Finding the best video camera under $1,000 can be tough considering how many other factors should be taken into account prior to making your decision. In our case today, we focus on video cameras that fall within a particular price-point. However, now that we’ve gotten through half the battle, we’re met with some other questions, such as: What type of video camera? What features or specs are you looking for? For exactly how much money? Today we help you how to figure this out, as well as provide our picks for the best video cameras under $1,000 in the market today.
Picking the best video camera under $1,000
- Your budget – Although we’ve been able to narrow down our search to under $1,000, that still leaves us with a bit of a range when it comes to exact price. We covered all bases down below to give you options. Keep in mind any additional gear you’ll need to buy as well (tripods, cases, lenses if you grab an interchangeable camera, etc.) when totaling up your entire purchase. Even the best video cameras under $500 may be of interest to you — it’s all dependent on what you want.
- Video camera type – There are quite a few different types of video cameras in the world today. We’ve eliminated them into a few types to make it easy. After your budge is chosen, let’s get down to what types of video cameras you may want:
- DSLR camera: These are by far one of the most popular digital cameras as well as video cameras nowadays, with the main reasons being they offer interchangeable lenses and great quality for the price. We highly recommend a DSLR camera if you’re looking for something versatile (also if you’re in need of a digital camera — this is your best bet). They’re a bit more bulkier than others so if size is something you’re concerned about, you may need to steer away here. We have quite a few of these listed below for a reason.
- Mirrorless camera: Becoming more popular as technology continues to grow, these are a bit of a different build than DSLR’s. They are interchangeable as well, so that’s a huge pro for many since grabbing separate lenses can help customize the picture of your videos. They’re also a lot better for autofocus (their AF systems are more advanced than DSLRs, albeit for a bit higher price).
- Action camera: These are the point-of-view cameras many have come to love, especially when it comes to filming extreme sports or more action-based uses. We list our favorite below, otherwise if you want some more options be sure to read our guide we linked to.
- Camcorders: Up until about a decade ago, these were the most popular types of video cameras for quite a while. They’re the image many associate with “video camera” in general and are a bit more convenient when it comes to use as well as travel (they typically have a strap for your hand and are less weight than DSLRs to carry).
- Point-and-Shoot camera: Last but not least, although a bit more rare the others mentioned above, are amazing if you were looking for something compact in size. They’re great for travel and most can even fit in your pocket. Not many come with video capability, but we found a few that did to give you options.
- Intended use – Will you be filming sports? Something by the water? Skits or vlogs for YouTube videos? Everyday home and family use? Music videos? Check out those posts we have in regards to specific uses, otherwise you’ll want to keep what you plan on filming in mind when you’re selecting the best video camera under $1,000. For example, those in darker-lit environments want to make sure they’re video has great low-light sensitivity, or those filming sports a decent autofocus system (mirrorless recommended).
- Additive features – Do you want some high-quality, 4K video resolution? How about a waterproof camera (we don’t have any in here, so check that guide if it’s what you need)? The combination of type of camera and intended use will dictate what features will really stand out for you. Some other popular extra features include
The best video cameras for under $1,000
Sony Alpha a6000
To begin our list, we are looking at one of our favorite video cameras in the world right now — the Alpha a6000 by Sony, which is in our opinion one of the best video cameras for an under $1,000 budget. Aside from the dominance this camera has over many in the mirrorless camera category, you’re getting near semi-pro quality when it comes to the video quality. In regards to features, this camera offers four different dimensions of auto focus (4D Focus) to make sure that each image and movement is captured with high precision and focus. This includes a wide focus that accounts for height and width, a depth focus that zeros in on speed, and a tracking focus that predicts movements before they occur. The larger sensor included in the video camera, coupled with a high quality processing system helps create sharper images and reduces any blurry images you may normally get with movement (which even for those of us with little skill in videography, gives us confidence in the shots we are taking). With a portable and decent size that makes it great for travel as well, the Sony Alpha a6000 video camera has great qualities for a reasonable price. We list it first for a reason.
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
While the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is on the higher end of the budget, it is an ideal video camera for those looking for high quality videos with little work involved. This video camera under $1k comes with a great amount of features, which may appear overwhelming, but are designed to be user friendly and provide multiple options for everyone. A 24.2 Megapixel sensor gives images that have a natural appearance due to the enhanced light detection included in the camera. Also, unflattering light situations and movements that are difficult to capture become clear with a scene analysis systems that adjusts to the subject of the image or video based on what they are doing. However, with everyone’s desire for instant results and constant communication, it is the feature of built-in Wi-Fi that really makes the selling point on this camera. As long as you have a compatible device, you can automatically upload photos and videos directly from your camera. As someone who personally hates any extra clutter, saying goodbye to extra cords for the ease of wireless uploading makes the Canon EOS Rebel T6i one of the best video cameras under $1,000 available.
GoPro HERO5 Black
We’re all aware of those GoPro videos everywhere. Although their popularity is declining as competitors become more technologically equal, their newest GoPro is simply awesome. Waterproof? Voice activated? One button for use? The highly rated GoPro HERO5 Black is designed for those who want high-tech features that are simple to use. For the daredevils out there, the GoPro is a video camera that can be mounted and held by hand during different activities and has video stabilization that allows you to capture your exciting moments while they are happening. The video camera is small in size and has a two-inch touch screen that allows you to edit your photos directly on your video camera before sending them off to your device via the WiFi capability. Also, as mentioned earlier, the camera can be used in up to 33 feet of water and has the ability to be voice activated, allowing you to find the perfect angle for your selfie without having to contort your arm to reach the button. With simple use and a portable design, the GoPro HERO5 is a high quality video camera under $1,000 for a reasonable price.
While the look of this video camera is that of an old-school video camcorder, the HC-WXF991K comes with all the upgraded features needed in a modern-day camera. With a 4K Ultra display and HD recording, this camera has a built in twin camera setting that allows you to record a shot from different angles, giving a more professional feel to all recordings. Cropping, stabilization, zoom, and slow/quick motion features are all included directly in the camera, which allows for automatic editing without having to work from another device. It even comes with a function known as level-shot, that adjusts the image of the camera automatically so that there is not tilting or external shaking from the user while recording. Finally, the High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature adjusts the lighting and exposures to make sure that each image or shot is captured as a clear and visible image. While this camera is higher on the price point, the included features make the Panasonic HC-WXF991K a dynamic device and still one of the best video cameras under one thousand dollars.
Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD
For the amateur videographers who dreamed of being the next Steven Speilberg as a child, the VIXIA HF G20 will fulfill all of your pro-video making dreams (aside from having the look). While the body of the camera is small, the 35 mm lens of the camera offers a wider view of images that cannot be found with regular video cameras. The image sensor is also top-of-the-line quality, working well at farther ranges, close ups, and producing clear images in low-light settings — all features that justify the price on this bad boy. The touch panel allows you to review your images and modify them directly on the camera to edit features such as the exposure or clarity of your photos or recordings. However, one of the features that makes this one of the best video cameras under a thousand bucks are the nine different cinema-filters that are included. The camera allows you to preview all of the filters before choosing one, and then adjusts the lighting and background exposure to match your chosen selection. While it comes in at the top of the budget of a thousand dollars or less, the Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD is a worthwhile investment to videographers looking for professional recordings.
One of best DSLR video cameras under $1,000 designed for the creative artist in mind, the D5500 is meant for those who want to capture the world in a unique way. With seven different Picture Controls to adjust lighting and background, and sixteen Scene Modes to add your own personal touch, this video camera allows for a personalized videography experience. The Scene Recognition system uses a sensor that automatically adjusts your camera settings (such as focus, brightness, and flash) to make sure that your photo or video is perfectly balanced and clear in its imagery. Plus, with nine different cross-type sensors and shutter speeds that move between 4 to 30 seconds, you can get every movement you want to capture on film with high clarity. Included with WiFi compatibility for easy uploading to most devices, the Nikon D5500 is a portable and well-priced video camera ideal for any user.
Blackmagic Micro Cinema
While this video camera is smaller in size, the Blackmagic Micro Cinema is high in quality thanks largely in part to the 13 versions of dynamic range powered by the 16mm sensor. Although they’re above our price-point here, their entire line of Blackmagic Cinema Cameras are insane when it comes to quality. While the Micro Cinema is on the high-end of the budget and barely making our under $1,000 mark, this video camera is designed for the adventure seekers and can be mounted on all different types of equipment for achieving ultimate action shots. It even comes with remote control capability so that you can use your camera without being in the direct vicinity. The mechanical design for the audio is omni-directional, which allows for the cancellation of background noise and instead focuses in on the audio you need to make the most of your recordings. For ease in use, all buttons are located on the front of the camera, making it accessible in any position you may be in while trying to get that perfect shot. Overall, the Blackmagic Micro Cinema is another very high quality video camera for under a thousand bucks.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Looking at another option from Canon, the PowerShot G7 stands out from the others due to the innovation of the processor it possesses being the size of a compact point-and-shoot. The DIGIC 7 image processor works over time to focus in on everything essential in your videos. This includes concentrating on fast-paced subjects, face tracking recognition for the focus of your shot, reducing outside noise, and stabilizing the image from any external body movements that may occur while capturing your moments. For the selfie lovers out there, the camera can tilt itself upward at 180 degrees and down at 45 degrees, meaning less arm contortion for the perfect picture angle. Finally, looking to take hours of footage and decrease to seconds? The time lapse function gives you that option, keeping up with your fast paced life without having you miss a beat, which is why we had to add the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II to our list of the best video beasts for under$1,000.
The highly rated Nikon D7000 continues to prove itself while Nikon is a trusted brand and leader in high-quality video cameras, more specifically DSLRs. This is definitely one of the best video cameras for under $1,000 if you wanted something in the lower-end of our category here. The 16.2 megapixels included in this video camera allows for light to process at a higher sensor, giving you richer quality in your images. The EXPEED 2 processing system allows the video camera to capture movements at higher speeds of up to 6 frames per second. In addition, the 1080p HD enhances the quality of the video, with the added bonus of a built-in and external microphone that produces decent-resolution audio when playing back your videos (for pro quality, we still recommend an external shotgun mic). Similar to the other Nikon’s on this list, the 2,016 pixel sensor enhances the lighting, giving for optimal exposure of all images in both shadows and light. Finally, for those of us that tend to be a little hard on our equipment, the D7000 was put to the manufacturing test to ensure that the Nikon D7000 is durable in most rugged environments, giving peace of mind to the user in all recording situations.
Last but not least, we come to the 360fly 4K, the video camera with such a unique design that it would be difficult to know it was a camera if you didn’t already know. This was our #1 pick in our best 360 degree camera guide and although not like the others, we felt like listing it last to at least spread the awareness that this is out there. Built for the techies who love all the latest trends in the tech world, this 16 megapixel smart video camera can capture views up to 360 degrees, while also seamlessly transitioning back to the old-school point-and-shoot method of videography. The omnidirectional microphone allows you to pick up sound from all angles in which you are shooting your video and a built in GPS sensor allows for you to know the exact location where your photo was taken. While you can’t edit directly from your phone as some of the earlier options do, the 360Fly app allows you to turn your smartphone into your own personal editing studio, enhancing and personalizing your media. With 64GB of storage and a waterproof and shockproof design, the 360fly 4K is different, yet another one of the best video cameras under one thousand dollars with a different spin to capturing videos.