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Best Small Video Cameras

Expert Reviews & Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Small Video Cameras

Our Recommendations

In a hurry? Here are the best products at a glance.

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How to Pick Your Video Camera

Small video cameras are the best way to preserve your memories. Products have come a long way and now offer incredible video quality at affordable prices. But how do you pick the perfect portable, handheld video camera when there are dozens of options? To help you make the best choice we have researched 30 new and bestselling cameras and picked the top ten. All winners offer excellent technology, great features, and a fair price. Modern video cameras may seem small, but they are packed with features! Here are the most important specs to look for when you are shopping.

Best Small Video Cameras

Video Quality: Video quality comes down to the resolution of the camera. The two most popular standards right now are 1080p full-HD and the future-proof 4K Ultra-HD. Both work great and deliver sharp, lifelike videos. Which one should you get? If you are looking for value, choose 1080p. If you are looking for the best image quality, pick 4K.

Best Small Video Cameras

Zoom: Zoom lets you film far away images as if they were within your grasp. As you may know, it is represented by a number and an “x” (e.g., 5x, meaning you can magnify the image by up to 5 times). High zoom capability is useful for exploring new environments or capturing video from afar.

How to Pick Your Video Camera

Touchscreen: Does your handheld video camera have a hands-on screen? A touchscreen makes using the camera easier but isn’t a must-have. Generally, we do recommend it since ease of use can make your adventures more fun, especially in fast-paced situations. Don’t let your camera controls slow you down!

Best Small Video Cameras

Battery Life: Maybe someday the infinite battery will be invented, but until then we have to use our heads and make the most of the battery life we have got. Small cameras are made for use on the go, and where power is not available, so it is important to choose one with a battery life that fits your needs.

Best Small Video Cameras

Size: You are looking for a small video camera so size is a big factor (pun intended). The camera’s size determines what you can do with it and where you can take it. There is no one-size-fits-all, though, and the correct measurements depend on how you plan to use and store the camera. In general, smaller is better.

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Weight: Your handheld video camera should not weigh you down. It should be light and easy to take anywhere without much thought. Whether your camera is attached to your body or helmet trip or in-hand, a lightweight option will provide optimal comfort. We have purposefully selected small, lightweight cameras.

Top 10 Products

Time for the camera reviews! If you’re in a hurry, check out the Top Pick and Budget pick, they’re really great choices. Let’s go!

GoPro HERO5 Black

Top Pick
GoPro has established itself as the gold standard of mini video cameras, and the brand new HERO5 Black adds even more positive reputation to this popular brand. The camera takes incredible 4k ultra-HD videos and beautiful 12-megapixel photos. The device, along with being waterproof, is so strong that you can put it through just about anything and it will come out the other side without a scratch. It is designed to be the ultimate portable video camera that you can take with you everywhere. The HERO5 Black is ideal for traveling, outdoors, sports, and everything in between. It is simple to use and automatically takes high-end photos and videos. The new touchscreen is intuitive and user-friendly, and built-in Wi-Fi allows for easy connection with smartphones and online apps. You can control the camera from your phone and easily share your photos and videos with friends, family, and on social media. So what’s the verdict? The GoPro HERO5 Black is a professional quality handheld video recorder at a great price. If you are looking for pro-level, future-proof video, this is the best choice!
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Budget Pick
The Canon VIXIA is an affordable handheld video camera that packs the punch of a much more expensive camera. The list of its impressive capabilities reads like a book and is surprising, given the camera's low price tag. The Canon VIXIA includes some unique features like slow and fast-motion recording, cinematic filters, and even a baby mode that tracks your baby’s growth over time. Features like this show that the designers have built this camera with love and attention to detail and we appreciate that! Even without a little one, this super light and powerful camera is an excellent buy. It shoots high-quality video, is easy to use, and its automatic adjustment features make it an excellent choice for a first-time camcorder buyer. If you are looking for a cheap small camera that’s much fun to use, this is it!
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Sony HD Handycam

This amazing new handheld camera from Sony will capture any moment in stunning 1080p HD and allows you to choose from over 60 different scenery combinations to create the perfect effect. The unbelievable 30x optical zoom allows you to shoot in extreme detail even at great distances while advanced shot stabilization works to cancel out any wobbles. Just slip your hand through the comfortable strap and flip open the vivid LCD. Sony’s smart technology will turn the world into your next masterpiece.
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Panasonic 4K Ultra

The Panasonic 4K Ultra is the cream of the crop when it comes to pro-level video production and image capture. You can capture gorgeous videos in groundbreaking 4K UHD and 1080p HD and enjoy a powerful 20x optical zoom. Plus, after a shoot, you can use the built-in video editing software to turn your footage into a truly cinematic experience. But what would it matter if you could not share it all with friends and family? Luckily, the 4K Ultra is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can create live links and send your projects to the web directly from the camera.
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GoPro Hero Session

It’s so compact! The GoPro Hero Session is so small and lightweight that it can legitimately be described as ultra-pocket-sized - and as they say, great things come in small packages. This powerful little camera can be clipped or strapped onto anything and taken to one adventure after another. It is super strong and durable, and can even be plunged into the water down to depths of 33 feet! A one-button control system makes this one of the simplest cameras to operate, and if you want to see the footage in real time, just connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and use the excellent, free GoPro app. In short, this is one of the coolest cameras for adventurers and gear geeks alike!
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Panasonic HD Camcorder

Panasonic has done it again with another groundbreaking handheld video recorder at an attractive price. Some of the mind-boggling features include shooting from two angles at once by connecting via your smartphone over Wi-Fi and shooting at an insane 240 frames per second thanks to Panasonic’s one-of-a-kind Crystal Engine. Trust us; you have never seen slow-motion like this before! The HD Camcorder is especially well suited for outdoor productions. Its Intelligent Auto functionality controls lighting and motion effects masterfully, and its Wind Shield Microphone technology blocks any unwanted noise from getting in the way. This is a very special portable video camera!
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YI 4K Action Camera

The YI 4K Action Camera is going up against all the big brands and still made it to this list of the best portable cameras. The seven-layered glass lens shoots excellent 4K UHD videos for up to two hours on a single charge and captures photos at 12 megapixels to boot. The Gorilla Glass retina display is beautiful to look at and tough as nails, and YI has outfitted their camera with gyroscopic technology to keep picture quality smooth and clear even through the bumpiest terrain or heaviest impacts. One instantly noticeable thing about the 4K action cam is its design. It is a beautiful piece of technology, inside and out. Oh yeah, and it is very affordable.
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Canon VIXIA G20

The Canon VIXIA G20 is referred to by many experts as one of the best bang for your buck pro-quality camcorders available. Its unique HD lens with an eight-bladed Iris provides breathtaking depth and quality to moving images and allows for fine-tuned blur adjustments and fades. If you want to take your filmmaking to the next level, the G20 has nine different cinematic filters built in to set the mood just right and has enough internal memory to store twelve hours of footage so you will not have to stop before you get the shot just right. This is an excellent piece of equipment and an affordable gateway into the world of on-the-go filmmaking.
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Sony HDRCX440 Handycam

The Sony Handycam is made for those who want to share everything they see. In fact, this camera lets you do it live. That is right. Just connect to Wi-Fi and broadcast live via Sony’s ingenious Upstream 4 live streaming. After the show is over, the camera will use a special algorithm to automatically create a highlight video with the best scenes of the day. You can also use Wi-Fi to connect with your smartphone to back-up and share images and even control the camera remotely. Don’t think for a second that Sony has sacrificed anything to add these excellent online features. The Handycam still shoots in vivid 1080p full-HD and has one of the most powerful optical zooms of any camera in this price range.
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Besteker Portable Camcorder

The Besteker Portable Digital Camcorder has everything you need and nothing you do not. It is a great starter camera for the first-time buyer or bargain hunter, but we would not exactly call it bare-bones. This small video camera shoots in high-quality 1080p full-HD and has a superzoom feature which allows for a 120x digital telescopic experience. Besteker’s camera comes standard with special high-resolution sensors, which capture color brilliantly and perform very well in low-light settings. Another cool features is the ability to snap photos while filming with no break in the action. There’s no better time to start documenting your adventures, and Besteker beckons!
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