When looking for the best cameras for vlogging, you're looking for a deceptively specific number of qualities – all of which will vary according to what and how you shoot, and may well grow along with the scope of your content. So getting the right core kit from the start is very important!
The best cameras for vlogging comes in every shape and size. Is smaller better? Well, if you're not based in a studio then having a compact setup that stows easily in your backpack, and can be stuck on a Gorillapod for those walking-and-talking-to-camera shots, then size definitely matters. If your vlogs are all done on a tripod indoors, though, then it's less important.
For our money, overall, mirrorless cameras offer the best content creating combination of control, quality and versatility – and mirrorless cameras often come with in-body image stabilization, a real game-changer for those walking shots or capturing smooth B-roll without a gimbal. That said, you can get great video with a DSLR or a compact camera – and the best camera phones offer brilliant fire-and-forget 4K video.
That said, while there is a fair amount of overlap between the best vlogging cameras and the best mirrorless cameras overall, as well as the best 4K cameras, there are some specific considerations that you need to bear in mind:
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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!
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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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