Today’s mid-range market offers plenty of exciting options for aspiring creators. But, not every camera is perfectly opted to do this job. Content creators require a unique subset of features than typical photographers. And, the last thing you want to do is spend 45 minutes pouring a story into a vlog, only to realize only half of your face is visible, and the focus is off. Ouch.
In comes the flip screen, the perfect suit for those recording pieces to camera. Today’s flip screen cameras come in several varieties: tilting, fully articulating, flip-up or flip-down. But, regardless, an articulating or flip screen is a useful addition.
Traditionally, they first came to the market to offer more versatility for photographers wanting to take photos at unusual angles. And they were a tool to reduce much of the back pain caused by awkwardly composing through the viewfinder. But, over recent years, vloggers and content creators have popularized this design. So much so that many cameras today offer an articulating screen of some sort. And it’s a universal standard of sorts.
Like photographers, vlogging requires a unique angle for composing. And the flip screen has thoroughly removed the guesswork involved with setting up the perfect shot. And if you want to vlog or start a YouTube channel, a camera with a flip screen will surely be the best choice. But, there’s no shortage of cameras with flip screens today. Almost every camera has an articulating screen. So it’ll likely be somewhat tricky to find the perfect one, given the options. With that, in today’s post, we will cover a comprehensive guide on the most important factors to consider with flip screen cameras. And we will also cover the best cameras with a flip screen on the present market.
5 – Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Canon’s EOS M6 II is their flagship mirrorless APS-C camera. Released in 2019, it features a 32.5MP APS-C sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K 30 FPS, and 1080p 60 FPS video. It features a 3-inch flip touchscreen, HDR Movie, time-lapse, wireless connectivity, USB charging, and a microphone input.
The EOS M6 II obtains Canon’s Dual Pixel AF (DPAF). This legendary autofocusing system implements a total of 5,481 selectable AF points, the largest in their mirrorless APS-C lineup to date. And it also brings along an updated Face and Eye Detection system that provides relentless tracking during video recordings. Interestingly, it was among the first in Canon’s lineup to provide DPAF when shooting 4K video. But, it’s an addition that’s genuinely game-changing at this price point. The camera also offers digital image stabilization, so you can use lenses without optical stabilization and still create reliable results. And it even provides the High Frame Rate Movie mode, which renders 120 FPS videos in 1080p in-camera, saving time during editing.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M6 II provides the highest-resolution sensor of the APS-C segment and sets new standards for the class. And for creators looking for a powerful high-resolution option, this is easily your best go-to choice.
4 – Canon EOS M200
Canon’s EOS M200 is their follow-up release to replace the hit EOS M100, and it’s one of their most affordable mirrorless cameras. Released in 2019, it features a 24MP APS-C sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K 30 FPS, and 1080p 60 FPS video. It also features a 3-inch flip touchscreen, time-lapse, vertical video, HDR, wireless connectivity, and USB charging.
The EOS M200 uses Canon’s 143 point phase-detection AF system and Dual Pixel AF with Face and Eye detection. And with this new release, Canon’s also brought 4K video to the lineup, a notable improvement over its predecessor. Additionally, they’ve also added Vertical Video support, allowing you to shoot vertically to all the popular social media platforms. But, crucially, this camera is configured with beginners in mind. It has an extensive guide mode, displaying on-screen tips and detailed tutorials to help you master the best camera settings. And it becomes a key selling point over rivals, which most lack on-screen tips or any useful information.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M200 packs a powerful sensor and autofocusing system into a dangerously compact body. And it delivers high-end performance to the beginner at a fraction of the price. Sure, it lacks a microphone input. But, even so, it’s an excellent option for new creators looking for an easy to use camera with smartphone-level simplicity.
3 – Sony a6100
Sony’s a6100 is the long-awaited update to the original a6000, a hallmark in Sony’s lineup. Released in 2019, it features a 24MP APS-C sensor, the Bionz X processor, 4K 30 FPS, and 1080p 120 FPS video. It also features a 3-inch flip touchscreen, time-lapse, zebras, wireless connectivity, USB charging, and a microphone input.
The a6100 obtains Sony’s high-end 425 point phase-detect AF system with Real-Time autofocus for humans and animals. And despite its entry-level classification, it delivers among the top autofocusing performance at this price point. And unlike rival, it also records both sound and maintains focus when recording at 120 FPS, a rarity in this class. Plus, it’s also one of the few cameras that boasts unlimited video recording, not the standard 30-minute limit.
Overall, Sony’s a6100 is a powerful all-rounder as an entry-level camera. And compared to the original a6000, it’s leaps and bounds improved in technology and capability. Sure, it’s the most affordable recent Alpha series camera. But, it obtains much of the class-leading innovations from its pricier peers, without the price.
2 – Panasonic ZS80 / TZ95
Panasonic’s ZS80 is their latest compact superzoom camera in the TZ lineup. Released in 2019, it features a 20MP 1/2.3-inch sensor, 4K 30 FPS, and 1080p 60 FPS video. It also has a 3-inch flipping touchscreen, hybrid stabilization, HDR, time-lapse, stop motion, and wireless connectivity.
The ZS80 uses a contrast-detect AF system with Face detection. But, as a compact superzoom, it features an included lens. In this case, it offers an enormous 24-720mm equivalent lens. And this lens provides unrivaled versatility to capture close or even far off subjects. Plus, it even has an Intelligent Zoom feature, which doubles the standard 30x optical zoom to 60x or 1,050mm, for a supremely unique perspective of the world.
Overall, Panasonic’s ZS80 is a powerful compact with a superb zoom lens. It’s mostly an incremental update over the already popular ZS70, but it continues the robust feature set known in this lineup. While it also lacks a microphone input, it provides a compelling all-in-one package that’s well suited for beginning creators.
1 – Canon G7X Mark III
Canon’s G7X III is the third entry into the esteemed G7X lineup of sleek multimedia compact cameras. Released in 2019, it features a 20MP 1-inch sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K 30 FPS, and 1080p 60 FPS video. It also features a 3-inch flip touchscreen, optical stabilization, neutral density filters, time-lapse, HDR Movie, USB charging, wireless connectivity, and a microphone input.
The G7X III uses a 31-point contrast-detect AF system with Face + Tracking. Like the ZS80, it too is a compact camera that offers a built-in lens. In this case, it provides a 24-100mm equivalent lens. But, unlike rivals, it’s one of the few cameras in this segment with vertical video support for Instagram, Tik Tok, or Facebook. And it’s also the first camera to support live streaming direct to YouTube via Canon’s Image Gateway app. Plus, it also obtains the High Frame Rate Movie Mode from its siblings to shoot 120 FPS videos in-camera.
Overall, Canon’s G7X III offers some exciting additions and updates over its predecessor. And it’s quite a compact powerhouse for aspiring creators looking for an intelligent yet simple solution to create great content.
Why Get a Camera with a flip screen?
Well, as we mentioned briefly above, an articulating screen provides better flexibility when shooting at unusual angles. And with a flip screen, you can sit in front of the camera, frame your shot, and check composition while recording. Before the advent of this design, creators mounted mirrors to the hot shoe to at least partially see their composition. But, this was often cumbersome, inaccurate, and tedious to use. And, ultimately, flip screens provide instant feedback. And that feedback lets you produce higher quality videos.
These days, camera manufacturers have become thoroughly aware of content creators and their market share. As such, articulating screens have become standards, even on entry-level cameras. And this is excellent news for both photographers and videographers alike.
Here are some other benefits of flip screens as well:
Flip screens help compose outdoors in bright sunlight. Or say you’ve found the ideal shooting position but can’t see the screen. Either way, in both cases, you’ll likely lose the shot. Instead, you can partially tilt an articulating screen to avoid glare or reframe without moving your camera.
Flip screens are also ideal for selfies if you want to capture a contextual photo of your travels. Without one, turning your camera face forward would likely be off due to the awkward angle you’re holding the camera. So at least you can flip the screen and see yourself correctly.
Lastly, flip screens are essential for shooting in confined spaces when you can’t get behind the camera.
Types of Flip Screens
Today’s flip screens, as we call them, come in one of four varieties. Below is a summary of each type and its ideal use case.
A Fully Articulating Screen:
This type of screen rotates freely nearly 360º through a pivot on the camera’s side. And this allows you to rotate the screen in virtually any direction. As such, it’s the most flexible type of flip screen on the market. And a design that tailors to both photographers and videographers. The downside, however, is that viewers will notice you looking off to the side during videos.
This type of screen tilts up 180º forward on the vertical axis so that the screen rests above the camera. And it’s less flexible than a fully articulating screen in some ways. Namely, if you mount an external microphone on the hot shoe, the microphone blocks the screen. But, this is easily fixed by using an adapter. While for photography, it doesn’t offer much assistance when composing at high angles, only low angles. Even so, this screen design is ideal for vlogging as it creates a flattering angle when you check the LCD for camera settings or framing. Additionally, it’s not readily apparent to viewers you’re looking away from the lens, so you don’t lose engagement whatsoever.
This type of screen tilts 180º downward on the vertical axis so that the screen rests beneath the camera. And this design is also less flexible than a fully articulating screen. Namely, it’ll be mostly blocked when using a tripod, extension handle, or a gimbal. Additionally, this design is only helpful when composing at high angles, like above crowds or flat lays, not lower angles. It’s also unflattering and easy for people to notice you’re looking down at the screen while filming. So, overall, this design isn’t ideal.
This design uses a dedicated screen on the front of the camera. Typically, you find this design on action cameras, and they’re a huge bonus to this camera style. However, it’s the least flexible design, as it doesn’t articulate whatsoever. And they’re usually small and the lowest resolution. Even so, the secondary screen helps vlogging since it’s right next to the lens in most cases. And they’re a must if you want to vlog underwater or during risky activities.
Besides the design of the screen, there are many other factors to consider. Below is a list of the most critical factors ranked in order.
Flip screen cameras come in a variety of sensor sizes, ranging from 1/2.3-inch to APS-C and Full-Frame. Now while most would claim megapixels are the primary determiner of image quality, this isn’t the reality. Sensor size is what determines quality. And a larger sensor camera always provides better images than a smaller sensor. Thus, a full-frame camera will produce better videos than an APS-C or 1-inch camera.
Stabilization, be it optical stabilization or electronic stabilization, is paramount and a potential deal-breaker between cameras. When we film, generally, we’ll hand hold the camera and move. And stabilization compensates for handshake, ensuring that your videos are smooth and free from jitters or jello-like effects. Without stabilization, in any form, your videos will be shaky, disorienting, and unwatchable by viewers. So at a bare minimum, find a lens that offers Optical Stabilization (O.IS) if you want to film handheld. Or look for cameras with Electronic Stabilization (E.IS). Otherwise, you’re going to have to rely on a tripod to capture high-quality videos.
The resolution will largely determine the quality of your videos. Most flip screen cameras shoot in various resolutions and frame rates, ranging from 720p to 1080p and 4K. But in resolution, 4K is the golden standard and the minimum these days. It’s true, while most creators end up outputting and uploading videos in 1080p resolution, 1080p is becoming dated. So, if you find a camera that only supplies 1080p alone, it’s slightly behind.
The next consideration here is the frame rate. The de facto standard is 24 frames per second (FPS), replicating Hollywood films. Higher frame rates, however, allow you to capture fast-paced action without blurs when panning. Additionally, they give you the option of slowing the footage down to create slow-motion effects. Some cameras have this in-camera, saving you the time to do it manually. But, in general, be on the lookout for a camera that can shoot 4K 24 FPS.
However, it’s essential to know that most cameras have time limits on video recordings, typically 30 minutes, to prevent overheating. In some rare cases, manufacturers will even limit 4K to 10-15 minutes. So beware. But, 30 minutes is the unofficial standard.
The camera’s autofocusing performance when recording is another deal-breaking consideration, especially if you’re a beginner. With any camera, you want the focus to be reliable and confident. And when shooting pieces to camera, focusing performance is all-that more important. The last thing you want is the camera to hunt sporadically and lose focus on you. Thus, most traditional DSLR cameras, even if they have flip screens, aren’t ideal for content creators. Only the latest DSLRs are reliable options, as they now offer Face and Eye Detection support. However, it’s essential that you investigate the cameras autofocusing performance with video examples beforehand to make sure you’re confident with it.
For content creators, a microphone input is non-negotiable, and it’s a must for using a camera long-term. Hands-down, it’s the easiest way to make your content more professional. So be on the lookout for cameras with physical microphone inputs. Or, at the bare minimum, offer this functionality via an adapter.
While automatic modes are excellent, everyone once in a while, you’ll want more control. And, sure, no one wants an overly complicated camera. Nevertheless, having one that provides useful and intuitive manual control is a good idea.
Ease of Use:
If you’re shopping for flip screen cameras, you’ll probably want one that’s easy to use. That makes sense. Ease of use is a significant consideration, especially if you’re a beginner. The last thing you want is a complicated and challenging camera to use while learning the fundamentals. So, we’ve kept that in mind for our recommendations.
The lens aperture is another consideration and an important one if you plan on filming at night or in low light. The larger the maximum aperture, the more light the camera sees. And if the camera can see more light, it’ll capture better videos with less noise. Generally, you’ll want a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or lower. But a lens with f/1.8 is the most useful if you’d like to film in low light.
Battery life is also important to avoid your camera dying mid-shoot. Generally, most cameras offer about 90 minutes of continuous 1080p video. But touchscreens, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS will destroy batteries quickly. So, we recommend getting a spare with any of these cameras. Additionally, be on the lookout for cameras that support USB charging so that you can power it up via a power bank on the go.
Size & Weight:
If you’re planning to create content, you’ll likely be on-the-go most of the time. Typically, during most vlogs, you’ll be recording handheld for 15 minutes or more at a time. As such, the camera’s weight becomes a significant consideration, as you’ll indeed feel it in due time. The larger and heavier the camera here, the more pressure and strain you’ll feel while creating. So to avoid unnecessary discomfort, look for a camera that’s around 400 grams or less body alone. You can find the weight of the camera on the manufacturer’s specifications page. Then couple that camera with a lightweight (150 grams roughly) wide-angle lens. 500 grams of total weight isn’t much to hold handheld for 15 minutes. But as you approach 1,000 grams, it will be, and it’s quite a burden.
If some of the extras we mention in this post sound helpful, consider them while shopping. Some of these extras include time-lapse, HDR, panorama, and other niche features. Not all cameras offer the same features here, so it’ll be an easy separator between your options.