Vlogging is popular as ever, and often for it content creators need to purchase a proper vlogging camera.
Vlogging cameras can cost just about anything. Many start off by filming with their smartphones, but that practice quickly becomes outdated once you find out what you can achieve using a camera with a larger sensor.
Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300
Finding a good vlogging camera for cheap can be a tough task. There is no actual camera designed specifically for vlogging, so you have to look for cameras that record great videos at an affordable price and come in a lightweight, easy to handle design.
We’ve selected the 5 best vlogging cameras out there and reviewed them, going through their key features and listing their best qualities as well as their shortcomings. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide at the end for more insight on what you should and shouldn’t look for in a vlogging camera.
Pansonic Lumix ZS50
Great Features and Video Quality
The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is a point and shoot camera that gives a lot of options to the user. It has a full manual mode and also supports RAW videos and packs a higher ISO limit. The camera can record in 1080p at 60fps and is capable of shooting hi-speed videos.
We find the Lumix ZS50 to be the best point and shoot camera for vloggers for the user control it gives and the great Leica sensor it packs.
Canon Vixia HF R800
Great Video Quality
The camcorder design of the Canon Vixia HF R800 make it great for recording videos. This camera is dedicated for video recording, so it produces image quality that is superior to what you’d get in point and shoot cameras. It records 1080p videos at 60fps and has an adjustable touchscreen as well.
If you’re not interested in taking great photos with your vlogging camera and want crisp video quality instead, then the Canon Vixia HF R800 is the best choice under $300.
The Panasonic Lumix is primarily a point and shoot camera that can record great videos. It’s packed to the brim with features. What differentiates the Luimx camera from others as a vlogging camera is the amount of control it gives to the user.
With it, you get a full manual mode for ultimate fine-tuning, RAW support and a higher ISO limit for low light situations. The camera also features a powerful high-speed 100 frames per second video mode in HD. You get great image stabilization with this camera in videos and can record in both ACVHD and MP4.
The Leica lens delivers crystal clear video in 1080p at 60fps in both wide angle recording and also when zoomed in. The performance of the sensor in low light is some of the best out there among vlogging cameras under $300. You get a great mixture of fantastic video and great image shooting in a compact form factor.
One gripe many users have with the Lumix ZS50 is its confusing menu. The menu allows for a lot of control, but it is a bit dense and navigating through it can be difficult. Some functions aren’t available in shooting modes, while others disappear when in other modes.
- Great sensor
- High-speed video recording
- Great low-light performance
- Lightweight and portable
- Low battery life
- Confusing menu
If taking still images with your vlogging camera doesn’t interest you much, then the Canon Vixia HF R800 might be the perfect camera for your needs. This compact camcorder is ideal for vloggers looking for a vlogging camera under $300 that shoots incredible videos.
The video quality of the Vixia HF R800 stands out above the rest, often up to par with more expensive rivals. Canon’s focus with this hand-held camcorder is purely on video. Shot at 1080p and 60fps, the image quality is perhaps the best in this list.
The Vixia R800 has a flip touchscreen as well. The lens is a wide aperture f1.8 lens, so the low light performance is far better than you’d expect from a camcorder. You can also record in both MP4 and ACVHD with this camera. Additional features include built-in WiFi and NFC.
The form factor of this camera and the various video modes make it an excellent choice for vloggers. This vlogging camera produces some of the best video quality out there, but it’s not ideal for every individual due to its lacking still images taking ability and occasional technical hiccups.
- Excellent video quality for the price
- Great form factor for vlogging
- Long battery life
- Weak photography
- Suffers from technical issues
When it comes to features, there isn’t a single vlogging camera under $300 that can beat the GoPro Hero5. It’s the only camera on our list to feature 4K video recording. It’s also the only one with slow-motion recording at an impressive 120 frames per second at full HD.
The build quality is what you’d expect from a GoPro camera. It’s a stunning yet light piece of tech that is easy to pocket and handle. The screen is impressive, and the video quality is top notch.
So why isn’t the GoPro Hero5 the ultimate choice for all vloggers? It’s a camera that serves very specific needs. The wide angle lens for one isn’t something you’d want in every vlogging situation. The fish-eye effect you get works great for action videos but not quite for everything else. Similarly, there’s not optical zoom on the GoPro, which some vloggers may want.
The video recording is top-notch in daylight, but the color balance is a little on the cooler side when recording at night or indoors.
If you’re looking for a vlogging camera under $300 for action videos or one that requires a wide-angle fish-eye lens, then there isn’t one better than the GoPro Hero5.
- 4K video recording
- Slow-motion video
- Fantastic video performance in day light
- Water resistant up to 33 feet
- No optical zoom
- Wide angle camera limits its versatility
- Average low-light performance
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 often appears among the top recommendations for the best vlogging camera under $300.
This offering from Nikon comes in a DSLR-esque design for a more ergonomic feel when recording or capturing images. It’s an effective, tried and tested design, but if you’re going to be recording yourself in the vlogs as well, then you’ll have trouble handling and turning this bulky body.
You get a high-performance 40x optical zoom lens on this camera that allows for incredibly detailed videos and images from a distance. Of course, handling the camera becomes difficult at such magnified levels, but it’s always nice to have the option for any vlogger.
The lens of this vlogging camera is great and Nikon adds in its well-known optical image stabilization to the mix as well. The videos are recorded at 1080p, though the framerate is unfortunately limited to 30fps.
The Coolpix B500 doesn’t come with a dedicated battery. Instead, it is powered by four AA batteries. Battery life is great, but we wish there was a dedicated battery that came with it instead.
- Great optical zoom
- Excellent image stabilization
- High quality videos for the price
- Easy and intuitive to use
- Bulky design
- Requires 4 AA batteries
- Framerate limited to 30fps
Canon makes it on the list once again with the PowerShot SX620. This point and shoot camera is an upgrade to the popular SX610. It features a powerful 20.2 megapixels lens with 25x optical zoom capability. The camera build is quite small which makes it easy to handle and maneuver.
It can record videos at full HD 1080p, though like the Nikon COOLPIX B500 this is only limited to 30fps. The image stabilization on this camera is fantastic, utilizing Canon’s Intelligent IS in a complex way to do it for you.
Intelligent IS is this camera’s biggest selling point because it automatically senses what the shooting situation is and chooses the correct stabilization more for it. The image stabilization is in fact what makes it a great vlogging camera, as it is otherwise focused more on still images.
Another neat feature Canon brings to this camera is that it syncs up with Canon Connect Station CS100. The CS100 allows you to wirelessly transfer image and video files via WiFi and/or NFC to this camera and has 1TB of memory.
- Takes great videos
- Fantastic image stabilization
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy and intuitive to use
- Most modes designed for photos
- Framerate limited to 30fps
Megapixels are overrated. There, we said it. It’s an entirely different topic to talk about the importance of megapixels in still photography, but for vlogging it’s the least important specification you should be looking at.
Recording at 1080p only requires 2 to 3 megapixels, so counting the megapixels of your potential vlogging camera or paying extra for them is meaningless. You should instead look at the quality of the video, the frame-rate, and its ability to record at 1080p.
A powerful optical zoom is great to have, but it’s only useful in specific scenarios. Additionally, optical zoom is more commonly useful in photography than filming. Zoom in vlogs isn’t important as the entire experience is designed to be from the perspective of the vlogger. Unless you have falcon vision, there’s a chance you’d rather walk up to your subject than record from afar.
Okay yeah, 4K video quality is nice, but it’s still uncommon among vloggers because of the large file sizes, the longer upload times, and the general viewing audience. 4K is still something available in high-end TVs and computer screens, and most of vlog audiences are happy with 1080p resolution.
Vlogging cameras are supposed to be swayed around and handled a little more roughly than a DSLR or professional video recording camera, so you want one with great durability.
Most cheap vlogging cameras are not durable enough to withstand even a single drop. You should pay higher price for durability if you are going to be moving your camera about.
If you’ll be setting it on a tripod however, you won’t need to focus too much on durability and can invest in other features instead.
You shouldn’t compromise on either. For a vlogger, they’re more important than the number of static megapixels or any other feature. Look for cameras that offer 1080p video resolution.
The framerate can either be 30fps or 60fps, and the choice between the two will largely depend on what type of videos you record. Recording videos that are fast-paced will need a higher framerate. If you’re recording videos on a tripod with very little movement though, 30fps will suffice.
No one wants a headache watching a jittery, shaky vlog. It’s one of the biggest turnoffs for audience.
This is why image stabilization should get more important than it’s normally given if you’re not recording vlogs on a tripod. In a vlogging camera, you should always assess the image stabilization by searching for sample videos captured by the model you’re interested in.
Image stabilization will make or break your content as a vlogger, so make sure you pay a little extra if you have to. If you’ll be recording on a tripod, this isn’t as important.
Why do I need a vlogging camera if I have my phone?
It is indeed true that modern smartphones have become incredible at taking great photos and shooting smooth videos. However, even a modestly priced point and shoot camera will have a larger sensor than what you can cram into a smartphone body.
Larger sensors will give sharper images, better colors, better performance in low light, and more control in depth of focus. There is also optical zoom to take advantage from. All these variables drastically improve the quality of your videos.
Should my type of videos influence the vlogging camera I buy?
Yes. If you are making action videos, there isn’t a better vlogging camera under $300 than the GoPro Hero5. However, the GoPro Hero 5 won’t work well for videos that need a narrower field of view or zoom.
Is the photography of my vlog camera an important factor?
If you are buying a point and shoot camera exclusively for vlogging, then its picture-taking ability shouldn’t be much of a concern. Therefore, we recommend ignoring the number of megapixels and focusing on the quality of the video instead. However, if you want a vlogging camera that doubles as a basic photography camera, then you should consider the picture quality as well.