Best YouTube Camera Under $300

Vukasin Ilic 10 min read
Table of Contents

If you’re on a strict budget but want to invest in a good camera for making YouTube videos, you can find great devices for less than $300. However, finding these cameras can be tough. You can search for Best Cameras for Under $300 and pull up plenty of lists of cameras that cost a lot more.

This can be frustrating.

That’s why this guide aims to do exactly as it says. List off the best YouTube cameras available that cost less than $300.

There is something for everyone here, from action cameras to camcorders with different video resolutions and frame rates. There are ones that you can get brand new for under $300, and others that are second-hand.

So, if you’re looking to buy a great camera for under $300 that you can use for your YouTube channel, this is the list for you.

There is also information on what you need to pay attention to when getting one of these cameras so that you pick the best one for your style, and some alternative gear that you might prefer to spend your budget on.

What To Look For In a Good YouTube Camera

Size, Weight, Ruggedness, and Waterproofing

When you start searching for a YouTube camera, you should think about which conditions you’re going to use it in.

Will you be keeping it in a studio area in your home or office? Or will you be taking it on your travels? Maybe you want a camera to film your sporty lifestyle.

All of this needs to be taken into consideration. Most home studio cameras aren’t a good fit for sporty activities.

They’re too big, heavy, and can get damaged easily. Action cameras are the best option for taking on adventures as they are sturdy, small, and waterproof, but they aren’t always the best fit for the studio.

Video Resolution

Next, you need to think about video resolution. Lots of cameras can shoot in 5k nowadays, but it’s unlikely you’ll find one for less than $300. 1080p works perfectly well for YouTube and has become the standard resolution on the platform. Try to find a camera that doesn’t go below this value.

Frame Rate

A standard frame rate of 24 to 30 frames per second will work well in most cases. However, if you’re planning on having slow-motion shots, you’ll need to aim higher. 60fps is the minimum you’ll need, but this can start to stretch your budget.

Audio Quality

If your entire budget is going on your camera, ensure you find one that has a good built-in microphone. You can have the best visuals on YouTube, but if your audio sounds bad, you’re not going to get many subscribers.

Best New YouTube Cameras Under $300

Buying a brand new camera for under $300 can be difficult. As technological advances are made, older models are discontinued or aren’t considered good enough for YouTube videos. However, there are various new cameras that can give you the quality you need for under $300. Here they are:

Sony CX405

The Sony CX405 is a compact camcorder with a 2.7-inch flip screen. It can record in 1080p at 60fps, which is perfect for YouTube’s recommended settings.

It can be used handheld or with a tripod, making it a great choice for both studio creators and travelers. You wouldn’t strap it to your helmet and cycle down a mountain, but it’s great for travel vlogs.

One downside is that it doesn’t have an external microphone input. There are voice enhancement and noise reduction functions which give it pretty good sound quality, but using an external mic can drastically improve your audio, especially when outdoors or in large rooms.

Camcorders tend to have good zooming capabilities due to their long-format size, and the CX405 is no exception. It has 60x clear image zoom and 30x optical zoom. Another reason why it’s great for bringing outdoors.

It has face detection, making it easier to focus on you before recording. This can save you time as you don’t have to go back and forth to make sure you’re in focus.


This is a great camcorder for just under $300. It has good resolution, frame rate, and audio quality. It’s handheld and compact, making it a decent choice for travel vloggers and studio creators. The lack of an external mic input brings it down a few points, but that shouldn't be enough to make you avoid it completely.


  • 1080p video resolution
  • 60fps frame rate
  • 60x clear image zoom/30x optical zoom
  • Flip screen
  • Anti-shake
  • Face detection
  • Voice enhancement audio

GoPro Hero8

The Hero8 isn’t the most recent GoPro, but it still towers above many cameras in its price range. It’s one of the few that can shoot in 4k that cost less than $300 and can even live stream.

Its stabilization system can help you avoid shaky footage, and its compact size makes it amazing for outdoor activities. It’s even waterproof to a depth of 33ft (10m) and really sturdy, so you can use it for diving into the ocean or from a plane.

The battery life can be disappointing. Filming in 4k can drain your power quickly. You can remove the battery and replace it with a spare, but you’ll have to be tactical with when you can stop recording.

GoPros tend to be known for their fish-eye effect, which isn’t always the best choice, especially in the studio. However, the Hero8 has four digital lenses, one of which is linear. This means that you can reduce the fish-eye look for more standard visuals.

The linear lens also comes with a horizon-leveling system. This means you can tilt the camera up to around 45º without the image moving off the horizontal. Another plus for sporty vloggers.


The GoPro Hero8 is a fantastic choice for creators who record most of their content outdoors. It’s an action camera, so can be used for extreme sports. You just need to get the right mounts and you’re good to go. It’s not the best choice for vloggers with a studio, but can still work well in these environments.


  • 4k video resolution
  • 60fps frame rate
  • 1080p live streaming
  • GoPro HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization system
  • Waterproof up to 33ft (10m)
  • 4 digital lenses
  • Stereo audio


The Kodak PIXPRO FZ45 is by far the cheapest camera on this list. It’s available for around $100 but comes with all the specs you need for great YouTube videos.

You can choose between 1080p, 720p, and lower video resolutions. The frame rate can also change. At 1080p, it’s 30fps, but this can increase to 60fps when you drop down to 720p. It can record for up to one hour or until the AA batteries run out. The batteries will add to your expenses unless you get rechargeable ones.

The zoom functions aren’t too impressive and the audio isn’t great either. You can’t change lenses or add external mics, so you’re stuck with what you get. These factors probably aren’t a problem for YouTubers with a studio setup, as you can place the camera at the desired distance and you can use an external mic plugged into your computer.

There are some features that put it above other cameras at this price. It has a digital stabilization system and face detection. These are small advantages but can add up to helping you choose this device over other similar ones.


The FZ45 is a great choice for beginners and creators with an even stricter budget than $300. If you have a friend or family member who has expressed interest in getting into vlogging, this makes a perfect gift. The price is low and it’s simple to use. It’s a very basic camera, so isn’t adequate for more advanced creators.


  • 1080p video resolution
  • 30fps frame rate
  • 4x optical zoom/6x digital zoom
  • 2.7-inch LCD display
  • Digital image stabilization
  • Face detection
  • Panoramic shots

Best Used YouTube Cameras Under $300

Looking into used cameras is a great idea. You can find devices that are technologically superior for the same price as new gear.

There may be some issues and damage, but in a lot of cases you can get a camera that is as good as new but for less than the market price. Here are some examples:

Canon PowerShot SX620 HS

The Canon Powershot SX620 HS is a fantastic camera for both photos and videos. For recording, you get 1080p footage at 30fps. You can drop the resolution if you want to save battery power. At 1080p, you can record up to 4GB or 30 minutes, whichever comes first.

It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket. This doesn’t mean that it lacks in terms of zoom. There is a 25x optical zoom and 50x ZoomPlus feature, making it a good choice for outdoor shooting.

However, it’s a better fit for indoor shots. The rear display isn’t touchscreen, so it takes longer to change the settings. If you can set it up for your studio space according to your lighting, you won’t need to make any changes.

Also, there is a stabilization system, but it doesn’t work as well as, for example, the GoPro Hero8. The shaking might feel too pronounced in some shots. This is another reason why having it on a tripod in a studio environment would be best.


This camera has the bare necessities for creating great YouTube content. It records at 1080p and 30 frames per second. It’s really compact but has a great zooming function. The anti-shake isn’t good enough for sports, but might be fine for walking shots. Best suited for home studio work.


  • 1080p video resolution
  • 30fps frame rate
  • 25x optical zoom
  • Rear display screen
  • Anti-shake
  • Special effects (fish-eye, miniature, toy, and more)
  • Face detection

Panasonic Lumix ZS50

The Panasonic Lumix ZS50 is worth well over $300, but there are plenty on the market in great condition for less. It’s a camera that is perfect for YouTubers looking to buy a budget device.

It gets great shots in full HD which can be slowed down due to its high frame rate (60fps). You can record up to 90 minutes of high-quality footage without having to stop. This is a lot longer than the runtime of most YouTube videos, which means you’ll have plenty of time to get all the footage you need without resetting the recording.

It has a 30x optical zoom, which is impressive for a camera of this size. However, it doesn’t have an anti-shake function, so you would need to invest in a gimbal for steady shots. If your budget can’t stretch for one, you would have to focus on static shots.

This doesn’t mean that it’s not good for traveling. It’s easy to store and carry due to its dimensions. It works well in varied lighting conditions, including dim environments. You can get photos with low amounts of image noise and clear details.


The ZS50 can work in various situations. It’s a versatile camera that can accompany you all over the world. You don’t have to worry about drastic lighting changes or running out of recording time. Its biggest let-down is the lack of an anti-shake feature, meaning that static shots are best. Active vloggers might not enjoy it, but most others will.


  • 1080p video resolution
  • 60fps frame rate
  • 30x optical zoom
  • 12.1 megapixels
  • Rear display screen
  • Red eye correction
  • High-sensitivity MOS sensor

Pentax Q10

The Pentax Q10 may look like a vintage camera, but it can keep up with lots of its modern contenders.

It has an interchangeable lens so you can upgrade it yourself, which can be cheaper than getting a whole new camera. The one it comes with has a 16x zoom feature, so adding a telescopic lens to your basket is best if you’re planning on having distant shots.

The resolution is 1080p, so matches most of the other cameras on this list. It has a frame rate of 30fps and 12.4 megapixels for still photography. You can take a short boost of photos at five frames per second.

It lacks an external mic input, so you can’t record audio in higher quality. Also, you’re stuck with mono recordings - no stereo.

The device is quick to be ready for photos, but not videos. And you can’t use the autofocus function once video recording has started. You need to make sure your subject is in focus before hitting record.

It’s another small camera with a good size for trips. You can drop it in your pocket or backpack without taking up much space.


Overall, it’s a good camera with a few drawbacks. It can be slow to start filming, which can be bad for travel vloggers but fine for others who record without any rush. It has the minimum specs you’d want for YouTube videos and has the advantage of being flexible with its components. Adding on lenses and other accessories can work out cheaper than investing in more cameras.


  • 1080p video resolution
  • 30fps frame rate
  • 3-inch LCD monitor
  • 16x zoom
  • Interchangeable lens
  • Shake reduction mechanism
  • Time lapse recording

Alternatives To a Good YouTube Camera

The camera isn’t the only piece of gear you should think about when upgrading your YouTube workflow. You should also look into:

  • Smartphones - you might already be looking into getting a new camera, but you probably have one in your pocket that works just as well. Try using your smartphone and investing in extra gear other than cameras that can increase the worth of your content. MrBeast, a YouTuber with currently over 133 million subscribers, used his iPhone 5 from when he started until he had 100 thousand subs.
  • Microphones - external mics tend to be a lot better than a camera’s internal one. Setting aside a budget for a good microphone can be a great idea to add value to your channel.
  • Lighting - when you watch your videos, you might feel that their quality is bad and that’s why you need to invest in a new camera. However, sometimes just making some changes in lighting can go a long way. Consider keeping your current camera and investing in a good lighting rig.
  • Background - your background will also influence the look of your videos. Try out new backgrounds that make you stand out in the frame before spending your budget on a new camera.
  • Editing Software - the software available nowadays for editing videos is so advanced that it can really take your content to the next level. Not all issues can be fixed in post-production, but teaming your camera up with a good software might be what you need right now.

Bottom Line

Finding a YouTube camera for under $300 isn’t easy, but if you widen your search to include basic features and used gear, you can definitely find the right one for you. Don’t expect 4k footage and amazing slow motion shots. Aiming for 1080p resolution is more likely but is enough for YouTube’s recommended settings.

If you record in a studio space in your home, all of these cameras will work well. However, if you want an action camera for taking on adventures, the GoPro Hero8 is the clear winner. It really all depends on what your goals are with your camera.

Don’t forget that a smartphone can stand up against many cameras in this price range. By studying your setup, you might discover that using your phone and making changes to your other gear like microphones, lighting, and more can make a bigger difference than opting for a new camera.

Have you ever bought a budget camera? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.


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