Best HD Video Camera – Top Buys for 2012

Camera buying is never easy. Choosing the best HD video camera from the wide array of options available can be tricky. You want the best camera but don’t want to pay for unnecessary features (or worse) end up with a lemon of a model. You also don’t want to waste time considering video cameras that aren’t worth your time. The electronics industry is extremely competitive and products are often rushed to market. This leaves it up to the consumer to do their due diligence and make smart choices.

In this posting you’ll learn four reasons why each of these four models are the best HD camcorders in their category for 2012 (this list will be updated as new models are released throughout the year). There are no mini-DV based video cameras on this list – there is far better value to be had with the newer HD video recorder flash and hard drive memory formats. All camcorders on this list shoot 1080p video – none of the lesser quality models that shoot 720p or 1080i were included.

1. Great Starter Camcorder at a Great Price: Sony HDR-CX160 HD Flash Memory Camcorder (approx $400)

The CX160 includes plenty of value for its price-point. Here are the four top reasons this camcorder shines above the rest:

  1. Unlike many other camcorders in the same class, the CX160 includes full 1920×1080 progressive recording (1080p). Other models in this price range record 1080 interlaced (1080i) or 720p (a lower resolution image). 1080 progressive recordings are smoother, higher resolution and more film like.
  2. The CX160 has a generous 30x optical zoom with up to 42X using the digitally enhanced “Extended Zoom”. This is an excellent zoom for any camcorder.
  3. The CX160 has a built in LED light to provide illumination in low-light situations.
  4. This camcorder is the best small video camera in its category and has an ergonomic feel to its body.

    Sony CX 160

    Sony HDR-CX160 HD Camcorder

2. Flexible All-Around Camcorder with Advanced Options: Panasonic HDC-HS900K 3D Ready Digital Camcorder (approx $750)

With a crisp Leica lens, the ability to shoot in 60P or 24P, Dolby surround sound, 3.5 inch advanced touch screen and a wide angle lens this feature packed camcorder offers professional level features in a reasonably priced package. Here are the four stand-out attributes that make this camcorder shine:

  1. The camcorder includes a large 220GB hard drive allowing you to record up to thirty-eight hours of gorgeous footage without stopping to change a card.
  2. The HDC-HS900 has a 3MOS system. This means there are three sensors instead of one which means better color rendering and higher image quality.
  3. Shooting on the move? Shaky hands? Fear not. This camcorder has excellent image stabilization with its hybrid electronic/optical stabilization. Most camcorders use either one or the other. This model offers the best of both.
  4. Shoot and simultaneously record high resolution 13.3 megapixel stills while you shoot video. Again, the best of both worlds.

    HDC-HS900K Camcorder

    Panasonic HDC-HS900K Camcorder

3. Jump Into the World of 3D : HDR-TD10 Full HD 3D Camcorder (approx $900)

If you aren’t sure whether 3D is worth your time, this may be a video camera that changes your mind. Here are the top four reasons why:

  1. The best 3D in its class. The HDR-TD10 features Sony’s proprietary Bionz processor, two Exmor R CMOS Sensors and two wide angle Sony “G” lenses. This dynamic trio delivers stunning 3D.
  2. The features a 10X optical zoom that functions in 3D. Most other 3D camcorders are unable to do this. Some 3D camcorders lack a zoom function all together because of the technical challenges.
  3. No need to choose between 2D and 3D shooting. Shoot in 3D and choose to either watch full HD 2D or 3D later on. It’s up to you.
  4. The glasses-free 3.5 inch LCD touch panel viewfinder will wow you with 3D without the need for those goofy glasses.

    HDR-TD10 3D

    The HDR-TD10 3D Camcorder


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