With thousands of video cameras to choose from, it can be difficult to know which are the best video cameras under $300. Of course, if you have enough time (like us) to spend experimenting with cameras and sifting through countless reviews, then you’ll already have the answer to this question.
If not, then you’re probably interested in determining which video cameras deliver the best value for your money and which of them aren’t quite worth it. If you’re short on time and only came searching for the best video cameras under $300, then we’d like for you to take our word for it and to invest in the Panasonic Lumix FZ80.
This camera is world-class that we thought was the best after hours of research. However, if you don’t wish to take our word for it and still need some guidance on how to pick the best video cameras under $300, then you should stick around and read our top purchase consideration in our buyers’ guide and expert reviews of the 4 best products we could find.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Look For in the Best Video Cameras Under $300?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Video Cameras Under $300
- #1: Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Video Camera (Best for Value)
- #2: Canon PowerShot SX540 Digital Video Camera (Best All-Purpose)
- #3: Minolta Digital Video Camera (Best for your Budget)
- #4: Canon Point and Shoot Digital Video Camera (Best for 4K Video)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Conclusion: Your Best Video Cameras Under $300
What Should You Look For in the Best Video Cameras Under $300?
The following are some things that you will have to keep in mind when you’re considering buying a video camera on a budget:
Criteria #1: Portability
We’ve always found that videographers prefer lightweight and compact gear for their projects. This is why you should make it a priority to look for something that you could easily bring along to your shoots.
Small video cameras are bound to feel quite similar to shooting a scene with your smartphone. However, don’t prioritize portability so much that you forget to consider other important features such as the cameras’ resolution or sensor.
Criteria #2: Camera Sensor
It is a popular misconception that the bigger your camera’s sensor will be, the better your image quality will be. However, when we’re talking about the sensor size of compact video cameras, you should avoid getting trapped in this marketing gimmick. You see, thanks to the cutting-edge technologies of today, you can easily capture beautiful and sharp images using smaller sensors.
Criteria #3: Resolution
Megapixels aren’t a problem in cameras nowadays. With the latest advancements in technology, smaller point-and-shoot cameras also have a sufficient amount of megapixels to be able to print a 6.5 ft by 6.5 ft (200cm x 200cm) image.
Gone are the days when photographers seriously considered megapixels as the most important consideration when choosing a camera. Nowadays, even the best smartphones have enough resolution to be able to capture photos for larger prints.
Criteria #4: Zoom
Zoom is among the most important features that you would have to pay attention to while shopping for a video camera. Point and shoot cameras feature optical zoom, which works by zooming the camera’s lens without affecting the image quality. These cameras don’t work with interchangeable lenses, so you will need to buy a camera with optical zoom that would cover a larger range of focal lengths.
However, you should remember that for larger maximum zoom capabilities, you will need a larger camera. Also, you may notice degrading image quality after zooming in with some models of cameras.
Criteria #5: Image Stabilization
This is one feature that helps to reduce the camera’s blur, which is commonly caused because of continuous movement. This is definitely one feature you should look for when you’re buying a camera with larger zoom capabilities or trying to take a photo in low light.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Video Cameras Under $300
To find the best video cameras under $300, we weighed in all of the best specifications of the most popular products in the market. Also, we compared the specs of these products based on the list of considerations we mentioned above to see how well they did and whether they were worth buying.
After double-checking our research, we also checked out blog posts, customer reviews, and other reviewers’ posts about the best video cameras under $300. Now that you know where we got our information from, it’s finally time to dip into our list of products.
#1: Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Video Camera (Best for Value)
The Lumix DC-FZ80 mixes versatility in multimedia recording with long-zoom capabilities. It has a 60x zoom lens that can capture high-resolution photos as well as 4K video functionality. This camera has a high-sensitivity 18.1MP MOS sensor and an ISO 6400 top sensitivity to work in low-light conditions along with a shooting rate of 10 FPS and Ultra High Definition 30p/4K video recording capability at 100 MBPS.
This ½.3 inch high-sensitivity 18.1MP MOS sensor helps photographers deliver a quick overall performance and crisp image quality that is perfect for working in a diverse range of conditions. Its ISO-6400 top sensitivity also supports working in tough lighting conditions and the camera’s shutter allows you to experience a shooting rate of 10 FPS at full resolution with a mechanical shutter.
Reason #1 You Should Get This Camera: 4K Photo/Video Modes
Utilize this camera’s 4K video recording as well as a trio of ultra HD shooting modes to record continuous 8MP pictures at 30FPS shooting rates. This includes 4K Burst, 4K Pre-Burst, and 4K Burst (S/S/). The first option signifies that you will be able to record continuously at 30FPS for about 15 minutes or capture 8MP images. The second option is perfect when you don’t know when a critical moment is about to happen. Therefore, the camera captures 8MP images one second before and after you press the shutter button.
The last option helps to play back videos you have already recorded to choose the perfect moment and save a single 8MP picture.
Reason #2 To Get This Video Camera: Power O.I.S. and 60x Zoom Lens
Lumix’s built-in DC lens covers an expansive focal length range of 20 to 1200mm for wide-angled telephoto shoots. Another feature that will benefit its long reach is its advanced optical design which comes with 6 aspherical elements and totals up to 9 aspherical surfaces. There’s also 3 super-low elements of dispersion to control the fringing of colors as well as a variety of other aberrations for sharpness and high clarity.
#2: Canon PowerShot SX540 Digital Video Camera (Best All-Purpose)
Canon’s PowerShot SX540 has plenty of amazing features, but its 50x optical zoom lens is perhaps the best feature. Equivalent to a 24-1200mm that has image stabilization to produce beautiful optical performance. This camera features the latest High Sensitivity 20.3MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 6 Image Processor, which helps deliver high resolution that is combined with beautiful low-light pictures.
This camera also has a dedicated button for Wi-Fi, so you can easily transfer and share images using NFC and Wi-FI technology. It also features a dedicated button for video capturing so you can easily record 1080p Full HD footage with the improved 60 FPS rate in an MP4 format and stereo sound.
The PowerShot also has the latest Zoom Framing Assist option, which will intelligently control your lens and make it easy to spot the main subject in each shot, even if the subject is constantly moving. Another great feature is the lock button which allows for accurate and quick subject tracking.
Lastly, the SX540 has a 3-inch ide-angle LCD screen with approximately 461,000 dots to allow for easy viewing. If this sounds like the perfect video camera, then, by all means, choose the SX540 for your projects.
#3: Minolta Digital Video Camera (Best for your Budget)
Would you like to turn moments into memories? If so, then this powerful SLR-style Minolta camera with autofocus is worth considering. Here’s why.
This camera has the ability to capture stills with 20MP resolution, all of which can be enlarged or cropped without ever compromising the quality of the image or video. This affordable digital camera also has the ability to record Full HD 1080p videos with vibrant colors and rich details.
Furthermore, this camera has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity so you can share photos and videos with other Wi-Fi-compatible devices, as well as a decent 35x Optical Zoom Lens. Minolta’s MN35Z Digital Video Camera also features Image Stabilization so you can shoot intimate close-ups or long distances.
Some of its advanced shooting features include multi-frame shooting, panorama shooting, time-lapse, face detection, burst shot, HDR, ISO range of 125-6400. Since you’re here looking for the best video cameras under $300, this cameras’ 1080p Full HD video can capture crystal-clear HD videos with a 16:9 widescreen format and a frame rate of 60FPS. The inevitable result of this will be sharper visuals, vibrant colors, and rich detail.
Minolta’s Digital Video Camera also has various progressed shooting modes, which include scene shooting to put together various pictures together to portray a large field of view. Another great feature is its face detection option to recognize your subject in a chaotic environment to streamline openness and naturally center your subject.
You will also appreciate this cameras’ multi-frame shooting feature, which can put together pictures that were capture in fast progression before superimposing them and making a low-clamor picture. Other awesome features include High Dynamic Range shooting, Time Lapse, and Burst Mode.
#4: Canon Point and Shoot Digital Video Camera (Best for 4K Video)
Canon’s PowerShot SX740 can be described as a super-compact point-and-shoot camera. It is portable and small, and its flip-out screen makes it very easy to monitor your pictures even if you’re shooting smack dab in the middle of bright sunlight.
It video records in 4k, which the 3 products above don’t have this feature, which is why it’s a higher-priced video camera.
The built-in lens in this camera produces very decent quality images so that your photos don’t appear grainy because of image noise. However, they aren’t as detailed as the other cameras we have reviewed above. Also, this camera has a great autofocus feature which does a great job of automatically focusing on moving objects such as vehicles. However, this camera does have trouble focusing on moving faces or smaller objects.
Canon’s PowerShot SX740 is a pretty decent camera for travel photography and videography. The image quality is more than just decent and you aren’t going to see a lot of visible image noise. We thought the portable design coupled with its superb autofocus feature did wonders for our projects, although it did so for objects and not faces.
If you’re in it for landscape photography, the very first thing that you will appreciate is its flip-out screen that was very easy to read even under direct sunlight. The 4.3 to 172 mm lens offers a very versatile range for zooming objects that are far away. However, you may struggle to capture images with shallow depth of field, which could be a real struggle in dim lighting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Aperture and How Is It Calculated?
Aperture signifies the size of the hole in a camera’s lens where the light shines through. The bigger this hole will be, the more light will be able to get in. Aperture is also referred to as the ‘f-stop’, and this is usually represented by some number mentioned in the camera’s stats.
The f-stop could range anywhere from f/1 all the way to f/32. Varying sizes of the cameras’ aperture could have a very dramatic effect on your cameras’ photos because it will not only control the exposure but also how blurry the background in the picture will be.
If you don’t know what bokeh means, it is the blurred effect of photos when you’re using big apertures such as f/1.4. What you will need to keep in mind is that the smaller this number will be, the bigger this hole will be. Similarly, the larger this number will be, the smaller your camera’s holes will be.
What Is a Camera’s Depth of Feild and Why Should You Consider It?
A cameras’ depth of field is probably one of the most powerful tools when it comes to photography. “Why”, you ask? Well, you can easily control how much of your subject you want to capture in your picture. For instance, if you’re shooting in a beautiful forest, you will have to use your camera’s deep focus or a deeper depth of field so that the background and foreground will be the main focus.
On the other hand, a shallower depth of field will only focus on smaller areas of the image. For instance, if you would like to capture a puppy’s cute expression, you would have to switch to a shallower depth of field to focus on the dog’s eyes and expression. As a result, your audience will be absolutely captivated by the pup’s eyes since you picked them as the focal point of the image.
Always remember that there is a multitude of ways to play with your camera’s depth of field. This includes the focus distance, choice of aperture, and the kind of camera you are working with.
To put it simply, closer focusing distances and wider apertures will lead to shallower depths of field of view. Learning to experiment with these camera features is among the most creative methods of taking your photography skills to a whole new level and unleashing your artistic style.
Conclusion: Your Best Video Cameras Under $300
Who says that you need a dedicated device for video recording? And who says you need to break the bank to find the perfect camera for your projects?
There are many options available to find the best video cameras under $300. Since we’ve already made your job a lot easier for you, all you need to do is pick the camera that suits your preferences or your intended purposes.
Let’s do you one last favor and give you the breakdown of all the cameras we have reviewed in this post.
The Panasonic LUMIX Digital Video Camera has the best mix of features you could get for its price, even though it isn’t the latest camera on our list.
The Canon PowerShot SX540 Video Camera, on the other hand, is a camera that is the perfect all-rounder for beginners or photographers looking for a camera that fulfills most of your photography and videography needs for the lowest price.
Next, the Minolta Digital Video Camera is the best camera that you can buy within a budget of $300 and still experience more value than premium cameras. Lastly, the Canon Point and Shoot Digital Video Camera has the best video if you want to capture pristine quality 4K videos.