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The best vlogging cameras in 2021: from mirrorless to pocket sized gimbal cameras

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

The best vlogging cameras 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 else do you need for vlogging?

1. Stabilization: Useful for static handheld shooting, but for run and gun shooting, camera or lens stabilization won't help you. For this you need a gimbal, and if you have a gimbal, you don't really need in-body stabilization. Read more: Best gimbals

2. Tripod: You can get a long way with a regular camera tripod, but you'll get on much better with a proper video tripod with a fluid head for smooth panning movements. Read more: Best video tripods

3. Audio: In-camera microphones have three major limitations. The audio quality is OK but not great, they suffer massively from buffeting and wind noise and they pick up sound from all around, not from your subject. Read more: Best microphones

4. External recorder: Most of the time the camera's own internal storage is fine, but sometimes a device like the Atomos Ninja V is a real advantage. It provides a larger external monitor, more storage and, on some cameras, it can capture video at higher quality. Read more: 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 have the lead for vlogging.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

1. Fujifilm X-S10

It's brilliant at vlogging, great at stills, and we think the best all round

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: Panasonic)

2. Panasonic Lumix G100

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: Sony)

3. Sony A6400

The A6400 is brilliant for vloggers, but the design is starting to date

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)

4. Panasonic Lumix S5

You get some serious video specs with this affordable full frame camera

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

So why include the Lumix S5 when the Panasonic GH5 II has just been released? Because the sensor is four times the size in a camera that's no larger and doesn't cost any more. Despite its compact size, the Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the Lumix S1, but with improved contrast AF –  though it's still not on a par with rival phase-detect autofocus systems. It also has a tough weather-resistant body and delivers up to 6.5-stops of image stabilisation with compatible lenses. Its standout features include class-leading dynamic range and 4K video recording, as well as 96MP high resolution RAW+JPEG capture. It’s tough to beat in this category. If you're a serious filmmaker, then the Lumix GH5 II might tempt you more, but the Lumix S5 gives you more for your money.

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony A7C

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

The Sony A7C's specifications are unambitious to say the least, particularly in terms of its video capabilities, but its practical performance, from its handy vari-angle screen to its excellent AF system, make it effective enough as a camera. We will leave it to you to decide if its two-tone design is appealing, but for us it does not have the quality ‘feel’ of the other A7 models. Does the Sony range and the full frame mirrorless camera market need this camera, though? It's not cheap, it's not pretty and its not even technically very advanced. However, with that new 28-60mm retracting lens, it is more compact. It is very well suited to vlogging, and Sony's tried and trusted autofocus still leads the field for run and gun style vlogging and filming yourself as the subject.

(Image credit: Olympus)

6. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

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)

7. Canon EOS M50 Mark II

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)

8. Sony ZV-1

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)

9. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

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)

10. DJI Pocket 2

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 )

11. Insta360 One X2

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)

12. GoPro Hero9 Black

The ultimate action camera – and now better value

Specifications
Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 30fps
4K video: up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Front-facing screen+20MP photos  +14.7 MP grabs from video
Reasons to avoid
-Larger physical size than other GoPros-5K video takes up a lot of memory

The ante just got upped. If you want the very best regular action camera around it’s got to be GoPro’s latest flagship. It’s true that the brand’s first action camera to feature a vlogging-style front-facing screen won’t be for everyone, but the appearance here also of 5K resolution surely makes it the front-runner. Even if you’re not after 5K video as such, a new sensor allows you to get 14.7 MP grabs from 5K video, as well as take 20MP stills. It’s also got a a larger 2.27-inch display than the GoPro Hero8 Black, super-smooth Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization, TimeWarp 3.0 for handheld time-lapses, a travel case, and an upcoming Max Lens Mod accessory that will bring GoPro Max-style features like 360º horizon lock and an ultra-wide 155º Max SuperView mode. 

What to look for in a vlogging camera

1) External microphone port
This enables you to dramatically improve the sound quality of your content. Experts will consistently tell you that better sound is one of the single best ways to make your videos feel more professional.

2) LCD screen that can flip round to the front
A fully articulating screen enables you to see yourself while you're filming, to ensure that your framing is right and that you (or your products / subjects) are in focus. It often gets little play in camera reviews, as it may seem trivial to most photographers, but for vlogging it's an essential.

3) 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, along with consistency of focus (contrast detect systems tend to hunt and drift).

4) 4K video
Is 4K important? You can certainly live without it today (many vloggers will record and upload in 1080p (FullHD) rather than 4K), but going forward it really will be the norm – so future-proofing your purchase is sensible. In addition, 4K enables you to crop into and reframe your video and still output them in 1080p. So we've prioritized 4K video as a key feature (if you're 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! 

The best cameras for 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 action camera designs.

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

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.