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Best HD Camcorders

The top high definition models for the year.

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As more and more consumers snap up high definition televisions, it's only natural that they want their home movies in high definition (HD), too. HD camcorders come in all shapes, sizes and price points. We've selected the best across a range of features and prices. See A Beginner's Guide to HD Camcorders for more on high definition camcorders.

1. Canon Vixia HF G10

The Vixia HF G10 marked the debut of Canon's HD CMOS Pro image sensor into a "consumer" camcorder (albiet one costing a hefty $1,499). The new sensor gives the G10 some of the best low light performance we've ever seen in a camcorder. As you'd expect, there are a slew of manual controls and some touches that advanced video takers would appreciate, such as the ability to capture 24p encoded video. You'll also find a 10x optical zoom lens and a 3.5-inch touch screen display.

2. Canon Vixia HF M41

Panasonic’s HDC-TM700 is a high definition camcorder that records 1920 x 1080 video in the AVCHD video format. It features a 12x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization, 32GB of internal flash memory, face detection and a 3-inch touch-screen LCD display. It’s the flagship of Panasonic’s 2010 flash memory camcorder line up with a retail price of $999.

3. Canon Vixia HF21

Canon's Vixia HF21 is a high-end, high definition model that records to 64GB of internal flash memory. Aside from sharp HD video quality at 24Mbps, it has two SDHC card slots with relay recording, which automatically switches to memory formats when one fills up. A 10x optical zoom lens, face detection, "smart auto" mode and a 3.5-inch touch-screen LCD display round out a very strong feature set for this $1,399 camcorder.

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4. Kodak PlaySport

Kodak's Playsport is a pocket camcorder so it's not as fully-featured as competitive HD camcorders on this list, but it also has some virtues these other models don't: it's waterproof (up to 10 feet) and much easier to use. This $150 camcorder is inexpensive, lightweight and delivers 1920 x 1080p HD video recording. It will set you back $149 and records to SDHC memory card (not included). You can see a list of the best pocket camcorders here.

5. JVC Everio GZ HM550

JVC's GZ-HM550 is a high definition camcorder with built-in Bluetooth, 32GB of internal flash memory, a 10x optical zoom and face detection. It retails for $799. While the Bluetooth functionality lets you geotagg videos and use your smartphone as a remote, the HM550's lightweight design and video quality should be your primary motivation to buy.

6. Flip UltraHD (2 Hour)

Cisco's $199 Flip UltraHD 8GB (2 hour) is an HD pocket camcorder that records 1280 x 720 video at 60 frames per second. The popular Flip series got some nice upgrades for 2010, including image stabilization and the ability to add accessory devices (microphones, lenses) via a FlipPort connection. That gives the Flip some added functions for those who want them, without forcing you to pay for them up-front.   

 

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