Best budget camcorders (Updated November 20, 2011 8:30 AM PST)
Digital video isn't cheap, but recently, prices on basic camcorders have come down far enough to put them in reach of home video makers on a budget. You should expect to spend at least $250 on a decent, full-featured--that usually means a zoom lens--digital camcorder. Affordable models generally offer fewer features and smaller sensors than their pricier relations, but many of them capture high-quality footage that will put your old analog camcorder to shame. The camcorders on this list are all widely available for less than $300.
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Typical for their price class, the no-frills Sony Handycam HDR-CX130, CX160, and XR160 produce generally subpar HD video, but if you're not picky you'll probably be fine. The CX130 is the best buy of the three, as long as you go cheap on the memory card.
Price: $244.00 - $541.42 (check prices) 4 stars Read full review