Do you want to get into amateur film-making or recording your own videos for YouTube? Want to get a camera that’s better than your smartphone, but not one that will break the bank? Are you wondering what the best budget camera for video is?
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, the goal is to get quality footage – but at a reasonable price. It doesn’t make any sense to spend $2000 or more on camera just to get high-resolution footage for your Instagram or YouTube channel when a more affordable camera would produce the same results. The same applies if you’re an amateur filmmaker who’s just starting out – unless you have a ton of disposable income, why spend four (or five OR six) figures on a pro-level camera when something affordable can produce results that are almost just as good?
So – if you’re on a budget and you have $200-$5000 bucks to spend on a video camera, then you’ve landed in the right place.
Top 3 Best Budget Cameras for Video in 2020
We have taken several factors such as video quality, ease of use, image stabilization, future proof, etc into consideration when listing our top 3 best budget cameras for video.
1. Best Budget Camera for Video: Panasonic Lumix G7
- 16 megapixels, four-thirds CMOS Sensor
- 3840X2060 video resolution
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 320 shots battery life
- Weight – 14.46 oz
If you are in the hunt for the best budget video camera designed for beginners, then look no further from Panasonic Lumix G7. The great thing about this camera is that it works well with photography as well as with video recording in any and all conditions. The Panasonic Lumix G7 has outstanding 4k capture and it will certainly appeal to you if your primary concern is videography or filmmaking.
The Lumix G7 appears and feels just like an entry-level DSLR, with a substantial and comfortable grip. It comes with two adjustment dials in the back and front of the camera’s top and a programmable function button positions inside the rear dial. With this device, you can shoot full HD video at a resolution of 1080p and up to 60 frames per second. In addition to that, the camera provides the support for Ultra HD 4K video. Thanks to its big sensor, there is an enhancement in image quality too.
In terms of video settings and customization, it stands out from others. You can adjust saturation, gamma curves, contrast and noise reduction to their specific styles. Moreover, you get complete control over the device’s dynamic range. It comes with a comprehensive menu and enables you to adjust footage for better post-production grading.
Moreover, you can change lenses and select the options that are appropriate for your purposes. While composing shots through the viewfinder, you can use the device’s touch screen to move the autofocus point. It’s an incredibly fast as well as intuitive feature.
Additional features it includes are in-built flash, in-built panorama mode, silent shutter mode, supports Wi-Fi remote control, in-built RAW processing engine and a lot more. When it comes to battery performance, it is reasonable and offers 90 minutes of footage recording and is claimed to offer 320 on a single charge.
An incredible mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, the Panasonic Lumix G7 is the best choices if you’re looking for a budget camera for video – and it works amazingly as a regular DSLR camera as well.
- 4k video or photo
- Responsive touch screen display
- An electronic shutter allows silent shooting & fast shutter speeds
- Outstanding handgrip
- Dust, dirt & scratch protection
- Not sealed
- Plastic build
- 18 megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor
- 5184X3456 video resolution.
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 500 shots battery life
- Weight – 17.11 oz
If you want on of the best budget cameras for shooting video and you like gadgets with great features, then the Canon EOS Rebel T6 is probably the right choice for you. It is the perfect choice for those who’re looking for an entry point into videography and DSLRs, and in particular it makes sense as an upgrade for those of you who’ve owned a Canon camera previously.
The primary feature of the device is a blend of modern video and photo technologies with an incredibly compact size. Even though it is one of the more affordable options available out there, it can function as an excellent video camera that can almost compete with professional-level video cameras. Thanks to its 18-megapixels, the device can deliver both high quality videos and photos. The device’s 9-point autofocus helps makes your job easier even in the most challenging conditions. In other words, poor lighting or shooting at night won’t be an issue if you’ve got the Rebel T6 on you.
In terms of overall design and comfort, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 has a stylish design and is incredibly comfortable to work with. One of the key advantages of this particular device is a large LCD screen. You can immediately see the video that you just recorded.In addition to that, there are a wide range of modes and filters available to help you make your work more appealing and attractive to others. For instance, you can use a Toy Camera, Fisheye, Miniature effects and a lot of others that will help you nail down the shot that you want.
In terms of battery performance, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 offers 500 shots per charge, and other features includes in-built Wi-Fi, in-built NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Excellent video and image quality
- Support for wireless technology
- Many filters and modes available
- Big sensor
- Value for money
- Great for beginners
- Extremely light weight (important for video)
- Camera focus can be heard on audio
- Some users mentioned faulty wireless synchronization
- 18 megapixel
- 4k (3840X2160p) video resolution
- 30x Optical Zoom
- 5 Axis Image Stabilization
- Weight – 9.90 oz
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60K is very compact in size, making it perfect for the videographer or filmmaker on the move. It features huge 30X optical zoom despite its extremely small, and best of all the ZS60K can shoot 4k video as well. The device’s handling is decent, although it might be a bit too light and small for those who’re used to larger cameras. There is a sculpted rubber grip on the device’s front along with a rubber thump grip on its backside to offer you a firm hold.
The device is a great option for videography and photography Thanks to its ability to shoot in 4k, you can capture details that wouldn’t appear even in full HD. The 5 axis image stabilization helps prevent blur and the 30x zoom can help you capture minute details.
In terms of battery life, due to its smaller size the battery life doesn’t compare particularly well to the other cameras on this list. Like other options available, it supports Wi-Fi connectivity so you can easily transfer your videos and photos to other devices as needed.
With the Panasonic Lumix ZS60K, you can expect a wide range of creative effects and it includes options such as retro, expressive and miniature, etc.
Considering all the things stated here, it is fair to say that if our top choice (the Panasonic Lumix G7) is outside of your price range, then the Panasonic Lumix ZS60K is a good alternative if you’re looking for something cheap (for a camera). In terms of video quality, video customization, ease of use, image stabilization, overall design, and battery performance, it absolutely offers value for money. It’s a tiny camera – and mainly designed around those who need a camera when they travel – but this portability might work in your favor depending on what kind of videos you’re looking to shoot.
- Good video resolution
- Modern viewfinder
- Long job without recharging
- Image stabilization
- Compact size
- Point and shoot size – maybe too small for someone used to proper cameras
- Battery life comparatively poor
- Small sensor
- 16 megapixel, 1/2.3″ BSI-CMOS Sensor
- 4K UHD 2160p
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 250 shot battery life
- 92 oz
In terms of image and video quality, the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is one of the better budget cameras for video available on the market. The build quality of this camera is quite decent, in-line with what you would expect from a Nikon camera.
The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 comes with a huge zoom feature that can enlarge a picture 125 times, which is a unique feature that many other cameras from Nikon don’t have. This zoom function enables you to shoot clear pictures even from very far distances, making it a good option videographers and filmmakers who’re trying to get a specific kinds of shots (think shots of birds, macro shots, and things like that). The great thing about this camera is that it works even in low light. It is a great device for shooting video in Ultra HD and 4K formats.
Moreover, the camera comes with the auto-focus system and a wide array of filters and modes. The battery life and performance delivers you 250 shots on a single charge. Considering the overall design and image stabilization, this camera is a great choice. The one drawback is that it’s more expensive than the other cameras on this list – it’s a step up in terms of price, and (arguably) a step up in terms of quality as well.
- Large zoom
- 4K support
- Clear LCD screen
- Big size
- No-touch control
5. GoPro Hero 7
- 12 megapixel, CMOS sensor
- 4K60 video (3840X2160 video resolution)
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 2 oz
The GoPro Hero 7 being on this list might strike you as strange, but its a fantastic camera for a specific kind of videography, and its affordable. For example – if you want to shoot video underwater, the Gopro is a great option. If you want to shoot a ton of action shots or take video that includes a ton of camera movement, the Gopro has great video stabilization. The Gopro Hero 7 is also extremely beginner friendly – the video you record will come out sharp and smooth, and while it’s definitely not as versatile as the other cameras on this list, if what you want to film involves a lot of camera movement, choosing the GoPro might end up making your life a lot easier.
It’s also social media enabled and comes equipped with a live streaming feature. You can choose cellular or Wi-Fi service. You can deliver a 720p live stream to your favorite social media channels. In terms of connectivity with smartphones, it is reliable and responsive and boasts seamless smartphone integration.
The GoPro is also extremely durable which definitely adds to its allure. There are a number of drawbacks though – it offers far less control than a traditional camera. If you’re looking to develop a videography or film-making skillset, you probably won’t get that from the GoPro. The battery life leaves a lot to be desired in comparison with some of the other cameras on this list – it’s not exactly designed for filming longer videos. Overall, the GoPro is probably only a good choice if you intend to shoot a lot of videos that require a ton of camera movement. If not, you’ll probably want to go with a more traditional style of camera (as an aside, we have a post where review the best GoPro gimbals – so you can avoid shaky cam).
- Ultra-smooth video stabilization
- Great for videos with a lot of camera movement
- Shoot 4K videos
- Time wrap videos
- Short battery life
- Reported overheating during extended use
- Much less control than with a traditional camera
- Won’t improve your camera skills/technique
How to Pick a Right Budget Camera for Video?
We very well understand that choosing the video camera that is perfectly right for you is not an easy job. But, the following factors can help you determine the best budget camera for you.
Without a doubt, a 3840X2160 video resolution stands out from the 1920X1080 resolution in terms of video quality. So, make sure to check pixels before making any real purchase.
The quality of LCD display and electronic viewfinder for accomplishing manual focus plays a remarkable role in videography.
Consider image stabilization twice. It this factor is poor, then shots or pictures are probably to be ruined due to the blur.
If you’re shooting outside often, then you must consider battery life and performance factor. The photography and videography procedure will be stressful and overwhelming if you have to constantly replace batteries or charge batteries.
Another important consideration is the weight of the camera body. Choose the weight of the best budget camera depending on your purposes. Selecting a suitable weight is more important for the device’s ease of use. In other words, the device should feel unproblematic while you’re holding it.
Do You Really Need a Camera for Video?
Before spending your hard-earned money on a camera, ask yourself – do you really need it?
Most of us carry around decent cameras around with us in our pockets in the form of smartphones. Smartphone cameras are actually pretty good (there have been multiple highly regarded films shot only on smartphones). A decent smartphone is actually good enough for the needs of the vast majority of people. Whether you want to record video for social media or you want to try your hand at proper film-making, think about whether or not your needs might be met by the camera that’s already in your pocket.
However, if you have aspirations of a career in film-making, or you need higher quality footage for whatever it is your doing, then you might consider buying a budget camera for video. There are options out there that are affordable and offer a significant step up from your typical smartphone camera. Shooting footage with a camera is also fundamentally different from filming stuff with your phone, so you’ll get some insight into how the pros do it. The affordability of these options means that you won’t need to empty your bank account to get your hands on a camera that’s a step up from your phone, but much more affordable than true “professional-level” cameras (which can run into 6 figures at the high end).