The 5 Best Video Cameras of 2023

Look for durability, video quality, and battery life first; other features are less critical

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Any person buying a new video camera should critique each model based on these three top factors:

  • Durability dictates the environment where you can record.
  • Video quality affects the final produced video.
  • Battery life determines how long you’re able to record your videos.

1080p or 4K filming, screen display, and the type of terrain (underwater, sports, etc.) your video camera can survive in are also important but more personal decisions. 

Our testers considered these features when using these cameras and outlined the key takeaways here, so you know what to look for when shopping.

Best Overall

Panasonic HC-WXF991 4K Camcorder

Panasonic 4K Cinema-Like Video Camera Camcorder


What We Like
  • UHD/4K

  • 20x optical range

  • Wi-Fi connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you want to know which video camera to buy and money is no object, Panasonic's HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Video camera with Wi-Fi provides everything you need and more to record your most memorable moments. The video camera has essential features such as an in-camera dolly, zoom, cropping, Wi-Fi connectivity, and hybrid optical image stabilization.

What the HC-WXF991K has that most video cameras don't is 4k shooting. The UHD/4K video provides four times greater quality than typical HD. Once you're ready to watch your videos, the heightened pixel count will eliminate roughness at any angle. Years from now, you'll also appreciate the HC-WXF991 K's compatibility as the market for UHD/4K is ever-increasing. 

Panasonic's notability as a brand and the video camera's UHD/4K technology comes with a hefty price tag of almost $900. Even after spending nearly a thousand dollars, this high-end HC-WXF991 K's 4K Ultra HD recording, LEICA Decoma Lens 20x optical zoom range, and in-camera effects and editing modes are worth it and in the future.

Max Photo Resolution: 25.9 MP | Max Video Resolution: 30 fps | Connectivity Options: USB, Wi-Fi | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: 20.0x | Screen Size: 3 inches | Battery Life: 1 hour per charge

"Noise is one area that Panasonic could use some help, as we noticed a measurable amount of noise both indoors and outdoors." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best Zoom

Nikon COOLPIX P1000

Nikon Coolpix P1000

Courtesy of Best Buy

What We Like
  • Zoom capability

  • Portability

What We Don't Like
  • Design isn't most attractive

For travelers, sports photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 takes you directly into the heart of the action by allowing you to shoot far-off subjects. The video camera features an impressive 3,000mm optical lens, Nikon’s most powerful zoom lens.

In fact, the Coolpix P1000’s lens is one-of-a-kind and one of the best on the market. You’ll be able to view your expanded horizons with the video camera’s 3.2-inch LCD display. 

In combination with the optical lens, the video camera’s resolution complements its zoom capability. The P1000’s 3840 x 2160 pixels provide ultra-HD resolution. Regardless of a low-lighting or action-heavy scenario, you can employ the video camera's auto-focus, image stabilization, and other pre-programmed settings to catch the best possible visuals.

The P100’s features don’t stop there, as it also includes time-lapse and RAW shooting capabilities. The sound quality is just as impressive as it records true stereo sound directly through the in-camera audio. Zooming in for the ideal up close and personal is easy as the Coolpix P1000 weighs just 3.12 pounds and measures 5.8 x 7.1 x 4.7 inches.

Max Photo Resolution: 16 MP | Max Video Resolution: 30 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: 125x | Screen Size: 3.2 inches | Battery Life: 250 images per charge

"The body of the P1000 is big and solid feeling, if perhaps unexpectedly lighter than one would expect from a device of this size." — Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Best for Beginners

Sony HDRCX405 HD Handycam Camcorder

Sony HD Video Recording HDRCX405 Handycam Camcorder
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • High resolution

  • Megapixel range

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks premium features

Sony’s HDRCX405 is the best video camera if you're new to video recording.

The HDRCX405 shoots Full HD video, 1920 x 1080, at 60p recording. The video camera boasts respectable zoom specs such as 30x optical and 60x clear image (digital) zoom. Other features include a 9.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, SensorSteadyShot image stabilization, and an intelligent auto mode. 

Not only is the HDRCX405 easy on your pockets, but it’s also easy to record with. The video camera has a 2.7-inch clear LCD with face detection.

While the HDRCX405’S technology is relatively basic, it certainly gets the job done. As such, the video camera is a great introductory budget video camera, especially for beginner video camera users.

Max Photo Resolution: 2.29 MP | Max Video Resolution: 30 fps | Connectivity Options: USB, HDMI, Multi Terminal | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: 30x | Screen Size: 2.7 inches | Battery Life: Approximately 2 hours, 35 minutes

"The smile detection allows the camera to determine when the subject of a photo is smiling, so it can capture snapshots at just the right moment." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Best Budget

AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera

AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera


What We Like
  • Easy on the pockets

  • Waterproof

  • 4K capability

What We Don't Like
  • Consistency of video quality

If you want a quality camera without breaking the bank, the reasonably-priced AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K camera may fit you. You'll be hard-pressed to find a video camera with 4K shooting capabilities for just $50.

The action camera can achieve a native resolution at no higher than 25fps. Even better, the EK7000 can shoot 2.7K footage at 30fps.

For still photos, a 16MP camera captures picturesque mirror selfies even in low-light settings. Though the video camera's built-in image stabilization is electronically powered instead of the more adaptive optical image stabilization, the technology is just as functional. 

AKASO has designed a camera chassis that is waterproof up to 131 feet so that you can seize underwater sports photography or film coral reef life.

Whether underwater, on land or air-bound, you can tackle almost any action shot as the EK700 is well-equipped with accessories. The video camera's built-in Wi-Fi functionality provides the option to commandeer the camera remotely.

Accordingly, you can view the footage currently being filmed on your phone. You can also immediately share the content you've recorded. With this Wi-Fi feature, there's no need for a laptop or special cable to complete an improvisational data transfer.

AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera

Lifewire / Scott Gercken

Max Photo Resolution: 16 MP | Max Video Resolution: 60 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: N/A | Screen Size: 2 inches | Battery Life: 90 minutes

"It might not pack all the bells and whistles of premium action cameras, but it’s well-featured for a model at this price and delivers amazing image quality." — James Huenink, Product Tester

Best Rugged

DJI Osmo Action Cam

DJI Osmo Camera

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Protective coating

  • Ability to shoot in various environments

  • RockSteady technology

What We Don't Like
  • Video quality is average

If you’re an adventure-seeker, you’ll need a durable video camera that can withstand various situations and activities while on the go. DJI has designed its video camera so that its features are thoroughly protected. For example, the DJI Osmo Action Cam’s lens has three layers of protection to reduce glare and a coating to protect against elements such as water and dirt.

Thanks to its protective coat, the video camera can be submerged up to 11 meters and can be taken into environments that dip as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about damaging your video camera to get the perfect shot. Wherever you are, you can charge the removable battery, which lasts about 90 minutes while on the go.

The Osmo Action Cam offers more than just ruggedness. The video camera’s features include an 8x slow motion, custom exposure setting, and timelapse. To switch between different settings and modes quickly and easily, the camera has a QuickSwitch button. You can also control the camera with your voice if you need to perform basic commands.

Whatever the setting, Ultra HD 4K at 60fps 100Mbps guarantees vivid, lifelike videos. RockSteady bolsters the Osmo Action Cam’s video quality; DJI’s RockSteady technology ensures bumps or movements in real life don’t result in irregularities on-screen.

Max Photo Resolution: 12 MP | Max Video Resolution: 60 fps | Connectivity Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB | Sensor Type: CMOS | Optical Zoom: N/A | Screen Size: 1.4 inches (front), 2.25 inches (back) | Battery Life: Up to 135 minutes

What to Look For in a Video Camera

So how do you know whether or not the video camera you like is the best one for you? Relax! You can make a smart purchase by thinking through a variety of features and determining what's most important to you.

  • How important is resolution?

    Resolution is an overall measure of how many pixels make up an image and thus a good indicator of image sharpness/clarity, and will largely matter depending on what you're shooting and for what purpose. For amateurs, particularly those on a budget, it's not as much as a concern, but for pros looking to wow their clientele with beautiful footage, high resolution is absolutely crucial.

  • What features do you need?

    This again depends largely on your use case, but most videographers will benefit from high-quality zoom functionality, a large, clear viewfinder for previewing the action, and manual balance, exposure, and focus adjustment controls.

  • What are the top video camera brands?

    While there's a growing field of competition in the video camera space, there are a number of brands that have an established pedigree with good reason. These brands tend to provide reliable, high-end cameras supported by generous warranties and customer service, and include manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, DJI, and Panasonic.

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