Are you the family documentarian? There are lots of capable full-size HD camcorders to be found this holiday season. Or perhaps you're into extreme sports and like to shoot parasailing, surfing, or skiing videos. Then consider an action cam, like one from GoPro or others.
Most action cams cost between $200 and $400 and full-sized models cost between $500 and $1,600. If price is no object, though, check out Sony's new 4K camcorder: Like ultra HDTVs, it gives you four times the detail of conventional HD models—for a steep $4,500.
We test camcorders for how well they perform in bright light and low light, and we assess the quality of the model's image stabillizer, if they have that feature. Take a look at our suggestions below; these are just some of the models that scored well in our tests. (Click on the links for detailed model information.)
For more on full-size or action models, check out our buying guide and Ratings for camcorders.
$200 or less
- Polaroid XS80 action camcorder, $130
- Vivitar DVR787HD action camcorder, $175
- Liquid Image Model 727 the EGO action camcorder, $180
- GoPro Hero3 White Edition action camcorder, $200
- Sony HDR-AS15 action camcorder, $200
$500 or less
- DXG 5G9V HD IronX action camcorder, $250
- GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition action camcorder, $300
- Sony HDR-CX290V full-size HD camcorder, $350
- Drift HD Ghost action camcorder, $400
- Sony HDR-CX380V full-size HD camcorder, $450
$1,000 or less
- Panasonic HC-V720 full-size HD camcorder, $550
- Sony HDR-GW77V full-size HD camcorder, $700
- Sony HDR-PJ430V full-size HD camcorder, $850
- Sony HDR-TD30V full-size HD camcorder, $1000
- Canon VIXIA HF G20 full-size HD camcorder, $1000
- JVC Everio GC-PX100B full-size HD camcorder, $1000
$1,600 or less
- Sony HDR-PJ790V full-size HD camcorder, $1600
- Sony HDR-PJ710V full-size HD camcorder, $1200
- Sony HDR-PJ650V full-size HD camcorder, $1100
Copyright © 2005-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.