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Samsung HMX-W300 Review – The Specs Of This Portable Camcorder

Samsung HMX-W300

If you think that the camera on your cell phone has replaced any need for a video camera or camcorder, the Samsung HMX-W300 may change your mind. Granted, some camcorders from just a few years ago seem as obsolete as an Edison Cylinder Phonograph when compared to the video capabilities of even a modestly priced smartphone. However, there are more things to consider than just pixels and convenience that might tilt you in favor of a more traditional camcorder for specific situations.

When it comes to taking simple family vacation photos, a cell phone may be all you ever need to capture those precious moments. Pictures are easy to take -- and easy to retake -- with no conversion necessary to post them on any form of social media. So why would you need a separate camcorder?

Camcorder vs. Smartphone

Consider all the rough and tumble conditions of a family vacation. Your smartphone works fine for snapshots around the dinner table at Grandma’s house. But do you want to try to make quality videos with a cell phone when you’re hiking, tubing, fishing, boating, or engaging in most any other outdoor vacation activities?

The idea of risking your expensive smartphone under these adverse conditions begins to seem somewhat impractical, if not nightmare inducing. The more stable and rugged camcorder can take much more abuse than your cell phone. Add to this the fact that the Samsung HMX-300 is waterproof and is affordable.

So, if you are looking for a simple to use, inexpensive, waterproof, robust camcorder, the Samsung HMX-300 may be just one of the most useful things you pack for your vacation.

Enter the Samsung HMX-W300

The Samsung HMX-W300 has a very lightweight feel for a rugged camcorder. It can take the bumps and dusty conditions for a week in the woods without having to be heavy and bulky. Samsung lets you choose from three colors: red, orange, or black. Its dimensions are roughly the same as an iPhone, which makes it small enough to comfortably fit in your purse, beach bag, or jacket pocket. You’ll find it light enough to hang from a wrist strap.


The HMX-W300 looks a lot like the previous Samsung W200, but it was designed to be more "water-friendly." The new plastic membrane type buttons eliminate the gap between the buttons and the camera. This feature keeps water, dirt, and debris out of the unit.


It is waterproof, all the way to a depth of up to 16 feet, which is pretty impressive. But note that it can only stay submerged for about an hour before it needs to come out. After using this camera underwater, it is essential to wash it with fresh water and allow it to dry. It is also shock resistant up to six feet so that it can take most of the bumps and knocks of your vacations far better than the average cell phone.


When you first pick it up, it may even feel a bit too lightweight at first, but keep in mind that we are not talking about a $500 professional camcorder. This unit is built to travel light and move fast.


It also wasn’t made to look like a $500 camcorder. It has the outward appearance of something more utilitarian than stylish.

Lens And Controls Configuration

The Samsung HMX W300 camcorder comes with a 4.3mm, f2.2 lens on the front and a 230k LCD display at the rear. It also comes with several waterproof control buttons to make various adjustments and change the settings. The entire unit is strategically covered with an easy to grip coating to keep it your hand instead of in the water. The zoom control and the underwater mode adjustment are also on the back.

The power button, HTML port, and microSD card port are all on the left while the USB connection is at the bottom.

What You Get In The Box

The Samsung HMX-W300 comes with a wrist strap and not much else. It does not come with a charger, because you can use any USB charger you currently have. Also, you can use the same USB charger for your cell phone or computer to get the job done.

Simple Controls

The menus and the navigation of the Samsung HMX-W300 are easy to use and simple to operate. It is not a complicated unit, and operation is quick and easy to master. One button toggles between photo mode and video mode. The main menu is also relatively simple and will get you up and running must faster than most more complicated cameras.

Features

As you may expect for the price, there are not a lot of features here to speak of. The HMX-W300 is made to be simple and easy to use.


Samsung made a huge impression with their previous model, the HMX-W200. It was also a rugged underwater camcorder, but the new version is still a bit of an improvement. The HMX-W300 can go a bit deeper underwater, it boasts of an improved button design, and it comes with a few more filters and a white balance. Unfortunately, it lacks manual exposure setting or any focus adjustment. It's not set up for fine photography, but for quick and rugged use.


That being said, it has very good image sharpness and better than average low light capability for its price.


Despite its “quick and easy’ design, the HMX-W300 does have a few tricks up its sleeve including still and video filters. You can add a fisheye mode, a retro setting, a negative setting and a few other settings that you may find interesting.


It also features 29.6mm wide-angle lens, 3x optical zoom and installed video editing software. The 3x zoom feature tends to use up your battery, so if you’re out on the water or in the wild, you may want only use it for unique shots.


The installed Intelli-Studio for Windows software has a suite of standard features. Best of all, you can run the software from the camcorder, so there’s no need to download yet another program to your computer.


One of the better options on the Samsung HMX-W300 is the pause recording feature. Instead of stopping and starting your videos, you can push the pause button for just one clip capturing your fun.


And just in case your new Samsung HMX-W300 camcorder has a manufacturing defect or does not work the way it's supposed to through no fault of your own, Samsung will replace it via the warranty on your device that lasts for an entire year, so you can rest assured that you are purchasing a product that should work properly from the moment you turn it on and start using it. You can also send your device to Samsung for repairs should you require it.

Auto Share

While it does have something called an “auto-share” feature, it may not be what you think it is. It will not connect you to a Wi-Fi connection to share your pictures and videos with social media. You must first connect your camcorder to your computer via the USB port. Once this is accomplished you may then connect to your accounts to share your images. What it does do easily is provide tagging for photos and videos during playback on the camera, which saves you some time later when uploading them to your computer.

A Few Cons

The HMX-W300 is a very good camcorder for the price, but it is not without its difficulties. When it is used in bright sunlight, the display is nearly impossible to see. This makes it not only difficult to adjust, but it’s also impossible to know if the unit is set to video recording or normal picture taking.


While this device will record video for up to two hours, it only does so for 15 minutes at a time. The recording will stop, but will start a new 15 minute video automatically. However, you could lose a precious moment because it happened between the end of one video and the start of the next one.


In addition, the audio is exceptional, but not the best.

Specifications

  • Lens: 3x Zoom
  • Image sensor type: 1/3.2" BSI CMOS
  • Display type: 2.3-inch LCD screen / 230,000 pixels
  • Video format: AAC audio and H.264 video (.MP4)
  • Video resolution: Full HD 1920x1080 30p/25p (17Mbps), HD 1280x720 30p/25p (8MBps)
  • Still image format: JPEG
  • Still resolution: 5.5MP (2720x2040) / 4:3, 3MP (2048x1536) / 4:3, 2MP (1920x1080) / 16:9, VGA (640x480) / 4:3
  • Product dimensions (W x H x D): 2.3 x 4.4 x .0.7 inches
  • Weight: 0.3 lb.
  • Power: USB battery charging
  • Software: Intelli-Studio for Windows
  • Pros

    Cons

  • Inexpensive
  • Small and comfortable to hold on to
  • Simple controls

  • Average image quality
  • “Auto share” is a bit misleading
  • Utilitarian design
  • No manual zoom
  • Getting Started

    The video below from the Carson City Library will help you get set up on the Samsung HMX-W300 with ease.

    At $43.34, the HMX-W300 is a great value. It is easy to operate, durable, and has very good picture quality. It doesn’t offer a great deal of fine tuning adjustment or manual controls. Still, you will not find a better underwater camera for shooting still pictures and video at this price.

    Samsung didn't design the HMX-W300 for photographers looking for a high-end camera for professional photographs and videos. Those of you who like to have lots of controls to fine-tune their pictures and videos might not look favorably on this model, either.

    Camcorder vs DSLR: Determining the Differences for Award-Winning Video

    dslr

    With the emergence of digital streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, and the constant advancements of our devices (cellphones, computers, tablets and televisions), creating and watching digital videos has never been easier. The only question is what camera should you use? Camcorder vs DSLR? If you are a filmmaker, an online content creator, or just someone interested in capturing precious moments in high definition, then read on!

    ​Comparison Table

    Camcorder Vs DSLR: What Is The Difference?


    The main difference in the camcorder vs DSLR debate is functionality. The Camcorder, tailored for shooting video, captures images in a series of digital frames and stores them directly onto a hard drive or flash memory. From there, the digital video can be imported onto your computer for editing, uploading and sharing.

    On the other side of the spectrum, the DSLR, (Digital Single Lens Reflex), originally designed for still photography, uses a mirror mechanism to reflect light and capture an image. In recent years, to meet the growing demand for video capabilities, the DSLR adopted similar video features as the camcorder and now also functions as a video camera.

    Product Specs

    lens

    image source: Pexels

    It is easy to note the physical differences between the cameras; a camcorder has a built-in zoom lenses whilst DSLRs use interchangeable lenses. However, there are 3 main variables to consider when working through the camcorder vs DSLR question for yourself:

     

    1. Sensor Size

    The biggest difference between a camcorder vs DSLR, is that DSLRs have much larger sensors. You can purchase camcorders with larger sensors, but these are the high-end models that are more expensive. In terms of video, there are two big advantages of shooting with a larger sensor: depth of field and low light.

     

    Depth of field relates to how much of the image is in focus, so a larger sensor provides more scope of information and you can adjust focus between your subjects and the background. Similarly, a larger sensor also collects more light, which reduces the chance of 'noise' in your video when you are shooting in low light.

     

    In terms of Product Specs, the camcorder vs DSLR debate favors the DSLR.

     

    2. Recording Time

    Similar to a computer, the power of a camera's processor dictates its speed and how long it can film for. As camcorders are designed to record video, their processor enables them to record for up to an hour or more in a single recording whilst DSLRs have shorter maximum record times; often only 30 minutes. This timing may be reduced further if you are filming in 4K ultra high definition.

     

    In terms of Recording Time, the camcorder vs DSLR debate favors the camcorder.

     

    3. Filters

    When you film in bright or direct light, a camera requires a neutral density filter (ND Filters) to control the amount of light the lens takes in and protect the video from being over-exposed or 'blown-out'. In terms of the camcorder vs DSLR debate, a camcorder has built-in ND Filters but DSLRs require you to purchase an additional 'ND Filter Kit' if you plan to film overly bright videos.

     

    In terms of Filters, the camcorder vs DSLR debate favors the camcorder.

    Pricing


    Prices for technology consistently fluctuate with each update, varying from brand to brand depending on their features, specs and accessories. You can peruse the virtual marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Bonanza, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic) or visit your local Best Buy or Walmart for the most competitive prices, but the general price range for a Camcorder is between $​ to $​$ and a DSLR is $​ - $​$$.

    How It Compares - Camcorder ​Vs DSLR

    hanging camera

    image source: Pexels

    With a vast spread of affordable and high-end digital cameras available on the market, it is difficult to know which option is right for you. So, we have selected a few similar products to see how they compare:

    • Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V770 
    • Nikon D3400 DSLR 
    • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 
    • Sony AX700 4K Camcorder

    1. Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V770

    Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V770, 20X Optical Zoom,...
    • 20X Optical Zoom: Long 20X zoom draws in the scene from far away; Compatible with Remote Pan Tilt Cradle (optional). The...
    • HDR Movie Feature: Exclusive high-dynamic range feature suppresses blown highlights and blocked shadows for crisper and...
    • Wireless Twin Camera: Wirelessly connect your smartphone's video camera as a sub-camera for a picture-in-picture video...

    With a vast spread of affordable and high-end digital cameras available on the market, it is difficult to know which option is right for you. So, we have selected a few similar products to see how they compare:

    Price $$

    Ease of Use [4 Stars]

    Panasonic's HC-V770 Camcorder is a cylindrical, light-weight camera which offers a 35mm-equivalent focal length that can capture Full High-density, ultra-smooth video at 1920x1080 at 60 frames per second. The camcorder boasts a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, manual setting options for focus, aperture and white balance, and user-friendly storage with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card slots.

    Durability [4 Stars]

    The HC-V770 Camcorder has a durable outer casing with a well-protected lens and in built-in light. It has a windshield microphone that uses a damping structure between the mic and its net for crisp sound. This is built to last.

    Design Quality [3 Stars]

    The HC-V770 Camcorder's focus on HD video is strengthened by three components: its 20x optical zoom, which allows for greater magnification without loss of quality or clarity; the high-dynamic range (HDR) feature, which enables the camcorder to film and merge different exposures, to reduce defects caused by low light/overly bright situations; and the wide-angle lens (29.5mm) that captures a larger frame when you're filming.

    Warranty [3 Stars]

    Panasonic offers a 1-year manufacturer's warranty for this product.


    Pros

    • High-quality images and videos
    • Easy to use manual settings using the control dial
    • Wi-Fi enabled for sharing videos and pictures instantly
    • "Panasonic Image App" lets you use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control
    • Slow motion Full HD
    • Real-Time Broadcast feature enables you to connect your camcorder to Wi-Fi and stream live Full HD videos on the USTREAM website

    Cons

    • Sensor is smaller than a standard DSLR camera, so it has a reduced depth of field
    • Unable to film in 4K HD; maximum is Full HD 1080p
    • Battery life can be low, so purchasing additional batteries is required
    • No in-built storage, memory cards are required

    2. Nikon D3400DSLR Camera

    Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR Camera with AF-P 18-55mm VR Lens & 70-300mm...
    • This Certified Refurbished product is refurbished to factory specifications, it shows limited or no wear
    • Includes all original accessories plus a 90 Day Warranty
    • Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR Camera w/ AF-P 18-55mm VR Lens & 70-300mm Dual Zoom Lens

    Price $$

    Ease of Use [3 Stars]

    Nikon's D3400 DSLR is a perfect option for beginners or users interested in capturing recreational footage. Similarly to the Panasonic HC-V770 Camcorder, the DSLR captures Full High-density, ultra-smooth video at 1920x1080 at 60 frames per second and features a 3-inch LCD monitor (not touchscreen), with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card slots.

    Durability [4 Stars]

    With a composite plastic-like body, the Nikon D3400 is lightweight (13.9 ounces) and fits nicely in the hand. The textured grip and thumb rest offer enough space to ensure stability whilst the optical viewfinder provides a crisp image with no glare.

    Design Quality [3 Stars]

    What sets the Nikon D3400 DSLR apart from its competition is the EXPEED 4 image processor, which ensures high-quality, full vibrancy color reproduction, low noise and fast operational speeds. Its wide ISO range of 100-25600 and the 3D-Tracking function on autofocus sensor allows a user to lock onto a subject in varying low-light situations.

     

    The Nikon D3400 does not have an external microphone port, so when recording footage, the sound captured from the in-built microphone can be affected by background noise.

    Warranty [3 Stars] 

    Nikon offers a 1-year limited warranty for this product.


    Pros

    • SnapBridge Bluetooth Compatibility
    • ISO Range of 100-25600 (Auto);
    • Built in Flash
    • Improved dynamic range over its predecessor
    • Image quality is increased by the lack of an optical low-pass filter.
    • User-friendly controls and menus
    • Outstanding battery life
    • Built-in Bluetooth LE for SnapBridge support (but see related Con)

    Cons

    • No external microphone port.
    • Weaker flash and fewer features than its predecessor (Nikon D3300)
    • 11-point AF system isn't good at tracking moving subjects without 3D Tracking function on.
    • No AE bracketing support
    • Underwhelming video performance
    • SnapBridge features and performance are limited because of lack of Wi-Fi

    3. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR

    Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Body BG-E20 Battery Grip
    • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera (Body Only) and BG-E20 Battery Grip
    • 30.4MP CMOS SENSOR: The EOS 5D Mark IV camera boasts a full-frame, high-speed CMOS sensor that's ideal for a broad range...
    • DIGIC 6+ IMAGE PROCESSOR: It can transition from taking still photographs to shooting videos in a near instant,...

    Price $$$

    Ease of Use [5 Stars]

    Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a pro-level DSLR, receiving high marks for stills photography and videography. Unlike others in the market, this camera is nimble and responsive with fantastic autofocus, a 3.2 inch LCD touchscreen interface and boasts a top resolution of 4K HD at 30 frames per second. With an increase in image resolution on its predecessor, the 5D Mark III, and Dual Memory Card Slots supporting CF (C-Fast) and SD/SDHC/SDXC, this DSLR is ideal for filming.

    Durability [5 Stars]

    Resilient weatherproofing around the strong, magnesium-alloy body, ensures this camera will last, even if the weather doesn't. The DSLR's full-frame body is lighter than the 5D Mark III, weighing only 1.8 pounds, enabling a user to film comfortably for longer.

     

    The 5D Mark IV fits comfortably in your hand, with a sturdy grip that provides easy access to the depth of field preview button (next to the lens mount) and shutter release (atop the grip).

    Design Quality [5 Stars]

    The EOS 5D Mark IV's design ensures smooth and effective use over its features. The transparent LCD viewfinder has 100% coverage and the customizable Quick Control screen allows quick ISO adjustments from 100 to 32000, with expansion up to 102400, down to 50.

     

    The Canon's Mirror Vibration Control System and the Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Auto-Focus) work in excellent synchronization to reduce vibration-caused blurring and ensure smooth AF during video or "Live View" filming.

     

    Super Speed USB 3.0 connectivity provides high-speed tethering and image/movie transfer. With so many first-rate features in the Canon EOS 5D Mk4, however, there is little room to include in-built ND filters, which have to be purchased separately in addition to lenses.

    Warranty [3 Stars]

    Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Canon Canada Inc. (collectively "Canon") warrant that the Product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and service for a period of one (1) year from the date of original purchase.


    Pros

    • Top resolution of 4K HD RAW at 30fps.
    • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for responsive and smooth AF during video or "Live View" shooting
    • Excellent high ISO performance for any lighting situation.
    • Superb dynamic range, much improved over its predecessor.
    • Excellent color accuracy.
    • Quick start-up and mode switching on touchscreen LCD
    • Built In GPS
    • Built-in WiFi
    • Time-lapse Movie function

    Cons

    • Dual memory card slots use different formats
    • Low-light AF is not always reliable for quality with low-contrast subjects
    • 29:59 continuous video recording limit

    4. Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

    Sony FDR-AX700 4K HDR Camcorder
    • 1" (1.0-Type) stacked Exmor RS back Illuminated CMOS sensor
    • Incredibly fast, Hybrid AF with 273 points and wide coverage
    • 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) in addition to full HD. Filter Diameter: 62mm. Minimum Focus Distance-...

    Price $$$

    Ease of Use [3 Stars]

    The Sony FDR-AX700 4K HDR build is light, nimble and easy-to-hold, ensuring that any size or type of hand can comfortably fit its overall structure. This design can further aid the user in handling the camcorder for extended periods of time during shooting. The Sony AX700 also has an abundance of high-end features that make it a videographer's dream. So much so, it can take time for a beginner to learn all the manual controls and functions of this camcorder.

    Durability [4 Stars]

    The structure and build of the Sony AX700 camcorder provides durability in most environments that range in temperatures between 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Including a lens hood gives added protection from the elements preventing dust and sun spot damage to the external and internal components of the ZEISS Vario Sonnar T Lens.

    Design Quality [5 Stars]

    The overall design of the Sony AX700 is impressive. Sporting a ZEISS Vario Sonnar T Lens, this camcorder has a 29mm wide-angle vision that can range from 29mm to 348mm with 12x optical zoom. Combined with the powerful Bionz X image processer, the AX700 allows the user to record in 4K UHD at 30fps or 24fps, and 1080P HD at 24fps, 30fps, 60fps and 120fps with improved battery life.

     

    It also has a 273 point phase detection AF (Auto-Focus) system backed up by a Exmor RS CMOS sensor that will give accurate tracking, better low light performance and increased dynamic range. Couple this with dual card slots and an external microphone jack, and the Sony AX700 is a powerful front runner in the world of videography.

    Warranty [4 Stars]

    Sony Electronics Inc. (for U.S. purchases) warrants this product ("Product") against defects in material or workmanship for two (2) years from original retail purchase when purchased directly from Sony or a Sony Retailer.


    Pros

    • 2x SD card slots
    • 4K HDR recording
    • Lightweight and compact
    • Focuses/locks onto subjects quickly
    • Professional-level movie production features

    Cons

    • No support for 4K 60 fps
    • Single, fixed lens with limited manual controls

    Conclusion


    So what's the winner in the camcorder vs DSLR debate? The choice is up to you. Only you can decide which is right for your photography or videography needs. Look carefully at the pros and cons of what we've reviewed here, and then get out there and get shooting!

    What Is a Camcorder? How This Device Helps You Capture Precious Moments

    what is a camcorder

    Capturing precious moments has become as common as the cell phones we hold in our pockets, but is the cell phone the best device for capturing those moments? More often than not, the answer to this question is no. Yes, it's convenient to pull out your phone and use it to capture that moment, but your phone's camera does not record video of the same quality a camcorder. So what is a camcorder?

    In this article, we will answer the question "what is a camcorder," discuss what features it might have, and give you some tips for creating a successful recording. We all want to make sure that we get the best video possible for all of life's most precious moments. They only happen once, and it's easy to fall victim to a beginners' skill set. We want you to be set up for success. Follow our tips and you will be well on your way to creating great videos that capture life's precious moments.

    What is a Camcorder?

    sony camcorder with accessories

    Image source: Pixabay

    Let's start with clearly establishing what is a camcorder. In short, it is an electronic device that contains both a video camera and recording device. Generally, these are small, portable devices that can record live video and audio. Camcorders support playback of the captured video through accessory electronics, such as a TV or computer.

    Often you can playback video on the camcorder itself or by attaching it to a display. However, with the proliferation of video editing software, most like to transfer their captured video to their computer and create a final video product with added effects and edit clips.

    Camcorders are diverse in their design and functionality but standard features usually include a display screen, a built-in microphone, optical and/or digital zoom, and built-in memory or a memory card slot.

    The benefit of using a camcorder is that you will get higher quality video than you could get if you use your phone for recording video. Cell phones have come a long way in the quality of video they record, but they still can't match up a device that is designed solely for that purpose. Camcorders have larger and more specialized lenses that are designed for capturing video under a variety of circumstances and lighting conditions. This allows them to capture better quality video than a phone can, which you'll appreciate viewing at a later date.

    Tips for Successful Recording

    First-time users of camcorders often make the mistake of recording unusable video. This can be a frustrating experience when you've invested in a high-quality camcorder to record those precious moments in life. We've collected some tips on the best practices for creating a successful recording so that your money and time investment is not lost: or those special moments you want to record!

    There are a lot of simple things that can be done to prevent low-quality video from being produced. Most are as simple as making adjustments to your camcorder's settings and others have to do with how you go about using the camcorder. We have outlined the best practices so that you can get started right away with recording high-quality video without making a bunch of beginners' mistakes.

    Watch the Zoom

    camcorder placed on the ground

    Image source: Pexels

    Most camcorders are equipped with an optical and digital zoom function. The optical zoom uses the camcorder's lenses to enlarge what is seen and the digital zoom enlarges the pixels of the image. If you use the digital zoom, this can create distortions in your video image and make it less enjoyable to watch. The best practice is to avoid using the digital zoom. In fact, most camcorders have a setting where you can disable the digital zoom. We recommend you enable this setting so that the digital zoom is not accidentally used.

    Another best practice regarding the zoom feature is to use it sparingly. It can be tempting to zoom in and out on what your recording to get a close-up and wide shot but often this rapid zooming in and out creates a sense of nausea for your viewer. This ruins the experience of the moment you're trying to share. If you need to use the zoom, focus on making it a slow and steady zoom.

    Bring a Tripod

    woman using a camera placed on a tripod

    Image source: Pexels

    Most camcorders are built to be held in your hand, but this does not mean doing so will create a great viewing experience. It's easy to start out holding the camcorder steady and capturing great video, but then get either tired or distracted so that you stop holding it steady. It will become more difficult to hold the camcorder at the same height if you're tired.

    Further, when you stand your body naturally moves up and down as you breathe, and when you get distracted, you may stop noticing this. This creates a jumping effect on film and can make it look like you are jumping up and down while recording. Like too much zoom, this can make it difficult for viewers to enjoy the film.

    You can (and should) enable image stabilization to combat this issue, but that will only go so far. The easiest fix to this problem is to purchase a tripod. Most are inexpensive and of high quality. Using a tripod will create a better viewing experience and won't tire out your arms. It will give you the freedom to capture the best possible video for viewing experience.

    Skip the Special Effects

    hand of person holding a camcorder

    Image source: Pixabay

    Lots of camcorders today have special effects built-in. Sure, fancy fade-ins and fade-outs look cool, but these effects and others are better added in during the post-filming editing phase. The built-in effects will change the original video file.

    For example, let's say you record your child's birthday party in black and white. If you use the built-in special effect, the original video file will be saved in black and white and that will be the only way you'll be able to view that recording. If you record it in color and add the black and white effect in during editing, then you'll have the option to remove that effect. It won't be permanent because the original file is in color.

    This goes for all effects (e.g. fade-in, transitions, lighting, etc.). In the editing phase, things can be easily added and removed, but in the recording phase you want to get raw video. It is much harder to add or remove an effect once the event has been recorded and saved as a file.

    Turn on the Lights

    man taking a video of person sitting on the roof

    Image source: Unsplash

    Most camcorders were not built to record in the dark or low-light settings. In fact, recoding in these conditions will often result in lower video quality. The best practice is to turn on the lights whenever possible: as many as available to you. This will improve the video quality and allow you to see what you are recording. Having a well-lit subject is an important component of creating a viewable end product.

    Get a Microphone

    large camcorder placed on a wooden surface outdoors

    Image source: Pexels

    Camcorders come with a built-in microphone, but often these produce low-quality audio. If your camcorder has a port, it is advantageous to purchase a small lavaliere microphone. This microphone can clip on to the subject's clothing and produce better audio quality. It is an inexpensive option and will greatly improve your audio quality for your recording.

    Shoot Extra Video

    canon black camcorder with blurred background

    Image source: Pexels

    Camcorders often have a delay from the time you press the record button and the time the camcorder actually starts recording. This means that you want to make sure you give yourself extra time when you start a recording. For example, hit the button and wait for confirmation that the video is being recorded before your subject begins speaking.

    Likewise, give yourself time in the end before you stop recording. At the end of the day, it is much better to have too much video. You can always edit out the pieces you don't want or need, but it is much harder to add in pieces after the event has been recorded.

    Conclusion

    close up photo of white camera

    Image source: Pexels

    Knowing what is a camcorder and how best to use one are important factors in being able to capture life's precious moments. We want you to be successful in capturing those moments. These tips are specifically targeted for people who are new to using a camcorder but want to get the best quality video. Beginner's mistakes do happen, but by implementing these tips you will be on your way to creating high-quality video content.

    Remember before using your camcorder for the first time go through and customize the settings. Turn off features like the digital zoom that will create video distortions. Turn on features like image stabilization. Even when using a tripod, it's helpful to have this feature turned on. Forget about special effects until the editing phase of production and turn on as many lights as you can. Only specialized (and expensive) camcorders are designed to record things in low light conditions.

    Lastly, don't forget the microphone for great audio and always record a little bit extra. It's better to have too much video that can be edited than to not have enough.

    Review: Kodak Playsport Zx5

    kodak playsport zx5

    As people share more of their lives on social media, sports and active hobbies continue to grow in interest. Many people want to film themselves doing more extreme activities or simply share their experience with the world. However, sometimes a phone isn't the most convenient tool to use when filming more active videos. This is where mini, or pocket, camcorders such as the Kodak Playsport zx5 have provided a solution.

    Mini camcorders provide convenience and comfort, allowing you to record without having to lug filming equipment around. They also cost a lot less to buy than traditional camcorders and are very easy to operate. One of these camcorders is the Kodak Playsport Zx5.

    Kodak PlaySport Zx5


    The Kodak PlaySport Zx5 is a small Internet pocket camcorder used to record more active hobbies. It typically sells for around $85. It is a great, reasonably priced option for a mini camcorder. It has many features and advantages that puts it ahead of other mini camcorders on the market, and its own set of drawbacks. By looking at its specs, pricing, and comparison with other pocket camcorders that are available, you can decide whether the Kodak Playsport Zx5 is the camcorder for you.

    Product Specs


    Design

    kodak playsport zx5

    ​Image Via Amazon

    The Kodak Playsport Zx5 is small and comes in different colors, weighing in at 4.5 pounds with a 2.0 inch LCD screen and encased in mildly rubberized soft-touch plastic. It has two lockable doors with rubber seals inside them on the side of the camera. The memory slots and ports are both held into place by switches that lock into place. Most of the buttons are found on the front of the camcorder and include a pad for scrolling and selecting footage or a photo, a settings/menu button, a share button, an editing button, and a delete button.


    Compared to previous generations, the Kodak Playsport Zx5 is shockproof, dustproof, and waterproof. This makes it much more rugged and tough than its predecessors. It can stand a fall from a height of 1.5 meters and is waterproof up to a depth of 3 meters. While not recommended for extreme sports, these specs make it ideal to withstand most non-extreme leisure activities.


    Because of the improved toughness of the Kodak Playsport Zx5, the battery is not removable, which means you will have to replace the entire camcorder if it becomes dysfunctional. If it does so once the warranty expires, you will have to buy another one.

    Video Quality

    The Kodak Playsport Zx5 incorporates a 5MPixel sensor with a 1/3.2 inch CMOS, which can negatively affect its low light sensitivity. It has three recording modes: 1080p full HD at 30 frames per second, 720p at 30 or 60 frames per second, and WVGA at 30 frames per second. WVGA is a widescreen version of VGA, offering a resolution of 848 x 420 pixels. You can also take images at 5.3M pixels as well.


    Because it is a pocket camcorder, the Kodak Playsport Zx5 only comes with digital 4x zoom, which causes a drop in quality when it is engaged. There are several digital effects available, such as '70s films, high saturation, sepia, and Black and White. It includes an underwater correction filter that compensates for color shifts when filming underwater. Though it does have image stabilization, it is digital and not as effective as versions found on larger camcorders.


    It also has microphone gain control, allowing you to compensate for very quiet or loud audio. You can also configure the LCD brightness and anti-glare system. There is also a macro mode in the menu system that allows you to focus down to 10cm underwater instead of 13cm underwater. However, there is no backlight compensation to counteract the effects of shooting against a bright background. The white balance is also a little off when filming in Full HD mode, giving a slight yellow tinge to footage shot in bright sunlight.

    Software and Apps

    The Kodak Playsport Zx5 comes with 128MB of built-in memory space; however, most of this is taken up by the pre-installed apps, leaving only 20MB of memory for actual video storage. This means that you will need to get an SD card for more serious filming. Because it only accepts SDHC, you get a maximum of 32MB of external storage, which amounts to about 13 hours of filming at the top quality of 1080p resolution.


    It requires a cable to connect it to a computer, giving you two apps to choose from once connected. With the share button on the front of the camcorder, you can share videos and photos to YouTube, Facebook, Flickr via email, and share still photos via Kodak PULSE display gallery. Once you connect the camcorder to your computer, the videos and pictures will automatically upload to the social media account that you chose. You can also tag your uploads on Twitter, Yandex, Orkut, and KAIXIN001.


    Kodak has a special version of Arcsoft's Media Impression that allows you to edit your clips before you upload them, and it installs automatically when you first connect your camcorder to a PC. Both apps, Kodak PULSE and Arcsoft Media Impression, are PC only and don't include Mac support. This is common with many pocket Internet camcorders, and this camcorder even has some on-camera editing options available.

    Pricing


    The Kodak Playsport Zx5 typically sells  on its own for around $85 on Amazon, making it fall into the mid-range price level when compared with camcorders on the market. Most other retailers, such as eBay and Newegg, sell it for several hundred dollars more in a bundle with other accessories such as SD cards, USB cables, and power adapters.

    How It Compares


    We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

    • Samsung W190
    • Coby SNAPP
    • Veho VCC-003

    No products found.

    Ease of Use:

    All buttons are on the front. It is small and compact and easy to use.

    ​Design Quality:

    ​Waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, with two editing apps includd.

    ​Warranty:

    ​Includes a limited warranty with purchase of the camcorder.

    Pros

    • Very rugged- shockproof, waterproof, and dustproof
    • Records up to 1080p resolution
    • Great editing apps and sharing features
    • Reasonably priced

    Cons

    • Nonremovable battery
    • Limited storage
    • No backlight compensation
    • Poor image stabilization
    Samsung W190 5.5MP HD Pocket Camcorder Red
    • water Proof, Full HD, Bundle (4GB memory Card)

    The Samsung W190 is a small mini camcorder with a 2.3" LCD screen and a 1/3.2" BSI CMOS. It is very compact and lightweight, weighing less than a pound, and is known for its durability. It is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, and records in Full HD 1920 x 1080 at 30 or 25 frames per second or HD 1280 x 720 at 30 or 25 frames per second. It has a fixed lens with 3x zoom and can also capture still photos at 5 Megapixels. It comes with a mini-HDMI port, allowing you to hook it up to the TV for HD viewing.


    It has a decent battery life of 1 to 1 1/2 hours recording in full HD. It comes with auto-focus, auto-shutter, auto white balance, and a built-in microphone. It also has a built-in charging port, making charging it easier. It is usually sold in a bundle with accessories, so though it costs more than the average mini camcorder, it turns out to be a good bargain.


    Much like the Kodak Playsport Zx5, the Samsung W190 comes with limited storage due to pre-installed apps and only records up to 30 minutes of footage as-is, so it requires the purchase of an SD card for greater external storage and recording time. It also does not record well in low light.

    Ease of Use:

    ​Most buttons on the front for easy access; very light weight

    ​Design Quality:

    ​Waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, but has problems with buttons and ports working properly.

    ​Warranty:

    ​The camcorder comes with a one-year warranty.

    Pros

    • Mini-HDMI port
    • Waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof
    • Records in full HD

    Cons

    • Weak image stabilization
    • Only 3x zoom
    • Limited storage
    • Lens not adjustable or replaceable
    • Does not record well in low light
    Veho Uk Vcc-003-muvi Micro Dv Camcorder
    • Veho
    • Camera Hardware
    • Digital Video Camera

    The Veho VCC-003 mini camcorder has a unique design that allows it to be a truly hands-free camera. It does not have a screen only a lens on the front that has a 2MP CMOS, which means it weighs only 50 grams and measures just 2.17" long. It is encased in a thumb-sized metal alloy casing. This makes it perfect to use for extreme sports when coupled with the extreme sports mounting kit, something that other mini camcorders cannot claim. The on and off switch and the slot for the microSD card can be found on the side.


    It comes with a 260 mAh lith-ion rechargeable battery and gets an average of 120 minutes of recording time, which is a good length of time for mini camcorders. Recharging only takes 30-45 minutes. It can record 640 x 480 resolution at 20 to 25 frames per second, with a 72-degree angle. However, it does not record well in low light. The camcorder is compatible with microSD cards up to 8GB.


    Because it records in AVI format, you can burn, edit, and share your clips easily. You can also easily connect to your computer via micro-USB to upload your pictures, use it as a webcam, and even charge it, which makes it completely portable. In the box, you get a 2GB microSD Card, spring mounting clip, USB cable, carrying pouch, neck chain, users manual, and webcam software. There are also various mounting kits and accessories available for purchase on the Veho MUVI website, such as a waterproof case and a portable charger.

    Ease of Use:

    ​Very few buttons, so there's not a lot of options. Compact with micro-USB, which makes it great for sports.

    ​Design Quality:

    ​Great battery life, easy computer connection, but not much storage.

    ​Warranty:

    ​This camcorder includes a one-year warranty.

    Pros

    • AVI capture format
    • Full HD resolution
    • Slim and compact
    • Multiple mounts
    • Micro-USB for easy computer connection

    Cons

    • Max 8GB expandable memory
    • Difficult to transfer files to computer
    • Cannot use camera underwater without a waterproof case
    • Does not record well in low light

    Conclusion


    In conclusion, if you're looking for a mini camcorder that is rugged, offers beautiful high definition, has superior storage capabilities, and is a reasonable price, then the Kodak Playsport Zx5 just might be the one for you. When we compare this mini camcorder to other pocket camcorders on the market, we give the Kodak Playsport Zx5 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    SJCAM vs GoPro – The Best Action Camera For You

    action cameras: sjcam vs gopro

    SJCAM Vs. GoPro, which one do you think is better? If you’re a sports fanatic, or otherwise a fan of outdoor activities, chances are you’ve heard of both these action cameras. But which of the two is the best?

    GoPro and SJCAM are both highly reputable action camera manufacturers with a ton of different products on the market. GoPro seems to be the current favorite action camera company of the masses, with its ever-popular Hero and Fusion flagship models. SJCAM, on the other hand, is a newer company making waves in the industry with their SJ6 and SJ7 action cameras, as well as their SJ8 Series professional action cameras.

    So, out of SJCAM Vs. GoPro, which is better? We decided to find out.

    Action Cameras

    action cameras

    Action cameras are compact cameras that generally attach to clothing or affixed to one sort of mount or another. Typicaly built to handle a beating, as certain types of action may get a bit rough, action cameras are also usually waterproof, or at least come with a waterproof housing. Action cameras are most associated with extreme sports such as skydiving, snowboarding, skateboarding and more.

    SJCAM Vs. GoPro

    The SJCAM Vs. GoPro comparison should settle the question of which one of these industry titans is the true king of action cameras once and for all. To be as thorough as possible, we’ll be looking at every aspect possible for each of these brands including how many cameras they offer, available features, differences between flagship models, price ranges, warranty options, and accessories.

    SJCAM

    2018-Original SJCAM SJ4000 Air Action Camera 4K WiFi Underwater Cam...
    • 【100% 4K HD Action Camera】: Provides 4K/30FPS, 2.7K/30FPS, 1080P/60FPS, 1080P/30FPS and 720P/120FPS Video...
    • Comes with a waterproof case and is waterproof up to 30 m. You can take video or photos controlled by an iPad above...
    • Built-In WiFi wireless module: effective distance up to 3-5meters, apply on your phone or tablet, easily record videos...

    The SJCAM brand is an emerging leader in the action camera industry. Always evolving and developing new products to satisfy the demands of the market, SJCAM prides itself on creating and supporting high-quality cameras. The company uses nothing but the highest quality components for their products and has an eye for even the smallest details. Fully committed to their customers, SJCAM frequently releases new firmware upgrades for SJCAM owners.

    Features

    As a newcomer to the action camera market, SJCAM has had their work cut out for them. Competing with powerhouse action camera manufacturers such as GoPro, SJCAM cameras come with several top-notch features. Most notably, their flagship model, the SJ8 PRO, comes with a 12MP (megapixels) Sony IMX377 image sensor as well as an Ambarella H22 S85 chipset. Video resolution on SJCAM products peaks at 4K 60fps (frames per second) footage and still image resolutions of as high as 12MP. Display sizes range from 1.5-inch button operated menu screens to just under 2.5-inch touchscreens. SJCAM action cameras also come with other advanced features such as built-in image stabilization, extended-life lasting batteries, and compatibility with a versatile range of mounts and accessories.

    Cameras available

    SJCAM is one of the biggest up and coming names in the action camera industry. Aside from GoPro, there aren’t many brands offering such a diverse range of products. SJCAM currently produces 4K action cameras, budget action camera, 360-degree cameras, professional action cameras, dash cams, and body cams.

    4K action cameras

    Budget action cameras

    360 cameras

    Dashcams

    Professional action camera

    This professional action camera is the SJCAM flagship:

    • SJ8 PRO
    SJCAM SJ8 Pro 4k Action Camera WiFi Digital Ultra Full HD with...
    • 4K Ultra HD camera, equipped with SONY IMX377 recording native 4K/60PFS video and 12MP photos. shoot more wonderful...
    • USB Type-C connector, faster transfer than all previous models with external Mic-support. 1200mAh high capacity battery,...
    • Supports RAW format, you can save image files in lossless format, more convenient for post-editing, Makes it easier to...

    Flagship model

    The SJ8 Pro is the current flagship model of SJCAM, a 12MP action camera capable of recording video in 4K at 60fps. The SJ8 Pro comes with plenty of high-end features such as six-axis image stabilization, time lapse, touch screen display, manual settings and more. It has a high-quality camera body with a screw mount built-in and a battery with a long-life. Downsides of the SJCAM’s flagship model action camera include poor sound and image quality when using the waterproof housing and a lack of such a dynamic range and vivid colors as GoPro HERO6 or GoPro HERO7.

    Accessories

    SJCAM has a load of acessories available on the market. Many third-party GoPro mounts and other camera acessories also work with SJCAM products. Mounts, harnesses, chargers, memory cards and waterproof housings are among the most widely used SJCAM acessories.

    GoPro

    GoPro HERO - Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch...
    • 2 Inch touch screen quickly switch between modes, frame The perfect shot and check out your footage on the 2 inch...
    • Waterproof + durable built tough and waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meter), Hero goes where your smartphone can't to...
    • Voice control   control your hero hands free with simple voice commands like "GoPro, Start recording" and "GoPro,...

    The GoPro brand was first launched back in 2002 by Nick Woodman. GoPro is responsible for revolutionizing the action camera industry. Since developing their iconic HERO cameras over a decade ago, the brand has gone on to successfully developing editing software, apps, and other product lines such as Fusion and the Karma drone. GoPro is undeniably one of the most beloved action camera producers in the world.

    Features

    GoPro cameras come with some seriously impressive specs. A few of the most significant features of the latest GoPro cameras include WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreen displays with voice command options as well as the abilities to shoot upside-down and in up to 33 feet of water without any additional housings or cases. Video resolution of newer GoPro cameras is 4K60, 2.7K120, 1440p120, 1080p240. The latest GoPro cams also come with state-of-the-art built-in image stabilization, batteries with a long lifespan, and dual MP4 and H.264/H.265 video recording formats. It is safe to say that most action cameras even close to the GoPro's price range are somewhat lacking in comparison.

    Cameras available

    GoPro is no doubt one of the hottest action camera brands in recent history. The intuitive company has several extreme products available for purchase online. All of their cameras record high-resolution videos as well as detailed still images in burst mode. Newer GoPros are waterproof, and there is waterproof housing available for older models which aren’t water resistant. There are currently five signature GoPro cameras on the market:

    4K action cameras

    Flagship model

    The most current flagship model of the GoPro empire is the HERO7 Black. The camera is built more stringent than ever before and is now waterproof for up to 33 feet without extra waterproof housing. It comes with SuperPhoto, GPS, HDR, HyperSmooth Video, and connectivity to Facebook Live. HERO7 Black records 4K60 1080p240 video footage and takes 12MP still photos in burst mode. Additional noteworthy upgrades from older versions include touchscreen controls, 16 voice commands for hands-free control, as well as 8x slow motion. It also gives you the capability of live streaming.

    Accessories

    One of the things that helped make the GoPro brand so successful is the number of high-quality accessories that the company developed for use with their action cameras. Some of the most popular GoPro accessories on the market include mounts, housings, batteries, chargers, and harnesses for helmets, chests, waists, handlebars and more. There are also many GoPro Apps which are useful for both controlling the camera and viewing and editing previously recorded footage.

    SJCAM Vs. GoPro Step-by-Step Comparison

    So, now that we’ve covered SJCAM Vs. GoPro basic features, flagships, acessories, prices, support, and warranty options, we’re much closer to determining the winner of the SJCAM Vs. GoPro comparison. It’s time to do the final SJCAM Vs. GoPro step-by-step comparison. Based on what we found out about each brand, we’ve awarded stars to each of the brands for each of the following categories. Both brands had the possibility of earning five stars. Let’s see how they scored.

    Most versatile features

    Neither SJCAM nor GoPro has any shortage of state-of-the-art features. However, GoPro without a doubt has a slight edge over SJCAM, as they have way more time and money invested in their brand at this point. SJCAM is by no means lagging too far behind GoPro in this department, but they have a bit of catching up to do before they even the playing field entirely.

    One SJCAM Vs. GoPro star goes to GoPro due to its more advanced features such as voice command, touchscreen displays, a superior dynamic range and the best image sensors in the action camera industry.

    The Best Flagship

    The SJ8 PRO Vs. HERO7 Black is an interesting comparison because the SJCAM flagship camera is half the price of GoPro’s flagship. Both action cameras are top-notch, offering 4K 60fps video recording capabilities, six-axis image stabilization, 12MP cameras, time-lapse, and manual settings. The main advantages that GoPro has in this instance are voice control and a waterproof camera body. The SJ8 PRO does not have voice control capabilities, and it requires additional housing to become waterproof. Also, the quality of sound, as well as image clarity, is significantly reduced when recording from inside of the waterproof housing.

    One SJCAM Vs. GoPro star goes to the GoPro for again having a slight edge of the SJ8 PRO in overall functionality as well as superior controllability.

    Availability of accessories

    The difference between the availability of accessories between SJCAM and GoPro are practically non-existent. Both brands have a healthy selection of mounts, mounting hardware, housings, harnesses, batteries, chargers, cables and more. From chest rigs to handlebar mounts and adhesive mounts, both brands cover a wide range of accessories.

    Taking a step beyond basic accessories, both brands also develop applications for their cameras including editing software. Also, both brands provide a handful of accessories with the purchase of one of their flagship cameras. GoPro even throws in a free SD card when you purchase one of their cameras.

    One SJCAM Vs. GoPro star goes to both SJCAM and GoPro for having an equal amount of useful accessories available.

    Best price range

    The price range is perhaps the most significant difference between the SJ8 PRO and the HERO7 Black, aside from voice control features and their dynamic ranges. The HERO7 Black is currently available for a bit costly price, while the SJ8 PRO is available for an affordable price. Yes, the HERO7 Black is waterproof without a housing unit, and it has a slightly higher dynamic range as well as voice control features.

    One SJCAM Vs. GoPro star goes to SJCAM for having an all-around more affordable price range while still possessing most of the same high-end features and functions as GoPro.

    Warranty options and customer support

    Another significant aspect of both action camera brands that are remarkably similar is their warranty options. Both camera brands include a manufacturer’s warranty with the purchase of their products. SJCAM offers a one-year warranty and GoPro provides a two-year warranty. Both brands also offer a money-back guarantee and cover the return shipping costs. GoPro has a slight advantage on SJCAM in this department, as they have a much more in-depth return policy, as well as a trade-up program for trading your GoPro gear in for newer stuff. SJCAM, however, seems to hold a bit of an edge over GoPro in the customer support area. Many GoPro customers have complained about having a bad time with customer representatives.

    One SJCAM Vs. GoPro star goes to both brands for having excellent return policies, warranty options, and fully integrated customer support departments.

    Our Verdict on SJCAM vs GoPro

    action camera

    So, there you have it, the step-by-step SJCAM Vs. GoPro comparison above has clearly shown GoPro as the reigning king of the action camera industry. However, the gap between GoPro and the up-and-coming SJCAM action camera brand could be quickly closing up.

    For now, the GoPro HERO7 Black is one of the best action cameras on the market, period. The SJCAM SJ8 PRO isn’t bad, but it doesn’t compare in regards to advanced features, dynamic ranges, and quality of the camera body.