Question Can you recommend a budget camcorder with external mic. port?

JakeFist

Standard Member
Hi,

I'm looking to buy a budget camcorder that I will use for filming close shots of products and recording interviews with people.

My requirements are that it can capture in 1080p. Has a nice optical zoom for close-ups without image degradation and an external microphone jack as it will be very important to capture sound when talking to camera outside or recording an interview.

I've seen a lot of almost suitable Canon/Sony/Panasonic cameras for around £200 that seem fine - apart from the fact that they don't have a mic port. Can anyone recommend a decent camcorder in or not too much more than this price bracket?

thanks
 

rogs

Well-known Member
There are very few (if any?) current consumer camcorders in that price range fitted with external mic sockets. That feature is reserved for the top of the range models these days.
One other feature with the cheaper models is a small sensor size, which can cause quality problems with footage shot in low light (indoors). Not sure if that is a concern in your case?

One alternative to the audio problem is to use an external audio recorder, and then 'sync' your external sound in your editing software afterwards. Not as difficult as it might first seem... especially once you've done it once or twice!

External audio .wav recorders - like the Zoom H1 - start around £80.
You can get pretty good results though from some of the cheaper audio recorders, like the Sony mp3 recorder I used for my 'cordless recording mic' project here: Recording Mic
 

JakeFist

Standard Member
Thanks for your suggestions Rogs. The low-light is not too much of a worry, I don't require professional level just decent. I have considered external recording but it will add extra time having to use two devices then sync audio when I will often have to work fast.

I will consider the appropriate price bracket. I've found the Sony PJ620 Handycam (2015) for £259. And there is the newer model Sony HDR CX625 for £360 I would pay the difference if it's worth it.

Also, can digital zoom be turned off on camcorders?
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
I suggest you could look at some of last years models as the price will be reduced when the new units come on line. For example the Panasonic HC-V770 can be got for £395 from Amazon.
The digital zoom can be disabled if required but it depends on what you want from the camera. Most digital zooms give a perfect picture up to a certain limit. Again example: My 750 has optical zoom up to 20x and so called Intelligent zoom up to 50x. There is no degradation of the picture and, as the total zoom is a ridiculous 1500x, well within the practical limits for this system.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
DYOR _ I understand both those models PJ620 + CX625 have BOSS stabalisers, which are exceptionally good - the PJ also includes a VGA projector, which I wouldn't bother with ( and may be the reason for the v.low price )... I think there are some minor differences, but you need to look for Mic-in and Headphone sockets . . which they both have, as far as I can see.
If you plan to do "interviews" ( ?) - the subject will expect to be pampered and this includes a decent LED light, on a stand at 45 degrees to the camera. . . . about £50 for starters. This will be useful for any close-ups . . . Do also take a Still for possible Editing later..eg for opening shots, cutaways, etc. showing a particular important part.

Apart from raising the colour-quality a Light will help darken the background, making it less intrusive and put a "catch-light" in the Subject's eyes. Check-out the shadows though - you can't fix them in Post!
At this price-point you don't get large sensors and I think the price-difference may be the low-light capability (ie Sensor-size ) - probably worth downloading the PDF User Manuals to check.
If you can afford it, the more expensive is probably "better" and in a few years' time that £100 difference will not be a worry. I think they will take larger batteries.... maybe one for Easter?

FWIW I have the early CX410 model ( also BOSS stabaliser ) and the only drawback is the lack of shallow DoF unless I work it hard. The built-in mic is excellent and a "dead-cat" using faux fur works well outdoors. I don't often use an external mic and my headphones are a useful insurance... plus a good "image" maker.


Good luck . let us know how things work out.
 

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