We have been seeing massive growth in the vlogging industry for a good amount of time now; it can be seen by the level of competition out there in this market! Now the question arises, how can YOU make YOUR vlog stand out?
That’s what I am here for. I have taken out the time to sort out the best cameras under a thousand bucks that would give your videos an edge.
I tested out each camera and categorized it according to its suitability.
Following are the categories;
- Best vlogging camera overall
- Best camera for content creators
- Best Vlogging camera for beginners
- Best camera for YouTubers
- Best 4K camera
Other things that you will find ahead are;
- Buying guide for choosing the best camera
- A summary of this article for a quick read
1. The Show Winner
After extensive research, and a lot of experimentation, in my opinion Sony ZV-1 definitely stole the show! Not only is this camera compact, but it houses the best, strongest microphones currently in the market.
It captures clear sounds and reduces the background noise to almost zero.
The sound isn’t fuzzy or muffled at all, it almost feels like you’re using external microphones.
With that, the camera has an impressive touchscreen display which makes navigation easy. The system isn’t that complex as well and even beginners can use it easily.
What impressed me the most though, was its ability to shoot meticulous stills and 4K videos @ a frame rate of up to 30fps and Full HD videos @ a frame rate of 120fps.
The crystal clear videos are a show stealer and will change the whole vlogging game for you!
Specially Designed For Vloggers:
This camera was actually designed for vloggers and I must say, it hasn’t disappointed me.
You will be saved the trouble of carrying two different cameras for stills and videos because this is can do both effortlessly good. Along with that, it comes with an amazing memory recall function; it allows you to modify the camera settings as per your liking, be it exposure, shutter speed, shooting mode or image/video resolutions and then you can keep switching between the saved settings. And the best part? You can get this amazing device for just $800!
2. Best Camera for Content Creators
FujiFilm X-T20 would definitely take you back to the good old days where cameras were a new thing; with its rugged body texture and old school shape, it is likely to make you fall in love with cameras all over again.
It is the perfect embodiment of a conventional yet modern camera!
I was absolutely delighted when I first unboxed it; felt almost as if I traveled back in time.
I found an amazing electronic viewfinder in this device and a 24 MP APS-C sensor that takes breathtaking shots.
Its autofocus is also quite impressive but if you’re not much of a fan of autofocus and like to manually set your focus on your subject, even then this camera wouldn’t disappoint you.
Affordability & Functions:
I would say Fuji X-T20 is a steal at just a $899! It is great for stills and even better for videos.
Since content creators are not just limited to YouTube, it opens up a lot more possibilities of creating engaging and interesting content.
You can shoot smaller Instagram Reels or go live on Facebook to show off your new shopping haul and this camera would create just the perfect frames for these purposes.
It is easy to use and very user-friendly. Size wise too, it fit right in my hand and was very comfortable that I actually enjoyed using it. You can use a set of external lighting equipment or even just a ring light to add more vibrancy to your images or videos.
Though you won’t be needing those because the camera itself captures the subjects and even the backgrounds so perfectly, it can easily hook your audience to your content.
3. Best Vlogging Camera for Beginners
Sony CyberShot DSC H-300 is the best budget friendly camera for newcomers. For just 299 bucks, Sony CyberShot comes packed with a number of cool features and an easy to use interface.
Though this model isn’t the latest one out there, it still holds the top position in my opinion when it comes to beginners’ cameras and let me tell you why; This camera’s plethora of features includes a point and shoot option that makes it extremely easy for newbies to get aesthetic, perfectly focused, accurate shots, now be it still pictures or videos of a moving subject.
It can zoom up to 35x and this makes it good for new vloggers that might be interested into wildlife etc.
Right Camera Size:
Most vloggers face difficulty in positioning their cameras in their hands and I have received multiple queries as to how to reduce the cramps that they get for holding their cameras for too long.
I always suggest them to invest in a lighter and smaller camera but without compromising on the quality of its results, and Sony CybesrShot DSC H-300 is just the right size for new vloggers.
It fit comfortably in my hand and I can tell beginners won’t feel cramped after holding it for long periods of time.
Megapixel & Video Quality:
You will get a 20.1 MP sensor that captures vibrant pictures, so if a beginner wants to experiment on their content by adding some stills and making it more interactive for their audience, this camera would really help them in doing so.
Along with that, an impressive 720p video resolution is yet another reason to buy this.
Though you might think 720p isn’t as good a resolution but I think for beginners, it is the best way to start. Vlogs don’t have to be in 4K all the time and since you’re just starting, 720p would be more than enough to get you a decent video.
What makes it absolutely the perfect choice for beginners though, is the Auto Mode feature.
It is almost like your camera is left on auto pilot and it really helps you enhance your vlogging skills and attract a lot of viewers so it also helps you establish your audience and gain popularity easily.
4. Best Camera for YouTubers
DJI Action 2 has gotta be the best camera for YouTube videos. I mean, that tiny little camera comes packed with so many cool features and it gives you the best value for your money!
On its own, it might not look like much but if you get the Dual Screen combo along with the Osmo Action Mounting Kit, it would just cost you around a maximum of $600 and maybe even less if you get a pretty good deal on it.
And at this price, with the features it offers, it is a steal!
YouTube market is pretty saturated nowadays and there’s a lot of competition.
To stay up in the game, you gotta keep updating your equipment and you gotta keep getting creative with your content.
To attract viewers, YouTube videos need a little pizzazz, if you know what I am talking about. And to add that splash of glamour in your videos, you wouldn’t wanna mess up the quality of your video.
Dual Screen Combo:
Now let’s talk about the camera in detail. The dual screen combo gives you a touchscreen display along with the main camera unit. It also includes a magnetic Ball-joint adapter mount; the magnetic versatility gives you lots of space to experiment with your angles and frames.
It opens up a plethora of possibilities to create engaging content, with new styles and attractive resolution.
Its compact body makes it really good for YouTubers whose work includes a lot of traveling.
Since it’s portable and can easily fit into your pocket, you wouldn’t even need to carry a big backpack and it will save you the hassle. Given its size, it impressed me to a great degree when I recorded a test video from it because, man, the 4K video at 60fps was outstanding!
The sensor in this one is bigger than its predecessor Osmo Action and it gives a field of view of 155 degrees.
The ISO range is fairly versatile and the electronic image stabilization gives your videos a professional look as it reduces the shakiness to minimal.
Other interesting features for YouTubers would be its TimeLapse and HyperLapse shooting modes along with the slow motion mode too.
This would let you add a dramatic effect to your videos and we all know how it attracts the viewers.
You can also livestream at 1080p at 30fps so there is a lot that DJI Action 2 offers in such an affordable price tag!
5. Best 4K Camera:
4K cameras aren’t usually a “need” for vloggers per se, but if you’re a filmmaker and a professional vlogger within a category that requires high quality video resolution, and if you’re working with a budget, then I’d suggest you to buy the Sony’s a6400 Mirrorless camera.
You can easily get this under a thousand bucks and it will be everything a filmmaker would require.
Perfect For Vlogging:
This is one of the compact mirrorless cameras which makes it more than perfect for vlogging purpose as you can easily hold it and record yourself in 4K UHD without cramping your hand.
Though it is preferred that you use a gimbal with it to reduce the shakiness and get the best results.
Not only does it shoot 4K, it shoots it at an impressive 120 fps frame rate! Cool, no?
Now it doesn’t stop just there, Sony a6400 also offers a wide range of ISOs that gives you the free will to set it according to your mood and scene setting to adjust the brightness and exposure for more creative scenes.
Budget Friendly With Quality Features:
Furthermore, in this price tag, it is bold of Sony to offer a remarkable autofocus system along with a smashing lowlight shooting and time-lapse modes!
Though its image stabilization does not match that of the pricier cameras, it still is quite decent, with a significant reduction in shakiness.
One more thing that I loved about this is the weather-resistant body.
This would help you to shoot even in rainy weather conditions without damaging your camera.
For the microphone, I would say adding an external mic would give you better results but if your videos are low-budget and not very professional, you can work with the built-in microphone.
So, basically, in short, this camera offers a lot more along with the terrific 4K video resolution, so I don’t see a reason you shouldn’t get this one.
Choosing the Best Camera for Vlogging: A Guide
Majority of new vloggers get stuck when it comes to buying the right camera to start their vlogging journey, so I am writing a short and effective buying guide that will help you guys to spot the right camera from miles behind.
Now, obviously this is the most important aspect. Always set a budget beforehand and only search for cameras within that range. Then further filter your search with the features you want in your camera.
2. Experience level:
3. Video Quality:
It is important that you know beforehand what type of videos will you be recording.
If it’s something that may require a higher resolution for best results then you should get a camera with a 4K resolution and if it’s just casual routine vlogging, even a 1080p resolution camera would be good.
Know how your scheduling will be like. If you’ll be moving a lot for your videos, then you might wanna get a camera that would be easy to carry around with minimum equipment required to get the best results. Look for lightweight and smaller cameras then.
5. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity:
Since you’ll be a content creator, and probably on the go most of the times, it would be helpful if your camera has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to let you share the videos to your channel/page or other social media platforms without having to wait to get home. It would also help you to live stream if you like to.
A Quick Recap:
Summing it up, every need has a different best camera. Your needs determine which camera you should get and I have summarized those needs into the following categories along with the best cameras for them under a $1000;
- The best camera overall: Sony ZV-1 ($799)
- The best camera for content creators: Fujifilm X-T20 ($899)
- The best camera for Beginners: Sony CyberShot DSC H-300 ($299)
- The best camera for YouTubers: DJI Action 2 ($349-$599)
- The best camera with 4K resolution: Sony a6400 ($899)
Then I talked about giving you a cheat code to buy the best camera for yourself and this is the shorter version;
- Video Resolution
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity