best camera for filmmaking under $300

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Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera best camera for filmmaking under 500, best video camera under 2000. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012 this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past its sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.

Nowadays you can get a camera for as low as 300 dollars or less. Let’s be realistic for a moment, though.

You won’t be getting one on the same level as a DSLR camera, which are the high-tech expensive cameras that professionals use. Even if you can afford it, chances are, you won’t be able to use it to its full potential.

They usually have to be manually adjusted to get the best results for each situation.

Instead, what you want is a simple digital camera. Perfect for your regular photography activities. They don’t cost much and are fun to use. Let’s be honest here, it’s cooler and more fun to use a camera over a phone.

In this guide, I’ll list the best cameras you can get for 300 or less. I’ll also tell you what to look for and avoid when buying your first camera. By the end of this guide, you’ll hopefully have a solid grasp on what you need to get and what you need to stay away from.

The Cameras

  1. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS
    This is perhaps the one that encapsulates it all. If you want a first camera that packs all the best features, this is the one.

The camera shoots pictures at 20.3MP with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor which gives some jaw-dropping images. The camera also films video in full HD 1080p. So in terms of performance, you really get nothing but the best with this one.

The Canon Powershot SX720 HS also packs plenty of features beyond its great performance. It has a 40x optical zoom lens. So if you want a camera with a great zoom that doesn’t drop in quality this is a great choice.

Moreover, you get built-in WI-FI which is important for file transfer. Trust me, you don’t want Bluetooth or, god forbid, cable transfer.

In terms of design, the camera has a wonderfully compact and sleek design. It is also remarkably light which means you can put it in your pocket. It’s very easy to handle and use as well.

The buttons and controls are streamlined and easy to comprehend. This is overall, my best recommendation if you just generally want a good first camera.

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS (Black)
Canon PowerShot SX720 HS (Black)
Powerful 40x Optical Zoom with Intelligent IS helps optimize image stabilization for virtually shake…
Built in WiFi and NFC allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos
20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC 6 Image Processor helps deliver stunning image quality even in…
Capture spectacular 1080p Full HD video at 60p with stereo sound
Large 3.0 inch LCD (approx. 922,000 dots) allows easy viewing even from a wide angle
$349.00
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  1. Fujifilm FinePix XP140
    This one is for the adventurous photographers out there. If you are looking for durability at a budget, this is the camera for you.

First, you get image quality at 16MP with a decently sized sensor. On top of that, it records video at 4K which is something you don’t see often in this price range. This one is a big catch for those who want to film their travel vlogs.

Fujifilm FinePix XP140 packs big guns when it comes to durability. It is waterproof up to 82 feet underwater.

You can drop it from 5.9 feet and it’ll still function (I don’t recommend you do that underground). It also functions in +14 F degrees. This is one very tough camera. If you travel and need a durable one, this is what you need.

In terms of design, I love the color selections. Bright green and black are great colors for practical purposes.

The color is so hard to miss in case you drop your camera underwater or in the snow, etc. It comes packed with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (if that matters to you). It’s also easy to use and grips nicely in your hand.

You can easily use the camera with one hand. If you’re a risk-taking traveler who visits exotic places and needs a durable camera on the go, look no further.

Fujifilm FinePix XP140 Waterproof Digital Camera w/16GB SD Card – Yellow
Fujifilm FinePix XP140 Waterproof Digital Camera w/16GB SD Card – Yellow
Is 100-12800, allowing for lots of light and extremely fast shutter speed
Waterproof to 82 ft. , shockproof up to 5. 9 ft., freeze proof to 14º f and dustproof
Smile shutter – The new feature automatically takes the photo. When you select “smile shutter”…
4K/15P video – capture the world around you in ultra-high definition with the 4K movie capability…
Bluetooth capability – the newly installed Bluetooth low energy technology allows automatic and…
$337.99
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  1. Nikon Coolpix B500
    If what you really care about is zoom. Say you’re a sports or wildlife photographer and need the best zoom function for a budget.

The best option seems to be the Nikon Coolpix B500. For a very reasonable price, it features 40x optical zoom and 80x digital zoom which is staggering.

The camera shoots images at a modest 16MP which is good enough. It also films videos at a reliable 1080p resolution. So if you want to pair good image quality with impeccable zoom, this is it.

In terms of connectivity, the camera offers SnapBridge. A service that pairs the camera with your smartphone and sends pictures to it as you take them. It is a handy feature and something exclusive to Nikon cameras.

If that’s not your thing, don’t worry. The camera still has built-in WI-FI. It also has a tilting screen which is impressive. You don’t usually get that with cameras in this price range.

While this camera isn’t compact, instead, it is a mid-sized bridge camera. It’s a little bulky but not terribly designed or built at all.

On the contrary, the grip is nice and comfortable. It makes the camera feel secure in your hand.

You just won’t be shooting with one hand or putting this one in your pocket. If you pick this one, get yourself a camera bag and get rolling.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)
Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)
16 megapixel 1/2.3 inches BSI CMOS sensor
Nikkor f/3.0 6.5 millimeter ED lens
22.5 900 millimeter (35 millimeter equivalent)
40x optical zoom lens, 80x dynamic zoom
3 inches 921k dot tilting LCD. Highest ISO sensitivity: 6400
$296.95
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  1. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10
    This beautiful little camera is perfect for those who are looking for a cool vintage feature. It shoots pictures at 3.6MP. It can take a maximum of 50 pictures at a time. That is unless you add an SD card.

The camera has a cool polaroid camera design. The reason why this beautiful camera costs 279 is that it has an instant, built-in printer.

If you take a picture you can instantly print it and put it in your wallet, hang it on the fridge or add it to your photo album. This is the main feature of this camera.

If you don’t care about having a standard camera and instead just want a cool camera that prints photos like those polaroid cameras from old movies, Fujifilm got you covered.

This one really wakes up the geek inside you. It feels nice to handle despite its bulky design. It has a built-in printer inside it, after all.

It is super simple to use. Way more streamlined than previous items on this guide. You get a couple of shooting modes, a timer, and a few other simple controls.

Be wary of film cost though. You need to buy a pack of film which has 10 pictures. So, if you want something cool to take pictures with, this is it.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid Instant Camera – Black
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid Instant Camera – Black
Prints on new larger square Instax film (2.4” x 2.4”)
Hybrid design lets you preview and edit your image before you print
View your photos and change settings on the large 3” LCD screen
Select your photo and apply any of the 10 fun creative Filters
Save your images to the internal memory or micro SD card then share online

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 – Best Control (Fully Manual Mode)

The Good
Fully manual mode
1080p60
Timelapse mode
Small and lightweight
The Bad
Small sensor
Low battery life
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The good thing about a camera without mic input is that you will get other features for a good price. In the case of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50, you will get a fully manual mode, RAW support, and more ISO to work in low light.

But the main difference, besides this one being a lot heavier than the Canon ELPH360 HS, is that you can control your camera a lot more. This is extremely useful, of course, if you know how to play with the manual settings. Although the thing you will need the most as a vlogger is the manual focusing to make sure the camera doesn’t stop focusing on you at a random moment, and both cameras do have this feature.

The ZS50 is more of a vlogging camera for photographers. You can play a lot with it and still record 1080p60 video. This means that you can also record slow-motion, and it even includes a timelapse mode.

The most important downside is that it is a quite heavy camera for its size, which can make it difficult to carry around, although not as much as more dSLR-like cameras.

Still, it has average battery life duration, although better than most compact cameras (300 shots) and WiFi. It’s just missing an articulating screen and touchscreen.

GoPro HERO8 Black – Best Resolution

The Good
4k60p video
120fps slow-motion
Rugged and waterproof up 33ft
POV camera
The Bad
No zoom​​​​​
Shouldn’t be used for daily vlogging
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GoPro cameras are for very specific needs, and a lot of vloggers find in them a lot of usefulness, so it’s a pretty popular camera for YouTube channels.

They seem to be extremely good for their price: most of them can record 4k video and they resist incredibly tough environments, so it almost seems like a steal.

The GoPro HERO8 Black achieves all this. It is an extremely small camera that can record 4k at 60 fps and can resist up to 33ft of water.

It is a camera made for hitting rec and start doing your thing without having to think about manual settings and still record incredibly high-quality video. And it can also achieve stunning slow motion thanks to its 1080p120 mode.

But a lot of vloggers don’t know that these cameras are made for very specific needs, and “for vlogging” is not specific enough.

What I mean is the following:

They are made for recording during the day, and specifically for situations that require a fish-eye lens. You cannot choose to stop using fish-eye with these cameras, and that’s a big deal if you plan to record all your vlogs with it.

That’s why this camera of really good value if you plan to record action videos, but not more than that. Fish-eye lenses give everything a bizarre, unnatural look. And since they’re made for recordings under de sunlight, their color balance is extremely cold if you’re indoors or at night.

This is a type of camera that can achieve what others can’t, but it can’t either achieve what others can. Don’t use it as a daily-vlog camera.

GoPro Hero 7 Silver – Best Luggability

The Good
​4kp30 video
Touchscreen, WiFi and ​Bluetooth
Very small and pocketable
The Bad
Fisheye lens effect that can make people sick
No external mic input
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GoPros are one of those affordable cameras that can do awesome things.

However, there are good reasons why they are so cheap: they don’t work in every situation.

These cameras have a fisheye lens that will make people get a bit sick if they watch for too long.

So, I wouldn’t recommend them as your main vlogging camera.

Also, their microphones are terrible, so you will for sure need to use an external microphone.

This HERO7 silver model is the cheaper one, and unlike the HERO8 Black, it doesn’t come with an external mic jack.

This means that you’ll need to connect your microphone to your smartphone and use it as an external recorder.

However, the camera is capable of recording really smooth 4k footage.

It also has great stabilization and tons of other features like WiFi, Bluetooth, and a touchscreen.

Just don’t use it for every video you want to make.

Use it for action, or sports-like footage and you’ll find that it is a great investment.

My recommendation: use your smartphone’s camera for most of your vlogging content, and use this one for your action footage.

Nikon COOLPIX B500 – Cheapest Option Within The $200-300 Range

The Good
​WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth
Really good battery life
Cheap
The Bad
Heavy (1.19lb)
No manual focus
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Even though most good vlogging cameras are luggable and easy to carry around, some vloggers like to work from home, and you can give up some luggability for better quality video. This is what the Nikon COOLPIX B500 offers.

This camera can record 1080p video, and has good low-light performance with ISO up to 3,200 and has great battery life.

Still, bear in mind that it doesn’t have a manual focusing mode, so you will need to rely on the autofocus. This is not a problem if you record from home, as the camera won’t need to hunt between different moving subjects if you keep it stationary. If you use this camera on a tripod to record your videos, you will find that this camera gives great quality for the price.

It is basically the best one for indoors recording thanks to its increased ISO capacity and low image noise, but it’s still a camera you would need to use with good lighting.

Canon VIXIA HF R800 – Most Vlogging-Friendly Choice

The Good
​1080p60 video
Flip screen and external mic. port​
Good battery life
Internal memory (32gb)
The Bad
Same R800 Camera but with internal memory and WiFi
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This one is the improved version of the cheaper Canon VIXIA HF R800.

Even though camcorders are not the best type of camera for low-light recording, this one does a better job than others at this price range. Its price for the image quality is probably the best on the market.

It is a really light camcorder with flip touchscreen, WiFi and decent battery life.

One of its best features is the fast lens: f1.8 at wide will help you a lot in low light. It will also give that cool blurred background effect everyone loves, as long as you set the minimum zoom.

It’s missing a real manual exposure mode, as it’s in the consumer level of the camcorder market. However, its fast lens and articulated screen makes it stand out from the rest of the cameras here.

Still, that doesn’t make it the best option for recording in low-light. Remember that even though its fast lens helps a lot when compared to other cameras of this category, it’s still a camcorder. It still has a smaller sensor than most of the other cameras here, so it really doesn’t outperforms the others if you need to record indoors or at night time.

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