You might agree with me when I say that the demand for night vision camcorders has been increasing over the years as more and more people start shooting in pitch dark settings. Whether they’re looking to go ghost hunting or want to record a hike at night, a camcorder with night vision shooting capability or even IR mode becomes a must.
The question now is this:
Which camcorder with night vision should you buy if recording videos at night is an important factor of selection for you?
Now there are a lot of options to choose from nowadays. From the high-end Japanese brands to the more budget-friendly beginner-level Chinese camcorders with IR mode presently flooding the market.
Below, I have recommended the 5 best night vision digital video cameras in my opinion. After extensive research and speaking with fellow camcorder enthusiasts, I’ve rounded these up.
|Panasonic 4K Night Vision Camcorder HC-WXF991K||3 different modes for low light and night time - 2 lux (low light), 1 lux (night vision with true color) and 0 lux (IR night vision) mode||Prime||Check Best Price|
|Alsone Full HD Night Vision Camcorder||Budget-friendly.||Prime||Check Best Price|
|Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder with Nightshot Mode||Balanced Optical Steady Shot Technology for greater stability||Prime||Check Best Price|
|Bestguarder Infrared HD Night Vision Monocular Camcorder||Rugged design complying with IPX4 standards - waterproof||Prime||Check Best Price|
|Seree Night Vision Camcorder||270° display rotation||Prime||Check Best Price|
*The Panasonic WXF991k and the VX981K are similar in almost all aspects except for one major difference – the WXF991K comes with a viewfinder, while the VX981K does not. The rest of the features are almost the same, including the night vision capability.
With a clear and sharp 4K display, very powerful zoom, and the ability to shoot in different light settings including 0 lux IR night mode, the Panasonic WXF991K/VX981K is our #1 recommendation for the best night vision camcorder.
It has excellent night shoot performance, with a 2-lux low light scene mode, a 1-lux night mode with color, and a 0-lux full night IR mode — all paired with a decent built-in infrared light.
This is what one of the users of this camcorder had to say about its night vision capability.
The Panasonic WXF991K can take decent videos and photos in dark settings, particularly if you use its highly sensitive 1-lux night mode. However, you can take clearer images and videos, with an enhanced range, if you’d invest in an additional IR light source. This is entirely optional, though. Buying an extra IR light source is helpful if shooting at night is a regular part of your job. But, if you’re a hobbyist who takes night videos every now and then, the camcorder’s built-in IR light is more than enough.
Of course, the Panasonic WXF991K isn’t just a night vision-enabled camcorder. Its 1/2.3-inch 8.29 MP BSI MOS sensor and Crystal Engine 4K image processor allows it to take clear and sharp videos and photos.
It also has a Leica Dicomar lens with an optical zoom up to 20x, which can be boosted to 40x through intelligent zoom. Even with such a powerful zoom, the quality of the video remains stellar.
The camcorder can take both 1080p videos and 4K UHD videos, and you can extract 4K still images from the latter using the in-camera 4K Photo Mode and editing tools.
With powerful zoom and 4k recording capability, you can get some really good quality videos if shot at night – even in dark – something that cheaper night vision video cameras do not boast of.
Pros and Cons of Panasonic WFX991K/VX981K
- Lots and lots of extra features to customize the way you take videos
- Very sturdy and well-built for taking videos in any circumstance
- The video format can be edited in any video editing software available online
- As you turn on each of the various video taking customization, more battery is used. This can exhaust an already low capacity battery pretty quickly. Preferably, buy a higher capacity battery along with this camcorder.
- Image stabilization is not as good as it could have been.
- There have been reports of a slight fish eye effect in the video recordings.
The Alsone Full HD Camcorder with IR Night Vision is a recent entrant, just released in August 2019. It has been rigorously tested before being released in the market. Not only does it have all the essential features for a night vision camcorder but it is also budget-friendly which has made it one of the top video cameras with night vision in the US. Let us have a look at some of the premium features it offers.
This is one of the better budget camcorders that come with night vision. Unlike some of the other budget night vision video cameras that promise 4K video when in reality they offer a maximum of 3K video, the Alsone Full HD camcorder stays true to its word. You can record 1080p FHD videos in the daytime and with the help of the IR mode, take videos in pitch dark settings.
It has the option of being remotely controlled, can record while being charged and with an 8 megapixel CMOS sensor to capture high-quality images and videos, it is ideal for beginners and amateurs who are looking for an infrared camcorder.
It comes with an external mic in the box. Now an external mic is of significance because if you want to go ghost hunting or capturing paranormal phenomena, you need to be able to capture even the slightest sound. The inbuilt recorder in most camcorders might not be enough to capture very faint sounds. Hence and external mic can be of great use.
Finally, it comes with a battery that can record in 1080p up to 2 hours at a stretch. This is much needed especially when you’re ghost hunting in the dark and do not want to miss out on any important footage while you’re ‘out there’!
The price is very reasonable. Hence if you’re starting out or especially wanting a camcorder for ghost hunting or night recording, it is a good choice.
The Full HD display actually lives up to the claim made by the company. And honestly, if I’m just looking for a night vision video camera for ghost hunting, a full HD display is enough for me.
The battery lasts a good 2 hours when used at 1080p.
It does not have built-in image stabilization like the other camcorders in the list.
The remote control that comes in the box doesn’t work that well when the wide-angle lens is used. This can be because of the wide lens interfering with the infrared rays between the camera and the remote.
For the price that it comes for, the Alsone FHD Camcorder with IR is a good deal. It might not give you top of the class image quality, but it can still classify as one of the best video cameras with night vision for beginners.
I’m really surprised how passive Sony has been on promoting the FDRAX53 as a night vision camcorder. It is mainly promoted as a 4K camcorder with a ton of advanced features. The night vision capability with an IR lamp is considered as a secondary feature.
Even people who have purchased the FDRAX53 have bought it mainly for normal daytime use. But it has a functioning night vision IR lamp that can be used for any night time shots and the images are quite good in the dark.
One thing that works in favor of the Sony FDRAX53 being one of the best night vision camcorders is its 4K display. Not many camcorders with an IR light come with a display that is really 4K (Some claim to be 4K but on inspection, the highest display quality was 3K. You’ll see what I’m talking about later). In IR mode, the display tends to become a bit grainy and is usually in monochrome or with a greenish tinge. Hence a 4K display results in a high-quality night time display.
It has a high level of image stabilization – It uses the Balanced Optical Steady Shot stability – which helps you take images and record the videos with greater stability when handheld thus reducing shake and distortion much more when recording while moving or zooming.
For even more improved performance in the dark, you can use an external IR light lamp or an LED lamp.
Pros and Cons of Sony FDR AX53
It is highly portable. When you go out shooting videos in the dark, you need a portable device. Something that you can carry easily without feeling the strain.
Battery life is really good with the FDRAX53. It lasts 2-3 hours on a full charge. That’s enough battery for one outdoor shooting experience.
The Balanced Optical Steady Shot technology that gives that extra image stabilization as compared to the standard technology.
The night vision footage is not as grainy as you might have seen in some other camcorders.
The cost. If you are a beginner and have a limited budget, or will be using your camcorder occasionally and don’t need a professional-level display quality, this camcorder can seem a bit costly despite all the features and the merits.
Some users say the touchscreen could have been a bit more sensitive to touch.
Like most IR enabled night vision camcorders, the night vision lamp has a limited reach. Hence, if you are looking to record videos of objects in the dark from a fair distance, it is advisable to include an extra IR lamp to go with the FDRAX53 for an enhanced reach.
The Bestguarder WG50 Plus is a monocular camcorder having a digital night vision mode. This mode is supported by a 50mm objective lens along with 6x optical zoom and up to 5x digital zoom. The camcorder also comes with a high-quality built-in infrared illuminator that allows for a viewing distance of up to 1,150 feet (or 350 meters).
The WG50 Plus is one of the best night vision video cameras because of its rugged design. It complies with IPX4 standards, which means it’s water-resistant and can withstand a bit of rough weather. Since it is used more for hunting, you need it to withstand tough weather conditions. Bestguarder WG50 Plus does an excellent job at that.
Since it can be mounted on a tripod, you can leave it on and record activities of the subject you want to record. If you’re using it for hunting, this can help in identifying the patterns of the creature and its presence in a particular area.
Coming with an option of using 4 different levels of IR, it can be beneficial for varying degrees of low light or even complete darkness.
It’s an excellent companion when you spend most of your time outdoors and need tough and durable equipment that can keep up with your rigorous lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Bestguarder WG50 Plus
- Very sturdy and rugged
- High range visibility extending up to 3o0m
- Night vision is of superior quality
- It does not have a power focus. The focus has to be achieved by rotating manually.
- The picture quality is not as great as some of the other night vision cameras
- The battery does not last long. You need to carry a backup.
If you’ve been looking for a budget-friendly 4K video camera with IR, the Seree 4K Camcorder with night vision can prove to be your best bet. Launched in January 2020, this is ideal for beginners or those looking to capture videos with or without night vision. It comes with a 16x zoom and a 270° rotation display which can capture videos and images at different angles.
With a remote control function and an external mic that comes with the package, this camcorder is a good option to record videos while vlogging indoors or on the go outdoors.
With the inbuilt WiFi, it is possible to operate it with your smartphone or tablet. This makes it easy to share pictures from the camcorder to your mobile device. For that, you need to install an app called “XDV PRO”. Also with the Webcam feature, you can stream videos live onto Youtube or other video sharing sites.
This camcorder also supports the option of fixing a UV lens or a wide-angle lens for enhanced display. It has a hood around the lens that prevents unwanted light from falling on the lens and prevents glare on the lens.
One practical usage of the remote control and smartphone operation of this camcorder is that if you have a baby at home and want to record his movements at night, you can set the camcorder in his room and operate it from wherever you are located within the house. You can set the mode to IR and play, pause and even stop with the help of the remote.
What about ghost hunting?
The night vision mode works fine and so this camcorder can be used for paranormal investigations. The external mic can capture the faint noises if any.
Operation is easy and it’s a great choice for beginners who are just starting out taking videos in the night. Also for families buying their first camcorder.
It is lightweight and hence very portable.
You get good quality video and audio quality at a very competitive rate.
IR night vision is effective at less than 5 meters.
Image quality with zoom is not top-notch.
These are five of the top camcorders with a night mode that can take high-quality videos and give you excellent value for money. There are some other makes and models in the market, some of them even cheaper. But like I told earlier keeping in mind that quality trumps quantity the ones above make my list though they might be a bit expensive.