Reader Letter: A Good, Cheap Camcorder

Former writer Vincent Pastore recently reached out for information on camcorders. If you’re searching for one for summer fun or just one in general, this may be a post to take a look at.

Here’s Vince’s letter:

“So….got anything on video cams? prof showed us a small HP vid cam that dbls as a still cam. 5MP, $130. Know of anything better and just as affordable?”

When I asked Vince to fill me in a bit more, he clarified that he wanted a video cam (not still cam) meant for doing web videos and with digital zoom.


First off, don’t choose any HP camcorders or still cameras. The reason for this is because our first family camera was an HP. It was littered with issues: terrible battery life, overheating, needing to use a dock to import photos to your computer, timeouts, the lens motors making weird noises while recording videos, etc. From this experience, we’ve chosen not to buy their cameras anymore. In fact, HP stopped making them for a while and suddenly came back into the game recently and hopefully they’ve solved this problem and battery life is more efficient as the company has pushed man green initiatives. Other HP products though are top-notch.

You’ve got a couple of choices from B&H that will do quite well for your needs. Here’s the rundown in the intended price range:

Samsung HMX-U10

1080p HD video with 10MP stills and direct to YouTube uploading.

Flip Video MinoHD

720p HD video with the ergonomics of most cell phones. One of the most popular choices out there. The mino has a small and thin form factor.

Flip Video UltraHD

A bit beefier than the Mino.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10

Perhaps the best choice as far as ergonomics goes. 720p HD with optical zoom. That’s something rare for something in this price range.

Sony Bloggie

Meant specifically for bloggers. It also has a tilting lens and shoots full 1080p HD video.

Kodak Zx1

This has been very highly reviewed and has a nice, compact form factor as well.

If I had to choose one, it would be perhaps the Sanyo, Samsung or the Flip UltraHD.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.