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The best cameras for vlogging in 2020: for vloggers and content creators everywhere

The best cameras for vlogging in 2019: we pick the top 10 vlogging cameras
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

The best cameras for vlogging don't actually have to be cameras. You can vlog very successfully with a smartphone, as many top content creators and influencers have shown. However, if you want a step up in versatility, creative control and image/video quality, then you need a mirrorless camera – or, if you need something smaller, there are a handful of compact cameras ideal for the job too.

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We've got a separate guide for the best mirrorless cameras all round, and another for the best 4K cameras for filmmaking, but this one is devoted specifically to the needs of vloggers and content creators. 

The criteria for the best vlogging cameras can vary a little, but there are a few things that are critical. 

1) A port for an external microphone: This allows you to bump up the quality of the sound in your vlogs. Video experts will consistently tell you that this is the best way 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. This often gets little play in normal camera reviews as to many photographers it might seem trivial, but for vlogging it's really, really useful. You always get this with a smartphone but there aren't that many mainstream cameras that do 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.

4) 4K video: Is 4K important? It depends. Even now, most vloggers will record and upload in full HD rather than 4K, but most of us would feel happier with a little future-proofing, and 4K does offer more scope for editing and cropping your video later, so we've prioritised 4K video as a key feature for any vlogging camera. (If you are looking for a software, 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?

But what to choose? Interchangeable-lens cameras give you greater flexibility and generally have larger 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 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 camera phones.

The best cameras for vlogging in 2020

Mirrorless cameras

Interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras are best for serious vlogging. They have more powerful video features and the versatility of interchangeable lenses. We don't rule out DSLRs (especially the recent Canon EOS Rebel 3 / 250D), but for now mirrorless cameras 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, the best Sony cameras

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2. Panasonic Lumix G95 / G90

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

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

4K video with V-Log
Mic port included
2x crop hampers wide framing
Some softness in full HD

Panasonic's video portfolio goes from strength to strength, and the Lumix G90 was extremely well received in this department upon release in 2019. The headline upgrade over the previous G80 was the inclusion of Panasonic's V-Log L mode, something you'd expect to find in cameras much more expensive than this one. This mode allows for the capture of up to 12 stops of dynamic range, creating a flat image that's perfect for digital grading in the edit. The fact that the G90 also carries a mic port seals the deal as far as vlogging is concerned; this camera gives you all the tools you need to produce fantastic video with ease. Having the massive selection of lenses afforded by Micro Four Thirds is no bad thing either!

Read more: The best Panasonic cameras

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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
Less ideal in low light
Bulky body

If you're serious about a vlogging professionally, you'll need to set your sights higher up the Panasonic range. The newer GH5S is even more video-centric 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 design
4K video
No viewfinder
Same 16.1MP count as E-PL8

Quite possibly 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 camera with a bit of style that isn't just an ugly black box. There are a couple of downsides which might make more serious photographers a bit sniffy, such as the lack of a viewfinder and the fact that this camera has only the same 16-megapixel resolution of the older E-PL8 it replaces, but if you've been brought up on a smartphone and you share your images digitally rather than via big enlargements, that won't matter. The E-PL9 maintains the PEN tradition of being very intuitive to use and easy to live with. It also has excellent build quality despite its compact, lightweight construction. Better still, this camera can capture 4K movies rather than just 1080p and even has in-body-stabilisation. The ideally suited to travel photography, especially when the body is paired with the remarkably small Olympus 14-42mm EZ ‘pancake’ zoom, available as a money-saving kit lens option.

Read more: Olympus PEN E-PL9 hands on review, the best cameras for travel

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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 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 EOS 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, there should still be easily enough for the vlogger's purposes, and with plenty of useful extra features like a microphone socket, a touchscreen that tilts to face backwards, and video stabilisation to keep things smooth, the EOS M6 Mark II is an extremely solid all-rounder for any vlogger. We haven't been able to give it a full review yet, but when we do, this may well work its way up our list!

Read more: Canon EOS M6 Mark II hands on review

Compact cameras

Generally, we'd recommend a mirrorless camera for any serious kind of vlogging, but there are a couple of compact cameras which are especially interesting thanks to their smaller size, front-facing screens and video capability. Lots of compact cameras shoot 4K now, but these two have larger 1-inch sensors which make a big difference to the quality.

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
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 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. 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 with high-quality front facing cameras and video capabilities, they also let you share your vlogs instantly. You don't get the video quality and interchangeable lenses of a mirrorless camera, but not everyone needs those things.

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9. Samsung Galaxy S10+

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+ comes with lots of video upgrades that make it ideal for vlogging. Digital Video Stabilisaiton 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.

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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