If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth so much more. Videos tell stories more effectively than any instrument today and the video industry has undergone a revolution of epic proportions. With 4K video recording cameras, you can record with 4 times the resolution of Full HD to get extremely impressive clear, crisp and vivid videos with promise for an even better resolution in the future. With these best video cameras under $500, you can capture your memories in different formats, and save them to replay them later.
Video cameras have a myriad of applications in today’s world from cinema cameras that shoot movies professionally, to shooting videos for a social channel such as YouTube to the outdoor security cameras for security purposes to shooting videos with friends and family. If you want a video camera to record amateur videos, you may not need to invest as much in a dedicated video camera. DSLR and mirrorless cameras can also be used to shoot videos especially the DSLR which has sensors larger than most dedicated video cameras. If you plan to do professional videography though, investing in a dedicated video camera is a wise choice as the scope of options and customization options they offer far outweigh the large sensor benefit of the cheapest DSLR camera 4k video.
Almost all cheapest 4K cameras for filmmaking indicate that most consumers appreciate great battery life in video cameras so choose a camera that offers great power for uninterrupted shooting and even an extra battery pack if possible. Manufacturers will also offer accessories like a camera bag, memory card and a tripod stand to go with the camcorder and these are offers you should be on the lookout for.
The comprehensive guide to choosing the best video camera
Here is a comprehensive guide of the factors to consider to help you choose the best video cameras to suit your needs.
i) Camera type
Dedicated video cameras are the best option to go for if you plan to get into professional videography. Most of these are pretty costly so if you are filming for a website or creatively or other less professional venues a DSLR, mirrorless, Video Camera with External Mic Input and camcorder will work just as well for you though they may be slower to use and the audio recording may be tricky.
ii) Sensor size
Cameras with large image sensors will give you the high resolution you need, much more detail, and crisp and clear images. DSLR cameras often have larger sensors than many professional video cameras and can be used for creative filmmaking.
iii) Image stabilization
As much as this feature is important in photography, it is even more so in videos when shooting handheld where you may be shooting fast-paced scenes. The most effective stabilization combines lens-based optical stabilization and sensor-based image stabilization (IBIS)
The audio capability is near the top of the list of the things you should look for when buying a video camera. Ensure that the camera can record quality audio with the in-built microphone when shooting. An XLR input (canon plug) will ensure you can use any type of external microphone when shooting and provides better audio quality, are corrosion resistant to a higher degree, and have low noise.
A headphone jack is also extremely useful as it allows you to easily monitor sound when shooting so you can make adjustments where necessary.
v) Recording format
Confirm that any video camera you plan to buy can shoot in the best recording formats preferably MP4 and AVCHD with the latter being the best. 4K is the format of the future so make sure the video camera shoots 4K video.
The 5 best video cameras under $500
1. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 is a camcorder that is small and easily portable. With 32x optical zoom and 57x advanced zoom you can easily capture moments that are near, in-between, and far away. Canon’s sophisticated SuperRange Optical image stabilizer helps correct camera shakes quickly so that even handheld cameras shoot steady films.
The image sensor will capture all your moments in Full HD (1920 x 1080) which despite not being 4K, will still give crisp and clear videos while the DIGIC DV 4 image processor offers outstanding performance.
- Nice touchscreen
- Small and Portable
- 32x optical zoom and 57x advanced zoom
- Great image stabilization
- No 4k video recording
- Scattered menu options
2. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder by PHOTO4LESS
This is a Photo4less top value camcorder that comes with a USA warranty and accessories supplied by the manufacturers. This bundle comes with the camcorder, memory card tripod, and a digital camera carrying case.
This camera can record up to 1920X1080, 60fps video and with the 3.28MP Full HD CMOS Sensor you can capture all your details in high resolution.
The DIGIC DV 4 processor image processor is also another great feature that will guarantee speedy performance. You can now focus in on far off objects with the 57x advanced zoom and get clear objects.
- Compact and easily portable
- Great touchscreen
- Great image stabilization
- 57x advanced zoom
- No 4K video
- The camera is a bit heavy
3. Panasonic HC-W580K Camcorder
The Panasonic HC-W580K is a handheld size camcorder that has in-built Wi-Fi for pairing with compatible devices. This lets you use the Panasonic image app to remotely control the camcorder, view photos, and videos, and upload content to your social networking sites.
It also has 50x optical zoom and 90x intelligent zoom to capture far off moments and a 28mm wide lens to capture wide angles. A great feature of this device is the wireless multi-camera support where you can record up to three devices and use two of them for picture-in-picture recording at Full HD 1080p. It has additional features like the baby monitor which is also found in the best outdoor wireless security cameras with DVR.
- Wi-Fi and NFC enabled
- Intelligent 90x zoom
- Easily portable
- Advanced BSI sensor
- Wireless multi-camera support
- No 4K recording
- The wide lens is a bit small
4. Emperor of Gadgets 4K Camcorder
The Emperor of gadgets 4K camcorder features 13MP CMOS Sony sensors for great details and 64x optical zoom to focus on far off objects. Its electric image stabilizer will help you get steady shots for fast-paced scenes. A great selling point for this device is the 4K recording capability with a resolution of 3840X2160 so you can capture videos in vivid color and clarity.
The stereo microphone for this device has shock-absorption design and +20dB sensitivity enhancement which makes it easy to pick up different sound intensities.
- 4K video recording
- 64x digital zoom
- IR Night Vision function
- 0.39x Wide angle lens
- Has a lens hood
- Poor optical zoom
- You need to connect the USB to a computer to a stream
5. Ordro HDR-AZ504K Camcorder
The Ordro HDR-AZ50 4K camcorder shoots videos in 3840×2160 resolution which you can watch later using a 4K TV or SD card. It has a Sony COMS 13MP sensor that is highly sensitive and can easily capture 4K images with high-image capture speed and faster image processing.
The camcorder can easily be controlled remotely over a Wi-Fi connection through your mobile app and you can easily share your photos and videos with friends. This camera has a clear IR night vision light for low-light scenes and a wide-angle lens for a wider range of shooting.
- Wide-angle lens
- 13MP sensor
- IR and night vision
- 4K video recording
- Wi-Fi support
- No NFC
- Autofocus is not very good
Smartphones today are increasingly being equipped to take great photos and videos. But even with all these improvements, the smartphone cannot hope to compare with dedicated video cameras which offer a plethora of exciting features like image stabilization, sound features, optical and digital zoom that ensure you get the best possible videos. So, grab yourself any of these affordable camcorders and capture great memories.