The Top Budget Video Camera Under $500 in 2017

Best Video Camera Under 500

Video cameras are the best way to digitally record life’s little milestones as they pass by us. Yesterday might be gone but with the help of a good quality video camera, you can replay those cherished memories as much as you like. Video cameras do not always come cheap but we have found the best video camera under $500 in our list below. If you are looking for a 4K Video Camera under $1000 click here. You don’t need to be a professional videographer to enjoy the best feature packed cameras that are available on the market today.

You do however; need to have a tiny amount of research under your belt before rushing out and buying the first camera you come across. If you are a YouTuber, click to view our favourite vlogging cameras. If you are looking for something more basic as a beginner, you may wish to look into budget point and shoot cameras.

We have made choosing the best possible video camera a little less overwhelming by doing the research for you. We have compiled a list of what we think are top ten best video cameras under a specific budget on the market at the moment.

What is the Greatest Video Camera for Cheap Filmmaking?

PictureVideo Camera Under 500Video Capture Resolution Continuous Shooting SpeedExtended ISO
Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLRCanon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR1920 x 1080p3 fps12800
Nikon D3400 1572Nikon D3400 15721920 x 1080p60 fps25600
YI 4K Sports and ActionYI 4K Sports and Action 3840 x 2160p 30 fps6400
Sony a5100 ILCE5100/BSony a5100 ILCE5100/B1920 x 1080p6 fps25600
Canon EOS Rebel T5Canon EOS Rebel T51920 x 1080p3 fps12800
Panasonic HC-V770 HDPanasonic HC-V7701920 x 1080p50 fps 6400
Panasonic DC-ZS70SPanasonic DC-ZS70S3840 x 2160p10 fps6400
GoPro HERO6 BlackGoPro HERO6 Black3840 x 2880p60 fps6400
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark IICanon PowerShot G9 X Mark II1920 x 1080p8.2 fps12800
360fly 360? 4K360fly 4K VR2880 x 2880p 30 fps6400

First up we have the Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR video camera. This is a compact and sleek SLR featuring an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processor. These two technologies combine to give you the best video image quality with the least amount of noise possible. The 9 point autofocus system with phase-detection incorporates a single cross type point. This provides a high degree of focusing accuracy for when lighting conditions are mixed or of a low contrast.

Video images can be played back and viewed on the large 3.0inch 920k-dot LCD monitor which also serves as the best type of screen for live shooting. A feature guide will help you to familiarize yourself with the best features by giving a short description of shooting modes, settings and special effects.

To achieve a more creative look, simply select the Basic+ and Creative Auto modes or go wild with a wide range of creative filters such as Toy Camera, Fisheye and Miniature effects. Did we mention that it comes with built in WI-FI which means you can pair with your Smartphone or tablet and easily upload photos or movies.

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Another great video camera option is the Nikon D3400 1572. This device was designed for entry level photographers who want a more advanced shooting platform than their smart phones. It features full HD and an 11 point focus system as well as Bluetooth LE connectivity for transferring images via the “SnapBridge App”. The D3400 has a longer lasting battery life and is extremely light weight thanks to it being made entirely of composite plastic material. Beginners will most likely enjoy the difference in weight on this camera because it allows you to use it for extended periods of time without becoming too heavy or cumbersome.

Nikon opted for a very simple control design which is great for entry level photographers who are still finding their way around on a video camera. If you are on the more advanced side of photography then you might find yourself slightly frustrated at some of the more basic features on this video camera. Shooting in tough lighting conditions is a bit of a challenge because of the fixed 3inch LCD Live-View screen.

The built in flash is relatively bright and can be turned off when you are shooting in a well lit area. Keep in mind that this is an entry level device and it has the same optical viewfinder as its predecessor, the D3300. This camera also offers a 96% coverage and o.85x magnification which is not bad considering the level of use and the fact that it is under $500.

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One of the smallest additions to our list is the YI 4K Sports and Action cam. This nifty little device is loaded with features such as an Ambarella A9SE75 chipset, a Sony IMX377 image sensor and a high speed Broadcom BCM43340 dual-band WI-FI module. This small camcorder has a very responsive touch screen which is manufactured from high strength, scratch resistant gorilla glass. There is no denying that this small sized action cam is an excellent deal when you consider its brilliant video quality and super small compact design.

There are add on extras available such as waterproof housing and remote controlled selfie sticks and a flat color setting for easier color adjustments. The device might be under $500 but the extras might push you over that depending on what you buy. This is one cam that enjoys being where the action is and it doesn’t stop there since YI has continued to issue firmware updates for the cam which means regular performance improvements and fresh shooting options.

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The Sony A5100 is one of the smallest APS-C sensor cameras you will find for under $500. Add to that, the fact that the Sony is mirror less, has a built in flash and a touch screen. It comes with a new 24.3 mega pixel instead of the older 20.1 sensor on its predecessor. Built in WI-FI and NFC allows it to connect to devices such as Smartphone’s and tablets. The BIONZ X image processor is designed to produce clear, low noise, detailed images when shooting at up to ISO25600. A 179 point phase detection focus is integrated into the sensor and has a 16-50mm lens.

Photos and video can be uploaded directly onto Face book by using the Direct Upload App or any other app available on the PlayMemories Camera App website. By using the creative picture modes you can chose between poster effects, miniature and selective color plus many more playful effects.

Videos are recorded in full HD with stereo sound and by using the power zoom lens; you can zoom in and out without losing focus. When your device is switched off, the lens collapses into the unit, making it compact and easy to store while keeping your lens safe against bumps and knocks.

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The Canon EOS Rebel T5 is the most typical entry level camcorder you will find for under $500. The T5 produces usable JPEG photos up to about ISO 800 after which you will begin to see image degradation in shadow areas. The default Auto Picture Style increases the contrast to the extent that some of the colors actually shift. Rather use the Neutral Picture Style for more accuracy. This is the best camcorder for a beginner photographer where the subjects will not be moving really fast or erratically and if the lighting is good.

It takes under half a second to power on, focus and to shoot but in dim light it’s quite slow and uses all of the auto focus points. This runs the risk of not focusing where you want it to. The battery life is reasonable long and has a reflective, low-resolution 3 inch LCD display which you can use for Live View, Stills and Video. It has a 170 degree viewing angle which makes it ideal for menu navigation and viewing or reviewing your videos and photos. You can capture Full HD 1080p video by way of the T5’s Movie Recording/ Live Feed Button.

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When you pair the Panasonic HC-V770 Full HD Camcorder with your Smartphone or tablet device you can record two viewing angles at once! Your main image will be in Full HD from the camcorder’s sensor while a second picture-in-picture image appears on your smart device. This camcorder is able to record Full HD video at 120fps slow motion which you can switch to by selecting the option on the LCD screen. For a more dramatic slow motion effect, the Crystal Engine’s Intelligent Frame Creation interpolates frames to achieve 240fps.

The Level Shot automatically detects and corrects any tilting in images and it can be adjusted to three different levels; OFF, Normal or Strong depending on the conditions you are shooting under. Thanks to the Real-Time Broadcasting feature, you can live-stream events on USTREAM as are being recorded. All you need is a wireless access point and you can easily keep check on baby in her crib or monitor your home or pets while you are not at home.

You can enjoy Highlight Playback with a smart device right after shooting and your favorite scenes can be shared on SNS by simply dragging and dropping.

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The Panasonic DC-ZS70S has the clarity of 4Kvideo with up to 3840 x 2160p detail which is four times the quality of Full HD. It has a 24mm LEICA DC VARIO-Elmar Lens which includes 30x optical zoom to get you as close as possible to your subject. A Control Ring provides smooth and manual control of the aperture, shutter speed, zoom and focus. The Live View finder activates automatically when you lift the camera to your eye allowing you to see every detail even in bright midday sun.

Optical Stabilization detects and compensates for five different types of movement while the camera’s Level Shot function detects and maintains the images horizontal even when the camera is tilted. A 20.3-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor records high-quality images in the best detail. The sensor works together with the Venus Engine to give you stunningly sharp pictures even under the dimmest light conditions.

The 180 degree tilt able monitor will always give you the perfect selfie. The Focus Stacking Function allows you to adjust the focus area after shooting by blending multiple images taken at different focus distances to create a totally unique depth of field.

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If you are looking for a compact and easily mountable action video camcorder for just under the $500 mark, then the GoPro HERO6 Black is definitely for you. A new and improved silicon GPI chip enables 4k video shooting at 60p or 60 full frames per second. This means silky smooth high resolution video footage absolutely anywhere possible. This action cam has a 2 inch touch screen on the back with new and improved picture display quality. Voice controls allow for hands free control of your camcorder and the wake-on-voice function enable the device to move into a low power listening mode for eight hours.

This will allow you to turn the device on again with a voice command. The GoPro remains waterproof for up to 10 meters without needing any extra underwater housing covers although separate housing is available for scuba fans. There is no limit as to where you can attach this tiny unit and GoPro has launched a few new mounts to go with this newer model which means that any place you can think of mounting it has already been covered. Click here for the study on Action Cameras.

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Create stunningly crisp stills and steady movies with the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II. This pocket device offers fast and powerful performance under any circumstances. The large sensor and f/2 -4.9 lens lets in loads of light to ensure high quality shots under any light situation. Shoot with manual or auto focus and chose from a range of expert features which will allow you to take your photography to new artistic levels. Shoot Full HD movies and a host of clever features that make it easy to capture everything from the starry night skies to short movie clips with the best results every time.

Connect your smart device and maintain a constant connection so you can shoot and share online in an instant. Keep your PowerShot charged via a USB Smartphone charger or your PC. Image Stabilization technology ensures steady images and movies under any and every circumstance and the 3 inch touch screen allows for simple operation. The superfast AF function enables smooth and continuous shooting when switching from auto to manual focus.

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The 360fly 4k 16-megapixel camera is the coolest looking camera you will find for under $500. Shaped like an outer space golf ball, this gadget is water and dust resistant as well as shockproof. It also comes with a standard tripod mount, 64GB of internal storage and a single button for power and recording. When you turn the camera on, you automatically turn on the WI-Fi and Bluetooth which joins the cameras network with your Smartphone. If you open the 360fly app, you will have a live preview from the camera as well as control over its settings.

The top resolution is 2880 x 2880 pixels and you can choose between 30 frames per second for live onscreen view or at 30fps without the live view. There is only one lens which has a 360x240 degree field of view. This means that you lose the 120 degrees under the lens. Once you have shot a clip, you can edit it with the help of the app. Select only the best sections you want to use or include and then add music or an image filter and then adjust the playback speed for part of your clip.

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Buyers Guide Questions

How does a Video Camera Work?

How-does-a-video-camera-workTo know how a video camera or camcorder works, you need to know that it has nothing to do with lenses, gears or electronics at all. Sure, the physical camera is made up of these elements but its more about how our eyes and brains work together. When your eyes see a series of still images in quick succession, it holds the image for a little while after if disappears and is replaced by the next one. Basically, each picture leaks into the next one until they blur together to form a single moving image. This is known as the Persistence of Vision and its how video cameras are able to bring images to life.

Can you record video with a DSLR?

Not only is your new DSLR sharper and faster, it can be used for shooting Full HD video as well. There are some useful tips to remember when using your DSLR to shoot movies. Although you think you might be able to stand as still as a statue, even the slightest breath can cause camera shake so it would be a good idea to use a tripod when shooting video with your DSLR.  Autofocus is a great tool to have when you are trying to shoot moving subjects but using manual focus can give you a valuable creative technique when shooting stationary subjects.

Manual focusing is takes practice but its well worth it in the end. You might think that you need to continuously record an event and then go back and chose the best sections but this can actually cause your DSLR to overheat. Shoot in short sequences using a variety of different types of shots.

What are Action Cameras?

An action camera is very much like a normal camera except for a few minor differences. The first being size. They are normally smaller in order to allow the user to clip them to their helmets, handlebars or anything else. These cameras provide a firsthand point of view of the action while it is taking place. Unlike shooting from the sidelines, these cameras go where you go and film what you are doing, while you are doing it. Scuba divers might take them underwater on a dive or you might attach it to yourself as you go rock climbing or mountain biking.

What Video Camera is Best for Outdoor Use?

What Video Camera is Best for Outdoor UseThe Panasonic HC-V770 Video Camera is an affordable device that records high grade video which is perfect for outdoor use. Its compact shape allows it to be transported easily without feeling heavy or bulky. The long telephoto 20x optical / 50x intelligent zoom and High Sensitivity Sensor makes for greatly improved low light images.

The user is able to stream to a smart device via WI-FI and the Level Shot detects and corrects tilting of captured images. These features make it the best option for an outside video camera whether you plan to use it on a hunting trip or as a security device, you will be pleasantly surprised by its Full HD video abilities.

How do I connect my DSLR to my laptop?

Tethered shooting is a photography technique that is favored by many photographers. It allows you to connect your camera to a laptop or tablet and view your digital images within seconds after it has been captured. The quickest and easiest way to use tethered shooting is by using ADOBE Lightroom’s Capture feature. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Connect your camera to the laptop with a USB cable and turn your camera on.
  • Open the Lightroom app on your computer and navigate to File>Tethered Capture> Start Tethered Capture.
  • When you open the Tethered Capture Settings dialogue box, you have the option of choosing destination for your photos and adding metadata and keywords. Pay attention to where the photos are saved so that you can access them later.
  • The screen below will pop up, giving you a narrow control panel for some light remote shooting options as well as a Library in which your photos will be captured via the tethered shooting connection.

What to look for when Buying a Video Camera?

Megapixels

A video camera with 3840 x 2160 pixels offers four times the resolution of a hull high definition camcorder which has 1920 x 1080 pixels. The newer types of video cameras can provide finer detail but you will need an ultra-high-definition television to see the detail.

Screen Size

Most video camera screens are LCD and measure more or less 3 inches however some are larger. Action camcorders tend to have any type of display and a few full size models suffer from too much glare which makes them difficult to use in bright sunlight. It’s a good idea to check the display screen in the store to make sure you are happy with it before buying it. The display might look fine indoors but in full midday sunlight, viewing performance will vary greatly from model to model.

Optical Zoom

Optical ZoomThe typical optical-zoom ratios range from 10:1 to about 50:1 or are described as having a 10x optical zoom or 50x optical zoom. The zoom relies on optical lenses, just like a film camera. This feature is usually controlled with a press of a button; the rate of the zoom changes relative to how hard you press the button. Most camcorders also include a digital zoom which can extend the range to 400:1 or more. Although this will be at a lower quality than an optical zoom can give.

Video Capture Resolution

Almost all recently released video cameras have the ability to capture high-definition resolution video. New types of higher-resolution HD video cameras called 4K camcorders are beginning to appear in the market place. The resolution of a 4K camera is 3840 x 2160 pixels, however most 4K cameras are still too expensive for most consumers at the moment which is why your best bet is to buy an HD video camera.

Weight

The size and weight of you video camera will largely depend on what you plan on using it for. It should fit comfortably in your hand and the controls and switches should be reached easily. If you are shopping for an action cam then the size and weight will depend on where you are planning to attach the camera during an event. Check that you can change the battery and reach the controls easily before purchasing your camera of choice.

Conclusion

Life is full of memories to be made and video cameras are there to keep them. Whether you are a thrill seeker looking to document you action packed adventures or a proud dad wanting to immortalize your child’s first steps, the best video camera can help you to do this. A video camera is a costly device but the memories you will be able to cherish for years to come are priceless.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR

Top Pick

This is a compact and sleek SLR featuring an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processor. These two technologies combine to give you the best image quality with the least amount of noise possible. The 9 point autofocus system with phase-detection incorporates a single cross type point. This provides a high degree of focusing accuracy for when lighting conditions are mixed or of a low contrast.

Images can be played back and viewed on the large 3.0inch 920k-dot LCD monitor which also serves as screen for live shooting. A feature guide will help you to familiarize yourself with the best features by giving a short description of shooting modes, settings and special effects.

The same wireless connectivity allows for remote control over the camera from these linked devices using the Camera Connect App. The camera is compatible with the full lineup of the best Canon EF and EF-S mount lenses.

Nikon D3400 1572

Premium Choice

This camera was designed for entry level photographers who want a more advanced shooting platform than their smart phones. The D3400 has a longer lasting battery life and is extremely light weight thanks to it being made entirely of composite plastic material. Beginners will most likely enjoy the difference in weight on this camera because it allows you to use it for extended periods of time without becoming too heavy or cumbersome.

Nikon opted for a very simple control design which is great for entry level photographers who are still finding their way around on a video camera. If you are on the more advanced side of photography then you might find yourself slightly frustrated at some of the more basic features on this video camera. Shooting in tough lighting conditions is a bit of a challenge because of the fixed 3inch LCD Live-View screen.

The built in flash is relatively bright and can be turned off when you are shooting in a well lit area. Keep in mind that this is an entry level device and it has the same optical viewfinder as its predecessor, the D3300. This camera also offers a 96% coverage and o.85x magnification which is not bad considering the level of use and the fact that it is priced well under $500. You can also look into the Nikon D5300 (lenses here).

YI 4K Sports and Action

Great Value

This little action cam is loaded with all of the best feature such as an Ambarella A9SE75 chipset, a Sony IMX377 image sensor and a high speed Broadcom BCM43340 dual-band WI-FI module. This small camcorder has a very responsive touch screen which is manufactured from high strength, scratch resistant gorilla glass. There is no denying that this small sized action cam is an excellent deal when you consider its brilliant video quality and super small compact design.

There are add on extras available such as waterproof housing and remote controlled selfie sticks and a flat color setting for easier color adjustments. The best option for an action camera as far as price and features go. With regular firmware updates and an easy to use editing app, the sky is the limit with this nifty gadget. Highly recommended for thrill seeking sport junkies or anyone else that wants to shoot their action packed adventures.

This is one camera that enjoys being where the action is and it doesn’t stop there since YI has continued to issue the best firmware updates for the camera which means regular performance improvements and updates for the best shooting options.

Choosing the right camera can be difficult, but this study helps.

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