Church Video Camera Review [5 Camcorders Under $500 Dollars]

Picking the right video camera for your church or other video recording project can be a difficult decision. I know in my case, I was not real familiar with the features of camcorders and how they apply to recording a large room or sanctuary. 

I found out that the things to pay attention to were things like zoom, the type of output the camera has, and of course, price. I had my work cut out for me and I hope that what I found will be a help to you and save you the time I had to invest.

I narrowed down my list to the 5 camcorders listed below. At the time I was searching each of these cameras were under $500.00

5 Church Video Cameras For Under $500.00

Name

Features

More Information

Canon Vixia HF R82

Lightweight, 32x Zoom, Clean HDMI

Sony HDRCX440

Wi-Fi Enabled, 30x Zoom, Clean HDMI

Samsung Hmx F900

HD Recording, 52x Zoom, Clean HDMI

JVC Everio

5 Hour Battery, 40x Zoom, Clean HDMI

Panasonic HC-V770

Wi-Fi Enabled, 20x Zoom, Clean HDMI

What To Look For In A Church Video Camera

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a church video camera, especially one that you want to use for live streaming or making video clips to use in your church services. They are things like....

  • Video Quality (Does it record in HD?)
  • Does it allow for an external microphone
  • Does it have a clean HDMI output to use for live streaming
  • How large of a zoom does it have?
  • What is the battery life and can it be plugged in to a wall socket?

These are the things I discovered were important when considering which camcorder to buy for my church. I needed a camcorder that would produce clear video for live streaming. That was our primary function. A clean HDMI signal from the camera to the computer was a must for us. We did not want to wait until the recording was over to download it onto our computer.

Since we were going to place the camera in the back of the room, the zoom quality and distance was important as well. Wide shots are great to show your crowd, but they are boring to watch as a whole. 

We ended up using the camcorder's microphone for our live stream but many churches may want to have a clearer audio and plug in a wireless microphone for their pastor or use a choir mic to get a clearer live audio sound just from the platform. You need to make sure it has the ability to plug in an external microphone.

The battery life can be important especially if you are going to use it for live testimonies or to record activities you are doing outside of the church. Not always is their an electrical outlet convenient.

Why I Picked These Camcorders For You To Consider For Your Church

The number 1 consideration I had when picking a video camera for our church was if it had a clean HDMI output. I wanted the ability to use it both for live streaming and for recording video clips. So each of these camcorders have a clean HDMI output.

The second consideration I had was price. Large churches may have a budget for nice professional or prosumer camcorders but most churches don't. They are trying to be good stewards of the resources they have. 

That was the position I was in. All of these choices reflect that reality in my life. They are all under $500.00

The rest of the features really depend on what your needs are. How far do you need to zoom? How much will you use it away from electrical outlets? What are your audio sound needs?

So without further ado, here are the 5 video cameras that I think will be a good choice for your church or video recording project.

5 Camcorders For The Budget Minded Church

Canon Vixia HF R82

The Canon Vixia HF R82 is the church video camera I eventually chose for our ministry. It was not the most expensive nor the least expensive. It just had everything we needed.

Overall I don't think you can go wrong with purchasing this camcorder to use to record clips or live stream in your church. It was listed at $399.00 on Amazon when I purchased ours.

I give it 5 stars

Pros

  • 12 hour recording time.
  • External audio input
  • Large zoom capacity
  • Clean HDMI output

Cons

  • Poorly written instruction manual.
  • No shoe mount for attaching accessories

Sony HDRCX440

The Sony HDRCX440 was a close runner up for our church. It had all of the features we were looking for but had less recording time than the Canon Vixia. However, depending on what you are looking for, it's ability to connect directly to Ustream might be something you are looking for.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi enabled in order to connect to phone or tablet or Ustream.
  • Less expensive than the Canon Vixia
  • Automatically creates highlight videos
  • Clean HDMI Output

Cons

  • No external mic input
  • Fragile lens cover

Since we did not plan on using an external microphone, this limitation did not bother us but for a church that may want to use a wireless mic or another sound source in their videos, this might be a problem. Otherwise this is a great little camcorder for the price!

When we were looking for a church video camera the price for this little jewel was only $248.00

I give it 4 stars

Samsung Hmx F900

The Samsung Hmx F900 was another camcorder that I looked at because of it's great zoom distance. However it also does not have an external audio or mic jack. It also is older than the other camcorders I looked at so I was concerned that it would stop being supported in the near future.

Pros

  • 52x zoom for long shots
  • Clean HDMI Output
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No External Mic Or Audio Input
  • Older Model Camcorder

The really tempting part of the Samsung Hmx F900 is its price point. Since it is an older camcorder, there are many used and refurbished cameras on the market for under $100.00

If you are on a strict budget and need a decent camcorder then maybe the Samsung Hmx F900 is the camera for you.

I give it 3 stars

JVC Everio

We considered the JVC Everio because of its long battery life and the fact that it is waterproof. If you want to use your church camera to record events outside of the church this would be a good benefit.

​The most tempting thing about the JVC Everio is that it is almost indestructible. This would make a great camera to use in children's church or Sunday school. You never know when the little darlings are going to spill something, drop something, or do something else that might harm the camera.

Pros

  • Long Battery Life
  • Waterproof for protection during outside events.
  • Clean HDMI output
  • Wi-Fi Enabled to link up with your mobile device wirelessly.

Cons

  • Difficult instruction manual
  • No external microphone jack.

When researching for a church video camera these little babies were running around $450.00

I give it 4 stars

Panasonic HC-V770

The Panasonic HC-V770 was recommended by a member of my church who works for a tech company. It was a close contender to the Canon Vixia that we bought.

I guess I am a stickler for instructions but when you are a newbie you need clear and easy instructions. This camera, just like the Canon Vixia comes with only a limited owners manual and you have to go online to read the full manual.

That said, this is an awesome camera. The only thing that kept me away from this camcorder was price. At the time I was doing research the camera was just under $500.00. 

Pros

  • Picture in picture capability
  • Wi-Fi enabled with connection to Ustream
  • External Mic Jack
  • Clean HDMI

Cons

  • Price
  • Limited Owners Manual included. Full owners manual online.

I give it 5 stars

Church video camera advice

Well there you go. 5 great church video cameras for under $500.00. I hope that my work and research helped you narrow down your choice for a church video camera.

Pastor Duke Taber

About the Author

Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos CA. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.

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