Sony NEX-VG30H Handycam
The Sony NEX-VG30 is an amazing camera for this price range because it features an APS-C sized sensor like those found on many high end DSLRs; a rare find for most prosumer cameras. While the camera comes with an 18-200mm power zoom lens, it also features an E-mount so other Sony lenses can be used. The 11x optical zoom still yields sharp images but they start to deteriorate when using the 2x digital zoom; Sony’s CinemaTone technology can be used to replicate film-like colors and skin tones. A 3.5mm audio jack can be used to attach external microphones, as well as the XLR adapter kit (sold separately.)
The quad-capsule can record stereo or 5.1 with excellent audio quality; better than almost any other on-board sound available. The camera is very sturdy and feels professional but the buttons and dials covering key functions could have been placed a little more wisely. The only real downsides of the VG30 are the kit lenses make the camera quite front heavy and there’s no built-in ND filters so shooting in bright light can be fairly tough. Ultimately, this camera is a solid video-oriented replacement for a DSLR.