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The Best Camcorders for Live Streaming (2024)

This is a complete list of camcorders I use and trust for live streaming and recording corporate events, houses of worship, concerts, education, sports, podcasts, broadcasts, and more.

Canon XA65

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The best overall camcorder for most users.

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Image Quality: 3/10 Dynamic Range: 2/10 Low Light Quality: 2/10 Live Features: 5/10 Overall Value: 7/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

The Canon XA models have always been solid performers, and the XA65 is no exception.

Notable features include 20x optical zoom, internal recording up to 2160p29.97 or 1080p59.94, 3G-SDI output, dual XLR audio inputs, dual SD memory card slots, and USB-C webcam output up to 1080p30.

The Canon XA65 is also a perfect match to the Canon CR-N100 and Canon CR-N300 PTZs.

Don't need SDI output? Check out the Canon XA60.

Want better image quality, better low light performance, and can live with 15x optical zoom? Check out the Canon XA75 and Canon XA70.


Pros

  • 3G-SDI output
  • 20x optical zoom
  • USB-C webcam output
  • Dual SD memory card slots

Cons

  • Weak low light performance
  • HDMI and SDI outputs cannot be used simultaneously

Canon XA65 Framing Distances
Full Shot 9' - 180' (2.75m - 55m)
Medium Shot 3.5' - 70' (1m - 20m)

Canon XA65 Specifications
  1. Output frame rate limited to a maximum of 29.97 fps when recording format is set to 4K UHD
  2. HDMI and SDI outputs cannot be used simultaneously
  3. USB-C outputs webcam video only (no audio) at either 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 with a maximum frame rate of 30 fps
Sensor 1/2.3" CMOS
Lens 3.67mm - 73.4mm
29.3mm - 601mm (35mm equivalent)
20x optical zoom
f/1.8 - 2.8
Recording Formats H.264
3840 x 2160 up to 29.97 fps1
1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps1
Recording Media 2 x SD memory card slots (UHS-I)
Video I/O 1 x 3G-SDI output2
1 x HDMI output (Type C - Mini)2
Video Output Formats 1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps1, 2
Audio I/O 2 x XLR audio mic/line inputs
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo mic/line input
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone output
Other I/O 1 x USB-C (GPS and webcam output)3
1 x 2.5mm remote input (compatible with the Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller)
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x BP-820 rechargeable Battery (included)
1 x PD-E1 USB AC power adapter (included)

Panasonic HC-X2

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A near-perfect camcorder that only lacks 12G-SDI output.

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Image Quality: 4/10 Dynamic Range: 3/10 Low Light Quality: 3/10 Live Features: 6/10 Overall Value: 7/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

The Panasonic HC-X2 is just about everything a modern camcorder should be, and then some.

Impressive features include internal recording up to 2160p59.94, internal 4:2:2 10-bit recording, V-Log, simultaneous HDMI and 3G-SDI output, USB-C webcam output, internal RTMP/RTSP streaming, dual SD memory card slots, wired and wireless control options, an abundance of independent image controls, and built-in assist functions like a waveform and vectorscope.

And, while I'm not a proponent of streaming directly from a camera, I understand it can come in handy. And this camera provides some of the best streaming options and bitrates found in any camcorder.

This sets the new standard for what a modern camcorder should be.

Just about the only thing that could make it better is the addition of 12G-SDI output (and a constant f/2.8 aperture lens, but I won't get too carried away 😬).


Pros

  • 20x optical zoom
  • Simultaneous HDMI and SDI output
  • Excellent streaming quality
  • Synchro Scan shutter adjustment to minimize flicker/banding from lighting and LED walls

Cons

  • Lack of 12G-SDI output
  • Wired zoom/focus control requires third party solutions

Panasonic HC-X2 Framing Distances
Full Shot 7.5' - 150' (2.25m - 45m)
Medium Shot 3' - 60' (0.9m - 18m)

Panasonic HC-X2 Specifications
Sensor 1" MOS
Lens 8.8mm – 176mm
24.5mm - 490mm (35mm equivalent)
20x optical zoom
f/2.8 - 4.5
Recording Formats H.264 or H.265 (HEVC)
3840 x 2160 up to 59.94 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 119.88 fps
1280 x 720 up to 59.94 fps
Recording Media 2 x SD memory card slots (UHS-I)
Video I/O 1 x 3G-SDI output
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 59.94 fps (HDMI only)
1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps (HDMI and SDI)
Audio I/O 2 x XLR audio mic/line inputs
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone output
Other I/O 1 x BNC timecode input/output
1 x USB-C (network tethering or file transfer to a computer)
1 x 2.5mm remote input
1 x RJ45 LAN input/output (IP streaming and control)
Wireless 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (IP streaming and control)
Power 1 x AG-VBR59 rechargeable battery (included)
1 x AC power adapter (included)

Canon G70

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The best budget camcorder that doesn't sacrifice durability or image quality.

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Image Quality: 3/10 Dynamic Range: 2/10 Low Light Quality: 2/10 Live Features: 4/10 Overall Value: 9/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Take my top pick above, remove the top handle with XLR audio inputs, remove the 3G-SDI output, and you have yourself this excellent bang for the buck alternative. Aside from those omissions, the cameras are essentially the same.

This is the cheapest camcorder I recommend. So if you're looking for the most budget-friendly camera that offers servo zoom capability, you've found your match!

The Canon G70 is also a perfect match to the Canon CR-N100 and Canon CR-N300 PTZs.


Pros

  • 20x optical zoom
  • Dual SD memory card slots
  • Same image quality as the XA60 and XA65

Cons

  • No 4K output
  • 4K recording format limits output to 29.97 fps
  • Mini HDMI port is fragile

Canon G70 Framing Distances
Full Shot 9' - 180' (2.75m - 55m)
Medium Shot 3.5' - 70' (1m - 20m)

Canon G70 Specifications
  1. Output frame rate is limited to a maximum of 29.97 fps for all 4K UHD recording formats
  2. USB-C outputs webcam video only at either 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 with a maximum frame rate of 30 fps
Sensor 1/2.3" CMOS
Lens 3.67mm - 73.4mm
29.3mm - 601mm (35mm equivalent)
20x optical zoom
f/1.8 - 2.8
Recording Formats H.264
3840 x 2160 up to 29.97 fps1
1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps
Recording Media 2 x SD memory card slots (UHS-I)
Video I/O 1 x HDMI output (Type C - Mini)
Video Output Formats 1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps1
Audio I/O 1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo mic/line input
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone output
Other I/O 1 x USB-C (GPS and webcam output)2
1 x 2.5mm remote input (compatible with the Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller)
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x BP-820 rechargeable Battery (included)
1 x PD-E1 USB AC power adapter (included)

Canon XF605

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The best camcorder money can buy today.

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Image Quality: 5/10 Dynamic Range: 3/10 Low Light Quality: 3/10 Live Features: 7/10 Overall Value: 6/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Top-notch image quality (for a camcorder) and 12G-SDI output set this apart from the rest.

Other notable features include dual pixel autofocus, internal recording and output up to 2160p59.94, 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording, Canon Log 3, custom LUT support, dual SD memory card slots, a plethora of wired and wireless remote control features, internal SRT streaming, and separate genlock and timecode ports.

It is probably the most feature-rich camcorder for live production available today.

But, alas, it's not all 🦄🦄🦄 and 🌈🌈🌈...

The limited 15x optical zoom will be the deal breaker for many live events.

And the USB-C webcam output quality is so poor, it might as well not exist in this camera.

However, if you want a stellar camcorder with excellent image quality and the 15x optical zoom is acceptable, then this will be a phenomenal choice.

The Canon XF605 is also a perfect match to the Canon CR-N500 and Canon CR-N700 PTZs.


Pros

  • Image quality
  • 12G-SDI output
  • SRT streaming update (in December 2023 firmware update)
  • Simultaneous HDMI and 12G-SDI output
  • Clear Scan shutter adjustment helps minimize flicker/banding from lighting and LED walls

Cons

  • 15x optical zoom will be limiting for some
  • Webcam output is very low quality

Canon XF605 Framing Distances
Full Shot 8' - 111' (2.5m - 33.5m)
Medium Shot 3' - 45' (1m - 13.5m)

Canon XF605 Specifications
Sensor 1" CMOS
Lens 8.3mm – 124.5mm
25.5mm - 382.5mm (35mm equivalent)
15x optical zoom
f/2.8 - 4.5
Recording Formats H.264
H.265/HEVC
3840 x 2160 up to 59.94 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 119.88 fps
Recording Media 2 x SD memory card slots (UHS-I)
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI output
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 59.94 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps
Audio I/O 2 x XLR audio mic/line inputs
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo mic/line input
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone output
Other I/O 1 x BNC genlock input/output
1 x BNC timecode input/output
1 x RJ45 LAN input/output (IP streaming and control)
1 x USB-C (GPS and UVC webcam output)1
1 x 8-Pin D-sub remote port (compatible with Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller and RS-422)
1 x 2.5mm remote input (compatible with the Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller)
Wireless 2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi (IP streaming and control)
Power 1 x BP-A30 rechargeable Battery (included)
1 x CA-CP200 L compact power adapter (included)

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 24 years ago as a freelance live and ENG camera operator for broadcast television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. Since then, I have spent countless hours with hundreds of different cameras throughout 25 different countries. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right cameras and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel


How I Choose Scores

Every camera on this site gets scored for performance and overall value. Scores for each camera are calculated in the context of all other cameras and camera categories.

As a result, you may see lower or higher average scores for some characteristics in certain categories. For example, camcorders will typically receive lower than average scoring for image quality, dynamic range, and low-light performance and higher than average scoring for live features, while mirrorless cameras typically receive the opposite.

Image Quality

Image quality takes into account many factors including image noise, sharpness, color science, color accuracy, dynamic range, the ability to adjust the image to a specific style, etc.

Considerations include:

  • Accuracy of skin tones
  • Accuracy of saturated colors
  • Amount of details visible in highlights and shadows
  • Amount of noise in the final image
  • Amount of ghosting, chromatic aberration, and distortion in the image
  • How much work is required to achieve a pleasing final image
  • How much light is required to achieve the cleanest image

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range refers to how much detail is retained in highlights and shadows. The higher the dynamic range, the more detail that remains in bright highlights and dark shadows.

Dynamic range can also affect color saturation. A low dynamic range can cause unwanted clipping and/or smearing of saturated colors, as well as inaccurate shifting of colors in some situations.

For context, the ARRI ALEXA 35 currently sets the standard for a perfect 10/10 dynamic range. So if you wonder why these scores may seem low, it's because the bar has been set very high.

Low-Light Performance

This one is fairly self-explanatory.

But, first of all, I want to be clear that I always recommend providing adequate quality light if at all possible.

However, it does help knowing just how clean of an image to expect with less-than-ideal lighting, and is often a good indication of how clean the image is in general.

You will notice that camcorders and PTZs generally score much lower for this characteristic while mirrorless, cinema, and studio cameras score much higher. This is simply due to the nature of how camcorders and PTZs are made, with smaller sensors and built-in lenses that have variable apertures (an aperture that closes as the lens is zoomed in).

Live Features

Live features include remote control of camera and lens settings, built-in on-air tally indicators, built-in intercom for communication with director and crew, ability to add external viewfinders and monitors, remote power, and the ability to do everything through as few cables as possible.

Studio cameras and camcorders usually score higher while mirrorless cameras and cinema cameras might score lower.

Overall Value

This is the most subjective score, and is my overall opinion of the camera.

You may see lower scores here from cameras in both price extremes, with higher scores coming from cameras that tend to provide more performance and features for reasonable prices.

"Bang for the buck" is the key phrase here.

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