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When you’re shopping for the best digital camera for video, you first need to consider your comfort level with technology and your production goals. Are you shooting a video because you want to share it natively on social media and need a vlogging camera? Or, are you creating videos for professional reasons? Thanks to innovations in technology, you can use anything from your smartphone to a high-end DSLR or a tried-and-true camcorder.
Some of the best digital cameras with video capabilities on today’s market sport resolution options from 1080p to 4K these days. And, of course, a good auto-focus function is essential to ensure that you’re getting crisp, clear shots every time.
Keep reading our best digital camera for video buying guide to learn more. But, before you head out to buy a camera, check out our best digital cameras buying guide.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This camera has an adorable design that will appeal to families. It records Full HD videos and comes with a memory card, making it a good choice for people who want to capture special moments.
Specially designed to appeal to kids, the Wowgo X8 12MP digital camera has an adorable style and is available in pink and blue pastel colors. This device has formidable recording experience, capturing videos of up to 1080P. The camera comes with a 32GB memory card that provides plenty of space for storing videos. Families will appreciate the self-timer features, which enable taking photos of the whole family without the need for a camera operator. However, the zoom function on this device produces mediocre pictures.
This Wowgo X8 12MP digital camera features a 12MP photo sensor, which produces vivid photos with great colors. Its large 3.5-inch LCD offers expansive previews and allows users to change and monitor settings easily. With prominent manual buttons for zooming and other functions, this camera is easy to operate. It comes with USB cables for charging and photo transfer. The camera also has awesome frames and filters to add fun to the photos.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This camera records Full HD videos and captures high-quality photos. With an incredibly slim profile that’s smaller than some smartphones, this device is suitable for travel.
With this Lecran 36MP digital camera, users can capture high-quality videos and photos. The camera has a 36.0-megapixel sensor, delivering excellent photos with vibrant colors. This camera also captures Full HD videos, so it’s suitable for vlogging and documenting family events. Featuring a decent built-in microphone, this camera provides a good all-around media recording experience. We love the compact design of this camera, which enables recording during journeys. However, the 16x digital zoom function produces pixelated images.
This Lecran 36MP digital camera has convenient functions, such as continuous shooting, letting users find the perfect shot. It comes with a portable camera bag for easy transport. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers power for use on the go. This camera has an anti-shake feature to counter the effects of unsteady hands. It has a face detection feature to bring out the best in group photos and portraits. Its manual dials enable zooming and changing exposure compensation easily.
Award: BEST FOR NATURE VIDEOGRAPHERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This camera has an excellent video sensor that captures epic UHD videos. With a powerful lens and built-in time-lapse functions, this camera is ideal for professional projects.
Similar to the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II, the Canon PowerShot SX740 20.3MP digital camera boasts some advanced features that will appeal to seasoned enthusiasts. This digital camera has a powerful lens with up to 40x optical zoom, capturing far-off photos and videos in astounding detail. The lens has optical image stabilization tech to counter camera shake. The camera has a 3.0-inch tilt-style LCD that offers flexible previews. However, the picture and video quality suffer a bit in low-light conditions.
A 20.3-megapixel CMOS photo sensor on this model delivers incredible pictures with natural colors. This Canon PowerShot SX740 20.3MP digital camera has a continuous shooting function for convenience. The camera runs on a DIGIC 8 image processor, which provides great performance. It records videos at resolutions of up to 4K, making the device a good choice for professional videographers and vloggers. Couple it with the finest Canon lens for video and you’re all set. A time-lapse movie feature produces excellent shortened videos without the need for editing. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for media transfer.
Award: BEST FOR BLOGGING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This camera includes two complementary lenses, which are especially suited to capturing up-close photos of people and nature. It records high-resolution UHD videos and is a good choice for blogging and use as a webcam.
The Vjianger 48MP digital camera boasts an excellent photo sensor that produces billboard-quality photographs. This camera has a classic style that brings retro vibes to the camera bag. With a 52mm wide-angle and Macro lenses, this camera is ideal for capturing up-close photos of people and nature. The device makes a good camera for vlogging. However, the lenses lack zoom, and the 16x digital zoom function typically produces pixelated and dark images.
This Vjianger 48MP digital camera has an HDMI output that connects to display devices, letting users deploy this device as a webcam. It has excellent built-in time-lapse features to help enthusiasts save space on the device. The camera comes with two 1500 mAh rechargeable batteries that provide a combined total of up to 3 hours of video recording time before requiring recharging. An advanced autofocus function simplifies framing. The camera has a flip screen for convenient previews and includes a 32G TF card for storage.
Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Kodak camera has a compact design that easily fits in purses, and small bags for hassle-free transportation. This camera is the device of choice for camping trips and other journeys.
Featuring Kodak’s trademark design and compact build, the Kodak PIXPRO FZ43 16MP digital camera enables users to record high-quality videos on the go. This camera has a 24mm wide-angle lens, which is suitable for use as a webcam. It also has a 4.9mm-19.6mm lens capable of up to 4x optical zoom for capturing objects from a distance. However, the camera lacks a rechargeable battery and instead relies on disposable AA batteries. That said, compare this to the top-rated Polaroid digital cameras to see if those are better.
This Kodak PIXPRO FZ43 16MP digital camera has a decent photo sensor, producing high-quality images. The camera has several manual buttons to simplify zooming and adjust other settings. A 2.7-inch LCD provides accurate image previews. Features such as panorama capture make it easy to record videos of nature. This camera records HD videos of up to 720p, making it a good choice for family events. The lenses have image stabilization tech for countering camera shake.
Award: PROFESSIONAL VIDEOGRAPHERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This camera records UHD videos and has an advanced zooming system that is suitable for recording videos from afar. The camera has a viewfinder and 3-inch touchscreen, offering intuitive operation.
The Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ80K 18.1MP digital camera has the looks of a DSLR camera and the features of a modern mirrorless camera. This point-and-shoot camera has an incredible photo sensor that captures extremely sharp photos. It features a LUMIX DC VARIO 20-1200mm lens capable of a whopping 60x optical zoom. The lens is stabilized by Pansonic’s O.I.S system, producing shake-free photos. The camera captures high-resolution 4K videos and frame rates of up to 30 fps. However, this camera is heavy and takes up lots of space. But, it’s still a great point-and-shoot camera for under $500.
This Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ80K 18.1MP digital camera has Post Focus and Focus Stacking, enabling users to manipulate the depth of the photos after capturing them. Built-in Wi-Fi technology simplifies transferring photos and videos. This LUMIX camera has a 1,170K dot viewfinder and 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD, delivering incredibly detailed photo and video previews. This camera also performs very well in low-light conditions. It has a comfortable grip that reduces the likelihood of accidental drops.
These days, you don’t always need a dedicated piece of equipment that can only shoot video. Thanks to multiple innovations over the years, even simple compact or point-and-shoot cameras can also support video capture and playback. While quality can vary across devices, you can even shoot video with a smartphone, many of which have cameras powerful enough to make much of the compact camera segment redundant.
As with any other product category, video capabilities can vary widely across not just brands but even the models offered by a single manufacturer. This can include shooting formats, display quality options, and even connectivity support. There are plenty of video-capable options within the major camera categories — smartphones (also sometimes referred to as camera phones), great compact cameras, digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR), and mirrorless cameras.
Each category has unique benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered as you choose which camera is best for your video goals. So, it’s a good idea to compare manual vs digital mode on a camera, or you might get something you can’t work with.
In today’s market, it’s pretty rare to find a quality camera that doesn’t support video capture, even if the video output is low quality. However, the only distinguishing difference between digital cameras for video and other digital cameras is the lack of video support. But keep in mind that camcorders, like the Lakasara 1080p camcorder, technically fall under the digital cameras for video category.
Because so many different types of cameras support video, you’ll find that models in this category include action cameras, water-resistant cameras, low-light cameras, compact models, and of course smartphones, camcorders, DSLRs, and mirrorless cameras, to name a few. They also vary in price range, depending on the model you choose.
Digital cameras with video features behave similarly to other cameras when shooting stills. However, the biggest difference is that you’ll have video support. To use the video function, you’ll either set the camera to video mode through a menu setting and press the shutter button to record if using something like a DSLR, or you’ll do so through the camera app if using a smartphone.
At a minimum, a digital video camera should shoot in 1080p, giving you an HD quality video with excellent visual resolution. You can also find cameras that shoot in 4K, including smartphones like the Apple iPhone 12 series, one of the best digital cameras for travel.
Additionally, some cameras shoot in 8K. As a general rule, picking a higher resolution is ideal so that in the post-production process, if you need to scale down to 1080p through cropping, there’s no loss in image quality. Likewise, digital cameras that support video capture will give users the option to adjust frame rates. Most importantly, you want a camera with a quality auto-focus function. This feature is important, especially if you plan on capturing people or subjects in motion, which can be tricky for some cameras to tackle successfully.
A 24 frames per second (fps) rating is the baseline standard for video footage shot in North America, but higher is preferred. Of course, many cameras support frame rate adjustment, meaning that you can toggle to higher frame rates to compensate for faster action in the video.
Many cameras have limits on the total video length. Historically, this figure would be just under 30 minutes at 29 minutes and 59 seconds as a preventative measure since shooting video can generate a lot of heat. So, if your goal is to shoot long-form content, you might be better served with a professional camera that incorporates a built-in fan to keep components cool while you’re shooting.
And while many cameras do have a built-in microphone, it might not be sufficient to create quality audio. You’ll often find that you might need to pick a microphone accessory that can plug into your camera. And this also means that you’ll want to pick a camera that comes with a microphone input socket.
Video continues to be a popular medium, especially if you’re trying to attract followers or interact with friends and family. But with that being said, how do you know if upgrading to a video-focused camera is the right move for you?
Since many digital cameras that support video capture are ultimately multifunctional devices that also support still photography, how long your digital video camera lasts is going to depend on the type of camera you purchase. In general, most digital cameras have a long lifespan dictated by shutter longevity or user behavior.
Specifically, DSLR and mirrorless cameras both feature mechanical shutters, although mirrorless cameras also have a digital shutter. These cameras will have a lifespan measured by “shutter actuation” or “shutter count.” Whichever title you prefer, this refers to the total number of pictures a mechanical shutter can take before general fatigue and wear and tear cause the shutter to stop working.
This figure is more important for DSLR cameras since they only contain mechanical shutters. Shutter counts can vary widely across brands and products made by one manufacturer. On the low end, some cameras are limited to a shutter count of just 50,000, while others can achieve figures as high as 500,000.
With point-and-shoot cameras, shutter count isn’t a factor. Instead, user behavior is more likely to determine whether or not your camera malfunctions prematurely. Being rough with your camera or attempting to shoot a video for extended periods that causes the camera to shut down or overheat frequently will all work to age your camera prematurely. That said, it is possible to do timelapse on a digital camera. Although, you might have issues when you find your camera delays when taking pictures, especially with smartphone cameras.
And similarly, smartphones are most frequently prone to user error in the form of being dropped from heights. Repeated physical impact can damage internal components, leading to a smartphone with a camera — and potentially other functions — that won’t work properly.
As with any image or video capture device, you need to make sure that you’re picking a camera that’s best suited for your needs. Think about how you plan on capturing footage, and more importantly, where you plan on filming so that you pick the right camera.
There’s nothing worse than watching a grainy video that looks like it was shot ten years ago. At a minimum, you want a camera that supports 1080p resolution, also known as Full HD. But for best results, you should look for a camera that shoots in a higher output. Opting for a camera that can shoot in 4K means that, even if you have to scale down during post, you can still achieve a clear 1080p resolution.
Look for cameras with strong autofocus support. Unlike still photography, you don’t have the option of waiting until the focus function finds the right subject before you begin shooting. Video captures everything, including blurry moments where the camera’s autofocus struggles to find the right subject. This is especially true if you’re trying to capture subjects that are in motion.
However, autofocus quality and accuracy can also depend on the type of lens you use. Alternatively, if you’re concerned that the autofocus might not be as reliable as you’d prefer, confirm that your preferred camera or camcorder also supports manual controls to adjust the focus.
Similar to stills, a good image sensor is essential for taking clear pictures or video footage that doesn’t look distorted. Just as with still photography, larger sensor sizes tend to produce better image quality.
You want a camera that can shoot a minimum of 24 frames per second. But if you’re going to be capturing fast motion, choose a model that allows you to adjust the frame rate. For example, if you’re shooting fast-moving cars, being able to adjust to 60 fps or higher means that your footage won’t look jerky or distorted. However, keep in mind that sometimes you won’t be able to shoot at the highest resolution when the frame rate is set to a higher level.
This question will dictate whether you should invest in a dedicated video camera or camcorder or if you can use a camera that pulls double duty between still and action photography. If you’re shooting for extended periods, it’s best to focus solely on video cameras and camcorders. These types of cameras are designed to operate efficiently even with the increased heat generated during video capture. But if you’re only shooting short clips, a traditional camera will suffice.
Usually, traditional cameras tend to have mediocre built-in microphones — and this includes smartphone cameras. They tend to pick up any kind of background noise, including rustling clothes. If you’re concerned that the audio might not sound crisp or loud enough, look for camera models that feature microphone input ports so that you can plug in an external microphone.
While this isn’t a requirement, some cameras allow your still settings to be carried over to video. Although this can be nice, it can also be frustrating since white balance, focus, and exposure are key settings that are dramatically different between still photography and video.
Unless you’re doing it for dramatic effect, most people don’t want to watch a wobbly video that looks like you’re holding your camera by hand. Image stabilization can help remove any shakiness caused by a handheld shot or other movement such as panning your camera, even when using one of the best digital camera tripods.
This feature will usually require additional accessories, like an external recorder, as RAW files are massive. But for serious post-production buffs, RAW files can offer more precise controls for excellent image quality than shooting in other modes.