Video is so in right now, but do you know the best budget video cameras to get you in on the action? With the explosion of YouTube and social media video, video has become much more than a progression of photography, and today’s equipment allows you to create cinematic footage in your own front room. It’s now easier to express ourselves and find an engaged audience, or even make it your day job than ever before.
Best Budget Video Cameras:
1. Best compact option: DJI Osmo Pocket
2. Best for beginners: Canon EOS 2000D
3. Best for audio: Panasonic LUMIX DC-TZ90EB
4. Best overall: Panasonic Lumix GH5
5. Best for versatility: GoPro Hero 7
6. Best for style: Fujifilm X-T30
DJI Osmo Pocket
Our thoughts: 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 follow and selfie modes and hyper lapses, through the 1-inch rear touchscreen, or attach your phone and take advantage of a larger screen via the free app – a revelation.
- Motorised gimbal
- 4K at 60fps
- Free (good) phone app
- Must connect to phone before use
Canon EOS 2000D
Our thoughts: There’s the obligatory flip-out screen – a necessity for video – as well as the ability to shoot Full HD 1080p at 60fps for slow-motion action. You can shoot a 4K video at 30fps, and it has a maximum focal length of 55mm.
- Great for video and photography
- Flip screen
- 1080p at 60fps
- Not mirrorless
- No 4K at 60fps
Panasonic LUMIX DC-TZ90EB
Our thoughts: The flip-up 180-degree screen is ideal for budding vloggers, while the compact body slips right into your pocket – perfect for travellers. Finally, it boasts a microphone jack for improved audio and comes complete with an image stabilisation system for smooth footage.
- Built-in zoom
- 1080p at 60fps
- Low-light performance could be better
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Our thoughts: It also boasts the ability to film at 4:2:2 10-bit using the whole sensor. The body is rugged and resilient, featuring a dust and moisture resistant design and in-body image stabilisation Dual I.S. 2 that allows for up to 5-stops of shake compensation. You can even film in V-Log, and the flip-out screen is perfect for selfies and vlogs.
- Weather resistance
- Built-in OIS
- 4K at 60fps
GoPro Hero 7
Our thoughts: It comes with a wide-angle lens that captures tones of contextual, jealousy-inducing detail, a mount that allows for endless accessories, and HyperSmooth Video Stabilisation for ultra-professional results. It also has a handy touchscreen and accepts voice commands for hands-free use – because who has time for hands when you’re adventuring
- Great image quality
- Small size makes for fiddly controls
Our thoughts: There’s the ability to shoot internal F-Log for flat colour profiles, the brilliant Film Simulation colour profiles and a USB-C interface, which takes headphones with an adapter. The video quality is excellent, though it does lack a flip-out screen or in-body image stabilisation, so you may need to invest in a gimbal.
- Excellent sensor
- 1080p at 120fps
- No flip-screen
- No OIS
What to look for when buying a budget video camera:
We can’t tell you which budget video camera is the best for you. The reason is that – as the list above attests – the video camera market is a broad church. 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 trials.
An indoor-based recording will need good low-light performance (unless you have a studio) and, generally speaking, a short focal length. If you’re filming outdoors, you need to account for weather protection, video camera weight, battery life and focal length.
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)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 that will allow you to make sure you’re in focus. If you’re recording yourself when you’re walking around, image stabilisation (in-built or via a gimbal) will result in smooth, jolt-free footage.
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 are discreet, reliable and can sit in carry-on luggage for air travel.
Are you recording slow-motion? There’s no denying that slow-motion is huge fun, whether used to see a dog shake off after a bath or for adding drama to tabletops at the skatepark. Good quality slow-motion requires as many frames as possible – we recommend at least 60fps, but the more frame there are, the slower you can go.Internet Explorer Channel Network