Did you know that many of the today’s successful YouTubers started out on a tight budget with a basic setup?
Experts recommend against getting the most advanced equipment and instead scaling up your vlogging system as you get more traction on your channel.
Here’s the deal:
You will need to know a few things about choosing the right vlogging camera in this price range, as it can be a hit or a miss.
This guide will be your resource to avoid falling for the wrong products, know everything you need to know about choosing a great budget vlogging camera for your needs, and be able to learn about the best vlogging camera under $200 that you can choose today.
What You Will Learn
Here’s What You Can Get for $200
And that makes the ease of use an important factor to consider.
Most vlogging cameras priced under $200 come with a simple user interface and a compact size, making it much easier to deal with the initial challenges you will face when making your first few videos.
They are usually also fairly lightweight when compared to the bulky DSLRs, which a beginner vlogger would certainly be grateful for, especially if they plan to record videos on the go.
Some of the other important features the best vlogging cameras under $200 usually offer include:
- Good Recording Quality
- Decent Battery
- Built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity for easier photo and video transfer (not all budget vlogging cameras come with this feature)
- Zoom Range 8x to 12x (in case you want to take photos too)
- If you’re careful with what you choose, you can even get a good audio quality as well, which is otherwise hard to come by in this price range
Top 5 Vlogging Cameras Under $200 in 2018
So here we are, the part you have been waiting for all along.
Now that you’re aware of what exactly to look for and how to set up a solid vlogging system on a budget, let’s get right to the reviewing!
|Camera Model||Video||Image Stabilization||More|
|1. Sony DSCWX220|
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 190|
2. UNDER $150
|3. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360|
PHOTO AND VIDEO
|4. YI 4K|
|5. Sony DSCW830|
#1 Sony DSCWX220
Why I Like It
- Works great even in low light conditions
- Supports image stabilization
- Great sound quality at this price point
- Delivers amazingly noise-free footage
The Sony DSCWX220 comes with everything that we asked you to look for in an ideal budget vlogging camera.
It can record great videos in 1080p, offers WiFi and NFC connectivity, supports image stabilization and feels very comfortable in hand due to being compact.
However, something that sets it apart from most vlogging cameras in this price range is its ability to record great videos even in low light conditions.
- Quality: It boasts an 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X engine that go a long way in maintaining a great quality even in low light conditions, as well as reducing noise and ensuring richly detailed results.
- Zoom: is another area where it’s hard to beat for most budget vlogging cameras, as it offers a 10x optical and 20x clear image zoom.
Some of the other more technical features include a 4K quality still image output (that supports a simple HDMI connection), Sweep Panorama mode for enhanced subject detection and minimizing distortion, and advanced picture effects.
- Sound: Something that impressed us the most about it though, is its excellent sound quality.
The audio quality is often terrible when it comes to budget vlogging cameras, which is why we think the kind of clear sound the DSCWX220 offers is one of the best things about it.
- 1080p 60 fps
- 18.2MP sensor
- WiFi and NFS
- Image Stabilization
- Sound Quality
- According to some reviewers on Amazon, it is not the easiest camera to use control wise.
If your budget doesn’t allow going for the DSCWX220, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 is the next best choice.
It doesn’t come with 1080p recording but only 720p recording, but that’s the only thing about it that didn’t impress us.
However, it more than makes up for the lower recording quality by coming with a long list of other great features, including built-in WiFi and NFC.
One of the best things we really liked about it is how fast its lens is.
This comes in handy when you want to take some quick shots in an environment where the subjects are moving fast. Such pictures can make rather stunning custom thumbnails, especially for travel vloggers.
It has the optical image stabilization that would help beginners avoid noise and distortion in their videos to a great extent. The combination of the 20MP CCD sensor and the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor is also pretty good for the price.
Something that makes the ELPH 190 even more beginner-friendly is its Smart AUTO feature. What it basically does is automatically select the best settings based on the conditions you’re shooting in. Getting all the settings right is usually one of the most challenging tasks for most beginner vloggers, so it’s great that this feature can take care of it for you.
The user interface and controls are as simple as they could probably get for a vlogger, with the Help button making things even easier by providing short explanations for the features and functions.
Something absolutely worth noting about this hidden gem is that it works way better than you would expect a camera at this price point to, when it comes to taking long-distance videos. It takes surprisingly clear videos and captures most of the important details even when you’re shooting from a distance of over 30 feet.
- Very fast lens
- Extremely user friendly and simple to use
- Has optical image stabilization
- Doesn’t lose the important details even when recording from a considerably long distance
- Great price
- The max recording quality is only 720p
Canon PowerShot ELPH 360
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- 1080p HD
- 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to help deliver stunning image quality even in low light
- Max Resolution:5184 x 3888
If you couldn’t already tell, the ELPH 360 is an upgraded version of the ELPH 190 we reviewed above. This is the second canon camera under $200 we are reviewing today.
However, the only real aspect where it manages to be better than the ELPH 190 is the recording quality. It can record in 1080p HD quality, while the ELPH 190 only offers 720p quality.
However, this alone may be a significant enough difference for most users to justify the otherwise considerable price difference between the two products. If it isn’t for you, then you may be better off with the ELPH 190, as it’s much cheaper and the rest of the features are pretty much the same.
The ELPH 360, too, comes with built-in WiFi and NFC, has optical image stabilization and has a 20.2MP CMOS sensor (which is only slighter better than the ELPH 190’s 20MP sensor).
It’s 12x zoom is certainly better than ELPH 190’s digital 4x zoom though, so it offers an even better long-distance recording experience. It works fairly fast as well, and accessing all the controls and features is quick and easy.
Finally, while the ELPH 360 can take great videos when there’s adequate lighting, the recording quality can be as bad as what it gets with most other cheaper cameras when recording in low light conditions.
- 1080p recording quality
- Optical image stabilization
- Great for long-distance recording
- Poor recording performance in low light conditions
First things first, the YI 4K is not at all recommended for recording videos indoor.
The only reason you see it on this list is that it’s a great option for travel vloggers or those that will be recording action, sports or other types of videos with a lot of movement.
It’s also a great alternative to the much more expensive GoPro cameras. It can record action videos just as well as many of them.
To your surprise, it also supports the 4K recording quality at 30fps, something that’s quite a rarity at this price point. It also records 2.7K videos at 60fps, and 1080p at an extremely impressive 120fps.
Its advanced video stabilization greatly improves its ability to record professional quality action videos, especially if you stick to the 2.7K/60fps setting.
An action camera also needs to have a long battery life, and the YI 4K certainly doesn’t disappoint on this front either. It can record up to 120 minutes in 4K quality, which should be more than what beginner vloggers would ever need. Of course, you can always go with a lower quality if you need to get even more out of the YI 4K’s battery life.
It also features a touchscreen which is responsive and easy to use, and supports voice commands. You would also be able to instantly share and transfer your work, thanks to the YI 4K’s built-in high speed WiFi and Bluetooth using the YI Action app.
The YI 4K also manages to buck the trend as far as shooting in low light conditions is concerned, and performs surprisingly well in the absence of enough light for a budget vlog camera.
The different lens option is another feature that the more advanced users would be pleased with, as it really adds to the overall usability as well.
All said and done, the only area where the YI 4K doesn’t do as well is the audio quality, which doesn’t really come off as a surprise given how much it offers for a price of well under $200.
- Supports up to 4K recording quality at a great fps
- Comes with advanced video stabilization
- Long battery life
- Very easy-to-use touchscreen
- The audio quality is not as good as what you would get with something like a GoPro, but don’t forget there’s a huge price difference between the.
If you’re looking to start a YouTube channel on a shoestring budget, the Sony DSCW830 has to be the camera you’re looking for.
It’s the cheapest option on our list, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it isn’t a good option.
It comes with a 20.1MP sensor and has an 8x zoom. And just like most other options on this list, it offers optical image stabilization.
Unlike the more expensive products on our list though, it can only record in 720p quality. Similarly, it’s made using plastic and the build quality isn’t very good, so you will have to be careful not to drop it. And of course, you couldn’t expect a very good low light performance at this price either.
On the good side, however, the camera is really easy to use, and could make a great first camera for beginners. Another important feature you typically don’t find in this price range is the ability to use it with both automatic and custom settings.
- 20.1MP sensor and 8x zoom is more than what you would expect at this price
- Super easy to use with almost no learning curve
- Can be used with both automatic and custom settings
- Recording quality is only 720p
- The build quality isn’t as good as the other cameras we reviewed above
- The low light performance isn’t great either
X Features To Pay Attention To
While we just talked about what the better budget vlogging cameras tend to offer, there’s more to it.
You need to know what features and factors to consider when looking for a budget vlogging camera that meets YOUR needs better.
This is important because there are different types of vloggers and their needs tend to differ quite a bit from one another. For instance, a vlogger that’s into adventurous stuff would want to go with a good action camera with high fps shooting, and wouldn’t bother much with the zoom range.
On the other hand, for a vlogger that plans to only shoot indoor, the low light recording quality will be a crucial factor to consider.
And while it’s certain that you may have to make some compromises in this price range, you can still get a great deal by identifying your needs well and getting a budget vlogging camera that meets those needs better, even if it doesn’t fare as well in other departments that are not as important for you.
That said, something that’s going to be an important factor for every type of vlogger is the recording quality. Your camera must be able to record videos in 1080p quality, which is the standard today for high-quality videos. Some vlog cameras can only support up to 720p, but they can still be a good option depending on your needs.
As we mentioned above, if you’re going to shoot most of your videos indoor, the low light recording quality is going to be of a great importance. Unfortunately, most YouTube cameras priced under $200 are rather disappointing on this front.
However, if you don’t mind spending exactly around the $200 mark and compromising a bit on some of the other less important factors, you can get a camera that promises great performance in low light conditions as well.
There are also a few options on the market that come with some of the more advanced features like optical image stabilization, which is a great feature to have for beginners that want to record professional quality videos without investing in a quality tripod.
Finally, there’s no external mic port to attach an external mic to these cameras, so the audio quality is something you wouldn’t want to compromise on.
How to Get the Most Out of a Budget Vlogging Camera?
While you probably already know a lot about what to look for when choosing the right budget vlogging camera for your needs, the thing is that what the camera alone offers wouldn’t be enough. This is because in this price range, vlogging cameras are fairly limited in terms of what they can offer.
This is where quality vlogging accessories come in. They help you build a vlogging system without breaking the bank, but can greatly improve the quality of videos you produce.
When going with a cheap vlogging camera that costs less than $200, your best bet as an accessory would be a lighting kit. Don’t worry about blowing your budget, as there are more than a few cheap lighting kits that perform fairly well for a budget vlogging setup.
It can totally transform the kind of quality you can achieve with your videos as controlling your lighting is a crucial element of vlogging. No matter the type of channel you run or are planning to run, the lighting factor can make or break your video quality.
Even a cheap vlogging camera that record like a high-end one if it has a good lighting kit assisting it. No not only does it make the subjects in the video much better and improves the focus on them, it gives the video a much more overall professional feel.
This is especially important if you’re looking to record videos indoor, as that’s usually when you encounter low light conditions. After all, using a cheap vlogging camera in low light conditions is often a recipe for vlogging disaster.
Another important accessory to have with a cheap vlogging camera is a tripod. Just like a lighting kit, it’s going to be a must if you plan to record your videos at your home.
When just staring out however, you don’t need anything too fancy or expensive. Something as cheap as this AmazonBasics tripod will work just fine, as it comes with adjustable height lengths and a max load limit of 6.6 lbs (3kg), which are going to be more than enough for most beginner vloggers.
The Sony DSCWX220 is going to be a perfect choice for most vloggers reading this. For action or travel vloggers, however, the YI 4K may make more sense.
The Canon ELPH 190 and ELPH 360 might be worth considering for those that are after a more balanced performance, and for some reason are more comfortable going with a Canon. Finally, the Sony DSCW830 isn’t half bad for the price it’s being sold at, especially if you can live with the few downsides it comes with.
Overall, we think that Sony DSCWX220 is a very complete option and unless you have any specific needs that the other products meet better, it’s going to be hands down the best vlogging camera you can buy under $200.