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What Is the Difference Between a Video Camera and a Camcorder?

By Dillon Wallace

You say to-mae-toe. I say to-mah-toe.

You say video camera. I say camcorder.

Wait, you’re telling me there’s a difference between a video camera and a camcorder? Get out of town. Since when?

Since always, actually.


And you’re about to find out just like me (in case you didn’t already know) what is the difference between a video camera and a camcorder. Let’s get into it – piece by piece.


Camcorder lenses typically provide a more powerful zoom than a digital camera/video camera. This allows for greater magnification. Of course, you can always buy different lenses for your video camera, but right out of the box, the camcorder is going to have the better lens.


Camcorders are specifically designed to shoot video AND built to record sound. It’s why the internal microphones of camcorders are superior to those found in video cameras. Of course, if you really want good audio, you should probably never use the internal camcorder or video camera audio in the first place. 


Both camcorders and video cameras, especially by today’s standards are relatively portable, shedding the bulky over-the-shoulder boxes that our dad’s used to lug around. However, camcorders are designed specifically for shooting video for long periods of time, equipped with image stabilization. Not to mention the LCD screens can be rotated to give shooters multiple viewing angles.


Video cameras record video to flash memory cards. While camcorders can also record to memory cards, they also store video on internal hard drives.


Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras come with a hefty price tag. You’ll be looking to spend a minimum of $400 or so for a decent video camera, while most camcorders can be bought for $250 or less.


Because most camcorders have small sensors and fixed zoom lenses, they’re not great for shooting in low light conditions. Whereas video cameras have bigger sensors and lenses offering shooter the ability to capture more light in low light situations. Video cameras also provide a more cinematic look because their bigger sensors have a shallower depth of field while also affording the ability to rack focus to different objects (foreground to background) that you want to capture.

Which one is better?

This all depends on what you plan on shooting and how. If you want a more cinematic look to your video, then a video camera is going to be your more versatile option. Plus, you can shoot photos and stills with a video camera. If you’re looking for something more affordable for run-and-gun shooting, then a camcorder might be more your speed.

And if you’ve got a library of old videotapes from your dad’s old video camera or camcorder, send those in to Legacybox today to get them digitized. It’s the least you can do for your dad who spent all those years porting that big heavy recorder around capturing every memorable – and embarrassing – moment of your childhood.
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