The Best Camcorder Under $500
There are moments in your life when you wish you can watch them over and over again. Fortunately, with today’s technology, you can already do that, in high definition to boot. All you really need is a great camcorder and you can already take videos of the most important moments in your life. Then, you can just relieve the moment anytime you want and watch it on high definition television. Because let’s face it, if you’ve got a high definition camcorder, you can only appreciate it if you also have a high definition television or HDTV to be exact. So, if you are going to be shopping for a camcorder and don’t know which one to get, then this article will be a lot of help to you. In this article, we’ll be talking about the best camcorder under $500 that you can get from the market today. So without further ado, let’s start.
In terms of providing the best value for less than $500, the Panasonic HC-V770K leads all camcorders by a mile. Although this camcorder does not have breathtaking features, it more than makes up for the quality of videos that it takes, as well as other solid basic features. But really, what makes this camcorder the best one you can get? Read on to find out.
One glaring flaw of the HC-V770K is that it is not capable of shooting at 4K resolution. So, if what you need is a camcorder with that capability, you can’t find it in the HC-V770K. Better look for something else. For the rest of us who are okay with a plain HD camcorder, then the HC-V770K will be the perfect camcorder. It can record up to 100 frames per second in slow motion. You can seldom find that option in camcorders below $500. Its normal recording is at 200 frames per second, but when you play the video, it will adjust it to 50 frames per second. The whopping 200fps is mainly due to its Crystal Engine video processor which allows the camcorder to capture videos at high speed.
The HC-V770K also features the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization. This feature allows the camcorder to capture clearer images by compensating horizontal, vertical, and rotational movement along the axis. This will then result in a much more steady video playback. This makes the camcorder a very flexible option for capturing any type of video, be it stills or action videos. You can argue that who needs camcorders nowadays when you’ve got mobile phones that have great cameras. Well, that’s true. There’s no arguing that fact. But the truth is, if your goal is to capture really good videos, using a device that was made specifically for that purpose. That way, you can get better way at an extended amount of time. This is really what the HC-V770K is for. It thrives on extended video shoots where you can squeeze every last drop of value from this camcorder.
Pros and Cons
- Provides excellent value for money
- Captures high quality videos and images
- Has WiFi connectivity
- Excellent manual settings that respond well with the controls
- Can be controlled remotely
- Has an ergonomic design
- It doesn’t have a lens ring
- Compared to a DSLR camera, the sensor it uses is smaller
- Doesn’t have 4K capabilities
- Touchscreen controls are a bit sluggish
If you are looking for a camcorder that is easy to use and hold, then the HC-V770K will be to your liking. Panasonic designed it so that you can easily hold it even without a tripod. They understand that a good camcorder must be comfortable to hold for those times when you need to take it out of the tripod (because let’s face it, it’s not all the time that you can rely on a tripod). The accompanying strap is also very comfortable as it will fit into your palm quite nicely and will free up your fingers so you can use them to adjust the controls. Plus, all the buttons you will need to access are all handily placed to where they should be so that you can easily access them even if you are holding the camcorder (record button, zoom button and still capture button).
One design feature of the HC-V770K that is praised by users is its built-in microphone. Not only does this camcorder offer the convenience of having a built-in mic, but the quality of the audio that the built-in mic captures is also quite good. It can capture natural and dynamic audio and filters the sound that the wind generates. This is again another design win for the guys at Panasonic. Since they placed the built-in mic blow the surface of the camcorder, it will filter the noise generated by the surrounding wind naturally. Thus, the resulting audio is clear and crisp. The only design flaw that we could notice with this camcorder is its touchscreen feature. The touchscreen option could use a bit more work since it isn’t very responsive. We know, it can be annoying at times to keep pressing the screen. So that’s the only negative thing we have to say about the HC-V770K in terms of design.
This is the part where the Panasonic HC-V770K shines. For a basic HD camcorder, it offers a lot of special features. One thing that comes to mind is its digital zoom. You see, this is one of the best advantages that you get from using a dedicated camera instead of a phone camera. The digital zoom is way better and you will clearly see it in the results. The zoom is also quite smooth which is very surprising. The tradeoff for their smooth zoom capabilities is that it can only zoom in to a maximum of 20x. That’s still pretty great considering that you get high quality images, which in our opinion is the more important aspect when talking about zoom features.
As mentioned above, this camcorder uses Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization. This feature allows you to shoot footages seamlessly. That’s because the camcorder will compensate the horizontal, vertical, and rotational movement along the axis and stabilize it, so you can get a clear footage. For someone who doesn’t want to keep using a tripod just to get a stable footage, this kind of feature is invaluable. That means, you can carry the camcorder anywhere you want and move around and still get stable footage. Keep in mind though that this will only stabilize minimal movement. Don’t expect it to compensate excessive shaking movements, because there isn’t any camcorder in the world that can do that.
Probably the most unique feature of this camcorder is its Wireless Twin Camera feature. With this feature, you can actually connect your smartphone to your Panasonic HC-V770K, and stream the images and footage that you capture in your phone camera to the camcorder. This is possible with the use of the Panasonic Image App. What happens is, the video that the front or back camera of your phone captures will be placed as a picture-in-picture within the main frame. Aside from that, with the Wireless Twin Camera feature, another Panasonic camcorder that has WiFi connectivity. In our opinion, this is a better alternative than using a camcorder that has a secondary built-in to its system. By using the Wireless Twin Camera feature, you can actually capture footage from different positions, which can be a pretty cool effect.
Panasonic offers a 1-year limited warranty for the HC-V770K. Specifically, the warranty covers 1 year for the parts and 90 days for the labor. During the labor warranty, Panasonic will not charge for any labor done during the repair. And as you can probably guess, during the parts warranty, Panasonic will not charge for replacement of parts during the repair. Keep in mind that this warranty will only apply if the camcorder was purchased and serviced within the United States of America. Warranty coverage will start on the date of purchase.
As you can see, the Panasonic HC-V770K provides a lot of value with an affordable price. This is the main selling point of this camcorder. Although it might not offer a lot of advanced features as other camcorders in the market today, it does make up for it with the quality of videos that it can capture. And for someone who is on a budget and looking for a great camera, that’s all you can really ask for. Plus, it is easy to use and very comfortable to hold. Those two factors alone are well worth the money you spend for it. Add that to the fact that it can capture excellent, high quality, HD videos, then you are good to go. Some users even got satisfied with it and never bothered to get a much more advanced camera even if they had the means to do so. That’s testament to how great this camcorder is.
Hopefully, this review was able to convince you of getting the HC-V770K. If you are in the market for a camcorder below $500, it’s the best you can go for.