Babble Best Picks:
Along with diapers and a car seat, a video camera is essential for any new parent's maternity-ward checklist. Of course, you'll also want a camcorder that delivers long after Mom and baby have come home. So, whether you're capturing everyday milestones, connecting with friends and family, or even looking to film the family version of Avatar, here are our picks for the best camcorders.
- Aaron Burgess
Best All-in-One for Serious Moviemakers | Sony Handycam NEX-VG10
Video recording on DSLR cameras has come so far in recent years that even professional camera crews have taken to shooting with the things – and why not? Interchangeable lenses and comparatively sane price tags along with wider depths of field and superb low-light capabilities make DSLRs perfect for the job. With its NEX-VG10, however, Sony flips that logic to deliver an interchangeable-lens full-HD camcorder that also happens to take amazing (14MP) still photos. Though the NEX-VG10 looks and feels like a video camera, it uses the same sensor – as well as nearly the same control menu – as Sony’s best-in-class NEX-5 still camera. If you’re overwhelmed by the NEX-5 controls, don’t worry: Nearly every manual setting has a novice-friendly automatic counterpart. You swap out lenses (including the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 zoom lens that ships in the box) using Sony’s E-mount system or a separate A-mount adaptor, and thanks to the top-mounted, quad-directional microphone, you can pick up the faintest ambient sound. You won’t be shooting at the Hollywood-preferred 24p frame rate (a curious omission, considering the price tag), but your videos will nevertheless have a “film-style” feel that, coupled with the stellar video quality and depth-of-field control, should leave you feeling like a professional photo director – even if you’re only shooting baby footage!