We test and review 18 HD and 4K video cameras in the CHOICE labs, including models from Sony, Panasonic, Canon and more. Our video camera buying guide will help you choose the right model to realise your movie-making vision and our how we test page explains our testing methods.
The video cameras in this test may not be as versatile as a smartphone or as robust as an action camera, but they are the most mature category in all the video capture product types you could choose.
Our review will help you find the best action camera based on:
We also give you good and bad points for each video camera, and our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
Recommended retail, as of January 2016.
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CHOICE recommends models with an overall score of 70% or more.
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The latest models with 4K resolution deliver approximately four times as much detail as HD resolution. However, while support 4K video capture may seem like a great feature, don't buy based purely on this feature as it'll take some time before 4K has the same penetration as HD.
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Smartphone connectivity through NFC (near-field communication) and Wi-Fi means you can use your smartphone to view the footage remotely, control the camcorder settings or even transfer footage to the smartphone to post online.
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An expert viewing panel assesses the resolution, sharpness, colour and overall image quality of recordings in artificial light.
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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.
We measured the battery life of each model from full charge to when the camera stopped capturing video.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.