Top 13 Best Cheap Vlogging Cameras for YouTube in 2021

The 5 Best Cheap vlogging cameras for YouTube
My favorite choice: Canon ELPH 360 HS

Sometimes getting the best quality money can buy isn’t needed—or possible—.

You can start recording videos sooner with a pretty cheap camera that can record 1080p.

Here’s the list of the best cheap vlogging cameras for YouTube so you can start as soon as possible.

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Our Top 5 Favorites

These are our best choices, but you’ll find more cameras that are worth considering below

Best Under $500

Sony Alpha 5100

The Good

  • Good in low light
  • Flip-up screen
  • Good continuous autofocus 

The Bad

  • No 4k recording
  • No external mic port
  • No image stabilization

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: Yes | Type: Mirrorless | Stabilization: No | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p60 | Weight: 283g (0.62 lb)

The a5100 was my first vlogging camera and I still own it to this day. It’s my favorite cheap vlogging camera because it has a flip screen, it’s small and the autofocus is pretty good. It’s very difficult to find a camera with a flip screen that isn’t bad in this price range, so if vlogging is what you want to do, this should be your number one choice.

The Sony Alpha 5100 is a mirrorless camera that is reasonably priced at around $500. It measures 2.5 by 4.3 by 1.4 inches (HWD) in size and weighs 10 ounces, and has a 3-inch 921K dot tilting touchscreen LCD. Most of its buttons fall on the right-hand side of the camera, making it excellent for one-handed operation.

It has a 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor, and its 179-point phase-detect autofocusing system provides excellent continuous autofocus performance and features both Face and Eye-detect. The T7 comes with a Sony NP-FW50 battery, which delivers 400 shots per charge life and 75 minutes of video recording.

It shoots in 1080p Full HD video up to 60 frames per second and XAVCS codec, which provides better bit rates for higher quality footage than MP4 or AVCHD formats. However, in XAVCS format, you need the faster high-capacity SDXC card. It has built-in HDR and Dual Recording, which records both  XAVCS or AVCHD format and  MP4 video simultaneously onto the same card. Its Auto ISO feature is vital when recording video if you continually change the lighting. 

Sony DSC-HX99

The Good

  • Affordable compact with the basics
  • Flip-up screen​​​​
  • Image stabilization
  • Pocketable

The Bad

  • Not good for low light
  • No external mic port

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: Yes | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 4kp30 | Weight: 242g (0.53 lb)

The Sony DSCHX99 offers really good value to vloggers. It’s just like asking for a camera that has all the basics a vlogger needs and only that, so they can pay less and save on extra features they don’t care about.

Although it is still missing the external microphone port, you can’t ask for much more for this price:

It offers 4kp30 recording, flip-up screen, image stabilization, wifi, and even time-lapse features with Sony’s photography app.

You will get a camera that can record the top resolution before 4k, which will also allow you to play a bit with slow motion. And you will also get really smooth video while walking thanks to its image stabilization.

Knowing all this, I should mention its two weakest points. The first is audio. It’s not much worse than other cameras on this list, but it’s a shame its microphones aren’t located on the front. This would help vloggers a lot because it picks your voice better and you are not in danger of covering the microphone with your hands while recording yourself.

The second thing is the lens. It’s not a fast lens since it has an aperture of f3.5 to f6.4. Taking into account that it has a small point-and-shoot CMOS sensor, this combination is not good for low-light recording. It will lose a lot of quality indoors, so make sure to use it outside or with a good lighting kit.

Its price isn’t the cheapest on this list, but I find it has a good balance for vloggers and it still can be considered a cheap camera.

Its performance in low light is not bad, but it’s not the best at this price either. This is not a surprise due to its small size and cheap price.

Canon G9X Mark II

The Good

  • Affordable compact with the basics
  • Pocketable

The Bad

  • Not good for low light
  • No external mic port
  • No flip screen

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p60 | Weight: 206g (0.45 lb)

The G9 X Mark II measures 2.3 by 3.9 by 1.2 inches (HWD) and weighs just 7.3 ounces. The On/Off and Play buttons are on the top plate, along with the zoom control and shutter, the Mode dial, and the switch that raises the pop-up flash.  

Hybrid Auto captures both an image and a short video clip. Clips and stills shot on the same day are automatically cut together in what Canon calls a Movie Digest, suitable for social networking. The memory card slot, with support for standard SD, SDHC, and SDXC media. 

The DIGIC 7 processor makes the burst rate is faster and the buffer more substantial. Canon also added in-camera Raw processing and improved image stabilization for video shooting. The Bluetooth feature allows for quick re-pairing between camera and smartphone. The Program AE (auto-exposure) mode and Auto Picture Style elevate quality while the Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority almost eliminate lighting issues. 

One of the drawbacks is that its lens is slow, and its focal range doesn’t reach much.

Another is that the battery life on the G9 X II is poor, so bring along a spare battery if you’re out for the day. 

Canon EOS Rebel T7

The Good

  • Affordable DSLR
  • Good battery duration
  • Good in low light

The Bad

  • Heavy
  • No external mic port
  • No flip screen

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: DSLR | Stabilization: No | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p30 | Weight: 475g (1.05 lb)

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is an excellent beginner camera at an affordable price, but with a few disadvantages.

The T7 weighs 1.75 pounds (with the battery and SD card) and measures 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 inches. Its rubber-encased grip makes it easier to hold. All buttons and dials are clearly marked, but aside from the lens release button, there are no controls on the front plate.

The Wi-Fi and NFC, along with the Canon Camera Connect app, allow you to transfer photos to your phone and share pictures when you’re away from home. 

The T7 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory. The battery charges outside the camera in an included wall charger. It has a battery life of  500-shots. Although when using the optical finder, that number drops to 240 shots in using Live View 

With a 24-megapixel sensor and Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens, the T7 offers full HD (1920 x 1080 ), HD (1280 x 720 ), and SD (640 x 480). Movies record in MPEG4 AVC H264, which delivers MOV files, making sharing easy. While the video quality is good, the audio isn’t as impressive. You’ll get decent sound unless it’s windy, and there are sound adjustments for that.

The bad thing about it is the lack of a flip screen. This will make it harder for you to record videos because you can’t be sure that you’re inside the frame. Also, since it’s a heavy DSLR, we don’t recommend it for traveling. It’s better as a YouTube camera that you set up on a tripod.

Best Under $400

Canon EOS M100

The Good

  • Affordable compact with the basics
  • Good in low light
  • Flip screen

The Bad

  • No external mic port
  • Poor battery life

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: Yes | Type: Mirrorless | Stabilization: No | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p30 | Weight: 320g (11.29oz)

The Canon EOS M100 is a mirrorless camera with a 24MP APS-C image sensor. It measures 2.6 by 4.3 by 1.4 inches (HWD) without a lens and weighs about 10.7 ounces.

The included 15-45mm zoom is well matched, coming in at 1.8 by 2.4 inches (HD) and adding just 4.6 ounces to the overall weight. There are micro HDMI, mini USB ports, and an SD card slot, all on the left side of the body.

The video quality is good. The M100 allows you to shoot at 24, 30, or 60fps. This provides you with the option of the cinematic aesthetic (24fps), traditional video (30fps), or a high-speed look (60fps). There is also a time-lapse option.

The camera does an excellent job with autofocus when recording, and the internal mic picks up voices clearly, if in range. That means making sure they are relatively close to the camera. It also has Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi features for transferring pictures to your phone, as well as sharing them with friends with ease. 

Sony RX100

The Good

  • Affordable compact with the basics
  • Good in low light
  • Good autofocus

The Bad

  • No external mic port
  • Poor battery life
  • No flip screen

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p50 | Weight: 8.47 oz 

Sony’s RX 100 is a pocket-sized camera with a 1-inch sensor, measuring 4 in by 2.3 in by 1.4 in and weighing 8.8 ounces. Its compact size makes portability easier, but for those with larger hands, it can make it harder to navigate. It has a 3 LCD screen with a 1229k-dot VGA display.

Sony’s WhiteMagic and TruBlack technology increases brightness and ensures blacks are black and reduces power consumption by 35%. RX100 doesn’t have a hot-shoe or accessory port to connect an electronic viewfinder. It charges through USB, and the battery lasts for up to 330 shots. 

Video recording options are 1920 x 1080p Full HD at 50fps in AVCHD format, 1080p Full HD at 25fps in MP4 format. The maximum length of a video is 29 minutes so keep that in mind if you’re going to record longer. SteadyShot image stabilization operates in Active mode for video capture to reduce blur. 

Audio is provided using a stereo microphone on the top deck. Audio quality is good unless there is wind, which is a pain, but you can use a windscreen to help with that.

Canon VIXIA HF R800: The Best Budget Camera for Youtube Vlogging

The Good

  • Small, cheap and lightweight
  • ​1080p60 allows slow-mo
  • ​Flip-out screen
  • ​External mic port

The Bad

  • Needs good lighting
  • ​Wi-Fi for extra cost

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: Yes | Type: Camcorder | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: Yes | Resolution: 1080p60 | Weight: 235g (0.52 lb)

This is the only camcorder I’ve featured here, and I’m convinced it’s one of the best budget video cameras for YouTube.

This camera can record for a much longer time than compact cameras and has features that help a lot when vlogging and that can usually be found in expensive DSLRs. I’m talking about a fully articulating screen and an external microphone port.

That is just crazy for the price this baby is selling at.

And you get all of this while still being able to record 1080p60 video. This also allows you to record slow-motion.

Its recording quality is really good and has nothing to envy to higher priced cameras, as long as you record with decent lighting — since it’s a camcorder, it loses a lot of quality in low light due to its small sensor.

The ELPH 360HS has a larger sensor and performs better in low light, but this one comes with so many useful features for vloggers that I still consider it one of my favorite budget vlog camera.

I recommend it as a backup camera to use for outdoor, even if you already have a DSLR for indoors.

Finally, it’s a very small camera that can be carried around without much hassle.

The biggest downside is the lack of wireless connection. However, Canon released a couple of version of this camera that come with wireless and internal storage for a higher price: the R80 and R82. The R80 is still under the 300$ mark and comes with 16GB of internal storage. The R82 comes with 32GB but is a lot more expensive, so I don’t think it’s worth it.

Best Under $300

Nikon COOLPIX B500

The Good

  • ​Better for indoors
  • ​Can be attached to a tripod
  • ​Large zoom

The Bad

  • ​Heavy and small sensor
  • No external mic port
  • ​No flip screen

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p30 | Weight: 540g (1.19 lb)

This camera is one of my favorites for vlogs because of a couple of things:

First, I really like the grip this camera has. It looks like a DSLR but it’s lighter and more comfortable to carry around.

It’s also really good that it can offer full-HD 1080p30 video recording, it has optical image stabilization and a really high zoom. It’s the kind of camera you want to take if you like to record a lot of trips and nature since you will find its zoom really handy in these situations.

The downside to this camera is that it’s a little bit heavier than the others, but it still has good luggability, at least much better than a DSLR.

Also, it doesn’t come with a microphone port, but this is just the norm for this price range.

Finally, this is not so important but I like the looks this camera has. Still, this is not one of the reasons why I consider it one of the best cheap video blogging cameras; the main thing is that it simply offers really good quality for the price.

I wouldn’t recommend it for daily vlogs, but I can see it being very useful for Youtubers that record from home.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS

The Good

  • ​Pocketable
  • ​All the basics for vloggers
  • ​Cheap price
  • ​Microphones located on the front

The Bad

  • ​No flip screen
  • ​No slow-motion
  • No external mic port

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p30 | Weight: 147g (0.32 lb)

If you believe you can’t record good vlogs for under $200, wait until you see this camera in action —I’ll show you a video below.

What you need to start your Youtube channels is just hit the record button. You don’t need to get the most expensive camera that needs an entire crew behind to work. I’d rather recommend vloggers to get a cheap one they can get right away and start creating content ASAP.

The 360 HS is good not only because it can achieve 1080p video for that price, but also because its microphones are pretty decent.

And what makes them decent is the fact that they are located in the front part of the camera’s body. This allows the mics to pick your voice easier and you won’t cover them accidentally with your fingers while recording.

As you can see, as long as you record with good lighting, this camera will do just fine.

You will see a significant decrease in quality during the night. But if you want the best low-light performance you probably shouldn’t be looking for a cheap camera

For this price, you get a camera with nice audio, resolution, Wifi, OIS, decent autofocus and even manual focusing mode, just in case you need it.

The Canon ELPH 360 HS is definitively the cheapest daily vlogging camera, and there’s no reason not to choose it to start out and see if vlogging is for you.

GoPro HERO7 Black

The Good

  • 4k video recording
  • ​Cheap action camera
  • ​Small and can be attached to your body

The Bad

  • Fixed fish-eye lens without zoom
  • You may have to buy a lot of extra accesories

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Action | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: Yes | Resolution: 4k60p | Weight: 116g (0.26 lb)

GoPros aren’t for every situation, but they are pretty cheap cameras that give you a lot for your money.

This little camera can record crips 4k video with the limitation of having a really small sensor and wide-angle lens.

Used for long periods, the fisheye lens can even make some of your viewers sick, so it’s definitely a camera that I’d use only for what it was made for: sports and action vlogging.

This Hero 7 version has improved microphones when compared to previous versions, and that’s a really good thing.

Still, the mics aren’t located on the front of the camera, so it can still have troubles picking up your voice.

I recommend you to use it with an external recorder or microphone to get the most out of it.

Best Under $200

Sony DSCW800

The Good

  • Autofocus is not bad for the price
  • Pocketable

The Bad

  • No flip screen
  • Can record only up to 720p

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Compact | Stabilization: Yes | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 720p30 | Weight: 133g (4.7 oz)

The Sony DSCW800 is a step up from smartphone cameras and perfect for those just starting out. It measures 3.8 inches wide, 0.82 inches deep, and weighs only 4.2 ounces with the battery, making portability no problem. The only downside is that it may be more challenging for those with bigger hands to maneuver. It has a 2.7 inch fixed screen, which may disappoint some.  

Be sure to carry an extra battery if you are going to shoot for an extended time because the battery life is 200 shots.

It has a 20.1-megapixel sensor, with zoom capabilities of up to 5x zoom and 360 panoramic modes. The “Easy Mode” feature is perfect for beginners. 

Video resolution is 720p, lower than the usually preferred 1080p. Uploading will be quicker, but the video quality will suffer. If video recording is your focus, there are lots of other cameras you’d like to try first.

Steady shot image stabilization reduces blur to give you a clearer picture, and the Autofocus works well unless you are in a dimly lit area. Another drawback is that the W800 doesn’t have WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities. 

Logitech BRIO

The Good

  • Good autofocus
  • Excellent quality for a webcam
  • 4k resolution

The Bad

  • Can’t use it without a computer

Check on Amazon

Flip Screen: No | Type: Webcam | Stabilization: No | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 4kp30

Logitech’s Brio is a camera that offers exceptional 4K30p quality and good HDR for low-light environments.

It measures one by four by 1 inch (HWD) and weighs 2.2 ounces. It also comes with a pouch for any extra wires you may have and a clip to attach it to your monitor.

The sound quality is remarkable. The omnidirectional mics with noise-canceling capability almost eliminate any need for a dedicated microphone. It’s perfect for adding a more professional quality to your projects. It also almost eliminates the need for a headset during videoconferencing. 

It has a 90-degree capturing angle, making it ideal for streamers who may feature guests.

To use 4k, you’ll need a USB 3.0 port. In addition to that, the Brio also records video at 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 60fps. It allows for more seamless recording even when there is continual movement.

Image quality is very intense with its HDR capabilities, showing every detail clearly. In any light, you will always look your best. 

If you want to record videos from home, the cheapest way to get 4k quality is with the BRIO.

Best Under $100

Logitech C922

The Good

  • Good autofocus
  • Best image quality under $100

The Bad

  • Can’t use it without a computer

Check on Amazon

Type: Webcam | Stabilization: No | Mic Jack: No | Resolution: 1080p30

The Logitech C922 webcam was made for streamers and offers 1080p recording at 30fps, as well as 720p at 60fps. The image quality is fantastic. Its HDR delivers a more professional quality picture. For bloggers and streamers, the C922 is an excellent choice. The only drawback is that the quality drops remarkably when recording in 720p. 

The noise reduction smoothes out most of the detail and there doesn’t seem to be a way to fix that. It also has two microphones for better sound quality. One of the best features is the automatic background replacement, which lets you choose what you want viewers to see, although it doesn’t work in every environment.

It has a 78-degree range of view and an autofocus feature, including light correction, to ensure everything comes out perfectly.

The C922 also comes with a tripod as well as a mount for your monitor. The mount is sturdy and is sure to keep the webcam in place during streaming. When it comes to price, quality, and easy use, the C922 is an excellent choice for streamers and YouTubers just starting out. 

Save Money on a Camera, but Spend More on Sound

The good thing about getting a cheap camera is that you should also be able to save some money for a decent microphone.

Most of these cameras don’t come with external microphone input, but you can still get a cheap mic and connect it to your smartphone.

This will drastically improve your audio quality, which is a lot more important than image quality.

You won’t regret considering a decent microphone in your budget before choosing one of these cameras.

Not only that, but thinking about good lighting is also really important, especially when using a cheap camera.

Finally, a quick note about image quality:

The image quality of these cameras is relative to their price.

This means that, generally, the more expensive the camera is, the better it will record when there’s little light to work with.

Cameras lose quality when there’s no good lighting, so while most of them can record 1080p video, the cheaper ones will lose a lot of quality in low light.

This is just something that happens to every camera in every price range.

This doesn’t mean that the cheapest cameras can’t record at night.

They can, but their results will be a lot worse.

So if you own a cheap camera, don’t try to do many videos at night.

You will need to invest a lot more money if you need to record mainly in low light.

​Why You Probably Don’t Even Need a New Camera

Listen: 

Most reviewers out there will simply give you a list of cameras that you can buy so they can get a cut of the sale on Amazon—yes, that’s how it works.

But I’m going to be completely honest with you:

If you have one of the flagship smartphones from the past 3-4 years, you’re probably better off using it as your vlogging camera.

The value you’re going to get from a cheap camera is much lower than what you get from one of those smartphones.

Flagship smartphones are designed with a great camera to justify their high price. And that’s fine. So if you already have one of these smartphones, use it.

Just get a power bank so you don’t run out of battery and you’re good to go.

If not, then you could start with a webcam you have lying around, although most of these are really low quality. Still, there are a few webcams that are really cheap and that can record 1080p just fine.

​I built my audience on YouTube using a cheap camera.

You don’t need the best equipment to grow.

It’s much more important to have a good strategy.

I have a free course 1 hour+ ​teaching you how I went from 0 to 1,000 subs in just a little over a month.

You can sign up (for free) here. You’ll get much more out of it than what any expensive camera can give you.

​But if you still want to get a cheap camera, here are the best ones you can get:

​Conclusion and More Options

​If you are thinking about getting something a bit more expensive ​or want more options, know that these ones aren’t the only good cheap cameras.

​You can find more cameras according to your budget by navigating through the site. Here are some articles you may want to read:

When calculating your budget, remember to save a little bit for your microphone, which is even more important than your camera.