Welcome to our guide to the best vlogging cameras you can buy. Whether you’re about to launch your first YouTube channel or want to upgrade your existing setup, we’ve tested all of the best options at every price point – and ranked them all in our regularly updated list below.
Our guide contains some of the finest mirrorless cameras for video, but we’ve also included lots or more affordable options, too.
From premium webcams to mirrorless models, the best vlogging cameras come in a range of shapes and sizes. The features you need will vary depending on what and how you like to shoot.
If you’re a solo filmmaker, for example, you’ll probably want a camera with an articulating touchscreen which makes it much easier to frame shots when working by yourself. Equally, if a lot of your content involves speaking to the camera, you’ll need an external microphone input to ensure you capture top-notch audio for your audience. Reliable face-tracking autofocus will also mean that your subject stays sharp, even if they move within the frame.
A lot of vloggers like to walk and talk at the same time. If this is your style, you should consider a camera with in-body image stabilization. This will help to smooth out any shaky motion caused by your footsteps and make footage much more watchable. Some cameras go a step further with an integrated gimbal which counteracts motion on several axes to stay level, like the DJI Pocket 2.
Almost all of the best vlogging cameras can now shoot in 4K resolution as standard. But it’s important to look beyond resolution alone. High frame rates of 120fps and above will allow you to shoot stunning slow-motion footage, for example. And if post-processing is part of your workflow, 10-bit color depth will give you greater flexibility in the editing room.
As you can tell from the buying advice above, vloggers use a wide range of different cameras depending on their specific needs.
Many vloggers favor mirrorless models for their combination of image quality, performance and flexibility. The best mirrorless vlogging cameras feature high-resolution sensors, in-body image stabilization for smoother footage, plus the option to swap lenses to suit different shooting scenarios – all in packages that are relatively portable. Mirrorless cameras are also more likely to feature ports for connecting external accessories, such as microphones, headphones and hot-shoe lights.
Whatever type of camera you go for, considering video quality will likely be top of your list. At the absolute minimum you’ll be looking to shoot in Full HD (1080p), while 4K is becoming increasingly common. Although the higher resolution format will take up more space on your hard drive, it should future-proof your captures a little more than Full HD.
Other specifications to pay attention to include built-in Wi-Fi for sharing your vlogs on the move, a fully articulating or tilting monitor for helping to frame your face, a built-in microphone socket for enhancing sound quality.
The most important features for a vlogging camera are its video quality, autofocus, in-body image stabilization and audio options, so those are the main areas you should focus on.
To review the video quality, it is good ro shoot at the camera’s highest resolution and frame-rate in a variety of handheld scenes, including the popular walk-and-talk style, to see how it handles colors, skin tones, detail and rolling shutter. You should also include high-contrast scenes to test how well the auto-exposure and white balance adapt to changes in lighting.
These tests are also a good opportunity to the test the vlogging camera’s Face and Eye tracking autofocus, along with the quality of its stabilization (both electronic and mechanical, if available). Another thing have to be tested in these scenes is an oft-overlooked part of the vlogging equation, the built-in microphones. If the camera has a microphone input, also use it with an external lav mic to see how the quality compares to its internal audio.
Many of the latest vlogging cameras include additional features like flat color profiles, articulating touchscreens, built-in ND filters and, in Sony’s case, a ‘product showcase’ feature that’s ideal for those who run a YouTube channel from home.
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