The 5 Best Cheap Cameras for YouTube Vlogging 2018
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 cameras for YouTube vlogging so you can start as soon as possible.
Comparison of the Best Cheap Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
Price / Our Rating
Table of Contents
- Comparison of the Best Cheap Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
- The 3 Most Important Things to Look for in a Cheap Vlogging Camera
- Save Money on a Camera, but Spend More on Sound
- The 5 Best Cheap Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
- Conclusion and More Options
The 3 Most Important Things to Look for in a Cheap Vlogging Camera
Before we start I want to tell you the specifications that I believe make these cameras the best for their price.
The key here is to find the most relevant and important features that vloggers need, without asking for much more.
This way you save a lot of money by skipping fancy features that aren’t essential for this job.
After a lot of research I’ve come to realize that three main things make these cameras popular on YouTube:
- They can be carried around easily (Luggability).
- They offer really good image quality for the price.
- They have Optical Image Stabilization.
This last specification is, in my opinion, the most important one for vlogging.
This is what allows you to record with the camera while walking and moving around.
If these cameras didn’t have OIS, the image would be really shaky and the videos would be almost unwatchable unless you set the camera on a tripod and keep it still.
Finally, you probably noticed that I didn’t include a flip screen as one of the requirements.
Sadly, in this price range, it’s basically impossible to find a pocketable camera with an articulating screen.
Still, it’s not the end of the world.
In fact, Casey Neistat’s favorite camera didn’t have one and was pretty cheap.
Furthermore, many others started with a simple webcam that could record in 1080p and costs less than $100.
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.
The 5 Best Cheap Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
Canon VIXIA HF R800: The Best Budget Camera for Youtube Vlogging
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.
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.
The Sony DSCHX80 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 1080p60 recording, flip-up screen, 5-axis 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.
You will also get really smooth video while walking thanks to its image stabilization.
Knowing all this, I should mention that its weakest point 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.
Its price isn’t the cheapest on this list, but I find it has an amazing 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 in this price either. This is not a surprise due to its small size and cheap price.
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.
The time I learned about this camera I was very skeptical. I thought the camera was going to fall apart as soon as I started recording.
I was wrong.
This camera is a rugged action camera that can record 4k and compete with GoPro.
But, there has to be a trick, right? Well, something like that.
The reason for such a cheap price is because you will have to buy some extras if you want it to get to the level of a GoPro (waterproof case, attachment devices, tripod, and even batteries and cables).
With all the extras, you can find this camera for a bit above the 200$ mark.
It still is pretty cheap.
Of course, don’t expect it to record amazing audio, especially in very noisy environments.
Still, we’re talking about 4k30p and 1080p at 120fps for extreme slow-mo. You can get really creative with this camera.
As almost all action cameras, it doesn’t have zoom and you can only record with its extreme wide-angle.
Colors are optimized for underwater, so recording all your videos with it can get annoying for your viewers.
I recommend this as any other action camera: as a side camera for those shots you couldn’t achieve with your main camera..
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:
- Best Vlogging Cameras Under $100
- Best Vlogging Cameras Under $200
- Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300
- Best Vlogging Cameras Under $500
When calculating your budget, remember to save a little bit for your microphone, which is even more important than your camera.