Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Best Low Light HD Camcorders – Comparison & Reviews 2014

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Best Low Light HD Camcorders – This is a roundup of camcorders that are best suited for low light conditions. Poor performance in low light is the number one complaint when using a camcorder. There are several factors that help in low light conditions. One is the size and type of imager (the chip(s) that light hits inside the camcorder). The other is the Lens. For imagers, larger is better. Canon, Panasonic, and Sony have some of the largest imagers available. Sony has a new light sensitive Exmor backlit imager, and Panasonic has 3MOS (3 imagers) made for low light. Fast bright lenses can help bring more light to the imager. Panasonic for 2014 has designed a new lens just for that purpose. Below are the top low light HD camcorders for comparision , review and useful features such as external microphone jacks. Sony for 2013-2014 has introduced a breakthrough technology, Balanced Optical SteadyShot™, which will greatly reduce image shake in low light conditions. Available on the Sony HDR-PJ810 (2014), and the 2013 HDR-PJ790V, the HDR-PJ650V , and the HDR-PJ430V, camcorders.

Best Low Light HD Camcorders
(Best rated with the best features and largest imagers)

Canon Vixia
HF G30
Panasonic
HC-X920
Sony Handycam HDR-PJ790V Sony Handycam HDR-PJ810
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20x optical zoom
Flash Memory
High Definition
3 megapixels
1/2.84-inch Imager
3.5-inch touchscreen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-2.8 Lens
- – -
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
- – -
EVF Viewfinder
Built-in WiFi
2013 Model
12x optical zoom
Flash Memory
High Definition
20.4 megapixels
3MOS 1/2.3-inch
(3 x 12.76mp)
3.5-inch touchscreen
External Mic Jack
f/1.5-2.8 Lens
1080p @ 60fps
1080p @ 24fps
3D Ready
EVF Viewfinder
2013 Model
Built-in WiFi
10x optical zoom
96GB Dual Flash
High Definition
24.1 megapixels
1/2.88-inch Imager
3.0-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-3.4 Lens
Built-in GPS
1080p @ 60fps
1080p @ 24fps
Built-in Projector
HDMI Projector Input
Elevated Microphone
Balanced Optical SteadyShot™
EVF Viewfinder
2013 Model
12x optical zoom
32GB Dual Flash
High Definition
20.1 megapixels
1/3.95-inch Imager
3.0-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-4.0 Lens
Built-in WiFi
1080p @ 60fps
1080p @ 24fps
Built-in Projector
HDMI Projector Input
- – -
Balanced Optical SteadyShot™
EVF Viewfinder
2014 Model

Best Low Light HD Camcorders
(Best rated with the best features and largest imagers)

Panasonic HC-V750K Panasonic HC-W850K Sony Handycam FDR-AX100 4K Sony Handycam HDR-CX430V
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20x optical zoom
Flash Memory
High Definition
24.0 megapixels
1/2.3″ MOS Imager
3.0-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-3.6 Lens
Built-in WIFI
1080p @ 120fps
1080p @ 60fps
2014 Model
20x optical zoom
Flash Memory
High Definition
24.0 megapixels
1/2.3″ MOS Imager
3.0-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-3.6 Lens
Built-in WIFI
1080p @ 120fps
1080p @ 60fps
2014 Model
NightVision
Twin Camera
12x optical zoom
Flash Memory
4K Ultra HD
20.1 megapixels
1-inch Imager
3.5-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/2.8-4.5 Lens
Built-in WIFI
29mm Wide Lens
1080p @ 24p, 30p, 60p
4K @ 24p, 30p
Optical Steadyshot®
EVF Viewfinder
2014 Model
Infrared NightShot®
30x optical zoom
32GB Dual Flash
High Definition
8.9 megapixels
1/3.91-inch Imager
3.0-inch screen
External Mic Jack
f/1.8-4.0 Lens
Built-in GPS
1080p @ 60fps
1080p @ 24fps
- – -
Balanced Optical SteadyShot™
2013 Model

Best Low Light Professional Camcorders
(Best features, imagers, and lenses)

Canon XA20 Professional Camcorder Canon Professional XA10 Panasonic Pro AG-HMC150 Sony HXR-NX30U Pro NXCAM HD Camcorder
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20x Optical Zoom
Flash Memory
High Definition
1/2.84-inch imager
3.5 inch OLED
Native 24p
XLR audio out
Infrared Night Vision
HDMI out
f1.8 – 2.8 Lens
26.8mm – 576mm
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
1080 @ 60fps
Built-in WiFi
MP4 Recording
10x Optical Zoom
64GB Dual Flash
High Definition
1/3-inch imager
3.5 inch LCD
Native 24p
XLR audio out
Infrared Night Vision
HDMI out
f1.8 – 2.8 Lens
30.4mm – 304mm
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
1080 @ 60i
13x wide angle 28mm Zoom Lens
Flash Memory
High Definition
3ccd 1/3-inch imagers
3.5 inch LCD
Native 24p
XLR audio
Time code
HDMI out
f1.6 – 3.0 Lens
28 – 368mm
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
1080 @ 60i
10x Optical Zoom
96GB Dual Flash
High Definition
1/2.88-inch imager
3.5 inch LCD
Native 24p
XLR audio out
Infrared NightShot®
HDMI out
f1.8 – 3.4 Lens
26.0mm – 260mm
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
1080p @ 60fps
Built-in Projector
Balanced Optical SteadyShot™


Related Article: CES 2014: Whats the latest in Camcorders for 2014

Glossary of Terms
Optical Zoom = This is the maximum zoom using the lens of the camcorder. A 10x zoom brings the action in about 10 times closer at its maximum.
Flash Memory = This refers to the way the camcorder records video. Flash memory camcorders normally record to memory cards (SDHC or Memory sticks if a Sony). There are some that have no card, and just have a fixed amount of internal memory such as the Flip Camcorders.
Dual Flash = This type of camcorder has both internal memory and can also record to memory cards.
Imager = This refers to the Imager of the camcorder, where the light hits from the lens. This is like the retina of the eye. The larger the imager, the better the quality of the video and better low light performance. High end camcorders generally have a larger imager. Larger is better. A 1/2.6-inch imager is double the size of a 1/5.2-inch imager.
Low Light Lenses = Larger and faster lenses allow more light in for greater low light sensitivity. Lenses with low f stop specifications are considered fast lenses. The camcorders on this page all have fast low light lenses with an f stop of f1.8 or lower (lower is better).
Megapixels = This refers to the camera function in the camcorder. This is the amount of megapixels available to take a snapshot picture while using the camcorder.
1080p 720p 60i 24p 60p video = camcorders can record video at various resolutions. Many can record at several different rates. 1080p is the current highest (blu-ray quality). 720p has about half the resolution of 1080p. Also keep in mind the frame rate of the video. Normal video is shot at 30fps (frames per second). 1080@60i is 60 interlaced frames, which is roughly equivalent to 1080p@30fps. Movie film is shot at 24fps (24p). Some camcorders can shoot at 60fps (60p) which will make the movie silky smooth and can be used for slow motion as well.
P2HD Flash = This refers a new flash media P2 Cards that are used on professional camcorders to record High Definition videos.
External Mic Jack = This means that this camcorder is equipped with an external microphone jack or terminal to input an external microphone. There are a wide range of external microphones to choose from including wireless, surround sound, and others. An external microphone will improve the sound recording of your video. It bypasses the built in microphones.
3D Ready = This means that this camcorder is capable of recording either normal HD video (2D) or can record in 3D with the use of an optional 3D Lens. Video can be played back on a 3D TV with 3D glasses.

Sony Balanced Optical Image Stabilization (click for video)

Balanced Optical SteadyShot™ = Sony for 2013-2014 introduced a new type of image stabilization that claims to be 13 times better at dampening camera shake than previous models. The sample footage looks extremely steady. This will allow you to zoom in on subjects without the typical bounce you see in videos, and can help in low light situations. It may replace a Steadycam for some situations. , and we feel it is a feature that will be much appreciated for handheld shots, especially in low light. Available on the Sony PJ810 (2014), Sony HDR-PJ790V (2013), the Sony HDR-PJ650V (2013), and the Sony HDR-PJ430V (2013) camcorders.
Built-in Projector = Sony for 2013-2014 has implemented a built-in projector on LCD door, which will allow you to project your videos onto a wall or other objects. This technology increased the light output of last year’s models, allowing up to a 100-inch video image.
EVF Viewfinder = Most camcorders today do not have a viewfinder, but use their LCD screen to compose video. However, some high end camcorders do have an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). The advantage of having an EVF is to use the viewfinder in bright sun, where the LCD may be hard to see.
HDMI Projector Input = The new 2014 Sony PJ810 , The 2013 Sony HDR-PJ790V has a mini HDMI projector input, so you can hookup your tablet, laptop, smartphone, or other device and project video, pictures, documents, games, and other content on your wall from your camcorder.
Elevated Microphone = The Sony HDR-PJ790V has a 5.1 channel Dolby surround sound microphone that is elevated above the camcorder body. This will give you much better sound, and avoid picking up extraneous sounds from the camcorder, such as autofocus, and handling noises. As the microphone is elevated, you can slip a wind deadening furry deadcat (included) over the microphone to reduce wind noise by 90% when outdoors.
Built-in WIFI = This feature allows your camcorder to send video over your WIFI network to the internet, transfer files, and on some models control the camcorder from a smart device such as a SmartPhone, tablet, or laptop.


Related Article: Best Flash Memory Camcorder Reviews and Comparison

Related Article: Best Professional Camcorder Reviews and Comparison


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