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10 Best Camcorders for Sports in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks

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woman wih camcorder

If you have a smartphone, you have a portable camcorder. Technology has improved the quality of the videos you can capture, making them adequate for many uses. However, the fact remains that it isn’t your phone’s primary function. It’s first a camera and then a video recorder. If you want to up your game, you’ll need to upgrade to a camcorder.

Manufacturers design camcorders to optimize taking videos. That means better picture quality, audio, and usability. Our guide will discuss the features to consider when comparison shopping for these devices. We also have reviews of some of our favorite camcorders. We hope we can help you make an informed choice to get the most out of your camcorder for sports.

shutter camera divider 2

A Glance at Our Winners in 2023

Image Product Details
Winner
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Canon VIXIA HF R800
  • Excellent resolution
  • Versatile
  • Filter-ready
  • Second place
    Kimire Video Camera Kimire Video Camera
  • Multi-functional operation
  • Affordably priced
  • Special effects
  • Third place
    JVC GY-HM620 Camcorder JVC GY-HM620 Camcorder
  • Two memory card slots
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • Built in GPS
  • Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Panasonic 4K Ultra HD
  • 4k support
  • Live streaming
  • 3-year warranty
  • Sony HDR-AZ1VR Sony HDR-AZ1VR
  • Decent battery life
  • Remote included
  • Built-in mic
  • The 10 Best Camcorders for Sports – Reviews & Top Picks 2023

    1. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Camcorder– Best Overall

    Canon VIXIA HF

    Resolution: 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 32x
    Weight: 5 ounces

    The Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Camcorder is an excellent choice for someone who wants a user-friendly device. We loved the Highlight Priority Mode and Zoom Framing Assist, making it easy for anyone to use. You can record both slow and fast motion to stay in the game. The File-Lock function is a godsend to prevent the accidental deletion of priceless videos.

    On the downside, there isn’t a mic, but it’ll accept most models. It also doesn’t have a manual volume control, either. However, the resolution is fantastic, and the optical zoom is seamless. Its ease of use and lightweight make it our pick for one of the best overall camcorders for sports.

    Pros
    • Excellent resolution
    • Versatile
    • Filter-ready
    • Removable SD card
    Cons
    • No microphone

    2. Kimire Video Camera Camcorder – Best Value

    Kimire Video Camera

    Resolution: Up to 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 30 FPS
    Optical zoom: 16x
    Weight: 15 pounds

    The Kimire Video Camera Camcorder offers many features you’d expect in a high-end product at a fraction of the price. Its intuitive interface makes it easy for beginners to use right out of the box. The video quality is decent. It has a built-in microphone and pause function. It even supports filming while it’s plugged in, a welcome feature if you’re capturing a longer video.

    The device is multi-functional that you can hook up as a webcam when you’re not on the field. While the batteries are included, there isn’t a charger. You’ll also need to pop for a memory card. It’s hard to beat for the price, making it one of the best camcorders for sports for the money.

    Pros
    • Multi-functional operation
    • Affordably priced
    • Special effects
    • Pause function
    Cons
    • No SD card

    3. JVC GY-HM620 Camcorder – Premium Choice

    JVC GY-HM620

    Resolution: 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 23x
    Weight: 8 pounds

    The JVC GY-HM620 Camcorder will allow you to film in just about any condition with its infrared and night vision features. It performs especially well in low-light conditions, too. The price and added goodies put it more in the serious hobbyist or pro category. The video quality is top-notch with this versatile device. It has two memory card slots so that you can keep filming as long as you have juice.

    On the downside, it’s a barebones model with no microphone included. However, it has other features that make it worth a look, such as its built-in GPS, upgraded CMOS sensors, and support for time-lapse recording. It’s an excellent example of state-of-the-art technology.

    Pros
    • Two memory card slots
    • Excellent low-light performance
    • Built in GPS
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Heavy

    4. Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camera Camcorder

    Panasonic 4K Ultra

    Resolution: 4k
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 24x
    Weight: 65 pounds

    The Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camera Camcorder is an outstanding choice if you’re serious about sports recording. This device has a lot to offer with several features that put it in the pro category. It stands out with its 4k resolution and live-streaming capability. You can share the action in real-time with your family and friends. The lens range is fantastic, going from 25–600-millimeter telephoto. You won’t miss a beat.

    The device allows you to shoot in several modes, including slow motion. It’s also lightweight and easy to customize to your needs. The optical image stabilization is spot-on, too, for capturing fast action. On the downside, the audio quality is so-so. Yet, it is expensive, but not so much if you consider what you’re getting for the price.

    Pros
    • 4k support
    • Live streaming
    • 3-year warranty
    • Built-in LED video light
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Poor audio quality

    5. Sony HDR-AZ1VR Camcorder

    Sony HDR-AZ1VR

    Resolution: 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 120 FPS
    Optical zoom: N/A
    Weight: 1 pound

    The Sony HDR-AZ1VR Camcorder is a lightweight device equipped with a wrist remote for added functionality. The resolution and FPS provide excellent video quality. It can take photos, too. It’s compact and easy to use. The battery life is good for taking longer videos. It also supports slow motion and burst mode recording. The price and functionality make it worth a look for beginners.

    Unfortunately, the range on the remote isn’t far, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. The device doesn’t have zoom, which might put it in the category for some. The product description says that it’s waterproof and splashproof with no IP rating. We’d suggest keeping this one dry just in case.

    Pros
    • Decent battery life
    • Remote included
    • Built-in mic
    Cons
    • No zoom

    6. Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder

    Panasonic Full HD

    Resolution: 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 20x
    Weight: 5 ounces

    The Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder ticks off a lot of boxes, making it an excellent choice for intermediate users. The resolution with its back-side illumination sensor is spot-on for decent low-light performance. It has a built-in mic with a windshield that does a great job of reducing noise. There is also a built-in video light.

    We liked that you could connect it to your smartphone and use it as a remote. The camcorder can even stand in as a webcam. It has Wi-Fi and can live stream your feed.

    Pros
    • Built-in mic
    • Smartphone support
    • Live streaming
    • Excellent low-light performance
    Cons
    • Poor battery life
    • Some quality control issues

    7. Sony FDRAX53/B Camcorder

    Sony FDRAX53

    Resolution: 4k
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 20x
    Weight: 54 pounds

    The Sony FDRAX53/B Camcorder is worth a look when you need to capture fast-paced action. This one has you covered. It is lightweight and has a comfortable hand feel. The video quality is sharp and clear, considering it has 4k resolution. While it has a built-in mic, it also has an external jack. However, it is more than adequate for audio.

    The device has Balanced Optical Steady Shot (BOSS) image stabilization which does an excellent job of eliminating motion blur, something you need when shooting sports videos. We liked that you can manually set several options for stretching your creative wings.

    Pros
    • 4k resolution
    • Excellent image stabilization
    • Built-in zoom mic
    Cons
    • Not as user-friendly as some models

    8. Sony Handycam CX405 Camcorder

    Sony Handycam CX405

    Resolution: 1080p
    Frames per second (FPS): 60 FPS
    Optical zoom: 30x
    Weight: 2 pounds

    The Sony Handycam CX405 Camcorder comes with everything you need to start recording sports, including a bag and memory card to capture the memories. The device has a movie maker feature that selects the best shots for easy file sharing. The zoom works seamlessly and silently with Sony’s proprietary technology. It gets the job done well.

    The video quality is also excellent with its Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. It handles camera shake like a champ. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, taking live streaming off the table. Otherwise, it’s reasonably priced and delivers a lot for the money.

    Pros
    • Superb video quality
    • Affordably priced
    • Lots of accessories
    Cons
    • No Wi-Fi capability

    9. GoPro HERO10 Digital Action Camera

    GoPro HERO10

    Resolution: 1080p, 4K
    Frames per second (FPS): 30 FPS
    Optical zoom: N/A
    Weight: 2 ounces

    The GoPro HERO10 Digital Action Camera is the ultimate device for capturing action videos with its Hypersmooth 4.0 technology. The quality is top-notch, with no motion blur. You can shoot in either 1080p or 4k resolution. You can live stream the action for everyone to enjoy. It’s an excellent option if you want point-of-view recording with the features and capability to deliver in high quality.

    On the downside, there are a few technical issues that may put it in the deal-breaker category. The battery life isn’t the best. The device also tends to heat up with extended use. We’re not sure, but can’t help but wonder if the two problems are related.

    Pros
    • Unlimited cloud storage
    • Live streaming
    • Waterproof
    Cons
    • Poor battery life
    • Overheating for some users

    10. Yisence Tech Camcorder

    Yisence Tech Camcorder

    Resolution: 4k
    Frames per second (FPS): 30 FPS
    Optical zoom: 18x
    Weight: 10.2 ounces

    The Yisence Tech Camcorder is a steal for a device with 4k resolution. It offers the standard features we’d expect at this price point, including webcam functionality and photo use. It has a built-in LED video light for dim conditions, which is handy for filming indoor sports. There’s also a built-in mic. Overall, the camcorder is lightweight with a decent zoom.

    However, both the audio and video miss the mark. They are okay at best. The device supports high-speed SD cards, but it’s not included with your purchase. It does have a remote and a bag. Unfortunately, the battery life is also poor, making spares a must-have.

    Pros
    • Affordably priced
    • Remote control
    • 4k resolution
    Cons
    • No SD card
    • Poor battery life
    • So-so audio quality

    shutter camera divider 2Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Camcorders for Sports

    It pays to do your homework when shopping for a camcorder for sports. You’ll find products in a wide range of price points. However, you should also keep in mind the type of sports you want to capture. Some features are more desirable than others, depending on the venue. You may find that low-light performance is essential if you record indoor sports. Likewise, weather resistance is vital when filming outdoors.

    Weight is another consideration. Think of how your arm feels after holding your phone after a long call. It’ll ache just as much if you are lugging around a heavy camcorder. Other features and specs to look for include:

    Camcorder on a tripod

    Image Credit: Oleg Kopyov, Shutterstock

    Resolution

    You’re probably familiar with resolution as it applies to your camera, smartphone, and computer. It is a vital component of the video quality. This term describes the measure of horizontal lines an image has from top to bottom. It’s expressed as the number of pixels of height times width that denotes the image’s detail. The higher the number, the better quality you see.

    They say that the devil is in the details, making the resolution a crucial consideration for a camcorder, especially for sports. After all, you want to capture everything possible to make it worthwhile. And every second—or frame—counts. Think about how you plan to play back your videos. You’ll get a decent picture with 720p. However, if you want high-quality, opt for 1080p.

    Many TVs support 4k, which is based on pixels instead of lines. The result is uber-realistic footage. That’s both good and bad. We think there is a fine line between quality and overly realistic videos.

    Frames Per Second (FPS)

    Split seconds matter in sports. That makes the frames per second (FPS) a critical spec when choosing a camcorder. It goes hand in hand with the resolution. It doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if the quality isn’t there, even if you’ve captured the moment. It will also affect the playback. You can get a decent camcorder with an FPS of 30–60. However, you can also find devices that up the ante to 240 or more.

    You typically see a 30 FPS. For sports, you’ll want to stick with 60 FPS or more. Bear in mind that the more frames you capture, the greater the file size. Many camcorders have built-in memory. However, an external card will make sure you have enough space. Resolution and the FPS will give you a good idea of what to expect. They are the most important specs to keep on your radar.

    Optical Zoom

    Optical zoom is almost a necessity with sports photography, whether it’s getting the emotions of the moment or capturing a golf ball clinging to the lip of the hole. Again, the importance of this feature will depend on the sports you’re recording. Look for camcorders that make it as smooth as possible for the best viewing experience. Most devices will have this feature instead of a fixed-length lens.

    camcorde

    Image Credit: Deborah Windham, Pixabay

    Monitor Display Connection Type

    This feature often depends on the connection and coverage you can expect to get where you’re filming, particularly with Wi-Fi. You’ll also find other options, such as Bluetooth, HDMI, and others. Tethered choices give you the best reliability but often at the price of convenience. It limits your movement and freedom using the device.

    Image Stabilization

    Image stabilization is perhaps more important with a camcorder than a camera. The latter doesn’t tax you when you’re taking a single shot. If you’re shooting an extended video, it is a must-have feature. It will ensure the best quality without camera shake or motion blur. Of course, a tripod helps, but you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your device if image stabilization is baked into the design.

    Weather Resistance

    If you do any recording outdoors, some degree of weather resistance is imperative. It’s one feature where you must understand the language. Product descriptions may refer to products being weatherproof, water-resistant, or waterproof. If it is a critical consideration, stick to devices that specify an International Protection Rating¹ (IP). It’s obviously more important if you’re covering water skiing versus baseball.

    The IP is a two-digit figure that tells you the degree of protection against dust and liquids. A rating of IP68 is top of the line. No debris will get inside the camcorder. It can also withstand being immersed up to 1 meter underwater, usually because the device is hermetically sealed. A manufacturer may only specify the second digit. A number of “4” or more should have you covered under most circumstances.

    shutter camera divider 2Conclusion

    After going through our reviews, the Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Camcorder couldn’t be easier to use with features that make taking high-quality videos a snap. The Kimire Video Camera Camcorder is a decent choice for beginners who want to dip their toes in the water but not break the bank. It takes great footage for a device at this price point. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but we think you won’t be disappointed.


    Featured Image Credit: StockKK, Shutterstock

    About the Author Chris Dinesen Rogers

    Chris has been writing since 2009 on a variety of topics. Her motto with all of her writing is “science-based writing nurtured by education and critical thinking.” Chris specializes in science topics and has a special love for health and environmental topics, and animals of all shapes and sizes.

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