/The Best Video Cameras Under $500

The Best Video Cameras Under $500


Purchasing the best video camera below $500 shall be a perfect investment for individuals who want to film high-quality video clips while staying within a reasonable price-range. “Video camera” is a term that is so broad that making your purchase will greatly depend on a few other aspects you require besides the price tag. In this piece, we shall highlight some of the best video camera models under $500. We shall ensure that we keep all shapes, functionalities, and sizes in mind so as to offer as many options as possible. Let’s get started!

How To Buy The Best Video Camera Under $500

If you intend to purchase a video camera whose price tag doesn’t go beyond the five hundred dollar mark, you will probably want to consider several other attributes besides the price. Here is a quick breakdown of the attributes.

1. Your Exact Budget – If you’re already looking for some advice on how to purchase the best video camera, you have certainly been able to limit all your needs to a particular budget range. Although we are dealing with $500 and below, there is definitely a difference between a one hundred and fifty dollars camera and a model that is worth five hundred dollars. How much money do you intend to save? How much are you willing to set aside in order to get a model best suited for your needs? You need to be sure about the exact amount you intend to spend on your camera so as to avoid lengthy bargains and negotiations with your seller.

2. The Video Camera Type – When you’re thinking of buying a video camera below $500, there are numerous options available for you. Here is a list of the most common video camera types.

  • DSLR Cameras: Being the most popular camera model for both videography and photography, a DSLR camera guarantees you superior image quality for a relatively reasonable price. They are also greatly sought after because of their interchangeable lenses which give you endless possibilities for customization.
  • Mirrorless Camera: Giving the DSLR cameras a good run for their money. Mirrorless cameras have a different internal design. Unlike other camera types, mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror to eliminate the middle-man from the image capturing process. Mirrorless cameras normally have better autofocus systems in addition to giving the picture a different feel.
  • Action Camera: A majority of point-and-view videos that we have come across are often captured using these first person cameras. Due to their small size, these cameras are best suited for photographers who are always on the go. The action camera is also highly versatile, a feature that makes it ideal for capturing different scenarios such as sporting events.
  • Point-and-Shoot: Resembling what many people would call a digital camera, the point-and-shoot camera has excellent video capturing capabilities while at the same time being compact and conveniently sized. There are usually cheaper than mirrorless and DSLR cameras and are perfect for photographers who need a gadget smaller than the normal bulky cameras.

3. The Intended Use – This is probably the greatest question you should ask yourself when buying a video camera and since it is very difficult to limit yourself to the few common uses, here are some ways you might use a video camera under $500. Some of the most common include: filming music videos, filming sports, making YouTube videos, surveillance and much more.

4. Extra Camera gear – When buying a video camera under $500, it is equally important to consider extra camera gear. For instance, do you already have a video editing software? Do you have a camera backpack and tripod stand? Knowing the extra camera gear, you will need helps in bringing clarity to your budget requirements.

List of the Best Video Cameras Under $500

CameraOptical ZoomBatteryWeight 
Nikon D3300
(Editor's Choice)
3x8.85 Watt Hours0.95 poundsCheck Price
Sony Alpha a5000
(Editor's Choice)
3x2 Watt Hours0.59 poundsCheck Price
Panasonic HC-V380K50x-1.1 poundsCheck Price
Canon EOS Rebel T55.6x6.36 Watt Hours1.1 poundsCheck Price
Samsung NX33002.5x2.5 Watt Hours0.51 poundsCheck Price
Canon PowerShot G9 X3x36 Watt Hours0.46 poundsCheck Price

1. Nikon D3300 – Great for beginners

At the top of our list is one of the most affordable and most preferred DSLR video camera in the modern-day market. You will realize that the DSLR game is normally a Nikon vs. Canon for some reason, however, for our price tag, the D3300 emerges the winner. This camera has a capable 24.2MP and a CMOS photographic sensor for precise imaging as well as 18-55mm lenses for the best image stabilization. Concerning video quality, what you’ll be getting with this camera is full high-definition 1080p, and for photography purposes, a decent ISO range makes for numerous options for continuous shots.

This video camera also comes with some extra features such as a built-in NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity that enables you to quickly share your videos and photos on your social media channels. With this camera, it is also possible for you to express your creativity with the different modes such as landscape, portrait, close-up and night portrait, just to mention but a few. If you’re in search of an advanced and versatile camera for shooting videos and taking photos in diverse conditions, this camera is definitely among the best video cameras not exceeding the five hundred dollar mark.

  • Impressive burst mode
  • Reduction in the size of the kit lens
  • High resolution captures impressive amount of detail
  • No built-in WiFi
  • No Image Stabilization

2. Sony Alpha a5000 – Great value for money

If you are not into DSLR cameras and are looking for a mirrorless video camera that will let you capture high-quality photos and shoot some excellent videos, then the Sony Alpha a5000 is a camera under $500 that you might want to consider. The reputation of the entire Alpha series from Sony is proving to be a dominant force in the mirrorless camera category. This 8-ounce video camera boasts of 20.1MP Exmor sensor and an excellent mirrorless design that offers a wide dynamic range, image sharpness and good control over any background noise present when shooting videos.

This camera also has a unique image processing feature that lets you work speedily on all your photos or videos. With an inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC, this camera gives you the nifty option to download your videos and photos on your personal computer and share online with its easy-to-use menu. The camera’s high ISO sensitivity ensures that you capture clear cut images even in dark environments.

  • Wifi and NFC addition
  • Compact body and lens
  • 1920 x 1080 Max Video Resolution
  • Slow burst rate
  • Low Battery Life

3. Panasonic HC-V380K– Budget friendly

This is a traditional camcorder that gives many advanced camera types a good run for their money. The Panasonic HC-V380K is a good quality video camera below $500 that lets you shoot high definition videos under any conditions whatsoever. This camera comes with the 2.51MP sensor, an excellent 90 times zoom capability and a 5-axis image stabilization capability that lets you take good videos even when you’re in motion. This camera is also equipped with a 3-inch LCD intuitive touchscreen and menu that’s pretty easy to use. This camera is highly recommended for individuals who are yearning the camcorder feel, compactness as well as zoom capabilities absent in mirrorless and DSLR video cameras.

  •  Excellent image quality
  • Amazing optical zoom
  • Easy to use
  •  Sluggish touchscreen performance
  •  Lack of physical playback controls

4. Canon EOS Rebel T5 – Simple and easy to use

Do not forget to check out the Canon EOS Rebel T5 if you’re looking for a video camera under $500. This video camera has a 18MP sensor with full, high-definition resolution, a big LCD touchscreen, great battery life and an easy-to-use menu. With the camera’s unique auto mode, you’ll be able to easily combine various features such as exposure, the balance of whiteness and light optimization to aid in sensing the specific lighting conditions you are in so there is no need to mess with the camera’s manual settings.

  • Includes optically stabilized lens
  • 1080p video capture
  • On-screen shooting guide
  • No microphone input

5. Samsung NX3300 – Best for selfies

Samsung’s NX3300 video camera is probably one of the best cameras under $500 if it is listed at its current market price because it tends to fluctuate every now and them. This gadget, however, might even be worth spending the few extra bucks for particularly if you’re interested in a light weight camera as opposed to the typical DSLR cameras. This video camera comes with a high-sensitivity, 20.3MP sensor in addition to having a versatile 16-55mm lens. Concerning the construction, you will definitely love the camera’s stylish and elegant sleek finish that is similar to the old-school leather cameras. For taking snapshots, this gadget has an excellent viewfinder feature that lets you creatively control shutter speed, image stabilization, camera exposure among other aspects. Its wide ISO range from 100-25,000 ensures that you capture the sharpest photos even in low light conditions.

  • Great for beginners
  • Good image quality in daylight
  • Compact and light
  • No viewfinder
  • Screen does not rotate

6. Canon PowerShot G9 X – Lightweight and portable

The Canon PowerShot G9 X is an excellent point-and-shoot video camera for a budget below $500. While the entire PowerShot series is famous among the point-and-shoot category, this camera is the most popular model in the whole series because of its lightweight nature, compact size, raw image quality, excellent lighting sensitivity and great touch display. Concerning the specs, this camera boasts a 20MP sensor and full high-definition video resolution. This camera also has a 3X optical zoom lens while the large ISO range lets you take advantage of the gadget’s quick shutter speeds. Some other highlights include built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, mobile device connect button, image sync function, remote shooting all thanks to its ‘Camera Connect App’ and the star shooting mode just in case you want to take a few snaps alongside the videos. This camera is lightweight and easily fits in the inner pocket of a jacket, definitely not anywhere close to the bulky DSLR cameras.

  • 1-inch image sensor
  • Great movie mode features
  • Very good image quality
  • Good high ISO performance
  • No 4K or slow-motion video capture
  • Poor auto white balance indoors

Gary Nguyen is a 24-year-old photographer and writer from New York City. Some of his works have been published in The Guardian, New York Times, Telegraph, and many others. Learn more