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For a time, it looked like camcorders were going to give way to DSLRs, which capture high quality photos but can also work well as a video camera. And of course, for day-to-day use the fact that smartphones can record high quality video through lenses that get better every year puts camcorders under a two-pronged attack. But the dedicated camcorder is still going strong and for good reasons. Equipped with high quality lenses with powerful zooms, like Sony camcorders that feature Carl Zeiss lenses, they are an essential bit of kit for any home moviemaker.

Canon camcorders have the same reputation as their DSLRs: high quality components, feature rich, easy enough for a complete beginner while having plenty for more experienced users to dig into. Panasonic camcorders are another familiar brand that lead the way in camcorder technology, with quality LEICA lenses and the ability to control your smartphone via a wireless connection to shoot B-roll footage for an easy multi-camera setup.

Action cameras are rugged, hands-free cameras that shoot images and video and are built to endure punishment that no other camera or camcorder can take. Action cameras are great for mountain bikers, rock climbers, hang gliders, surfers and divers because with the right accessories they can film under all conditions while leaving you free to concentrate on the adventure. GoPro are the brand that everybody knows but other brands like Panasonic also make similar devices, so explore all your options before making a choice. You’ll find waterproof cameras that are ideal for any aquatic activity, or even just for taking pictures and videos when you’re at the beach.

Whichever camera you choose just make sure you get a spare camera battery so that you don’t run out of power at a crucial moment.