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The best cameras for vlogging in 2020: for videography, vloggers & content creators

The best cameras for vlogging in 2020: for videography, vloggers & content creators
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best cameras for vlogging come in all shapes and sizes. If you're a seasoned shooter then mirrorless cameras offer the ultimate content creating combination of control, quality and versatility. However, you can also capture very effective video with a compact camera and even a smartphone – both of which are ideal for vlogging on the go, with minimal kit.

Requirements of the best vlogging cameras can vary according to your own personal needs. There is some overlap with the criteria for the best mirrorless cameras overall, and obviously there's a lot of common ground with the best 4K cameras for filmmaking, but there are some considerations quite specific to content creation: 

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1) A port for an external microphone: This enables you to bump up the quality of the sound in your vlogs. Video experts will consistently tell you that this is one of the single best ways to make your videos feel more professional.

2) An LCD screen that can flip round to the front: This is so that you can see yourself while you're filming. It often gets little play in normal camera reviews, as to many photographers it might seem trivial, but for vlogging it's pretty much essential. You always get this with a smartphone, but even today there are many mainstream cameras that don't have it.

3) An AF system with effective tracking: This is a huge advantage if you're recording yourself moving, as you won't be able to adjust the camera while you're filming. Features like face and eye AF can be a big advantage here, as the camera will naturally gravitate towards focusing on you – and phase detect systems come into their own for significant movement.

4) 4K video: Is 4K important? It depends. Even now, many vloggers will record and upload in 1080p (FullHD) rather than 4K, but at this stage you might feel safer with some future-proofing – and 4K does offer more scope for editing and cropping your video late. So we've prioritized 4K video as a key feature for any vlogging camera. (If you are looking for post production programs, check out our guides to free video editing software and to paid-for video editing software).

5) Great stills quality: Most vloggers will want to capture content of all types, not just video, and who wants to carry two cameras around when you can get one that does both jobs? After all, you need a decent camera to take that all-important thumbnail! 

So then, what to choose? Interchangeable-lens cameras give you greater flexibility, and have larger image sensors, while a compact camera can give you everything you need in a single package for portability, affordability and convenience. 

And let's not forget about smartphones, as there's a lot to be said for making your vlogging camera a device that you're carrying around with you anyway. And given that phone camera technology is getting more and more sophisticated all the time (and that many phones will allow a microphone to be attached via the headphone jack) this really doesn't have to be a massive downgrade.

The best cameras for live streaming

So here are the best cameras for vloggers on the market right now, ranging from mirrorless cameras through vlogger-friendly compacts and the latest video-oriented camera phones.

The best cameras for vlogging in 2020

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 (especially the recent Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / Canon EOS 250D), but for now mirrorless cameras definitely have the lead for vlogging.

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1. Sony A6400

Brilliant for vloggers, the A6400 has 4K video and a front-facing screen

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

Image quality and resolution
4K video performance
Sophisticated autofocus
Design feels dated

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 sets it apart from many of its rivals and makes it a powerful and desirable tool for single-handed video shooters who want to talk directly to the camera. 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. It's sold body only (handy if you already have Sony lenses), but if you intend buying it with a kit lens we'd recommend paying the extra for the Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, which has much longer reach and better optical quality than the standard 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ lens. 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.

Read more: Sony A6400 review

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2. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

With 4K video, flip-out screen, a mic port and PDAF, it's built for vlogging

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

Rock-solid in-body image stabilization
Phase detect AF is superb
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. While the powerhouse GH5 (below) and the Panasonic G95 / Panasonic G90 outpunch it with their 4K60, Log and bitrate options, they both falter when it comes to one key area: autofocus. 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.

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review

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3. Panasonic Lumix GX800 / GX850

Panasonic’s cheapest mirrorless model is such a bargain for vloggers!

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: None | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 5.8fps (4k 30fps)

Cheap to buy
4k video and burst shooting for stills
No viewfinder
Only 16MP

If the first two cameras in our guide are a little pricey for your budget, you can't complain at this one! Not only is the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 the least expensive model in Panasonic’s line of interchangeable-lens cameras, it’s also great on the go. It’s particularly small and lightweight, especially when paired with the 12-32mm zoom that’s available as a kit option. The lack of a viewfinder is a drawback but it helps to keep the camera’s size to a minimum and you don't need it for vlogging anyway. The screen has a 180-degree tilt facility, which works well with smart selfie modes as well as video, complete with ‘beautifying functions’ and the options of face shutter and buddy shutter. It’s a capable performer too, with Light Speed AF, 4K UHD for video and rapid-drive stills, and even a Creative Panorama mode. It makes a smart budget all-round travel camera, enabling you to put yourself in both pictures and videos, as well as one of the best cameras for beginners.

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4. Panasonic Lumix GH5

With in-body stabilisation and 60/50p 4K, this is for serious vloggers

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 1.62m dots | Max video resolution: 4K (DCI) | Mic port: 3.5mm | User level: Professional

Superb, pro-level video specs
Broad range of compatible lenses
Contrast AF is erratic
Bulky body

If you're serious about a vlogging professionally, you'll need to set your sights higher up the Panasonic range. The newer Panasonic GH5S is even more video-centric (and a superior performer in low light, thanks to dual native ISO) but doesn't have the GH5's still image quality, so for many vloggers the GH5 is still the best option. It offers huge control over video recording settings, including the ability to capture 4K at up to 60/50fps for a smooth 2x slow motion effect, and also includes an in-body sensor-based image stabilisation system, which you don't get with the GH5S. This is great if you need to move around while filming, and the further advantage of a 20.3MP sensor gives you great resolution for stills too. The GH5 is a big camera, though, that's pretty much the same size as an enthusiast DSLR, and its high-end video features are designed for experts rather than vlogging novices.

Read more: The best cameras for professionals

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5. Olympus PEN E-PL9

A compact take-anywhere camera perfect for fashion-conscious influencers

Type: Compact-shape CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: None | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 8.6fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Stylish, highly compact design
Intuitive and easy to use
No viewfinder
No microphone jack

The best Olympus camera of all for travel, the E-PL9 is perfect for anyone who wants to concentrate on the moment rather than the camera settings – and who would prefer a body with a bit of style that isn't just an ugly black box. There are a couple of downsides that might make some photographers a bit sniffy, such as the lack of a viewfinder and the years-old 16MP sensor, but if you're a smartphone shooter and share your images digitally rather than printing big enlargements, that won't matter. The E-PL9 is intuitive and easy to live with, boasting excellent build quality despite its lightweight construction. Better still, it can capture 4K video and has sturdy in-body image stabilization. It's also ideally suited to travel photography, especially when paired with the remarkably small Olympus 14-42mm EZ ‘pancake’ zoom. That said, it doesn't feature a microphone input – but for this price, it's an acceptable compromise. Note that the newer Olympus PEN E-PL10 is now available, but is almost identical and costs more, making the E-PL9 a better option. 

Read more: Olympus PEN E-PL9 hands on review

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6. Canon EOS M6 Mark II

Lightweight and versatile, with a massive megapixel count

Type: Compact-shape CSC | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 32.5MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: None | Lens: Canon EF-M | Continuous shooting speed: 14fps (30fps 4K) | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Useful tilting touchscreen
Lightweight and portable
Relatively few lenses
No headphone socket

Canon's lightweight mirrorless EOS M series may not have the heft of the full-frame Canon EOS R cameras, but that's what makes it just the thing for vloggers who don't want to lug around too much gear. The M6 Mark II is an excellent choice for the prospective vlogger, as it can shoot impressive uncropped 4K video while making use of the impressive Dual Pixel autofocus. It's lightly built and easy to carry, making use of the similarly specced EF-M lenses. While this range doesn't have anywhere near the catalogue of Canon's EF lenses (though you can adapt these full-frame optics if you wish), there should still be easily enough for the vlogger's purposes. And with plenty of useful features like a microphone socket, an articulating touchscreen and video stabilization to keep things smooth, the EOS M6 Mark II is an extremely solid all-rounder for any vlogger. 

Read more: Canon EOS M6 Mark II review

Compact 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. Lots of compacts shoot 4K video now, but these two have larger 1-inch sensors that make a big difference to the quality of your footage.

Read more: The best compact digital cameras

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7. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

A flip-up screen, large sensor and a compact body – ideal for vloggers

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

4K video with no crop
Can livestream and shoot vertically
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. This really is everything a vlogger needs in one package: if you like to keep things simple, look no further. 

Read more: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III review

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8. Sony RX100 Mark VII

Sony's best and latest RX100 model isn't cheap, but is well-specced

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 | Screen: 3in tilt-angle display, 921k dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: Yes | User level: Enthusiast

1-inch sensor
Useful long zoom lens
Small and fiddly
Expensive

An important thing to remember about this camera is that it's the latest and most expensive in a long-running series that is largely still in production. So while the Sony RX100 VII is the best in its class, an ideal vlogging camera that's arguably one of the best compacts you can get right now, if it's too expensive for you, it's well worth looking to the RX100 VI, V, IV or even further back than that. This latest version keeps to the central concept of the series – a 1-inch sensor inside a body with a fixed lens – but its lens is a 24-200mm model that's significantly longer than most of the rest of the series (this was introduced with the VI model). The VII is also the first model to introduce an external microphone socket, making it far and away the best choice for producing slick, professional video. If you can justify the price, it's a terrific option. We like it, but honestly, we think it has too many power features and costs too much.

Read more: Sony RX100 Mark VII review

Smartphones

Why not use a smartphone for vlogging? They're small, unobtrusive and always with you. And on top of their high-quality front facing cameras and video capabilities, they also enable you to share your vlogs instantly. You don't get the video quality and interchangeable lens versatility of a mirrorless camera, but not everyone needs those things. On the flip side, their software-driven imaging often provides simpler and superior results in challenging lighting conditions, making them ideal for those who want to focus on shooting rather than settings.

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9. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

One of Samsung's flagship, this benefits from sophisticated camera tech

Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): 1/4in | Megapixels (front camera): 24MP | Lens (front camera): f/1.9 | Screen: 6.4in, 1440x3040 dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: via headphone port | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Great-quality 4K video
Excellent large display
Expensive
Design can be slippery

One of the best Android smartphones around right now, the Samsung S10 Plus comes with lots of video upgrades that make it ideal for vlogging. Digital Video Stabilizaiton is a big one, as is the ability to produce HDR10+ video for improved dynamic range. Samsung also made several great quality-of-life upgrades to this one, not least of which is the massively improved battery life, which really helps for the intense use that vlogging puts a phone through. The enormous display is also great for viewing your creations on. Okay, it's not cheap, but neither are its rivals, and if you've got the cash this is one of the most convincing vlogging phones on the market right now. We're eager to see if the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is a better option, but the S10 Plus certainly won't let you down. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10+ review

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10. Huawei P30 Pro

Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): Quad-core sensor | Megapixels (front camera): 32MP | Lens (front camera): f/2 | Screen: 6.47 OLED screen, 2340x1080 dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: via USB-C port | User level: Beginner

Incredible cameras
Excellent battery life
Potential future Android problems
Clunky UI

The Huawei P30 Pro is marketed almost solely on its camera setup, and with very, very good reason. Its quad-camera array – consisting of a 40MP main sensor, 8MP telephoto camera, 20MP ultra-wide angle lens and a ToF (time-of-flight) depth-sensing camera – is absolutely class-leading for smartphones, and its 32MP front-facing camera is no slouch either. All of these have been co-engineered with Leica, so it's quantity not quality. The images and videos the P30 Pro produces are stunning and full of depth (even if you "only" have a Full HD display to appreciate them with). The only real niggle is that Huawei currently has an uncertain future with Android, so you may have to rely on the firm's own OS in future updates. If that's not a dealbreaker for you, then you've got an outstanding vlogging camera.

Read more: Huawei P30 Pro review

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