From camcorders to high-end professional cameras, video quality matters, as does their cost. For a good piece, you can expect to pay over $3,000.
But this shouldn’t stop you from handling something nice. With good research, you can get a quality camera for under $200, suitable for your personal needs.
As an indie filmmaker myself, I know that the camera you use for your content matters a lot! No one wants grainy, shaky footage for their film or YouTube channel. We want our video footage to look professional and sharp.
So, let’s talk about the best budget video cameras for 2023! We’ll also go over what you should look for when you’re buying a video camera, and give some recommendations. Let’s dive in!
What to Look for in a Budget Video Camera
There are several qualities to look for in cheap cameras, but when choosing a budget option, focus on looking for these.
For video quality, you’ll want a camera that can capture sharp and clear footage. Look for a camera that offers at least 1080p full HD resolution. It ensures your videos have good detail and look great when you watch them on your TV or computer.
Clear audio is crucial for a good video, so choose a camera with a built-in microphone that can capture decent sound.
Some cameras even have a jack for an external microphone, which can improve audio quality further. This is especially useful when recording interviews or capturing important moments.
Nobody likes shaky videos. To avoid this, opt for a budget camera with image stabilization to ensure your footage stays smooth and steady. This feature compensates for hand movements or vibrations, giving professional-looking videos without additional accessories.
Zooming in and out while recording is handy for capturing details or shooting from a distance. Look for a camera with optical zoom rather than digital zoom.
Optical zoom maintains the image quality while zooming, ensuring your footage remains clear and sharp.
Long battery life is essential, especially if you intend to shoot for extended periods. Check the camera’s specifications to see how long the battery lasts on a single charge.
Additionally, it’s helpful if the camera uses a common battery type, making it easier to replace if needed.
In this digital age, it’s necessary to have good connectivity options.
Choose a camera with USB or HDMI connectivity, allowing you to transfer your videos to a computer or TV. Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities can also be beneficial. They enable wireless file transfer or remote control functionality.
What Are the Best Budget Video Cameras?
Now that you know what to look for in budget video cameras, let’s look at some of the best cheap video cameras.
The Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camcorder’s audio capability, image stabilization, optical zoom, long battery life, and various connectivity options can enhance your filming experience. It’s certainly a very good camera buy.
- Capture close-up shots with clarity using the 20x Zoom LEICA Decomar Lens, allowing you to get in close and capture all the fine details.
- Record videos in ultra-sharp 4K Ultra HD resolution and conveniently edit them directly in the camera for playback on 1080p displays. The camera’s high pixel count ensures detailed still images as well.
- Utilize the wireless connection to link your smartphone’s video camera as a secondary camera, enabling a picture-in-picture video effect for creative compositions.
- The 1/2.3-inch BSI sensor with Back Side Illumination technology ensures effective noise reduction, even in dimly lit conditions, resulting in better shots.
- There’s an HDR movie feature that minimizes overexposed highlights and underexposed shadows, resulting in crisper videos.
When it comes to price, the Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camera Camcorder offers great value for the features it provides. For well under $800, you can enjoy the benefits of 4K recording without breaking the bank, compared to higher-end models.
After using the Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camera Camcorder, I can say it’s the best camera for those who want to elevate their video shot experience. With its affordable price and useful features, it exceeds expectations.
Whether you’re a budding filmmaker, a content creator, or someone who wants to capture memories in stunning detail, this camera is a quality choice.
2. Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera is user-friendly, which makes it ideal for newbies.
Its 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor delivers high-quality video performance, ensuring clear and detailed footage.
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera‘s optical zoom capabilities and image stabilization technology, you can capture versatile shots with stability and precision. This makes it a good choice for capturing professional-quality videos with ease.
- Equipped with a 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, this camera captures detailed and vibrant images with excellent clarity.
- DIGIC 4+ image processor that ensures fast performance and accurate color reproduction, resulting in stunning visuals.
- Record full HD videos (1080p), capturing smooth and detailed footage with options for manual control.
- There’s built-in Wi-Fi and NFC to help you seamlessly connect the camera to compatible devices for easy sharing, remote shooting, and wireless transfer of images and videos.
- Explore your creativity with several creative filters and scene modes, allowing you to add artistic effects or match the camera settings to different shooting scenarios.
- Capture fast-moving subjects using the continuous shooting mode, which can capture up to 3 frames per second.
You can get the Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera for $399 on Amazon, but it’s worth checking other stores for potential variations in cost. Considering its features and performance, I found the price reasonable for a DSLR camera.
This camera is best suited for beginners and photography enthusiasts who want to step up their game and capture professional-quality videos. Its user-friendly interface, reliable performance, and versatile capabilities make it an ideal investment.
- Get closer to the action and capture distant subjects using the 30x optical zoom lens.
- The Exmor R CMOS sensor delivers enhanced image quality, even in low-light conditions.
- Capture sharp and well-exposed portraits with face-detection technology.
- The camcorder features a built-in zoom microphone that adjusts its audio capturing range based on the zoom level, ensuring clear and focused sound.
- Create highlight reels of your videos directly in the camcorder, complete with transitions and background music.
You might expect to pay about $500 for a camera with these features. But, surprising as it is, it currently sells for less than $300, which is reasonable for a camcorder of this caliber.
With its compact design and reliable performance, the Sony HDRCX405 is a great camera for casual videographers, hobbyists, and travelers who want to capture high-definition videos with ease and convenience.
4. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera Camcorder
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 has SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization, which ensures steady footage even when shooting handheld. This makes it suitable for family trips.
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 has a powerful 57x Advanced Zoom so that this classic piece can capture distant objects clearly.
- 57x Advanced Zoom and Super Range Optical Image Stabilization for clear, stable long-distance shooting.
- 3.28-megapixel Full HD CMOS image sensor for capturing lifelike 1080p videos with natural colors, even in low light.
- Direct recording to SD memory cards for convenient storage and fast data transfer.
- Lightweight and portable body for easy use during vacations, outings, and family trips.
- Highlight Priority Mode with Backlight Correction to prevent loss of detail in high-brightness areas.
Compared to similar budget camera options, the VIXIA HF R800 offers a good balance of features and performance at a competitive price. With $400, you can claim this camcorder to record your family’s memories.
This feature-packed video camera has impressive zoom capabilities, an advanced image sensor, and a user-friendly interface. Its affordability adds to its appeal, offering excellent value for the price.
This camcorder offers more than just high-quality videos; it provides a seamless and stress-free shooting experience–perfect for capturing family moments and documenting special events.
5. Nikon COOLPIX B500 16MP
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 16MP is an affordable video camera great for pro photography enthusiasts.
Its 16-megapixel sensor delivers sharp and detailed images, while its built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity allows for quick and convenient sharing of your videos.
- Super telephoto NIKKOR glass lens with 40x optical zoom and 80x Dynamic Fine Zoom for capturing distant subjects in detail.
- Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) for seamless connectivity with compatible smartphones and tablets through the SnapBridge app, enabling instant photo sharing and remote camera control.
- Large tilting LCD for easy composition, shooting from various angles, and reviewing videos with high resolution.
- Easy Auto Mode and 18 Scene Modes for effortless shooting in different situations, while Target Finding AF ensures accurate focus on your subject.
- Creative Mode with five professionally developed presets for artistic and impactful photos, allowing you to preview effects before capturing the shot.
The COOLPIX B500 is priced at $489, positioning it as a mid-range option. Compared to the Canon VIXIA HF R800 camcorder, available for under $400, the COOLPIX B500 offers advanced features, making it a worthwhile investment for pro handlers.
The COOLPIX B500 is worth considering if you need advanced capabilities. Its powerful zoom lens, excellent image stabilization, and intuitive controls make capturing high-quality videos a breeze.
6. DJI Pocket 2 – Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with 4K Camera
The DJI Pocket 2 is remarkably a handheld gimbal stabilizer with a built-in 4K camera, making it perfect for capturing smooth and professional-quality footage on the go.
It has a 3-axis gimbal for steady shots and cinematic movements and can shoot stunning 4K video with 64 MP photos.
- Pocket-sized and lightweight design weighing only 116 g, making it highly portable and best for on-the-go shooting.
- Motorized 3-axis gimbal stabilization ensures smooth video footage even when in motion, allowing for steady shots.
- High image quality with a 64MP max video resolution and 4K video capability, thanks to an upgraded 1/1.7-inch sensor and a wide 20 mm f/1.8 lens, providing a cinematic look.
- Enhanced audio features include DJI Matrix Stereo with four microphones, sound recording in different directions, Audio Zoom, and SoundTrack for improved audio based on camera direction and focus.
- Glamour Effects for capturing perfect selfies, featuring a 93° angle view and allowing for flexible and well-composed shots—ideal for sharing on social media.
The DJI Pocket 2 is priced competitively at under $400, offering exceptional value for its capabilities. The Pocket 2 stands out with its pocket-sized design and 3-axis gimbal stabilization. These features, plus its user-friendly interface and portability, make it well worth the price.
Whether you’re a filmmaker, vlogger, or content creator, the DJI Pocket 2 is perfect for capturing professional-looking footage on the move. Its compact design adds to its appeal.
7. GoPro HERO11
The GoPro HERO11 is the ultimate action camera designed to capture your adventures in stunning detail.
With its advanced 5K resolution and HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization, every shot is unbelievably cinematic.
Plus, the GoPro HERO11 is waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters), making it perfect for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts who want to document their adrenaline-fueled moments with unparalleled clarity and stability.
- Stunning 5K resolution captures your adventures in incredible detail, delivering sharp and vibrant footage.
- HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization ensures ultra-smooth video, eliminating shakes and jitters for professional-quality results.
- Waterproof up to 33 ft (10 m), allowing you to dive underwater and capture breathtaking footage without needing additional housing.
- TimeWarp 3.0 creates mesmerizing time-lapse videos with dynamic speed control, adding a cinematic touch to your storytelling.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity enables seamless controls, live streaming, and quick content sharing, making it a perfect companion for social media enthusiasts and vloggers.
Compared to other high-end action cameras, the HERO11 provides an affordable option without compromising performance or quality. Selling at around $400, the HERO11 delivers incredible value for adventure seekers and content creators.
The GoPro HERO11 has top-notch image quality, advanced features, and a durable build, making it a fantastic investment for outdoor enthusiasts.
ThePro HERO11 boasts sophisticated features, stellar image quality, and a sturdy build – making it an ideal investment for anyone who loves the great outdoors.
8. AKASO Brave 4 Pro 4K30FPS Action Camera
The AKASO Brave 4 Pro 4K30FPS is a cheap action camera that offers exceptional value for its price.
It captures stunningly clear footage, while its built-in body image stabilization ensures shake-free videos.
- Innovative dual-color screen design for easy framing and monitoring, including a vivid front screen for selfies.
- Shoot stunning videos up to 4K resolution and capture pro-quality photos with 20MP clarity.
- Built-in Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) 2.0 and 6-axis gyroscope for stable video, even during movement or impact.
- Waterproof down to 131 ft (with case) to capture footage in challenging underwater conditions.
- Compatible with AKASO external microphone (sold separately) for enhanced audio recording.
At just under $100, the AKASO Brave 4 Pro offers incredible value, especially considering its exceptional 4K video capability.
Priced under $100, the AKASO Brave 4 Pro provides exceptional value, particularly due to its impressive 4K video capability.
The AKASO Brave 4 Pro 4K30FPS Action Camera is worth buying if you need an affordable yet feature-packed action camera.
9. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a cheap video camera with standout features that make shooting video for social media a breeze.
It has a large 1.0-inch CMOS sensor that can capture high-resolution videos with remarkable detail.
- Advanced video capabilities and high-quality image capture with a 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor.
- A versatile lens with a wide aperture range of f/1.8 at a wide angle to f/2.8 when fully zoomed.
- 3.0-inch LCD monitor that tilts for easy self-portraits and shooting at various angles.
- Built-in Wi-Fi for convenient sharing on social media.
- Continuous shooting at up to 8 fps for capturing fast-paced moments.
You can purchase the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark for less than $700. While this seems a little on the high side, its advanced sensor technology makes it a worthy investment.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II delivers impressive image quality with its advanced sensor and versatile lens. The camera’s compact size and intuitive interface make it a great choice for both social media photography pros and hobbyists.
10. Canon EOS M50 Mark II
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a powerful mirrorless camera that combines a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and high-resolution 4K video recording capability.
This makes it suitable for shooting product marketing videos.
- 24.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with ISO 100-25600 (H: 51200) for high-resolution and low-light performance.
- Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Eye Detection AF for fast and accurate autofocus in still and video shooting.
- Variable-angle touchscreen LCD for versatile composition and easy vlogging.
- DIGIC 8 image processor with Auto Lighting Optimizer for enhanced image processing and optimization.
- 4K UHD 24p and HD 120p for cinematic and slow-motion recording.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II costs $588. Considering the video quality of this piece, I can say it’s worth every penny.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II allows for the capture of stunning moments. This camera is best for shooting product marketing videos. The camera’s versatile features and intuitive controls make it an exceptional choice.
The Zoom Q8 ensures crystal-clear sound reproduction. There’s also a 160-degree wide-angle lens that allows for immersive video capture in various settings.
- Interchangeable microphone system for versatile audio recording options.
- High-quality audio capture with exceptional clarity.
- 160-degree wide-angle lens for immersive video recording.
- Full HD video resolution for sharp and detailed footage.
- Compact and portable design for easy on-the-go use.
- Built-in XY stereo microphones for capturing natural and realistic sound.
The Zoom Q8 costs under $200. For its exceptional audio quality, the selling price is a giveaway. Obtaining professional-grade audio recording capabilities at such an affordable price is a rare find in the market.
This portable video recorder is ideal for solo musicians, filmmakers, and content creators. It’s valuable for capturing performances, interviews, and creative projects.
What Are Budget Video Cameras?
Budget video cameras are affordable options for individuals who want to capture videos without spending a fortune. These cameras offer a range of features and functionalities at a lower cost when compared to high-end models.
While they may not have all the advanced capabilities of expensive cameras, they still provide decent video quality to meet the needs of casual videographers. With these low-cost cameras, you can record videos for personal use, vlogs, social media content, or even small-scale projects without much investment.
Common Questions About Cheap Video Cameras
What is the Best Video Camera Under $100?
The best video camera under $100 is the AKASO Brave 4 Pro 4K30FPS Action Camera.
It stands out with its dual-color screen design for easy framing and monitoring and the ability to shoot 4K30FPS video with 20MP photos. Compared to the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX9V at the same price, the AKASO Brave 4 Pro offers more advanced features and higher-resolution video recording.
What Is the Best Budget Camera for YouTubers?
The DJI Pocket 2 – Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with 4K Camera is ideal for YouTubers.
This vlogging camera has a compact size for easy portability. With 4K video recording and built-in 3-axis gimbal stabilization, it delivers high-quality footage that enhances the visual appeal of YouTube content.
Does It Still Make Sense to Buy a Camcorder?
Yes, buying a camcorder is still a good decision. It all depends on your specific needs.
Camcorders are for dedicated video recording and often offer features like optical zoom, image stabilization, and manual controls that can enhance video quality. They also have longer recording times and better audio capture when compared to other devices.
If you prioritize high-quality video recording and want a dedicated device, a camcorder can still be viable.
What Is the Difference Between a Camcorder and a Professional Video Camera?
The difference lies mainly in their size and usage.
While camcorders are consumer-oriented, compact devices for everyday video recording, professional video cameras target the film and TV industries, offering higher quality, interchangeable lenses, advanced controls, and audio features.
Choosing a budget video camera doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Considering video quality, audio capability, and more can enable you to find a camera that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
The best options I recommend include the Panasonic 4K Ultra HD, the Canon EOS Rebel T7, and the Sony – HDRCX405 HD Video Handycam. They offer high video quality, better stability, and better audio output.
Interested in video production? Check out these other helpful articles: