I’m sure you can agree with me that YouTube is fun, but it sure as hell can be pricey.
The truth is:
It’s recommended to start out without spending too much money on your gear, because it’s important to learn to properly use what you got.
Of course, finding the right camera on a budget can feel like a minefield because there’s a lot of cameras that are just not good for video and YouTube in this price range.
But don’t worry, in this list all cameras are under $350 and can go down as far as $70! And they are all GOOD!
But wait, before we go into the best cheap video cameras for YouTube, you need to read this first:
What You Will Learn
- 1 3 Features You NEED in a YouTube Camera
- 2 Top 7 Cheap Cameras for YouTube in 2018
- 3 What Kind of Videos Are You Making?
- 4 How To Get 100% From Your Budget Camera
- 5 Conclusion
3 Features You NEED in a YouTube Camera
We’ll go over the most important features that you need in your new camera for YouTube.
Keep in mind that this is in no way a comprehensive list and there are quite a few more important features that you should consider, but these 3 are super important.
There are two kinds of image stabilization: optical and digital.
Optical stabilization is preferable because it tends to work better than the digital variety.
The difference between them is that optical stabilization is analog while digital stabilization will use an algorithm to keep the video stable, which is less reliable.
Stabilization is crucial if you plan on having any sort of movement in your videos that isn’t controlled by a tripod.
If all of your videos will be stationary, then you can pay less attention to this feature, as it won’t end up making much of a difference except for in rare circumstances.
As a YouTuber, you’ll also want to be sure that your camera is focusing on your target effectively.
Autofocus is key to this because you may not always be behind the camera.
The speed with which your camera focuses is critical because it will ensure that focus changes don’t end up diminishing the viewing experience.
Another thing you need in your affordable YouTube camera is acceptable low light performance, especially if you won’t always have a lighting rig.
Low light performance is provided by a larger image sensor, so you will need to invest in a capable camera if you want to be able to film your videos in the dark.
Keep in mind that you’ll still need to use lighting to get the best out of your videos, but better low light performance means that you won’t need an excessive amount of them in the first place. Since lighting rigs can get rather pricey, this will end up saving you money.
Top 7 Cheap Cameras for YouTube in 2018
If you need to find the best camera, you’re going to need to go over a few different options because of the widely varying capabilities of each of them.
To that extent, we’ve chosen to review seven different inexpensive cameras for YouTube which can all be used effectively by aspiring YouTubers.
|Camera Model||Video Resolution||Image Stabilization||Flip Screen|
|1. Sony DSCHX80|
|Full HD 1080p||Yes||Yes|
|2. Canon VIXIA HF R800|
Best For Video
|Full HD 1080p||Yes||Yes|
|3. Panasonic Lumix ZS50|
|Full HD 1080p||Yes||No|
|4. Nikon COOLPIX B500|
Video and Photo
|5. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360|
|6. YI 4K|
|7. Logitech C922x|
Unlike many of the other offerings on this list, this camera can shoot your videos in 1080p but at 60 fps, giving your viewers the smoothest clips possible with such a small camera.
As with many other point and shoots, this camera is also highly portable as it can fit in your pocket.
- Image Stabilization: For instance, this model is equipped with 5-axis image stabilization for reduced shakiness.
- WiFi: You can also transfer your videos and photos to a smart device with ease thanks to this camera’s NFC connectivity, making it much more convenient to do so. If your device doesn’t support NFC, you won’t have to worry as long as you have an accessible network in range and you can use wifi.
- P/A/S/M Video Mode: Unlike other cameras, you’ll find that the P/A/S/M modes on this model also work while you’re taking video, giving you a definite advantage over those models.
- ISO: Also, if you’re shooting video in manual mode, you can still take advantage of the auto ISO function, something which is rare in other cameras here.
- Camera Type: Point and Shoot
- P/A/S/M in video mode
- Good Video Format
- 1080p 60FPS
- Relatively small sensor
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 is a dedicated camcorder, so you won’t have to deal with a range of features that are intended for use while taking photos.
- Video Quality: First off, this camcorder is capable of recording at 1080p and 60 fps. This gives you the quality you need with an extremely smooth frame rate.
- Battery: This camera is also powered by a high-capacity battery that is designed to give you all the time you need to film, unlike other models which are made primarily for photography.
- Ease of Use: When it comes to the user interface, you won’t have to worry about complicated buttons and dials thanks to the touchscreen.
- Great Colors: The color replication on the videos taken with this device is also highly impressive, and this is thanks to the CMOS sensor.
The use of the DIGIC DV 4 image processor on this camera means that darker scenes will be easier to film because of the lack of noise around the subject. This image processor is also capable of digital stabilization which will support the optical stabilization system on this camera.
- Camera Type: Camcorder
- Records at 1080p and 60 fps
- Optical image stabilization
- Touch display
- Needs a better microphone
- No onboard memory
Panasonic Lumix ZS50
Why I Like It
- Compact and easy to carry around
- Easy to use
- Full HD
- Enhanced low-light sensitivity for improved sharpness
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is a convenient choice for users who like having a wide range of extra features at their disposal.
This little camera is extremely versatile thanks to these features, so if you’re trying to enjoy some photography as a secondary pursuit, the ZS50 should be handy.
First off, this product can shoot video in Full HD, so you won’t have to worry about your video quality suffering as a result of its reasonable price point.
You can choose either the AVCHD format or MP4.
The MOS sensor that’s used on this camera is highly sensitive and therefore ideal for use in low-light situations so you won’t need to bring lighting everywhere with you.
Also, this camera features HD slow-motion video at 720p and 100 fps. There is also 200 fps slow-mo at 480p.
Time lapses are also possible thanks to the timelapse feature on this camera, allowing you to add them to your videos for dramatic effect.
- Camera Type: Point and Shoot
- Slow Motion
- Built-in eye viewfinder eliminates outdoor glare on sunny days
- Intelligent Zoom 60x
- A little more expensive
- Extra features focus on photography
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 provides some of the best value for money that you can get out of a digital camera.
While this model may not feature many of the advanced bells and whistles that come with $1000 DSLRs, the B500 sports relative affordability, and a user-friendly design.
Keep in mind that this is one of the more versatile models on this list, as you’ll also be able to take pictures with it, but you’re likely interested in the video features.
- Video Quality: First off, this camera can record video at 1080p and 30 fps, which is impressive for a camera that is primarily geared to shoot photos.
- Convenience: When it comes to convenience, this model is capable of connecting wirelessly with devices using NFC or wifi, making it easy to transfer your video files.
- Vibration Reduction: This camera is also equipped with four-axis vibration reduction technology, ensuring that your videos remain stable, even without a tripod.
- Microphone: The microphone on this camera may not be of the best quality, but it can still capture stereo sound.
While the B500 may not come equipped with a touch display, it will still be easy to navigate thanks to the intuitive layout of the menus.
- Camera Type: Point and Shoot
- 1080p Video Quality
- 4-axis vibration reduction
- 16MP CMOS Sensor
- 40x Optical Zoom
- Only 30 fps recording
- Microphone isn’t up to par
The ELPH 360 from Canon is another excellent option if you’re looking to save money, but you don’t want to give up full HD video quality and portability.
One of the main advantages of this camera is its compactness, as it can just slip right into your pocket.
While this camera may be small, it’s still effective enough to start off your career as a YouTuber.
- Image Stabilization: For example, it features four different image stabilization modes that will work while shooting video.
- Image Processor: Thanks to the DIGIC 4+ image processor in this camera, you won’t have to worry about shooting in low light conditions either. Of course, you can’t expect crystal clear video quality in the dark from a camera in this price range, but it has noticeably less noise than many of its counterparts.
- Transfer Files: If you want to transfer your files, you can choose to do so through a cable, or you can use NFC to connect with a compatible smart device. Overall, this camera is portable and convenient in addition to being affordable.
As with many other Canon cameras, this model uses their convenient Intelligent IS system, which will choose the right mode for you.
This camera is also easy to use for beginners, featuring a simple set of controls that you can learn within the first day.
- Camera Type: Point and Shoot
- 1080p video
- Wireless NFC capability
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to help deliver stunning image quality even in low light
- Controls are small
- Short battery life
This model may not come with all of the additional features that you’ll find in some other cameras, but it does feature a insane video quality for the price.
For those of you looking to record in 4K, you’ll be able to do so at 30 fps, which is as much as you can expect from a camera at such a reasonable price point.
If you prefer 60 fps recording, then you’ll still be able to film at 2.7K, which will look amazing when it’s compressed to the more common 1080p.
When it comes to slow motion, this camera is going to be able to film at 1080p and 120 frames per second slow motion, making it an ideal choice for action scenes. You can even go up to 240 fps at 720p.
The battery life of this camera is also impressive, as it can film for about two hours at full 4K resolution.
The touchscreen on this camera is also a convenient addition that precludes the need for buttons since there isn’t much room on the device itself.
As you would expect from an action camera, this model is focused on stabilization, ruggedness, and superior quality.
- Camera Type: Action
- Range of slow-motion options
- Touchscreen interface
- Small size
- Rugged design
- Not many additional functions
- Poor audio quality
- Lack of versatility
The Logitech C922x is a webcam first and foremost, but it is of the highest quality in it’s price range.
This model is optimized for use by Gamers and other streamers who don’t have to leave their desk to record their videos, making this product both convenient and compact.
The helpful features on this camera include full HD 1080p recording and a wide range of useful features for streamers and vloggers.
For example, you can replace the background while you’re filming thanks to the Personify support. The camera also has an impressive integrated microphone.
If you’re looking to get started filming on your YouTube channel and you’ll primarily be taking video of yourself, this camera is an excellent choice.
The auto focus on this model is also designed for use up close, so you won’t have too many problems with the camera losing focus because of proximity.
If you prefer filming at 60 fps, the C922x (unlike the basic C920) can also shoot at 720p at that frame rate. Unfortunately, this camera suffers when it comes to light correction, so it’s not the best option for rooms that don’t have a dedicated lighting setup. This camera’s interface is also entirely located on your computer.
- Camera Type: Webcam
- H.264 codec speeds up uploads
- Effective auto-focus
- Linked to computer
- Auto-color balance doesn’t work too well
What Kind of Videos Are You Making?
So you’ve decided to make a Youtube channel. If that’s the case, you probably know what kind of videos you’re thinking of producing.
For example, you can choose to become a game streamer, taking to both Youtube and Twitch alike to spread awareness of your channel, in which case you won’t need a very advanced camera.
If you want to start a channel that’s centered around a rigorous activity like hiking or athletics, then you’re going to need a camera that can keep up with you.
One of the best and most well-known options for channels such as these is a GoPro, which will be able to take far more abuse than other models.
Of course, there are many cameras just like the GoPro, which are designed to stay with you and provide your viewers with the rawest experience possible.
Features that you’ll want to look for in these cameras will obviously include durability, which will help protect your investment (these cameras can get pricey).
When creating a channel that’s centered around outdoor activities, you’re going to need a camera that has superior stabilization capabilities when compared to other models.
Since you’re likely to be moving around or not, your footage is going to look like a blurry mess without optical stabilization.
If you plan on vlogging or streaming video games, both of these disciplines have very similar requirements when it comes to the camera that’s going to be capturing you.
While game streamers may not require as much quality as vloggers, they will still be better off with a high-resolution model in case they want to zoom in their face cam.
Most of the time, you’re going to need a camera that has a microphone input, as you’ll be stationary and you can benefit from high-quality audio.
The size of the camera also doesn’t matter that much because you won’t be moving around with it too often, with most channel hosts remaining stationary.
One of the better options you have available as a streamer or a vlogger is a webcam.
Webcams are simpler than other kinds of cameras because they’re designed to work in tandem with your computer. This means that they won’t need any software of their own to operate, saving you money on design and construction.
If you run a lifestyle channel, you may end up doing a bit more moving around than vlog hosts, but you also won’t need the extreme portability that athletic channels need.
As you can see, your needs lie somewhere in the middle of the two previous examples we provided so that you can go with a more versatile camera.
You’ll typically want something that’s still relatively portable, and you’ll also want a microphone input so that the audio quality is acceptable.
Both of these features are rather integral. In the end, you’ll likely be better off with a mid-size DSLR with a input point for a microphone.
Lifestyle channel will also have to consider their lighting setup, as you’ll usually want your subjects to be as visible as possible.
Along with somewhere to mount your microphone, ensure that your new camera is compatible with additional lights, as this is not the case with all models.
How To Get 100% From Your Budget Camera
Finally, you’ll also need accessories to ensure that your camera is working at its best, but there is a wide range of things to choose from. In this part of our guide, we’ll lead you through some of the most important things that you can pick up.
We’ll also cover what you can do to improve your camera.
Get an External Microphone
The first thing that you’ll likely want to examine is the sound quality of your new camera.
While some of the best cameras out there come equipped with an impressive microphone, you’ll find that the vast majority of them will not be sufficient for Youtube.
Without a replacement mic, your voice will likely come out sounding tinny.
Of course, you’re going to have to make sure that your camera supports an external microphone before you jump the gun.
Some of the most affordable cameras and camcorders out there are not compatible with an external microphone, so you’re either stuck with poor audio quality, or you may have to edit it in.
Get a Tripod
Up next, you’re going to need somewhere to place your camera while you’re filming, especially if you won’t be moving around a lot on your channel.
There are a few different kinds of tripods that you’ll have to consider when you’re making your purchase, and they’ll depend on your needs.
First off, you have standard tripods, which are often several feet tall. These tripods are ideal for outdoor use and long-range indoor use.
On the other hand, you have mini-tripods, which are the perfect choice for vloggers and streamers as they will be able to fit on your desk without a problem.
Adjust your Camera’s Settings
Finally, we’ve reached the best thing that you can do when you first receive your camera.
Keep in mind that this advice isn’t for everyone, as you’ll need some working knowledge when it comes to videography or even photography. Adjusting your camera’s settings can provide you with a wide range of benefits.
For example, if you know the conditions that you’re going to be shooting in, you can adjust your camera’s aperture to focus more on the subject.
For example, stationary typically keep the aperture low so that the camera will stay focused on them, but lifestyle Youtubers will prefer a higher aperture.
Choosing a good camera for YouTube beginners doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge, and it certainly isn’t if you know what to look for.
Ensure that you carefully consider your needs and take the time to assemble a list of features that are important to you so that you can find the right model for YOUR needs.
If you want to take a look at even more affordable cameras, check out this guide on best vlogging cameras under $100!
Thanks for reading the article and I hope you made a choice for your own best budget camera for YouTube.