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The 10 Best Video Cameras for Every Need, From Budget-Conscious to High End

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 10/26/2010

It's holiday season, and you're on the hunt for a new video camera. But where do you start? Start here! Here are our top ten video camera recommendations.

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    Best Budget Camcorders

    It’s the holiday shopping season again, and it’s time to start thinking about buying your loved one a new video camera. But, with so many options, it’s hard to narrow down which are the best. So, to help you, here are the top ten video cameras for this shopping season.

    To start off the pack is the low-priced Flip UltraHD. This cameras are aimed at on the go people who are just looking for a camcorder that they can slip into their pocket or bag. It shoots 720p HD video, and it uses rechargeable batteries, which means that you won’t waste money buying new batteries all the time. Plus, this device is compatible with both Mac and Windows, and you can easily upload your videos to social networking sites using the FlipShare software. It costs less than $200.

    Another low-priced, social networking geared video camera is the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera, and it is also less than $200. It can capture 1080p video at up to 30 fps, and it comes with a SD/SDHC memory card slot. And, it’s perfect for teenagers since it comes with built-in software that allows you to upload video directly to YouTube.

    Kodak’s other pocket video camera is also worth the $100 that it’s currently selling for. The Kodak PlaySport HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera looks like a cell phone with its viewfinder on the top-side of the camera, giving you plenty of room to hold and manipulate the camera. Plus, it can capture HD video up to 1080p, and it can take 5 megapixel HD still images.

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    Best Consumer Video Cameras

    For the mid-level consumer, the Canon FS200 is a great standard definition 6.8 megapixel camcorder, and it’s actually compact enough to take with you when you are traveling. It features a 37x zoom and a CCD sensor. This camcorder is selling for about $400.

    A similar camcorder is the Panasonic SDR-T50, but it’s even cheaper than the Canon at about $250. It comes packed with manual controls, allowing you to better manage your video. It also has an amazing internal image stabilization, allowing you to take full advantage of the 70x zoom.

    If you are looking for an on-the-go camcorder that can still capture indie quality film, go for the Canon Vixia HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder. It features a 8.59 Megapixel HD CMOS Sensor, and it can capture video at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Plus, it has 64 GB of internal memory and two SD card slots, allowing you to record nearly 24 hours of video. This video camera sells for between $1,000 and $1,299.

    Not to be left behind, the Panasonic HDC-TM700 also captures 1080p video, and the video quality is amazing. It works perfectly in low-light situations, and you have a full menu of manual options. It also features a 3 CMOS sensor and a 12x optical zoom. This camcorder costs between $800 and $1,000.

    Sony’s Handycam HDR-CX550V is slightly higher prices at around $1,200, but it features geotagging for your videos, which allows you to see exactly where the video was taken. It comes with a number of manual controls, and the video is actually really good.

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    Best Prosumer Video Cameras

    For a prosumer video camera, the Canon XH A1 is worth taking note of with its optical and lens stabilization technology, which allows you to capture quality video without a tripod. It’s got a good body and is easy to handle. Plus, it produces amazing video quality for its $3,000 price tag.

    Another amazing prosumer video camera is the Sony DCR-VX2100 3CCD MiniDV Handycam, and this one is half the price of the Canon. It comes with a 12x optical zoom, and you can take still images with it. It has a 2.5 inch LCD color LCD screen, and it can capture video in 16:9 wide screen format.