Best budget video cameras in 2024

Hunting for the best budget video camera? It’s a challenging time for everyone, budget-wise, and if you want to shoot great videos without forking out a fortune, it pays to do your research. There are absolutely great cameras out there that will allow you to capture high-quality video – you just have to know which ones they are.

We’ve divided this guide into sections based on camera type. First, we deal with action cameras, tiny waterproof models that are great for travel and extreme sports. Next, we’ve included dedicated video camcorders, which are great all-in-one units for casual use.

After that we’ve included some fixed-lens compact cameras, offering high-quality video features in a small package. Lastly, we’ve included some mirrorless options, which will give you the greatest quality and flexibility, but at a higher cost. 

You aren’t going to get all the top-line features when buying a budget video camera, so it’s important to focus on what you can get. Here are the key things to look out for:

Resolution: the quality of the video, measured by pixels. While 4K is nice if you can get it, for budget users, Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) will do the job just fine.

Frame rate: How many frames per second the camera shoots when recording video, In budget video terms, 30p is fine, 60p is good, and 120p and above is useful for slow-motion – nice if you can get it, but not essential.

Zoom range: This can be useful for run-and-gun video shooting. Camcorders will tend to have considerable zoom capabilities, other cameras less so.

Waterproofing: If you’re going to be taking your camera into wet conditions, you need to think about waterproofing. Action cameras and tough compacts are going to be your best bet here.

So, let’s get down to it and count off the best budget video cameras…

Best budget video cameras: our top picks

Jon Stapley
Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.

The best budget video cameras you can buy

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Action cameras

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)
Best budget video camera for versatility

Specifications

Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 30fps
4K video: up to 60fps
1080P: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate

Reasons to buy

+
Superb image stabilization system
+
Excellent 5K video
+
Built-in accessory mounts

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom
-
Lacks the features of the very best Gopros

With the GoPro Hero 12 being the current flagship, this action camera is several generations old. But it is now tremendous value - and not least as this was first GoPro with a front-facing screen which is invaluable for vlogging, using it for streaming webcam, or for selfies. 

Despite its age, it boasts a 20-megapixel sensor and can shoot up to 5K video which might be a bit overkill but it's certainly nice to have! You can also capture 14.7-megapixel still grabs from the video which is ideal for sharing on social media. 

The 2.27-inch rear screen is larger than that found on the Hero 8 black and its Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization has also benefitted from improvements. Thanks to its removable lens over, there's also the option to add a Max Lens Mod accessory to the GoPro Hero 9 Black which adds a few GoPro Max-style features such as 360-degree horizon lock and ultra-wide 155-degree Max SuperView mode. It's a fantastic bit of kit that will help you capture moments to remember in high definition. 

Read our full GoPro Hero 9 review for more details

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)
Best budget option

Specifications

Type: Action camera
Sensor: 1/2.3 inch
Megapixels: 20MP
Lens: Fixed fish-eye lens
Screen: 2-inch rear screen; 1.5-inch front screen
Viewfinder: No
Mic port: No
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Front and rear screens
+
Decent stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K 60p
-
Limited native waterproofing

There are loads of budget action cameras out there, but it can be a minefield of false economy. Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s worth it! However, the Akaso Brave 7 LE is a cheap action camera that justifies its cost. 

With 4K 30p video (no 60p, but still not bad), it can capture footage of good-enough quality for most purposes, and it even squeezes in something the GoPro Hero 8 Black is missing – a front-facing selfie screen for bloggers.

The stabilization system, while not a patch on GoPro’s, does the job just fine and makes the camera much more usable hand-held. As we said in our review, this is “a great value action camera for all-round use.”

Read our full Akaso Brave 7 LE review for more details

Camcorders

Best budget video cameras: Sony HDR-CX405 camcorder

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony HDR-CX405

Best budget camcorder

Specifications

Type: Camcorder
Sensor: 1/5.8-type
Megapixels: 2.29MP
Lens: 30x optical zoom lens, 26.8mm wide-angle setting
Screen: 2.7-inch flip-out LCD, 230,400 dots
Viewfinder: No
Mic port: No
Max video resolution: Full HD
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible zoom capabilities
+
Lightweight and user-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
No mic port
-
Image noisy in low light

A camcorder is a no-frills, no-fuss kind of video option for those who need something straightforward – and the Sony HDR-CX405 fits that bill perfectly. It weighs just 215g with the battery loaded, making it easy to operate with one hand. 

The zoom lens is a powerful 30x optical model, and you also have the option of pushing this further with 60x digital zoom, giving you real shooting flexibility.

 Intelligent Auto mode will pick the right settings for you, making it easy to simply point and shoot. The sensor is smaller than you’ll find on other types of camera, a difference you’ll notice in low light, when video will get grainy and noisy. 

(Image credit: Zoom)

4. Zoom Q8 Handy Video Recorder

The best cheap camcorder for high-quality audio

Specifications

Type: Camcorder
Sensor: 1/3-inch
Megapixels: 3MP
Lens: 16.6 mm equivalent fixed lens with digital zoom
Screen: 2.7-inch flip-out touchscreen LCD
Viewfinder: No
Mic port: Dual combo XLR/TRS inputs
Max video resolution: 3M HD (2304 x 1296 pixels) 30p
User level: Intermediate to enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Array of audio options
+
Can stream via USB

Reasons to avoid

-
Unexceptional video quality
-
Mics cost extra

When shopping for cheap video cameras, one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face is getting decent audio, as most don’t have mic ports, instead relying on basic internal mics.

The Zoom Q8 Handy Video Recorder is a budget camcorder designed with audio in mind – it has four audio channels, an interchangeable mic capsule system, and two ports for external mics. 

It can save audio as uncompressed WAV files and AAC files, so if you want to record a band practice or even a gig, it’s a solid choice. It can also stream via USB. The maximum video resolution is a somewhat unusual 2304 x 1296 pixels, and at a frame rate of 30p, it’s good without being great.

Compact cameras

(Image credit: Canon)

5. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Best budget compact for YouTube

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1-inch
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-100mm equivalent optical zoom
Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Viewfinder: No
Mic port: No
Max video resolution: Full HD 60p
User level: Intermediate to enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Pocketable dimensions
+
Flip-around screen 

Reasons to avoid

-
No mic port
-
No 4K

Canon’s G7 X compacts have been favorites among vloggers and YouTubers for some time. The latest is the Mark III version – this is the previous Mark II, which can generally be picked up for around £200/$200 cheaper. 

With the cheaper model, video users have to be willing to live without three things – 4K, a mic port and the ability to livestream. If none of that bothers you, this compact is an extremely savvy buy, producing excellent Full HD 60p video, and offering real versatility thanks to its optical zoom lens. Having a screen that can face forward is also especially handy for vlogging.

(Image credit: James Artaius)
Best waterproof camera for video

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3in
Megapixels: 12MP
Lens: 25-100mm (equiv.) f/2.0-4.9
LCD: 3in, 460k dots
Waterproof: 15m/50ft
Shockproof: 2.1m/7ft
Freezeproof: -10ºC/14°F
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
RAW shooting and 4K video
+
Can withstand almost anything
+
4x zoom
+
Amazing macro and micro modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 12MP resolution (with an asterisk)

Following the aquisition of Olympus's camera divistion, the OM System TG-7 is essentially an update to the much-loved Olympus Tough TG-6. It might have relatively conservative 12MP resolution, but it makes up for this by packing a sensor that's back-side illuminated. This means that a) there are less pixels, but each one is larger to capture more light, and b) the sensor design is more efficient at gathering light in challenging conditions. 

This is important because the TG-7 is a camera that can take pictures and video underwater – where there is obviously less ambient light. It can also take pictures and video in the dust, sand, snow, and heat – and it's drop-proof, crush-proof and freeze-proof. No more having to baby your camera, or not take it with you to the places where you're going to get the best photos! 

Even if you're not going to be hiking, climbing, swimming or otherwise putting your camera in danger, the Tough can capture RAW photos and capture 4K video, and has brilliant built-in macro and microscope modes for ultra close-up shooting. And since it's near indestructible, it's one of the best cameras for kids, too!  

Read our full OM System Tough TG-7 review.

Mirrorless cameras

(Image credit: Jon Devo)
One of the best beginner vlogging cameras

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840,000 dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 3,690,000 dots
Mic port: Yes
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Small, light, user-friendly
+
Quality video and audio

Reasons to avoid

-
On the pricier side
-
No 4K 60p

Aiming to tempt beginner video users into the Micro Four Thirds system, Panasonic has produced the vlogger-oriented Lumix G100. It’s lightweight, at 412g with a kit lens (that’s included in the price), and it’s easy to use, thanks to its high-quality LCD and big viewfinder. The video quality is generally excellent – some might bemoan the lack of 4K 60p, but it’s realistically more than enough for most purposes. 

Also, its intelligent three-capsule built-in mic system is one of the better audio systems we’ve seen on a camera at this price, and while you’re better off buying an external mic, the system means that you don’t have to. Having access to the MFT lens mount also means you’ve got loads of lenses to choose from. 

Read our full
Panasonic Lumix G100 review for more details

(Image credit: Future)
Stylish and versatile, this is a winning vloggers’ camera

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360,000 dots
Mic port: No
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of lens options
+
Powerful stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
No mic port
-
Comparatively expensive

Another beginner-friendly Micro Four Thirds camera option, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a hugely stylish camera that also has video tech where it counts. Capable of shooting 4K video at 30p, it also boasts Olympus’s 5-axis stabilization system, which is one of the most capable on the market, and makes it super-easy to get smooth footage shooting handheld. 

You’ve also got a flip-down screen for vlogging purposes, making it easy to film yourself, and the autofocus on the E-M10 IV is reliably accurate. We would have liked a mic port, but given that this is a more expensive camera anyway, budget users likely won’t be springing extra cash for a microphone. It’s a capable all-in-one video setup. 

Read our full Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review for more details

(Image credit: Future)
Old, but now a 4K cheap video camera bargin

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 16
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1.04m dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Mic port: Yes
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
DSLR style handling
+
4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body stabilisation
-
Older 16MP sensor

The Lumix G7 was launched back in the early days of mirrorless, so it’s quite a few years old now, and that shows in its styling and specs. It’s the ideal choice for mirrorless camera buyers who prefer the bulk and meaty grip of a DSLR-shaped body – and it comes with an electronic viewfinder, which is terrific in a mirrorless camera at this price. Furthermore, it gives you 4K video recording

The downside is that G7 was launched before Panasonic started including in-body stabilization in its cameras, so you’re reliant on any optical stabilization in the lenses themselves. It also has a relatively old 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, although this is not a significant downside for the videographer.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix G7 review for more details

How we test cameras

We test cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. We use both real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides. Find out more about how we test and review on Digital Camera World

Read more:

Best camera for video
Best camcorders
Best budget action cameras
Best phone for video
Best camera for filmmaking

Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.

With contributions from