In this in-depth guide, we look at the many vlogging camera options out there. From the standard vlogging cameras to the high-end ones that will shoot 4K, we’ll answer your most asked questions and provide you with potential camera options, no matter if you’re a beginner or a professional in the world of video making.
Best Vlogging Cameras for Beginners
Whilst starting a vlog can sometimes seem complex, the process is quite simple as soon as you have ideas and your mighty equipment kit ready. Many tech stores are pushing vlogging kits, but we think that all vloggers have their own unique equipment they prefer for their particular needs. So to help get your gear ready, we’ve made a list of some of the most suitable cameras for beginners looking to enter the world of vlogging.
GoPro HERO 9 Black
To start the list, we have the HERO9 Black, which has jaw-dropping 5K video and 20MP photos with a vast 23.6MP sensor. A gorgeous, new front display shows you a live preview, while a rear touch screen with touch zoom gives you swift control over your kit. With HindSight, live streaming, and Webcam7 mode, the HERO9 Black is loaded with features that will make your vlogging life that much more leisurely. The camera also has many mods available like the Max Lens Mod, Light Mod, Display Mod and Media Mod. The camera is ideal for people moving about, especially those in sport and travel vlogs.
Like all suitable cameras, there are downsides to the HERO 9 Black. The touchscreen, which we generally adore, is a tad unresponsive from having used the camera. Moreover, some of the older accessories are not compatible, and sadly, this camera’s low-light performance is not up to scratch for those filming in darker conditions.
Sony ZV1 Compact Vlogging Camera
Sony promotes this CMOS camera as the go-to for vloggers. The camera has a stunning BIONZ X processor, built-in WiFi, manual controls, and an easy-to-use vari-angle screen which means you don’t need to worry and wait to see your shot after recording. In addition, the camera works with the Edge Mobile app for iOS and Android devices, meaning you can transfer your files instantly without the hassle of USB cables.
We should mention that the ZV1 does have its negatives, such as the “okay” video stabilisation and the slightly annoying limitations of the touchscreen. Battery-wise it’s not terrible but indeed not as good as we would hope it could be, especially considering that it is made for vloggers. Nonetheless, ZV1 stands as a solid starting point for those looking to get their feet wet in the world of vlogging.
Canon EOS 250D
With a vari-angle touchscreen, 24.1 megapixel sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor, the 250D won’t let your videos down. The camera shoots 4K movies, making your edits easier, especially if you are downscaling for platforms such as TikTok and Instagram reels. Like the ZV1, it has a superb wireless option making file transfers easier with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, one of the most interesting things about this camera that makes it suitable for novices is its guided UI which educates you on the camera as you shoot. And if you’re shooting for your Instagram or merely want a stylistic thumbnail for YouTube, then you can use the in-built creative assist that will take your photos to the next level.
250D has a lot of positives, but along them, there are some things we wish were better. For example, the camera’s body is quite thick and can be a little uncomfortable to carry if you’re shooting a longer video. It also looks a bit dated, but you shouldn’t worry about the style of the camera, in our opinion. And lastly, the 9-pint AF system is a tad dated compared to its rivals.
Best Vlogging Cameras for Advanced Creators
If you want to sprint before you can walk, you can skip the process of having a starter camera and go deeper with a more advanced bit of technology. Typically, more evolved cameras include a lot more customisation and a better quality image. However, we advise learning as much as you can about the equipment as more premium equipment will be more challenging to use and can cause you issues if you don’t have the right add-ons. Thus, if you’re simply looking to shoot and go, we’d probably avoid these options if you haven’t fully utilised a camera for shooting before.
Listed below are some great cameras for those wanting to create more professional-looking content.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro
Costing nearly £2,000 new, the camera indeed shouts for the more experienced video makers. The pocket cinema camera shoots in 6K and has a phenomenal Super 35 high-resolution HDR sensor, dual native ISO, and an EF lens mount for those who have a collection of Canon lenses. Its superpowers, however, come in its grade of filming. Unlike many DSLR options, there is a significant difference when shooting with a Blackmagic camera. Generally speaking, they tend to get a more filmic and artistic look. So, if you’re looking to be more unique and high-end, it’s worth considering buying this Blackmagic piece of kit. Further, the camera comes with DaVinci Resolve Studio as part of the box, making your editing and colour grading life that much easier.
On the contrary, the camera is more extensive in size than we’d recommend for vlogging. Yes, the quality and depth of the images will counterbalance it, but if you’re travelling — you probably should avoid this camera. Besides, the screen is sadly tilt-only, limiting your usage for more complex videos.
Sony a7 III
Adding to the list of cutting-edge cameras, we have the Sony a7 III. This camera currently costs around £1700, and it’s worth every penny. To start, it shoots in 4K Ultra HD and has a tiltable LCD screen, making sure you don’t miss a frame of your video. The powerful Exmor R CMOS sensor captures astounding 24.2 megapixels of fine detail supported by its wide ISO range of 100-51200, making low-light filming finally a breeze. Lastly, it has autofocus, meaning you don’t need to worry about a blurry face when you’re consistently moving around or trying to capture a special moment.
Sadly, the a7 III does have an imbalance with larger lenses, and the viewfinder quality could be better. Additionally, only one card slot supports the faster UHS-II format, and the camera has no external battery charger, making it a more challenging choice for heavy shooters.
Z6’s back-illuminated 24.5 MP full-frame CMOS sensor with focal-plane AF captures well-detailed images that will transform your vlogs from dull to captivating. The camera by Nikon has quite a wide 55mm mount diameters, meaning it takes in more light, bringing a more considerable impact onto your videos. Like the a7 III, the Z6 also has a majestic ISO range of 100-51200, meaning night shoots suddenly got more manageable and less problematic.
Like the above, the Z6 has its bad elements. For example, the autofocus isn’t the best on the camera, and the camera has quite a limited native lens selection (if you’re not using an adaptor). So Nikon’s alternative to its competitors isn’t our favoured option, but certainly a camera we wouldn’t refuse to use.
What Makes a Good Vlogging Camera?
Generally speaking, any camera that shoots video could be used for vlogging. You don’t need an expensive DSLR or an ARRI camera to shoot a vlog. However, certain features help make a camera better for vlogging.
Firstly, you’ll want to establish the weight of the camera. Most vlogging cameras need to be lightweight as they typically are carried around by the creator. You can find the camera weight in the specifications. Yet, if you are buying physically, then you can simply test it out yourself and figure out how much trouble the weight of your chosen camera will cause you when filming a YouTube video or a short TikTok clip.
Moreover, an integral attribute of a vlogging camera is the autofocus feature. Certain videographers hate this feature due to its limitations on specific devices, but it works wonders if you’re constantly shifting and haven’t got a tripod to help out.
Last but not least on our list is a feature that we love — a vari-angle screen. This feature may not seem important initially, but this component will make your life more straightforward as you’ll be able to see yourself whilst filming, knowing that what you’re getting is eye-pleasing for the video.
Can I Use My Phone as a Vlogging Camera?
Before we go into cameras, we should look at phone cameras. So many new phones have great quality cameras that seem to keep improving every year, pushing the devices in our hands to the next limit. Many content creators have utilised these small but well-built phone cameras on platforms like YouTube to create genuinely great content and thus are worth considering if you want to spend less on your starting equipment.
From our own experience, the iPhone 13 Pro and the OnePlus 9 Pro are the current favourites when it comes to shooting video and photo content. The iPhone has a great camera that works in various environments, including darker locations. The OnePlus range also tends to hold a very vivid image that certainly gives the iPhone Pro a run for its money. Lastly, we also adore the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which in our opinion, has a breathtaking camera made for diverse uses.
Should I Buy a Camera with a Flip Screen?
Flip screens may not always seem essential for vloggers, but from our experience and knowledge, they can make your life more manageable when shooting a video. Often, you’ll be filming yourself, meaning you’ll most likely want to see what you’re shooting — a flip screen (has many names due to marketing) will solve that issue. Thus, whilst not a must, it’s a feature we’d recommend looking at when buying a camera.
What Is The Best Travel Vlog Camera?
One of the most asked questions and still one of the hardest to answer is which camera is best for travel vlogs? Well, before you even consider looking into this matter. Let’s talk about needs. First, your travel camera needs to be light, meaning you won’t be buying an expensive piece of heavy kit made for larger projects. Secondly, you’ll need to consider sound. As a rule, we discourage using a camera microphone as they are terrible and should only be used for reference in post-production. Thus, you may want to invest in a lavalier mic or an on-camera microphone that directly attaches to the device.
Generally, it would be best to look at a GoPro as they are ideally suited for travel videos that handle constant movement and shakiness. Additionally, the accessories and add-ons that come with the GoPro are vast and, from our knowledge, do a great job in capturing quality videos that can be vastly manipulated in the editing phase.
Lastly, your travel camera needs to have multiple ways of transferring files if possible. There are a few reasons for this point, but most importantly, SD cards can go corrupt or run out of memory; thus, if you only have one during a holiday, it may run out or, even worse, fail and lose your precious holiday videos. So instead, we’d recommend obtaining a camera with a USB cable transfer option and Wi-FI or Bluetooth connectivity. Lastly, it’s worth seeing if your camera has a companion app for iPhone and Android devices to make your creative life painless when it comes to transferring files and even shooting remote (if that’s an option on the app).
Should I Record My Vlogs in 4K?
With the ability to shoot 4K becoming prominent, the hype to shoot in this resolution has become a must for some video geek enthusiasts. However, we believe it might be worthwhile to hold back if you don’t need to rush. Don’t get us wrong, video resolution and quality is critical, but if you’re shooting something in 4K or 8K, your viewers must also have the equipment to support that quality. Otherwise, you’re only shooting for the sake of it and yourself.
Thus to answer this question, we’d look at the type of content you shoot and your overall equipment setup. Firstly, you need to establish how many videos you’ll be making and the type of videos you’ll be creating. For example, if you’re shooting high-end review videos, short films, or simply scenic landscape videos, shooting 4K seems reasonable. However, if you’re only shooting short 30 second funny clips, you’re probably wasting your storage space and export time — especially if most people consume your content on a mobile device.
4K will become the norm soon, but if you’re shooting in 1080, your video resolution is more than enough because most people watch on tiny screens that never showcase the true capabilities of 4K.
To end this point, we’d also recommend testing your rendering times. Due to the extra amount of pixels and overall quality, your videos will take longer to export and upload, meaning you’ll have less time to work on other creative projects and videos. So whilst 4K is excellent, we still feel it’s a little early to jump to it for the sake of the hype behind it.
Should I Consider a Waterproof Camera for Vlogging?
In most scenarios, you won’t need a waterproof camera, except if you are going underwater or shooting near a lot of water most of the time. Rain rarely ruins the camera if you’re careful enough, though it can cause damage to microphones and lenses if poorly protected and left in the open rain for long stretches.
Only get a waterproof camera if you see yourself shooting underwater anytime soon. Otherwise, we’d look above for a viable option that shoots top-end video in dry conditions.
What Cameras Do Influencers Use?
Casey Neistat’s Vlogging Camera
Casey Neistat is a massive video creator with a great all-around personality that creates phenomenal videos that make you understand what is possible if you have a dream, drive, and a handful of creativity.
In terms of equipment, Neistat is known for using the Sony A7S III as his professional camera. It’s a great piece of equipment, and we can see precisely why he’d use it for his videos due to its range and video quality.
David Dobrik’s Vlogging Camera
David Dobrik is a well-known YouTuber known for collab videos with David Blaine, Maddison Beer, and Borat. Dobrik’s videography is quite fun to watch, from house tours to funny videos with friends and certainly doesn’t lack the video quality you’d expect to see from a big influencer.
Camera-wise, Dobrik is known for using a Canon 80D which has a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 6 processor. Whilst it’s a quality camera, there are certainly better options out there nowadays if you’re looking for more features and a better ISO range. However, the 80D does a fantastic job, and we’d recommend it if you have a tighter budget.
Molly Mae’s Vlogging Camera
Influencer and fashionista Molly Mae grew to fame through a well-known British TV show Love Island along with her boyfriend, Tommy Fury. Since then, she has become a brand ambassador for PLT and, in her own world, created a highly-successful vlog that has catapulted her brand to another level.
To our knowledge, Molly Mae uses a Canon EOS M200 for her vlogs. The camera is relatively compact and works well for vlogging as it shoots in 4K and has WiFI and Bluetooth connectivity, making file transfer easy. Furthermore, it has a tilt screen and can be controlled remotely, making it a great studio camera.