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The best vlogging cameras give you a powerful set of features to film a top-notch video that’s ready to be edited and published to YouTube (or your favorite video distribution platform).
To find out which leading video camera you should buy, we took a close look at the video features of the top compact and DSLR cameras, looking for the best autofocus, the best optical image stabilizer, great resolution options, handy connectivity, and many other features that help serious vloggers take excellent clips. If you’re brand new to vlogging and want to start now, then check out our best cheap vlogging camera for YouTube.
Our top choice was the Panasonic Lumix LX10, which combines a more affordable price range (under $500 is fairly affordable in this market) with 4k video capture capabilities, live video cropping, light composition from video, slow-motion video capture, and a whole set of additional tools that help you create the perfect vlogs and great pictures. But, compare the Panasonic TZ70 vs the Canon 720 compact digital camera to see which one is truly better.
However, it was a very close call with a lot of great vlogging cameras to consider: check out our full list to find out what we thought, and what to keep in mind when buying a vlogging (aka video blogging) camera.
Award: Editor’s Choice/Best 4k Vlogging Camera
This compact 20-megapixel camera can take excellent photos and even better video, with many features focused on extracting every ounce of value from your footage, including light composition photos, and 120fps 1080p video for slow-motion shots, and live cropping for your 4k video when you want to pan around. This camera offers professional video capabilities that can fit in your pocket, and that’s probably just what you’re looking for. The one downside worth mentioning is that there aren’t any video-friendly bundles you can choose from, and it may be difficult to find the right accessories for specific vlogging needs on this model. Also, the battery life, rated at 260 images, isn’t particularly impressive.
Read Full Review: Panasonic Lumix LX10 Review
Award: Best Canon Vlogging Camera
If you want a camera that can do a little of everything, this 20.1-megapixel Canon model is the perfect place to start. It has pretty much everything a starting vlogger needs, including Wi-Fi, RAW conversion, a pop-up LCD screen, and many types of picture modes. There may be a little too much focus on pictures if you’re primarily interested in video alone, but otherwise, this camera deserves your attention – and if you need to use it to take single shots, all the better. Note the 240 image battery life, though – you’ll be recharging this guy a lot. If this camera is too much work to use regularly, find out what camera YouTubers use to vlog.
Award: Best Affordable Vlogging Camera
A compact camcorder may be just what you had in mind for a vlogging upgrade, and this Canon model certainly delivers. It’s not the most powerful video-taking beast out there, but it’s very user-friendly and it’s an inexpensive vlogging camera for those who may be on a budget, making it a great low-cost choice (although we encourage you to get the accessory bundle). Image stabilization, in particular, make this cam a great choice if you like to be on the move. The major downside is that there is no 4k video option on this model, which may limit you a little. Also, some vloggers may want a camera that easier to transition to pics for additional content, rather than a camcorder that’s really only made to handle video.
Read Full Review: Canon Vixia HF R700 Camcorder Review
Award: Best Vlogging Camera for Beginners
Are you a vlogger who wants to specialize in kids and pets (you know, two of the most popular vlogging subjects ever)? Check out this Nikon model parent kit edition, which bumps the price up but gives you unique tools for improving your craft and capturing your favorite darling subjects. The 24.2-megapixel sensor is one of the best on our list, you get several wide lens options for different shoots (or you can add another wide angle lens), and the SnapBridge app is one of the better interfaces for managing your content—although you will need a separate device, like a tablet computer, to use it. If you are on the move this can be a little annoying, but if your vlogging tends to stay in one room or area, it’s not a bad requirement.
Read Full Review: Nikon D3400 Review
Award: Best Camera for YouTube Vlogging
Yes, this Canon (the same brand of camera Casey Neistat uses) model may be expensive, but it offers high-end power for instant, powerful results. If you really want to capture everything and are interested in high-quality production, this camera may well be worth the investment. Also note that while the rated battery life is around 960, but this camera appears to overperform here.
We also really like the video creator kit, which adds around $600 to the price but gives you a camera-mounted mic, a larger 18-135mm lens, and a camera stabilizer to turn this DSLR into your personal filmmaking setpiece (read more about vlogging accessories below our list). If money is no object, this is a great way to ensure your production and audio never let you down. Does that sound too pricey? Note that the 70D model is still a very popular vlogging camera among professional vloggers, and you may be able to find it for a lower price if you really like this model…but can’t quite afford it.
Read Full Review: Canon EOS 80D Review
Award: Best Sony Vlogging Camera
We love that this camera has super-fast video autofocus and the ability to film in 4k (plus you can extract images from the video later as needed). There’s also a slow-motion video mode, a really nice flip-around LCD screen, and even the option to bundle it with an underwater case for water-related filming. It’s no wonder Sony is marketing this camera specifically for vlogging. However, some may find the design unnecessarily traditional – and a lot of that pricey technology is focused more on photos than video, so while it’s great for pics, it also isn’t a great 3D camera.
Read Full Review: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 Camera Review
Award: Best Budget Vlogging Camera
Even with the low price, this camera still offers 4k/30fps videos, with the ability to take over 120 minutes of video on one battery charge. It also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (dual-band) support for communication – plus extra functions to help with low light performance, timelapse, and other more unique experiments. The latest software update even includes voice control options. This is definitely a modern camera for a modern generation: That being said, there’s nothing in the way of lens customization, and the really cool accessories like a gimbal, a selfie set, and a waterproof vlogging camera case are locked behind much more expensive bundles, so you may have to pay more than you’d expect for everything you want. Battery life for this camera is rated at 2 hours of video.
Award: Best Video Camera for Vlogging
If you have experience with cams, you probably already know a bit about GoPro and their line of famous action cams that are designed to attach to helmets, bikes, shoulders, and other various mounts, to help capture sport-related and action-packed video. And, of course, GoPros are incredibly durable, designed to go pretty much anywhere and film pretty much anything: Keep it in its case, and there’s little you can’t film (for a bit over 2 hours of battery life).
You can control the camera via a smart remote app after you mount it, and mark the best moments of the video immediately so you know where to find them later. There’s also some great night modes. GoPro may not be on the very top of its game as it once was, but for more extreme vlogging this cam is still an excellent choice. However, at this price you aren’t going to get 4k – those models require much more investment.
Read Full Review: GoPro Hero4 Silver Camera Review
Ready to strike out and shop for your own vlogging camera? Before you head out, we have a few tips you may want to read up on before you make a purchase. Take a look at the best features to consider when picking a vlogging camera, what cameras the pros like, and why people don’t just use their phones for vlogging activities!
√ Image Stabilization
√ Audio Compatibility
√ Low-Light Features
√ Wearable and Mounting Features
√ Image Quality
√ Flip Out Screen
Many hopeful vloggers take a look at vlogging cam lists like this and wonder, “Why can’t I just use my phone? It already has a camera, and it even comes with a lot of this other stuff like image stabilization. Plus, all my apps are right there anyway.”
Yes, today’s phones do have cameras, and they are, increasingly, quite good cameras capable of capturing excellent footage…in the right conditions. But if you are truly interested in vlogging – especially vlogging to make money or establish a brand – then your phone or webcam will almost certainly not be enough.
That being said, if you take a look at what cameras vloggers have been using, you will see a lot of Canon Powershots (a Powershot is number 2 on our list), and a lot of Canon camera lines in general – the Canon brand is a very common option that’s available around the world, has an excellent range of lens options, and is incredibly durable, so it makes sense that Canon cameras would have a top place among the successful. Powershots and Rebels tend to be the common picks, versatile cameras that can capture high-quality video or photos whenever the need arises.
After Canon, the next most popular brand appears to be Sony (a Sony Cyber-Shot is also on our list): Sony is a popular pick for those who like a lightweight camera with simpler functionality but very speedy results. Sony has also been working hard to make its cameras more user-friendly and appealing to people who want to capture video in a modern setting.
Remember, the camera is only the beginning of a full vlogger’s kit. If you have vlogged a lot in the past, you should at least do a run-through of your supplies and make sure they are all compatible with the new camera you have chosen. If you are new to vlogging, check to see if you have these important accessories:
Tripods: The good news is that there are a bunch of camera-friendly tripods available, including versions that are extremely friendly to on-the-go amateurs who may be taking video in some odd places. Invest in one of the great, durable tripods, and you will appreciate it for a very long time.
Selfie Stick: Selfie sticks aren’t for everyone, but they do help vloggers who want to be in their own video, and prepare to move around while they film, exploring the landscape and various important features.
Lighting Rig: Don’t worry, you don’t need to carry around a full studio lighting set! However, it’s very useful to have at least one mobile lighting kit that you can keep handy for some of your filmings. The camera’s own light sensitivity can only do so much, and proper lighting can make or break a scene (in general, there’s rarely such a thing as too much lighting). Lighting kits typically include a mounted light that can disperse a lot of illumination across a space with several different builds. If you are vlogging a specific up-close event – such as cosmetics vloggers – then a “ring light” mirror or similar light mirror to highlight your face is quite important. A little experience in lighting techniques is also very helpful!
Microphone: The good news here is that there are many microphone attachments designed to work with cameras just like the models we’ve chosen. They add some extra weight and take some extra care, but they are invaluable for getting great audio quality. Look for a directional external microphone that is easy to focus on your voice without being overcome by environmental noises. If you are going to be stationary, consider a USB microphone or a similar option.
Backdrops: Backdrops aren’t necessary for all types of vlogging, but they may be important for your particular plans. There are two basic types – a green screen backdrop designed to help you add digital effects later on, and a normal backdrop that simply gives you a little privacy and makes sure that all your videos look comfortingly similar. Choose the right version for you.
Remote Camera Control: These little clickers allow you to start a video from a distance and take photos instantly whenever you need them. If your camera doesn’t come with one, seriously consider buying a compatible model for your work.
A final point about cameras and vlogging: It doesn’t matter where you plan to post your video, it will benefit greatly from video editing software. We highly suggest that you get a video editor and become proficient at using it as soon as you can. A polished video depends on sharp editing, overlays, smart cuts, and other features that require the right software.
Fortunately, there are several free options available if you don’t already have a video editing app. Find a solution that provides the tools you need for general video editing and vlogging specific (look for YouTube-friendly apps).
If it looks a little overwhelming, search for simpler programs: many video editors can work right from your phone or tablet if you need a speedy method of preparing your videos…just don’t skip this step, it really makes a difference!
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