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The best camera for vlogging in 2019: we pick the top 10 vlogging cameras

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

There's lots to choose from when it comes to picking the best camera for vlogging. An obvious choice is an interchangeable-lens camera, and there are loads of fantastic models available in the mirrorless sector, combining lgihtweight build and great video features to make for a solid all-around vlogging package (And with lots of cheap camera deals right now, this great time to invest as well.)

Many of these cameras will also have external microphone ports, allowing you to up the quality of the sound in your vlogs. Experts in the field will tell you that this is one of the most critical steps to take in order to give your videos that professional feel.

There are options beyond interchangeable-lens cameras, too. A compact camera can give you everything you need in a single package for portability, affordability and convenience, and so we've chosen two great compact cameras for vlogging. We've chosen our favourite three smartphones for vloggers, too, as phone camera technology is getting more and more sophisticated all the time. Smartphones also often allow lavalier microphones to be attached via the headphone port. 

The best action cameras can also shoot great video and in theory you could use their smartphone apps to watch yourself speaking to the camera, but they're not really designed for the quality or ease of use that most vloggers will be looking for so we'll stick to cameras and smartphones here.

The best cameras for vlogging have features that may not seem too important for regular stills photography. One of the most critical is an LCD screen that can flip round to the front so that you see yourself while you're filming. You always get this with a smartphone but there aren't that many mainstream cameras that do this.

The best cameras for live streaming

An effective autofocus system that can also keep track of you while you're recording yourself is also important, as you won't be able to adjust the camera while you're filming and eye AF can be a big advantage here.

So what about 4K? 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).

Finally, we want to stick to cameras that can also take great stills as 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?

So here are the best cameras for vloggers on the market right now, ranging from smartphones and compacts for everyday vlogging through to interchangeable-lens cameras for broader control and more professional results.

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.

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, this is vlogging perfection

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 super-stylish take-anywhere camera perfect for vlogging and Instagram

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

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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(Image credit: Canon)
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6. 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. 

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7. Sony RX100 Mark V

Sony's high-end RX100 model brings 4K video and fast phase-detect AF

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in tilt-angle display, 1.22million dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: No | User level: Enthusiast

4K video from oversampled footage
Phase-detect AF pixels on sensor
Five-minute recording limit
No mic port

While the previous RX100 Mark IV was already equipped for excellent-quality 4K video recording, the pocketable Mark V made some important strides for the videographer. Perhaps the most important addition is phase-detect AF pixels on the sensor, which allow the camera to keep a better lock on the subject while recording. Furthermore, face detection is also effective here, which further helps the camera to understand what it's focusing on. You also get an SLog2 option and far better rolling-shutter performance than the Mark IV, although there's no mic port, so you'll have to use a mic and an external recorder (or your phone) if you want to improve on the quality of the camera's microphones.

Read more: Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Features compared

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.

8. Sony Xperia 1

Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): 1/4in | Megapixels (front camera): 8MP | Lens (front camera): f/2 | Screen: 6.5in 4K HDR OLED, 1644x3840 dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: via headphone port | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Great-quality 4K HDR video
Useful CinemaPro app
No video editing tools
Middling battery life

The Sony Xperia 1 is an eminently solid smartphone for video, capturing gorgeous 4K HDR, but it's not the best in town in terms of pure spec. So why is it one of our picks for the best vlogging smartphone? Well, the answer lies in the Cinema Pro app, which uses the power of Sony's cine camera tech to create a video-recording tool that gives users a huge amount of manual control over their video. Dictate shutter speed, control manual focusing mid-video, set a base point marker for your subject to help you focus more accurately, change frame rates, and shoot a flat image with high dynamic range, perfect for grading in the edit. Taking footage from the Xperia 1 and grading/editing it on a desktop is a genuine joy; though if we have a criticism, it would be that the app severely lacks editing functionality. Still, this is a fantastic vlogging phone that provides tremendous creative freedom for the user. 

Read more: Sony Xperia 1 review

9. Huawei P20 Pro

Four separate cameras and a helping hand from Leica make the P20 Pro a serious imaging tool

Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): na | Megapixels (front camera): 24.8MP | Lens (front camera): f/2 | Screen: 6.1 OLED screen, 2240x1080 dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: via USB-C port | User level: Beginner

Great OLED screen
Excellent battery life
Front camera beauty mode only to 720p
No OIS for video

Huawei has spent the last couple of years battling Apple, Samsung and other smartphone rivals, with its partnership with Leica helping to lend its most recent models extra credibility in photographic circles. The Huawei P20 Pro has been one of our favourite camera phones with its rear-facing triple camera system that does some pretty impressive things, but the company hasn't skimped on making it suitable as a vlogging camera too. While the rear camera system is capable of 4K output, the front camera boasts a 24.8MP sensor and a f/2 aperture, recording Full HD footage. It's also capable of applying its skin-softening Beauty mode to footage as it's being recorded, although only to a maximum 720p mode resolution. There is now the more advanced Huawei P30 Pro to consider -  but the arrival of the new flagship has made the P20 Pro has dropped in price.

Read more: Huawei P20 Pro camera review

10. LG V30

This left-field option has an ace card that might just sway you

Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): na | Megapixels (front camera): 5MP | Lens (front camera): f/2.2 | Screen: 6in OLED screen, 2880x1440 dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: Via headphone port | User level: Beginner/Enthusiast

LG-Cine Log option
Ultra-wide-angle lens
Weaker front camera
Rivals have better video quality

Thanks to a relatively weak 5MP front camera the V30 might seem like a surprising option in this list, but there is good reasons why it has made the cut – and why a number of vloggers have plumped for this as their device of choice. Here's it's all about the rear dual-camera system, which combines a 16MP sensor with a stabilised f/1.6-aperture lens and 13MP sensor an f/1.9-aperture optic, the latter boasting a 120-degree angle of view that allows more dramatic compositions than you'd otherwise be able to achieve. That's roughly the same as using a 13mm lens on a full-frame camera. This in itself makes it easier to makes framing blind easier, although the rear's shiny finish gives you a good idea of what you're shooting. As you'll be using the device's primary camera system, you'll also benefit from recording in glorious 4K quality, with the further option of an LG-Cine Log mode to give you better starting point when grading (though the parameters have to be set before shooting), and control over frame rate and bit-rate at your disposal too.

Read more: Why do some phones have two cameras on the rear? Dual-camera designs explained

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