There’s never been a better time to buy a camera or HD camcorder. Cameras that used to be considered “prosumer” and cost thousands are now found among the affordable consumer products. And with film all but history, the bring brands like Sony, Nikon, and others have put all their energy into creating the best digital equipment available.
You don’t have to be a budding photographer to want a good camera for home video recording. But at the same time, if you’re going to buy a camera for home video recording, you should probably do a little homework and make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
Best Digital Cameras for Under $200
To start with: cameras. Let’s keep it cheap here, as quality HD cameras from name brands can be hard these days without going into the red. To choose a single best digital camera for under $200 is tough. The market is so large, and there are so many quality cameras from so many quality name brands. Here are a few worth your time:
1. Nikon Coolpix S7000. It’s small, it’s light, and the pictures it shoots are full HD.
2. Canon PowerShot. A great camera for a beginning photographer. Runs about $150. Like Nikon, Canon is a reliable brand when it comes to cameras.
3. Samsung WB350F. This is a great camera, and it looks cool as well. It’s a great camera, though many retailers sell for more than $200. If need be, you can certainly get a secondhand for well under $200 from Amazon and other retailers.
Best Camera for HD Video Recording
All you need these days to shoot some HD video is a smartphone. That said, as phone video recording have become increasing high quality, so have camcorders. Camcorders can be ridiculously expensive, but they can also be surprisingly cheap. It would be nearly impossible to offer up an opinion of a be-all-end-all best camera for HD video, so let’s instead check out some high-end, medium-range, and low-end examples so as to offer a sort of map to anyone interested in buying a camcorder. Even if you’re only shooting home video, you want to at least make sure you’re shooting it right. Right?
1. High-end: The Sony PMW-300K1 XDCAM is one of the best camcorders on the market today. Everything you could want in a camera is in this beast. Of course, this is the high-end we’re talking about, and we’re talking about camcorders. On Amazon, this cam goes for about $7,500.
2. Medium-range: The Panasonic HC-X920 can’t do everything the above-mentioned Sony cam can do, but it can probably do everything you need it to do. And everything it can do, it can do well. Used on Amazon, this camera goes for around $600. New on other sites, you’ll probably end up paying about a grand.
3. Low-end: If you want a camcorder but you don’t want to spend much, don’t worry. You’ll still have a ton of cameras to choose from. Sony offers its HDRCX405 Handycam Camcorder for $188 (on Amazon). The camera is small, neat, and is reviewed well. Most cameras comparable to this one go for $300-500. If you’re looking for cheap and quality in the same camera, you’re not going to find too many better than this. And the Sony brand is a trustworthy one, whereas the few cameras that are this nice and this cheap generally carry an unfamiliar name.
Good Camera and Video Recorder in Ones
With cameras and camcorders out of the way, I’ve decided to here offer a few good camera and video recorder in one options, specifically with home movie recording and low-budgets in mind.
1. Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mirrorless Camera. At about $2,000, this is a pretty pricy two-in-one, but if you’re looking to shoot pro-grade pictures and video, you’re going to have to pay for it. $2,000 isn’t quite as much as it sounds when you start looking at expensive lenses and such.
2. Nikon D3400 is a great camera at an affordable price. Most online retailers list it at around $600. Obviously much cheaper than the above-mentioned Panasonic. This is a great camera from a great company, and if you want pro-level without paying pro price, it’d be a good idea to start your search with this Nikon.
3. Canon PowerShot SX530. The Canon PowerShot is a reliable camera from a reliable company. It’s been around a while, and it’s only gotten better with age. The camera retails at a bit under $300.
Home video doesn’t need to be shot on 35mm film. But it should be shot on the best quality available at a reasonable price. Home video is generally shot with the hopes that it’ll be around for a while. If you’re shooting a big event and can’t manage to get photos or footage because you tried to save a few bucks, you’re probably going to be pretty bummed out. And you’re probably going to bum others out as well. Make sure if you’re getting a camcorder or a two-in-one, you get a name brand and a camera that can do everything you need and more (you never know when you’ll need the more).