Which is the best basic “no frills” camcorder?

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    • #79756

      Background:  I have a Canon ZR500 that I purchased in 2006 for under $250.  It is a great camcorder and the original battery has exceeded all expectations.  Still holds a charge for a long time after all these years and the unit works great.

      I would like like to upgrade to a newer one, if the quality of the video warrants it.  In other words, should I keep my old camcorder because it is ‘good enough’ or upgrade?

      Looking for:  

       1. Quality video
       2. Battery that will hold a good charge
       3. Good microphone.  If the built in unit is good enough, great.  But some people say it’s good to buy an external mike.  Which would be a good, relatively cheap, ‘bang for the buck’ mike?


      Don’t need any ‘bells and whistles’ like wifi or other things i wouldn’t be able to use.  I like the idea of spending the money on just the essentials.

      I welcome your opinions from you experts out there and will consider any brand/model

      here are a few I’ve run across:

      Sony HDR-CX230/B
      Canon Vixia HF R300

      I would consider the following one if it is so much better than the above camcorders that it warrants spending the extra bucks.  It’s a stretch for me.

      Panasonic HC-V520

      Thank you!

    • #210764

      Hi Gremlin.  Yes, it's time to step into the age of high definition video, especially since the industry is about to step past that age into the age of ultra hight definition, or 4K, but it sounds like you're not ready to spend the money that is required to buy a camera that is capable of 4K yet.  But it is time to upgrade to at least high definition for sure.  The HF R300 is no longer being carried by some vendors, which is a sign that it is an older model that is about to be discontinued.  Although I've never used the HDR-CX230/B, I have used other Sony cameras, and have been generally pleased with them.  Just keep in mind that at that price point, you will get what you pay for.  As far as audio goes, however, it does not have an input for an external mic.  Nor does the HC-V520.  And no matter what, you'll never get good audio on a mic that is built into the camera.  And that is because the mic is on the camera, and not close to your subject.  You would have to use an audio recorder and sync up the audio in post.  You could then connect an external mic to the audio recorder.  Zoom makes good audio recorders.  Rode makes good external shotgun microphones.  I hope this information helps.  Let me know if you have any other questions.

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