The best low-budget video cameras of 2024

You no longer need a blockbuster budget to shoot your own movies, social content and more.

Five of the best low-budget video cameras on a table

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

Even some of the cheapest camera equipment can let you create seriously impressive cinematic footage in your own front room. With some of the best low-budget video cameras at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever for creators to shoot and share quality footage. Some creators even use low-budget video gear to make full-length movies. Others, such as gamers, will rig them up for some live video streaming to their online channel, with some even specifically designed for streaming, such as the Logitech StreamCam, check out our review.

So, if you aspire to be the next Spielberg or want to go viral on YouTube, you’ll need the right kit. Yes, there are those who will understandably warn against cheap products. When it comes to getting what you pay for, this adage is never truer than with camera technology. But, while some high-end cameras will set you back several thousand pounds, you really don’t have to remortgage the house to enter the world of quality video production.

The best low-budget video cameras of 2024 at a glance:

• Best overall low-budget video camera: Canon SX740 HS PowerShot - View at OnBuy.com
• Best compact low-budget video camera: GoPro HERO9 - Waterproof Sports Camera - View at Amazon
• Best low-budget video camera for kids: Toiauaha 4K Autofocus Vlogging Camera - View at Amazon
• Best low-budget video camera with stabilisation: DJI Osmo Pocket 3-Axis Gimbal Stabiliser with Integrated Camera - View at Amazon

Our experts have taken a look at everything from action cams, and compact cameras to DSLRs - all of which now come with impressive video specs. There’s even an option with a built-in gimbal for serious image stabilisation - ideal for outdoorsy types and videos on the move. But with so many options, what's the best low-budget video camera for your needs? Do you really need a ton of megapixels to shoot great-looking videos? And what if you want to shoot in slow motion? That's where What's The Best's recommendations come in.

But, what is low-budget? For some, it might be anything under £100; and then there are others who would baulk at spending anything less than £1000. For us, knowing that quality cameras are normally in the high hundreds, we're looking at anything under £400 that can still deliver the goods. We've put together a handy buyer's guide to help you choose, plus some of your frequently asked questions at the end of the article too. So, get ready for some impressive tech specs at equally remarkable prices as we take a look at some of the best low-budget video cameras, up next.

Best low-budget video cameras of 2024:

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall

The Canon SX740 HS PowerShot is in our top spot here in more ways than one. Firstly, the price. Yes, this is close to the top of what we are calling a 'low-budget' camera. As mentioned above, low-budget is a bit of a relative term, but there is a price point at which cameras stop delivering reliability, image quality and decent sound - replacing them with the equivalent of filming on a potato.

Secondly, and most importantly, this is the very best Canon for shooting 4K resolution video at an affordable price. So, what are you getting here that, say, a 4K-capable smartphone can't do? Well, for starters you're getting a Canon lens - and a 40x optical zoom at that. A lens with that much optical flexibility is going to increase your creativity with any shoot. And then there's the obligatory flip-out screen - a necessity for video - as well as the ability to shoot stills at 20.3 Megapixels thanks to the CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 processor. One extra feature that will be a welcome addition for anyone frequently transferring their footage to a computer or laptop is the WiFi support and Cannon Connect App. All in all, a fantastic way to get into Canon cameras for video production.

It's also compact, so you can carry this anywhere easily - and with an ISO of up to 3200, it'll help it to handle low light quite well indeed. Image stabilisation and continuous autofocus are an absolute must for shooting video with a compact camera - and this has both. We do wish it supported an external microphone, but the onboard stereo microphone is well-regarded by buyers and anyone who wants better sound can always invest in a cheap clip-on Lavalier microphoneand external audio recorder (your smartphone would do) for professional results here. All in all, this PowerShot is a low-budget powerhouse.

Pros

  • Great for video and photography
  • Flip screen
  • Image stabilization
  • 40x optical zoom
  • WiFi

Cons

  • No high framerates for slow-motion shooting
  • No external mic input so you'll need a separate mic and recorder

Best compact option

GoPro HERO9 - Waterproof Sports CameraAmazon

Rrp: $235.00

Price: $209.99

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Alternative retailers
Best Buy$212.99View offer
B&H Photo Video$249.00View offer

This action cam is probably the most versatile choice on our list - but it's also cutting-edge when it comes to the monstrous 5K resolution. Its tiny body is waterproof to 10m out of the box, features a 12MP camera and the ability to shoot 4K video at 60fps, or 1080p Full HD at a super slow motion 240fps. It comes with a wide-angle lens with a 23.6 MP sensor, a mount that allows for endless accessories and HyperSmooth 3.0 Video Stabilisation for ultra-professional results. I'll even take stills up to 20MP.

It has a handy touchscreen, but also a front-facing screen for easy framing while shooting on your own. Plus it accepts voice commands for hands-free use. Streaming is even supported (although at a maximum of 1080p), and it'll even film at 8x slow-motion. It's hard to find fault with the impressive array of features on offer here, particularly in such a small and rugged unit.

Pros

  • 5K at 60fps / 1080p at 120fps
  • Waterproof
  • Very good Electronic Image Stabilisation
  • Front-facing display for easy framing
  • Plenty of accessories and lens mods
  • Streaming capability
  • Large touchscreen

Cons

  • Onboard mics are not great
  • Picky with SD card specifications - choose an SD card with a good Class rating

Best with stabilisation

 DJI Osmo Pocket 3-Axis Gimbal Stabiliser with Integrated Camera - one of the best low-budget video cameras
Price: $270.90

Drone experts DJI is famous for its stabilised action camera/gimbal hybrid - and it's easy to see why. The DJI Osmo Pocket gives you a 1/2.3-Inch Sensor, that belts out a maximum of 4K video at 60fps. The slim profile is just a touch bigger than a good cigar, and slides right into your pocket, while the 3-axis mortised gimbal provides incredibly smooth footage. You can control your options, which include following and selfie modes and hyper lapses, through the one-inch rear touchscreen, or attach your phone and take advantage of a larger screen via the free app - a great perk for anyone shooting on the go. There's even a fully-featured editing app that will let you quickly and easily assemble your footage - amazing cutting-edge stuff.

Pros

  • Motorised gimbal
  • 4K at 60fps
  • The free (good) phone app and editing app
  • Super-portable

Cons

  • Internal mics are good, but to connect an external mic you'll need a handle accessory

Best for kids

The Toiauaha 4K Autofocus Vlogging Camera is a standout choice in several ways. Firstly, let's talk about its appeal for kids. This camera is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, making it an excellent option for young users. The user-friendly interface ensures that even those new to photography can start capturing high-quality footage with minimal effort.

This camera excels at shooting in 4K resolution. So, what sets it apart from other 4K-capable devices? For starters, it features an advanced autofocus system that ensures your videos are always sharp and clear. The 4K resolution captures every detail with stunning clarity, making your videos look professional. The Toiauaha camera is also packed with clever capturing features. It includes a variety of shooting modes, such as time-lapse and slow-motion, which can add a creative flair to your videos.

All in all, the Toiauaha 4K Autofocus Vlogging Camera is a fantastic way for kids to dive into the world of video capturing. The combination of ease of use, advanced features, and high-quality output makes it a top choice for youngsters.

Pros

  • Simple interface which is easy to use for kids
  • Includes some really intuitive features
  • Available in multiple colours

Cons

  • USB connectivity not the sharpest

Best GoPro alternative

The AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera is an excellent affordable alternative to a GoPro, offering high performance at a fraction of the cost. Designed for all adventures, it’s waterproof up to 131ft, making it ideal for diving, surfing, and other water sports. This versatile camera can record in stunning 4K, 2.7K, and 1080p resolutions, with a higher frames per second the lower the quality.

Equipped with Electronic Image Stabilization, the EK7000 Pro ensures smooth and steady footage even in the most action-packed scenarios. Its intuitive user interface makes it easy to navigate through the camera’s numerous features and settings, so you get the perfect shot every time.

Packed with features, this action camera includes multiple shooting modes, Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing, and a durable design built to withstand treacherous conditions. The AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera is the ultimate budget-friendly option for capturing your adventures.

Pros

  • Super affordable GoPro alternative
  • Waterproof to 131ft
  • Fitted with an intuitive UI and packed with features

Cons

  • No sound when waterproof case is on

Best Full HD

Let's face it - not everyone wants or needs a video camera capable of shooting in 4K resolution. Sometimes what you need is a video camera that's easy to hold in one hand, that's lightweight and just does the job. Here's the Panasonic HC-V380EB, a traditional camcorder that has the trademark build quality you'd expect from this brand. The flexibility of having a 50x optical zoom, hybrid optical/digital image stabilisation and a flippable screen really does make this a low-budget go-to video camera for all occasions. Autofocus will take care of your images as you film, and although there's no external microphone option, you do have a respectable stereo mic built-in.

Simple to use and with HDMI output for watching directly from the camera, this is the video solution for you if you value quick and easy movie-making.

Pros

  • Traditional camcorder form factor
  • 20x optical zoom
  • Wireless connection for easy file downloads
  • Hybrid optical image stabilisation with 5-axis correction
  • Excellent in low light
  • Tiltable screen

Cons

  • No 4K
  • No external mic input - you will need an external mic and compact recorder for professional sound

Best for practicality

 EASYPIX Aquapix
WDV5630
4K Ultra HD Camcorder - Yellow Currys

The EASYPIX Aquapix WDV5630 4K Camcorder makes our list for very good reason. This is an obvious candidate for being considered a low-budget video camera. This is a great practical option for shooting 4K resolution video at an affordable price. You're getting a practical and robust camcorder that is waterproof up to 5 metres. This feature alone makes it perfect for capturing underwater adventures and poolside fun without worrying about damage.

The EASYPIX Aquapix also includes a 3-inch LCD screen, which makes sure you always have a clear view of your subject. Additionally, it can shoot stills at 12 Megapixels, providing high-quality photos alongside your stunning videos. Frequently transferring footage to a computer or laptop has never been easier either, this is courtesy of its extremely straightforward interface and quality connectivity. Its super affordability does not compromise the quality, that much is clear.

The EASYPIX Aquapix WDV5630 is a fantastic way to dive into high-quality video capturing. Its combination of practicality, waterproofing, accessibility, and affordability makes it a top choice.

Pros

  • Practical and durable video camcorder
  • Comes with a 2-year guarantee
  • Simple and smart interface

Cons

  • LCD screen struggles in extreme light

Best for professional video

 Canon Legria HF G70 CamcorderJessops

The Canon Legria HF G70 Camcorder is the most affordable choice for a professional video camera, making it accessible for enthusiasts and professionals alike. When it comes to features, this camcorder excels in nearly every area. It boasts a 3.5-inch touchscreen for easy navigation and precise control. The 20x optical zoom offers remarkable flexibility, allowing you to capture distant subjects with stunning clarity.

Shooting in gorgeous 4K resolution, the Legria HF G70 ensures your videos are crisp and glowing. What sets this camcorder apart is its advanced 5-Axis Image Stabilisation (IS), providing both optical and dynamic image stabilisation. As a result, your footage is guaranteed to remain steady and smooth, even in challenging conditions. The Canon Legria HF G70 Camcorder is an outstanding entry into professional video production, offering exceptional value and performance.

Pros

  • Cheapest premium video camera
  • Customisable shooting
  • 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen and advanced shooting options make for a brilliant, professional experience

Cons

  • No SD cards included

Best 8K

The 8K 64MP Video Camera from Delmodes takes the title the most affordable 8K video camera. Perfect for almost every occasion, you're getting unparalleled value without a compromise for features. You can film at a variety of resolutions, granting flexibility for different projects and needs. The built-in microphone guarantees clear audio capture, and there's still the option to plug one in externally.

Wi-Fi compatibility allows for easy sharing and transferring of your footage, making it easier than ever to upload and edit on the go. Additionally, there's a Webcam function, perfect for high-quality live streaming and video calls. The night vision capability ensures that you can capture clear and detailed videos even in low-light conditions.

This is an 8K 64MP Video Camera providing exceptional performance and versatility at an unbeatable price.

Pros

  • 8K video at an amazing price
  • Possible to film at countless other resolutions too
  • Packed full of intuitive and useful features

Cons

  • Zoom quality not the best

Best for audio

The Ahlirmoy 5K Video Camera Camcorder is a top choice for budget-conscious videographers looking for superior audio capabilities. This low-budget camcorder features an external stereo microphone, with the best audio quality available in its class. Its 5K video resolution delivers stunningly clear and detailed footage to go along with it too.

With onboard Wi-Fi compatibility, this camcorder allows for seamless sharing and transferring of your content. The Webcam function makes it perfect for high-quality live streaming and video calls. Night vision ensures excellent performance even when light is minimal. Even better, the Ahlirmoy camcorder comes with a host of accessories to enhance your filming experience, including a camera bag, HDMI and USB cables, a handheld stabiliser for smooth shots, and a 2.4G remote control for convenient operation.

Pros

  • Fantastic external stereo speaker for picking up precise sound
  • Comes with plenty of essential and additional accessories
  • Excellent range of connectivity

Cons

  • Average zoom capabilities

How to choose the best low-budget video camera for you

Tracking down the best low-budget video cameras is always a dizzying prospect. Each camera has its specific uses, pros and cons - so the one that is best for you is the one that meets your needs.

We recommend putting together a list of priorities - what are the essential features for you? To help you get some fresh perspective on this, here are a few questions to consider.

Are you recording indoors or outdoors?

If you’re looking to vlog from your home office, your needs are very different from someone capturing footage of mountainside trails.

An indoor-based recording will need good low-light performance (unless you have a studio or LED lights) and, generally speaking, a short focal length. If you’re filming outdoors, you need to account for weather protection, video camera weight, and battery life.

Are you recording action?

If you’re capturing action, then you need a camera with quick autofocus and high frame rates. Image stabilisation (in-built or via a gimbal - more on those in our jargon buster, below) will help here, too, as it will ensure that panning and movements are silky smooth.

Are you recording yourself?

If you’re recording yourself, it’s a good idea to pick a video camera with a flip-out screen. This will allow you to make sure you’re in focus - even autofocus can have hiccups from time to time. If you’re recording yourself when you’re walking around, image stabilisation (in-built or via a gimbal) will result in smooth footage. But also don't forget that holding a weighty camera at arms-length is going to be tiring. Consider a hand-held mount for your camera with a decent grip. Or of course, a good old-fashioned tripod if you're not planning on moving around while filming.

Are you travelling with your new video camera?

If so, consider size and weight seriously. Small compact video cameras and action cameras are ideal for travel, as they're portable, particularly for air travel. Most importantly, don't skimp on protecting your new gear with the right cases and bags. We have a definitive list incamera bags if you're looking to transport all your kit around in style and safety.

Are you recording in slow motion?

There’s no denying that slow-motion is huge fun, whether used to see a dog shake off after a bath or during sports. Good quality slow-motion requires as many frames as possible - we recommend 120fps, but 60fps will do at a pinch.

What about sound?

Depending on your choice of best low-budget video camera, if you're recording selfies or simple videos for social media you'll probably be fine with whatever internal microphone is built into your camera. But if you're in the mood for higher-quality audio you'll probably want to invest in an external mic. These can be wired or Bluetooth for wireless connection. Some can be mounted to the camera itself, such as the RØDE Auxiliary VideoMic GO, and others can clip onto your shirt.

Either way, your choice of camera should include some way to connect an external microphone. We recommend you choose your camera first, based on the video quality and features you need, and then investigate microphone connectivity. Many cameras will support Bluetooth connections, others will have a standard 3.5mm mic jack input on the camera itself. If you have neither, a microphone with a 3.5mm jack can be connected to a mobile phone for recording sound that can then be added to your video footage while editing.

Best low-budget video cameras: Frequently asked questions

What features should I look for in a video camera?

This is very much down to your needs. If you're a budding filmmaker, you'll probably want to go for the highest resolution you can afford - which usually means 4K. You may also want to go for a camera with more manual control, particularly with focus and exposure. A stills camera, like the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ82 4K Bridge Camera above, that shoots video is a good option here. But pay attention to your sound options too, as some budget DSLRs don't come with an input for a separate mic.

If you're more of a video blogger, live streamer or casual user you'll need a camera with good automatic settings for exposure and focussing. That way you can be in front of the camera and won't need to worry about anything else. Mic options here are quite important, as your camera should be able to connect to the mic of your choice for better vocals. This will give you cleaner audio in general, particularly when filming outside. If your camera has no external mic input, consider a mic that can connect to your phone for recording audio separately.

What's the best low-budget video camera for filmmaking?

Although a 'film look' can be applied to any footage in post-production, nothing beats a better quality lens. Generally speaking, a DSLR camera will have a lens with a wider diameter than many cheaper video cameras. Better glass means better quality of light. More light will make its way to the sensor, so you'll have more flexibility in the edit. Check out our guide to lenses if you'd like more info to help you choose.

What makes a video camera good in low light?

Low light with cheaper cameras can often present a problem. One of the high-tech elements that help to film in limited light is the sensor of the camera. The better (and more costly ) the sensor, the more it will be able to capture. Many low-budget cameras have digital gain, which can overcome this, but often results in a very grainy picture. The only other way to overcome this is with some equally cost-effective portable LED lights. They're lightweight and can transform your shoots, with small LED ring lights for video blogging and larger LED light panels for larger scenes.

Do I need a tripod?

Any manual handling of any video equipment, even the humble point-and-click camera, can make controlling composition on-the-fly more of a challenge for some. Unless you're lucky enough to have serious image stabilisation in-camera via a gimbal, you probably should consider a tripod. Say goodbye to struggling to get smooth camera movements like pan and tilt. And also it will free up your hands, and you, if you need to be included in your own shot. No camera kit is complete without one; whether that's a flexible table-top version like a Joby GorillaPod or a full-sized fluid-head tripod like the Velbon DV-7000N.

Jargon buster

Frame rate

Frame rate, normally measured in FPS (Frames Per Second) is key when considering any low-budget video camera. Typically, low-cost cameras have framerates that can lead to issues later. For instance, if you're looking to slow a clip down you'll need to stretch the current number of frames to last longer on screen. So, if you've filmed at 25fps, and you need to slow a one-second clip down to last three times as long, your 25 frames will now become around 8fps. That's going to make for a terribly jerky video. So, the higher the frame rate you can afford, the better. Common frame rates are 50fps, 60fps, and 120fps

Resolution

Resolution is the number of pixels that make up each frame of your video, expressed as width x height. As you may imagine, the resolution of cameras is intrinsically linked with that of display screens like TVs. The most common resolution you'll find when it comes to the best low-budget cameras is 4K. That's 3840 x 4320 pixels. If you'd like to know more about this, check out our expert guide to resolution.

Image stabilisation (OIS / EIS)

This is the technology that enables you to film smooth shots even when shooting handheld while on the move. Even mobile phones have image stabilization built into them, but don't be fooled. There are two main types of stabilisation: OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), and EIS (Electronic Image Stabilisation). The former is better - this is normally found in high-end cameras due to the engineering involved. The camera will have internal gimbal systems to keep the internal lens components smoothly balanced. With electronic stabilization, the device analyses the video for shakey movement and adjusts it on-the-fly in the camera. However, to achieve this the image is always cropped at the edges to achieve the smooth motion, this can often create an artificial look. But, keep the camera relatively stable as you shoot, and EIS is a perfectly good solution.

Chris Duffill is a Tech Product Writer for What's The Best. He specialises in audiovisual, computing, and gadgets. He also writes for Yours.

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