Diving into the world of movie-making doesn’t have to be a venture that involves mortgaging your home in order to be able to afford it. Sure, you can go out and spend thousands of dollars on equipment, but it isn’t really necessary, especially when you are just starting out.
In fact, you can get some pretty decent cameras only cost a few hundred dollars, and they have plenty of features that will help you learn how to make great movies, and then maybe move on to more expensive equipment later on. Today we are going to take a look at some of our favorite camcorders that cost under $300.
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
Are you planning on doing some traveling, and want a compact, lightweight camcorder to bring along with you so you can capture all of the best moments along the way? A good option to consider is the Canon VIXIA HF R800 camcorder, with a 57X advanced zoom and super range OIS. It has a Digic DV 4 image processor, and a 3.28 MP full HD CMOS image sensor, so you are always going to get crisp, clear shots, even at distances.
Features of Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
This is the ideal travel camera, with a zoom that allows you to capture tons of exciting scenery. This camera is loaded with features, including Highlight Priority mode that has backlight correction, so all of your subjects are always perfectly lit. Other features include:
- Advanced Zoom – The 57X advanced zoom feature lets you create amazing videos. When using manual mode, this feature lets the camera go from the 35mm equivalent of 32.5mm up to 1853mm.
- Image Stabilization – The SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer corrects camera shake, so you can even shoot handheld without worrying about a lot of blurred images. The Dynamic Image Stabilization handles the rotational camera shake.
- Image Processor – The DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor helps you to capture just the right amount of light so you have bright images that are virtually free of noise, even when you are shooting in low light conditions.
Pros and Cons of Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
- Record to an SD Card – This camcorder will record full HD videos direct to your removable SD memory card. This allows you to share your videos easily. You can also use super-high capacity SDXC cards which have up to 2048GB of space.
- Effects – You can play with some pretty cool effects with this camera, including slow and fast motion recording. Slow it down to 0.5X, or speed it up as much as 1200X.
- Video Quality – While this camera may be loaded with features, they don’t do a lot for the video quality. In fact, some iPhones offer as good or better video recording capabilities.
Sony HDR CX405/B Full HD Camcorder
Why buy a camcorder, and then get all of the accessories separately, when you can save money by getting everything you need in one bundle package? When you buy the Sony HDR-CX405/B full HD 60p camcorder, you get just that. This package is backed by a full Sony US warranty, so you know you are getting the real thing. It comes with everything you need to start shooting awesome videos as soon as you take it out of the box and charge up the battery.
Features of Sony HDR-CX405/B Full HD Camcorder
This camcorder shoots in full HD 60p, ensuring great video quality for anything you are shooting. You can create cinematic videos as well as high quality still photos up to 9.2MP. The XAVC S format uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression and linear PCM audio compression. Some of the best features include:
- File Saving – You can save files in an MP4 wrapper. This lets you have longer recording times, and it makes editing a whole lot easier. A 64GB Ultra Micro SDXC UHS-I memory card is included in the bundle.
- Light Sensitivity – This is a great camera for shooting in low light conditions, offering great low light sensitivity and better image clarity without a lot of noise, thanks to the Exmor R CMOS sensor.
- Zoom – You can get really close to your subjects, even if you are shooting at a distance. This camera features a 30X optical zoom, along with a 60X Clear Image Digital Zoom, which keeps images crisp and clear.
Pros and Cons of Sony HDR-CX405/B Full HD Camcorder
- Bundle Package – Everything you need to create great movies is included in this bundle package. You will receive the camera, battery, charger, Spider tripod, memory card and wallet, card reader, mini tripod, screen protectors, cleaning kit, HDMI to HDMI cable, and more.
- Lens – This camera features a 26.8mm wide-angle ZEISS lens, a company that is known for quality lenses. The wide-angle lets you get more in the shot.
None – We really like this camera, and so far, we have no complaints. It works well, is easy to use, and it isn’t going to break the bank. You can get this camera for less than $200, and start shooting cool videos right away.
Panasonic HC V180K Full HD Camcorder
Do you need a camcorder that records great videos, is lightweight and compact, and that isn’t going to break the bank? If you answered “yes” to these questions, check out the Panasonic HC-V180K full HD camcorder with 50X stabilized optical zoom. This camera makes creating great videos fun and easy, and you will love being able to shoot clear images, even in low light situations, without any reduction in image quality.
Features of Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder
We can’t say enough about the zoom features on this camcorder. It has a super-long 50X optical zoom, and the intelligent zooming gives you up to 90X zoom capabilities. This handheld camera is ideal for traveling, and you can easily pack it right into your suitcase or carry-on bag. Some of the best features include:
- BSI Sensors – These sensors ensure that you are going to get clear and crisp image quality, no matter what type of lighting conditions you are shooting under. The two-channel zoom mic works with the zoom lens to give you clear sound, even from a distance.
- Filter Effects – Get creative with the built-in filter effects such as 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, Miniature Effect, and even Time Lapse Recording. These features aren’t normally found in such an inexpensive camera.
- Image Stabilization – This camera has a five-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization system that gives you plenty of stability, even when you are shooting handheld. You don’t have to worry about a lot of camera shake.
Pros and Cons of Panasonic HC-V180K Full HD Camcorder
- LCD Monitor – You won’t miss any of the details when you are recording, thanks to the responsive, 2.7-inch touch screen LCD monitor that has 230,000 dots.
- Video Quality – We think you will be very impressed with the video quality this camera offers. A low price doesn’t necessarily mean cheap.
- None – This is another camera that is reasonably priced, has great features, works well, and that we have no complaints about at all. We are generally pleased with its performance, and the video quality is more than adequate.
Ancter Full Spectrum Camcorder
Have you ever watched those ghost hunting television programs, and thought that you would love to try it yourself, if only you had the right type of camera? A camera that works well in the dark and that can capture spirit activity has to cost thousands of dollars, right? Not necessarily.
The Ancter Full Spectrum Camcorder is an infrared night vision camera that is ideal for paranormal investigation. It records in 1080p full HD at 30 frames per second and has an 18X digital zoom so you and the ghosts can get up close and personal. At the same time, it can shoot full HD videos during the day too. So even if you need a video camera just for shooting during the daytime, this can be the right choice for you.
Features of Ancter Full Spectrum Night Vision Camcorder
This is the only camcorder in the world that has infrared and full spectrum technology. You can capture clear images at night, and you may just find spirit orbs, or even full spirits, on your images. Of course, this camera has lots of other great features, including:
- Touch Screen – See everything you are capturing clearly through the three-inch LCD touch screen. The screen can be rotated up to 270 degrees, so you can move it around in order to be able to capture shots at various angles.
- Microphone – The built-in microphone is high quality, and you will enjoy a clear, bright sound. If you are worried about noise from wind or other sounds being picked up, you can also use an external microphone.
- IR LED – You can use IR mode with or without using the IR LED. Using it without the IR LED lets you double your battery life, so you can shoot for longer periods of time before you need to recharge.
Pros and Cons of Ancter Full Spectrum Night Vision Camcorder
- Accessories – This camera comes with a high definition wide-angle lens, a 16GB SD memory card, an SD card reader, and two batteries that offer a maximum of 220 minutes of run time each.
- Warranty – This camera comes with a one-year warranty, protecting you from any problems due to manufacturer or material defects. You can contact the seller directly for technical support.
Battery Life – The only major complaint we have about this camera is the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of battery life, and the batteries don’t always hold a charge.
Panasonic HC V160 Long Camcorder
If you are looking for a camcorder that lets you get close up images, even when you are shooting from a distance, you need to check out the Panasonic HC-V160 long zoom camcorder. This camera offers intelligent 77X ultra-telephoto zoom capabilities, but it is still compact and lightweight. You can capture images from far away in very great detail, and you will be able to fill a frame with images that are captured in amazing detail. At the same time, it costs less than 300 bucks.
Features of Panasonic HC-V160
This is an easy camera to use for handheld shooting, and it has an image stabilizer feature that helps to eliminate some hand shaking, even if you are zoomed all the way in, when the shake is more likely to be visible. This camcorder gives you sharp, clear images, whether you use a tripod or not. Features include:
- Wide-Angle Lens – This camcorder features a 32.3mm wide-angle lens that lets you get more into the shot. This is great if you are working with large groups because you can fit everyone in, and it makes it easier to pick up sounds with the microphone.
- BSI Sensor – This feature helps to make images as clear as possible by improving high sensitivity performance. This means that even if you are working in low light conditions, you are going to capture clear images.
- Creativity – You can really get creative with this camcorder. It has several filter effects, including Miniature Effect, 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, and Time Lapse Recording so you can create some pretty unique videos.
Pros and Cons of Panasonic HC-V160 Long Zoom Camcorder
- iA Mode – This camcorder features an iA (intelligent Auto) mode, which senses various shooting conditions. It will make adjustments to the settings based on the various conditions to give you the best results.
- Easy to Use – Not only is this camcorder lightweight and portable, it is easy to use. The controls are simple, and even a beginner can start shooting awesome movies right away.
- None – While you shouldn’t expect much from an inexpensive camera, this one is different. We have no complaints about it. The performance is better than expected, and it is a camera that is easy to use.
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get into making your own movies. Whether you want to record YouTube videos, or you just want to capture all of the special memories in your life, any of the cameras we have discussed today will do the trick nicely. There is nothing stopping you from upgrading later, but these cameras are a great place to get started in the world of movie-making.