Issues with availability for camcorders
As most of our members know, CHOICE buys everything we test and sometimes this can present issues when companies either discontinue products suddenly or tell us a product is still readily available when in fact it becomes hard to find soon after we have purchased and tested the product.
The CHOICE camcorder test schedule has also been dealing with the major camcorder makers tendency to let their product stock run out leading up to the end of the year and waiting until the end of January before announcing new products for 2013 with availability delayed for several months.
As such, we have highlighted models that we have found to be difficult to find or discontinued altogether and placed them at the bottom of the table with the models shown with a strikethrough on the product name. We have also removed such models from the What to buy list.
Choose the right camcorder
No need to rely on a salesperson. Use this report to decide:
- What high definition camcorder is best for you.
- What connections you'll need.
- What features you need and what you can do without.
Looking for something a little smaller? Check out CHOICE’s pocket camcorders. For more information on camcorders see Video cameras.
Brands and models tested
- Canon Legria HF G10
- Canon Legria HF M52
- Canon Legria HF R36
- Canon Legria HF R38
- JVC GZ-E10
- JVC GZ-E205
- Panasonic HC-V10
- Panasonic HC-V100
- Panasonic HC-V500M
- Panasonic HC-V700
- Panasonic HC-X900M
- Panasonic HX-DC2
- Panasonic HX-WA2
- Samsung HMX-QF20
- Sony HDR-CX190E
- Sony HDR-PJ200E
- Sony HDR-PJ260
- Sony HDR-PJ760V
- Sony HDR-TD20V
- Sony HDR-XR260V
- Toshiba Camileo X200
How we test
Video camera testing is a complicated and expensive process. To help with the high costs, we share the results between a number of consumer organisations around the world. All the tests are carried out by professional labs in Europe that specialise in photographic testing.
Ease of use The panel looks at the instructions; ease of various functions; quality and functionality of the viewfinder, LCD monitor and remote control; portability of the camcorder and data transfer to a computer. They also measure the time delay between switching the recorder on and being able to use it.
Sound quality A panel assesses quality of speech and music recorded with the inbuilt and external microphone (if applicable). They also look at whether there is any sensitivity to wind noise.
Picture quality An expert viewing panel assesses the resolution, sharpness, colour and overall image quality of recordings in daylight and artificial light. They also assess macro recordings, recordings made in low light and (where applicable) at night. Testing for low light is carried out with an ambient light measurement of 8 lux. Our testers also look at low light performance when panning across a scene as well as operating the optical zoom.
Still photo For the still-photo score, the panel assesses the quality of photos taken in daylight, shutter delay and the transfer speed of still pictures via FireWire and/or USB. All the models support USB version 2.0 for video and still photo transfers.
Autofocus score Our testers assess the overall quality and speed of auto-focusing on a number of subjects in close, mid- and long range.
Image stabilisation Testers look at the picture stabilisation function, as well as its effect on picture quality.
Recording time The panel measures how long the batteries last using a recording and playback test cycle. The camcorder is positioned on a slowly rotating turntable recording a well-lit room, with items at different distances, until the camera stops. During this time the camcorders are switched to full auto-recording mode, with the monitor, autofocus and image stabiliser switched on.
CHOICE independence is guaranteed
These independent ratings are only available through membership with CHOICE Online because no one test products like we do. Arm yourself with our unique and exclusive information and make your next purchase with confidence.