Choosing an appropriate camera for vlogging involves prioritising a number of things that may not seem too important for stills photography.
One of the most critical is an LCD screen that you can keen an eye on while you're recording, which is a given with a smartphone but something only a handful of more mainstream cameras offer. An autofocus system that can also keep track of you while you're recording is also important.
Another key thing to consider is audio quality, and more specifically the scope with which you can improve on the built-in default microphone(s).
A camera that may be entirely suitable for selfies, for example, may not have a separate port for microphones, which either means you need to rely on the built-in microphones, or record video to separate device. It's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it does limit what you can achieve with the camera alone. It's a little easier with smartphones as small lavalier-type microphones can often be attached through the headphone port.
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.
Best cameras for vlogging
Most companies tend to find a niche and exploit this to give them a USP. Ricoh Imaging, for example, has long offered weather-sealing and pentaprism viewfinders on even cheaper DSLRs, while Fujifilm has opted for its own sensor technology. And it's for these reasons why the following suggestions tend to centre around just a handful of brands.
Thanks to 4K video and some advanced features often being absent from its models, Canon's cameras aren't necessarily always the best for video overall, but the fact that so many have screens that either tilt or can be swivelled to face the front make them far more suitable for vloggers than other models whose screens only tilt up and down to a lesser degree. The company's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is also among the best for keeping track of subjects while recording video, which gives its models another significant advantage.
Similarly, Panasonic, who has made a point of stuffing 4K video recording everywhere it can, has also furnished a number of its models with an LCD screen with a side-pivot mechanism. Together with a range of advanced video specs we're not used to seeing elsewhere, this also gives it models the edge.
1. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
A flip-up screen, large sensor and a relatively pocketable body makes this one of the best options for vlogging
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Lens: 24-100mm (equiv.) f/1.8-2.8, | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: Full HD | Mic port: No | User level: Beginner
The original PowerShot G7 X was something of a hit-and-miss affair among photographers, but it certainly became popular among vloggers. And now, this second-generation update appears to be just as much of a smash. While it maintains a 1in-type sensor from the previous model, you now get a 24p and 60p recording option, better battery life and a touchscreen that's arguably easier to see thanks to the hinge now being placed along the bottom of the camera. The newer DIGIC 7 processor also speeds up performance overall, and the fact that you can slip this into a roomy pocket makes it a more portable option for recording on the fly, where a DSLR would be impractical.
2. Sony RX100 Mark V
Sony's flagship RX100 model captures excellent 4K footage and boasts 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
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.
3. Canon EOS M6
Junior-level mirrorless model from Canon ticks the right boxes for vloggers on a budget
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-M | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: Full HD | Mic port: Yes | User level: Beginner
With a flip-up screen and a microphone port, and Canon's excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF system on board to keep everything in focus during recording, the EOS M6 is a great choice for those who want to keep both their setup as compact and portable. Video is limited to Full HD recording, although you do have a 60p option if you need it, and built-in digital image stabilisation also helps when you're recording on the move. The current collection of compatible lenses isn't the widest, but if you pair the camera with the EF-M 11-22mm f4-5.6 IS STM lens, you'll have a useful 18-35mm focal range (in 35mm-equivalent terms) to work with, together with the benefit of Canon's STM technology to keep focusing quiet. If you need 4K, the recent EOS M50 is also one to add to the list, although this does come with a handful of limitations, such as no Dual Pixel CMOS AF in 4K and a 1.6x crop factor.
4. Panasonic Lumix G85 / G80
Not the newest Lumix, but the combination of 4K video, a flip-out screen and a mic port make it great for vloggers
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
With masses of features, a weather-sealed body and crisp image quality thanks to the lack of an optical low-pass filter, the Lumix G85, which also goes by the name Lumix G80, is one of our favourite budget mirrorless cameras even before we get to its video capabilities. And yet, even here it shines, with 4K recording, a mic input, flip-out touchscreen and fast focusing to recommend it even further. The camera is capable of using face detection to keep a lock on subjects as they move, and while it lacks on-sensor phase-detect AF, focus changes happen nice and smoothly while you're recording. You also benefit from effective image stabilisation from both the sensor and the lens (assuming you're using a lens with OIS), which is great if you're planning on moving while you shoot.
5. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D
Small-format DSLR with the benefit of Dual Pixel CMOS AF and a mic port
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | Mic port: 3.5mm | User level: Beginner
The EOS Rebel SL2, also known as the EOS 2000D, may simply appear as a compact, unassuming, entry-level DSLR, but for vloggers on a budget it makes a lot of sense. On top of the Full HD option that records to 60p, you get a flip-out touchscreen LCD with a respectable 24.2MP resolution, together with sensor-based phase-detect AF pixels – Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system – to help keep focus smooth while you record. You can also hook an external microphone to the camera through the 3.5mm port at its side. The default EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens also has the advantage of using an STM motor for more fluid focusing during video recording, although something a little wider like the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM would be a better choice if you want to get yourself in the frame while providing environmental context, given the 1.6x crop factor of the sensor.
Read more: Canon EOS 2000D review
6. Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D
Much the same as the more junior EOS 200D, but a more serious proposition if you also shoot stills
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | Mic port: 3.5mm | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
The Rebel T7i, which also goes by the names EOS 8000D and Kiss X9i depending on where you are in the world, was announced just a few months before the EOS 200D (above), and it's aimed at a similar user. In fact, with its 24MP sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Full HD video to 60p, a flip-out touchscreen and a mic port, its spec sheet reads pretty similarly too, although it's a better choice for those who appreciate what the EOS 200D offers videographers but require something a little stronger for stills. That extra outlay gets you a much more capable 45-point AF system, each point being cross-type for enhanced sensitivity, in addition to a 6fps burst rate next to the EOS 200D's 5fps. Not fussed about these? Go for the EOS 200D, particularly as you'll benefit from a marginally better battery life and a more compact body.
Read more: Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D Review
7. Panasonic Lumix GH5S
The most advanced video option in the Lumix G stable boasts a stellar set of video specs
Type: Mirrorless camera | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 10.28MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds mount | Screen: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 1.62m dots | Max video resolution: 4K (DCI) | Mic port: 3.5mm | User level: Professional
If you need to take your vlogging to the most advanced level, the 4K-enabled GH5S is, without question, the mirrorless camera that will let you do just that. While it's based in large part on the already-video-centric GH5 and the GH models that preceded them, Panasonic has narrowed its focus on making it an even stronger competitor to options within Canon EOS Cinema line and Blackmagic's stable. We now have, for example, a Dual Native ISO option, DCI 4K recording at up to 60/50p, 4:2:2 10-bit video recording (up to 30p) and up to 240fps when shooting in Full HD, all absent from the GH5. The more mobile vlogger may appreciate the fact that Panasonic reckons it can capture footage with 1.3x less rolling shutter than the GH5, although the lack of image stabilisation at the sensor level – an intentional move, it should be said, rather than an oversight – may disappoint that same audience. The camera also has the honour of being the first Panasonic model to be approved by the European Broadcast Union [EBU] for HD content acquisition. So, if your vlog really takes off and ends up a bigger screen, you can be sure you'll still look your very best.
Read more: Panasonic GH5S review
8. Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Blending Dual Pixel CMOS AF and a vari-angle LCD with a full-frame sensor, the EOS 6D Mark II ticks the right boxes
Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | Mic port: 3.5mm | User level: Enthusiast
The full-frame EOS 6D Mark II is another model that may not be quite what you need if stills is your thing – or, indeed, even conventional video recording – but it suddenly appears more attractive if vlogging is your main focus. The full-frame sensor will allow you to control shallow depth of field better than on an ASPS-C-based model, while the use of Dual Pixel CMOS AF should keep focus pleasingly smooth when you're not able to adjust this yourself. As with the EOS 2000D, you benefit from lens-based image stabilisation for when you're moving around, although you also get electronic stabilisation here to help keep an even steadier hold on things. As we should expect as this level, it's furnished with a port for external microphones, and while it's a pity it doesn't have a headphone port alongside, this isn't a deal-breaker for vlogging. Likewise, not offering 4K video is similarly miserly move for a camera of this level, but this omission isn't a critical one for vloggers.
Read more: Canon EOS 6D Mark II review
9. Panasonic Lumix GH5
With sensor-based stabilisation and a 20MP sensor, this may suit you better than the GH5S
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
Up until the arrival of the GH5S, the GH5 served as Panasonic's flagship mirrorless video-focused camera for around a year. It isn't, however, going anywhere simply because the 'S' variant has surfaced. In fact, for some people, it remains the best option if you need something with this level of control over video recording – and we're talking of a lot of control – largely thanks to the sensor-based image stabilisation system, which is absent from the GH5S. This is great if you need to move around while filming, and the further advantage of a 20.3MP sensor gives you a little more flexibility if you need to grab the odd still too. The GH5S certainly has some advantages over the older GH5, but for most people it's the GH5 that perhaps still makes the most sense.
Best smartphones for vlogging
10. Samsung S9+ / S9
A wide angle of view with its front-facing cameras make these flagships great for vlogging
Type: Smartphone | Sensor (front camera): 1/3.6in | Megapixels (front camera): 8MP | Lens (front camera): f/1.7 | Screen: 5.8in OLED, 2960x1440 dots (S9); 6.2in OLED, 2960x1440 dots (S9+) | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: via headphone port | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
The latest pair of Galaxy smartphones from the Korean giant, the S9 and S9+ naturally have most of their most impressive tech confined to their respective primary, rear-facing cameras with the main lens offering a variable aperture: f/1.5 or f/2.4. The S9+ differs from its smaller sibling by introducing a dual-camera setup here, with the secondary camera featuring a 2x zoom. Fancy tricks on both include 4K video to 60fps and even 960fps slow-motion capture at 720p, although the company hasn't overlooked the front camera on each. This packs an 8MP sensor that's fronted by an f/1.7-aperture lens, with its 25mm-equivalent focal length giving a respectably wide 80º field of view. While the camera on the front lacks OIS, it does provide a digital alternative, and is capable of autofocus.
11. 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
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 P20 Pro grabbed a lot of attention 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.
Read more: Huawei P20 Pro camera review
12. 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
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.