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Best Low Light Camcorder for the Money 2018

Updated on January 8, 2018

Low Light Camcorder Review and Comparison

Spending a lot of time outdoors with my children has given me the chance to take a lot of pictures and video. For me having a camcorder that works in low light and just about every situation is necessary to getting the kind of quality shot that I want. In this post I'll review 5 camcorders that I highly recommend and give you a quick guide of what to look for when purchasing a camcorder for low light situations.

Need a camera for low light? Take a look at a few of my favorites below.
Need a camera for low light? Take a look at a few of my favorites below.

What types of Camcorders Perform Well in Low Light?

If you want a camcorder that will perform well in low light situations, then consider some of the ones we are discussing today. You will want to look for camcorders that have at least one CCD sensor with the best cameras having 3 CCD.

You will want to pay attention to the aperture which will help with low light performance (lower is better). A bigger lens diameter is actually better for taking film as well. When it comes to sensitivity, the lower the lux the better as well. Any camcorders that come with a back illuminated sensor will also offer you higher sensitivity and better low light performance.

5 stars for Canon Vixia Camcorder

Canon VIXIA HF G10 Review

One camera I highly recommend for low light is the Canon VIXIA Camcorder. It will allow you to record up to 12 hours of HD video on a 32GB internal flash drive. It also includes two SDXC compatible memory card slots as well if you need more storage.

I like that when the memory is full, the camera continues to shoot film while switching the recording from the internal drive to the SD memory cards. I love that it doesn't interrupt my video! The battery life on this thing is exceptional since it features low power consumption. For video resolution, you get 1920 x 1080 full HD video. It features 1.5 lux for very good low light performance. The lens offered on this camcorder is a 10x HD video lens which is the equivalent of 30.4mm to 304mm.

I love how you can zoom up to 1.3 feet in front of your subject for great close up video. The focus ring on the front is manually adjusted and gives you a lot of control. The Image Processor that is included with this device has great noise reduction which also allows for amazing low light shots. It includes technologies like Smart Auto, Touch & Track, Genuine Canon Face Detection, and Cinema Look Filters. I like the Instant AF focusing system which offers more speed and accuracy when shooting.

You know those moments when the video gets kind of blurry while it's trying to focus? Well, this camera doesn't do that and it is truly amazing. If you need to focus on a specific subject within a frame, just use the Touch & Track to highlight the specific subject you want focused. As a fun feature, you can use Touch Decoration that will let you add animation effects, handwritten and stamp messages, or allow you to insert a still image for a very unique touch. With many other features to boast about, this camera comes jam packed so you can start taking video immediately.

Sony Handycam (pictured above).
Sony Handycam (pictured above).

Sony High Def Handycam Review

Next, you should consider this Sony High Def Handycam. This one gives you 1920 x 1080 full HD recording and 24.1 still image capturing. I think the best feature on this camera is the built-in high contrast projector.

This way, you can share your videos on any blank wall immediately so you can show off your mad filming skills. The projector is built into the LCD panel and will project up to a 100" diagonal screen. The 96GB embedded flash memory will let you store up to 38 hours of footage.

This camera features a back illuminated CMOS sensor, which was mentioned at the beginning of the article, that will ensure you get great footage in low light situation. The 17x extended zoom works with the 10x optical zoom that is already on the camera.

LCD Display

Your LCD display is a gorgeous 3.0 inch screen that gives hardly any glare at all. I think the sound on this camera is some of the best I've found thus far. It features 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround so all noises picked up on the video are just as you hear them while recording. A very fun feature is the Highlight Playback technology. This feature identifies and compiles key scenes into a short movie with added music and transitions. This has been a great feature for some of our family videos like vacations.

If you travel a lot, then you will appreciate the GeoTagging that comes with this camcorder. You can view your location on the LCD map display, and/or tag your shooting locations to remember them later. I love that it comes with a built-in USB cable so file transfers are a breeze.

A side view of the Panasonic HC-X900M.
A side view of the Panasonic HC-X900M.

Best Panasonic Camcorder Review

Take a look at this Panasonic X900MK Camcorder. It is a bit more affordable than the others we've discussed. This camera, though more affordable, comes packed with so many features that you won't even notice the difference. It records in 1920 x 1080 and features 5.1 channel surround sound. It too, comes with wind noise cancelling technology that works very well; I live in a windy area so I notice this more than others. This camera also gives you a 3 sensor CMOS that will perform quite well in low light situations.

Touch Screen Display

You get a generous 3.5" touch screen display with touch zoom and touch shutter features. You simply drag your finger across the LCD. If you want to record in 3D, it does offer you the chance to buy an optional 3D conversion lens. You also get a 12x zoom lens with a 23x intelligent zoom.

It comes with a HYBRID O.I.S. which does a pretty good job at reducing handshake. For a lens, you get a 29.88mm wide angle lens. It features the surround sound, that was mentioned, but also a zoom mic. You can put it in different modes like wide mode so it picks up from all directions to produce natural sound, zoom mode that lets you get not only closer in image to your subject, but closer in sound. With the wind noise canceller and adjustable bass settings, you will have the most amazing sound. For still pictures, you get 16MP photos and the image quality is pretty good.

New Sony Camcorder Review

Next, we are looking at this Sony HDR-CX560V Camcorder. This camera gives you 46x zoom

without compromising image quality or resolution. It features a high sensitivity sensor that is very good for low light conditions, even while zoomed. The lens is an x900 29.8mm wide angle that is great for group photos in small rooms. I love being able to snap up to 60 consecutive 2.1 MP still images per second.

This totals 180 continuous images so you know you can get the most flattering shots. This is great for sporting events and lets you get some really fun shots that you would otherwise miss without this feature. I love being able to record video and still images at the same time as well. It features HYBRID O.I.S. that uses a five axis correction method that will reduce blurring overall. The camera intuitively picks up on your shooting situations by adjusting exposure and coloration so you get a very natural look even when the conditions aren't very flattering. The mic is very intuitive since it senses wind and will help reduce the wind noise for you. It is also linked to the lens action so when you zoom the picture, the sound zooms as well. The modes you can use for playback are actually quite fun and they include Natural, Pop, Dynamic and Classical that can applied to your videos for a creative touch. Scenes are arranged with playback music as well.

If you use the Face Highlight feature and have registered faces in your camera, playback of video is great since it selects those faces you've registered for a more personal video. Focusing seems very quick and accurate with a smooth zoom movement as well. The external mic and earphone jacks are nice added features. The only thing I found that was undesirable with this camera is that the LCD screen is hard to read in bright sunlight; this is pretty standard with cameras but there are a few high end ones that have easy to read screens. Overall though, this camera has been a very nice addition to my travel bag.

Panasonic Professional HMC40
Panasonic Professional HMC40

Top Panasonic Professional Camcorder Review

Most of the cameras we've discussed are good for average use, and some are pretty good for professionals as well. But if if you are a professional videographer and want a great camera that is good in low light, then consider this Panasonic Professional Camcorder. You get full HD AVCHD video recording with 10.6 MP still photos. It is actually quite light at only 2.16 pounds so it is easy to work with for hours.

You get 1920 x 1080 video and pictures are saved to the SD card automatically as a JPEG image. If you record with the included battery, you get 3 hours of time; if you use a 5,800mAh battery, you get about 7 continuous hours. The lens offered is a 12x Leica Dicomar lens with a 43mm filter. Your touch screen display is 2.7 inches and is actually a bit easier to see in bright light. For the price, this camera delivers images that can rank up there with the high end ones on the market and I've enjoyed using it.

What Brand of Camcorder is Best for Use in Low Light Situations?

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© 2012 Brandon Hart

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