The best HD camcorders for low light

Written by andrea carson
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The best HD camcorders for low light
Capture the ordinary and the extraordinary with an HD camcorder. (Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Camcorder pricing can range from as low as £65 for a small, compact model to more than £6,500 for one suitable for professional productions. One of the more economical models may be suitable if you only intend to record family gatherings, or post short videos on social networking sites. Select a model that has higher resolution and more functions if you are planning to produce a feature film or documentary.

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A Little Camcorder Terminology

Optical Zoom is not literally pulling the entire image closer to you, it actually crops and enlarges only a portion of the image, much like a magnifying glass. Optical zoom can cause some degradation in the image.

Megapixels refers to the number of pixels used in creating the image. Pixels are tiny dots arranged in a grid of 1200 by 900. One megapixel is 1200 by 900 times 1,000,000. More megapixels results in higher picture resolution.

FPS stands for frames per second. Movies are usually recorded at 24 to 30 frames per second. It is possible to get a camcorder that will record at as many as 60 frames per second. Faster recording speeds practically eliminate the jerky frame advances when the film is played back in slow motion.

Economical Camcorders

Priced at around £117, Creative Labs' third generation Vado HD is rated by "PC World" as the best for capturing video in low light. Its compact size and built-in motion detector makes it great for use as a spy cam.

Also going for £117, the Kodak Z18 HD camera running a close second in the ratings by "PC World." Sporting some features found in bigger cameras, this pocket-sized camcorder records in 1080p with full high definition video and offers image stabilisation.

The Samsung SMX-C20 camcorder, at only £83 in 2010, has Intelli-Studio software included allowing for video editing and file sharing. It features one-touch image uploading, time-lapse recording and more than 240 minutes of recording time.

Full-featured Camcorders

The Canon Vixia HFS 100, released in 2009, received favourable reviews for lowlight recording in online surveys including, Amazon.com with average customer reviews at five stars. Prices for this recorder range from around £650 to £1,040. This model features dual-shot capture for pictures and videos without switching from one mode to another. It has a CMOS 1/2.6-inch imager for lowlight capture.

Sony's Handycam HDR-CX500V Camcorder sells for around £845 in 2010 and features an exclusive CMOS sensor called the Exmor R. Exclusive to Sony the Exmor R is reported to be excellent for producing clearer images in lowlight situations. This camcorder has 12 megapixels for sharp still pictures and 1920 x 1080 HD for video recording.

For shooting professional films and screenplays, Canon offers the XF305 Professional for around £5,200. This camcorder uses compact flash cards for superior quality images. This is the camcorder widely used by news crews and independent filmmakers. The 1920 x 1080 CMOS delivers high- quality images in any environment. With multiple bit rate recording and the ability to customise images, this camcorder can be tailored to accommodate individual recording needs.

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