Best Cameras for Vlogging in 2021

 

Welcome to our guide to the best cameras for vlogging. Here we’re going to break down what are the best cameras for vloggers that you can buy right now, with models from all the major manufacturers

Panasonic Lumix G100


There are a number of features that are essential or at least highly desirable in the best cameras for vloggers. Naturally, a good vlogging camera needs to shoot high-quality video. Full HD is probably the minimum resolution you’re going to want to work with, though with 4K increasingly becoming the industry standard, you may want the option to shoot 4K footage as well. 

We’ve divided our guide into sections to help you navigate the world of vlogging cameras. Click the headings below to jump straight to your chosen section.

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Best Cheap Vlogging Cameras

Vlogging doesn’t have to be expensive! There are loads of great cameras out there that are perfect for vloggers working on a limited budget. These tend to be a mixture of cameras specifically designed for budget users and older cameras that have come down in price and now represent a solid bargain. We’ve gone through and picked out the best-value vlogging cameras you can buy right now.

Panasonic Lumix G100 Digital Camera Body

£589.00 View

Pro: Built-in multi-directional audio system

Pro: Useful articulated LCD

Con: No headphone jack

Con: No 4K 60p

The Panasonic Lumix brand is almost synonymous with the boom in amateur vlogging in recent years. The Panasonic Lumix G100 is a newer camera designed to build on that success. It’s a one-stop shop for social-media creatives and one-man-band vloggers, capable of capturing gorgeous 4K footage on its Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Panasonic has also included a new multi-directional “OZO” audio system designed by Nokia, which means you don’t necessarily need to buy an external mic to get great audio. The fully articulated LCD screen is also hugely useful, allowing you to shoot from all sorts of creative angles. 

The beginner nature of this camera means it’s missing a few pro-spec features. Many vloggers like to have a headphone jack to monitor their audio, and some will prefer a camera that shoots 4K at 60p rather than just 30p. For most users at the amateur end of the scale however, this is a really solid camera for vlogging. 

Fujifilm X-T200 Digital Camera with XC 15-45mm Lens Vlogger Kit - Dark Silver

£799.00 View

Pro: Large vari-angle touchscreen

Pro: Can be bought as a vlogger kit

Con: Battery life could be better

Con: Sensorless sophisticated than other X cameras

Fujifilm has pitched this affordable camera to the beginner market, and the Fujifilm X-T200 is a great choice for novice vloggers too. Fujifilm is clearly aware of this, and the X-T200 can be bought as part of a useful vlogger’s kit, with an external microphone, memory card and mini tripod to get you started.

It has all the retro-style cool of Fujifilm’s X range, though be aware that as a cheaper model, it doesn’t have the X-Trans CMOS sensor that makes the flashier models so popular, using a slightly simpler version. Still, it produces gorgeous 4K video at 30p, and weighing in at just 370g, it’s pleasingly light.

Having the X mount gives you access to loads of fantastically sharp Fujifilm X lenses. This, plus its seriously impressive still image quality, makes it one of the best cameras for vlogging and photography, especially for newbies.

Sony A6000 Digital Camera Body - Black

£429.00 View

Pro: Incredible value

Pro: Super-fast autofocus

Con: No 4K video

Con: Some issues at high ISOs

It’s an older model, but the Sony a6000 is still in production for one reason – it’s a brilliant camera! Super-fast and lightweight, with a brilliant autofocus system, this is an APS-C mirrorless model perfect for vloggers everywhere. The range of Sony E-mount lenses is great (though make sure you get lenses designated E, not FE – those are for full-frame cameras).

The a6000 predates the 4K boom, so Full HD is the maximum resolution you’ll get. This is plenty of resolution for most applications, especially for novice and amateur users, but it’s something to be aware of. 

Super-versatile, the a6000 is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology, so it’s easy to quickly transfer your footage to another device for backup or sharing. Add to this the slim and lightweight profile, and you’ve got a camera that’s seriously capable for vlogging on the go, at an absolutely unbeatable price.

Best Cameras for Youtube

Looking to start your own YouTube channel? It’s worth picking up the best camera for YouTube vlogging, as these capable shooters have many advantages over smartphones. With bigger sensors, more lenses and better battery life, as well as the option to attach an external mic, these powerful video cameras are great for aspiring YouTubers of all different types. We’ve picked out our favourite digital cameras for YouTube vlogging right now. 

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III Digital Camera - Black

£749.00 View

Pro: Excellent, uncropped 4K video

Pro: Live-streaming capability

Con: No hotshoe

Con: No viewfinder

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a hugely popular camera among YouTubers. It’s not hard to see why. This capable compact camera does everything an online vlogger could need, all in one slim and convenient package. It captures gorgeous 4K video using the full width of its sensor – there’s no crop like with some other Canon cameras – and its high-quality lens has a 4.2x zoom.

For YouTubers, there are vital features like an external microphone port. What’s more, the G7 X Mark III also has live streaming capability, which is incredibly handy. The f/1.8 maximum aperture of the lens makes it easy to create a shallow depth of field, much more effectively than a smartphone. 

You can use Bluetooth to pair the G7 X Mark III with a smartphone or tablet, making it easy to share and back up your clips on the fly. This camera basically does everything a YouTuber could want!

Sony Vlog ZV-1 Digital Camera

Save £80 on Bluetooth Shooting Grip

£699.00 View

Pro: Designed specifically for vlogging

Pro: Great video quality

Con: Stabilisation not the best

Con: Somewhat limited zoom

Though Sony has produced plenty of compact cameras, the Sony ZV-1 is the first specifically tailored to vloggers. This means it’s got a useful vari-angle screen that lets you shoot and self-shoot from any angle, as well as a sophisticated and optimised internal microphone. 

A wind shield is also supplied with the camera, improving audio quality when shooting outside. It skips out on a few standard camera features like a pop-up flash or a viewfinder, under the assumption that vloggers don’t really need them. Which, to be honest, they don’t!

With extremely small dimensions, the Sony ZV-1 is easy to slip into a bag and take anywhere with you. This makes it a perfect choice for travelling vloggers and YouTubers. Shout out to the autofocus as well, which is class-leading. The Eye and Animal AF modes in particular are absolutely stellar.

DJI Osmo Action

Free DJI Osmo Action charging kit worth £79

£329.00 View

Pro: Superb video stabilisation

Pro: Extremely tough

Con: Fixed lens / focal length

Con: Limited accessories

One of the best action cameras around, the DJI Osmo Action is an incredible choice for extreme sports YouTubers. Able to take a few knocks and be submerged in water, this is a camera to take absolutely everywhere with you. Skydiving, white-water rafting, rally driving, skateboarding – whatever you’re getting up to, the DJI Osmo Action can handle it.

Action cameras are designed for a specific purpose, so there are sacrifices to be made. You don’t get a zoom lens or anything other than that ultra-wide action perspective. This is worth being aware of if you’re planning on relying on one camera to shoot everything. You won’t get an external mic port or anything like that.

4K footage shot on the DJI Osmo Action looks great, and is more than good enough for YouTube. Fancy a vlogging adventure? This is the camera to bring with you.

Best Vlogging Cameras With Flipscreen

One of the most important aspects of a vlogging camera is a flip screen. Most vloggers will be filming by themselves, so being able to see what you’re filming as though you’re using a phone’s selfie camera is a huge asset.

Camera makers are well aware of this, to the point where even expensive video-focused cameras will now come with flip-around screens. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites in this section of the guide.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII Digital Camera

£949.00 View

Pro: Terrific image/video quality

Pro: Mic jack

Con: Average battery life

Con: No hotshoe for mic

Sony’s range of tiny RX100 compact cameras is one of the most popular around. No wonder they’re on their seventh instalment! The Sony RX100 VII represents a pivot towards vloggers, being the first member of the series to include a 3.5mm mic jack.

The combination of a newly developed 20.1MP 1-inch sensor and the super-fast Bionz X processor makes this camera super-fast and responsive. The class-leading autofocus system is one of the best in the business, and the 4K video looks fantastic.

The flip-around screen on the RX100 VII is excellent, with 921,000 dots of resolution. It makes for a fantastic tool for vlogging. It is worth being careful with the battery, as you can run it down quickly if you’re not paying attention, so make sure you’ve got a charger on hand. Still, the portability and versatility of the RX100 VII make it a perfect vloggers’ camera to take everywhere.

Panasonic Lumix GH5S Digital Camera Body

£1,829.00 View

Pro: Standout video recording quality

Pro: High-quality flip-around screen

Con: Optimised for video only

Con: No built-in stabilisation

The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is a fine-tuning of a truly superb mirrorless camera. It’s built to be even more geared towards video than its predecessor the Lumix GH5. It has a sensor with just 10.2MP of resolution – not much cop for stills, but amazing for video. 

The Lumix GH5S can record Cinema4K video in 4:2:2 10-Bit, and has access to a raft of handy professional video features. The footage looks absolutely fantastic, and also offers significant latitude for colour grading in the edit thanks to Panasonic’s V-Log colour profile.

The flippable screen is perfect for vlogging, and if you’re working on a YouTube channel as a career rather than a hobby, this is the buy for you. If you’d like to shoot stills on the side as well, you’d probably be better off with the Lumix GH5, which also benefits from built-in image stabilisation.

Fujifilm X-S10 Digital Camera Body

£949.00 View

Pro: Lightweight and sophisticated

Pro: Comes in vlogger’s kit

Con: No 4K 60p

Con: No weather sealing

Fujifilm is confident that its X-S10 will be popular with vloggers. So much so that it has made the Fujifilm X-S10 available as part of a vlogger’s kit, like the X-T200 above. The manufacturer has put a lot of work into make the X-S10 light and small, with a tiny body aimed at anyone who doesn't want to carry too much bulk around. Despite this, the body still has a pleasingly chunky grip, making it enjoyable and satisfying to use.

The video quality is excellent, with the X-S10 able to capture DCI 4K at 29.97p, 200Mbps and 4:2:2 10bit recording using HDMI. Some may quibble the lack of 4K 60p, but really this is more than fit for purpose for most vloggers. Plus, using a Fujifilm X camera gives you access to the X-series lenses, which is arguably the best lens range for APS-C right now.

How to Make Sense of it All

Vlogging – or “video blogging” for those new to the term – has become a cultural phenomenon. A whole new genre of video creatives has arisen on social media and video sharing platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and more. Vloggers serve a multitude of purposes with an abundance of sub-genres: including travel vlogging, the popular vlog-mass, food vlogging, or video diaries to name a few.

It’s no wonder that popular camera manufacturers want to jump onto the market with cameras dedicated specifically to vlogging. With the evolution of our phone cameras, however, investing in a dedicated camera for vlogging means that the cameras themselves must at least perform better than your phone camera, be as easy to use as your phone camera, and just as compact.

With so many great choices on offer, it can be hard to know how to pick the camera that’s right for you. If you’re a bit lost with all the different types of vlogging camera, don’t worry. We’ve put together this quick guide to help you choose from the many options available. Here’s a quick checklist of the things you should look for when buying a vlogging camera.

What to Look for in a Vlogging Camera

Video Quality

The first and foremost thing to check is video quality. It sounds obvious, but you need to be sure that your camera can capture high-quality video. For vlogging, you don’t need cutting-edge 8K necessarily, but having at the very least Full HD video is an essential, as this is the resolution most online video is watched at. Being able to shoot 4K is not essential, but is a good way to future-proof yourself as more and more content moves into this space.

Lenses

What lenses are you going to be using? This depends on the type of video you’re going to shoot, but also on the kind of camera you buy. If you’ve picked up a fixed-lens compact camera, then the focal length on the box is the only one you’ve got. Interchangeable-lens DSLRs and mirrorless cameras allow for more flexibility, but this kind of setup also costs more.

Audio inputs

A good vlogging camera ideally needs a socket for an external mic, as good sound quality is critical. You may also see this referred to as a 3.5mm mic jack or words to that effect. Ideally, a good vlogging camera will also have a hotshoe on top where you can mount the microphone, otherwise you’ll need to either hold it or come up with another solution. Similarly, having a headphone socket to monitor your audio levels is greatly useful, albeit not essential.

Flip-out Screen

Having a flip-around screen to be able to self-shoot without assistance is also a really handy asset for a good vlogging camera. Whether you’re looking to mount the camera on a tripod or hold itself-style, a flip-out screen will ensure you can always monitor your shot.

Weight

You should also consider a camera’s weight. If you’re going to be travelling with a vlogging camera, or holding it for long periods of time, you probably don’t want something extremely heavy that’s going to weigh you down. Many specific vlogger-oriented cameras are designed to be extremely light and easy to carry for precisely this reason.

Vlogging accessories

As well as your camera, it’s well worth picking up a few handy vlogging accessories to make your shoots smoother. These range from useful to absolutely essential, so it’s worth being familiar with what’s on offer. 

External Microphones

We’ve already mentioned the advisability of having an external mic jack, so with that in mind, it makes sense to pick up an external microphone. This will hugely improve the audio quality of your vlogs. Nothing makes video feel amateur faster than bad audio, so do yourself a favour and make sure your videos sound amazing. The Rode VideoMic Go is a hugely popular vlogging mic, but there are others out there worth considering.

Tripods

A good tripod is a tremendous asset for any videographer, allowing you to produce locked-off shots with total stability. It’s worth picking up a specific video tripod if you can, as these come with heads designed to allow for smooth panning shots. But if you just need something that works, any tripod will do. You can also consider tabletop tripods like the Joby GorillaPod if you have a lightweight setup and you’re looking to save space.

Memory cards

It’s essential to get hold of a good memory card, with plenty of space and fast read/write speeds. If you’re working at resolutions of 4K or higher, you need a reasonably sophisticated card to handle the size of the files involved. A card of at least UHS-I class is preferable – though always check precisely which types of card are compatible with your camera, as some can use ultra-fast formats like CFast or XQD.

Camera Bag

Having a good dedicated camera bag to keep all your vlogging equipment in is hugely useful. Specialist camera bags are designed with customisable padded interiors that you can mould around your setup. There are plenty of different types of bags, including backpacks, shoulder bags, rolling bags, hard cases and more.

Lighting

LED lighting can be a really useful way to give yourself a little bit more light in a pinch, whether you’re interviewing a subject or just filming yourself! The best LED lights don’t tend to be too expensive, and many are easy to mount on a tripod or other stand. 

Editing Software

You’re going to need a way to edit your footage. This means getting yourself some computing power, and if you want to be flexible, your best bet is a laptop. It’s also worth familiarising yourself with some simple editing software. We’d recommend trying Adobe Premiere Elements 2021, which is the smoothest consumer editing experience around right now.

Spare Batteries

Make sure you’ve got all your essentials. Extra batteries for your camera are a must – the last thing you want is for them to run out mid-shoot. Consider a portable charger as well, as this will let you keep one set of batteries in the camera while the other one is charging, no matter where you are. 

Vlogging camera brands 

There are several different brands of vlogging cameras, making various models for different types of user. Here we’ll run through the main brands you need to know about when you’re shopping for the best camera for vlogging:

Sony

Sony is one of the biggest names in consumer video and vlogging right now. It makes cameras for professional videographers and filmmakers, including the famous Alpha 7s III, which has powerful enough high-ISO performance to literally see in the dark. 

Then there’s also the powerful 8K-shooting Sony A1. For budget or novice users, there are APS-C mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6400, which are lighter and designed for speed and convenience. Sony also has a great line in compacts, including its award-winning RX100 series.

Canon

Canon has a vlogging camera portfolio that covers a similar spectrum. So you have flagship professional mirrorless models like the Canon EOS R5, as well as more budget-friendly mirrorless cameras like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. Canon’s compact range is also extensive, including YouTuber favourite the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III. 

However, don’t count out DSLRs for vlogging! These cameras may be larger than others, but they still produce great video. Many vloggers swear by Canon’s flagship APS-C range, the latest of which is the Canon EOS 90D.

Nikon

Nikon offers an extensive selection of mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Good choices for vloggers include the mirrorless Nikon Z series, which includes both full-frame and APS-C cameras. Nikon’s DSLRs also shoot excellent video and are worth considering for the amazing range of Nikon F-mount lenses, which have decades of heritage going into a seriously impressive optical line-up.

Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix cameras are known for affordable 4K video in small packages. There’s the full-frame Lumix S series for professionals, including impressive flagship models like the Panasonic Lumix S5. The Lumix G cameras vary significantly in terms of price, size and features, so flagship beasts like the Lumix GH5S can sit comfortably alongside affordable beginner models like the Lumix G7. It all depends on what you need!

Fuji

Fujifilm’s X-series cameras are retro-styles mirrorless cameras with excellent 4K video chops. Flagship models like the Fujifilm X-T4 are some of the finest and most versatile mirrorless cameras ever made, while beginner cameras like the Fujifilm X-T200 serve new users.

Olympus

Olympus makes a selection of nippy and sophisticated mirrorless cameras that are excellent for vlogging. They’re part of the Micro Four Thirds standard along with Panasonic, so compatible lenses and cameras from the two brands can be mixed and matched at will.

DJI

DJI makes drones and action cameras that are great for vloggers. If you’re looking to shoot extreme sports or fast action, it’s well worth checking out the DJI range to get an idea of what’s on offer. They also produce stabilised gimbal cameras like the DJI Pocket 2, which are a fun way to produce super-smooth video. 

What the Words Mean

New to photography and cameras and struggling with terminology? No worries - here's our cheat sheet for the common terms and camera types.  

DSLR

One of the most common and recognisable types of camera. DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera. These are so-called because they use an internal mirror mechanism to provide an optical viewfinder – the image is reflected up towards the eye through a system of mirrors, so what you see is what you get. DSLRs have interchangeable lenses, and tend to be larger than other types of camera, with the advantage that they more commonly offer weatherproofing.

Mirrorless camera

The other main type of interchangeable-lens camera, mirrorless cameras lack the mirror mechanism of DSLRs. This means they don’t have the optical viewfinder system, but tend to compensate by being smaller and lighter. Mirrorless cameras also tend to have cutting-edge video features, with higher resolutions and faster frame rates. 

Compact camera

Cameras with fixed lenses that can’t be changed. These lenses can be zoom lenses, which offer focal versatility, or prime lenses, which only have a single focal length, but are of higher optical quality. Compact cameras tend to have smaller sensors than DSLRs or mirrorless cameras (more on which below), but also tend to be more affordable.

CMOS sensor

The most common contemporary type of image sensor. CMOS stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor, and they’re built to convert light into electrical signals. They’re the beating heart of any camera, and the most important component. They come in different sizes – these are the main ones you need to know about for vlogging:

  • Full-frame. The largest type of sensor generally seen on consumer cameras. Full-frame sensors provide more physical space for the pixels to occupy, which means cleaner images that have less noise. A full-frame sensor will perform better in low light, and is better for producing images with a shallow depth of field (a sharp subject with an artfully blurred background).
  • APS-C. Smaller than full-frame but still reasonably sized, APS-C sensors are a great choice for intermediate and enthusiast vloggers. They’re commonly seen on mid-range mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, as well as some compacts. Due to the physically smaller nature of the sensor, they cause what’s called a “crop factor”, which makes a lens behave as though it has a longer focal length than it does. The crop factor of APS-C is 1.5x, so mounting a 50mm lens to an APS-C camera will make it behave like a 75mm lens.
  • Micro Four Thirds. A smaller sensor size used as the standard for the Micro Four Thirds system. The advantage is flexibility and portability, with the downside of inhibited low-light performance. The crop factor on a Micro Four Thirds camera is 2x, so a 50mm lens will behave like a 100mm lens. This is quite significant, so make sure to factor it in before buying any lenses. 
  • 1/2.3-inch sensors (or similar). This tends to be the size of the sensor found on smartphones, though the exact size can vary. 

Video resolutions: SD, HD, Full HD, 4K, 6K, 8K...

When talking about a camera’s video resolution, we’re simply referring to the number of pixels in the image. When one number is used to describe resolution, it’s referred to the number of horizontal lines that make up a picture from top to bottom. So a 480p video is made up of 480 horizontal lines, each of which is 852 pixels wide. 

But for vlogging, you probably aren’t working at 480p – or at least, you’d hope not! These are the common resolutions you’ll encounter:

  • 1280 x 720 pixels. Also known as high definition, or HD.
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels. This is Full HD.
  • 3840 x 2160 pixels. This is 4K, UHD or Ultra HD resolution.
  • 4096 x 2160 pixels. This is DCI 4K, which is Digital Cinema 4K (the acronym stands for “Digital Cinema Initiative” as that’s who developed it). It’s the same height as UHD, but is wider, as befitting a cinematic resolution. You may also see it referred to as “True 4K”, as some users don’t consider UHD to be 4K. It can be a little confusing!
  • 6144 x 3160 pixels. This is 6K resolution, which select newer cameras can capture. 
  • 7680 x 4320. This is 8K, providing 16 times more pixels than Full HD. 

So what should you work in? It may seem like the more pixels the better, as you get more detail and more ability to crop in. However, large resolutions produce large files which can be difficult to handle, and for now, most users simply don’t have the equipment to view anything larger than 4K (and some not even that). 

It depends on your audience and who you’re shooting for – Full HD will be more than enough for many vloggers! For now, anyway…

FAQs

Q: Which is the best camera for vlogging and taking pictures?

A: If you’re interested in both vlogging and photography, you probably don’t want to shell out for two cameras when one will do! That means you need a camera that not only shoots great-looking video, but also has the chops to take impressive stills. This means good autofocus, a solid burst rate and ideally a decent-sized sensor. We’d recommend starting by taking a look at the Fujifilm X-S10.

Q: Which is the best external microphone for vlogging?

A: There are loads of fantastic microphones out there for vloggers, many of which are easy to mount in a hotshoe. If you’re just looking for a cheap, simple solution that works, you cannot go wrong with the Rode VideoMic Go.

Q: Which vlogging camera makes you look the best?

A: We think you’re beautiful just the way you are. But if you’re after a camera that’ll make you look nice, then you have a few options. The main thing you want is a longer lens, as this will flatter facial features and generally make you look nicer. 

This means avoid anything where your only choice is to shoot wide, like the DJI Osmo Action. We’d say go for the Panasonic Lumix G100, as it has a skin-smoothing mode, and its smaller sensor increases the effective focal length of lenses mounted to it.

Q: Which camera is best for live streaming?

A: If you’re looking to mix some live-streaming in with your vlogging, it’s important to get a camera that can handle it. We’d recommend looking at something like the Mevo Plus Livestreaming Camera Bundle, specifically designed for this exact purpose. 

Q: Do I need a camera for YouTube?

A: While some YouTubers swear by their smartphone, and you will find it does the basics of what you need, a dedicated camera is much better. Having the ability to change lenses or at least optically zoom is incredibly useful. Also, the larger sensor of a dedicated camera gives you much more dynamic range in an image, improving low light performance. There’s also issues of battery life that are better with a dedicated camera – you’ll generally just find it makes your life much easier!