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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
• 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