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Best Cheap Camcorders

Updated on July 27, 2009

Cheap Video Cameras

Here's a list of cheap camcorders under $200, that aren't junk. There's a whole slew of good digital video camcorders out there. Some companies even have models under $100. When camcorders first came out they had two seperate units, one was the camera connected by cable to the video recording unit. From there we went to integrated VHS units and then Hi8 units, some of which still exist today in the Digital 8 format. We've come a long way since then, camcorders today are small enough to fit in your pocket and they use a variety of formats, MiniDV, Mini DVD, and flash memory. All of the mini digital camcorders here are flash memory camcorders, they have flash memory built into them. You just record your video and transfer it to you computer via USB or Firewire cable. As a side note, if you have a video camera with removable media, I've heard it's better to connect your flash memory our of your camera and connect it to your computer via card reader rather than connecting your camera via cable. It's supposed to be harder on the camera circuitry or something like that. If you're looking for something more fancy you can my hub on the best flash memory hd camcorders and regular camcorders.

5 Camcorders Under $200

When I say cheap, I really mean inexpensive, and that's what most people mean when they're looking for cheap camcorders. All of the camcorder models found here use flash memory. Flash memory has a lot going for it, it's relatively cheap, and getting cheaper, it has no moving parts, it doesn't degrade as fast as tapes do, and it's random access. That means you don't have to fast forward or rewind through a whole tape to find the clip you're looking for. Most of the video cameras here will also connect directly to your computer via flip out USB connector - no looking for lost cables. Some of them will even allow you to directly upload video to video sharing sites like YouTube. They also have at least 30 minutes of recording time, most have more and some are flash memory camcorders with removable memory.

The Flip has green, black, white, chrome, yellow, pink and models with designs on them, most of these models come in various colors if that matters to you.

Flip Ultra Camcorder

The Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder

This camcorder from Flip is easy to use and the cheapest of the bunch at barely over $50 dollars.  It records 30 minutes of full VGA quality video and it's small and compact.  It would be a good choice for keeping in your pocket to make quick recordings if you didn't want to lug around a larger camera.  No messing around with memory cards, tapes or chargers.  It uses two AA batteries that means you can find power just about anywhere in the world.  You can flip out the USB connecter and upload your videos easily.  The included software makes it easy to organize and share to either AOL video or YouTube.  It also comes with a connecter to connect it directly to your T.V.

Flip Ultra 2nd Gen. Video Camera

Flip Ultra 2nd Generation Camcorder

The Flip Ultra 2nd Generation has 4 gigs of memory and can store up to 120 minutes (2 hours!) of video, four times the Flip Ultra, and it's not a whole lot over $100 It features are very similar, it uses built in memory, a flip out USB port and software to easily share your high quality MP4 video. It has a 2 inch LCD screen making it easy to see, and it's quick and easy. You can make custom movies with the included software, and grab still photos from your video.  The white model is about $10 cheaper than the black one.

Flip Mineo HD Mini Video Camcorder

Flip MineoHD Camcorder

It might look the same as the 2nd genration flip, and it's got 4 gigs of memory which can record 60 minutes of video - but it's HD widescreen (16:9 widescreen) video!  Instead of VGA quality video the MineoHD records high definition video for even better quality.  It's one of the smallest and cheapest HD camcorders on the market.  It has all the same ease of use as the Flip Ultra, along with sharing software T.V. cable, and flip out USB connecter.  It's essentially an Ultra with really high quality video in widescreen HD format.

Vado HD Digital Camcorder

Creative Labs Vado HD 120 Minutes

The only non Flip on the list, the Vado HD is similar to the Flip series of camcorders with a few different features. Like the Flip's, it records 120 minutes (2 hours) of HD video in the H .264 format which allows you to record 4 times more video than the equivelent MPEG-4 compression format. The Vado will also let you record standard VGA format video, up to 4 hours worth. Again you can connect it to your HD TV with the HDMI cable. Unlike the Flip series, it uses a rechargable batter (which can be switched out) and it is recharged when plugged into the computer. The ability to change batteries is important I think, and it's also important to use standard batteries that can be purchased anywhere. The software allows you to easily share videos with YouTube and Photobucket, this seems to be standard on these quick and dirty camcorders these days.

Flip Ultra 120 Digital Video Camera

Flip UltraHD 120 Minutes

Yet another entry from Flip, the Flip UltraHD is an upgraded Ultra. Taking widescreen (16:9) High Defenition video, this is a little larger than the MineoHD and has a little bit larger screen. Some people don't like the small size of the Mineo, it makes it easy to put in a pocket or purse, but some find it more diffucult to hold.  The smaller LCD size is also an issue with some people, you have to decide whether you want tiny or a little larger.  The UltraHD is by no means large, it's just a little bit igger compared to the Mineo.  It has an HDMI output to view your video on your High Def. television. It's also got the same FlipShare editing and sharing software and the flip out USB connector. It's no wonder that the Flip camcorders are so highly rated best sellers.


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