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- How to choose a vlogging camera:
- Video Capabilities:
- Size & Weight
- 10 – DJI Osmo Pocket
- 9 – Canon EOS M200
- 8 – Panasonic G7
- 7 – Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
- 6 – Canon EOS M50
- 5 – Sony a6100
- 4 – Fujifilm X-T200
- 3 – Panasonic G80/G85
- 2 – Panasonic G100/G110
- 1 – Sony ZV-1
- What are the best accessories for these cameras?
- SD Cards:
- Tripods & Gimbals:
- Microphones & External Recorders:
Vlogging or video blogging, has skyrocketed in popularity over the years, and to a large part due to YouTubers. And to date, that trend shows no signs of slowing. And now, with the introduction of 5G, increasing bandwidth, and better smartphones, it’s something anyone can start immediately. And it’s the most popular way to share your experiences and document your life through video. Like any form of content creation, you’ll need the right equipment for the best result. Thankfully, over the years, prices are falling, and now getting a high-quality setup is affordable and easy. With that, we’ve put together a list of what to look out for in a vlog camera, some recommended accessories, and the top ten options in today’s market.
How to choose a vlogging camera:
Sometimes the best camera is your smartphone, as most of today’s phones take high-quality videos. But, if you’re looking to go above your competition and get an edge by investing in a dedicated vlog camera, there are several things to consider when looking at cameras. And below, we will cover all of the essential aspects as you’re shopping around.
Cameras today are starting to come to market with ever-increasing resolutions. And we’re starting to see 8K consumer cameras slowly become the norm. But, for the time being, 4K remains the golden standard for video. And while most creators upload their content in 1080p, if your camera records 1080p strictly, you’re slightly behind. In a short time, 4K uploads will become the norm. Thus, getting a future-proofed setup is a good idea.
A microphone input is vital, and having the option to connect an external microphone is a must long-term. Attaching an external mic will dramatically improve your sound quality. And it’s the easiest way to make your videos more professional. Now, we do recommend several cameras on this list that don’t offer external microphone inputs. In these cases, you’ll need an external recorder and a lavalier microphone to produce professional audio. But, if you’re just starting, having an easy to use package that’ll at least get you creating content is the most important. Far more so than quality.
The camera’s continuous autofocusing system during video recording is essential, even more so if you’re a beginner. Thus, most traditional SLR cameras are not ideal for vlogging, except for some recent Canon models. You want a camera that can focus confidently, and rarely hunts or loses focus on you. If it does, it must re-acquire focus smoothly and confidently, so it’s not distracting to the viewer. With that, look for features like Face or Eye Detection AF.
Ideally, you want a camera with a fully articulating (vari-angle) screen that flips out to the side. The reason here is that they offer the most versatility when shooting at either high or low angles. And, of course, you can see what the camera’s recording and see yourself. The next option would be a 180º flip-up screen, not down. The flip-up articulation also works well, since you look higher up, which makes vlogs look more natural.
Does the camera offer image stabilization of some sort, whether mechanical or digital based? Stabilization, in any form, is essential to get smooth and shake-free footage. And it’s even more critical if you’re walking or moving during the vlog. If the camera lacks stabilization altogether, you’ll want to get an optically stabilized lens. But, eventually, you want to consider getting a gimbal to get smooth, professional footage.
Size & Weight
If you’re planning on doing run and gun styled vlogs, where you’re walking or commuting while recording, you’ll want to factor in the camera’s weight and form. The reality is that you’ll be holding the camera at arm’s length for upwards of 15 minutes, and more pressure in that position will quickly become uncomfortable. So ideally, a good vlogging camera should be both portable and versatile.
10 – DJI Osmo Pocket
The DJI Osmo Pocket is a one-of-a-kind pocket camera that’s perfect for run and gun vlogging. Released in 2015, it features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 4K video up to 60 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 120 fps. It also offers a 1.0-inch touchscreen, zebras, time-lapse, 3-axis stabilization, USB charging, and wireless connectivity with an optional module.
It has a built-in 26mm lens with a faster aperture of f/2.0, stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal for smooth and professional footage. Unlike similarly sized devices, it obtains DJI’s full suite of intelligent modes. These include ActiveTrack and FaceTrack, which allows you to draw a box around a subject for confident and smooth tracking. This device also connects to your smartphone via Lighting or USB C adapters, which gives you a larger view of what it’s capturing. That connection even doubles as a convenient way to immediately offload the footage, making it far more straightforward than a traditional camera. And this is also one of the few cameras that boasts unlimited video recording.
Overall, DJI’s Osmo Pocket is the ultimate pocket camera for vloggers. And it’s a competitive alternative to GoPro’s range of compact action cameras. And it provides an all-in-one setup in a simple to use package that produces image quality that rivals cameras triple its price. If you want a video camera that easily fits into a pants pocket, this is your best and only option.
9 – Canon EOS M200
Canon’s EOS M200 is their latest follow-up to replace the previously released EOS M100. And it’s currently their simplest and most affordable mirrorless camera. Released in 2019, it features a 24MP CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K UHD video up to 24 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, HDR, USB charging, time-lapse, vertical video support, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 143-point phase-detection AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel AF along with Face and Eye detection. The updated processor now brings 4K video recording to the lineup, a significant improvement over the predecessor’s 1080p maximum. Canon’s also added Vertical Video support to shoot directly to all of the popular social media sites. This camera also provides an extensive guide mode that displays on-screen tips and tutorials to help you pick the best camera settings.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M200 packs a proven sensor and confident autofocusing system into a dangerously compact body. And it delivers performance that rivals their pricier 80D, at only a fraction of the price. And it’s an excellent option for creators looking for a simple, easy to use, take-anywhere camera. And one that provides smartphone-level simplicity, with far superior capabilities.
8 – Panasonic G7
Panasonic’s G7 is a longstanding popular release in Panasonic’s backbone G series. Released in 2015, it features a 16MP Live MOS sensor, the Venus 9 processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, time-lapse, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 49-point contrast-detect system with Face Detection. Panasonic has also equipped this particular camera with extensive customization over the captured footage. In this case, you adjust HSL, dynamic range, gamma curves, and more. And this is perfect to tailor the in-camera render to your specific style, to reduce any post-processing. Panasonic’s bundled Image app also provides full remote control over video recording. It is currently the most versatile remote shooting app to date.
Overall, Panasonic’s G7 is a budget-friendly version of their acclaimed GH4, where it offers much of the same capabilities and performance. And to date, it’s one of their most popular mid-range cameras for aspiring creators on a budget.
7 – Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Canon’s GX7 Mark III is the latest entry into the popular GX7 lineup. Released in 2019, it features a 20.1MP CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, optical stabilization, ND filters, time-lapse, HDR movie, USB charging, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 31-point contrast-detect AF system that comes with Face + Tracking. And as a compact camera, it comes bundled with a built-in 24-100mm lens, which provides excellent versatility. It’s also equipped with the High Frame Rate mode, which shoots videos at 120 fps for super slow motion. And new for this release is vertical video support, which means you can record directly to Instagram, Tik Tok, or Facebook stories. Plus, it’s also the only camera to support direct live streaming to Youtube.
Overall, Canon’s GX7 Mark III is an exciting installment into this lineup. And it’s an excellent upgrade over the Mark II, with superior image quality and added niche functionality. Plus, with live stream support, it’s quite the powerhouse.
6 – Canon EOS M50
Canon’s EOS M50 is their latest mid-range mirrorless camera. Initially released in 2018, it features a 24.1MP CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K video up to 24 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, time-lapse, digital stabilization, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 99-point AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, giving it similar performance as their renowned 80D. However, it obtains Eye Detect AF for added accuracy when filming, and it was the first Canon camera to receive this feature. And it even offers a high-speed movie mode, which records at 120 fps for super slow-motion videos.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M50 is essentially a smaller mirrorless version of the 80D. And while it’s a more straightforward camera, it’s the most capable option in the EOS M lineup outside of the M6. And it’s an excellent budget-friendly option that matches with a comprehensive feature set.
5 – Sony a6100
Sony’s a6100 is their most recent entry-level mirrorless camera that replaces the acclaimed a6000. Released in 2019, it features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor, the Bionz X processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 120 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, time-lapse, USB charging, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 425-point phase-detection AF system with Sony’s Real-Time Eye AF. And with 84% coverage over the imaging area, it can accurately track subjects virtually anywhere on the screen. It’s also one of the few cameras to offer unlimited video recording. And it’s one of even fewer cameras to record both sound and maintain autofocus when shooting slow-motion videos at 120 fps.
Overall, Sony’s a6100 is an incredibly strong entry-level camera that obtains much of the pricier a6600 features without the price. And while it’s currently the most affordable Alpha camera, it offers class-leading innovations that give rivals in this segment some real competition.
4 – Fujifilm X-T200
Fujifilm’s X-T200 is their latest recent mid-range camera to sit below the semi-pro X-T30. Released in 2020, it features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen, USB charging, HDR movie, time-lapse, digital stabilization, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses Fuji’s latest 425-point phase-detection AF system with Face and Eye Detection. It also has the High-Speed Movie mode, which records super slow-motion video at 120 fps. And it obtains Fuji’s historic film simulations to add a classic appeal and style to your video recordings. Plus, unlike the competition, you can convert the camera’s USB-C port into a headphone output. A distinct feature adds extra flexibility.
Overall, Fujifilm’s X-T200 is a significant improvement over the X-T100. With better autofocusing, and proper 4K video, it’s now a very competitive option in the mid-range market that competes with cameras twice its price.
3 – Panasonic G80/G85
Panasonic’s G85 is the successor to their G7, and it’s their more recent mid-range camera to sit below the flagship GH4. Released in 2016, it features a 16MP Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 5-axis stabilization, weather sealing, HDR, zebras, time-lapse, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 49-point contrast-detect AF system with Face/Eye Detection and Tracking. But unlike rivals it offers full weather sealing, giving you the confidence to capture even the riskiest footage. And it also provides built-in sensor-shift stabilization, which stabilizes any attached lens for smooth footage. And combined with Panasonic’s Dual IS II, you can capture sharp images handheld at 1-second shutter speeds with ease.
Overall, Panasonic’s G85 is an excellent option for those wanting a budget-friendly alternative to their GH5. And as the successor to the G7, it provides notable upgrades to make it a stronger all-rounder and excellent entry into the micro-four-thirds realm.
2 – Panasonic G100/G110
Panasonic’s G100 is their latest mirrorless camera to sit below the mid-range G90. And it’s a camera they’ve designed specifically with vloggers in mind. Released in 2020, it features a 20.3MP CMOS sensor, the Venus Engine processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 120 fps. It also offers a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, hybrid stabilization, time-lapse, USB charging, a mic input, and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 49-point contrast-detection AF system with Face Detection. New for this release is OZO Audio, a groundbreaking directional microphone system that improves audio quality without needing an external microphone. Instead, it uses multiple microphones that point in various directions and also works in tandem with autofocus to optimize audio recordings. The camera also has a new Video Selfie Mode, which automatically adjusts the settings for Face/Eye Detection and tracking audio, so you can immediately start recording.
Overall, Panasonic’s G100 is the ideal vlogging camera in Panasonic’s current lineup. It’s a camera they’ve designed and developed specifically for creating this form of content. And while it’s remarkably light and compact, it obtains similar features as their pricer models without skimping on functionality.
1 – Sony ZV-1
Sony’s ZV-1 is their newest compact camera and a camera they’ve designed specifically for vlogging. Released in 2020, it features a 20.1MP CMOS sensor, the Bionz X processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 120 fps. It also offers a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, USB charging, time-lapse, a tally lamp, optical stabilization, ND filters, a mic input, vertical video and wireless connectivity.
The camera uses a 425-point Hybrid AF system with Sony’s Real-Time AF, a similar setup as both the a6100 and a6600. But, this setup gives the camera class-leading focusing speeds of 0.03 seconds. Unlike rivals, Sony’s equipped this camera with a forward-facing tally lamp to indicate when videos are active. And they’ve also built a three-capsule microphone specifically to vlog and capture audio without distracting background noise. And new for this camera is the Product Showcase Mode to smoothly switch from subject tracking to a product held to the camera.
Overall, Sony’s ZV-1 is the ideal vlogging camera. And justifiably so, as it’s designed specifically with this target audience in mind. And it also sets a new standard in the compact segment and sits as the current leader of the class. It delivers reliable autofocus, unlimited video recording, log profiles, and a high-quality lens and sensor. And for the price, it provides a simple but effective all-in-one solution to get you out, creating high-quality content.