With the rising popularity of social media influencers, vlogging has become the preferred choice for people to express themselves and build a brand name. Businesses and individuals alike invest a ton of time and money to get the perfect, visually-appealing, and engaging vlogs that connect with their audience and garners millions of views.
Whether you’re an athlete, looking to display your passion to the world, or a media agency working on behalf of your clients, you need to produce videos that resonate with your audience and are of high quality. Considering how saturated the vlogging market has become, if the right effort is not put into the making of the vlog, viewers will simply move on to the next influencer.
A common belief surrounding vlogging is that the best quality videos require high-end cameras otherwise the videos would come out as amateur. But, that’s not the case. Some influencers even use their iPhones to shoot videos. Apart from the choice in cameras, lighting plays a vital role in video production as well. You may want to go for certain types of lighting equipment that would support your niche video in the best way. This is particularly true for beauty vloggers, where proper lighting is paramount. If this applies to you, check out our guide on the list of lighting products that beauty bloggers use when it comes to making videos for YouTube.
For someone looking to get into vlogging or even intermediate vloggers, there are plenty of cheap vlogging cameras in the market that can shoot near-professional quality videos.
Can Cheap Cameras Offer the Same level of Quality as High-End Cameras?
For cameras, it’s all about the specs and features they have; from being able to shoot videos ranging from different resolutions like 720p, Full HD, and Ultra HD to the superior quality built-in mic input, which should be able to cater to the surrounding noises correctly while keeping the vlogger’s voice as the main focus. With that said, a dedicated mic would outperform built-in mics on a camera. If you want a camera that can support external mics, check out our guide of best cameras with external mics in this article.
Many lesser-priced cameras have features similar to expensive cameras, and they work just as well. The best part about this is that many popular brands such as Canon and Panasonic sell affordable cameras, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing a low-quality camera from an unknown brand. Read this guide to understand the different features and specs that budget cameras offer as well as to see our pick of the best, cheap vlog cameras.
What to Look for in a Vlogging Camera
Choosing the right camera is very important for your vlogging career. If you are on a tight budget, you can still get a decent camera for as little as $150, so looking for one that is worth the price tag is ideal. Not all cameras are alike, while most have similar qualities, the features and technologies that are baked into each option will vary. Consider the following points when making your purchase.
Optical Image Stabilization
Since most vlogs require the vloggers to be on the go – often recording when in motion, this feature is essential. Optimal image stabilization aids the lens in staying focused on the subject without straying elsewhere or becoming blurry because of any movements. Luckily, most reputable brands do have affordable cameras with body image stabilization.
Good Low Light Performance
You can’t always record on a bright, sunny day. Many times, you’ll have to or want to shoot in low light, and it would be awful if the video quality is subpar, so low light performance is a very important feature to have in a vlogging camera.
You’d be surprised to know that many cameras can shoot videos in high-quality without breaking the bank. To get a professional-looking video, you should, at the minimum, aim for full HD and if it is within your budget, go for Ultra HD.
Size and Weight
When you are moving around and bringing the camera everywhere with you, you’ll have an easier time vlogging with a compact camera that is portable and easy to move and carry.
Shooting videos easily drain the battery, especially if you intend to shoot videos and have different retakes for long hours or multiple times a day. Having a camera with a good battery life will relieve you of the worry of your camera shutting down mid-vlog.
The Best Cheap Vlogging Cameras
There is no shortage of affordable cameras in the market, from DSLRs, compact cameras, mirrorless cameras, and action cameras to webcams, all of which can be used to make different kinds of vlogs. Below are our top picks for the best, most affordable cameras for vloggers.
This is one of the best cameras available for under $200, and it’s made by Canon. This is a compact digital camera with a 20.0 MP sensor and a beast-level optical zoom of 40x (24 to 960 millimeter).
With that said, this option is only suitable who are just starting out or those looking to keep vlogging as just a hobby. The reason for that is because, even with its sturdy but light built, superior lens, and optical zoom, it can only record videos at 720p HD and its low light performance isn’t the best. If you are aiming to be a professional vlogger, you’ll need to step up to 1080p resolution.
However, even with those drawbacks, it still makes for a great camera to kick off your vlogging career, as it is very affordable and still offers decent quality for anyone to get started.
- Extremely affordable
- Has a decent auto mode, which decides the best camera setting according to the surroundings
- Impressive battery life
- Decent video quality
- No flip screen
- Poor low light performance
- No external mic or front mic
The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is a great compact camera to have for vlogging, which has similar features to a high-end camera. A 30x (24mm) LEICA DC Lens optical zoom along with a built-in viewfinder and a HYBRID OIS+ body image stabilization make this camera perfect for all kinds of vlogging, especially travel vlogs.
Besides that, it has a 12.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor and a Venus Engine for image processing. Its low light performance is also excellent, so you don’t need to worry about shooting videos in only well-lit places. With its high-resolution camera, you can record Full HD footage with a built-in light speed autofocus.
- Easy to use and understand, so beginner vloggers can use it without a worry
- Superior quality built-in mic
- Inbuilt Wi-Fi connectivity
- Can capture images in RAW, JPEG, AND MPO
- No touchscreen
- Not weatherproof so not ideal for extreme sports vlogging or adventure vlogs
- Weak flash
Another great camera for under $200 is the Nikon Coolpix L840. This is a compact and small camera, which is easy to carry around and captures footage in Full HD 1080p and has a 16 MP CMOS image sensor.
With this camera, you can shoot videos in all kinds of lighting as its low light performance is excellent. Along with this, it has inbuilt Wi-Fi connectivity and a 38x optical zoom telephoto lens with vibration reduction. There is little to criticize with this camera, except for maybe its lack of manual focus. But, that isn’t a major drawback for such an amazing price and all the features that you get with it.
- Tilt LCD
- Excellent battery life, which should last for many hours before needing to be charged
- High-quality videos
- No viewfinder
- Slow shutter speed
- No external mic or front mic
If you can dish out more than $200 for a vlogging camera, then a Canon EOS Rebel T6 is an excellent DSLR, which is also perfect for people who have never used a DSLR or are new to cameras as it’s intuitive to use.
Rebel T6 has an 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, which is for high quality and makes quick captures easy. For autofocus, this camera features a 9-point autofocus system, perfect for capturing distant objects and moving objects.
If you’re still not convinced, this camera also has different interchangeable lenses, in its kit lens, for different surroundings and backgrounds, and it is so easy to use. All there is to it is pointing and shooting. It’s also equipped with NFC connectivity, which you can use to transfer photos or videos to your phone quickly.
- Automatic settings for point and shoot
- Affordable considering its features
- Easy-to-understand menu system
- Inbuilt flash and microphone
- The LCD screen is not a touchscreen
- ISO settings cannot be changed manually
The Mark II is a lightweight, sleek, and vintage-looking camera, which is easy to carry and shoot videos with. This is one of the more costly cameras on this list but is highly recommended. This features a 20.1 MP, 1.0-inch CMOS Sensor with a 3x Optical Zoom lens that has a focal length range of 28-84mm, and a DIGIC 7 Image Processor to shoot the best quality videos.
The good thing about its sensor is that it’s incredibly sensitive and can shoot in low light easily. Besides vlogging, this camera is ideal for photography as well and can capture images with a resolution of 5472 x 3648 pixels so all of your pictures will be crystal clear.
Users also have the option to manually control settings like shutter speed or aperture. Besides that, this camera uses Dynamic IS technology for body image stabilization, so it’s a perfect camera for lifestyle and travel vlogging.
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC for easy sharing or transferring images and videos
- Inbuilt stereo mic
- Compact and sleek design, which has an attractive look
- Excellent autofocus with a burst rate of 8.2fps
- Average battery life
- No flip-screen
Another top contender for the best cheap vlogging camera is Sony DSCHX80. Similar to its rival – the previously listed Canon cameras, this camera packs a punch in a compact package.
This is a compact and attractive-looking camera that comes with a flip-screen and features an 18.2 MP BSI Exmor R CMOS Sensor that works splendidly with the BIONZ X Image Processor. With this, you can capture crisp and clear images in low lights and shoot smooth videos without worrying about any blurring.
Besides those cool features, this beast of a camera also has a 30x Optical/60x Clear Image Zoom ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* Lens to shoot subjects from a distance, perfect for travel and adventure vlogs! If you’re still not convinced, its 3″ Extra Fine LCD and 638k-dot OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder should be able to convince you.
- Can shoot continuously at the rate of 10fps
- Compact and lightweight, which is essential for travel and lifestyle vlogging
- Superb inbuilt stereo mic
- Inbuilt Wi-Fi with NFC
- Decent image stabilization
- The user interface isn’t the friendliest
- There is no external mic jack
While this isn’t the latest version of the GoPro, the Hero 7 Silver still offers superb performance, and since its release, it has dropped in price, which makes it even better value for money. Tiny in appearance, this camera can record Ultra HD videos. It features a 10 MP sensor that can capture great footage despite being smaller than other options in this list.
The best part about this camera is that its weatherproof; dust, water, dirt, etc. won’t affect it. It also has some innovative features like a touchscreen LCD, a voice control system so you can go hands-free, and image body stabilization, which will keep your videos smooth and clear while traveling on the roughest of mountains. This camera is also great for making slow-motion videos. All in all, if you plan to shoot action and sports vlogs, this should be your go-to camera.
- Great value for money
- Can shoot videos in 4K quality
- Small and lightweight
- No interchangeable lens
- Videos are only recorded with a wide angle view
Another amazing Canon camera, under $200 is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS. This is one of the most popular and easy to use point and shoot cameras in this list.
This camera features a 20.2 MP CMOS sensor paired with the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to capture photos in any lighting. Besides this, users can shoot videos in Full HD resolution, and with its 12x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer, you’ll never have to worry about your videos turning out blurry or shaky, even if the object you’re shooting is far away.
It is easy to edit videos with this and with its Hybrid Auto feature, it combines different images and short, 4-second clips into a ‘recap of the day’ video, which is perfect for every kind of vlogging. This is a camera worth the price.
- Shoots videos in 1080p resolution
- Has a front mic, so there is no need to purchase an additional one
- Great low light performance
- Easy to use
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, which makes sharing and transfer of files very easy
- Average battery life
- No flip-screen
If we had to choose the best, all-rounder camera from this list, it would have to be Canon EOS Rebel T6. This is an exceptional camera, which, although, is on the expensive side but offers the most useful features from this list, and even with its somewhat high price tag, it’s far cheaper than most high-end cameras.
Besides Rebel T6, another camera which we really liked is the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II. This is a favorite among vloggers, as it has an impressive image stabilization feature and can shoot videos and capture images in high resolution. It’s hardly surprising why this camera is the go-to one for many lifestyle vloggers and beauty gurus.
Vlogging cameras depend a lot on the kind of vlogging you plan to do like if you’re looking to shoot action videos in a brightly-lit surrounding, a camera boasting amazing low light performance wouldn’t be useful for you, or if you intend to talk a lot and want to do vlogs that require an excellent mic, a camera with no external mic jack or front mic would be a waste of money for you; it’s all about prioritizing what features and specifications you need.
Hopefully, this guide will come in handy when you decide to purchase a vlogging camera. Besides cameras, other tools and equipment could really up your vlogging game like an excellent quality microphone or investing in a good laptop to edit and refine your vlogs. Check out the Streaming section on HUSTLR for more information on those.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.