If you are looking for the best digital camera under $300, it is essential to consider its sensor size, video quality, and autofocus performance. With these in mind, I’ve handpicked my favorite products below. Continue reading to learn why they matter to you.
I’ve used expensive video cameras in the past. Although I often like their advanced features, I usually feel like I’m not taking full advantage of them, especially since I’m just a casual videographer.
That is why I got curious and researched if there are video cameras that help me do the job but at a lower price.
Hence, I came up with this list of the best video cameras under $300. Each product includes a detailed review as well as pros and cons, so you can easily compare them with one another.
I will also discuss the factors to consider before finalizing your purchasing decision below. Hopefully, this buying guide will help you narrow down your choices.
So without further ado, let’s jump right into my top recommendations!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
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5 Best Video Cameras Under $200
Below are my top picks for the best digital cameras under $200. Each item on this list can record up to HD 720p video. Hence, you can still expect high video quality and photo quality from them while saving money.
1. Canon PowerShot SX540 – Editor’s Pick
The first item on this list is the Canon PowerShot SX540.
It features a powerful 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and an advanced DIGIC 6 image processor. These help ensure impressive image and video quality up to Full HD video, even when you are shooting in low-light situations.
Additionally, this bridge camera offers a versatile 50x optical zoom, which is equivalent to a 24 to 1200mm angle of view. So whether you want to capture architecture and landscapes or portraits and wildlife, the SX540 makes it easy to do so.
Moreover, Canon includes a built-in optical image stabilizer. Thus, there is no need to worry about shaky footage when shooting handheld or at slow shutter speeds.
Besides these advantages, this video camera under $300 has a hybrid auto option. It lets you shoot up to four seconds of video before pressing the capture button. Hence, you can receive a quick video recap of the day.
Finally, the SX540 is both Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled. It allows you to share and transfer files instantly, regardless if it is on social media or your laptop.
Most reviews for this product were positive. However, there are still a few cons to keep in mind. First, some users complained about the relatively short battery life. Second, a few users said the placement of the buttons is awkward.
But as you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons.
For this reason, I deemed the Canon PowerShot SX540 as the best video camera under $300.
- 20.3 MP photos and Full HD videos
- Optical 50x zoom with framing assist option gives you versatility when shooting
- Built-in image stabilization for shake-free videos
- Large three-inch screen to offer a clear and bright display
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity allows instant file transfer
- Poor battery life
- Button placement could be improved
2. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 – Runner-Up
Another excellent video camera under $300 is the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80.
This bridge camera packs an 18.1-megapixel MOS sensor. It enables you to shoot 4K videos as well as high-definition photos. There is even an option to capture burst photos of up to 10 frames per second (fps).
Additionally, the LUMIX FZ80 features a DC Vario 60x zoom lens. It gives you a versatile focal range of 20 to 1200mm, ideal for both distant and close-up subjects.
Meanwhile, the built-in optical image stabilizer (O.I.S.) can minimize the appearance of camera shake. So whether you want to shoot handheld or at slower shutter speeds, this technology allows you to do so.
There is even a Depth-From-Defocus (DFD) technology to enable fast autofocus in movie mode. Plus, it can keep track of the subject across the frame, regardless if it is moving or not.
Furthermore, this budget video camera has a high-resolution LCD touchscreen. It provides a bright and clear display.
Lastly, it offers Wi-FI connectivity and USB charging for further convenience when shooting.
However, there are two significant reasons why I did not choose this camera as my top choice. First, some users were disappointed with the poor low-light performance. Second, the camera lacks a focus ring, which makes it difficult to focus manually.
Nevertheless, I still suggest the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 to users who need 4K resolution videos at an affordable price.
- 4K video recording with multiple movie and photo modes
- 60x optical zoom lens
- Built-in image stabilization and autofocus technology
- High-resolution viewfinder and LCD display
- USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Some users were disappointed with the low-light performance
- The camera lacks a manual focus ring
3. DJI Osmo Action – Best Action Camera
If you usually travel or capture extreme sports videos, consider checking out the DJI Osmo Action.
This action camera features a 12-megapixel sensor that allows you to shoot 4K videos at 60 fps. There is also an option to record up to 8x slow-motion footage with 1080p resolution at 240 fps. Meanwhile, a timelapse movie mode lets you shoot eye-catching footage.
Additionally, the Osmo Action includes a 145° lens. It delivers an ultra-wide perspective, ideal for your action or adventure videos.
Plus, this video camera can withstand water at depths of up to 11 meters and resist temperature changes as low as -10°C. So whether you plan to go swimming or ice skating, it can survive harsh shooting conditions.
There is also no need to worry about shaky footage. That is because DJI uses RockSteady technology in its cameras. This image stabilizer can correct camera shake to ensure smoother and stable videos.
Finally, the Osmo Action offers a dual-screen display, which is among the first in action cameras. Thus, it makes it easier to adjust yourself within the frame and change camera settings.
Despite all these pros, this action camera lacks an external mic input. Some users also said that the Mimo app is slow and unresponsive, making it difficult to share files online.
With that said, the DJI Osmo Action is still among the best video cameras under $300.
- Ultra HD 4K video with option to shoot at 1080/120p
- 145° ultra-wide perspective
- Multiple movie modes, including slow-motion and timelapse
- Dual screen with voice control makes it easy to capture videos
- Waterproof and temperature-resistant camera with casing (sold separately)
- It lacks an external mic input
- Some users have difficulties connecting the camera to the phone app
Do you prefer a point-and-shoot camera? If so, the Canon PowerShot SX620 might be the right item for your needs.
It weighs less than 300 grams and easily fits in your palm. Thus, it is easy to carry and pack, suitable for traveling.
But do not let its compact size fool you! The SX620 packs a powerful 20.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. When paired with the DIGIC 4+ image processor, it allows you to shoot 1080p video and high-definition photos.
Meanwhile, the built-in lens offers 25x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom. So whether you want to capture close-up or distant subjects, this video camera gives you versatility when shooting.
Moreover, it features intelligent image stabilization. This technology ensures virtually shake-free photos and videos.
On top of all these benefits, there is a large three-inch LCD screen. It enables you to preview videos from a wide-angle perspective.
But before buying this video camera, it is still best to check its downsides. First, some users said that the photos were not as sharp as they expected. Second, a few were also disappointed with the awkward button placement and overall ergonomics. They mentioned that these make it difficult to take videos right away.
After I considered its advantages, though, I still included the Canon PowerShot SX620 on this list of the best video camera under $300. I recommend it to those who prefer a lightweight and compact camera.
- Lightweight and compact camera
- 20.2 MP photos and 4K resolution videos
- Powerful 25x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom
- Intelligent IS technology corrects camera shake and vibration
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Soft-looking photos
- Awkward camera ergonomics make it difficult to record videos right away
The last product on this list is the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421-BK.
This bridge camera allows you to shoot at HD 720p resolution. It can also take still images up to 16.15 MP in size, owing to the CCD sensor.
Additionally, this video camera includes a 24mm wide-angle lens with a built-in 42x optical zoom. Thus, it enables you to get closer to the subject or fit more elements within the frame.
There are even multiple shooting modes to meet your creative shooting needs. These include the panorama mode for seamless 180° photos and face beautifier mode to reduce facial flaws.
Moreover, a face or animal detection feature allows you to lock focus on the subject instantly. Plus, a blink or smile detection mode can help you snap the perfect moment.
On top of all these benefits, the AZ421-BK has a large three-inch 460k-dot LCD screen. Thus, it gives you a bright display for more convenient image composition and review.
There are still a few cons to this camera, though. First, it does not include Wi-Fi or NFC connectivity, so you cannot share files instantly. Second, some users also noticed that the lens would not retract, and the zoom has erratic behavior.
But considering its low price, I still think the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421-BK is one of the best video cameras under $300.
- 16.1 MP CCD sensor
- Wide-angle lens with 42x optical zoom
- Multiple movie modes and detection assist features
- Three-inch LCD screen ensures a bright display
- Built-in pop-up flash to help illuminate subjects in low-light environments
- It lacks Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Some users said the lens would not retract, resulting in an erratic zoom behavior
Things to Look for in the Best Digital Camera Under $300
If you are still unsure which video camera under $300 to buy, fret not!
Below, I will discuss several factors to consider before finalizing your purchasing decision. Hopefully, by the end of this section, you will have a better idea of which camera suits your needs.
Sensor Size and Resolution
One of the first factors to look for when buying the best video camera under $300 is its sensor. It will determine how much clarity or detail you will be expecting once you press that shutter button.
I recommend checking its sensor size, which dictates how much light enters the camera. As a rule of thumb, a larger sensor means better image quality.
However, considering that your budget is less than $300, it can be almost impossible to find APS-C or full-frame cameras. Instead, you will encounter several cameras with a 1/2.3-inch sensor.
If that is the case, it is also best to consider the resolution of the camera. Check the number of the megapixels—the higher the number, the better.
Besides the sensor size and resolution, you might also want to consider the video recording options. Check the camera specs and get one that can shoot at least HD or 720p resolution. Better yet, invest in a video camera that allows you to record full HD footage for better clarity.
You can also think about the movie modes of the camera. Does it offer a slow-motion or time lapse setting? If so, you can expect more versatility when using this device.
When recording videos, it is essential to keep your subjects in focus all the time. Doing so makes you seem more professional, encouraging viewers to watch more of your work.
That is why I also recommend buying a video camera with a reliable autofocus system. This feature will help keep track of the objects across the frame. Thus, it gives you higher-quality results.
Aside from out-of-focus videos, shaky footage is also a sign of an amateur videographer.
So if you want to ensure steady videos, it is best to look for a camera with built-in image stabilization. This technology can minimize the appearance of camera shake and vibration. Thus, you can expect smoother results.
Do you need to shoot both near and distant subjects? If so, invest in a camera with a wide zoom range.
Fortunately, most products on this list offer a built-in zoom lens. They can ultimately give you versatility when shooting videos.
This is another essential factor to consider before buying a video camera for under $300. Look for a model with a bright and clear display.
Screen size will play a significant role in this. As a rule of thumb, go for a large three-inch screen. It will make it easier to view flaws, such as soft focus and blur in the frame.
Size and Weight
If you often shoot travel videos, it is best to think about the size and weight of the camera. A compact and lightweight device is easier to carry for extended periods. It is also more convenient to pack inside a bag.
Those who want to share their files instantly might want to consider the connectivity options of a video camera. Choose one with Wi-Fi and NFC connection. These allow you to transfer photos and videos to your phone, laptop, or social media.
Value for Money
Finally, consider the value for money of the product. If you are aiming to shoot casual home videos, then a point-and-shoot model might best suit your needs. But those who want to create YouTube or online videos can benefit more from bridge or DSLR-like cameras.
That concludes my top picks for the best video cameras under $300! I highly recommend each item as it delivers high-quality videos at an affordable price point.
But if I only have to suggest one, it would be the Canon PowerShot SX540. It features a 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and an advanced DIGIC 6 image processor. These deliver high-definition photos and videos. Additionally, it offers 50x optical zoom and an optical image stabilization to give you versatility when shooting. Other notable features include the hybrid auto option, Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity.