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 to get 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 to 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:
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The 5 Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 – Best Control (Fully Manual Mode)
- Fully manual mode
- Timelapse mode
- Small and lightweight
- Small sensor
- Low battery life
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 on you at 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.
GoPro HERO8 Black – Best Resolution
- 4k60p video
- 120fps slow-motion
- Rugged and waterproof up 33ft
- POV camera
- No zoom
- Shouldn’t be used for daily vlogging
GoPro cameras are for very specific needs, and a lot of vloggers find in them a lot of usefulness, so it’s a pretty popular camera for YouTube channels.
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 HERO8 Black achieves all this. It is an extremely small camera that can record 4k at 60 fps 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 this camera of really good value if you plan to record action videos, but not more than that. 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 either achieve what others can. Don’t use it as a daily-vlog camera.
GoPro Hero 7 Silver – Best Luggability
- 4kp30 video
- Touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth
- Very small and pocketable
- Fisheye lens effect that can make people sick
- No external mic input
GoPros are one of those affordable cameras that can do awesome things.
However, there are good reasons why they are so cheap: they don’t work in every situation.
These cameras have a fisheye lens that will make people get a bit sick if they watch for too long.
So, I wouldn’t recommend them as your main vlogging camera.
Also, their microphones are terrible, so you will for sure need to use an external microphone.
This HERO7 silver model is the cheaper one, and unlike the HERO8 Black, it doesn’t come with an external mic jack.
This means that you’ll need to connect your microphone to your smartphone and use it as an external recorder.
However, the camera is capable of recording really smooth 4k footage.
It also has great stabilization and tons of other features like WiFi, Bluetooth, and a touchscreen.
Just don’t use it for every video you want to make.
Use it for action, or sports-like footage and you’ll find that it is a great investment.
My recommendation: use your smartphone’s camera for most of your vlogging content, and use this one for your action footage.
Nikon COOLPIX B500 – Cheapest Option Within The $200-300 Range
- WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth
- Really good battery life
- Heavy (1.19lb)
- No manual focus
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.
Canon VIXIA HF R800 – Most Vlogging-Friendly Choice
- 1080p60 video
- Flip screen and external mic. port
- Good battery life
- Internal memory (32gb)
- Same R800 Camera but with internal memory and WiFi
This one is the improved version of the cheaper Canon VIXIA HF R800.
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 probably the best on the market.
It is a really light camcorder with flip touchscreen, WiFi and decent battery life.
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.
Do You REALLY Need a New Camera?
I was able to grow my channel from 0 to 1,000 subs in just 1 month and 12 days while using a really cheap $75 webcam I already had at home.
In my opinion, if you’re searching for a camera that is cheaper than $300, then you probably are better off just using your smartphone.
Really, smartphones have amazing cameras nowadays.
Even phones from years ago offer enough quality for you to grow your channel.
If it can record 720p video, then you’re good to go.
What you must focus on instead is in creating good, valuable content.
Your strategy will be much more important than the equipment that you use.
If you want to learn my strategy for growing on YouTube this year, then check out this page.
Having a good strategy will be a thousand times more important than having the best equipment.
But if you’re really sure that you need one, and you don’t want to use your smartphone to record your videos, then keep reading.
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.