Or maybe you just want to record moments in your life on Youtube for posterity?
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a camera!
Sometimes, you just need a little help from experienced people to get your hunt started – let’s find the best cheap vlogging camera for you!
I’ve also written a buyer’s guide that’s going to be after the list.
There, I talk about a few things one should know prior to going camera shopping.
You are free to scroll down and read it first!
My Top 5 Best Cheap Vlogging Camera Picks
(for YouTube / Facebook Live / Twitch / Mixer)
In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:
Let’s look at the top contestants now:
Canon Powershot ELPH 360HS
If you think $200 is not enough for a good quality vlogging camera, then the ELPH 360HS will prove you wrong.
What you really need to start a channel on YouTube is just good content presented on video.
The quality comes second.
If the lack of a good camera is stopping you from starting a channel, you’re thinking about this the wrong way.
The 360HS has well enough record quality at 1080p with a decent microphone.
I think it is decent because it is located in front of the camera, making the recording sound much better.
Of course, low light video recording will be a challenge and I really don’t recommend it.
On the good side, you will get good audio and video quality, WiFi, OIS, autofocus and manual focusing for under $200.
This is the cheapest camera on this list and one of the most popular ones for vlogging.
- Has all the basic features needed for vlogging
- One of the cheapest good quality cameras on the market
- Microphone is located in the front
- Lack of flip screen
- Lacks slow-motion capability
- No external input port for a microphone
If you ask me about a camera that is built for vloggers, I would tell you it’s this Sony DSCHX90.
It is packed with the basic features that every start-up vlogger will appreciate and nothing more.
Because of this, you are only paying for the essentials so it comes with a relatively cheap price tag.
For its price, the DSCHX90 comes with 1080p 60fps recording capability, a flip-up screen, WiFi connectivity, and 5-axis image stabilization.
We all know Sony is a leading name when it comes to image processing, and their photography app comes together with this camera.
Let’s talk about the image quality for a bit.
The DSCHX90 has arguably the best quality and top resolution of a non-4K camera.
It gives you a bit of slow-motion as well as a really impressive stabilization for really crisp footage.
One misgiving though is its audio.
It is not very good at catching sounds.
You can’t expect much noise cancellation or sound isolation.
The mic is also at the back so it’s essentially in the worst place to record clean audio (unless you are the only one speaking).
One more advantage?
It works well in low light conditions – better than the others on this best cheap vlogging camera for YouTube list.
- 1080p 60fps recording capability with slow motion
- Light and compact design
- Flip-up screen
- Sony App comes with time-lapse and more
- No external input for microphone
- Built-in microphone at the back
Canon Vixia HF R800
The Vixia R800 is actually a camcorder and the only one of its kind in this list.
One great thing about it is that it has a much longer operational time than compact cameras today.
Despite its price, it has most of the features advanced DSLRs have for video recording.
It also has a fully-articulated screen and an external microphone input port.
All of that into a 1080p 60fps video.
The Vixia R800 is a very good camera and is relatively on par with more expensive models as long as you are recording in decent lighting.
Because it is a camcorder, it loses a lot of its quality in low light due to a smaller sensor.
You may consider the ELPH 360HS, but the Vixia R800 wins by far in terms of features.
A great backup for outdoor shooting, this camera is very compact.
This particular model does not have any wireless connectivity, but some of its versions like the R80 and R82 do.
However, they come at a higher price.
- Compact and lightweight construction
- 1080p60 video recording and slow-motion capability
- External microphone input port
- Does not work well in low light conditions
- Does not come with wireless connectivity but can be added for a price
GoPro Hero 7 Silver
Technically, GoPros are meant for more action-like recording but they are pretty cheap and really give value for your money.
This little giant is capable of recording crisp 4K videos owing to its superior image stabilization.
It does have a small sensor that limits the capture angle but its wide-angle lens compensates for this quite well.
The Hero 7 comes with the fisheye lens which is good for certain shots but it’s not ideal for long videos or Facebook Live streaming.
I also want to emphasize that this camera has the best microphone among the ones on this list, so if you are on a budget, this means that you can wait before buying a separate microphone.
- 4K video recording capability
- Superior image stabilization even in quick motion
- Very compact and can be attached in many areas
- Fixed fisheye lens
- No zoom feature
- Requires purchase of accessories for additional usability
Nikon Coolpix B500
One of my top recommendations in this list, the Nikon Coolpix B500 will never disappoint you.
There are many reasons to love this camera.
First, it has a really comfortable grip that will never make your hand slip.
It has the aesthetics of a DSLR but relatively lighter and more compact to handle.
It offers a full HD 1080p camera resolution at 30fps.
The camera also sports a good image stabilization and a bonus superior zoom.
If you are trying to get a wide high color high contrast shots, this will be your camera of choice.
Talking about the downsides, the Coolpix B500 is quite heavy compared to the other four.
It doesn’t have an external microphone port which is normal for its price.
Its design is very attractive, so many mistake it for a more expensive piece of gear.
But all in all, it is just really good quality for the price.
It’s not ideal for daily vlogs since it’s heavy and bulky, but it makes a great addition to your studio set-up.
- Attractive and sleek design
- Tripod compatible
- Packed with all basic features and more
- Large optical zoom
- Not very suitable for daily use due to size and weight
- No external microphone port
- No flip screen
Alright, let’s get to our guide now:
In fact, you don’t need a lot of the typical features camera models nowadays try to advertise as a selling point.
What’s really important is that you can record good quality videos with it.
At the moment, the highest resolution you can have for YouTube vlogging is 1080p.
Some may add higher resolution videos but practically, it won’t make much of a difference.
Most people use their phones or tablets.
Also, higher resolution videos take longer to stream.
Thus, the highest practical resolution capability you should find is 1080p.
Unless you’re recording a mime performance, it’s pretty basic to want to have good audio.
In fact, it is what makes any video worthwhile to watch.
While having really good graphics is entertaining, it will be useless if viewers cannot understand what you are trying to say.
Let’s leave the topic of subtitles for another post.
Most cameras, even the expensive ones, don’t have an external microphone input.
Still, you can purchase a microphone and connect it to your mobile device or computer to improve the quality of your audio input.
In other words, the more expensive the camera is, the better the raw footage you can record.
This means the resulting video will come out bright, clear, crisp and steady even without any additional settings.
Here’s the thing, some cameras may record 1080p resolution but the videos may come out darker or blurry.
You will need more video capability than that.
This is why you really need to test the camera first in several environments and conditions.
For instance, at a store, you can record from a bright area, a dark area, and in motion.
Just so you have an idea which camera works well in the majority of conditions (aka recording in a studio, your room, outside).
As I’ve said, 1080p cameras don’t always give you the crispiest footage.
Even the best video cameras lose quality when recording in low light.
Apart from that, the camera needs to work harder when you record at dark conditions so they sacrifice a few features to compensate for the need to put extra effort into getting brighter footage.
So if you ARE going to be recording many low light videos, you have to find a camera that directly addresses that issue.
To be completely honest, any cheap camera is good for vlogging.
Even flagship phones have very high specs and don’t really differ much from their predecessors.
Nevertheless, using a nicer camera gives you a more authentic vlogging experience (plus, better-quality footage).
So if you are able to purchase a good camera for the right price, that’s ideal.
If you are trying to build a YouTube audience, you need to come up with a strategy that will attract your target market.
It’s really all about the plan.
All those logistics you need for the process can come next in your priority list.
To summarize, here are several points you need to remember when choosing a camera on a budget:
- Good video quality at 1080p or below,
- Has an external microphone input port or a way to add audio through the mic,
- If shooting many low light videos, the camera needs to be capable of doing so or have a larger sensor to compensate for potential loss of quality,
- Price should be good enough for you to have extra for an external microphone (try to find the middle ground).
Last update on 2021-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API