Best vlogging camera 2018

If you’re looking for the best vlogging camera, you’ve come to the right place! I joined YouTube back in 2006 and started using video for presenting guides and gear reviews. During the last 12 years I’ve learned a lot about video production and what features are most important to vloggers, especially when working by yourself, and I’ve always evaluated new cameras both from a stills photography and video perspective.

On this page I’ll shortlist the cameras and accessories which I can personally recommend for vlogging at every level from budget to high-end. I’ll start with a video where I’ll explain what I’m looking for on a vlogging camera, before making some recommendations. I have a more detailed list of camera recommendations after the video.

 

 

 

Recommended vlogging cameras

Before splashing out on a new camera, it may be worth considering vlogging with your phone; if it has decent quality video, it could be perfectly adequate. To take your phone’s quality to the next level though, i’d strongly recommend filming with a gimbal for smooth results and connecting a decent microphone for decent audio quality. There’s a wealth of gimbals designed for phones, but one of the best is the Zhiyun Smooth Q for around $99, while for audio, look no further than a Rode VideoMic Me (for phones with 3.5mm sockets) or the VideoMic Me-L (for iPhones with Lightning ports), from $55. Check out Ben’s review of the Rode VideoMic Me-L below to find out more about vlogging with your phone and an external microphone.

 

 

Best budget vlogging camera

For a step-up in quality and flexibility over a phone you’ll be looking at spending $400 to $550 for a budget camera with interchangeable lenses; all my recommended models are available in a kit with an optically-stabilised lens, have decent-sized APSC or Four Thirds sensors for good quality in low light, sport forward-facing screens as well as reliable autofocus, although at this price you won’t get a microphone input or a viewfinder. The best of the bunch is also the cheapest (at around $399) – the Canon EOS M100 which packs a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor with Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus and a touch-screen that flips up to face you – see my Canon EOS M100 review for more details.

 

Canon EOS M100 Hero

Above: Canon’s EOS M100 is my best vlogging camera on a budget. Check prices on the Canon EOS M100 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

 

Also consider the Sony A5100 (at around $549) which also has a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor, this time with embedded phase-detect autofocus that’s equally as confident, and again a screen that flips-up to face you. I personally prefer Canon’s colours though and the M100 is generally available at a lower price, so it’s my budget choice. If you really want 4k video on a budget though, check out the Panasonic Lumix GX800 / GX850 at around $549, although it has contrast-based autofocus which isn’t as confident as the other pair – see my Panasonic Lumix GX800 / GX850 review for more details.

 

Best mid-range vlogging camera

At the mid-range price-point between $649 and $799 you’ll get the large sensor, stabilised lens, flip-screen and decent autofocus of budget models, but also the benefit of a microphone input and a built-in viewfinder. Of these, my favourites are again both from Canon, and again both featuring 24 Megapixel APSC sensors with Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus. The cheapest (at around $649) is the Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2, a DSLR that’s perfect for vlogging in live view with a fully-articulated touchscreen; consider coupling it with the EF-S 10-18mm STM zoom for a wider view. For a little extra you could go for the Canon EOS M50 (around $699), a mirrorless camera that’s smaller (and to me, cuter) than the 200D / SL2; consider coupling it with the EF-M 11-22mm STM lens for a wider view.

 

 

Note the M50 also offers 4k but with a severe crop and basic autofocus, so I’d only consider it as a 1080p / Full HD camera. Both Canon models deliver very nice colours and tones out-of-camera and are my vlogging picks at this price-point. See my Canon EOS 200D / SL2 review and Canon EOS M50 review for more details.

 

canon-eos-m50-hero2

Above: Canon’s EOS M50 is my favourite mid-range camera for vlogging. Check prices on the Canon EOS M50 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

 

For roughly the same price as the EOS M50 you could alternatively get the Fujifilm X-T100, which also features a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor, although the confident focusing area isn’t as broad as the Canon and you’ll need a 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter to connect most microphones – see my Fujifilm X-T100 review for more details. There’s also the Panasonic Lumix G80 / G85 which may not have as confident autofocus as the Canons, but benefits from built-in stabilisation and usable 4k video – see my Lumix G80 / G85 review for more details. Both the Fujifilm and Panasonic also have access to a broader range of lenses than the Canon EOS M models if you’re thinking of building a bigger system for photography as well as video.

 

Best pocket camera for vlogging

The mid-range price-point is also where you’ll find the first compact camera worth considering for vlogging: the Canon PowerShot G7X II is a pocketable camera with a 20 Megapixel 1in sensor, a screen that flips-up to face you and a nice bright lens with a built-in neutral density filter; the contrast-based autofocus isn’t as confident as the other models recommended here and there’s no microphone input, but the price coupled with its good quality video and pocketable body make for a compelling combination. See my Canon G7X II review for more details.

 

Above: Sony’s RX100 VA is my favourite pocket camera for vlogging. Check prices on the Sony RX100 VA at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

 

If you can stretch to around $899 you can buy one of the most capable pocket vlogging cameras around, the Sony RX100 VA (note this is a slightly improved version of the RX100 V). The RX100 VA is one of the few compacts to boast phase-detect autofocus which allows it to confidently lock-onto the subject and track it across the frame. It has a popup viewfinder, a screen that flips-up to face the subject, films decent quality 4k, offers a bunch of colour profiles and a wealth of slow-motion options too. The lens is also bright and includes a built-in neutral density filter, a useful feature lacking on the latest RX100 VI version. There’s sadly no microphone input, but in every other respect, the RX100 VA remains one of the most powerful and capable vlogging cameras and is one of my personal favourites. Check out my vlog test below and see my Sony RX100 VA review for more details.

 

 

Priced higher still but still worth considering is the Canon PowerShot G1X III which costs around $1099, squeezes-in the same large 24 Megapixel APSC sensor as the EOS M50, has a built-in viewfinder, fully-articulated touchscreen, great autofocus, attractive colours and a built-in ND filter. There’s no 4k and like the Sony RX100 VA, there’s no microphone input either, but the hotshoe makes it easier to mount an external recorder. The G1X III is really all about having the sensor of a bigger camera in something that’s coat-pocketable, but if you don’t mind carrying something a little larger you could save money on something like an EOS M50 and enjoy a microphone input plus the chance to swap lenses. Check out my vlog test below and see my Canon PowerShot G1X III review for full details.

 

 

Best high-end vlogging camera

If 4k and professional video functions are critical for you, then Panasonic has some great options based on a 20 Megapixel Four Thirds sensor (a little smaller than APSC but larger than 1in). The Panasonic Lumix G9 (around $1299) may be pitched primarily as a stills camera, but can film great quality 4k at up to 60p and also features a fully-articulated touchscreen and built-in stabilisation – see my Panasonic Lumix G9 review for full details. Indeed it’s revealing that one of the only cameras to out-feature it for video is the Panasonic Lumix GH5 (around $1699) which remains one of the most powerful pro video cameras at an ‘affordable’ price – see my Panasonic Lumix GH5 review for full details. Note both Panasonic bodies employ contrast-based autofocus which in my tests isn’t as confident as phase-detect or Dual Pixel CMOS AF for video.

 

panasonic-lumix-g9-hero2

Above: Panasonic’s Lumix G9 is one of the most powerful cameras for video for the money, and one of the cheapest with 4k at up to 60p. Check prices on the Panasonic Lumix G9 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

 

If you’re satisfied by the Four Thirds sensor but desire more confident phase-detect autofocus, then consider the Olympus OMD EM1 II (around $1599). It may lack some of the pro video features of the top Lumix bodies, but still records great looking video (including 4k), has a fully-articulated touchscreen and arguably the best built-in stabilisation around. See my Olympus OMD EM1 II review for more details.

At this price point you can also switch to full-frame sensors which deliver better quality in very low light. Of these, the most affordable with a fully-articulated screen is the Canon EOS 6D Mark II (around $1599), a DSLR which also sports Dual Pixel CMOS AF, although only films in 1080p. See my Canon EOS 6D Mark II review for more details.

Also consider the Canon EOS R (around $2299), amazingly the only full-frame mirrorless camera to sport a fully-articulated screen that can face forward – although since its 4k suffers from such a severe crop, it’s only the 1080 video that benefits from the full-frame sensor. See my vlogging example below and Canon EOS R review for more details.

 

 

Frustratingly I’ve not been able to include any of Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras as while the latest models sport some of the best-looking 4k quality and excellent autofocusing, they fail vloggers at the first hurdle by not having screens that face-forward. That said, the feature-set may prove sufficiently compelling for you to consider fitting an external HDMI monitor, in which case take a look at the Sony A7 III (around $1999) which ticks almost every box for stills and video shooters – see my Sony A7 III review for more details.

That’s it for this guide. If you found it useful don’t forget you can treat me to a coffee to help fuel my reviews, and if you’re shopping online, please do check prices using the links here. Thanks for your support!

Best Vlogging Camera

Canon EOS M50 review

The Canon EOS M50 is an upper entry-level mirrorless camera with a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor, confident autofocus (for stills and 1080p video), small but crisp OLED viewfinder, excellent wireless, and becomes Canon's first mirrorless with 4k video, a fully-articulated touch-screen, eye detection and silent shooting options. Sadly the 4k is of limited use, employing a severe crop and only working with less confident contrast-based autofocus. I'm also frustrated there's no USB charging, especially since the battery is fairly weak. But these aside, the EOS M50 remains a highly compelling model with a compact but comfortable body, effective touchscreen, industry-leading wireless, confident focusing for 1080p video, and great colours out-of-camera. Indeed the M50 may be pitched as an upper entry-level model, but I reckon it's Canon's most compelling mirrorless to date. Coupled with a hotshoe and microphone input, the M50 will be as popular with vloggers as it is with those looking for an upgrade from smartphone photography. Recommended.

Check prices on the Canon EOS M50 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Sony RX100 V review

Sony's RX100 Mark V is the company's most powerful premium compact to date. Like the previous two generations in the series it packs a 1in / 20 Megapixel sensor, built-in viewfinder, 24-70mm f1.8-2.8 zoom, tilting screen and decent Wifi / NFC wireless control (so long as you update the in-camera app). The Mark V also inherits the 4k movies and HFR slow motion video of the Mark IV, but builds on it further with embedded phase-detect AF for more confident photo and movie focusing, and a front-side LSI processor which doubles HFR recording time, boosts continuous shooting to 24fps and allows huge bursts to be captured. In short, it's the best compact for action shooters and also one of the best for video too. But there's still no touchscreen and if you don't need ultra slow motion video, PDAF or the epic bursts, there are more affordable 1in compacts around with essentially the same photo quality, albeit few which have the built-in viewfinder.

Check prices on the Sony RX100 VA at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

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