Even the best pocket video camcorders can be hard to justify purchasing today. But if you consider the purchase deeper, you realize there are multiple benefits to owning a pocket camera. How many times have you wanted to film an event without having to rely on the dying battery on your smartphone? This article looks into a few of the best pocket video cameras and why you might consider them in the first place.
Top 3 pocket video camcorders
Best overall – Flip Video Ultra High Definition Camcorder
With balanced characteristics, the compact camera is best for most users.
Best for waterproofing – Samsung W200
The small pocket camcorder is ready to record images in all weather conditions.
Best for 3D images – Sony MHSFS3 Bloggie HD
Realistic 3D images are a reality even on this petite camcorder.
5 Best Pocket Video Camcorders With HD Recording
One of the main benefits these small pocket-sized cameras are worth buying is image quality. All of the camcorders listed below feature full HD image recording capabilities so you don’t miss out any important detail when you’re recording.
1. Flip Video Ultra High Definition Camcorder
Made with a 1/4.5” sensor, the video camcorder can be one of the most practical gadgets you own. It only features a few buttons for recording, playback, and navigation. It’s practical to carry around and since it’s designed to be easy to use with its large buttons, you won’t miss any moment of the action.
Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t expect much from a 170 grams device. But can certainly be one of the top camcorders to carry in the pocket or in the backpack that shoots HD videos. With 4K recording capabilities, its images can be easily shared with friends and family who want to get an update on your holiday and the places you’ve seen.
There’s a small 1,5” digital display which even shows you the images you are recording. As a result, some people only use the gadget as an action camera. The images you record are transferred to a computer using a built-in USB port.
With easy recording and easy data transfer, it seems the camcorder offers more than it asks in terms of price. But then there are the colour options. You can get it on black or silver and you can match it with your sports outfit when using on hiking trips or when simply going on holiday.
Video camcorder features
- It records 4K videos
- Based on rechargeable AA batteries
- Designed with 8GB internal memory
2. Samsung W200 Full HD Waterproof Pocket Camcorder
Samsung is also making some of the best pocket video camcorders alongside flagship smartphones. But unlike its leading smartphones and tablets, its W200 camcorder is made for real action. With waterproofing, it’s the type of camera you take dirt biking, skiing, or on any other adventure outside the house.
Its robust construction allows it to be seen as one of the durable camcorders that can follow you anywhere. It uses just a few buttons for navigation and video recording. Samsung also added a photo button so that users can capture both videos and stills.
All of the videos are recorded at 1080p video resolution. Its full HD potential makes it a valuable replacement for smartphone video recording, especially since it comes with its battery and waterproofing.
Unlike the Flip Video camera above, it features a larger display. Those struggling with the small displays on action cameras such as the GoPro certainly feel more comfortable using the W200. Furthermore, its 140 grams weight also places it in direct competition with other action cameras apart from being a strong contender for other pocket video camcorders.
Video camcorder features
- Resists shocks and water submersion to 3m
- It records 1920 x 1080 resolution videos
- Made with smart filters for added creativity
3. Creative Vado HD Pocket Camcorder
With an included rechargeable battery that lasts 2 hours, the Creative Vado HD Pocket Camcorder is made for those who want to learn basic video editing. The camcorder comes with a simple editing software which you install on your PC. It allows you to cut, stitch and edit your videos according to how you want them to look. If you start your vlogging carrier with this camera, there’s a simple one-button push operation to follow to have your videos on YouTube in minutes.
The pocket camcorder records videos at 720p resolution. It might not have the highest video resolution, but it’s ideal users are teenagers and kids who are just starting video recording. A wide-angle lens allows these young users to capture larger scenes such as skateboarding or football drills.
The internal memory of 8GB allows users to record up to 2 hours of video. The battery life is also 2 hours so everything is as smooth as possible. While there’s no SD memory card slot, the camera features HDMI cable connectivity. Users can quickly download all of the recorded images on their laptops or they can watch them on the TV.
Video camcorder features
- Made with a flexible USB connector
- Compatible with TV playback
- It records videos at 30fps
4. Sony Bloggie MHS-TS20
The way pocket HD camcorders look varies considerably. If most smartphones look similar, the story is different in the world of video camcorders. This can be seen in the Bloggie camcorder with its large 3” LCD screen. It almost looks like a compact camera and it has a very distinct design compared to the camcorders listed above.
With FHD 1080p video recording capacity, it records clear images, mostly in good light as most cameras in its class. A recording resolution of 1920×1080 at 30fps makes this camcorder one of the interesting options if you might be a blogger or a vlogger, as its name suggests.
Bloggie charges by USB, a port is always attached to it. You simply plug it into a laptop for it to charge. Its battery is a bit more capable than others as it powers the camcorder for up to 3 hours.
But the design of this camcorder is what most of its users talk about the most. Its thin 15mm profile and its brushed metal finish make it look a lot more expensive than other cameras. The touchscreen capacity of the display also eliminates multiple buttons which are often crammed on video camcorders. The final result is a sleek camcorder that looks and performs like a premium product.
Video camcorder features
- It records 360 video panoramas with an add-on adaptor
- It records videos and it takes 12.8 MP photos
- Designed with a 3” touchscreen
Sony MHSFS3 3D Bloggie HD
The Bloggie HD prides itself with the title of ‘the world smallest camera to fit pockets’. Its reduced size recommends it for vlogging and frequent travellers. At a weight of just 135 grams, the little camera is among the top performers for those who need to record long videos where the alternative of holding a heavy large camera doesn’t sound too comfortable.
Its video performance is comparable to its top rivals. A 1080p video resolution recommends this camera for almost any type of video recording. It records up to 4 hours of high definition videos. But the compact pocket video camcorder also takes thousands of photos which are saved on its 8GB internal memory.
As expected for its charging capacity, Sony added a built-in USB charging port to the device. It allows the fastest method of charging and it doesn’t require you to store cables around the house.
But the most important function of the camera is the dual-lens setup. It’s the choice of 2 lenses and 2 sensors that allows you to take 3D photos and capture 3D footage. The built-in screen then allows you to enjoy these 3D images without wearing specialized 3D glasses. This function is not present on other pocket video camcorders in the Sony Bloggie family such as the Touch 360 and the Bloggie Touch.
Video camcorder features
- 3D video recording
- Low weight of 135 grams
- 4 hours of continuous 1080p video recording
Why choose a pocket camcorder
In the age of smartphones, DSLR and mirrorless cameras, it’s almost impossible to justify purchasing another type of camera. But the pocket video camcorders segment is still going strong, even with the rise in popularity of action cameras. As a result, you have to know which of the benefits of such are camera might apply to you.
Pocket video camcorders come with in-body wide-angle camera lenses. As their name suggests, these lenses capture wide scenes and they are suitable for all types of video recording needs. These lenses have their drawbacks such as the absence of an optical zoom over a digital zoom function. However, they are the most versatile for the average user.
Point and shoot
One of the most important benefits of owning a pocket video camcorder is its ease of use. Almost all other camcorders come with more buttons and extra settings which might make it more difficult to just take the camera out and start recording fast. Vloggers often need to capture the moment. These users don’t have the time to set up a scene like professional photographers and having a point and shoot system is a must.
A pocket video camcorder can record for hours. This is simply not the case with smartphones which come with low battery life and which aren’t made to record hours of videos. With a constant stream of social media notifications, smartphones might even make you lose focus while recording. As a result, they aren’t as focuses as pocket video camcorders on the pure recording function.
Even the most affordable pocket camcorders now record high definition images. You can find these cameras record either in 720p or in 1080p resolution. In broad daylight, they produce sharp results with the help of automatic shutter and brightness adjustments.
Features to look for in a pocket video camcorder
Now that you are convinced you to need a pocket video camcorder, you can start finding your next gadget to capture clear images. Here are the main features to consider.
The CMOS sensor is the best type of sensor you can find on pocket video camcorders. Based on proven technology that turns light into electrical signals, it’s also the largest sensor you can use for video recording with such a small camera. This also means its pixels are larger than those on other sensors. The results of these benefits include a better capacity to capture light compared to other smaller sensors.
The overall dimensions of the video camcorder are also important. For example, the Sony Sony MHSFS3 3D Bloggie HD comes with the dimensions of 5.5 x 1.7 x 10.8cm. This is one of the smallest pocket camcorders and it can be used as a reference for your future purchases. You also need to know that a larger built-in screen also limits the minimum size of a camera.
Internal memory is used to save recorded images on camcorders. These cameras can’t be used with external memory such as SD or micro-SD memory cards. It’s also the reason you need to check the storage capacity of your camera when making a purchase.
4GB and 8GB memory are the main alternatives you have. These are highly useful when it comes to hours of video recording. On medium to high video recording settings, you can expect to record videos of up to 8 hours in 1080p on most pocket video camcorders.
Maximum video resolution and frame rate
Should you choose 720p or 1080p as maximum recording resolution? While these cameras are small, they still record HD images. Most of those who try out vlogging now use 1080p video recording cameras. If you have the budget to choose a device with maximum resolution, you should choose it over 720p alternatives. This is especially true when recording for YouTube or Vimeo where vlogging cameras have set user expectations high.
Built-in display size
Most pocket video camcorders come with some type of a built-in display. In most cases, this display size is around 2” and it can come with bonuses such as touchscreen capabilities. For those interested in fewer buttons and s simpler interaction, a touchscreen display is going to be superior.
On the other hand, users who record action videos in remote conditions such as dirt biking or hiking videos might not be as tempted by touchscreen displays. Simple buttons prove better in these situations where dirt and dust particles are the biggest enemies of this tactile technology.
Most cameras come with rechargeable batteries. They normally take at least 4 hours to charge completely and you might be interested in charging them to 100% before going out to record as you can’t swap the batteries in the middle of the recording session.
Then there’s the way you charge these cameras that you have to consider. USB charging is the simplest method to rely on in this case. This also means you can charge your camera to the computer or even while travelling in your car.
USB charging cables are normally built-into the camera as they aren’t removable. This is another advantage of using pocket video camcorders as they give you the ability to save time and space with your camera’s accessories.
USBs are also used to transfer the recorded images to your computer. You don’t need specialized software to access the videos on the camera. But this quick USB data transfer also allows the compact cameras to be used as webcams in case you need them for video calls. While connected to the PC, pocket camcorders can be used for online video calls such as those on Skype.
A pocket weight camera weighs anywhere between 100 and 150 grams. A camera that weighs around 200 grams is already considered heavy for most users. Ideally, you want your camera to be as light as possible as you’ll be carrying it in your pocket.
Social media integration
If you’re interested in quick uploads, you might need to have a look at cameras that support direct uploads. A few of the cameras listed above offer one-touch video uploads to your social media channel. Users who need to do daily vlogs can find this function truly interesting. It can be a time-saving function if you need to upload your videos online frequently.
There are many other extra features you can consider for your pocket-size camera. For example, some cameras are compatible with 360-degree accessories for video recording. If you’re working on a project which could benefit from panoramic recording, there are cameras to help, even if they are pocket-sized.
Almost all outdoor pocket cameras are made with waterproofing. The Samsung W200 is among the top pocket cameras to be considered in any weather. Made with high-quality sealing, it allows users to keep recording in all weather conditions. The camera’s shockproof construction further recommends it for active users such as hikers or frequent travellers.
Not all cameras come with a minimum IPX4 sealing which means they aren’t usable in environments with dust or potential water damage. If you plan to record videos primarily outdoors and if you live in the UK, you need a camera that is capable of running smoothly even if the weather isn’t the best.
Digital image stabilization
In-body image stabilization is not seen on most pocket cameras. However, you should aim at a minimum digital image stabilization function which would allow you to record smoother images. Without image stabilization, most videos look unprofessional.
There’s another digital image stabilization function embedded into YouTube as well. Every upload id digitally stabilized further and given you users have steady hands, the recorded images can look semi-professional even without in-body camera stabilization.
Some of the cameras listed above such as the W200 come with several smart filters you can apply to your videos directly inside the camera. You simply navigate to the smart filters menu to make the adjustments before copying the images to your computer.
Where pocket cameras show their limits
Professional videography is limited to non-existing in the pocket video camcorders world. When purchasing one of the cameras listed above, you get a great deal but not a device to rival larger more expensive cameras. Here are the areas where you’re going to notice this first.
Low light video recording
Low light video recording on your pocket video camcorder proves difficult to impossible. The small sensors usually fail in low light conditions or they might simply lose features such as autofocus when there’s no sufficient ambient light for the recording. You need to consider these limitations together with the absence of 4K video, an external headphone jack, and 60fps recording.
While a few minimum edits such as adding a filter are possible on these small cameras, they fall short in comparison to DSLRs in this segment. You aren’t able to cut or stitch your videos in-camera for most of these devices. At the same time, you’ll struggle to find an alternative that is easy to use and which is also free to use on your computer. This is why you should mostly record your videos as close as possible to their final version to avoid having to resort to third-party software to make final edits.
Some of the best pocket video camcorders of the moment are made to be very easy to use. You’ll find them user friendly and this is why they can make for the perfect gifts for children. But most importantly, these cameras are now very popular in the vlogging world due to their compact size and sharp images.
Depending on the type of videos you plan to record, these cameras might also prove better than larger DSLRs or similar alternatives. Often weighing just around 100 grams, they can be the perfect travel companion. Given their built-in rechargeable batteries, the cameras are also environmentally friendly and cost-effective to run on the long term. USB charging is present on all of these compact devices to have them ready to record in a matter of several hours.