Although camcorders have been scaled down in size and weight over the last few years since the digital revolution, most of them will just not fit properly in your pocket or handbag. If that is your major bugbear, here are some handy pocket camcorders that might just fit your bill.
1. The Toshiba Camileo P100 is a sporty looking pistol like pocket camcorder that measures just 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 2″ and weighs under 6 ounces. It’s about the size and weight of an iPhone! Belying its size is a spacious 3″ touch screen with 5x optical zoom which is good enough for most purposes. The pistol grip is comfortable, but those with large fingers may find it a challenge to hit the right control buttons. The Toshiba P100 supports SDXC memory cards, which means that you can use up to 64GB for a solid 12 hours of full HD video. In addition, there is a video light for low-light shooting and shoots good stills at 8MP. As you’d expect from a small video camera, one major drawback is shooting time. It’s lithium-ion battery will only last about an hour, so plan your video shooting carefully. This is not for serious shooting at far away exotic places. Being a 2011 model, it is now going at street prices below $130 which is certainly a good buy.
2. Slightly better in specs and features is another pistol grip camcorder – the Panasonic HX-WA03. The sensor is a respectable 1/2.33in CMOS with 16MP. Still images ring in at 14.3MP. It renders images in Full-HD recorded on SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. It also has a 5x optical zoom and 15x iZoom, dropping to 6x with the Active image stabilization enabled. However don’t expect image stabilization to be as effective their mainstream camcorders like the $399 Panasonic HC-V520 for example, but it fairs very well on image quality. A common feature of most pocket camcorders is that they are more rugged. It is waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof and you can use it safely to a depth of 5M underwater. It retails for $199.99.
3. If you have a larger budget the $449 JVC Everio GZ-V500 is a compact unit that packs some big camcorder prowess into a pocket-sized housing. It comes with higher optical zoom (10x), a large aperture lens (F1.2) for good low-light capability, 32.8mm Wide Angle lens, optical image stabilization and snaps 10M Digital stills. The hand strap and screen allows you to handle the camcorder steadily with both hands, making it easier to shoot more smoothly than with a pocket model. It is very portable and light so you can comfortably slip it into a pants or shirt pocket. However it is not as rugged as the Panasonic. Video quality is not exceptional but decent enough. It has a slow motion recording function useful for analyzing your golf or tennis swing.
4. Kodak PlaySport (Zx5) is another great option if you want something really rugged for use in rain, snow, surf and sand. This waterproof/shockproof pint-sized camcorder produces pretty good video quality for its price and size, is easy to use, and has good editing/sharing software. However be prepared to accept the bare essentials as it does not come with a built-in USB connector, no flash or video light, the battery can’t be removed, and an anemic 4x digital zoom which has to be used sparingly. The default resolution is 720p at 30 frames per second which is slightly better than DVD video. It captures 5-megapixel stills. Sharing the video is made easy with ArcSoft’s MediaImpression for software and the Kodak Share Button app.