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Best cameras for vlogging in 2021: from mirrorless to pocket sized gimbal cameras

best cameras for vlogging
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

The best cameras for vlogging are designed with a new style of content creation in mind. They are for creatives who need to capture a wide variety of subjects quickly and simply, in a wide variety of different conditions. However, vloggers come in many shapes and sizes – from adventurous thrill-seekers to travel shooter to more traditional filmmakers. So we've picked out a selection of different vlogging cameras to cover the whole spectrum.

It's been quite difficult to come up with our final shortlist, and while we've put what we think are the best all-rounders near the top. Everyone's needs and expectations are different, so we'd advise you check the whole list. We like all of them for different reasons!

We also thought long and hard about including the brand new Panasonic GH5 II, a replacement for a camera that's become a portable filmmaking legend – but we've decided to stick with its full frame stablemate, the Lumix S5.

Most people associate vlogging with portable, video-focused mirrorless cameras, but the range of video content and styles that people want to create is expanding at breakneck speed, so we've adapted and expanded our guide to include a wider range of camera types.

With this in mind, we've added a section for compact and action cameras. For some kinds of filming, even the smallest mirrorless cameras can be too heavy, too expensive and perhaps too fragile. A compact or action camera might not give you the same high-end controls as a mirrorless camera, but it will be able to go places a mirrorless camera can't.

What should the best cameras for vlogging include?

1. Stabilization: If you plan to use your camera mostly on a tripod or with a gimbal stabilization won't matter too much. However, if you want to use your camera to shoot hand-held video, stabilization helps to achieve smoother shots. See: Best gimbals

2. Tripod: Any tripod will be fine if you're just recording static shots but if you want to start incorporating movement a tripod with a fluid video head will be much better. See: Best video tripods

3. Audio: If you want to record high-quality audio you'll need to invest in an external microphone. In-camera microphones often don't have the best audio quality, they aren't very directional and they pick up wind much easier. See: Best microphones

4. External recorder: Most cameras come with a record limit so if you're trying to shoot for more than 30 minutes the recording will stop. External recorders not only provide a bigger screen for you to see what you're recording, they offer more storage and enable you to capture higher quality video. See: Best external recorders

Interestingly, more and more makers are coming up with vlogging kits and vlogging accessories like these. We recently reviewed the Nikon Z6 II Essential Movie Kit, for example, which comes with a SmallRig camera cage and Ninja V recorder.

The best vlogging cameras in 2021

Mirrorless cameras

Mirrorless cameras are the best for serious vlogging. They have more powerful video features, combined with the versatility of interchangeable lenses – which gives you the ability to change your focal length, as well as complete control over creative aspects like depth of field. We don't rule out DSLRs like the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / Canon EOS 250D, but for now, mirrorless cameras definitely take the lead when it comes to vlogging.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

It's lightweight but powerful making it perfect for vlogging and stills

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26.1MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm X
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 30/8fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Intermediate/Expert
Reasons to buy
+Small size & excellent build quality+Vari-angle touchscreen+In-body image stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

We had the cheaper Fujifilm X-T200 in our list of the best vlogging cameras for some time, but we've decided to swap it out for the newer X-S10 (not least because the X-T200 seems to be having some supply issues right now). The Fujifilm X-S10 doesn't have the external exposure controls of the higher-level X-series cameras, but it's clear this is no 'amateur' camera. as its build quality and handling stand out straight away. The swap to a conventional mode dial might disappoint Fujifilm fans, but the excellent finish, build quality and handling and the inclusion of IBIS (in-body stabilization) gives this camera a very broad appeal, especially in this price sector, to produce perhaps the best combination of performance, quality and value in the APS-C mirrorless camera market right now. It even has a vari-angle rear screen and this, combined with the X-S10's in-body-stabilization and 4K video, makes it a great vlogging camera.

(Image credit: Sony)

Still a brilliant camera for vloggers but the design could do with an update

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,000 dots
Viewfinder: Electronic
Continuous shooting speed: 11fps
Max video resolution: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Image quality and resolution+4K video performance+Sophisticated autofocus
Reasons to avoid
-Design feels dated-Tilting screen not vari-angle

Not so long ago, any camera with a 180-degree front-facing screen was instantly dismissed as a ‘selfie’ camera, but the rise of blogging, vlogging and Instagram has brought video to the fore, and the A6400’s front-facing screen is ideal for single-handed video shooters who want to talk directly to the camera –  though a fully vari-angle screen like some of its rivals have would be better still. The A6400 is also a great camera for stills. We're not so keen on the design, which is largely unchanged since the original A6000 model, but it's not a deal-breaker given that the Sony is so good at video. It's not just the 4K video that makes this camera stand out as a vlogging tool, but its state of the art autofocus system, and especially its Eye-AF performance. Since the Sony A6400 came out, we've had the cheaper A6100 and the more advanced A6600 – but we think the A6400 still hits the vlogging sweet spot between convenience, cost and quality.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic's cute little vlogging camera is pretty good at stills too

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Quality video and stills+Audio-recording capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-No in-body stabilization-4K video crop

Vloggers and creatives will enjoy the simplicity of the Lumix G100. It makes it easy to capture high-quality video and stills with its approachable button layout. Even people uninterested in the technicalities of capturing great-looking videos will be able to get results with this camera. There’s an inherent risk of dumbing things down too much when creating a camera for social media creatives, but Panasonic has avoided that pitfall with the Lumix G100. By giving it a decent viewfinder and “proper camera” ergonomics, Panasonic has given the G100 an edge in a highly competitive market. This is a great camera to start with if you're more interested in vlogging than regular photography – or both! It doesn't have in-body stabilization, though, and there is a crop factor when shooting in 4K. It's cute, compact, convenient and quite cheap, then, but it is missing a couple of features.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

A serious bit of kit considering the price, excellent for video and stills

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k dots
Lens: L-mount
Continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Video: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 60/50p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Reasons to buy
+Best in-class video performance+Magnesium frame and vari-angle screen+Dual SD card slots
Reasons to avoid
-HDMI port not full-size-Only contrast AF

The Lumix S5 might be on the larger size for a vlogging camera, but with a full-frame sensor, 6.5 stops of image stabilization and a weather-resistant body we think it deserves this spot. Even though the Panasonic GH5 II is newer, you got a lot more camera for the same money with the Lumix S5 and it's much better in low light. It has a fully articulated screen which makes it perfect for self-recording, 14+ stops of dynamic range and 4K video. Perhaps the only downside to this powerhouse of a camera is that it uses contrast AF rather than phase-detect AF which is often not as responsive. If you want a camera that's going to be good for stills and video, the Lumix S5 offers 96MP high-resolution RAW+JPEG capture. If you're a serious filmmaker then perhaps the feature of the Lumix GH5 will tempt you more but we think the Lumix S5 gives you more for your money. 

(Image credit: Sony)

Honestly? We're a bit lukewarm, but the A7C does have plus points

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full Frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: Sony E mount
LCD: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps, 115 raw, 223 JPEG
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Small(ish) body+Excellent retracting lens+Side-hinged vari-angle screen
Reasons to avoid
-Unambitious video specs-Unappealing silver and black finish-Not especially cheap

Even though the Sony A7C and the Sony A7 III are now very similar prices, the articulated screen on the Sony A7C makes it that much better for vlogging. It isn't Sony's most exciting camera release but its practical performance and excellent AF system do make it a good camera. The Sony A7C lacks the same quality feel that other A7 cameras have but it is a bit lighter and therefore might appeal more to someone vlogging on the move. Its full-frame sensor also means it's very good in low light and it has 5 stops of in-body stabilization so even if you're shooting hand-geld you'll be able to achieve relatively smooth video. It's by no means the cheapest camera on the list and if you have any plans to buy an external monitor, I'd probably still go for the Sony A7 III. However, if you're looking at a camera that doesn't need any extras to record yourself, this is still the better option. 

(Image credit: Olympus)

4K video, flip-out screen and great stabilisation – perfect for vlogging

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.4MP
Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
Screen type: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Rock-solid in-body image stabilization+Phase detect AF is superb
Reasons to avoid
-No headphone jack-No 4K 60p option

The third version of the camera that put Olympus on the mirrorless map is a truly fantastic option for vlogging. It doesn't have the 4K 60p capability of Panasonic Micro Four Thirds rivals like the Lumix GH5 II, but 4K 30p is enough for most vloggers, and the Olympus wins for autofocus, using on-sensor phase-detect AF rather than the DFD contrast AF system still used by Panasonic. For regular filmmaking this is less of an issue (as "proper" videography should be done with manual focus), but vlogging leaves you at your camera's mercy to keep you in focus – and Panasonic's DFD contrast AF is prone to pulsing, hunting and reprioritizing. The E-M5 Mark III delivers crisp, clean 4K video with rock-solid image stabilization and phase detect AF that won't let you down – and its stills photography performance is top-notch as well.

(Image credit: Canon)

Lightweight and versatile and great for non-4K needs

Specifications
Type: Compact-shape CSC
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Screen: 3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch
Viewfinder: 0.39-type OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Lens: Canon EF-M
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner/intermediate
Reasons to buy
+Fully articulating touchscreen+Lightweight and portable+Brilliant Dual Pixel AF in 1080p
Reasons to avoid
-No Dual Pixel AF = iffy focus in 4K-4K invokes significant crop

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II isn't the wholesale upgrade over the original Canon EOS M50 that many were hoping for, but it's an excellent hybrid mirrorless camera that performs well for stills and video. Its 4K capabilities carry a number of caveats; Canon's brilliant Dual Pixel AF is replaced by contrast detect AF when not shooting in 1080p, and shooting in 4K also results in a significant crop factor. Thus, we can't recommend this camera if you intend to film 4K video. 

However, if you want to shoot 1080p and you're looking for a powerful, easy to use body with great autofocus that's at home with run-and-gun videography, vlogging and creating for TikTok and Instagram, the M50 Mark II is in its element. Canon certainly offers more powerful APS-C cameras, such as the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, which deliver superior results in both stills and video (especially in 4K). However, the M50 Mark II's party trick is its perfectly pitched performance-to-price ratio. This is an affordable, powerful, compact and easy to use camera that's ideal for travel and everyday photography, as well as all manner of content creation. 

Compact/action cameras

Generally we would recommend a mirrorless camera for more serious vlogging, but there are a couple of compact cameras that are especially interesting thanks to their smaller size, front-facing screens and video capability. Beyond that, though, there are some terrific action cameras which can take your vlogging in a whole new direction.

Read more: The best compact digital cameras

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has adapted its RX100 design to make a brilliant vlogging camera

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Supplied mic windshield+Super-fast AF+Vari-angle screen
Reasons to avoid
-Small-ish rear screen and not 16:9

While the new Sony ZV-E10 spiritually supersedes it, the ZV-1 remains a great option that doesn't require you to faff with lens changing. Some might dismiss the ZV-1 as yet another Sony RX100 variant, but it’s much more than that. The sensor and lens might be familiar, but the body, the controls, the audio and the rear screen are all new and different and optimized brilliantly for vlogging. There are a couple of niggles. The huge change in the minimum focus distance when you zoom in is annoying and the SteadyShot Active stabilization didn’t work too well for us, but the autofocus is exceptional and the ZV-1 is a joy to use, not least because here at last is a vlogging camera that really is designed specifically for vlogging, right down to that fully vari-angle rear screen and the supplied mic wind shield, which really does work brilliantly. It's also a LOT cheaper than the flagship Sony RX100 VII camera, despite offering a better proposition for vloggers.

(Image credit: Canon)

A flip-up screen, decent 1-in sensor and a compact body – ideal for vloggers

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Lens: 24-100mm (equiv.) f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+4K video with no crop+Can livestream and shoot vertically
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey-No viewfinder

When the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II showed popularity with vloggers, Canon sensibly leaned into it and gave us the Mark III, a compact that improves on it in all the right ways to provide a perfect compact vlogging solution. It's got 4K video with no crop, an external mic port, and even lets you livestream to YouTube! There's also the option to extract high-quality stills from 4K footage (useful for those thumbnails), and the excellent autofocus system works well with the 24-100mm (equivalent) f/2.8-1.8 lens and stacked 1-inch CMOS sensor to produce video of enviable quality. It even enables you to shoot vertical video that's very phone and Instagram story friendly – an incredibly useful function. It's still good, but it has been upstaged rather by the Sony ZV-1.

(Image credit: DJI)

It's a camera and a gimbal all in one – and it fits in your pocket!

Specifications
Sensor: 1/1.7-inch CMOS
Lens: 20mm equivalent f/1.8
ISO range: 100-6400
Video: 4K UHD up to 60fps
Stabilisation: 3-axis
Storage: microSD
Dimensions: 124.7×38.1×30mm
Weight: 117g
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class pocketable stabilization+Creator Combo is perfect for vloggers+Crisp video
Reasons to avoid
-Gets hot when shooting 4K

If you want a best-in-class tool when it comes to combining stable video and pocketable size, nothing else trumps the DJI Pocket 2. If you get it as part of the Creator Combo, external audio and the ultra-wide lens are excellent additions, and it’s basically a pocket studio. Noise handling is probably the Pocket 2’s weakest area, and it struggles with highlights, though in most well-lit environments, the convenience, versatility, and stabilization it offers can’t be overstated. Better still, the gimbal stabilization brings a level of smoothness to run and gun style video that's difficult (or impossible) to achieve with a bigger camera.

best vlogging cameras: Insta360 ONE X2

(Image credit: Insta360 )

A clever and endlessly creative 360 camera with easy AI editing

Specifications
Weight: 149g
Dimensions: 462x113x29.8mm
Waterproof: 10m
Stills resolution: 18.5MP
Video resolution: 5.7K
Memory: MicroSD
Mount: Tripod socket
Battery life: 80 minutes
Reasons to buy
+Creates great-looking, dynamic clips+Endless creativity, easy AI editing+Excellent colour and detail+‘SteadyCam’ and ‘MultiView’ modes
Reasons to avoid
-Requires the latest phones-Editing takes time-Overkill for most users

360 cameras are really quite mind-bending to use, not least because it doesn't matter where you point them! But to show off your video you either need a VR playback device, such as a smartphone or YouTube's 360 mode. The alternative is to edit your spherical footage into a regular 'flat' video where you can choose where to point the camera AFTER you've captured the video – but that requires some editing effort. The One X2 is a seriously impressive action camera that uses its 360º lenses not only for virtual reality, but for a plethora of creative editing modes for widescreen videos, the One X2 consistently produces exquisite videos and photos. It takes time and patience to master, and its processing-intensive app demands the latest phones, but for filmmakers wanting to try something different the One X2 cannot be ignored.

(Image credit: GoPro)

The ultimate action camera – and now better value

Specifications
Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 60fps
4K video: up to 120fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 23MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Front-facing screen+23MP photos  +14.7 MP grabs from video
Reasons to avoid
-Larger physical size than earlier GoPros-5K video takes up a lot of memory

Welcome to the newest and best GoPro around. Though launched without much fanfare and looking identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, the Hero10 Black is nevertheless a significant upgrade. That’s all down to its use of the all-new GP2 processor, which powers both a speedy user interface, doubles the frame rates and fuels the best image stabilization tech yet. The larger, 2.27-inch display and the handy front-facing screen is what makes this camera perfect for vlogging - especially if you like to blog on the move, up a mountain or even when riding a bike!

The highlight is its 5.3K 60p video capabilities and GoPro's new HyperSmooth, 4.0 video stabilization. It works in all modes and alongside its 23MP camera, it produced the best photos and has the best low-light performance of any GoPro. Content can be transferred super fast via a cable and it has an auto-upload feature that automatically adds photos and video to the cloud while it recharges. Some upgrades aren't all that exciting but the Hero10 Black was definitely worth the wait. 

• See also GoPro Hero 9 vs Hero 10 Black

What to look for in a vlogging camera

1) External microphone port
When it comes to producing professional-looking videos you'll need good quality audio. In-camera mics are ok but you'll want to use an external mic if you plan on recording audio so make sure to invest in a camera with a mic input.

2) LCD screen that can flip round to the front
A full articulated screen is essential if you want to record yourself talking to the camera. It takes away any guesswork involved and ensures the framing of the shot is just right. Most of the time you can get away with just having a tilting screen but vlogging is the one area of photography and videography where a front-facing screen is a must.

3) AF system with effective tracking
If you plan on recording yourself while moving away, you'll need a camera that has responsive AF tracking. Since you won't actually be able to change the focus point while filming, you'll want to use eye or face AF so that the focus is always on you. This is when cameras with phase-detect AF are particularly good as they are much more consistent with moving images, unlike contrast-detect which has a tendency to hunt and drift.

4) 4K video
You can probably get away with a camera that doesn't have 4K capabilities however, technology is advancing so quickly you may as well future-proof your purchase. Even if you shoot in 4K, you can upload in 1080p to save on time but at least you have that option. You can crop into 4K, reframe your video and still output at 1080p so it's more flexible to get a camera that is 4K ready. For more information on post-production, check out our guides on the best video editing software

5) Great stills quality
Chances are if you're a vlogger you'll have an Instagram account and want to be able to capture stills as well as video. Nobody wants to carry around two cameras if you can get one that will do both jobs equally well. Of course, some of the best camera phones will be great for creating content, but it'll never be as good quality as an actual camera. Our guide on the best cameras for Instagram will be a good place to look if that is your chosen platform. 

The best cameras for streaming

All of the cameras on our list are ideal for vlogging, you'll just have to decide how much you want to spend, how portable you need it to be and what types of vlog you'll want to film

Read more: 

Best mirrorless camera
The best laptop for video editing
Best 4K camera for filmmaking
Best cameras for live streaming
Best PTZ cameras
Best travel camera
Best camera for beginners
Best camera for professionals
The best free video editing software

Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specialises in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylised product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.