Vlogging has gone from something people did for fun to a full-time profession for some. While there are a million different ways you can vlog today, you won’t get far without the best vlogging camera.
Unfortunately, choosing the right one can be extremely difficult when you’re just starting out. With that in mind, here are a few areas you will want to hone in on.
How to Choose the Best Vlogging Camera
What’s the style of your Vlog? Whether you already have an active audience or are just starting out, you have to think about your style first and foremost. A vlogger that focuses on tech or tutorials will want a camera capable of shooting clear, steady streams. On the flipside, someone who does a travel blog or is into action sports may want a completely different camera. What works for one, may not work for another so keep your needs in mind – especially if you’re a gamer.
If you were going to snap photos instead of shooting video, this is where we would talk about the size of the sensor and cover hardcore tech specs. Well, those are still important, but the resolution is the main specification vloggers need to keep in mind. In most cases, these are the three resolutions you’ll need to know.
- HD – Whenever you see the term HD, it means 720p. By comparison, most smartphones and modern TV sets have higher resolution, so cameras in this class are usually in the budget range. Depending on your audience, HD is definitely not a bad thing.
- FHD – If you want more clarity, FHD is your best bet. It’s a few rungs down from the highest resolution available, but 1080p is nothing to scoff at. At the moment, it’s the most common standard around and one that has yet to be surpassed by our next option. You will find some of the best budget vlogging cameras in this range.
- UHD – UHD stands for “Ultra HD” otherwise known as 4K. Consumers that want the best vlogging camera and hate upgrading should go for a UHD camera. They aren’t necessarily cheap in most cases, but your audience will appreciate the uptick in sharpness and color.
Audio the other area you need to focus on although it’s something you can upgrade, unlike the sensor. If you sound like you’re talking with a mouth full of marbles, it’s safe to say you’ll lose a few viewers. While we can’t help people with shrill tones or mumbley mouths, a good vlogging camera can make your life a whole lot easier.
Every camera capable of video has a built-in microphone. To say the quality varies would be an understatement so consider an external microphone. There are dozens of options available, but RODE’s lineup is a good place to start if you want a great external mic for your vlog. If you want to learn more about the styles of microphones available, be sure to check this out.
As we live in the technological age, you can find a display on everything from a refrigerator to the dashboard of your car. Cameras are no different, and high-end models have some pretty interesting displays. Some sit flush in the body like a regular camera, and while they will suffice, a pop-out display should be the first feature on your want list.
When vlogging, you typically need to get a look at yourself which is where this type of display shines. It’s also an area where you need to pay close attention as the way the display pivots and swivels makes a huge difference. Think about the style of videos you plan to shoot before you fall in love with a touchscreen display. The type of panel used is essential as well, especially if you’re working outdoors in direct sunlight.
Instead of talking about the sensor size, we’re going to discuss frame rate; a term gamers will be very familiar with. The frame rate is measured in FPS which stands for frames per second, instead of first-person shooter this time around. That said, it’s something to take just as seriously if you want the best vlogging camera.
We’re not going to go too in-depth here. Higher frame rates are great, but 60fps could be overkill for your YouTube tutorial. For a more “dramatic” effect, you’ll want a lower frame rate somewhere along the lines of 24fps. High-speed action needs a higher frame rate, while the many folks stick to 30fps as it’s the most commonly accepted standard.
For consumers that need to shoot sports or take a lot of high motion shots, 60fps is the only way to go. An excellent vlogging camera will give you a wide range of options to choose from while others will stick you at one end of the spectrum. If you are unsure of the style you plan to shoot in; this will steer you in the right direction.
Bells, Whistles, and Battery Life
In the camera world, extra features can significantly raise the price so it’s an area where you’ll want to proceed with caution. Think about your needs before those extra bells & whistles as not everyone requires a touchscreen display, but there are a few things serious vloggers should not be without.
The first handy extra you’ll want to look for is Wi-Fi. It’s common on high-end cameras but hit or miss in the mid-range. We don’t need to explain why it’s essential, and NFC along with Bluetooth are two other popular options. Arguably more important than connectivity is something called OIS. This stands for optical image stabilization and is ideal if you’ve got shaky hands or hate tripods.
Outputs shouldn’t be overlooked either considering you can’t use an external microphone without one. Battery life is key as is the memory, both internal and external. The latter can sometimes vary, but every camera uses the SD standard. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to gauge battery life as it depends on the quality and length of the video you shoot. Regardless, always keep recording times in mind and plenty of SD cards at the ready.
9 Best Vlogging Cameras To Buy in 2020
Vlogging is a big business for some folks and a hobby for others. Regardless of where you stand, if you want people to tune in, you need more than a good personality. A great script will help although you won’t get far without the best vlogging camera. Whether you’re looking for the best mirrorless camera for vlogging or something a bit simpler, we have you covered.
Panasonic LUMIX G95
If you’re into vlogging, the Panasonic LUMIX G95 should be on your shortlist, and here’s why: first, you’ll get a high-end mirrorless beast that looks like it was purposely built for vloggers, and we’re dead serious about this. The control layout is as ergonomic as it comes, the handling is awesome, and even if the Panasonic LUMIX G95 comes with a smaller sensor compared to its direct competitors, and we’re talking about the Micro Four Thirds vs the rest of the world i.e. the famous APS-C sensors, the truth is that the former packs a lot of heat in a smaller form factor.
The Lumix G95 actually comes with the company’s newest 20MP sensor which delivers great stills and excellent 4K videos, and, what’s very important, the autofocus is very snappy and precise. There are also high tech features aimed at conquering the hearts and minds of Fellini wannabes, the likes of dual-lens with body image stabilization, 4K video featuring Panasonic’s pro-level V-Log L mode for 12-stop dynamic range, a revamped Live View composite, stromotion modes and much other cool stuff for photo-geeks.
- excellent build quality, light and designed for maximum comfort
- improved OLED vari-angle touchscreen display
- easy to use, intuitive menu
- 4K photo modes, strong 4K video-features
- impressive AF system
- kind of bulky
- relatively expensive for what it is
- doesn’t worth upgrading over older G85
- battery life could be better (up to 290 shots)
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Flagship Performance with Some Caveats
Even if some people describe the EOS M6 Mark II as a flawed flagship, the amount of performance delivered by this tiny mirrorless camera is outstanding. The EOS M6 Mark II comes with a high-res sensor, Canon’s latest 32.5-megapixel (and all-new) variety, which makes it arguably the best high-res-crop-sensor gadget money can buy. Also, the shooting speed is impressive for a mirrorless, and even the autofocus system has been improved with the company’s excellent Dual Pixel technology.
Okay, so what’s flawed, you may ask? Well, to begin with, there’s no EVF and the 4K videos are not the best in the business, to say the least. However, since we’re talking about the best mirrorless cameras for vlogging, the coolest thing about the EOS M6 Mark II is that it delivers full sensor 4K, rather than cropped, and it’s also priced competitively (some may say aggressively) with rival mirrorless cameras, such as the XT-30 from Fujifilm, or Nikon’s Z50, which is incidentally the company’s first-ever APS-C based mirrorless model.
- very good AF system performance, amazing shooting speeds
- ergonomic design with good handling
- high quality (color accurate and detailed) stills
- highest-res sensor available
- compact size makes it great for travelers
- lacks electronic viewfinder
- 4K not as good as rivals
- native lens range severely limited
Olympus Tough TG-6
The Best Go-Anywhere Camera
Next we have the Olympus Tough TG-6, which makes for a compact, waterproof and obviously tough as nails 12 MP camera with image stabilization and GPS tracking functionality. Speaking of tough, the TG-6 is shockproof from 7ft, waterproof to 50ft and crushproof to 220lbs, not to mention dustproof. What really makes this Olympus to stand out from the crowd, besides its tank-like build quality obviously, which makes it a “lone” survivor especially for vloggers who enjoy live-streaming extreme sports, is its impressive macro performance and the advanced controls.
Basically, if you’re shopping for a “G-shock” camera capable of 4K/30 FPS video, the Olympus Tough TG-6 plays in the best bang for the buck category, having a very bright lens and excellent underwater photography capabilities, features that make it a great choice for those of you traveling a lot. The built-in GPS logging thing and the Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control the camera by remote or transfer images quickly are particularly useful for vloggers on the run, along with high-speed continuous shooting.
- can survive a nuclear war in a compact and light form-factor
- bright lens/rear LCD, support for RAW images
- impressive image quality for such a small camera
- amazing macro performance, 4K video recording, high speed 1080p video
- add-on lenses available
- kind of expensive for our taste
- video stabilization could be better
- the user interface is confusing
- LCD scratches easily
The Best Mirrorless Camera for Vlogging
The Fujifilm X-T30 is basically the shrunken version of the legendary X-T3, the company’s flagship and arguably the best camera ever made by Fujifilm. And by shrinkage, we’re talking about a two-prong approach: the X-T30 is smaller/more compact and also cheaper, yet it still sports high-end hardware, i.e. Fujifilm’s 4th gen 26.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, along with tons of processing power, fast burst shooting and the company’s excellent set of film simulations.
Moreover, the X-T30 can record stellar 4K video, and boasts a 425-point phase-detect AF system; truth be told, the AF system in the X-T30 is just as good (if not better) in terms of face detection and accuracy as the legendary X-T3, and even if that may sound blasphemous for some of our readers, it’s God’s honest truth. To make it real simple, the Fujifilm X-T30 is an impressive mirrorless camera, packed with features and high technology, and sports a tough body, excellent auto-focus performance for its price bracket, great stills, impressive 4K video, and, last but not least, a very decent price-tag all things considered.
- you get the same sensor as X-T3 at half the price
- the AF system is impressive
- top-notch image/video quality
- impeccable workmanship and good ergonomics
- amazing value for money
- lacks in-body stabilization
- kind of small for big-handed people
- feels front-heavy with big lenses
- viewfinder is no match for X-T3’s
Sony RX100 VII
High-Tech Pocket Camera
If you’re a vlogger working with a generous budget, the Sony RX100 VII comes to mind. Think along the lines of the Apollo space program and you’ll get it: this Sony is absolutely fantastic in terms of technology and build quality, but premium gear comes at premium prices. Everything is great about this compact camera, at least on paper: the 24-200mm lens is impressive, the size is ideal, Sony’s latest AF system is almost godlike, then there’s the high-speed (more like ultra-speed) shooting thing.
To make it real simple, the Sony RX100 VII checks all the important boxes in our list, including the more-than-adequate 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor hidden inside the camera’s diminutive body. But what’s really important is that the RX100 VII is a remarkable technological achievement, hence if you’re looking for one of the best compact cameras out there (zoom range, ludicrous high-speed shooting, 4K video@30 FPS, state of the art AF system) and you’re ready to pay the price, well, it doesn’t get any better than this one.
- high tech and lightning-fast AF system
- amazing 4K video
- compact and light
- sports full-range connectivity (NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi)
- solid build quality, excellent grip
- low noise, tons of features, great face-detection
- mediocre battery life
The Best Camera for Vlogging
For the brand’s aficionados, the GoPro HERO8 Black doesn’t really need an introduction, as it makes for the world’s newest waterproof action camera featuring a touchscreen and 4K/ultra HD video capabilities. But arguably, the main argument for buying the latest GoPro is the company’s excellent stabilization system, not to mention the fact that the HERO8 is the newest flagship action-camera from the people who actually invented the respective category. So, here’s the deal: the HERO8 Black comes in an ergonomic yet rugged and waterproof design, and delivers stabilized 4K videos at up to 60 frames per second.
Design-wise, the aesthetics are virtually the same over the past 3 generations, and this go-anywhere compact camcorder boasts a premium metal frame with rubber grips around the edges and a faceplate. The HERO8 is pretty much shockproof and also waterproof to 33 feet, and the mounting frame is no longer required, as clips are built into the camera’s body, which means you don’t need special housing for mounts.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the image stabilization technology is better than ever before, and the good news for vloggers is that the HERO8 comes with an improved microphone and a better app that works great in fast-paced environments. There’s also a new live stream feature aimed at pros who want to share 4K video-footage on social media or on YouTube instantly.
- industry leading digital stabilization
- better microphone, new media mods
- capture presets, time lapse modes
- built-in mount , 4K/60p and 1080/240p video
- vastly improved user interface
- mediocre battery life
- stills quality is meh
- subpar low-light performance
- doesn’t really worth the upgrade over the HERO 7
Sony Alpha a6400
Solid Mid-Range Camera for Vloggers
The Sony Alpha A6400 is the latest member of the company’s mid-range mirrorless cameras and some say it’s just a minor upgrade over the previous A6300. However, there’s nothing minor about the a6400’s highly advanced AF system, which is incredibly well implemented, and that’s really something for a camera that costs well under one thousand bucks. So, what do you get for that kind of money, besides state of the art autofocus? First, there’s the 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, then you get 4K video recording and a cool tilt-angle touchscreen and electric viewfinder.
However, tech specs aside, the Sony a6400 seems focused on photography enthusiasts looking for speedy performance, i.e. wildlife and sports photographers, or, why not, vloggers, and that’s due to the camera’s new feature that allows you to position the LCD at a 180-degree angle. Unfortunately, there’s no body stabilization, so you’ll have to rely on lens stabilization, but the new Real-Time Tracking” and “Real-Time Eye AF” features are worth the stretch.
- good burst shooting speed, excellent AF system
- plenty of video features, bright viewfinder
- great value for money
- speedy performance, solid image quality
- Eye AF is exceptional and easy to use
- lacks body image stabilization
- no headphone jack
The Best Camera for YouTube Vlogging
Nikon has cranked out cameras since 1948, and have gained quite the following when it comes to their DSLR lineup. The Nikon D5600 is an update to the popular D5500 and falls into the mid-range category although it’s available in several configurations.
This camera has a 24.2MP CMOS sensor in the DX-format and sports an EXPEED 4 for imaging processing. It can hang with the best of them when it comes to taking snapshots, and with 60fps at 1080p, it’s no slouch in the video department either. With connectivity, you can expect Wi-Fi to go along with Bluetooth and NFC.
The Nikon D5600 can take sharp video in a wide variety of conditions and SnapBridge is a great feature to have if you’re a photobug. On the downside, it’s only an incremental upgrade over the previous model which is disappointing given the price. You can pick this one up in the base configuration, with a lens or in the Amazon Basics Starter Bundle.
- 3.2” Flip-out Display
- Solid battery life
- 1080p at 60fps
- Build Quality
- Basic set of features
- No motor for AF
Canon EOS R
The Best Canon Camera for Professional Vloggers
Here’s another good camera for vlogging. Canon EOS R is a sumptuous model. Its 35mm 30.3mp full-frame CMOS sensor comes with DIGIC 8 image processor and its EVF has got 3.69 million dots. Thus, all the images produced by this camera are clear and smooth. Add to this dual pixel CMOS AF with 5,655 manually selectable AF points as well as AF speed of 0.05 sec and you will get one of the best Canon cameras of nowadays. As to its video options, Canon EOS R supports both 4K30 video recording and Full HD 1080 mode.
As there are three optional mount adapters this Canon camera is compatible with any EF/EF-S lenses. EOS R has got a long battery life and an adjustable multi-function bar. It also supports Wi-Fi, so you can use it to share photos and videos. A varied angle touch screen makes this camera convenient in use. Besides, it is rather light, so you won’t get tired after keeping it in hands for a long period of time.
- 4K video recording
- great image sensor and processor
- dual pixel AF with 5,655 AF position
- detailed photos
- varied angle touch screen
- excellent EVF
- adjustable multi-function bar
- built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- long battery life
- no image stabilization
- only one SD card slot
- only 5 fps at continuous shooting