The notion of a budget camcorder used to be laughable. Today, many budget camcorders exist. These compact camcorders are lightweight and easily transportable. They also happen to take great videos. You can purchase a camcorder for less than $200, though many are at the $200 mark.
Note: all prices were approximate at the time of this writing.
Flip Video Mino – $180+
Touch-sensitive buttons, a rechargeable battery, and a backlight are just some of the things that the Flip Video Mino boasts. This version of the Flip Ultra is also compact. In fact, it’s so compact that it can fit right into your front pocket. The Flip Mino shoots about one hour of film before it has to be charged, though charging the Flip Mino is no great feat. A handy USB port allows you to plug the Flip Mino directly into your laptop. A simpler budget camcorder might not exist. The 1.5-inch LCD screen is somewhat lacking, though the Flip Mino is a great little camera for a small price.
Kodak Zi6 -- $150+
Kodak has just entered the budget compact camcorder race. The Zi6 is Kodak’s first compact camcorder, and it leads the way for future models with ease. The great thing about the Zi6 is that you can record video with this camcorder in HD. This camcorder is also extremely easy to use, since it only comes with three very basic buttons. Surprisingly, the Kodak Zi6 has better picture quality that most other compact camcorders in its class. Another nice feature is that this camcorder comes with rechargeable AA batteries, so no battery charger is necessary. The Kodak Zi6 is definitely a worthwhile compact camcorder purchase. While there are other camcorders out there, this one is very hard to beat.
RCA Small Wonder -- $150+
Right off the bat, the RCA Small Wonder is different than all the other compact camcorders out there owing to its flip out LCD screen. This screen may seem like a useless gadget at first, but it actually serves a very real purpose. The Small Wonder’s flip screen makes it simple to center any image, which is something that other compact camcorders lack. A standard 1.5-inch screen can be found on the Small Wonder. The picture quality of this camcorder is comparable to the rest. The one drawback to the Small Wonder is the camcorder-TV quality, which can seem grainy at times.
Flip Video Ultra -- $199
The Flip Video Ultra seems to have started the compact camcorder craze. The question is does this camcorder live up to the hype? The Flip Video Ultra is compact, easy to use, and pocket-sized. It also runs on AA batteries, which makes everyone’s life easier. A USB connector allows you to plug the Flip into your computer for easy uploading. The one drawback, and it might be a big one for some people, is that the Flip doesn’t have a zoom. Zoom aside, the Flip does provide a great compact recording experience for every type of user.