Browsing: Camera

Top 10 Best Camera Backpacks

A good camera backpack is more than just a way of moving around your gear. Great camera backpacks shield your stuff from the elements, organize things for efficient setup and takedown, and in general, they make photographers and videographers lives a whole lot easier. Sure, you could just use your old Jansport, but if you throw your $900 camera and $300 lenses into a bag that offers no protection and drop it or even bang it against something, you’re in a real bind. A camera backpack is insurance against your future mistakes and for your future success. For people who value their gear, having the right one is critical.

Some factors to consider here are: the amount of space you need, how much protection you want, whether you want a sling or a backpack, and how much weight you can stand to carry. If you’d like to browse through more options, shop additional camera backpacks on Amazon.

Here’s the Top Ten best camera backpacks you can find.


1. Amazon Basics: Functional, Affordable, ‘Basic’ally Great

amazon-basic-camera-bag-backpack

(Amazon)

Holding two small DSLR camera bodies, three or four lenses, and small accessories, the Amazon Basics backpack offers a lot of bang for your buck. The outside of the backpack has two side pockets– ideal for the little things like a remote, cellphone or memory card case.

The interior is lined with foam for extra protection for your precious gear. There’s a strap inside that allows one to keep their bigger items nice and snug.

The back-straps are heavily padded for those large loads. There’s even a chest strap (sure you look like a nerd, but these distribute the weight off your shoulders). In theory, you can fit a 13.3 inch laptop in it, but it’s very snug. There’s definitely better bags if you want to bring your PC or Mac along for the ride.

Price: $26.96 (10 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Amazon Basics Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Many pockets allow holding variety of things like batteries, remotes, and memory cards
  • Virtually weightless yet decent build quality
  • Excellent price considering the quality
  • Straps have great cushioning
  • Chest strap allows one to distribute weight

Cons:

  • A few users complained of top handle ripping out due to weak stitching
  • Bag may be too small for some as a primary camera bag
  • Some DSLR models may not be sufficiently protected due to bag’s small size
  • Large tripods may not be stable on bag when moving around rapidly (or hiking)


2. The Altura Sling Backpack (Perfect for Hikers)

camera-backpack-sling-best-photo

(Amazon)

For those carrying less weight and are more of the swingin’ slingin’ kind, the Altura Sling offers an affordable and stylish solution. This long-lasting travel bag is designed with the photographer on-the-go in mind. It holds a DSLR (or DSLR-sized camera) along with a standard zoom lens and/or flash unit. One of the biggest perks: you can access your gear easily while walking, just swing the bag around.

The interior has adjustable, padded dividers, and it’s a vibrant purple (chic!). The exterior allows fast access to the goods, and even has a monopod or tripod foot holder to allow you to strap one along for the ride. That said, it’s not recommended to lug anything but a small tripod or monopod in this configuration.

One nice benefit about this bag: the manufacturers offer a 90-day 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed warranty. So, if you have any issues, you can send it back.

Price: $39.99 (33 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Altura Sling Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Optional use of extra strap helps with stability when hiking
  • Great quality great
  • Ample configuration options
  • Some users love accessing the backpack from the back


Cons:

  • A few users complain of issues with stitching, a common issue in this price range
  • Large cameras (full-frame) may not be able to wear a battery grip and fit
  • Lack of velcro at the top of the pack limits security in upper area
  • Backpack is accessed through the pack which is awkward for some users

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3. USA Gear ‘Tank’ Backpack

usa-gear-camera-backpack

(Amazon)

This backpack is a beast. It’s capable of holding a DSLR, three or four lenses, a large accessory, a laptop, a small accessory, and a tripod all while looking like something that is bulletproof (It’s not). It comes with a rain cover and it has a luggage handle slot so you can let it ride on top of your luggage (like if you’re taking it to the airport).

Users praise its large size, ease-of-access to camera (it allows side and front access), and hefty shoulder straps. One owner of the bag stated in his Amazon review that he dropped the bag from almost three feet, fully loaded (over 21.5 lbs) and “nothing was broken or even moved.”

Note: The max laptop size is 15.6 inches and some users have complained that thick older laptops don’t fit.

Price: $49.99

Buy the USA Gear “Tank” Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Plenty of handles and nice shoulder straps
  • Many users praise side access of camera for convenience
  • Well-built and attractive look
  • Many pockets, large size, and soft-foam backing ensure comfort and versatility


Cons:

  • A few users complain that after long stretches of daily use, the backpack is structurally compromised
  • Single strap on back of backpack isn’t that stable for a tripod
  • One user said backpack is clearly made for men in terms of length and strap length
  • Laptop sleeve does not offer much protection


4. Evecase Convertible Backpack (For The Student Photographer)

eve-case-camera-backpack-convertible

(Amazon)

For those who want a camera backpack with the flexibility to become a school backpack, the Evecase Convertible may be the choice for you. Boasting many standard camera backpack perks such as the ability to hold one DSLR and two lenses, a rain cover, and two side pockets, this camera backpack lets you have it all. On top of that, it’s one of the best looking bags on this list. If you squint right, it almost looks like a Herschel bag.

The bag is divided into two halves. The top layer is “open” storage so one can put a large accessory there, an iPad, or anything that doesn’t need a lot of security. The bottom layer is for the camera and lenses and includes the removable foam padding. If one removes this and the separator between the top and bottom layer, voila! The camera backpack becomes a school backpack.

Price: $45.99 (77 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Evecase Convertible Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Strong material, classy unisex appearance
  • Many users praise excellent value of bag
  • Waterproof cover is high quality
  • Good construction and flexible partitioning

Cons:

  • Straps can become uncomfortable after long intervals
  • Buckles can make accessing things difficult
  • Some complain drawstring is unnecessary

5. Lowepro Slingshot 202 Backpack (For The Swingin’ Crowd)

Lowepro-slingshot-best-camera-backpack

(Amazon)

Lowepro is the gold standard for camera bags so while this backpack maybe on the pricey side, it looks sleek and will last a long time. It fits a small DSLR or mirrorless camera with an attached kit or zoom lens, three or four extra lenses or extra flashes and accessories. It can hold a small tripod. There’s also a “SlipLock” attachment loop that expands the carrying capacity by adding compatible pouches, cases, and bags.

Like other sling backpacks, it allows for one to rapidly swing it around their body to quickly access their gear. The bag also comes with a cover to protect it from rain and two built-in memory card pockets, on the inside lid of the main compartment for convenient access.

Price: $69.95 (6 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Lowepro Slingshot Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Ample pockets, extremely durable, well thought-out design
  • Side flap works effectively
  • Sling permits for rapid access
  • Comfortable to wear and allows easy access to gear

Cons:

  • Fully loaded, backpack is on the weighty side
  • Big enough to hold DSLR with battery grip
  • Tripod flap is a nice touch, but it’s not big enough for all tripods

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6. Case Logic Camera & Laptop Bag (The Ultimate Warranty Backpack)

case-logic-best-camera-backpack-laptop

(Amazon)

With a warranty the length of a mortgage (25 years), this backpack will last you. The interior is fully customizable allowing one to move around the foam inserts as they please. The bag also has a unique hammock system which suspends the camera above the bottom of the case, meaning that it’s that much safer from a hard drop. Keep your laptop in tow as well (up to 17 inches).

There is foam on the inside of the lid to help protect your laptop screen, four pockets for keeping small items, and a side hook-n-loop to hold one’s tripod. The base is waterproof and lets the case stand up on its own.

All in all, this is a very strong choice for a laptop and camera backpack. While it’s on the expensive side, the quality is concomitant with the price.

Price: $84.98

Buy the Case Logic Camera & Laptop Bag here.

Pros:

  • Durable, thoughtfully designed, and has a rigid, waterproof base
  • While thick, height isn’t overly tall; wearable by either man or woman
  • Memory foam is a nice touch
  • Easy access to camera from top of the bag
  • Mesh covered straps are breathable.
  • Laptop compartment offers ample padding

Cons:

  • Rain flap could be useful
  • Carrying handle is lower quality and less durable than rest of bag
  • No waist strap
  • Camera hammock isn’t that big, some users may have issues with access

7. Lowepro Fastpack 350 DSLR Camera & Laptop Backpack (For A Safe Everything)

lowepro-fastpack-350-best-camera-backpack

(Amazon)

The Fastpack 350 fits a DSLR or smaller with a grip with a big lens attach, two or three extra lenses, or a flash unit. You can also bring a 17 inches laptop along; it has additional padding for your PC.

It has a padded camera compartment with full 180-degree access and adjustable internal padding. The side entry is always a handy feature, allowing you to get at the bag from different angles.

It has a built-in pocket for holding your memory cards and the shoulder straps are contoured to help distribute weight evenly. They’re also made with Dryflow fabric to help improve their breathability. The mesh side pocket is a nice extra touch- letting you put a little something extra in one of the side pockets.

Price: $84.85

Buy the Lowepro Fastpack 350 DSLR Camera & Laptop Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Plenty of space for accessories with thorough padding
  • Many pockets for memory cards, batteries, and other small accessories
  • Laptop is easy to slip in and out

Cons:

  • Camera compartment access can be awkward
  • Not enough velcro side panels to modify shape of interior
  • No place to attach a tripod or monopod

8. AmazonBasics Convertible Rolling Camera Backpack (The ‘No More Backaches’)

best-camera-laptop-backpack-bag-rolling

(Amazon)

It’s a rolling case, camera backpack, and airplane carry-on all in one. While a rolling backpack isn’t for all users, those with heavy loads know the massive strain caused by heavy gear, and the massive relief provided with the option to roll your stuff. And these are no dinky wheels; they’re rollerblade-quality so you know they’re smooth.

This robust bag holds a 17-inch laptop, a full DSLR with attached lens and has 11 additional configurable compartments for things like chargers, batteries, filters, and more lenses.

It also has a side strap for a tripod and includes a rain cover.

Price: $139.95

Buy the AmazonBasics Convertible Rolling Camera Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Many users praise value for build quality and large size
  • The handle is extra long (21 inches) meaning it’s great for a tall person
  • Rolls easily and smoothly, allowing user to carry less weight
  • Excellent padding with configurable interior
  • Side strap to hold tripod/monopod

Cons:

  • Some users complain of having to wiggle down the telescoping handle
  • Backpack itself on the heavy side at nine pounds
  • Large size means bag is not only heavy, but bulky

9. ‘The Trendy’ Manfrotto Camera & Laptop Backpack

manfrotto-camera-backpack-bag

(Amazon)

Manfrotto is a legendary camera brand and it’s one of the best looking backpacks of the bunch. This street medium backpack holds a DSLR with attached zoom lens, has a padded back panel, and internal laptop compartment (big enough to hold a 15 inch laptop). The shoulder straps are adjustable. It’s praised for how well built it is and its solid construction.

There’s also a tripod attachment and chest strap, but some users complain about their quality. If one is looking to carry more weight or anything but small tripods, the Case Logic SLR bag (number six on this list) is a better choice.

Price: $139.88

Buy the Manfrotto Camera Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Backpack has many pockets
  • It’s light and good-looking
  • Many users praise the backpacks comfort, durability, and look

Cons:

  • Not the biggest bag, only fits a basic camera set, 15 inch laptop
  • A few users feel that it’s not recommended for fragile gear
  • The way it carries a tripod can be uncomfortable for some users

10. Thule Covert DSLR & Laptop Backpack AKA The Hummer of Backpacks

best-camera-backpack-thule

(Amazon)

Dual density padded bottom, highly water-resistant, secure, beautiful, what’s not to like? This is the SUV of camera backpacks, perhaps with a bit more grace. It’s heavy and huge. That said, for people who need this kind of flexibility and protection, it’s the only real choice. Security-wise, one has to undo two buckles just to get to anything, and weight-wise, the bag comes in at 6.8 pounds.

One minor caveat in terms of laptops, the bag will only fit a 15 inch laptop. Beyond that, however, the storage capacity is large. It holds an SLR with attached lens and two additional lenses with flash. According to the manufacturer, the divider system was inspired by “Origami.”

Price: $199.95

Pros:

  • Large interior (bigger than almost all users need), extremely durable, and secure
  • Straightforward conversion from camera bag to standard backpack
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Some users love ability to side-load equipment

Cons:

  • Some users complains of “double clips” making access more difficult than necessary
  • For smaller or short users, bag is too heavy and large
  • A few users complain of how backpack rests; it puts a lot of weight on one’s shoulders

Buy the Thule Covert DSLR Backpack here.


Not a fan of any of these models? Check out additional camera backpacks on Amazon.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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GH5 vs. Sony A7S II: What’s the Best Video Camera?

There’s never been a better time to make films. If you have a budget of $2,000-$2,600, there are two serious heavyweights to choose from for your video needs. On the one hand, Sony’s entrenched A7S II, a camera most known for its incredible low-light performance. On the other hand, the Lumix GH5, Panasonic’s powerhouse boasting several features unheard of in this price range and well above it, namely a 10-bit codec and soon, 6K video. If you’re already leaning GH5 because of its lower cost, then this will probably be your best bet: the price difference widens once you account for lenses. That said, for some users, the A7S II proves you get what you pay for.

If you’ve decided to buy yourself a camera in this price range, you should be serious about not just videography, but the craft of filmmaking. Neither of these cameras is practical nor straightforward to use at their full capacities. There’s plenty of things that make using either of these cameras challenging: 4K camera file sizes are huge. Shooting video on small, mirrorless cameras can be hard on your hands as they’re not particularly ergonomic. If you need high-quality sound, you will need external equipment to both capture and record audio that matches the quality of either camera’s video.

That said, if one is willing to learn how to use either of these tools, in ideal conditions, the video they capture can be cut with footage from far more expensive cameras including Canon’s C300, the Red Scarlet, and even Arri cameras.

Each camera is impressive in its own right, but let’s get straight to what matters most: what kinds of video you can take and how it looks.


1. A7S II vs GH5: Footage Quality

a7s ii gh5 footage quality dynamic range iso

Screenshot of a GH5 video footage test from YouTuber Jesus Mendez next to screenshot of an A7S II video test from YouTuber Iván Lozano.


Recording Options
Each camera offers many recording options. Both record 120fps (frames per second) up to 1080p, but the GH5 also shoots 180fps 1080p. Similarly, both shoot 4K at 30fps, but the GH4 shoots 4k at 60fps. If slow motion footage is your priority, then the GH5 is a clear winner.

High ISO & Low Light Footage
Let’s drill down into the quality of the footage. In low light, the A7S II excels. The A7s II shoots with its highest dynamic range at 3200 ISO. It can shoot reasonably clean up to 20,000 ISO.

A7S II low light high iso

The A7S II can see where the human eye cannot. (Screenshot from a low-light ISO test video by Sony)


The GH5 can to some extent “see in the dark,” but at 6400 ISO (0:18 in the video below), one can see the noise becoming very pronounced. Note: One must be watching video at full resolution to see the noise due to YouTube compression.


Therefore, the GH5 can shoot reasonably clean up to 3200 ISO. This is a huge difference. If one is shooting without lights or wants to be sure they can always capture clean video of a moment, no matter the available lighting, the A7S II is a better choice.

Dynamic Range
A third important factor is dynamic range and the winner here is the A7S II, but not by a significant margin. When a camera has high dynamic range, it allows for shots that have clear shadows (darkest parts of an image), and clear highlights (brightest parts of an image). Both cameras will allow for log shooting, allowing users to maximize dynamic range by shooting a flat image. The A7S II includes two log formats each with their strengths, Slog2 and Slog3. The GH5 has V-Log which will be available for $100 via Panasonic’s website. While dynamic range tests of the GH5 are unavailable, Panasonic’s M. Uematsu says in this interview with Cinema5D, “about dynamic range, when compared to the GH4, it’s slightly better, but not by much I think.”

Looking to DXOmark, a top source for various objective parameters of camera performance, one can glimpse a more scientific picture. GH5 results are not in yet, but the GH4’s dynamic range rating is 12.8 exposure values (ev), while the A7S II’s rating is 13.3ev. Based on M. Uematsu’s quote, it seems safe to say that the A7S II has slightly higher dynamic range. Note: DXOmark rates cameras based on their capturing of still images not videos. Still, these measurements reflect the capability of the sensor even if the application isn’t identical.

Color Depth
Color depth is another factor and the GH5 is capable of recording 10-bit footage unlike the A7S II. This is a huge selling point as it is the first in its class to do so.

gh5 8 bit 10 bit test

Observe the top image and note how the 8-bit, graded footage has less available tones and thus became blocky. (Juxtaposed screenshots of 8 bit vs 10 bit test by YouTuber, Slashvid)


Many have pointed out that the above footage isn’t an accurate representation because it is an “extreme grade,” but this is primarily what increased bit depth provides: more information for coloring. 10-bits of color guarantees flexibility in post because it captures more specific color detail. That said, it does not increase the dynamic range of the camera. It increases the total available colors within the dynamic range. To explain in coarse terms, the 10-bit color permits one to see the difference between an evenly lit magenta and pink, but it doesn’t let you see the difference between a magenta lit by only a candle and a pink lit by the sun- that’s dynamic range.

gh5-a7s ii-dynamic range-color-log

The GH5’s 10-bit recording permits for less banding, but the overall dynamic range of the cameras is similar. (Screencap of GH5 YouTube video by Jesus Mendez next to screencap of A7S II YouTube video by Mankind Films)


Rolling Shutter
Another factor in footage quality is “rolling shutter.” Rolling shutter is caused by having a sensor read out that is not global (all at once). Since some lines are scanned later than others, they receive different information. This leads to skewed images. That said, this problem is more pronounced on full frame sensors (like the A7S II) than much smaller sensors like the GH5.

On the GH4, only extreme movement was an issue (you can check out this YouTube video of GH4 recording while being rapidly moved back and forth to see this for yourself). Since the GH4 and GH5 have the same size sensor, it is likely they will have similar rolling shutter performance.

Below see A7S II footage to have an idea of its rolling shutter issues. For fast or even medium speed panning, it becomes noticeable. That said, if one shoots in 1080p on the A7S II, this dramatically reduces the rolling shutter. See an A7S II rolling shutter test below.


Sensor Size (Depth of Field)
A final factor is sensor size. The A7S II has a full frame sensor while the GH5 has a Micro Four Thirds sensor. This means that achieving shallow depth-of-field (DOF) will be easier on an A7SII than a GH5. For instance, shooting at f4 on an A7SII will give one some sense of depth, but to achieve that on a GH5 one would have to shoot at f2. This can also prove advantageous, however, since shooting with extremely shallow depth of field can be less preferable than shooting with more light. It also means that shooting at f4 on a GH5 is like shooting at f8 with an A7S II. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your tastes. For those who don’t like shooting with shallow depth-of-field, the GH5’s properties in this right help shield it against the A7S II’s low-light advantage; an A7S II may be able to shoot at 25,000 ISO, but in order to get a sharp shot, the lens will need to be at f5.6. While the GH5 will be stuck at 3200, it can shoot at f2 with similar DOF. If you want to learn more about sensor size and depth of field, try experimenting with CambridgeInColour.com’s calculator.

Both cameras offer professional video camera features like focus peaking, zebras and a variety of color profiles.

Overall, each camera offers different things. The GH5 offers more capture options with greater color depth (10-bit) while the A7S II offers unparalleled low light capability and slightly better dynamic range.

Note: Cinema5D reports that Panasonic plans on adding several other features into the GH5’s repertoire by Summer 2017 including 6K anamorphic video, and FHD 200mbps and 10bit 400mbps all-intraframe recording. The former will increase the max resolution and the latter will allow for more extreme grading in an intraframe codec (codecs that do not interpolate between frames capture motion more accurately). This will only expand the GH5’s lead in terms of capture options. It will not likely impact any other factors discussed, however. Currently, the A7S II shoots 100mbps 4k, while the GH5 will start with 150mbps. The GH5 is also slated to add HDR recording, reports 4K.com. Since no details nor footage have been released, this factor was not considered.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


2. A7S II vs GH5: Viewfinder & Screen

gh5 a7sii screen rotate

The GH5’s screen allows for selfies while the A7S II’s does not. (Amazon)


The GH5’s screen rotates as seen above and has a resolution of 1.62 million dots. The A7S II screen only pops out and tilts up and down and has a resolution of 1.2 million dots. Note that a pixel is constructed of three dots, as explained in this TechCrunch article.

Both cameras are mirrorless and hence looking through the viewfinder means looking at a digital screen. The GH5’s viewfinder has 3.68 million dots and The Verge said that “it’s a joy to look through.” The A7S II’s viewfinder has 2.4 million dots, significantly less.

Note that neither cameras’ viewfinders or displays lets you view the footage you are capturing anywhere near its real quality. In order to do this, one would need a high resolution external display, such as the Pangshi S7, a 1080P display that works with either camera’s output HDMI port. Even this display is still only showing one quarter of the resolution that 4k captures. That said, the viewfinder and on-camera display should give you an accurate if imprecise idea of the image you are capturing. Using focus-peaking, it is not difficult to achieve a sharp image.

For YouTubers and other selfie-inclined folks, a fully articulated screen may seal the deal for the GH5. In general, the articulated screen can be nice for capturing original and strange angles, such as holding the camera above your head, or filming from on the ground.

Overall, the GH5 has a large advantage in this department. Its viewfinder and screen have more detail. The articulating screen is also handy for many use cases.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


3. A7S II vs GH5: Photography & Stills


In terms of features, the GH5 excels in this right in a similar manner to its video capabilities: it allows for more capturing options. The A7S II has better low light performance, but this difference is not as pronounced with photography.

The GH5 can capture photographs much faster than the A7S 2 (12fps compared to 5fps) and it has almost twice as much detail (20 megapixels compared to 12, as many megapixels as an iPhone 7‘s camera). In addition, the GH5 has a buffer of 100 photos even when shooting in RAW. Another feature the GH5 has that the A7S II does not is that one can shoot “video” that then allows the user to extract 18-megapixel stills, reports The Verge.

The A7S II shoots in RAW, but it lacks similar features in terms of buffering and speed. The A7S II’s low-light abilities are also shockingly restricted with photography. While it does allow capturing at high ISOs, photographs captured above even 6400 show visible noise (Gizmodo) unlike video recorded with the A7S II. One can see a variety of images at different ISOs and in different conditions at ImagingResource.com for both the A7S II and the GH5.

If shooting high-quality photos at a fast rate is important for you, then the GH5 will prove a better choice. Note that image below is from an unknown camera, but illustrative of the kinds of precisely-timed images high frame rate cameras like the GH5 allow one to capture.


Again, the A7S II is a superior choice for low-light flexibility, but here the edge is less than with video. The A7S II’s amazing low light abilities are most pronounced when shooting video. You can see grain starting at 6400 ISO on these images from ImagingResource.com.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


4. A7S II vs GH5: Auto-Focus, Stabilization, & Lenses

a7s ii, a7s2, best mirrorless, side view, camera

(Sony)


Autofocus
Both cameras have auto-focus abilities. The A7S II is not regarded as auto-focusing particularly fast (according to MirrorlessComparison.com) nor accurately for video; most shooters will prefer to use manual focus. Moreover, autofocus on the A7S II requires expensive lenses.

According to Panasonic, the GH5 will autofocus twice as fast as the GH4 reports The Verge. The GH4 has reasonably quick autofocus performance, even in 4K. The GH5 has considerably better autofocus at a cheaper price.

Stabilization
Both cameras feature five-axis, in-camera stabilization. Panasonic claims that the GH5’s IS (image stabilization) can compensate for five stops of shutter speed. Sony makes a similar claim.

The GH5’s internal stabilization coupled with Leica’s new 12-60mm f2.8-4 (coming in late March for $999 (dpreview.com) optical stabilization almost adds enough stability to make walking footage smooth.


Lenses
The Sony uses e-mount lenses, but it is not compatible with all of them. Many Sony shooters purchase a Metabones adapter which allows aperture and focus control on Canon (or other) lenses.

The GH5 uses a Micro Four Thirds mount which has a wide array of affordable and effective lenses. As discussed in the price section, the GH5 can also use a Speedbooster, which allows it to use EF (Canon) lenses and to gain more sensitivity to light.

The price savings on lenses is reduced if one intends to shoot with manual-focus lenses. For instance, a Rokinon f1.5 85mm lens costs $299 for the A7S II . The same lens for the GH5 (Micro Four Thirds Mount) costs $269. Note that 85mm on an A7S II is a tight, telephoto shot. On a MFT camera like the GH5, it is the equivalent of a 170mm lens, extremely close-up.

The GH5 has superior auto-focus, comparable stabilization, and more affordable auto-focus and zoom lenses. Manually-focusing, prime lenses are similar in price for each camera.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


5. A7S II vs GH5: Price


The GH5 is a clear winner in regard to price because the body and lenses are cheaper. The body of a GH5 currently costs around $1,997.99 (Amazon) while an A7S II body costs about $2,698 (Amazon). A GH5 with a 25mm 1.7f lens with autofocus will run you $2247. An A7S II with the cheapest possible auto-focus lens (Sony FE 50mm 1.8 ) is around $2,800. That said, if one is trying to improve the low light performance of the GH5, its price becomes comparable to the A7S II.

The Metabones Speed Booster Ultra lets one use Canon EF lenses on the GH5’s Micro Four-Thirds mount. It costs $649.99, while retaining auto-focus and aperture adjustment of any attached Canon lenses. It will allow a GH5 to shoot clean at 6400 ISO. Note that this ISO sensitivity is nowhere near the A7S II’s max clean ISO of ~20,000, but given a fast lens (such as the Canon 50mm 1.8f, $125) it will permit shooting in many low light environments. That said, not every Canon lens will focus effectively or quickly with the Speedbooster.

Similar adapters can be purchased from Amazon.com for the A7S II but due to its larger sensor size, speed boosting is not possible. Canon is widely considered to be the standard for lens selection. Sony lenses are extremely expensive, but for someone looking for versatility when shooting (zoomability, auto-focus), they can be a strong choice.

Both cameras write to SD cards and for most professional shooting needs will require external audio recorders and microphones. Note: One must use special high-speed SD cards due to the huge amount of data coming off the cards. The most affordable 64GB card (PNY, Elite Performance) that will write the highest quality footage for the A7S II is $24.99 on Amazon.

For most users and use cases, the GH5 is the more affordable option.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


6. A7S II vs GH5: Other Details


The devil is in the details, but for most people, these are things that either won’t be that important or where the edge is slight.

The A7S II has a limit of 29:59 per video clip. This could be annoying for some users; the GH5 has no such limit. They weigh similarly, but the A7S’ lenses are larger so it may be noticeably heavier depending on the lens. The cameras have similar battery life. CameraDecision.com says as measured by stills, the GH5 gets slightly more shots per battery: 410 to the A7S II’s 370. The GH5 can record time-lapses out of the box. The A7S II needs an app that costs $9.99 on Sony’s Play Memories store. The GH5 also has two memory card slots instead of one like the A7S II. This feature permits for automatic back-up recording, relaying (when one card is full, the camera switches to the other card seamlessly), and hot-swapping (changing out of a memory card while the other card continues recording), according to Cinema5d.

For most, none of these details will be deal-breakers, but the GH5 does have many tiny perks that lean in its favor: longer battery life, unrestricted clip length, and time-lapses out of the box. For the paranoid, having two memory slots and the option to record duplicate footage may cause effective anxiety relief.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.


7. A7S II vs GH5: Summary

a7s-ii-gh5-comparison-camera-best

(Amazon)

For those who don’t prioritize flexibility with lighting, the GH5 offers more value. It shoots more ways at a lower price and within reasonable operating parameters in terms of ISO. The lenses are more affordable. Due to its small sensor size, it allows for more shots with everything in focus. The GH5 is ideal for video-makers of all kinds, especially YouTubers. It is a very flexible camera that offers many awesome recording options and will work for most scenarios. It has less issues with rolling shutter.

That said, if late-night “run and gun” filmmaking is your calling, if you own small lights or none, and if you want to be able capture every moment confident that you’ll have the gear to do the job, the A7S II offers unmatched low light sensitivity. In the end, cameras aim to do one thing: capture light. When it comes to catching every last photon, the A7S II is a tool that is up to the task. If you are not shooting in daylight or environments where you control the lighting, then the A7S II buys ultimate peace of mind. It also buys slightly more dynamic range for that extra edge toward a filmic look.

Both cameras are top of their class but excel in different ways. If you’re still on the fence about which is the camera for you, an important thing to remember is that these cameras are more similar than they are different. They both offer professional, stunning motion picture and images at extremely high resolutions. They’re both amazing devices. Get out there and shoot.

Buy the Sony A7S II here.

Buy the Panasonic GH5 here.

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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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Top 10 Best Compact Cameras Under $200

(Amazon)

No matter what kind of videographer or photographer you are, there are situations where compact cameras come in handy. Going further than that, there are some situations where compact cameras are just as good as bigger, more expensive cameras, namely in daylight. In fact, one great reason to buy a small camera like this is that for a low price, you can get a huge amount of zoom power that’s effective in situations under the sun or in well-lit environments. This is because compact cameras have small sensors and don’t need huge, expensive lenses to see much farther than the human eye.

Here’s some other reasons you may want a compact camera: to bring into places where bigger cameras aren’t allowed (concerts, Disney World, etc), to capture moments quickly (almost always more quickly than a phone camera, no “slide to unlock” here), and to own a device that lets you focus on one thing: recording video and stills. $200 is a formidable budget for a camera of this type whether you’re shooting video or stills.

Let’s take a look at the best compact cameras.


1. Sony Cybershot X220

sony-cybershot x220, best compact cameras, top compact digital cameras

(Amazon)

This is one tiny camera you don’t want to miss. Boasting lightning-fast FPS at ten frames per second (FPS) and liquid smooth HD video with 1080p at 60fps, this is a pocket cannon that is bound to please. For all those friends who will pose the classic compact camera question, “Why don’t you just use your phone?” This camera answers firmly, “10x optical zoom. 50 percent more resolution.”

Not that everything’s perfect for everyone, some users report that this camera is tough to use, particularly those with big fingers. That said, most report finding it simple. It’s praised for its compatibility with vlogging, and extensive feature list (three to five image sizes, adjustable color temperature, and panoramas). For people who like slideshows, this camera also outputs full 4K to a television or monitor so you can show off your shots on the big screen.

Price: $198

Buy the Sony Cybershot here.



Pros:

  • Extremely compact, some compared it to a credit card
  • Camera is simple and straightforward
  • Takes better pictures than a cell phone, allows one to zoom
  • Records 1080p at 60 frames per second


Cons:

  • Small size makes navigating menus difficult for users with large fingers
  • Some users found menus to be unclear
  • Low light quality is better than a cell phone, but some users report expecting more

Price: $198

Buy the Sony Cybershot here.



2. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS

canon-powershot-elph, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

Boasting 10x zoom, a 20 megapixel sensor, and 720p video recording, this is one little camera you don’t want to snooze on. It boasts a wide array of features including image stabilization (hence the IS), a variety of scene modes, smart auto, and you can download a Canon app which can trigger the camera without touching it. You can also use Wi-Fi to sync up your photos and share them.

This camera is great if you want to take simple shots and immediately integrate them with a phone. Many praise its ease of use and speed in going from out of your pocket to capturing the moments you want. It is a point-and-shoot in the truest sense of the term: simple, fast, and effortless.

Price: $159

Buy the Canon PowerShot ELPH here.



Pros:

  • Many praise battery life and photo quality
  • Ergonomically designed and easy to hold
  • Wi-Fi feature is useful once you set it up
  • Pictures are clear and beautiful
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • A few users mentioned issues with focusing while zooming and using video
  • Some users complain construction feels cheap
  • Wi-fi feature is hard to set up

Find out more Canon Powershot ELPH information and reviews here.


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3. Ghost Hunting Camera

cleveland-haunted, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

For someone looking for something a little different, the Ghost Hunting Camera may be what you’re after. While it won’t offer any of the conventional modes or features of normal photography cameras, it will let you take 24 megapixel pictures. It’s not the smallest camera on our list, but it should easily fit into a back pocket or jacket pocket.

Onto the exciting part: it lets you record ghosts or people playing soccer, and everything in between. This camcorder excels with video, shooting 1080p at 30 frames per second. It has a switch that permits the user go between full spectrum (normal mode) or into infrared mode (mode that lets you see in the dark or record ghosts if any are around). The one big drawback to these cool features is that the camera’s battery life only lasts an hour.

If you’re looking for an adventure and don’t need all of the features of a normal stills camera, this camcorder might offer you one heck of a good time.

Price: $199

Buy the Ghost Hunting Camera here.



Pros:

  • Films in two modes: normal and infrared, permitting to see in the dark
  • Takes 24 megapixel pictures in either mode
  • Three inch view screen lets you see what you’re recording
  • Recommended by people who hunt ghosts as being a good value

Cons:

  • Short battery life of about one hour
  • No conventional photography features
  • On-board infrared (invisible) light isn’t very bright meaning you can’t see far in the dark
  • Some users find image quality poor

Find more Ghost Hunting Camera information and reviews here.


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4. Nikon Coolpix L32

Nikon-Coolpix-L32, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

If you’re looking for a simple, fun camera the Coolpix L32 is the one for you. It takes just regular AA batteries and offers a 5x zoom. This red cam is the perfect gift for a kid with an interest in photos, or for the practical person who never wants to worry about charging batteries. Boasting a large three inch LCD and 720P video recording, it’s a feature set well-rounded enough to please most people and at a price that’s hard to beat.

It also has built-in effects and a smart portrait mode. Plus, there’s an anti-red eye lamp that prevents those obnoxious raccoon eyes from ruining photos. The camera includes two AAs and a strap to keep it safe when in use.

Price: $153.45

Buy the Nikon Coolpix L32 here.



Pros:

  • Attractive red, playful design
  • 320 shots of battery life, taking AA batteries
  • Great camera for those looking for something simple and easy
  • Multiple effect modes and smart portrait feature

Cons:

  • Some users complain of image quality when using zoom feature
  • Does not upload or sync to computers or smartphones, must be plugged in through USB

Find out more about the Nikon Coolpix L32 here.


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5. Sony DSCW830

Sony-DSCW830, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

Not the fastest gun in the west, but for the slow and steady, this camera delivers. The DSCW830 is a budget Sony compact with 8x optical zoom. The worst thing one can say about it is that it’s not very responsive when shooting pictures. For those looking to catch lightning fast-moments, those exact split seconds, this is not the camera for you. For everyone else, it’s superb.

Boasting many features including tracking focus, live view, and face detection, it’s able to help you grab the pictures you want. At 20.1 megapixels, these pictures can stand to be blown up and are sharp as a tack. The camera’s tiny size means it’s easy to bring along with you no matter the situation.

Price: $139.95

Buy the Sony DSCW830 here.



Pros:

  • Shoots nice 20.1 megapixel stills
  • Boasts different focus modes and picture effects
  • Optical SteadyShot helps keep your photos sharp
  • Shoots 720P video with sound

Cons:

  • Camera is slow to take a picture
  • Some users complain battery life is on the short side
  • A few users report poor image quality

Find more Sony DSCW830 information and reviews here.


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6. Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom

Kodak-PIXPRO-Astro-Zoom, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

For those looking to get close to the action, the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom may be the choice for you. While it’s definitely got its limits (namely for anything indoors or low light), there are few cameras in this price range and size (relatively compact) that permit one to zoom this much (for instance, the last camera on our list zooms farther and has better images, but it’s more expensive).

The camera also offers several interesting, unique features including: face detection that works for cats and dogs, face beautifier, and blink/smile detection to help aid in capturing those fleeting moments of smiles (fake or otherwise). The camera also has a panorama mode.

Price: $146.85 (18 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom here.



The video above shows off the fun you can have with the 25x zoom feature on this camera.


Pros:

  • Camera boasts tremendous zoom power
  • Great for outdoor shots
  • Takes AA batteries so you never have to worry about charging
  • Can detect dog and cat faces and focus on them (albeit slowly)

Cons:

  • Some users say focus doesn’t work when zooming
  • Low-light ability is very poor, including focusing; you’ll need to use flash
  • Noticeable shutter delay means you can miss those quick moments

Find more Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom information and reviews here.


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7. Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

For the budget-minded photog looking for a simple solution, the PIXPRO Friendly Zoom has got you covered. Boasting 4x zoom, a variety of modes, and a look that says, “I’m practical and easy,” this is the ideal camera for those looking for a cheap, simple photography solution.

It’s a no-frills camera, but it covers all of the bases: it records video. It zooms. It has enough modes to capture any kind of moment (including sports, so you can catch quick movements). At this price, it’s a great value particularly for beginners and those looking for the basics.

Price: $74.34 (7 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom here.



Pros:

  • 4x optical zoom means you can get close-ish to the action
  • Easy to use with a variety of modes
  • Large screen allows one to view their photos

Cons:

  • Takes AAs, but many users complain of it going through them quickly
  • Will consume batteries even when not in use
  • A few users found it confusing to use

Find more Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom information and reviews here.


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8. Apple iPhone 5S

iphone 5s, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

While technically this is not a camera, the iPhone 5S has a camera that is very decent. Boasting 8 megapixels and full 1080P video recording, what you lose in megapixels you make up for in recording options. The iPhone 5S lets one record slow-motion 120 frames per second video. This is unique in this price range.

The iPhone 5S is also very small. Battery life is decent, and it comes with all the goodness an iPhone allows: apps, flashlight, and yes, a second camera (the selfie camera on the front). It may not be what you had in mind when you thought about compact cameras, but it can make a great gift for the photography-minded.

Note: Just above this price, one could also buy an iPod Touch 6 ($199.99 on Amazon), but AppleInsider compared the iPhone 5S and iPod Touch 6 and concluded, “for camera enthusiasts, we’re going to have to give the edge to the iPhone 5s.”

Price: $194

Buy the Apple iPhone 5S here.



Pros:

  • Decent camera with capable and easy-to-use device
  • No memory card needed; the iPhone 5S has ample onboard storage
  • Slow-mo video is a rare feature in this price range

Cons:

  • Camera has low megapixels compared to other cameras in this price range
  • Built-in memory means you’re limited to what can fit on the phone, but at 16GB this is quite a lot
  • Relatively complicated compared to other devices
  • No zoom (digital only, which doesn’t permit for more detail)

Find more Apple iPhone 5S information and reviews here.


9. Sony DSCW800

Sony-DSCW800, best compact cameraa, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

With 20 megapixels and 5x zoom, this is a powerful Sony camera. It records 720P video and has special features like Panorama mode, which can capture a sweeping 360 degrees.”Smile Shutter,” another unique feature, automatically captures smiles.

The camera also has SteadyShot Image Stabilization and excellent auto modes, meaning you can always grab the moments you want without doing too much work. If even that seems overwhelming, one popular aspect of this camera is the “Simple” mode, which makes everything as easy as it can be.

Price: $144.86

Buy the Sony DSCW800 here.



Pros:

  • 20.1 megapixels and 5x optical zoom mean your moments can be close-up and detailed
  • Menu has a simple mode to keep things super easy
  • Captures video in 720P
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Struggles with noise and focus in low light
  • Uses proprietary charging cable meaning you better not lose the cord
  • Some users complain about battery latch being insecure

Find more Sony DSCW800 information and reviews here.


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10. Nikon Coolpix L340

Nikon-Coolpix-L340, best compact camera, top compact cameras under $200

(Amazon)

If this camera is in your price range and compactness isn’t a major factor, this still small (yet DSLR like) camera will blow you away. Boasting 28x optical zoom and 20.2 megapixels, one can get extremely close to the action with amazing detail. This is the point and shoot camera you are looking for.

Unlike most cameras in this price range, it can handle low light decently and autofocuses well in many environments. Unlike most cameras in this price range, it bizarrely takes four AA batteries (but they last a long time). Unlike many cameras in this price range, this camera blows the rest of them out of the water. This camera might even work as a suitable B-camera for those who own a nice DSLR, but don’t want to invest in a huge zoom lens. 28x magnification is hard to beat.

Price: $178.99

Buy the Nikon Coolpix L340 here.



Pros:

  • 28x optical zoom has amazing quality
  • Use AA batteries (four) but lasts over 300 shots
  • Does decent in low light photos (but there is visible noise starting at ISO 400
  • Takes 720P video

Cons:

  • Uses four AA batteries (that adds up)
  • Focus is slow but only for macro images
  • No advanced video recording features, 30 frames per second only
  • One second delay in recording video

Find more Nikon Coolpix L340 information and reviews here.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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Top 10 Best Cheap Camcorders

In this day and age, you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to get high-quality recordings of your life’s memories. We live in a time where 1080P (HD) is the standard. Fortunately, this resolution does not come at a high price. For the most part, these cameras will record great video in almost any situation. Though, as with most cameras at this price range, they will struggle with low-light situations such as in a dim room, or at night. Beyond that, however, for daylight situations, you simply don’t need to need to spend a lot of cash to get a great camcorder.

Gone are the days of DV, tapes, and clunky analog recordings. These camcorders all record to solid state media, meaning you can take their memory cards right out of the camera and into your computer to upload to YouTube, Facebook, or your personal cloud storage. It’s never been a better time to shoot video on a budget.

Here are ten of our favorite cheap camcorders.


1. Panasonic HC-V180K

Panasonic HC-V180K, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

This camera is perfect for someone looking to recording outdoor events with flexible zoom options. It has great battery life and it’s tiny. The image stabilization and zoom are ridiculous; it’s hard to imagine a situation where 50x zoom won’t be enough.

It also boasts a couple of less common features like a stereo microphone with acceptable quality sound and full touch screen functionality, which can be a help or a hindrance depending on your preferences. All in all, it’s a great budget camera for those looking to film outdoors from a distance, particularly sports.

Price: $227

Buy the Panasonic HC-V180K here.



Pros:

  • Camera is small and light
  • Video is sharp and allows for relatively stable 50x zooming (optical)
  • Battery life is great, at least two hours of recording
  • Takes ten megapixel stills


Cons:

  • Lacks buttons for playback control; it’s all touch screen
  • No viewfinder means you’re limited to using the screen
  • Audio quality is only acceptable

Find more Panasonic HC-V180K information and reviews here.


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2. Canon VIXIA HF R700

Canon VIXIA HF R700, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

For a small, light, and fast solution, the R700 is very hard to beat. This Canon camera may have a small sensors, but it packs a big punch. This model stands out of the crowd with its liquid-smooth 1080P 60FPS recording. While most camcorders record 30FPS or 24FPS, 60 frames per second means that you can slow down footage to half-speed and it will still look great. At normal speed, it just looks plain smooth.

This camera has a ton of conventional perks including long battery life, selfie mode (its screen fully rotates), and a powerful image stabilization and focusing system (up to 57x). It also has some cool less common features like pre-recording, where the camera records three seconds prior to you hitting the recording button, perfect for catching those quick moments. There’s also a baby mode which helps track and organize your baby’s growth, for those parents looking to document their developing children.

Price: $279 (7 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Canon VIXIA HF R700 here.



Pros:

  • Records 1080P at 60FPS for that smooth look
  • 32x optical zoom or 57x hybrid zoom makes for solid close-up shots from a distance
  • Different scene settings allow one to achieve different looks easily
  • Screen rotates fully allowing one to take selfie video
  • Battery life is great allowing for over two hours of recording
  • External mic input means you can purchase mic to get better sound if need be

Cons:

  • It takes stills, but they’re only 3.28 megapixels
  • Sound recording quality isn’t great, as most cameras in this price range
  • Tripod mounting threads are plastic meaning it’s not that durable

Find more Canon VIXIA HF R700 information and reviews here.


3. Sony X405 Handycam

Sony HD Video Handycam, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

This Sony camera is very comparable to the R700 with a few slight advantages and disadvantages. Right off the bat, this camera is a lot cheaper. This does come with some minor drawbacks, mainly the lack of an external mic input. This means you’re stuck with the sound on-camera unless you want to get a dedicated audio recorder. If you’re looking for high quality external sound, take a look at (audio recorders on Amazon). That said, one further disadvantage here is that you’ll have to sync this audio to the video in post, whereas with the R700 you would not have to deal with syncing.

Beyond this, however, this camera is very comparable to the R700 shooting 1080P 60FPS and boasting tremendous zoom power. It also has a 9.2 megapixel sensor, meaning that the camera can take high quality still as well. It also has several interesting features include Face Detection and seven picture effects. Two other nice things include USB out functionality, meaning you can plug this camera straight into your computer, and highlight reels, which edit your videos into a compilation of sampled parts.

Price: $194.94

Buy the Sony X405 Handycam here.



Pros:

  • Great vlogging camera
  • Shoots 1080P 60FPS for that smooth look
  • Takes nine megapixel stills meaning you can grab decently high quality stills
  • 30x optical zoom and 60x hybrid means you can get in close to the action

Cons:

  • No external mic input means you’ll need a dedicated recorder to get high quality sound
  • Audio quality is only acceptable
  • Video quality is poor in low light
  • Some users complain that autofocus is noisy

Find more Sony X405 Handycam information and reviews here.


4. Panasonic HC-V770

Panasonic HC-V770, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

While in a different price class than the other cameras on this list, the HCV770 offers a few features that show you get what you pay for. Many users praise its enhanced low-light ability, great build quality, and cool (yet practical features) like being able to record your cell phone camera in “picture-in-picture” mode. Clearly aimed at the vlogging-minded, this is one camera that delivers a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you’re on Wi-Fi (required for use of picture-in-picture).

Some other features include image stabilization, a 20x zoom, and taking pictures. “Level-shot” mode, another unique hallmark, has the camera adjust its internal picture to automatically record video that is level to the horizon. Remote shooting and viewing is also possible, allowing one to use their smartphone to see what the camera sees. This can also be used in baby monitor mode, which one can use to check on their child anytime, and which can send a push notification anytime the audio sensors detects baby movement or crying. The camera also permits for live-streaming straight to UStream, but some users say this is difficult if not impossible to set up correctly.

Price: $447.99 (25 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Panasonic HC-V770 here.



Pros:

  • Live Streaming capable – camera can send 1080P stream straight to UStream
  • You can wirelessly connect your smartphone for a picture-in-picture effect
  • High dynamic range mimics look of much more expensive cameras
  • Somewhat capable in low light situations
  • Microphone input permits for recording external audio

Cons:

  • On the pricey side of cheap
  • Some users complain live streaming isn’t straightforward or as-advertised
  • When in selfie mode, LCD screen does not display recording time or information
  • Some users complain autofocus is slow

Find more Panasonic HC-V770 information and reviews here.


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5. Ghost Hunting Camera

Ghost Hunting Camera, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

If you’re in the market for a fun camera that shoots solid normal footage and lets one see in the dark, the Ghost Hunting Camera is the model for you. For those looking to capture the paranormal and merely creepy, it is unbeatable in the price range. If you need it for more practical normal situations, it still does the job, though not particularly well.

For $199, one gets 10x optical zoom and full 1080P recording. That said, it is not 1080P 60fps, nor is the quality particularly stand out. This camera is very much intended for people who want to take infrared recordings of dark rooms. It does so, out of the box, decently, though one will need to purchase an infrared floodlight to capture large spaces (search Amazon for infrared flood lights) as the included IR light isn’t very bright. This could make a great gift for the paranormally inclined who needs a camcorder for other situations, or for anyone who’s seriously into ghost-hunting.

Price: $199

Buy the Ghost Hunting Camera here.



Pros:

  • Two SD card slots (one normal and one micro) mean you’ll always have room for more footage
  • Includes remote to trigger remote recording
  • For shooting infrared recording, it is unmatched in this price range
  • 10x optical zoom is good for many situations

Cons:

  • Recording button can be hard to press in dark situations
  • If one isn’t into paranormal recording, then it offers no advantages to other models
  • No external mic connector to enhance sound recording

Find more Ghost Hunting Camera information and reviews here.


6. Panasonic HC-V380K

Panasonic HC-V380K, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

The Panasonic V380K is the same camera as the first on our list, but with several extra features that are enabled by Wi-Fi. These two features are controlling the camera remotely and the Twin Camera feature. This feature allows the user to have video recorded by the user on their phone instantly broadcast into the Panasonic camera so that one can record “picture-in-picture.”

Otherwise, this camera retains all the great features of the V180K (and its weaknesses). It zooms far at 50x and has a stereo microphone that is good enough to get the job done. It’s an ideal camera for shooting outdoors from a distance. The extra Wi-Fi features help make this model more compatible with vlogging and to easily share your recordings.

Price: $297.99 (9 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Panasonic HC-V380K here.



Pros:

  • Camera is compact and doesn’t weigh much
  • Takes great outdoor and well lit video with its 50x zoom
  • Superb battery life permits for up to two hours of recording
  • Takes ten megapixel pictures
  • Wi-Fi allows for picture-in-picture recording and quick sharing of videos and pictures

Cons:

  • There are no buttons for playback control, it’s all touch screen
  • Audio quality is only decent and camera does not have a mic input
  • Low light ability is comparable to other cameras in this price range; it’s noisy

Find more Panasonic HC-V380K information and reviews here.


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7. Sony HDRCX675/B

Sony HDRCX675:B, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

While this Sony may be on the pricier side, it offers some amazing features. First and foremost is its ability to stabilize. One user claims that even handheld, some of the shots look like they’ve been taken from a tripod. Other cool abilities include 1080P recording at 30FPS, and 1080i at 60fps. While 1080i isn’t as good as 1080P, at least you have the option to shoot 60fps.

Many users praise this camera’s low light ability, claiming that it only gets noisy in dark situations, but tends to produce usable images otherwise. The included Sony software is praised by some users. Some also enjoy the robustPlayMemories Mobile App which allows Android or iOS devices to record, photograph, or zoom remotely. One can also share movies or photos directly to the device. UStream, direct live streaming is also supported (Wi-Fi required). This camera may be the most expensive on the list, but it’s also the most capable.

Price: $528 (12 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Sony HDRCX675/B here.



Pros:

  • Stabilization works great
  • External mic input means you can upgrade the sound quality if you wish
  • Time lapse feature is unique because it takes nine megapixel stills, not video
  • Low light shooting is of an acceptable quality
  • Shoe on top of camera is multifunctional allowing for mic, light, or other accessories

Cons:

  • Some users claim low light shooting is still too noisy
  • Menu system is clunky and confusing for some
  • One users reports audio being below usual Sony standards

Find more Sony HDRCX675/B information and reviews here.


8. Besteker Wifi Camcorder

Besteker Wifi Camcorder, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

A common mistake amateur filmmakers make is focusing on the video quality while ignoring the sound. The truth is that a video with bad picture quality is ugly, but a video with bad sound is unwatchable. The Besteker WiFi camcorder aims to fight this with its included large external microphone. Many reviewers praise its long range recording ability and high quality sound. For the audio-minded folks, this camera offers excellent pick-up, even from ten feet away.

On the other hand, this camera’s video has some limitations. One user said that it can’t focus unless camera is three feet away from its subject, so close-ups are out. Others were unimpressed by the footage in general. Per the norm in this price range, low light footage is very noisy. In terms of the WiFi feature, according to some reviewers, it seems easier to just move memory cards back and forth rather than use the app. Still, for people who want good audio and know how important it is, this may be the camera for you. If you don’t want to go all in on this camera, you could always buy an external mic (Amazon search for external microphones for cameras) and plug it into a camera (like the R700 on this list).

Price: $183.99

Buy the Besteker Wifi Camcorder here.



Pros:

  • Audio quality is praised as excellent
  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows on to trigger camera remotely and move files to smartphones
  • 12 month warranty means you can always return it
  • Comes with two batteries that deliver solid battery life (two hours each)

Cons:

  • Some users were not impressed by video quality
  • Camera cannot focus close-up
  • 64GB SD cards are not supported
  • Handheld footage is shaky
  • Menus can be hard to navigate

Find more Besteker Wifi Camcorder information and reviews here.


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9. Hausbell 302S FHD Camcorder

Hausbell 302S FHD Camcorder, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

If your budget is tight and you need a camera with no frills, the Hausbell 302S might be a good fit. This simple video camera has nothing but 16x digital zoom (meaning it just shows you less and less resolution the more you zoom in), but it does record full 1080P (though only at 30FPS). Still, it does have one unique trait, its infrared mode will let you see in the dark (but nowhere near as good as the Ghost Camera).

Some other nice functions: it comes with a remote control and outputs HDMI so you can see yourself on the big screen. While this certainly isn’t a video camera for filmmakers, it gets the job done and at a price like this, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Price: $109.99

Buy the Hausbell 302S FHD Camcorder here.



Pros:

  • Includes 32GB SD card
  • HDMI output means you can watch your recordings on the big screen
  • Included remote control is nice for vloggers and those who want to be in the group photo
  • Night vision mode lets you see in the dark (somewhat)

Cons:

  • Some users complain of build quality
  • Video and audio quality is nothing special
  • Some users complain that battery life is poor

Find more Hausbell 302S FHD Camcorder information and reviews here.


10. Besteker Portable Camcorder

Besteker Portable camcorder, best cheap camcorders, cheap camcorders, best camcorders

(Amazon)

Truly exemplifying the “cheap” part of this list, the Besteker Portable Camcorder is definitely cheap and for a specific user, it can do the job just fine. It records video of dubious quality and sound of a similar nature, but there is a great reason to buy this camera: you need to buy someone a camera, any camera at all. Many purchasers report happy four-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and older parents that are none-too-happy to have a barebones, simple camera. That said, if quality is your aim or even if you have a decent smart phone, this camera will not add high quality recording to your life. Still, for someone looking to own a video-recording device who doesn’t need anything complicated or with high fidelity, the Besteker Portable Camcorder will do.

Price: $58

Buy the Besteker Portable Camcorder here.



Pros:

  • $58 is very cheap
  • Articulating screen rotates 270 degrees meaning you can look down while skateboarding, for instance

Cons:

  • Video quality worse than modern phones
  • Some users report errors with video once brought into computer
  • Pixelated and poor quality even in decent light

Find more Besteker Portable Camcorder information and reviews here.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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