The all-in-one camera is alive and well, and sometimes it really is the only tool for the job. If your work takes on many forms and you need a device that can take on any type of work you care to throw at it, the one-piece camcorder is almost unbeatable when it comes to pure practicality and ease of use.
A good professional camcorder comes with many benefits. For starters you get both an electronic viewfinder and a flip-out LCD display as standard. Most of the controls you need for white balance, shutter speed, and even ND filters are all physical switches on the side of the camera body. But the biggest advantage of all are the built in lenses that give you a vast range of focal length while still being capable of fast apertures throughout.
The result is a speed and efficiency of working that is unmatched by most other types of camera. With that in mind we've listed three of the best 4K capable all-in-one professional camcorders that you can depend on day after day.
Panasonic AG-DVX200 US$3,495.00
The Panasonic AG-DVX200 might not be the latest camcorder, but it is certainly still one of the most capable you can buy, and it can record 4K footage up to 60fps via its large 4/3 sized sensor. Having a larger sensor such as this means that you get a great compromise between ease of focus when it really matters on the move, and cinematic style images with Vlog when you need them.
The lens goes from 28-365mm (35mm equivalent) giving you immense versatility, as well as featuring three manual operation rings for focus, zoom, and iris. If you require ultra slow motion the DVX200 can also record 120fps in HD resolutions, paving the way for much more creativity during use.
When combined with the 5 axis hybrid image stabiliser, the Panasonic AG-DVX200 is one of the best value all-in-one camcorders on the market today.
Canon XF705 US$6,999.00
When we reviewed the Canon XF705 we called it a "solid beast of a camera with important new technology", and for good reason. The XF705 is hugely robust and is clearly designed to take day-to-day production work in its stride.
It features an 8.3-124.5mm zoom lens, which fires photons onto a single large 1" CMOS chip. This is a vast amount of zoom range to work with. Three control rings allow manual control over focus, iris, and zoom.
One of the stand out features of the XF705 is an exceptional autofocus ability that allows extremely accurate face tracking and the ability to tap anywhere on the LCD display for rapid focus on your subject of choice. Smooth pull and push focus moves are supremely simple to achieve.
HDR is fully catered for in both PQ and HLG forms, while C-log3 also features for those who wish to follow a more traditional grading route. But the XF705 has another trick up its sleeve in that you can record HDR internally while simultaneously outputting SDR to en external recorder, and the camera compensates automatically for exposure differences.
The XF705, with its H.265 codec recording and exceptional low light performance is a camcorder designed for tomorrow as much as it is for today.
Sony PXW-Z280 US$6,950.00
The Sony PXW-Z280 carries on the tradition set by the all time classic EX1 and EX3 camcorders. The Z280 is one serious camcorder featuring three 1/2" CMOS chips for exceptional colour reproduction and resolution.
Just like its predecessors the Z280 features a Fujinon designed lens with a 5.6-95.2mm focal ranges, and three manual control rings with end stops, controlling focus, zoom, and iris, giving the sort of precise control you'd expect from an ENG camera. Despite the fact that the lens is still servo controlled, it still feels like a true manual lens, and operators who are used to ENG style glass will feel totally at home with this camera.
Working fast is easy with not just a three step ND filter, but an electronic one that can be adjusted in infinitely smooth steps so that you can set the exact amount of neutral density that you need in any given situation. This is a unique feature on Sony camcorders and adds a solid extra layer when it comes to usability.
But it's not just practical design that sets the camera apart. The PXW-Z280 can record some of the highest spec footage of any camera of its type to ultra fast and reliable SxS media. Files can be recorded at 10-bit colour depth with 4:2:2 precision at up to an amazing 600Mbps with intraframe compression.
When footage must be edited as quickly as possible in a news environment, using XDCAM Air the camera can upload footage via a dual link cellular connection. As well as this it can even upload to a remote FTP server while it is actually shooting. Lastly, footage can be backed up to a USB drive directly from the camera with full error correction to ensure file integrity.
The Sony PXW-Z280 is a camcorder that is designed to work fast with next to no compromise when it comes to picture quality.
Worldwide retailer Adorama is always a great place to go for video, audio and photography products. It always has a massive range in stock, and is always competitive.