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Camcorder reviews

Consumer Reports is the only place to find unbiased, independent camcorder reviews. Deciding on which camcorder to buy is not easy. There are so many different models and a very wide range of prices. Do you need an HD or an action camcorder? Looking for special features such as image-stabilizer or full-auto switch? What about zoom and autofocus?  

Our experts at the Consumer Reports National Testing and Research Center have evaluated more than 60 current camcorder models at our on-site testing labs. Our reviews will provide you with recommended camcorder Ratings, where you will find the exact numerical score our experts have assigned to each of the 10 criteria that make up our reviews: picture quality, low-light picture quality, ease of use, auto focus, audio quality, image stabilizer, display quality, versatility, still camera, and battery life. Our reviews also provide camcorder reliability Ratings—based on input from thousands of actual users—for such major brands as Canon, JVC, Sony, Panasonic, and many others. Our camcorder review pages also include a camcorder selector, where you can input brand and price to narrow down the right camcorder model for your needs.

After reading the reviews, you can compare models, review our list of the features and specifications, read user reviews, and submit your own review.

See more on camcorder reviews.

Also look at our camcorder buying guide, which shows you which features are important and gives you the pros and cons of each camcorder model.

Read the camcorder reviews below and compare the Ratings of each camcorder model before you shop.

Camcorder reviews

Panasonic HC-W850

Type: HD camcorders
Summary: A high-definition camcorder from Panasonic with wireless capability, an SD memory-card slot, 20x optical zoom, an image stabilizer and manual controls.
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Sony HDR-CX900

Type: HD camcorders
Summary: A high-definition camcorder from Sony with wireless capability, an SD/MemoryStick Pro Duo memory-card slot, 12x optical zoom, an image stabilizer and manual controls.
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iON AirPro 3

Type: Action camcorders
Summary: A high-definition camcorder from ion with an MicroSD memory-card slot, no optical zoom, no image stabilizer.
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Intova Sport HD

Type: Action camcorders
Summary: A high-definition camcorder from Intova with an MicroSD memory-card slot, no optical zoom, and no image stabilizer.
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Sony FDR-AX100

Type: HD camcorders
Summary: An ultra-high-definition camcorder from Sony with wireless capability, an SD/MemoryStick Pro Duo memory-card slot, 12x optical zoom, an image stabilizer and manual controls.
Own this model?

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What's behind our camcorder Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 65 models in camcorders to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score mainly reflects picture quality and ease of use. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Picture quality
    Picture quality is based on the judgments of trained panelists who viewed recorded video images shot in good light at the highest quality setting available.
  • Low-light picture quality
    Low light Picture quality is based on the judgments of trained panelists who viewed recorded video images shot in dim light at the highest quality setting available.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of use takes into account ergonomics of the controls and displays, and user manual readability.
  • Auto focus
    Overall assessment of the autofocus system, which takes into account speed and accuracy.
  • Audio quality
    Audio quality represents accuracy using the built-in microphone, plus freedom from noise.
  • Image stabilizer
    Image stabilizer reflects how well the model reduces the shakes in a scene. While it can be effective, using a tripod is the surest way to get a steady image.
  • Display quality
    Display quality reflects image clarity, color accuracy, and contrast of the LCD as judged by panelists who viewed recordings of various scenes made in our lab. It also includes our judgment of the onscreen informational displays, the video playback under bright sunlight, and (if applicable) touchscreen usability.
  • Versatility
    Versatility indicates features that increase a camcorder's utility or capabilities. These might include the presence of a built-in lamp, eyepiece viewfinder, manual image control settings, external microphone input, headphone output, and so on.
  • Still camera
    Overall quality of the photo functions of the camcorder, which includes picture quality and handling.
  • Battery life
    Battery life is how long the camcorder can continuously record images with the LCD viewer in constant use and occasional use of other features such as the zoom lens.

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