Canon models make excellent vlogging tools, and this 20.2-megapixel PowerShot comes with a little of everything, including a dedicated movie button and Wi-Fi for sharing video clips. It also has an excellent 18x optical zoom if you want to focus on a particular detail for your audience, and an image processor that provides very good image stabilization for a camera this price (and size).
That in mind, when you begin your vlogging career, there is a strong likelihood that you won’t have that much money to spend on equipment. However, we strongly suggest investing in a dedicated vlogging camera instead of just using your phone or webcam. Why? Your audience, big or small, will appreciate the added quality – plus they’ll probably be able to tell – and should help you build subscribers faster.
#1 Canon PowerShot SX610 HS – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300
- Dedicated video button
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Image optimization
- Most modes designed for photos, not video
- Wi-Fi is a little too focused on social media
- No 4k video option
The Canon PowerShot line is popular even among top YouTubers, and this model remains highly affordable while still providing image stabilization, 1080p video, and a dedicated video button for quickly capturing the moment as necessary.
The Canon Camera Connect app is also an excellent way to control the camera remotely during shoots, and will automatically launch when you link your camera…it’s primarily designed to work with Android, although there is an iOS version available with only slightly less functionality.
If this is the best vlogging camera under $300 option – and we think it is – the SX610 also shows why most vlogging cameras cost more than this. Some niche video features, like slow-motion video capture, aren’t present, although most vloggers may not mind this absence. The connectivity is a little limited when it comes to transferring video clips (although Google Drive helps), and there could be more room for large professional accessories. It’s an excellent starter camera for your vlogging passion, but there’s also definitely room to grow.
#2 Panasonic Lumix ZS50 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 For At Home Vlogging
- High-speed 100fps – 200fps video mode
- Good low light performance
- Powerful image stabilization
- Controls are a little awkward
- Too many features focused only on photos
- Not very durable, not great for outdoor performance
This Lumix model is a surprisingly powerful camera for its size and price. In addition that that interesting extra-high-speed video mode, you also have a good hybrid sensor for image stabilization and the ability to record in both AVCHD and MP4 (a useful feature that not all cameras in this range include).
However, the controls are a little awkward to use, especially for video capture, and many of the features are available only when taking still images, which may reduce the value based on your plans. This camera is also a bit fragile and doesn’t handle exposure to moisture or dust very well, making it better suited to at-home work.
#3 GoPro Hero5 Session – Best Vlogging Action Camera Under $300
- Stabilized4k video options
- Instant on/recording option
- Waterproof and durable
- No LCD screen on the model for viewing images
- GoPro mounting isn’t suitable for all activities
- Voice control is a bit unnecessary
A GoPro model like this makes a perfect choice for outdoor and adventure vlogging. If you like to be on the move, take a look at this Hero: It takes excellent 4k video, it’s easy to control from the app, and it has great image stabilization for when things start to get wild.
While they mount easily to helmets or equipment, you may want something a bit more suited for quieter indoor filming if that’s what your vlog is about. Controls are also a bit finicky – there’s no LCD screen on the model – which means you have to pull out your phone and use the app to review footage or change any settings, a time-consuming option no matter where you’re at.
#4 Nikon Coolpix L340 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 For Casual Vloggers
- Automated mode selection
- Simple, intuitive controls
- Great optical zoom if you want to get closer
- No 1080p HD option
- Lack of video modes
- No connectivity options outside USB cable
This Coolpix model shows you everything you get: A big lens with lots of optical zoom, a durable design with simple controls, and some handy software to select the best of 16 different screen modes for you. And…that’s about it. It’s well regarded as an ideal choice for beginners who want an affordable camera to start with and fits that role perfectly.
However, it’s disappointing to see that there’s not much more to this camera. Everything is just a little too simplified. The lack of wireless connectivity is pretty annoying in the modern age, and video can’t go above 720p, which may be a resolution too low for your vlogging plans.
#5 Canon Vixia HF R72 – Top Camcorder for Vlogging Under $300
- Great image stabilization for video
- Plenty of video recording options
- Can hold 12 hours of video
- No photo capabilities
- Not all video modes cater to vlogging
- May take more learning than a traditional camera
A camcorder may be just what you need for vlogging, and this highly affordable model comes with all the video features you could want (well, except for 4k, which is sadly lacking) making it a top pick and one of the best vlogging cameras under $300. It has a variety of different modes including slow motion, fast motion, dual format recording, and even a baby mode. It comes with both NFC and Wi-Fi for fast file transfer, plus remote wireless control for live streaming or other projects.
Amidst all these great features, it’s important to remember that yes, the Vixia is a camcorder, so it can’t take still photos and it’s more difficult to operate than a traditional camera. Again, it’s important to think carefully about how you will use the camera.
#6 Fujifilm FinePix S8600 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $200
- Plenty of filter options
- Excellent optical zoom
- Durable for such a large lens
- Video is low-quality compared to alternative cameras
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
- Lack of video stabilization
This model gets a recommendation because 1) it’s highly affordable, and 2) it’s great at taking pictures and then instantly switching to video when necessary. If your vlog is more a mix of videos, picture galleries, and other types of content, this could be the perfect fit for your work.
However, the video features come up short if that’s all you’re interested in. Recording maxes out at 720p and 30fps, which may be too low for your top-notch video dreams. Additionally, there’s no wireless connectivity and a lack of features designed to benefit video specifically.
Nevertheless, it still makes our list of best vlogging cameras under $300 thanks to its low price point and over all veratiltity.
What to Buy When You Save Up More Funds
An affordable vlogging camera is a great start, but if you are new to vlogging, you will probably need some extra accessories as well.
The good news is that you can find important additions like video editing software for free downloads on a variety of devices, so all this will cost you is time.
However, some other accessories can be more expensive, ranging from $20 to $100. We aren’t saying you need all of them, but we do want to talk about how important certain accessories are once you are ready to invest some more money.
- Today’s high-tech camera stands are designed to attach to pretty much anything, allowing you to explore with a lot of different positions before you are ready to start filming. They are also one of the most affordable accessories, making this a smart first purchase. Note that some camera kits will include a camera tripod or equivalent stand, so check to see what the camera includes before you buy a separate version.
- Lighting rigs can be expensive, and with the right light you don’t really need them, so it’s probably fine to hold off on this expense.
- The exception, and it’s a big one, is if you are doing a makeup vlog or similar cosmetic-focused vlog. Here you will need a “ring light” or one of those handy mirrors with a light strip encircling it. It’s very difficult to find the right illumination for your face when you are vlogging about cosmetics (while also being able to see what you’re doing). One of these ring light mirrors is probably a necessary purchase.
- While many vlogging cameras are able to capture audio, they don’t always do well enough, especially in particularly noisy environments.
- Directional mics (vs omnidirectional) attach to the camera and allow for much more accurate audio. However, they can become expensive, and require extra maintenance time.
- If you are vlogging in the quiet of your home and yard, one of these mics may not be necessary. If you are vlogging out on the streets, you may want to start saving up for one.
- Backdrops may be necessary if you are filming at home and want to add some privacy (or want to create a green screen for digital effects).
- The good news is that backdrops are pretty easy to create with a cheap purchase, or even using carefully placed sheets that you may already have. This is a low-cost accessory, although it may take some work to get just right.
- The good news is that you probably already have a memory card that’s compatible with your camera, although you should double-check to be sure.
- Some camera kits may come with memory cards, but this isn’t very common at the moment. If you don’t have a memory card, take a look at the camera’s wireless services to see if you can move video quickly onto another device or into the cloud.
- If these solutions don’t work, then it’s probably time to buy a memory card, because video can take up a lot of storage space. Fortunately, SD cards and similar storage solutions have become quite affordable.
What Platform Should I Vlog On?
This is another very common question that new vloggers have: Where should they start posting their videos? YouTube is good, right? What about social media sites? Should you get your own website?
First, no perfect arrangement of platforms exists: it changes based on your time, expertise, and vlogging goals. Second, videos are very easy to share and upload around the internet on a variety of platforms, so don’t worry too much about being locked into a specific platform. Here are a few more handy platform tips you may want to review:
- Starting on YouTube is fine. If you don’t have a lot of time, focusing solely on YouTube is a great idea. Many very successful professional vloggers never expand beyond YouTube because they never need to. However, knowing how to monetize on YouTube is also important. The top YouTuber’s make $10+ million. You read that right.
- A personal website is a good idea. It’s nice to have a place to publish your videos beyond a YouTube channel – this gets you more online visibility and it’s a neat way to add articles or updates if you ever need to use text…or sell related products that you may be producing. However, running a website takes a lot more time and investment than managing a YouTube channel. Plus, we recommend embedding your YouTube videos here as it will help you grow your YT channel.
- Sharing on social media is effortless. Create social media profiles for your vlog. Then, whenever you post a new video to YouTube, create new posts on platforms like Twitter and Facebook for those videos. Work toward synergy between YouTube and social media sites so you can increase your audience this way. But beware: Facebook and YouTube are at odds. So you’ll likely want to upload videos to each platform to maximize their impact and traction.
Other video platforms are mostly optional: Sites like Vimeo and other video sharing tools aren’t necessary to success. They may help a bit with SEO and audience expansion, but don’t feel forced to use them. However, it’s smart to pay attention to the latest video platforms, where people are spending their time, and what tools are getting the most buzz, just to stay on top