best budget video cameras

Best Budget Video Cameras | Top Picks of 2021

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At the beginning of your videography journey, you want the best camera in hand but probably won’t have enough budget. For someone who has gone past that stage, I can relate to you! So, I started hunting for the perfect video camera loaded with the best features – all within my budget of less than $500. Needless to say, it took me a long while to find the right one (but I did manage to find one in the end!)

Knowing how difficult it can be to strike the right balance between quality and price, I decided to research on your behalf. After my research, here I have carefully curated a list of the best budget video cameras under $500. So if you’re looking to invest in an HD video camera, this post is for you – read through to find out more.

Top 5 Best Budget Video Cameras

Canon EOS Rebel T7

canon rebel t7 best camera under $500

Megapixels: 24.1 MPSensor: CMOS Sensor , APS-C
Aspect Ratio: 3:2ISO Range: 100 to 6400 (expandable to 12800)
Lens Mount: Canon EF and EF-S mountStorage: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Flash: InternalWeight : 7.09 oz

Compact, capable, and equipped with the best features, this camera from Canon is worth getting started with. From the battery life to the image stabilization, all features in this budget camera make it perfect for videography. Now let’s run you through its top attributes.

This entry-level DSLR model features versatile imaging capabilities, making it perfect for capturing images and videos. In addition, it features a high and flexible native sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400, which can be extended to ISO 12800. Thanks to this feature, you can comfortably shoot in any lighting conditions (low or high) without worrying about the compromised quality of imagery.

The Canon Rebel EOS T7 is equipped with the 24.1 MP APS-C sensor and the quick DIGIC 4+ image processor. The powerful sensor-processor combination allows you to shoot continuously at full HD 1080/30p video recording.

The camera also flaunts the 9-point phase-detection autofocus system, which delivers quick, accurate, and precise autofocusing. The AI Servo AF mechanism powers the focusing system. This comes in handy when shooting in mixed and low-contrast lighting conditions.

The 3.0″ 920k-dot LCD monitor affords a bright means for live view shooting as well as image playback. Built-in wifi connectivity allows you to seamlessly transfer data from your camera to other connected smart devices too.

Apart from its upgrade sensor, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 doesn’t have any new additions compared to its predecessor. Another drawback of this camera is that it can only record Gull HD videos and not the 4k format. The screen is bright, offering excellent visibility – but a flip screen is what makes a camcorder what it is, right? And that’s missing in this otherwise perfect video camera.

The EOS Rebel T7 delivers exceptional quality photographs. But with only Full HD, the video features of this camera aren’t as up to the mark as they should be.

Pros
  • Powerful image processor
  • Excellent sensor
  • Great wi-fi connectivity
  • Built-in flash
Cons
  • No touch screen LCD
  • No in-built stabilization mechanism
  • No tilting LCD screen
  • Capable to capture HD video only

Olympus Tough TG-6


Megapixels: 12 MPSensor: CMOS, BSI Sensor
Aspect Ratio: 3:2ISO Range: 100 to 12800
Lens Mount: Add ons availableStorage: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Flash: InternalWeight : 8.92 oz

Are you looking for something that looks cool and delivers just as well too? Well, this bright orange camera from Olympus is just the right fit! It has an appealing color and a sleek body, which is power-packed with the best features. So let’s have a look at the fantastic features of this point-and-shoot camera.

The camera features a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor along with a TruePic VIII image processor. Together, the sensor-processor combination delivers high image clarity as well as excellent low light performance. In addition, the sensor’s cover glass design features an anti-reflective coating, which helps suppress flare and ghosting when working in bright conditions.

The ISO 12800 makes it possible for you to carry the camera in any shooting conditions and shoot confidently without worrying about the distorted quality of imagery. With a fast 20fps continuous shooting speed, the camera also offers 4k 30p video recording. You also have the full HD recording feature, which makes this budget camera perfect for videography.

The lens of the Olympus TG-6 spans from wide-angle to telephoto focal lengths, covering 25-100mm. It makes the lens well-suited for a wide range of photographic and videography applications. Additionally, the 4x zoom and the f/2 maximum aperture helps to capture detailed, clear, and vibrant imagery.

The camera features a Field Sensor System, which includes a GPS module, compass, temperature sensor, and manometer. All of these features make the camera well-suited for outdoor shooting sessions.

The camera is designed to withstand a variety of harsh weather conditions. The camera is water, freeze, shock, crush, and dustproof too. The lens of the camera features double-pane glass, which protects the lens from fogging and condensation too. As a result, the quality of imagery is perfect, even underwater.

The design and layout of the camera are simple and easy to understand, making the camera a good choice for beginners. In addition, the good button layout makes it easy to handle the camera and adjust any features. Every feature of this camera makes it one of the best budget video travel cameras.

If you compare this model with the others, it performs exceedingly well in battery life. Another feature that sets this camera apart from the rest is that it offers Raw support. The only drawback this camera comes with is its small sensor size – which only translates into good quality imagery.

Pros
  • Durable and tough build
  • Easy to use layout and interface
Cons
  • No touchscreen support
  • Small sensor size

Panasonic Lumix FZ80


Megapixels: 18.1 MPSensor: CMOS Sensor , APS-C
Aspect Ratio: 3:2ISO Range: 80 to 3200 (expandable to 6400)
Lens Mount: Leica L-mountStorage: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Flash: InternalWeight : 21.72 oz

This model from Panasonic boasts of long-zoom capabilities along with multimedia versatility. The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is a good choice for those looking to invest in a compact camera that delivers excellent video quality. Let’s have a look at the features it offers.

The 60x zoom lens of this camera is what sets it apart from its counterparts in the same price range. With high-resolution stills and 4K video shooting capabilities, this video camera from Panasonic is most definitely worth every penny invested. However, if you compare it with its counterparts, it offers a significantly low ISO range. Despite this, the FZ80 delivers reasonably well, even in low-light conditions.

The video camera features a UHD 4K/30p video recording at 100 Mbps, which is a good feature for a cheap camera. In addition to all these features, you have the Lumix DC Vario lens, which provides a 20-120mm equivalent focal length range. This makes the camera well suited for different photographic and videography applications.

Unlike other cameras, this one features a built-in image stabilization system (Power O.I.S) that controls camera shake and minimizes its appearance in imagery. Thanks to this, the camera is ideally suited for sharper handheld shots.

The video camera comes with a unique focusing method called Post Focus and a focus stacking feature. It makes video shooting even more effortless. Both these techniques enhance your experience as a videographer and allow you to make the most of the camera’s aperture. The FZ80 comes with a 0.2″ live viewfinder and a 3.0″ rear LCD touchscreen monitor too. The touch-sensitive screen ensures you have easy and intuitive access to the menu.

The camera lens has a lot of distortion at the wider end, which leads to fringing and chromatic aberrations. Beyond ISO 3200, the grain starts showing, restricting the ISO sensitivity to 3200. Overall, this is a good video camera, which offers excellent zoom range and a couple of great features.

Pros
  • Excellent zoom capabilities
  • In-built image stabilize
  • Affordable model
Cons
  • LCD is not flexible
  • Expansion in ISO range leads to the appearance of grain

Canon EOS 4000D


Megapixels: 18 MPSensor: CMOS Sensor , APS-C
Aspect Ratio: 3:2ISO Range: 100 to 6400 (expandable to 12800)
Lens Mount: Canon EF and EF-S mountStorage: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Flash: InternalWeight : 15.37 oz

One of Canon’s cheapest SLRs, the EOS 4000D, became an instant hit among photographers and videographers. The bundle of features that this camera boasts makes it one of the best budget cameras for video under $500. So let’s have a look at what makes this camera a popular pick.

The Canon EOS 4000D is packed with a high-performing sensor, equally quick processor, expandable ISO range in a sturdy camera body. The 18 MP sensor makes it well suited to capture images and videos, ensuring the quality of both stays consistent – irrespective of your shooting conditions. The sensor, along with the DIGIC 4+ processor, works amazingly well to ensure a quick, precise, and accurate performance of the camera.

The expandable ISO range of the camera ensures you have bright, vibrant imagery even when shooting in mixed or low light shooting scenarios. In addition, with a 9-point autofocus system and a Full HD recording feature, the camera is well-suited for videography.

The features of the camera are basic and perfect for beginners. At well within $500, the camera also offers other features such as in-built wifi connectivity. The camera has an 18-55mm III kit lens but features no in-built stabilization. It also does not feature Canon’s quiet USM or STM autofocus motors.

The plastic build of the camera may seem to be an issue, thanks to the accessible and easy-to-understand design. The simplified controls and rounded contours make it extremely easy to handle the camera, especially for beginners.

The rear screen of the EOS 4000D and its low resolution is one of the significant drawbacks of the camera. The screen undoubtedly displays images and other menu options of the camera clearly, but it lacks smoothness and detail. The camera’s pop-up flash, too, is sluggish and gets activated after waiting for a long time.

Despite the drawbacks of this camera, it is an excellent cheap video camera, especially if you are starting out. With this camera, you can create accurate, sharp shots with a lot of detail – and don’t forget; you get all these features at an affordable, pocket-friendly price of less than $500.

Pros
  • Easy to understand design and layout
  • Light-weight build
  • Affordable
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
Cons
  • No image stabilization mechanism
  • Slow shutter speed
  • Fit for HD recording only

Panasonic Lumix LX10


Megapixels: 20 MPSensor: CMOS Sensor , APS-C
Aspect Ratio: 3:2ISO Range: 100 to 6400 (expandable to 12800)
Lens Mount: Leica mountStorage: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Flash: InternalWeight : 10.94 oz

Packed in a super-compact body, this model from Panasonic is known to deliver well in different shooting conditions. Its sleek body is loaded with top features, making it one of the best budget video cameras. I’ll run you through the key elements of the camera before we move to the details.

The camera features a large 20.1MP high sensitivity sensor, which enables high-resolution still image and 4K recording – unlike other models, which are restricted to full HD recording only. The expandable ISO sensitivity makes the camera a good choice for shooting in low-light conditions. In addition, the sensitivity offered by the camera ensures you have consistent and color fidelity and toned image clarity.

The Lumix LX10 flaunts the Leica DC Vario-Summilux f/1.4-2.8 zoom lens. The lens makes the camera well suited for different applications. Further, the camera’s lens design is powerful, featuring an 11 element in 9 groups optical structure. The presence of a range of unique elements only adds to the image quality delivered by this model.

The camera can record UHD 4K video at 30p as well as Full HD 1080 video. You can also record 8MP stills at 30fps in three modes – 4K Burst, 4K Pre-Burst, and 4K Burst (S/S). Like most other cameras from Panasonic, this model too has the Post Focus and Focus Stacking features.

The most significant plus point of this camera is that it features 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization. As a result, it compensates for camera shake and cuts down the probability of the appearance of blur when shooting videos.

If I were to list some of the drawbacks of this model, it would most definitely be the mediocre battery life and a not-so-beginner-friendly grip. The hard to feel record button too is annoying, but after using it for some time, you’ll get used to the structure of the camera.

Pros
  • Built-in Flash
  • Compact Design
  • Built-in Image Stabilization mechanism
  • Pocketable structure
Cons
  • No electronic viewfinder
  • Slippery grip

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Type of Camera Are Good For Videography?

When it comes to affordable, budget-friendly cameras, the best you can choose is a DSLR. Within $500, you can get a good quality DSLR with an excellent sensor, quick image processor, focusing capabilities as well as video shooting features.

DSLRs are great for beginners, as they have a simple, user-friendly, and accessible design too. They come with good lenses and give you the flexibility to add lenses, and other accessories are required too. Shooting videos with these lightweight yet sturdy cameras is effortless. You wouldn’t have to worry much about the imagery churned out by these cameras, as they are good enough in that aspect.

2. What Are the Essential Factors To Look For in a Video Camera?

The resolution offered by the cameras should be the foremost factor you look into. Every video camera specifies its output resolution, typically 1080p/Full HD, 4k, or even 8k in the expensive high-end models. So for a start, a camera that offers Full HD and 4k resolution is good to go.

Secondly, image stabilization is a crucial factor. Investing in a camera that does not have a stabilization mechanism can affect your video quality. If the camera does not come with an in-built stabilization, you need to opt for an external stabilizer such as a gimbal, which is a great alternative.

Further, you also need to look into the frame rate, recording limits, and audio quality delivered by the camera. The autofocusing capabilities of the video camera are pretty important too. Apart from this, it would be best to look for the camera’s build and weight. A good, sturdy camera that’s lightweight is always a great option, considering long shooting hours.

3. Is Audio Quality an Essential Factor in Video Cameras?

Yes, along with the quality of the video, the audio quality delivered by the budget video camera is also essential. The built-in microphone of the camera should be able to capture the sound accurately, without any discrepancies. Not all cameras offer good quality microphones, but you can most definitely consider investing in the brands that offer models with good sound quality.

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Marco Downs

Marco Downs is our second founder and he is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers. 

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