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The best cameras for vlogging in 2021: portable, versatile cameras great for video

The best cameras for vlogging in 2020: for videography, vloggers & content creators
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best cameras for vlogging are designed for a new style of filming. They are for photographers who need to capture a range of subjects quickly and simply in lots of different conditions. It all depends on your own particular shooting style and where you see yourself on the vlogging scale, from adventurous thrill-seeker to travel photographer to filmmaker. 

There are a few essential questions you need to answer – how much versatility you need, what kind of quality you're looking for, and how much equipment you want to carry. 

Most people associate vlogging with portable, video-focused mirrorless cameras. These can also double as capable stills cameras, so they are versatile too. 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 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.

If you want to know more about what to look for in a vlogging camera, we've included a list of five key features at the end of this article. Any budding vlogger, though, will quickly find out that a camera is just the start. Here are some more things to think about:

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've just reviewed the Nikon Z6 II Essential Movie Kit, for example, which comes with a SmallRig camera cage and Ninja V recorder.

The best cameras for vlogging in 2021

Mirrorless cameras

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.

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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

Best camera for vlogging: Panasonic Lumix G100

(Image credit: Panasonic)

2. Panasonic Lumix G100

Panasonic's new vlogging camera is pretty good at stills too

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Quality video and stills
Audio-recording capabilities
No in-body stabilization
4K video crop

Vloggers and creatives more broadly 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!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G100 review

Best camera for vlogging: Fujifilm X-S10

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

3. Fujifilm X-S10

We love the X-T200 for vlogging, but this is even better

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 30/8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate/Expert

Small size & excellent build quality
Vari-angle touchscreen
In-body image stabilisation
Not the cheapest

We've had the cheaper 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 stabilisation) 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-stabilisation and 4K video, makes it a great vlogging camera.

Read more: Fujifilm X-S10 review

Best vlogging cameras: Panasonic Lumix S5

(Image credit: Panasonic)

4. Panasonic Lumix S5

Panasonic's new compact mirrorless camera is pricey but worth it

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k dots | Lens: L-mount | Continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Video: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 60/50p | User level: Intermediate/expert

Best in-class video performance
Magnesium frame and vari-angle screen
Dual SD card slots
HDMI port not full-size
Only contrast AF

Despite its compact size, the Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the Lumix S1, but with improved AF. 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. The Lumix S5 is smaller than the Lumix S1 and S1R before it, and cheaper too. It matches the Lumix S1 for stills and beats it for video, coming close to the capabilities of the far more expensive Lumix S1H. What a camera! The Lumix S5 is more for serious filmmakers than many of the other cameras here, so ideal for more advanced/professional content creators – or hobbyists who want the best!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix S5 review

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony A7C

Honestly? We're a bit lukewarm, but the A7C does have plus points

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full Frame | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens: Sony E mount | LCD: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps, 115 raw, 223 JPEG | Max video resolution: 4K 30p | User level: Enthusiast

Small(ish) body
Excellent retracting lens
Side-hinged vari-angle screen
Unambitious video specs
Unappealing silver and black finish
Not especially cheap

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 video.

Read more: Sony A7C review

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6. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

With 4K video, flip-out screen and great stabilisation, it's built for vlogging

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Rock-solid in-body image stabilization
Phase detect AF is superb
No headphone jack
No 4K 60p option

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

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7. 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 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

Compact/action cameras

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

Best camera for vlogging: Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Sony)

8. Sony ZV-1

Sony has adapted its RX100 design to make a brilliant vlogging camera

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots | Max video resolution: 4K | Mic port: Yes | User level: Enthusiast

Supplied mic windshield
Super-fast AF
Vari-angle screen
Small-ish rear screen and not 16:9

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 optimised 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 stabilisation 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.

Read more: Sony ZV-1 review

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9. 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 and shoot vertically
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 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

(Image credit: DJI)

10. DJI Pocket 2

It's a camera and a gimbal all in one – and it fits in your pocket!

Sensor: 1/1.7-inch CMOS | Lens: 20mm equivalent f/1.8 | ISO range: 100-6400 | Video: 4K UHD up to 60fps | Stabilisation: 3-axis | Storage: microSD | Dimensions: 124.7×38.1×30mm | Weight: 117g

Best-in-class pocketable stabilization
Creator Combo is perfect for vloggers
Crisp video
Gets hot when shooting 4K

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. 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.

Read more: DJI Pocket 2 review

Best 360 camera: Insta360 ONE X2

(Image credit: Insta360 )

11. Insta360 One X2

A clever and endlessly creative 360 camera with easy AI editing

Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 462x113x29.8mm | Waterproof: 10m | Stills resolution: 18.5MP | Video resolution: 5.7K | Memory: MicroSD | Mount: Tripod socket | Battery life: 80 minutes

Creates great-looking, dynamic clips
Endless creativity, easy AI editing
Excellent colour and detail
‘SteadyCam’ and ‘MultiView’ modes
Requires the latest phones
Editing takes time
Overkill for most users

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.

Read more: Insta360 One X2 review

(Image credit: GoPro)

12. GoPro Hero9 Black

The ultimate action camera – and now better value

Weight: 158g | Waterproof: 10m | 5K video: up to 30fps | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080: up to 240fps | 720: up to 240fps | Stills resolution: 20MP | Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate

Front-facing screen
20MP photos  
14.7 MP grabs from video
Larger physical size than other GoPros
5K video takes up a lot of memory

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. 

• Read full GoPro Hero9 Black review

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! 

The best cameras for 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 action camera designs.

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