Are you interested in vlogging, but are not yet ready to go all in for an expensive camera? Luckily, in this day and age, a good vlogging camera is pretty affordable. Point and shoot cameras are a good and cheap alternative to mirrorless and DSLRs cameras.
Plenty of them can even record a video in full HD quality. In this article, I’ll be guiding you through the best camera models that you can buy under 300 bucks.
Although they are not as versatile as DSLR camera, point and shoot models have their positives. They will still provide you with the image of high quality, while also being more portable than their counterpart. To find a solid point and shoot camera, you will need to look at the following properties: image quality, zoom, durability.
the best budget vlogging camera Competition
Lets take a look at our contestants.
In the world of point-and-shoot cameras under 300 bucks, DSCWX350 just might be the king.
It features a lightweight and compact design, while still sporting a pretty good (20x) optical zoom. This 18.2-megapixel camera also performs above average in low-lit environments (use Superior Auto mode). DSCWX350 is able to capture full HD videos without any problems. This camera will also record stereo sound in pretty good quality, thanks to the noise-reduction properties. Autofocus function is reliable as well. The battery will last up to 470 images, which is double than average.
You will be able to transfer your content easily, thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity. Variety is achieved with 6 different shooting modes, with pretty impressive iSweep panorama mode.
The camera also has an intelligent feature that will modify settings to provide you with a high-quality image. There are 13 effect filters that will be useful when promoting yourself on social media.
Although burst shooting is not really needed in vlogging environment, it is useful to say that it performs well in that department (10 frames per second). All in all, this camera really offers great functionality across many different features, which makes it my top-rated choice under 300 dollars. With this entry, Sony proves why it’s on the pinnacle of the consumer electronics industry.
In a not too distant past, people were living without GoPro. Shocking, I know.
Today, there are many YouTubers that use this camera for streaming, and it’s clear to see why. Hero 5 allows you to take great 4K videos and 12MP photos. It is really small and made to last for quite some time. It also features a video stabilization, which will give you a really smooth video.
GoPro is famous for making user-friendly cameras so you will not need to tinker with settings a lot to get the best possible settings. GoPro Hero5 features an impressive slow-motion effect, which is achieved if you switch it to 1080p120 mode. The battery of this camera is long lasting and charges pretty quickly. This camera is also waterproof (up to 10m of depth), and has 3 stereo mics which will capture clear sound in this condition.
You can also choose to capture photos in the following intervals: 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds. This camera will also easily pair with a smartphone through the Capture app for some added functionality.
Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t have zoom and doesn’t perform well in low-lit environments. All in all, this is a good option if you are looking for portability and ease of use. Hero 5 is currently under massive discount, which brings it under 300 bucks
Canon PowerShot N
PowerShot N is a unique looking CMOS camera that uses its size really effectively.
It has 12.1 megapixels and 8x optical zoom. It has enough power to record videos in 1080p. There are 2 capture modes: 28 mm (selfie) and 50 mm (tripod). The Creative Shot mode is an interesting new function that will take a pre-existing image and change its color, composition, and lighting to create 5 unique images.
PowerShot N comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, which lets you transfer your media easily to your social networking sites like YouTube and Twitch. This model also features a touchscreen, which is convenient. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t have an external mic input so you will need to have your microphone handy. To conclude, this is one of the smallest models on the list which contains plenty of features that are useful for vlogging.
Are cameras under 300 bucks still too expensive? Here, we have the only entry on the list that you can find under 100 dollars, and it is surprisingly good.
Sony’s DSC-W800 is one of the rare cameras on this list that features a CCD sensor. This is the reason why it captures consistently good images in low-light settings, although it is struggling a bit in well-lit situations. Optical zoom is a bit low (5x), but it compensates with an image quality of 20.1 megapixels. It weighs only 4.4 ounces, which also makes this camera the lightest on the list.
This camera can be charged through USB, which is quite convenient. On the functionality side, DSC-W800 offers electronic image stabilization, panoramic shooting, and face detection (or autofocus). The battery life is decent and will last you 200 images. Unfortunately, it does not offer Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. Although it doesn’t allow streaming in full HD quality (only 720 p), DSC-W800 is still a pretty good choice for beginners. It offers great value for money.
Nikon COOLPIX B500
In the world of cameras, COOLPIX B500 is considered to be a bridge between DSLR and point and shoot cameras.
It has 16 MP and features 1/2.3” CMOS sensor. It is able to shoot a full HD video (1080p) at 30 frames per second, which is great news for us vloggers. Both digital (80x) and optical (40x) zoom have a top-of-the-line range, which is rare for a camera priced under 300 bucks. Your shots will remain steady, thanks to the vibration reduction technology.
The SnapBridge option lets you send your images to the phone via Bluetooth, and there is also a Wi-Fi connection available. Tilt screen option is here if you want to capture some weird angles. You can also modify autofocus, ISO sensitivity, and white balance, which are all important. Although it’s a bit larger in size and performs subpar in badly lit rooms, COOLPIX B500 is one of the best cameras you can find under 300 dollars.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60
Panasonic’s DMC-ZS60 is one of the top cameras from Lumix series. The camera features 1/2.3” CMOS sensor which provides an image quality of 18.0 megapixels. 30x zoom is, honestly, more than I expected from this model. DMC-ZS60 is ready for both YouTube and Twitch, thanks to the 4K video capture (30 fps burst mode).
This camera also has a nice autofocus feature that locks on the target even when it is moving. Its performance in low light is pretty good as well. For image stability, there is a powerful 5 axis hybrid stabilization system. On the other hand, this camera misses one important aspect, a microphone input. If you can do without that, then this baby might be just for you.
Nikon Coolpix L340
Nikon’s Coolpix L340 is a bit on the large side, but that also has its advantages. Mainly, its great optical (28x) and dynamic fine (56x) zoom. The camera also has an excellent 2.3” CCD sensor, which separates it from other point-and-shoot cameras. It also has a good amount of megapixels (20.2) and the ability to record 720p videos.
L340 has a built-in microphone, which makes this model vlogging-friendly. Still, you’ll really want to get a separate microphone as soon as possible. For suggestions, you can look at my article titled “Best of the cheaper microphones”. In conclusion, this model is very similar to B500, and you can’t go wrong with it.
Canon VIXIA HF R800
As soon as you see it, you know that Canon’s VIXIA HF R800 is aimed at the vlogging community.
Although camcorders generally perform badly in low-light environments, this model does its job better than other under 300 bucks. You can thank that to the f1.8 fast lens. Set it to a minimum zoom and you will get a pretty cool blur effect on your background. CMOS image sensor lets you capture in full HD quality at 60 frames per second. Optical image stabilization technology will provide you with a smooth and sharp image.
There is also an option to record in slow and fast motion, and that is always cool. The 3-inch LCD panel is touchscreen friendly. HF R800 is lightweight, has a good battery life and great image quality. The digital (57x) and optical (32x) zoom are among the best in this price range. On the other hand, this camera misses a manual exposure mode and has a small sensor, which doesn’t make it a good choice if you are filming in well-lit environments.
Canon PowerShot SX720
Next, we have an incredibly solid camera from Canon.
This model is only 1.4 inches thick and can fit in most pockets. PowerShot SX720 has great optical zoom (40x) and 20.3 megapixels. The camera has image stabilization technology so your images will look sharp. It will easily capture full HD videos at 60 fps and with stereo sound. SX720 offers full manual control, which is useful if you want to learn about photography.
The camera also features a Hybrid Auto mode that records a small video every time you take a picture, which can be really useful. There is also an ergonomic grip that makes shooting more comfortable. Of course, not everything is perfect. Although image quality is high, SX720 has a small sensor which means quality will drop considerably when taking wider shots. Also, the LCD screen doesn’t have touchscreen capabilities. All in all, SX720 is well above the standard under this price range.
PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80
Panasonic enters the list with a great point-and-shoot camera.
Lumix FZ80 has a solid 18.1-megapixel sensor. The powerful 60x zoom DC Vario lens lets you capture images from distance with good clarity. The 3-inch LCD screen is touchscreen friendly. This camera is ideal for streaming purposes, as it offers 4K video capture. A photo burst feature lets you capture impressive 30 frames per second.
Lumix FZ80 performs really well in low lit environments. The post-focus feature lets you take your photo first and then set the desired focus point, which can be useful. The camera can easily be charged with USB and offers Wi-Fi connectivity. This model is a bit heavier than others on the list, but it more than compensates with its powerful features. You will hardly find a better model for vlogging under 300 bucks.
Fujifilm FinePix XP130
Finepix XP130 will serve you best in the outside setting. It has excellent waterproof (20 m) and shockproof properties. The camera features a standard BSI CMOS sensor and decent 16.4 megapixels image quality. It also has face detection focus and image stabilization technology. XP130 offers only 5x optical zoom, which is a bare minimum.
It lets you record videos in 1080p and has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. On another note, some modes on this camera (like panorama or cinemograph) feel slow, and battery life is not as good as it should be. Considering the price (under 200 dollars), this can be forgiven. Bottom line, XP130 is a lightweight and compact model that is aimed for people who enjoy traveling but will still serve you well in vlogging environment.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS
ELPH 360 is another model from Canon’s PowerShot series. It has 20.2 megapixels and CMOS sensor, so the image quality is decent. It performs well in low light, thanks to the DIGIC 4+ image processor. ELPH 360 also lets you record your videos in full HD. Creative Shot Mode is useful, as it will create unique images from an already taken photo.
On the other hand, the 12x zoom is a bit low, and the battery life could be a bit better. Although ELPH 360 is not top-rated, it has just enough good qualities that you can still take it into consideration.
Budget camera Qualities to Consider
An image sensor is usually the most expensive part of the camera. The general rule is the larger the sensor, the pricier the camera. That is because bigger sensors mean more light can come in, which, in turn, gives you an image of higher quality.
There are also 2 different types of sensors: CMOS and CCD. CMOS is most commonly found in budget cameras under 300 and has lower light sensitivity. If you are interested in shooting in less ideal settings, I recommend that you get a camera with a CCD sensor, even at the price of a few megapixels.
Every image is comprised of millions of tiny dots that are called pixels. If your camera doesn’t have many megapixels, your image quality will suffer. This is most apparent when you are using the zoom function. Overall, the number of megapixels contributes less to the quality than a good sensor size, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. I recommend not going under 12 megapixels.
You will want a camera with a good optical and digital zoom. These 2 types differ and make your camera more useful. Optical zoom will make your camera lens extend or retract physically.
Cameras under 300 bucks oscillate in quality significantly (5x to 42x) and you will want to get the highest you can. While the digital zoom will get you even closer to the subject, you will lose some quality as budget cameras don’t have as good of a resolution.
If you don’t travel a lot and generally use cameras for close capture, it’s best that you focus on getting the one with higher image quality.
There are 2 types of cameras you can choose from in this price range (under 300 dollars): lightweight and heavier model. First one is easily portable, while for the heavier models you will need a carrying bag or a neck strap. Although harder to transport, heavier models feature a super zoom function which can be quite useful.
Different point and shoot cameras have various levels of shock-resistance and weather-protection. Since you will be using your camera at home, you don’t really need a camera that is waterproof and resistant to really low temperatures. Still, you should focus on getting one with a long warranty.
With all that in mind, lets dive right in.