Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
If you've ever gone past a cat making a funny face or witnessed your neighbour having a 20-minute fight with a kangaroo (documented twice a week in Australia) and wasn't able to record it, you know just what the significance of owning a compact and plucky vlogging camera might be.
Since vlogging is typically an on-the-go activity, it is essential that the camera you choose to equip yourself with is relatively small and easy to carry around. After all, you don't want to be stuck with a 5-tonne ginormous filming apparatus that would require additional equipment just for transportation reasons.
In order to find best vlogging camera under $300 currently on the market, I've assembled a list of the 7 different models, each of them possessing their own stats and curious characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the bunch.
Lightweight, boasting a strong battery, or otherwise eliminating the shaky-cam effect, these 7 vlogging cameras are the best of the best in $300 price range, so for all of you who are eager to start recording the shenanigans of your day-to-day life, read on and find most reliable model that would answer to your needs. Here's a brief overview of our picks, before we delve any deeper:
Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 in 2018
Canon Vixia HF R800
1920x1080 Full HD
1920x1080 Full HD
Nikon Coolpix L340
Go Pro Hero4
Ultra HD 4K
2304x1296 Full HD
1920x1080 Full HD
1920x1080 Full HD
Canon Vixia HF R800: Best Zooming Camera
When it comes to video equipment and its many various accessories, Canon is a company that's been supplying the global market with cutting-edge products for years now. One of their most recent efforts is the Vixia HF R800 - a small but powerful camera that can easily compete with the big boys.
Possibly its biggest strength, among many others we'll discuss in a moment, would be its compact size, enabling you to carry it around with you wherever you go and quickly turn it on for instant vlogging power. This can particularly useful if you tend to go on camping trips or road trips quite often, as this little bugger surely won't take up much of your precious space.
Another reassuring aspect of this model would be its powerful battery pack, called the BP-727. It comes in the shape of a little cube, and it can be recharged virtually any place where there's a suitable electrical outlet.
Performance-wise, the Vixia HF R800 brings a lot to the table. Its mighty zooming mechanics, or rather- electronics, enable you to zoom in as many as 57 times, which is enough to cover a live sporting event from a distance or enable you to do some delicate bird-watching.
Since this massive zooming range can take a while to fully come from A to B, so to speak, the folks at Canon made sure to install a special zoom speed setting. The job of this tiny tech tweak is to regulate the zooming feature so that it can go either more quickly or slowly than the stock speed.
To make this happen, they've organized 15 different speeds of zoom, enabling you to create both smooth transitions and sudden, drama-worthy shots all with one camera.
When the storage of your newly-shot video material is in question, the Vixia HF R800 boasts a rather simple and efficient way of transferring data. The video your record is automatically saved on the SD-card you've inserted previously, during the process of shooting itself. What this means is that you can just take the card out afterward, replace it with another one and just continue shooting until your battery runs out.
The File Lock function of this model is there to reassure you that you won't accidentally delete or otherwise alter the video footage you just recorded. Therefore, this model is great for rookies or busy people.
Panasonic HC-V180: Best Value for Money
Packing a powerful recording punch and boasting a pretty impressive design, comes forth the Panasonic's take on the compact and easily-carriable camera, so to speak. The HC-V180-K is a model with a massive objective and a single 'wing' you use to see what you're filming at the moment- as simple as it gets, really.
Speaking of its winged construction, this plucky model comes with a 2.7-inch LCD touchscreen. The result of this cheeky yet quite clever design solution by Panasonic is that the number of buttons on the camera is dramatically reduced.
This, in turn, means that this device sports a rather 'clean' look, in the sense that what you get pretty much amount to a single screen, and then- well, not much else really.
Powering this smallish contraption would be a tough lithium-ion battery. It's rechargeable and the cable is included in the offer, of course.
When it comes to actually recording some footage with one of these mean little devices, you'll be glad to hear that it's got a 5-axis image stabilizer built in. Thanks to this part doing its thing, you can get cutting edge clear images every time, even if your hands shake a little bit.
Another interesting addition to the overall technical arsenal of this camera would be the smart audio zooming solution. This advanced feature comes into the spotlight during video shoots, as it enables your audio to follow the zooming of the camera, meaning that you can not only see at a distance but also hear at the same distance, as well.
Unfortunately, this model does not come with a microphone jack, which surely would have been a great addition. So, if you're after this feature, in particular, we would advise you to try with another camera on this list.
Nikon Coolpix L340: Best Budget Camera
Possibly the most 'standard-looking' camera among our 7 picks comes in the shape of this Nikon Coolpix L340. Even though its build can be described as somewhat bulky, the sheer amount of features you get in this camera more than make up for it.
For example, this model boasts a convenient built-in flash, enabling you to quickly and effectively capture images and videos during the night or in low visibility areas, without previously having to adjust the flash.
Also, this offer includes four new AA-sized alkaline batteries, as well as a camera strap. This little addition can be of massive help because the shape of this camera doesn't really allow for a comfortable one-hand operation.
With the strap well-adjusted, however, you can easily carry it around and shoot your footage with just one hand.
The shooting prowess of this Nikon's Coolpix L340 really comes into play when you take a look at its impressive roster of technical specifications. Lest we bore you with those straight away, though, we'll mention only a couple of them here.
Should you venture to capture something at a distance, you can rely on its 28x optical zoom, providing sharp and clear images at a distance.
Other than that, there is also the CCD sensor with the job of providing HD videos with the roughly same amount of sharpness you'd get when shooting a photo, which is quite impressive.
If you're working with a smaller budget, you can always pick up the refurbished version of this camera instead of the new one. You get all the same features, together with all the necessary accessories and a 90-day warranty from the manufacturer.
- Built-in flash
- Refurbished version available
Go Pro Hero4: Best Outdoors Action Camera
Coming from a company specializing in creating cameras for vlogging and other high-pace adventures, the Go Pro Hero4 is a beauty in every sense of the word. Other than the conspicuous lack of a screen, this little action-packed contraption comes with all kinds of performance-enhancing solutions.
Since GoPro cameras are typically used in sporting environments where you often cover great distances in a short period of time, the folks at GoPro figured to include a smart remote of sorts. This clever solution hands you the power to perform fine tunings and other settings at a distance.
To ensure that whatever it is that you managed to capture on your camera is brought back home in a timely fashion, the Hero4 also has Wi-Fi support, so you can download the shot footage as soon as it's been recorded.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, this model has a processor that's two times stronger than that of its predecessor Hero3. What this means effectively are a shorter reaction time and sharper and more elaborate video footage.
Once you've turned your Hero4 on, you can count on multiple automated processes working for you at the same time. For example, the QuickCapture solution turns your camera into an old-fashioned style kind of model, where all you have to do is press the button to get instant images or video footage.
You can do this without having to meddle with the focus or wait for what seems like the eternity for your capture to be ready.
The auto low light mode that's been built in and calibrated into this model enables you to shoot your images and videos throughout the day, without ever having to set the different amounts of lighting for your camera.
So, whether its day going to dusk or it's dawn and the new day's about to break, you can just continue soldiering on with your Hero4, and the footage will look crisp and well-lit all the same.
As this GoPro model is exceptionally small and offers instant captures of both video and images, it can be a perfect solution for an active outdoorsy person who's into sports. It also comes with all kinds of attachments and holders, so you can strap it to your helmet, snowboard, you name it.
Zoom q4n: Best All-Around Audio Recording Camera
Featuring a curiously-shaped build that resembles a submarine complete with two nosey periscopes, the Q4n is a camera that doesn't disappoint when it comes to the amount and quality of the tech features built-in inside. When all of its arsenal is fully 'spread', it may look like a lizard about to attack its prey, but it actually offers a well-rounded audio-visual experience.
First of all, the power supply for this versatile little camera comes from a small but surprisingly powerful lithium-ion battery. Gracefully, the battery has been included in the offer by the manufacturer.
Perhaps a bit unexpectedly, this little vlogger's camera also comes with a sturdy 3-pronged mount adapter. So, when you've had your fair share of walking around and describing stuff to your audience, you can head back home, pop the camera in its mount, and then assume the position of a news anchor to continue with your speech.
Swinging back to the matters of walking about, the Q3n also comes with a suitable strap. Once you fit it on, the operation becomes significantly easier, and you can cover a wider range than if you were forced to carry it with two hands.
Surely one of the biggest strengths of the mighty Q4n would be its unparalleled audio recording performance. This model's been made so that it supports 24-bit stereo sound blaring at 96 kHz, and it can endure high-pressure sounds with little to no distortion.
This is mostly due to the built-in microphones, which were specifically calibrated to record in surroundings with the high amount of environmental noise. Therefore, if you record in urban areas with lots of passing cars and other sound imperfections, you can count on the Q4n's mics to do one hell of a job of extricating those obstacles and providing the best possible sound quality.
As for the video part of the equation, the quality scale of this model ranges from simple WVGA formats to the high-brow 2.3k resolution. Plenty of power there to cover the needs of a variety of video-shooting situations.
For people who demand the optimal audio quality from their cameras, this Q4n model can be a massive asset, as it offers the settings and ports that enable advanced sound recording and editing.
Wewdigi EV5000 Action Camera: Best for Underwater Video Footage
Assuming the 6th spot on our list and coming from a relatively unknown manufacturer, the Wewdigi EV500 Action Camera combines the simplicity of a GoPro with the big screen you're used to seeing with some other models. That being said, the build of this little camera looks beautiful, and the features don't lag that much behind in quality.
So far on this list, we've only seen one model capable of surviving the harsh outdoors conditions of the wild (the GoPro), but this compact solution from the Wewdigi company asserts itself as the opposition to this well-established brand.
It comes with a sturdy waterproof case, enabling you to dive deep and record the underwater wildlife with ease. Of course, the depth is regulated by the pressure limit (30 meters), so you can't really go too wild.
Despite its positively minute size, this plucky camera can record full HD videos with resolutions up to 1080p. Add to that the 12MP photos, and you've got yourself a well-rounded little cam, that can go a long way both on dry land and underwater.
Also, in order to capture the flashiest moments of your sporting prowess, the Wewdigi EV5000 operates with inbuilt motion detection technology, so don't worry about being out of focus in crucial moments.
Thanks to its specialized protective casing ensuring this camera are watertight, you can use this model to record your diving adventures. Just make sure you don't go deeper than 30 meters, and you should be A-okay.
Zoom q2n: Best for Recording Studio Audio
Last but not least, we've got another Zoom model on the list, and if you take just one look at it, you can immediately tell it's a Zoom product. Over the years, the folks at Zoom have been guilty of creating some of the weirdest-looking cameras on the market, and this q2n model is surely not an exception.
Zoom cameras are, cheekily enough, as a rule, audio-oriented models, so this version too comes with an arsenal of audio equipment.
First off, the massive microphone above the lens represents the audio recorder, and its sheer size is there to ensure you that this curious camera will pick up everything in its surroundings, audio-wise, of course.
As for the video, the files are recorded in MOV format and you can easily pull of resolutions such as 720p or 1080p using one of these cameras.
All things considered, Zoom cameras seem to be primarily made for studio surroundings, as the recording of audio is a big part of this model's appeal.
When you turn this camera rolling, you can count on a clear video quality and ten different scene settings for the optimal capture of a performance. (if it's indeed used in a studio)
Offering easily-adjustable light settings and top-tier quality of the recorded audio, the Zoom's q2n model can be a superb solution for an artist recording their studio-performance.
Best Vlogging Camera under $300 - A Buyer's Guide
Before you venture to actually make a purchase, it's important to keep in mind what are the features you're looking for, and then what are those you could do without. This can not only help you pick a better camera, but also shave a couple of bucks off your bill.
The quality of the video your camera is capable of recording is the most important perk of a vlogging camera, but that doesn't mean you should always go for the one with the biggest zoom or the highest resolution.
For example, if you're an active person, and seek a simple and sturdy camera to record your shenanigans, models from GoPro or Wewdigi can be the best solutions. They offer on-the-go recording with stable image and decent quality and also manage well the light changes of day and night cycles.
On the other hand, recording various public events, or animals, especially at a distance, would require a different set of video properties. Most notably, a powerful zooming camera is a great place to start, and additions such as various filters and stability-enhancers will surely improve the footage of this kind even more.
Since vlogging is an activity that demands excellent footage with clear video as well as audio recording, it's important to look into the audio potential of a camera, too.
As I mentioned above, cameras built for recording movement in a dynamic, sporting environment typically offer only the basic level of audio quality, as the accent is mostly on video and the event at hand.
However, if your primary goal of vlogging is to capture concerts, studio music sessions and other occasions where audio is of great importance, you may want to opt for a camera that has elaborate audio-equipment built in. This would include sizeable microphones, multiple audio jacks, as well as the ability to record sound in exceptionally loud environments, without distorting it.
Sound Quality Comparison
As you already know, vlogging is a specific kind of video shooting that has you always on your feet and on the go. Therefore, you must always ensure that you have the means of handling your camera of choice.
Whether we're talking about straps, mounts or some sort of specialized attachment for vehicles, these little accessories can mean the difference between getting some great video footage, and some pretty poor one.
Also, you should take other relevant small parts such as covers, waterproof cases, and cleaning-related items into consideration as well, as they can make the maintenance of your camera a piece of cake in the long run.
Best Vlogging Camera under $300 - The Final Words
Whether it's capturing your brightest moments of sporting success, or preparing some high-quality audio footage for editing, vlogging cameras can cover a variety of video and audio-recording jobs, and offer cutting-edge performance, despite their small size.
Now, depending on your budget and general needs when the type of footage you want to achieve is in question, your camera of choice may be exceptionally small, boast enormous microphones or offer incredible zoom, but the bottom line is- whatever you need, it would be pretty safe to say you can find it here on this list. Review the models once again if necessary, and make your pick.