What is the Best HD Video Camera for under $500? $250? $150? It’s great news these days if you want to record High Definition home movies. It won’t cost you a whole lot to get near professional looking HD Quality Video. With the introduction of the new Flip Video Mino HD, you can now find the 2nd and 3rd generation HD Camcorders for around $100 or lower. No, a camera this small isn’t necessarily the best, but it might be the best for most people’s situations. There is no question that Digital Recording of HD quality Video to your computer via USB is extremely convenient. The question is, do you have to pay more to get better quality recordings? A Professional HD Video Camera will obviously give you the very best quality, but those cost thousands of dollars more than the handy, miniature HD recorders reviewed here. The top choice is not limited to the one you cannot afford or care to lug around. My purpose is to point you to the best cameras in the $500, $300 and $150-and-under price range. What I like about consumer-end HD Video Recorders is the convenience. There is no tape to record to and thus, no need to convert them digitally to display them on your computer. In fact, with very little effort you can copy directly from HD cameras to your PC or Laptop instantly, for immediate viewing. Digitally recorded Video Files will instantly copy to DVD Media for viewing on your big screen television. Or, you can plug the flash drive into your TV or Game Console if it has an available USB port – and if your television is equipped with an HD resolution, you’re in for a high definition treat. If I still had a VHS, SVHS, 8MM, or Compact VHS Camcorder, I’d throw it away and replace it with a $150 USB HD Video Camera; that’s how good these things are. So, let’s see if you can get the best HD video camera in the $100-$500 range with video recording that will look good on that large, 65″ Rear Projection Television I bought Last Summer.
Best HD Video Camera for under $500
Sony HDR-CX110 High Definition Handycam Camcorder
The HDR-CX110 has an average 4.5 Star rating from 30 different Amazon users. The CX110 uses Sony’s high-quality Carl Zeiss Vario Sonar-T lens to achieve excellent video quality. Is it the best HD camera in this price range? Close enough. Users reported very bright, colorful, realistic recording in well lit conditions and better than average recording in darker areas. The Optical Zoom of the CX110 is 25X which is HUGE. The Sony HDR-CX110 records full 1920×1080, 60FPS HD Video to a Sony Memory Stick. That’s my only complaint with Sony is that their memory sticks cost more, but fortunately Sony lets you use a typical SD stick with this product. NICE. You’ll want a large capacity memory stick for high definition video. I would recommend 32GB. People say the zoom lens, recording quality and LCD screen are very good. The CX110 is also very light. You can also shoot 3MP Still Photos with the Sony CX-110. The darn thing weights nearly 1/2 a pound. The retail price for this superb HD Video Camera is around $500, but you can get them way cheaper than that if you shop online.
Best Video Cameras Under $200
Flip Video Mino HD
There are 3 Generations of Flip Video Cameras. The latest one is the Flip Video Mino HD 3rd Generation. It comes in both a 4GB and 8GB SD Version. These little cameras are the slickest, most convenient, easy to use, high quality low end HD Camcorder I’ve ever used. What I like about the Flip Cameras is that there are no cables to mess with. A convenient USB port flips out, plugs right into your PC or Laptop and opens up on your screen for viewing the videos you’ve taken. The quality in doors, even in low-lighting is much better than I expected for a best hd video camera in this price range. Hundreds of 2nd Generation Users of the Flip Video Mino Camcorders rated them an average of 4.5 stars. The build quality, ease-of-use and quality video for the money were cited as reasons for the high ratings. An 8GB version might cost you $229.00 tops. Only the UltraHD Flip 8GB Camera and the Flip Video Mino HD Models have Image Stabilization. One of the most aggravating results of Video Cameras this small is you will get dizzy watching the results due to the shakiness of your hands while you recorded; keeping some from being considered best hd video camera. The Image Stabilization makes a difference, but is still not quite as smooth as larger models.
Best Cameras Under $150
Flip Video Ultra HD 2nd Gen
The Flip Video Camcorders have come a long ways. The first one I ever laid my hands on was not High Definition Quality, but I was still mighty impressed. Thanks to a very rapid innovation refresh rate, there are already obsolete Flip Video HD Cameras selling for well below what the first standard definition ones cost just a couple of years ago. Nearly 1,000 Amazon Users gave the 2nd-Gen Flip Ultra HD Camcorder a 4-Star Rating. The build quality and video are excellent for the price. You simply can’t go wrong for $150.00 or less. Expect to pay as low as $119.00 for an HD Flip Camera if you shop the sales below.
Creative VADO HD 3rd Gen Video Camera
The Creative VADO HD got the very highest rating for features and video quality from PC World. I happen to agree with their reviewers. The VADO HD seems to shoot better than the rest of the low priced HD Video Cameras in low-light conditions. The wide angle of the lens is excellent for a video camera this small. On very cool feature: An HDMI port on the side so you can plug this sucker directly into your High Definition TV and immediately watch your recorded videos in High Definition. Both the Creative Vado and Flip Video HD Cameras lack Optical Zoom Control. Also, there is no Image Stabilization advertised on the VADO, though the video seemed smoother than the non-Image Stabilized HD Flip Cam models. One last thing, I’ll mention. No matter how good these tiny, little hand-held video cameras shoot video, they’ll never match the overall quality of the larger ones with the large optical zoom lens. If you really want to be serious about good videos for under $500.00, go for the Sony HDR-CX110. Smaller HD Video Cams weigh 5 to 6 ounces. The Sony weights .52 LBs.. Not exactly a big sacrifice on size. If I wanted to shoot decent video, I’d go for the more expensive Sony HDR-CX110. If I was looking for small, convenient video shooting, I’d use the iPhone 4 or a good, small digital camera. For me, the best choice is one that I can take with me just about anywhere and still get reasonable video quality.