Whether you’re looking for a camcorder or compact camera for vlogging on a tight budget, you will find here the list of the best vlogging cameras under $300 on the market.
This price range is where you will start finding really useful cameras for video blogging that are enough for most vloggers.
Still, they all lack an external microphone port. But this is something very common even in the best vlogging cameras. Most cameras that are really useful for vlogs are compact, so they usually lack the space for an external port. This feature is only common in more bulky cameras like DSLRs or camcorders.
The best solution is getting an external recorder and connect a microphone to it.
So, since you’re going to need to invest in good audio sooner or later, having a well-priced camera that can still record 1080p video can allow you start recording very high quality videos on a tight budget. That’s why I’ve made this list. I tested and looked for lots of information from customers, and these are the winners between vloggers:
Table of Contents
The 5 Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300
Canon PowerShot ELPH cameras have been the choice of many vloggers for many years. Starting from the ELPH 330 that was released back in 2011, these cameras are often used to record video blogs that involve a lot of walking around and carrying the camera with you.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS is really good for this purpose on a budget because it’s a really slim camera that has an average battery life and can record 1080p Full HD video with good quality.
The only real bad thing to say about this camera is that its performance in low light could be better, but this is something you can’t get away from at this price range.
Since this is the kind of camera that was made to be carried around and record 1080p, it doesn’t come with a microphone input. However, one of the main reasons why the ELPH cameras are often used for vlogging is that they come with front-facing microphones.
This is ideal for vloggers because cameras that have microphones on the sides or rear are not fit to record in an uncontrolled environment—like walking around the street. This camera’s microphones are able to pick up your voice over the ambient sound since they are located on the front of the camera.
One of the main reasons why this camera is in this list is because it can record in MP4. While the s6900 is cheaper, it doesn’t provide a way of recording in this easy-to-edit format.
Finally, this camera comes with built-in WiFi that works just fine to upload videos directly without having to connect a cable to the computer.
When compared to its previous version, the 350 HS, I’m not sure it’s a big upgrade. You will get less battery (180 shots instead of 220), but it now includes manual focus, which is actually pretty useful for vlogging. If you set the camera’s focus correctly, you will know your being focused as long as you don’t change your distance from the camera.
It’s basically a trade you can consider bad or good depending on your needs, but there’s no longer many options since the 350HS has been discontinued.
- 1080p recording in MP4 format
- Small and easy to carry around
- Manual Focus
- WiFi and OIS
The good thing about a camera without mic input is that you will get other features for a good price. In the case of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50, you will get a fully manual mode, RAW support and more ISO to work in low light.
But the main difference, besides this one being a lot heavier than the Canon ELPH360 HS, is that you can control your camera a lot more. This is extremely useful, of course, if you know how to play with the manual settings. Although the thing you will need the most as a vlogger is the manual focusing to make sure the camera doesn’t stop focusing you in a random moment, and both cameras do have this feature.
The ZS50 is more of a vlogging camera for photographers. You can play a lot with it and still record 1080p60 video. This means that you can also record slow-motion, and it even includes a timelapse mode.
The most important downside is that it is a quite heavy camera for its size, which can make it difficult to carry around, although not as much as more dSLR-like cameras.
Still, it has average battery life duration, although better than most compact cameras (300 shots) and WiFi. It’s just missing an articulating screen and touchscreen.
They seem to be extremely good for their price: most of them can record 4k video and they resist incredibly tough environments, so it almost seems like a steal.
The GoPro HERO5 Session achieves all this. It is an extremely small camera that can record 4k and can resist up to 33ft of water. It is a camera made for hitting rec and start doing your thing without having to think about manual settings and still record incredibly high quality video. And it can also achieve stunning slow-motion thanks to its 1080p120 mode.
But a lot of vloggers don’t know that these cameras are made for very specific needs, and “for vlogging” is not specific enough.
What I mean is the following:
They are made for recording during the day, and specifically for situations that require a fish-eye lens. You cannot choose to stop using fish-eye with these cameras, and that’s a big deal if you plan to record all your vlogs with it.
That’s why the GoPro HERO5 Session is of really good value if you plan to record action videos, but not more. Fish-eye lenses give everything a bizarre, unnatural look. And since they’re made for recordings under de sunlight, their color balance is extremely cold if you’re indoors or at night.
This is a type of camera that can achieve what others can’t, but it can’t also achieve what others can. Don’t use it as a daily-vlog camera.
- 4k video
- 120fps slow-motion
- Environmental sealing and waterproof up to 33ft
- Extremely small and easy to carry around
Even though most good vlogging cameras are luggable and easy to carry around, some vloggers like to work from home, and you can give up some luggability for better quality video. This is what the Nikon COOLPIX B500 offers.
This camera can record 1080p video, and has good low-light performance with ISO up to 3,200 and has great battery life.
Still, bear in mind that it doesn’t have a manual focusing mode, so you will need to rely on the autofocus. This is not a problem if you record from home, as the camera won’t need to hunt between different moving subjects if you keep it stationary. If you use this camera on a tripod to record your videos, you will find that this camera gives great quality for the price.
It is basically the best one for indoors recording thanks to its increased ISO capacity and low image noise, but it’s still a camera you would need to use with good lighting.
- 1080p video
- WiFi connectivity
- Really good battery life (600 shots)
- Good low-light performance
This one is the improved version of the cheaper Canon VIXIA HF R700.
Even though camcorders are not the best type of camera for low-light recording, this one does a better job than others at this price range. Its price for the image quality is really good, especially when talking about the R700, which is cheaper because it doesn’t include 32GB of internal storage.
It is a really light camcorder with flip touchscreen, WiFi and decent battery life.
It is also the only camera here to include internal memory (32GB).
One of its best features is the fast lens: f1.8 at wide will help you a lot in low light. It will also give that cool blurred background effect everyone loves, as long as you set the minimum zoom.
It’s missing a real manual exposure mode, as it’s in the consumer level of the camcorder market. However, its fast lens and articulated screen makes it stand out from the rest of the cameras here.
Still, that doesn’t make it the best option for recording in low-light. Remember that even though its fast lens helps a lot when compared to other cameras of this category, it’s still a camcorder. It still has a smaller sensor than most of the other cameras here, so it really doesn’t outperforms the others if you need to record indoors or at night time.