Ten Great Cameras That Shoot 1080p for Less Than $300

With the endless hype surrounding the amazing features of every new camera, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of incredible tools available for those on a tight budget. Cinematographer Caleb Pike has put together a list of 10 cameras that are great for video but cost less than $300.

Pike’s criteria are pretty simple: all of the cameras must be off the shelf and not discounted, and must shoot a minimum of 1080p at 24 fps. On the subject of 24 fps, notably, Canon decided to remove it from their latest full-frame offering, the EOS RP, preferring to give users only the option of 30 fps. Given that 24 fps is preferred by many filmmakers for giving footage a more cinematic feel, this was an odd choice by Canon, but is one of the basic requirements for Pike when compiling his list of recommendations. If you watch very carefully, you might spot Pike’s reference to Canon’s curious decision.

Obviously, in this price range, there are going to be some serious compromises, even if the 1080p is still going to be more than adequate for uploading in HD to YouTube (with the possible exception of the Canon T2i). Depending on what you choose and how much you want to spend, missing features might include a microphone input, a headphone jack, HDMI output, and in-body stabilization. Despite the age and the low price, some of these models offer zebras for checking your highlights and focus peaking for helping you to keep footage sharp.

Interestingly, there are four Sony cameras featured, all of which are quite similar admittedly, and only two Canon options. What’s missing from Pike’s list?

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11 Comments

I am surprised he didn’t include the a6000. The are listed at or below $300. No plans to upgrade my a6000 until the a6500 successor comes out. I am routinely shocked at how intuitive and sticky the autofocus is while filming. I rarely, rarely have the af on the ring spot or hunting. It’s an amazing camera in that respect.

Andy Day's picture

$498 on BHPhoto. Where are you seeing it for $300? Grey import?

Thomas H's picture

Amazon for example. Tons of them stand at $300 about.

Andy Day's picture

$366.99 is the cheapest I see it brand new.

Thomas H's picture

There is a constant variance of low-end price. On eBay, the bidding hype or frenzy raises the price in an auction. On Amazon where the offerings are time unlimited, the price travels in opposite direction. Sellers lower the prices until someone "bites." Others may still think: ok, sell it at that low, I will still keep my value, I have time. But not forever. The values of old tech is subject to decline, thus at some time one have to lower it in order to be seen and to sell. And so the balance between these both groups causes the constant fluctuation of the low-mark price.

Andy Day's picture

I don't think that really falls into Pike's criteria for a 'sub $300 camera'.

Kyle Medina's picture

Ugh Panasonic FZ300 shoots 4K right at $300.

Thomas H's picture

Something always stunned me about this Panasonic issue: We ignore the brand which they created totally.

Its a Lumix FZ300, Lumix is a Panasonic brand. Right so. Panasonic is a kitchen appliance company, vacuum maker, AC unit maker, phones and and and. That's why they came up with this cool brand for cameras, sharing "L" with the partner Leica. And still, the "web" somehow collectively ignores it.

Imagine a car review about that Toyota GX-nn, of wait, its a Lexus GX by Toyota. We do not do that. We do not call an Infinity "a Nissan". I wonder about this phenomenon in regard to Lumix.

Spy Black's picture

"Given that 24 fps is preferred by many filmmakers for giving footage a more cinematic feel..."

People really need to get over that.

Michael Jin's picture

30 FPS always reminds me of footage from a consumer camcorder from backin the day.

Spy Black's picture

I rest my case...