Best Video Camera Under 300
Recording high-quality video comes at a cost.
If you want crisp and clear footage, you’re going to have to shell out thousands of dollars… or do you?
In this guide we’re going to show you three top video recording cameras for less than $300, so you can get the quality of video you’re looking for without breaking the bank.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best video camera under 300
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Video Camera Under 300
- Best of the Best: Canon PowerShot SX620
- Runner Up: Sony DSCWX220/B 18.2 MP Digital Camera
- Best for Action: Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Camcorder
Best Video Camera Under 300 Reviews
Canon PowerShot SX620 (👑 Best of the Best)
The best video camera under 300 in our view is the Canon PowerShot SX620.
Canon is one of the top brands for cameras, and its PowerShot series has drawn a lot of attention over the years with some seriously impressive models. The camera we’re focussing our attention on in this guide is the SX620, which comes in at around $300 and is available in black, red, and silver.
The first thing you’ll notice about this camera is that it has a compact design. What’s great about this is that you can easily use it to capture various angles without the need for a tripod to stabilize it. Since it is so light, you can take your video recording to the next level without having to invest in a tripod or other expensive camera equipment. This makes it an excellent choice for spontaneous video recording – the kind which happens when you’re out on an adventure and have a convenient, high-quality one like this in your pocket. You can be ready at a moment’s notice, and this is one of the most important factors for capturing those precious, fleeting moments.
Even if you are in a rush as you go to start recording, the PowerShot SX620 is equipped with an intelligent Image Stablization system that should help keep things steady. Plus, if what you want to shoot is far away, you’ll appreciate the powerful 25x Optical Zoom lens. This is another feature that lends versatility to the camera, as you are able to capture clear footage from a distance away. That makes it as good for capturing wildlife passing in front of you as it does for recording the bird landing in its nest high up in the trees.
The PowerShot SX620 comes with a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and the fast and efficient DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. In layman’s terms, this means you can expect excellent image quality even after the sun goes down. The low light performance of this camera is impressive, so if you’re looking for a camera to take with you on late night video recording sessions, then this is a great option.
As for the video itself, the camera supports 1080p full HD. While this may not 4K, for a point and shoot camera, this is still impressive. Plus, the wide angle lens helps you to capture everything in a wide view, which is great for landscapes. The three inch LCD screen is bright and easy to see, which makes it a lot easier to frame your videos and photos just how you want them. While you might not be making feature-length films or David Attenborough style documentaries with this camera, it’s perfect for those spur of the moment videos and short but sharp footage. The built-in Wi-fi and NFC allows you to then share the videos and images you’ve taken in a flash.
- Available in black, red, and silver
- 25x optical zoom
- Inteligent Image Stabilization
- Built-in WiFi and NFC
- 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 4+ Image Processor
- 1080p Full HD
- 3 inch LCD
- Wide angle lens
Sony DSCWX220/B 18.2 MP Digital Camera (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for the best video camera under 300 is the Sony DSCWX220/B 18.2 MP digital camera.
If you’re looking for a slim, compact point and shoot that’s more affordable than the PowerShot from Canon, but produced by another top brand and with a similar name, the Cyber-shot is your camera. This sleek camera from Sony is the perfect pocket camera for taking high-quality video on the fly. If you want a lightweight camera that you can take with you anywhere in your pocket, and shoot smooth video with, the Cyber-shot is an excellent option. The camera is available in black and gold.
What this camera does well is smooth video footage at a moment’s notice. Unlike our top pick the Canon Powershot SX620, what the Sony Cyber-shot point and shoot offers is ultra smooth 60fps video footage. While the Canon camera and so many other point and shoots only offer a max framerate of 30fps, this affordable model from Sony goes the extra mile to deliver quality video. As a result, you’ll be able to slow the footage down for some epic slo-mo style video and capture moments that seem to pass by in a flash. Plus, Sony doesn’t compromise on the fidelity of the video, offering 1080p full HD so you can capture your subject in glorious detail.
Where the Sony camera doesn’t do as well compared to the Canon PowerShot is with the zoom. This camera has a 10x optical/20x Clear Image Zoom G lens, which is still impressive and should be fine for most video recording situations. The sensor behind the camera is a 18.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X engine. This powerful duo offers excellent low light images, a high level of detail, and effective noise reduction. This is all backed up with Sony’s Optical SteadyShot technology, which steadies the ship when it’s time to take the image or video footage. The lens of the camera moves gyroscopically, compensating for movements that are caused through handheld operation of the camera. The SteadyShot also has Intelligent Active Mode, which lends further stability for when you need to shoot fast moving subjects.
- Available in black and gold
- 10x optical/20x Clear Image Zoom G lens
- 18.2 Megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
- BIONZ X engine
- 1080p in 60fps
- Optical SteadyShot
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Camcorder (💎 Best Camcorder)
If you’re a video purist and it’s all you’re concerned with, then your best bet is to get your hands on a top camcorder, in which case we would strongly recommend the Canon VIXIA HF R800.
If a point and shoot camera isn’t your style, or you simply prefer a camera that’s geared exclusively towards video, a camcorder is a good option. With a camcorder, you can create high-quality documentary-style video, and with this Canon model, you don’t even need to shell out a great deal of money to get this superior video recording experience. This camcorder comes in both a black and a white option.
Every great camera for video has an exceptional screen, which is large and bright enough for you to make out clearly what’s going to be in frame when you shoot. The VIXIA HF is no exception, with a 3 inch touch panel LCD screen which can be seen even when the sun is shining brightly in the middle of the day.
As for the video shooting options available to you with this camcorder, you have advanced 57x zoom, which allows you to capture videos from a long way away if you so desire. There’s also the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer which helps ensure that everything you shoot is steady, so even with handheld video at long distances you can still capture your subjects in stunning detail.
The high-resolution HD CMOS Image Sensor delivers full HD video in natural color, and offers excellent low light performance for when you want to do some nighttime shooting. You can capture video in true 1920×1080 resolution, which should come out rich in color and clear in quality. This kind of footage will look great on any HD tv, so if you’re looking for footage you can show your friends and family this camcorder is worth the investment. Plus, if you like experimenting with different styles of video, you can make the most of the camcorder’s slow and fast motion recording.
- Available in black and white
- 3 inch touch panel LCD screen
- SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
- 57x advanced zoom
- HD CMOS Image Sensor
- 1920×1080 resolution
Cameras are usually an excellent investment, but it can be extremely challenging to wade through all of the technical jargon and figure out which model would be best for you.
With that in mind, we’re going to take you through what we believe are the most important factors to consider for a budget-friendly video camera.
From the types of camera, to the various features, we’ll do our best to break each factor down in simple terms so you can make an informed decision.
Type of Camera
The first thing you’ll need to decide when looking for a video camera is what type will serve you best.
Point and Shoot
The first style of camera worthy of consideration is the point and shoot.
The point and shoot is the camera everyone has likely had at one point in their lives; it’s the small, compact model with a built-in lens.
The greatest advantage this camera offers is its lightweight build and compact design, plus the lack of extra lenses to carry around.
The camcorder is the traditional video-recording camera.
With it, you can capture high-quality video which is tailor-made for your TV.
While this comes at the expense of stills, if video if your main focus a camcorder is the way to go.
The DSLR is a more expensive option, and has interchangeable lenses providing you with more options.
This type of camera is more associated with professional photography, and the results can be impressive.
As far as design goes, there are several factors we’d advise you to pay attention to.
The weight of the camera is important since handheld video shooting requires that the camera isn’t too heavy.
With many point and shoot cameras, the goal is to be light enough to be able to use them at a moment’s notice and from multiple angles while keeping the footage steady.
The size is important, too, since the more compact the better.
With a compact camera, you can simply store it in your pocket, then bring it out to capture moments as they unfold around you.
Generally speaking, a wide lens is the best option for recording video.
With a wide lens, you can capture much more in the frame, which is perfect for shooting landscapes and broad scenes.
If the lens is too narrow, you might be limited to more specific subjects and a tighter view angle.
The screen of any video recording camera is important since you’ll need to see it clearly to know what will be in frame.
You want the screen to be bright enough that you can see it in the daylight, and large enough that you don’t have to squint.
Three inches is considered a good size for a video recording camera.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the most important features of a video camera. This is where the performance of the camera can be assessed, so it’s worth comparing the camera’s features carefully.
The Image Sensor of a camera determines the quality of the stills but also the performance of it.
So if you feel like you’re going to want to be able to record in low light conditions as well as you do in daylight, then it’s worth evaluating the Image Sensor of the camera.
Generally the larger the sensor, the better the camera will be in low light conditions. It’s also useful to find a model that offers a wide range of ISO settings, so you can configure it to suit your needs in the moment.
Image Stabilization is huge.
If you want to record at different levels of zoom or different angles, you want to be sure that the footage won’t be blurry and unfocused.
To ensure this is the case, you want to find a camera that has a quality Image Stabilization system as this will counteract the unsteady nature of handheld shooting.
If you want high quality video, you need to record at the highest resolution possible.
For under $300, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a camera that shoots in 4K, so the next best thing is 1080p full HD.
But there’s more.
The frame rate or fps a camera can record in is also a huge factor.
While most cameras in this price range max out at 30fps, others can record in the ultra smooth 60fps.
60fps certainly isn’t necessary for great video, but it helps keep the footage smooth, and if you want to experiment with slo-mo style footage then it’s a great place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions About Video Cameras under 300
What is the best camera under $300?
In our view, the best camera for recording video under $300 is the Canon PowerShot SX620.
The SX620 is an excellent all-round point and shoot camera that can also shoot in 1080p full HD.
It’s the perfect camera for taking with you on adventures, and whipping out to capture those fleeting moments in great detail.
What is the cheapest camera for filmmaking?
The cheapest camera for filmmaking we believe is the Canon VIXIA HF R800.
While you could go with either of the point and shoot cameras we recommend in our guide, which are great in their own ways, for filmmaking a camcorder is the way to go.
Wih the VIXIA HF R800 you can record at short and long distances without compromising the stability, and capture true 1920x1080p footage that will look fantastic on any HD TV.
Are DSLRs good for filmmaking?
DSLRS are versatile cameras that can produce high quality stills, but also come up with the goods with regards to video recording.
If you’re looking for an affordable way into filmmaking, a DSLR with 4K video recording can be an excellent option.
Large sensors and various lenses help them bridge the gap between point and shoot and camcorders, so you can shoot video worthy of admiration.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Picking out a quality video camera for less than $300 can be challenging, but hopefully with this guide you can make an informed decision.
When looking for the best camera for you, consider the type of camera, the design features we mentioned, and of course the features.