Best Professional Camcorders (at Various Price Points)

Best Pro Camcorders (9 Picks)

Budget Range

These are our two picks for “best professional camcorders” in the budget range:

1. Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM Camcorder

The Sony HXR-NX100 is a full HD NXCAM camcorder. It is powered by a single 1″ EXMOR R back-illuminated CMOS sensor and is capable of recording at 1920 x 1080 at a maximum frame rate of 60p. The effective pixel count on the camera is 14.2. The back-illuminated sensor produces fairly decent performance when shooting in low light situations. It certainly helps that this is a larger sensor compared to some of the smaller sensor powered camcorders.

One of the Best Professional Camcorders: the Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder
Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder

A Sony G lens with a 12x optical zoom is the main shooting option. The camera is also capable of using a built-in a 24x Clear Image Zoom. The lens also has individual controls for controlling focus, aperture and zoom. You can switch to full manual focusing or use the excellent auto servo control that ensures that you have complete control over how the HXR-NX100 focuses.

The camera comes with built-in ND filters – ¼, 1/16, 1/64 as well as a clear option. There are two memory card slots allowing dual SD cards to be used. Evidently, this is an entry level professional camcorder. But it has a decent built quality.

The Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM comes with a 0.24-type EVF with a resolution of 1550 dots. The built-in LCD screen is 3.5-type and offers a resolution of 1550k dots.

Current Price on B&H Photo Video: $4,498.00

2. Canon XF100 HD Professional Camcorder

Best Professional Camcorders
Canon XF100 Professional Camcorder with 10x HD Video Lens

The Canon XF100 is a professional HD camcorder powered by a 1/3″ CMOS sensor. The camcorder uses Canon MPEG – 2 4:2:2 color sampling codec to capture a lot of color information. The paired lens is a 10x optical zoom HD video lens capable of producing beautiful sharp pictures. The 10x optical zoom is the 35mm equivalent of 30.4mm all the way to 304mm.

The XF100 supports the extremely versatile MPEG – 2 4:2:2 codec that ensures that your footages contain a lot of color information. Way more than what you will get with cameras that record in 4:2:0 codec.

Canon has used the standard MXF file wrapper which records both the audio and the video information is recorder in the same file. Plus, the use of non-linear editing systems ensure that the created files are readily and widely accepted. The bit rate of the camcorder is 50 Mbps. Plus, you have the advantage of recording the full HD videos on standard compact flash cards. CF cards are way cheaper and a lot more convenient than other proprietary media.

Canon XF100 Professional Camcorder with 10x HD Video lens, Compact Flash (CF)...
36 Reviews
Canon XF100 Professional Camcorder with 10x HD Video lens, Compact Flash (CF)...
  • AC Adapter/Charger - Power Cord - DC Cable - BP-970G Battery - Lens Hood - Lens Cap - USB Cable - Microphone Holder Unit
  • Canon's adaptation of MPEG-2 for the XF100 Professional Camcorder, named the Canon XF Codec, ensures the widest...
  • 4:2:2 Color Sampling: 4:2:2 color sampling provides twice the color resolution of HDV and other codecs that use 4:2:0...
  • Record to Compact Flash Cards: The camcorder features two CF card slots and offers versatile recording functions...

Related Post: Best Compact Flash Cards

Mid-Range

In the mid-range price segment, I can recommend these camcorders:

3. Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera recorder

The Sony FDR-AX1 is a digital 4K video camera recorder. It is capable of recording 4K / UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160p at a maximum frame rate of 60 fps. The camera is powered by a 1/2.3″ EXMOR R 8.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor.  The back-illuminated sensor is incredibly powerful when working in low light situations especially indoor events.

Best Professional Camcorders 1
Sony HXRNX100 Full HD NXCAM Camcorder (Black)

The Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K comes with an integrated Sony G lens with a maximum optical zoom of 20x. The camcorder comes with dual XQD card slots assisting extended 4K shooting. Both the XQD cards support 4K recording. This ensures that you are able to record high speed 4K / HD video recording on both the cards. The card slots support relay recording which ensures that you can switch from one card to the other instantaneously and therefore record without any cuts.

The Sony FDR-AX1 supports XAVC-S 4K /HD recording format. This is the format you would be working in if you are an expert. Having said that with a Mp4 wrapper available you can also use the Sony FDR-AX1 to shoot more web-friendly formats.

The Sony G lens with a 20x optical zoom range comes with an independent zoom, focus and iris rings. Additionally, the camera’s viewfinder and LCD monitor are equipped with focus peaking and zebra highlights as well as central marker functionality which ensures that camera is capable of using advanced focusing options for better shooting experience.

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Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM Camcorder
17 Reviews
Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM Camcorder
  • 1.0"-type Exmor R CMOS sensor for a wide range of shooting conditions, High sensitivity and high resolution, Sony G Lens...
  • Active Steady Shot corrects camera sway that occurs while walking, ND filter control mechanism, Three lens ring for...
  • Dual media slots for simultaneous/relay recording, and independent record control, Slow & Quick Motion, Picture Profile,...
  • 2 x 3-Pin XLR Audio Inputs . AVCHD 2.0, DV Recording Codecs
  • Create & Share Picture Profiles. Discrete Manual Focus

4. Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K

Handheld Camcorder Sensor and Integrated Zoom Lens

The Panasonic AG-DVX200 is a 4K handheld camcorder powered by a single 4/3 MOS sensor that has 12 stops of dynamic range. The large sensor is just about double the size of a standard 2/3″ sensor that powers most standard camcorders.

It comes with Panasonic’s V-Log L gamma curve. You can shoot varying resolution videos with the camcorder. It supports DCI 4K at 24 fps. Alternatively you can also shoot at UHD 4K at a maximum resolution of 60 fps as well as HD at a maximum resolution of 120 fps.

Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K (one of the Best Professional Camcorders)
Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Handheld Camcorder

The integrated lens comes with an optical zoom range of 13x. It also has manual focus, zoom and iris control rings which ensures that you have full manual control over what you are shooting and how you set your exposure and focusing.

Storage is provided by 2 SD card slots. You can use standard SD cards in these slots or use the upgraded U3 cards which ensure that you have enough storage to handle long recordings.

Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Handheld Camcorder
17 Reviews
Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Handheld Camcorder
  • Variable Frame Rate Up to 120 FPS in FHD MP4 / MOV Recording in 4K
  • Integrated Leica 13x f/2.8 - f/4.5 Lens 3 x Individual Lens Control Rings
  • 2 x SD Cards Slots (U3 Compatible)
  • HDMI 2.0, 3G-SDI Output

Related Post: The 12 Best Video Cameras under $1,000

5. Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder

The Canon XF305 is a professional camcorder powered by 3 native 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensors. Canon has used the latest MPEG – 2 4:4:2 coding to ensure that it is possible to record full HD recordings on a compact flash cards. The Xf305 comes with the DIGIC DV III image processing engine.

The paired lens is a Canon L-series genuine HD lens with an optical zoom of 18x. The 35mm format equivalent of that zoom is 29.3 – 527.4mm, giving you an incredible reach for most shooting requirements. The lens also feature optical image stabilization for better hand-held shooting.

The camcorder is capable of using multiple bit rates making it extremely diverse. With the MXF file wrapper, ensuring that video and audio content can be wrapped in a single file the XF305 is a great camcorder for the purpose of ENG.

Best Professional Camcorders 2
Canon XF305 HD Professional Camcorder with MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps Codec 4454B001

The XF305 supports 4:2:2 color sampling and that ensures a much higher amount of color information than standard 4:2:0 color sampling. With the 50 Mbps bit rate the full HD recordings are really smooth and really crisp.

The Canon XF305 does not use any proprietary recording media or formats. The camcorder uses the cheaper and widely accepted CF cards. There are two CF card slots allowing you to relay record, hot swap, pre-record or file backup depending on your needs.

The camcorder has a large 4″ 1.23 megapixel LCD monitor and a high resolution 0.52″ 1.55 megapixel viewfinder. There are two peaking modes and magnify focus assist available on the XF305. These allow you to lock focus more reliably than with traditional camcorders without these two features.

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Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder
2 Reviews
Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder
  • 18x HD L-Series Zoom
  • 50Mbps MPEG-2 Recording
  • 3 Native 1920 x 1080 HD CMOS Sensors
  • 4:2:2 Color Sampling
  • Dual CF Card Slots and Dual XLR Inputs

And finally, in the upper price range, these are the best professional camcorders we have picked for you:

Upper Range

6. Panasonic AJ-PX270 microP2 Handheld AVC-Ultra HD camcorder

The Panasonic AJ-PX270 microP2 is a hand-held UHD camcorder. It is powered by a 1/3″ MOS sensor, capable of producing a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (full HD) footages at 60p. It comes equipped with a 22x optical zoom lens. The lens comes with optical image stabilization. Additional features of the lens includes independent manual focus, zoom and iris rings.

Panasonic AJPX270PJ P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER
Panasonic AJPX270PJ P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER

The Panasonic AJ-PX270 microP2 comes with four media card slots. Two of them support micro P2 cards and one support full sized P2 media cards. You also have the option to use SDHX / SDXC cards albeit at a much lower bit rate. There is one slot that support these SD cards.

The Panasonic AJ-PX270 supports AVC Ultra recording. A variety of frame rates are possible when shooting. You can choose from 1 to a maximum of 60 fps. for composing there is a 0.5″ OLED viewfinder with a resolution of 1.76 megapixels and a 3.5″ LCD monitor with a QHD resolution of 156k dots.

Panasonic AJPX270PJ P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER
  • PANASONIC AJPX270PJ P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER

Related Post: Most Famous YouTubers and What Cameras the Use

7. Sony PXW-X180 Full HD XDCAM Handheld Camcorder

The Sony PXW-X180 is a full HD handheld camcorder. It comes with three 1/3″ EXMOR CMOS sensors and is capable of recording at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Each individual sensor captures one of the three lights – red, blue and green. It is paired with a Sony G series 25x optical zoom lens with a comparable 35mm focal length range of 26m all the way to 650mm. The lens comes with optical image stabilization.

Another Professional Camcorders Option: the Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder
Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder

The lens’ independent manual zooming, iris and focus rings ensure that you have more creative control over what the camera shoots. There is also a sliding feature on the focus ring that allows instant switchover from auto to manual focusing.

The camcorder is capable of recording 10-bit 1080p video using variable codecs. These include the XAVC Intra and the XAVC Long GOP codes. For professional quality results XAVC is better preferred but it is also going to consume a lot more storage space. For everyday video recording or where you need tighter compression (and better storage optimization), you should be using the XAVC Long GOP codes. Other codecs available are MPEG HD 422, MPEG HD 420, AVCHD and DV.

There is a smart proxy video recording feature on the PXW-X180. This feature allows a smaller lightweight version of the main line recording in H.264 coding to be recorded on the SD card. This video is recorded in MP4 format which allows for easier sharing over slow networks and Wi-Fi connections. The camera comes with a 0.5″ OLED viewfinder with 2.36 million dots and a 3.5″ color LCD monitor with 1.56 million dots.

Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder (Black)
  • Three 1/3"-type Full HD Exmor CMOS sensors, Sony G Lens with 25x Optical Zoom, Variable dual ND filter control...
  • 59.94p / 50p recording at Full HD 1920 x 180, Switchable recordings for MPEG-2 HD422, AVCHD, and DVCAM, Wi-Fi features...
  • Proxy file recording on SD card, Dual S x S media slot for simultaneous recording, relay recording, and independent...
  • OLED color viewfinder, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI supports up to 60p full HD uncompressed signal, Remote control (partially...
  • Live Video/Audio streaming via wireless network (3G, 4G, LTE, and Wi-Fi)

8. Canon XF300 High Definition Professional Camcorder

The Canon XF300 is a high definition PAL camcorder. The Canon XF300 comes with a 3x native CMOS sensors with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This professional camcorder with a three chip design is a first from Canon. Additionally, the system features Canon’s powerful DIGIC Dv III image processing engine. The camera is paired with an L Series zoom lens with an optical zoom of 18x.

Best Professional Camcorders: Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder
The Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder

Canon has used the MPEG-2 codec for recording videos with this camcorder. This new adaptation is known as XF Codec. It ensures that the videos produced by this camcorder has the widest compatibility. Canon also uses a MXF codec that ensures that you have a smooth recording (constant 50 Mbps bit rate) with all the details and colors in excellent detail.

Canon uses the MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec in order to record full HD videos and save them in standard CF cards. The 4:2:2 color sampling provides twice the color resolution that the 4:2:0 color sampling does. The Canon XF300 is capable of recording in multiple frame rates and multiple resolution. you can choose between 50i, 50p and 25p depending on the look you need.

The recording media used by the Canon XF300 is standard CF cards. Standard CF cards is more cost effective when compared to other more expensive types. There are two CF card slots on the camcorder. They support relay recording, hot swapping, file copy and backup.

Sony PXWX180 XDCAM XAVC HD422 Hand-held Camcorder (Black)
  • Three 1/3"-type Full HD Exmor CMOS sensors, Sony G Lens with 25x Optical Zoom, Variable dual ND filter control...
  • 59.94p / 50p recording at Full HD 1920 x 180, Switchable recordings for MPEG-2 HD422, AVCHD, and DVCAM, Wi-Fi features...
  • Proxy file recording on SD card, Dual S x S media slot for simultaneous recording, relay recording, and independent...
  • OLED color viewfinder, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI supports up to 60p full HD uncompressed signal, Remote control (partially...
  • Live Video/Audio streaming via wireless network (3G, 4G, LTE, and Wi-Fi)

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