If you like to keep good memories from your travels or simply want to shoot videos/pictures outdoors, you need a handy video camera that will endure the test of time. While most smartphones are great for general shots, they might not perform as well as a portable camcorder; unless they cost a bomb.
So what makes a good video camera for travel?
First, the video camera should be small and compact so you can carry it with ease. To gain full control of the camera settings, select a camcorder with manual settings and a larger zoom range. Look for a good image stabilization technology to create smoother videos even with shaky hands.
When it comes to camcorders, Sony is probably one of the best on the market. The company has a reputation to produce high-performance video cameras and one of its best models is the CX440. The Sony HDR-CX440 is the best camcorder for travel because it’s light, compact, and has lots of great features.
If you want to know more about it, check our comprehensive review below.
Best Camcorder for Travel – Sony HDR-CX440
Size And Weight: 4.5/5
Battery Life: 4/5
What We Like
⦁ Easy to use with inbuilt effects
⦁ The excellent image stabilization feature
⦁ Lightweight and portable
⦁ Full HD 1080p for videos
What We Don’t Like
⦁ Manual lens cover
⦁ Lack of touchscreen capabilities
An Overview of Sony HDR-CX440
Sony is one of the leaders in the camcorder market. It has an amazing line of action, full HD and 4K camcorders. One of its more affordable camcorders is the Sony HDR-CX440 which offers basic and advanced features, like a 1080p video quality, rotating LCD screen, multi-camera control, live broadcast, easy backup, and image stabilization.
The HDR-CX440 features a 30x optical zoom, which is slightly lower than other similar models, like the Panasonic HC-W580 that boasts a 50x optical zoom. This camcorder, however, offers 60x clear image zoom and great mobility with its lightweight design. Like all other Sony camcorders, this particular model has a durable built-in USB cable that you can use for charging or transferring data.
It also includes an integrated WiFi capability that makes it easy to transfer videos and photos from the camcorder to an android or iPhone. It also gives you the option of broadcasting live video to your friends and family with Ustream.
Who Is This Product For?
The Sony HDR-CX440 is perfect for those who want a compact camcorder that you can bring anywhere outside of your home. It’s great for those who travel as the CX440 is lightweight and compact. It’s also good for beginners as it works very easily with its automatic features.
The HDR-CX440 has a weight of 6.7 ounces which is light enough for easy mobility. This camcorder has a durable hand strap which makes it easy to hold when recording.
What’s Included In The Package?
The HDR-CX440 includes all the essential accessories, including an AC adaptor, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, and USB cord. A tiny part of the charging cable is permanently attached to the unit, but you can stick it inside the hand strap to hide it. It also includes an HDMI cable to connect the camcorder to your Blue-ray player or television.
Here’s a video showing the unboxing of the Sony HDR-CX440. While the outer packaging can differ in different regions, the main components contained in the package remain the same.
For travel, along with the HDR-CX440, remember to include a tripod and a camera holster case. Also, include a 32-GB micro SD memory card to give more recording space. Keep in mind that the lens cover is manual so you have to open the cover with the switch before filming. Check out this Sony HDR-CX440 bundle which contains all the necessary accessories for travel or more comprehensive shooting.
Features And Specifications of Sony HDR-CX440
⦁ Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization: The Sony HDR-CX440 comes with advanced image stabilization to allow you to capture blur-free videos even when your hands are shaky. Together with the 3-Way Shake Canceling feature, this unit allows you to capture smoother video results.
⦁ Full HD: The HDR-CX440 is capable of shooting full HD pictures and videos. It’s built with a 9.4 MP camera that shoots images and videos in full HD. Its video resolution is 1920 x 1080p.
⦁ 26.8mm Wide-Angle Lens: This feature allows you to capture more objects and people into one shot. The video quality is more than satisfactory. The 30x optical zoom may sound slightly mundane but this model provides a 60x Clear Image zoom for sharper results.
⦁ XAVC S (3) Format: For serious videographers, this feature is very helpful in producing 1080p videos. This format is often used in professional filmmaking and broadcasting. Together with intelligent data compression, you can easily export consumer-friendly file sizes.
⦁ Highlight Movie Maker: This is a versatile tool to streamline movie editing. It provides a lot of time-saving features, like adding highlight markers to significant moments while recording and allowing the software to synchronize the transitions to the soundtrack.
⦁ Built-in USB Cable: The USB cable is stored in the hand strap for quick charging and an easy link to other devices. This is very convenient because you don’t need to bring an extra USB cable with you.
⦁ Exmor R CMOS Sensor: This most advanced sensor improves image clarity, reduces noise in dim light environments, and lets you perform soft background defocusing. It’s smaller than most video cameras in the category but it provides very clear images and reduces noise in poor light situations.
⦁ Dual Recording: The HDR-CX440 offers Dual Video Recording and Dual Record mode features. The Dual Video Recording feature allows you to record two videos (one in XAVC S and another in MP4 format) simultaneously. The Dual Record mode allows you to capture HD videos and still pictures at the same time.
⦁ Face Detection: This allows you to shoot the key persons amidst the crowd. Up to eight people can be determined in a shot and it automatically optimizes the image for perfect results. Simply touch the face on the screen to choose the key person for a shot. When this feature is used, voice improvements and noise reduction are applied.
⦁ Smile Shutter: This is another great detecting feature of the HDR-CX440. This feature automatically takes shots of smiling faces even during video recording. Choose the Smile Shutter mode to automatically capture the happiest moments in your pictures and videos.
⦁ Intelligent Auto: This feature automatically identifies the kind of scene being shot and obtain the proper scene-setting. It has a total of 60 combination settings but it begins with 10 scene modes such as Portrait, Baby, and Spotlight. You might not need to create any edits since this model is also capable of making a highlight video in Mp4 format.
⦁ Picture and Video Effects: Select progressive recording mode to record movies in interlace mode at 60/50 fps. Every frame is recorded as a single full picture. When shooting under poor light conditions, select manual settings for iris and shutter speed. Picture Effect allows you to add up to seven effects, including Retro, Pop Color, and Soft High-Key.
Sensor Type 1/5.8 type Exmor R CMOS Sensor
Image resolution 9.2 MP
Zoom 30x (optical zoom)
60x (clear image zoom)
Screen 2.7-inch LCD display
Weight 6.7 oz
Size 59.5mm x 128mm
Battery X Type Lithium-ion battery
Lens Cover Manual
Video Resolution 1080p
Storage Micro SD/SDHC card
If Sony HDR-CX440 doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can consider any of these following alternatives:
1. Sony HDR-CX405
A cheaper alternative to the Sony HDR-CX440. It does not have built-in WiFi and some of the advanced features of CX440 like multi-camera control and live broadcast. Otherwise, most of the features are the same.
1. Panasonic HC-VX981K
Another expensive option is the Panasonic HC-VX918K which offers incredible features such as 20x optical zoom, 4K recording capability, and high-dynamic feature for more clarity. Through a wireless connection, you can link your smartphone to the video camera for the twin video effect. It’s also very light and compact making it perfect for travel.
1. Kicteck Video Camera Camcorder
If you want something cheaper, the kicteck video camera suits you best. It supports 1080p video resolution and 24 MP image resolution. It’s portable to use with its lightweight design but it can’t support an external microphone.
The HDR-CX440 is truly one of the cheapest models of Sony that offers the basic features in a small size. This product is the best video camera for travel because it’s compact and it can shoot nicely in broad daylight or even in poor light situations. With its many automatic features, this camcorder is also good for complete beginners.