The Best Video Cameras for Hunting for 2017, broke down by price range starting with the Overall Best Camcorder for Hunting.
How do we know this info? We also manufactures the Solvid Head Cam Mount; it turns any compact camera, camcorder, cell phone or action cam (GoPro) into a head mounted camera. We record all our hunts – Film It Yourself. Small and lightweight works great for our style, and these are typically affordable, and as time goes on, keep getting higher quality. Check out our videos and products here: http://SolvidSystems.com/hunting
#1 Rated Overall Best Video Camera for Hunting
Hunters will undoubtedly have different needs considering budget and quality, so the perfect camcorder for hunting will vary. Below is the camcorder we determine to be the best combination of price, quality and size considering how we use it to capture our hunting videos. You can see the type of footage we get here: http://SolvidSystems.com/videos/hunting
Panasonic HC-V770 Video Camera is a mid priced, compact video camera that records high grade video perfect for hunter to capture their hunting adventures on film. This camera comes with many features that are ideal for hunting such as full high definition video, long telephoto 20X optical / 50X intelligent zoom, 29.5mm wide-angle lens, and a High Sensitivity Sensor for greatly improved low-light images. The HC-V770 features WIFI streaming to a smart phone as well as Level Shot which detects and corrects tilting of captured images. Go to the “under $600” section below to read more about this camera to watch hunting footage filmed with it.
Too Much Money? Want Better?
Tip: Go with the best you can afford; you get what you pay for.
Obviously, not all hunter need or can afford a video camera of this caliber for their hobby. Likewise, you may be in the market for even higher quality. The best video camera for hunting will depend on your budget. That’s why we have selected, tested and reviewed videos cameras that work the very best for hunting in different price ranges so you will get the best camera that you can afford.
Best Camera for Hunting – $200
Panasonic HC-V180 – Camcorders have come a long way in the last few years, especially on the lower end. 5 years ago, there weren’t many camcorders in this price range that were even worth using, but now days, all the top brands offer great inexpensive options.
Of all the models in this price range, our favorite is the Panasonic HC-V180 video camera. This camcorder works great for hunting due to its easy to use interface, great image stabilization, low light abilities, and the 90X Intelligent zoom. Its very small and lightweight (under 8 oz), so it works well for hunters who cover a lot of ground, as well as for those trying to save space in their tree stand or blind. An easy to use touchscreen maximizes screen size for great playback in the field.
Most users of a camcorder in this price range aren’t going to want to mess with manual settings. For this application, Panasonic offers a “Intelligent Auto ( iA ) mode which makes it easy to grab the camcorder and begin filming. It senses shooting conditions to automatically adjust settings and activate functions for optimal results. Also of high importance to hunters is the incredible zoom of 50X optical and 90X intelligent zoom. Intelligent Zoom uses digital & optical zoom in combination with sharpening and image up-scaling to make the zoom near optical quality.
This camera isn’t perfect! The major downfall is start up time. It takes about 5 seconds from the time the camera is turned on until it can record. The next model up (HC-V380) can begin filming almost instantly. If this is a deal breaker, check out the HC-V380 which can begin recording almost instantly.
The price for this hunting video camera hovers around the $200 mark, +/- depending on supply and demand. Whatever the current price is, you will have a hard time finding a camcorder in the same price range that shoots better footage than the HC-V180.
More info, reviews, or to buy: Panasonic HC-V180 @ Amazon.com – $198 – Click for current price
Panasonic HC-V180 Video Camera Test Footage:
Best Camera for Hunting under $300
Panasonic HC-V380 – a great little camera that shoots 1080p HD video that will amaze when considering the price you pay. Image stabilization is great, and the 90X zoom (50X optical / 90X Hybrid) on this little camera is good enough to double as a spotting scope if your binoculars just aren’t cutting it.
The HC-V380 is identical in footage quality to that of the HC-V180 as they have many of the same internal components such as processor and sensor. It does however come with more bells and whistles, which to many will make it worth $100 more. First of all, the screen is bigger; this of course makes the camera a little larger than the 180 as well. The HC-V380 is WiFi enabled, which allows the user to sync the camera with their smart phone using the Panasonic app. With this connection, the phone becomes a cordless screen and allows simple function like record on/off and zoom. The final improvement to this camera over the HC-V180 is the start up time. When the screen is opened or the power turned on, the camera is ready to record almost instantly, which if used for hunting, could mean all the difference.
This camera is very compact and lightweight (near 9 oz). It is less expensive yet offers higher quality footage and more features than most action cams like GoPro, and when coupled with a CamStrap Universal Head Cam Mount by Solvid FIY, this camera makes for a great POV hunting camera. The Wifi streaming allows the user to use a smart phone as a remote for this best hunting camcorder for under $300.
More info, reviews, or to buy: Panasonic HC-V380 @ Amazon.com – $298 Click for current price
Panasonic HC-V380 Camcorder Test Footage
Best Video Camera for Hunting Under $500
Panasonic HC-V770 Video Camera: It comes as no surprise that this video camera follows the previous one in the line up. This is actually the choice camera of the Artifact Outfitters team and Solvid – Film It Yourself. It easily deserves the “Best Overall Camcorder for Hunting” as awarded at the beginning of this page.
The Panasonic V770 has several differences internally over the HC-V180 and 380 that result in a better quality of video. All of these features are well worth the price tag. If you can afford the extra money, the V770 is worth it. The main reason for the step up in quality is the larger sensor. A 6.03 Megapixel 1/2.3″ MOS versus the HC-V180 and 380’s 2.51 Megapixel 1/5.8″ MOS. This doesn’t mean much to most of us, but if you want to see a video filmed with this sensor, watch the footage below. All the head cam footage is filmed with the HC-V770. The other tripod and hand cam footage is filmed with the HC-V180
The 770 offers a unique wind screen and a high quality microphone in case you do not want to add an external mic. Also, a slow motion function that records at 240 frames per second allows for detailed shots when slowed down to see incredible arrow flight and bullet vapor trails. Also, much like the 380, smart phones can be tethered via WiFi to be used as a wireless remote. This is a fun feature that has many uses both during the hunt and in every day filming. Also, the HC-V770 offers High Dynamic Recording (HDR). The HDR movie function combines two images recorded with different exposure times and uses the best from both. This helps improve detail in the shadows and highlights; a common occurrence when filming outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.
At about 14 oz with the battery, this is about as big as you can go while considering it a compact video camera. It fits great on the Solvid CamStrap to be used as a high quality head cam, but the weight will be noticeable and require perfect fitting of the strap to be comfortable for long periods. This is the exact camera the Solvid Team uses to capture some of the highest quality POV head camera footage available.
Another feature that makes this camera a step above the rest for hunting is the Multi Manual Dial, which allows for manual adjustment of zoom, shutter speed, iris, white balance and more, without having to go through the menu.
More info, reviews, or to buy: Panasonic HC-V770 @ Amazon.com – $498 Click for current price
Hunting footage filmed with the HC-V770 *** Graphic! Viewer Discretion Advised ***
Best Camera for Hunting Under $1000
Panasonic HC-VX870: This camcorder has all the same features and looks of the Panasonic HC-V770 listed above, but also steps up the video quality with a larger sensor, the ability to capture 4k video, and a high quality Leica lens. Also, an Infrared illuminator allows for great night time footage.
The 18.91 Megapixel 1/2.3″ MOS sensor is off the hook for cameras anywhere close to this price range. Combine this with the 4K filming (3840 x 2160p), and you have some of the sharpest, most defined video possible out of a sub $1000 video camera, and probably better than many well beyond it.
The high megapixel sensor and 4K capabilities are the main items that make this camera capture higher quality footage than the HC-V770. Other than that, the cameras are almost identical in all other features such as the tilt correction, WiFi, HDR, Multi Manual Dial, and even size and weight. Is the 4k worth the extra $300? That is dependent on your budget and what you can afford. To get the 4k footage quality on a TV, it must be 4k compatible. Eventually, these TVs will become more affordable and even standard, but until then, the benefits of 4k will be limited. The difference will only be noticeable side by side, and 4k will certainly take up more data space then 1080p. If your goal is to add the videos to internet sites such as YouTube, I predict some time before they play anything in 4k due to bandwidth and playback issues. Either way, if you want the best video camera for hunting under $1000, look no further than the Panasonic HC-V870!
For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:
Panasonic HC-VX870 Video Camera @ Amazon.com – Price: $698 Click for current price
HC-V870 Test Footage – Change to 4k
Best Video Camera for Hunting Under $1500
Canon Vixia HF G40 Video Camera
This video camera packs a ton of professional grade video camera components into an very compact, light weight, easy to use camcorder that makes a superb video camera for hunting. Its small enough to not cause any space issues, yet it is big enough that it has a comfortable feel both in your hand and on a tripod; not to mention the fact that it takes exceptionally outstanding video in 1920 X 1080p High Definition.
I am not going to go off on all the great things about the Canon Vixia HF G30 Video Camera, because it is good enough to have its own page. Some of the key features include dual SD card slots that allow you to record to one or both with different formats simultaneously. For steady shooting in a variety of conditions, the camera has a SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization with Dynamic Image Stabilization.
A few things you will get out of these higher priced video cameras, including this one, is a manual focus ring, view finder and a hot shoe mount allowing an external shotgun microphone to be used. The focus ring allows a hunter to focus through branches and such to dial in on the target. The view finder is great when trying to film in bright sun light that can hinder the view of the LCD screen. The trade off for these features is a little extra weight and size, which can be a good thing depending on the situation.
If you’re looking for a hunting video camera with the feel of a professional set up and the potential to add on several components to increase the level of footage you will capture, then this might be your best video camera for hunting.
More info, reviews, or to buy: Canon Vixia HF G40 @ Amazon.com – Price: $1,199 Click for current price
Canon HF G40 Test Footage
Best Video Camera for Hunting Under $2000
Canon XA35 Video Camera: This video camera will work great for the hunter that is looking for more control and higher production value than the cameras mentioned before. Of course this comes at the price of a larger size and cost. However, this is a very compact video camera when compared to others in its range and the footage quality is equivalent to cameras that cost much more.
For someone who is serious about capturing high quality footage to be aired on multiple platforms such as home viewing, YouTube, Facebook, and even Outdoor Television, this camera is a great option. It has controls that the less expensive camcorders do not, which allows the experience user to dial in the set up to match the needs of the conditions. The 20X zoom will pull in the target for great footage at most shooting ranges.
Again, this is a perfect camera for a person who is starting out in the hunting video business as it takes great video, and will work as a perfect supplemental hunting video camera once you decide to upgrade to a 100% professional video camera for hunting.
For more info, customer reviews, or to buy: Canon XA35 HD Video Camera @ Amazon.com – Price: $1,999 Click for current price
XA35 Test Footage
Best Video Camera For Hunting Under $3000
Canon XF200 High Definition Professional Camcorder:
For the hunter that is ready to step up their game a bit and feel they are ready to start producing high quality hunting videos, this video camera is a great place to start. This Canon has a ton a features that will take some getting time to learn, but it is easy enough to get the hang of things if you aren’t afraid to open up the owners manual. There are also a ton of resources such as YouTube and other sites that have a lot of tutorials for you to learn how to use this camera to its full potential.
The size of prosumer cameras is definitely noticeable over the consumer cameras. The Canon XF200 is no different weighing in at just over 4 lbs. That is the trade off for the high quality video with a lot of optional manual adjustments. Most of the consumers cameras listed on this page are under 1 lbs.
For the videographer that is not very familiar with manual adjustments for features such as white balance, aperture, contrast, focus, and so much more, there are very effective auto modes that can handle most situations making even a beginner look like a professional. The image stabilization works on an optical level, thus correcting shakes even while driving in a vehicle. All this adds up to producing hunting videos that will amaze even the camera man.
To top this video camera off perfect for filming a hunt is a 20 power optical zoom and the Canon’s L-series lens (the best lens Canon makes). Both of these together give a crystal clear view of wildlife from a far, yet also grab clear, crisp footage of action shots up close.
More info, reviews, buy : Canon XF200 @ Amazon – Price: $2,999 Click for pricing
Canon XF200 Test Footage:
Best Video Camera Under $4,000
Panasonic AG-AC160APJ HD Professional Grade Video Camera
There are many of us hunters out there that have some strict requirements that we are looking for in the best video camera for hunting. If you are spending the money on a professional grade camera, then you should make sure you are getting exactly what you want. Our two main factors are a 20 power (20X) zoom and the ability to record to an SD card. The Panasonic AG-AC160APJ has these features (22X optical zoom and SD card recording) making it the best video camera for hunting in its price range.
For most hunting applications, a camcorder of this caliber is overkill. For those who are looking to make TV quality videos with an affordable camera, this is a great option. Yes, professional grade cameras of this sort will make great YouTube videos as well, but the advanced features built into this unit are set to make a TV production film, in a tight unit and affordable price, when compared to professional video cameras that can be as expensive as $25,000 – $100,000; if you’re in the market for a camera of that caliber, then you probably wont be looking here.
You can read the specifications of this camera at the websites listed below. Be sure to check out the excellent reviews it has gotten as well. If the above requirements fit what you are looking for in a video camera for hunting, then this might even be your best bet out of the price ranges above.
More info, reviews, or buy, click here: Panasonic AG-AC160APJ @ Amazon.com Price: $3,695 Click for current pricing
Best Video Cameras for Hunting over $4000.
We are currently busy researching and testing the best professional grade video cameras for hunting. This has proven to be more time consuming then one would think. We are dedicated to giving our honest, unbiased opinion, so we want to take the time to decide which professional video cameras are going to give you the best video when the moment counts. There is obviously a lot to go through, as these pro cameras have a ton of functions.