphones, mic technology is improving, but many just don’t have the power to give you what you want yet.
You often can’t adjust the mic or have the option to use external mics. If you’re shooting video where sound is important, you’ll want a good mic.
How good is the camcorder when it comes to dropping it? Can it resist water? Many camcorders are built tougher and can take the occasional spill.
Meanwhile, for a smartphone, dropping it can spell disaster, even if you have protection.
Finally, how good is the battery when it comes to a camcorder? Is the battery internal and needs to be charged, or can you swap out batteries should your camcorder die?
How long does it last? Are there power saver settings? The last thing you want is for your battery to die as soon as you find something good to shoot, and you have no backup battery to use.
The best camera out of all of these will depend on your needs. Some will like a camcorder that’s more like a phone, while others must have a camcorder that can shoot in 4K. Some will want a picture option, while others just want pure video.
The important thing to take away from this article is that you can find great camcorders for a cheap price. If you are ready to get to shooting, we recommend trying out one of these camcorders and seeing if it works for you.