What? A vlogging camera under $100? That’s right. It seems good to be true, but there are actually some viable cameras at this price range. On this list you will find cameras that offer very different features that you’ll need to choose according to your vlogging needs.
The good thing is that these cameras usually come with little zoom to save buyers some money. Zoom is not useful for vloggers, so you won’t lose too much value by getting a cheap camera.
There aren’t major differences regarding image quality and low-light performance between the cameras you’ll see listed here. After all, these cameras are all in a really low price range and there’s not much that companies can do to improve them. Still, they are a good choice if you’re just starting to record vlogs.
After a lot of research, I’ve found that these are the best cameras under $100.
But first, let me help you find the right vlogging camera.
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Before Getting A New Camera, Use Your Smartphone
Before getting a camera for such a low price, you should consider using your smartphone or a webcam that you have at home.
Webcams have the obvious disadvantage of being fixed in a place, but your smartphone probably has a camera as good (or almost as good) as a point & shoot under $100.
If you’re considering upgrading your phone soon, then maybe put that extra $100 and get a more expensive phone with a better camera.
Smartphones’ biggest selling point nowadays is the camera they come with. That’s why it’s worth testing your phone’s recording quality before going all-in with a standalone camera.
I always recommend new vloggers to start recording videos with their smartphones to test if they like vlogging before blowing money on a camera.
Now, let’s start with the reviews.
The Best Vlogging Camera Under $100
Prices are always changing and it’s impossible to keep up with the market changes. Odds are that you’ll find some of these cameras for slightly over $100.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
This camera is always hovering around a hundred dollars, and it’s probably the first choice you should consider.
It comes with just what you need to start recording vlogs: 720p HD quality, with fast autofocus, and, most importantly, image stabilization.
This model only offers an 8x zoom, which is fine for vlogging. After all, you won’t be using zoom for your video blogs. Zoom is more useful if you want to record sports or take some travel photos.
If you want a really compact point & shoot with good autofocus, stabilized image, natural-looking colors, and that is also small, slim and that doesn’t look like a camera from the 90s, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is what I recommend.
This model doesn’t look as stylish as Canon’s ELPH cameras, but it’s still a great choice.
It can record 720p HD video, has Sony’s Active Mode image stabilization, and it’s still easy to carry around.
Even though it might look heavier in the picture, is just as lightweight as the 180 ELPH with only 122g (0.27 lb) with batteries included.
The camera also has face detection technology, which helps the camera track your face with the autofocus during video.
I’m not a fan of its LCD screen though. The colors look a bit washed out and it’s difficult to see it if it’s too bright outside.
Still, it’s a good choice for a camera that costs close to a hundred bucks.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW810
I believe the Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW810 is the best cheap vlogging camera because of one simple reason: optical image stabilization. Even though there are other cameras that have more features that are useful for vlogging, they are missing this incredibly important tool.
See, this camera doesn’t have WiFi or an articulating screen, but it’s still the best one for a typical vlogging channel.
Why is optical image stabilization so important?
It’s very simple:
Vlogging is often done while walking around and recording with the camera. Image stabilization is the only thing that makes this kind of video viable.
A video recorded without optical image stabilization gets really shaky when you are walking around. The Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW810 makes this kind of video smooth and really easy to watch. You will do your viewers a favor by using a camera with this kind of system.
On the other hand, this compact camera can record at a maximum 720p video quality and its battery can last for 200 shots. Its battery is below average so it might be a good idea to get a spare battery for your recording sessions.
You will notice that the rest of the cameras here include digital image stabilization. However, bear in mind that having a digital image stabilization or zoom is useless. These are just marketing tricks to get you to buy these cameras.
A optical image stabilization is a moving part built in the camera’s body or lens that will compensate the camera’s movement. It’s needless to say that you can’t get the same compensation in a digital way; the results make a huge difference.
You should consider the following cameras if most of your vlogging will be done without walking or moving—using a tripod makes the following cameras worth every penny.
Nikon Coolpix L32
If it weren’t for the lack of optical image stabilization, the Nikon Coolpix L32 would kick every other recorder where it hurts.
Nevertheless, this is a really cheap camera with a performance—for video recording—that is above the average in its price range.
The most important things about this camera are:
1- It’s the only camera under $100 with a fully articulating screen, so it’s the only one that will let you know if you’re inside the shot while you record.
2- Its battery life is way above the average of ALL compact cameras—including the most expensive ones, like the Canon PowerShot G7 X—. It lasts for 320 shots (average is 243).
Its screen is also larger than the rest of the small sensor compact cameras listed here. Since it can also rotate to let you see yourself while you record, it makes it the cheapest camera that is friendly to vloggers.
It’s still not the best option for recording during night because its maximum ISO is 1600—while the Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW810 allows 3600). Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be considering getting such a cheap camera if you need to do a lot of recording during the night.
It still can record video at 720p and it’s still a very high quality camera for the price. If you don’t plan to move around or walk with this camera too much while recording, then this should be your best option.
Nikon Coolpix S2900
The Nikon Coolpix S2900 camera makes vlogging easier because you won’t need to connect a cable to upload your videos to YouTube or to any other platform. You can also control this camera with your smartphone.
This camera is also lighter than the Nikon Coolpix L32 (119g vs 164g). It also has a bigger capacity for recording at night (max. ISO 3200 vs 1600)
Its maximum recording quality is 720p and its battery can last for 250 shots, which is okay for a compact camera at this price.
It is the cheapest camera from this list, and it still offers a lot of value to vloggers.
Nikon COOLPIX S33
This last camera was made for a very specific kind of vlogging channel: extreme travel videos. However, something that really bothers me about it is that it lacks the optical image stabilization for it. It really doesn’t make much sense making a camera for extreme videos and not build optical image stabilization for it. Still, it has something unique to offer.
What makes the Nikon CoolPix S33 good for extreme travel is that it’s the only one that has environmental sealing and takes decent video at this price range.
It’s the kind of camera to get if you want to vlog about unique places you visit in your travels; its environmental sealing ensures you can use your camera in places where any other would be damaged.
You can shoot underwater video with it and pay less than $100. It might not be a GoPro, but it’s the cheapest alternative you got.
This camera can record video at 720p, but it doesn’t have optical stabilization, flip screen, WiFi and its battery duration is a little below average (220 shots).
It’s not the best filming camera, but it is the only one with true weather sealing below $100.
What to Look for in a Vlogging Camera
At least 720p Recording
If you want to record videos for your social media accounts and YouTube, you’ll need at least 720p HD video. Thankfully, this price range allows room for this kind of quality, but don’t expect to find a 1080p camera easily.
If you want a good camera for vlogging that can do 1080p, you probably need to add another $100.
When you’re record vlogs, a lot of the times you’ll want to move around with your camera to show your audience what you’re doing and take them on a trip with you.
But for that to happen without making everybody dizzy, you’ll need a camera with stabilization.
That’s why this is simply a must-have in a vlogging camera.
Thankfully, this budget allows you to find some point & shoot cameras with IS.
This is, unfortunately, one of the features you’ll have to sacrifice for this price.
It’s great to have a flip screen that you can use while you’re pointing the camera at yourself as you record your vlog.
This would allow you to check if you’re inside the frame, if the camera is focusing you or if it’s actually recording.
But even though you can’t afford a camera with a flip screen for this price, it’s not a big deal since these cameras have a wide-angle lens.
You’ll most likely be inside the frame as long as you point the lens at your face.
We’ll also be looking for cameras that offer good autofocus. It’s really bad if the camera keeps losing its focus point during the recording.
It can be distracting to your viewers if the camera keeps focusing on things that pass by around you instead of focusing on your face.
That’s why we’ll be looking for cameras with face-detection autofocus.
These are simply the bests for vlogging because they’re programmed to detect when a face is looking at the camera and focus that.
Fortunately, these cameras don’t have a huge bokeh effect because their lenses are slow, so even if the camera loses focus from time to time, people won’t notice it a lot since the “blurry” effect isn’t too intense.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.