We tested and reviewed some of the best vlogging cameras on the market. For the average user, we liked the Canon Powershot G7 for a great all-around model that can meet the needs of most vloggers. It turns out that vlogging takes a lot of work, and some equipment.
Overall, the Canon PowerShot G7 sits right at the intersection of quality vlogging features like 1080p, or Full HD shooting, a rotating panel so you can see yourself talking while you record, and it can capture MP4 video without the image looking grainy on a big-screen TV.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Vlogging Cameras
|Canon PowerShot G7||Compact||1080p||Check Price|
|EOS Rebel T6i||DSLR||1080p||Check Price|
|Sony Alpha a6000||Mirrorless||1080p||Check Price|
|Nikon COOLPIX P900||Compact||1080p||Check Price|
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 180||Compact||720p||Check Price|
1. The Best Overall Vlogging Camera
Canon PowerShot G7
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you’ve dipped your toes in the vlogging waters at all yet, you’ve probably heard about the Canon PowerShot G7. While it doesn’t have the multiple lenses of a DSLR, the G7 is high-end compact camera with tons of features, and it’s lightweight to boot.
The PowerShot shoots 1080p in 60p with a 42 optical zoom and has a handy rotating touch-screen for framing your shots.
Honestly, you’ll probably be in great shape with any of the Canon PowerShot series, but we liked the G7 for its screen and its Wi-Fi capability. It also has impressive low-light capabilities for a compact camera.
It’s pretty easy to get buried in features with vlogging cameras, so the ease of use was a big draw to us too. There’s a simple rotating wheel at the top of the camera that can switch between features like ISO, speed, control ring, and flash.
If you’re anxious to actually record some video and get your vlog up and running, then a Canon Powershot is a great way to do that. If you want an easy to use vlogging camera that can play in the big leagues with no trouble, the PowerShot G7 is a favorite that won’t break the bank.
- Touch Panel
- Wi-Fi Enabled
- Rotating Panel
- Pricier for a Compact Camera
- No Viewfinder
2. The Best DSLR Camera for Vlogging
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you have your heart set on a DSLR, then you want to get something that produces videos on par with stills. We thought the Canon EOS Rebel T6i struck the best balance between superb quality and handy tools that vloggers care about.
Plus, it’s compatible with all Canon EF lenses and is a real workhorse when it comes to low-light situations.
A DSLR is probably your best bet if you want a camera that can handle vlogging and your other photography. It’s heavier than a compact camera – let’s face it, all DSLR cameras are- so it’s better if portability isn’t the most important to you.
At this price point, we wish that the EOS Rebel T6i shot in 4k, but it is helpful that it has an external mic input. Since you’ll be shooting high-end video, you’re probably going to end up adding more accessories over time.
If you’re really serious about vlogging and you think that you’re going to want to keep upgrading your equipment gradually with additional lenses, the Canon EOS Rebel system is a great place to start.
- Advanced Autofocus -helpful with quickly moving subjects
- Rotating screen
- It’s Heavy
- You Might Need to Invest in Other Lenses
3. Best Mirrorless Vlogging Camera
Sony Alpha a6000
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
The autofocus was a big bragging point of the Sony Alpha a6000, and its capture speed makes this a good choice if you’re going to be capturing really quick-moving scenes.
This might be something worth looking into if you’re used to a DSLR control panel layout, since the Sony Alpha a6000 but want something that travels more like a compact.
It has Wi-Fi connectivity, but be careful not to just leave this on indefinitely because it can drain your battery as the camera constantly scans around for compatible devices.
The hi-definition tilting touchscreen was nice and scored points for clarity. Just like with a DSLR and unlike a compact, you can get multiple lenses for the Sony Alpha, but most vloggers probably won’t need to spend the extra money to start out with a model that has a zoom lens, since most vlogging is done relatively up close anyway.
Overall, the Sony Alpha was a good compromise for those who want the image quality and professional capabilities of a DSLR with the portability of a compact digital camera.
- Super quick AF
- Multiple lenses available
- We didn’t love the built-in apps features
- The zoom lens might be overkill for vloggers
4. Best Adventure Vlogging Camera
Nikon COOLPIX P900
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
So we just said that most vloggers don’t care about shooting at long-distance, but of course there are exceptions. If you’re the kind of vlogger filming wild elephants from a treehouse or documenting marathons live, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 is the adventure camera for you.
The main draw of the P900 is its quick and clear zoom. If you want to film birds in flight, this is the camera for you.
Sports enthusiasts also love this one, so if you’re vlogging about your child’s athletic career, for example, a handheld compact that can capture video from far away is nice.
Keep in mind that switching between shooting close-up and far away subjects can be tricky, so this might not be your best option if you do a lot of sitting-and-talking vlogging.
With 1080p shooting, Wi-Fi capability, an adjustable LCD screen, GPS, and Image Stabilization, the P900 has a lot of the features that vloggers tend to expect. Still, it’s really made for long-distance zoom.
- Captures Distance Shots Extremely Well
- Built-In GPS
- Wi-Fi Capable
- Not the Best in Low-Light
- Switching Between Distance and Close-Up Shooting can be Tricky.
5. The Best Budget Vlogging Camera
Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Just in case you thought we were done talking about the Canon PowerShot, guess again. For a great budget startup package, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 tends to be a favorite for new vloggers.
The included accessory bundle is nice mostly for the tripod, but some of the touted “extras” are just the normal components of a digital camera, like a memory card.
One of the things that makes the ELPH 180 really nice for beginners is all the automated functions. It has an autozoom and a function that automatically detects the shooting conditions and chooses settings for you.
This is awesome if you’re starting out, but once you get a little more vlogging experience under your belt it can get annoying to have the auto functions kick in when you don’t really need the training wheels anymore.
Of course, on this end of the price range you won’t get some of the vlogging features like a tilting touch screen or a Wi-Fi connection. It’s also a bit of a pain to transfer files to your computer to edit, since you have to use the memory card instead of a USB cable. But, you’re still shooting in 720p, and for the price it’s a great way to get started vlogging.
- Comes with a tripod
- Low end of the price range
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- Auto settings can get annoying
- Only 720p HD quality
- No USB
What Is a Vlogging Camera?
Besides the editing and audio software that you’ll need for your computer, a solid vlogging camera is a must-have if you want to turn vlogging into a long-term thing. As good as smartphones have gotten, there are still a lot of things they can’t do that even a basic dedicated vlogging camera can, like face recognition, high quality audio, additional lens options, and image stabilization.
Sharing your wit and wisdom for millions of viewers on YouTube is the dream, right? Top notch vloggers make everything look so easy, so why not just shoot some great video on your smartphone and get famous?
There’s no specific criteria that make a camera a bona fide “vlogging camera.” Technically, anything that you can shoot video with can be a vlogging camera, but the average vlogger wants a dedicated piece of equipment.
If you’re in the market for a camera to use specifically for vlogging, you can look at compact, mirrorless, or DSLR cameras.
Compact cameras are your trusty point-and-shoot deals. They’re at the lower end of the budget and quality range, but will probably always have a devoted following because they’re just so easy to use.
While DSLR still reigns supreme among professional photographers and videographers, a mirrorless camera can do a lot of the same things.
They both have interchangeable lenses, both let you view video from the screen, and both are capable of shooting high-quality, 4k Ultra-HD video.
Generally, mirrorless cameras tend to be more portable and deliver a better preview on the screen, while DSLR cameras offer better focusing technology and a longer battery life.
What to Look for In a Vlogging Camera
Vloggers have different needs than portrait photographers, so you want to find a well-rounded camera that strikes a balance between the basics:
- Image Stability
- HD Capability
If it’s in the budget, some nice upgrade options are:
- Built-In Microphones
- WiFi Capability
- Face Recognition
- Tilting Screen
While there are a bunch of other fun extras you can get, like nighttime recording, slow-motion, and time-lapse features, the ones we listed are going to be the core of your vlogging experience.
Vlogging is dynamic, so you should look for something that can handle a variety of filming environments without getting grainy and losing audio quality.
No one wants to watch someone sitting at their desk and talking all day long, so you’re going to need to take your vlogging camera on the go. Even if you’re doing book reviews, you’ll keep more viewers by shooting at the park occasionally, or maybe doing a feature on your favorite bookstore.
And if you’re vlogging about mountain climbing or something equally adventurous, you’d better believe that a flimsy smartphone is not going to cut it – or capture the kind of audio you need on a windy mountain top.
We’ll go through some of the most important features of a vlogging camera, one by one.
Okay, so we know that you’re probably not going to be careless with your shiny new vlogging camera. Still, vloggers ranked durability as a key feature since their cameras get more use than a casual I-take-this-on-vacation camera.
Obviously, if your running an adventure-type vlog or even a how-to vlog where your camera might be in danger from flying woodchips or excited puppies you’re training, you might want to look for a model with durability features.
- Extra-hard screens
- Padded carrying-cases
- Consider plastic body over metal: it can be sturdier
Going right along with durability, some vloggers prefer a pocket-size camera. If you’re not planning to lug your shooting accessories around with you – like extra lighting, tripods, and extra lenses in the case of DSLR cameras – then pocket-size might be a nice option for you.
Most vlogging cameras are compact enough that you’ll be able to carry everything you need in a small bag from place to place. If your vlogging style requires a lot of movement, then think about cameras that can be worn on your clothing, snapped to a bike, or attached to a backpack.
You can have great vlogging content, but a shaky or blurry image is just going to drive your potential fans crazy.
The main feature to look for here is image stabilization, or IS. In the alphabet soup of acronyms that is camera terminology, these two little letters mean that you can capture clearer videos in lower light conditions and lower shutter speeds.
If won’t necessarily let you capture a sprinting gazelle without blurriness, but it can compensate for the wide variety of environmental conditions you might find while vlogging.
A good tripod and photo editing software can also work wonders with shaky hands.
This one is where of the numbers and abbreviations can start to drive new vloggers nuts.
Basically, there are three main levels of video:
- 720p = HD Ready
- 1020p = Full HD
- 4K = Ultra-HD
Higher numbers are better here. Basically the “p” stands for progressive scan –how the digital images are collected, stored, and transmitted as a series of lines.
Be more concerned about the 720p, 1080p, or 4k capability of your vlogging camera than the pixel count. Pixels are about the number of dots that make up a photo – when something’s pixelated, that means the pixels are grainy or not well arranged.
Almost all vlogging cameras can take nice stills, too, and you’ll want to incorporate these into your vlogs sometimes. But they’re not the star of the show.
Most vloggers primarily post their finished products on YouTube, which can easily handle 720p, 1020p, and 4k HD these days, making Standard Definition video acceptable, but not what the top vloggers will be using.
What About Aspect Ratio?
Aspect Ratio (AR) is just the ratio of height to width. If you’re like me, you didn’t expect to be reviewing high school algebra when you decided to become a vlogger!
For vlogging purposes, AR is all about trying to avoid the dreaded black bars on either side of your video once you upload it to YouTube. These can make the video look unprofessional and ruin all of your careful shot framing.
The standard YouTube AR is 16:9, which translates into:
- 1280×720 for 720p
- 1920×1080 for 1080p
- 3840 x 2160 for 4k
The good news is that there’s converter software, like WinX, that can easily convert your video into the ideal YouTube format.
Audio Quality on Vlogging Cameras
Sound quality is the unsung hero of vlogging. You never notice it unless it’s bad, but then it’s all you can think about.
YouTube viewers won’t hang around for poor audio, but many beginning vloggers don’t think about their sound quality in the rush to capture fantastic visuals.
If you have the budget for it, a great place to add a feature is with an external microphone jack. You might not need it initially, but it is a great upgrade later on to give yourself more custom audio options.
Look into vlogging cameras that have the option to attach a shotgun or lavalier microphone, if really top-notch audio quality is important to you.
Since you’re a vlogger, you’re going to spend a lot of time editing video. We hope you have a really comfortable chair.
Wi-Fi capability is nice on a vlogging camera because it can connect to your phone or PC automatically and transmit your video there, so it’s ready and waiting for you to edit.
Otherwise, you have to plug your camera into your PC and wait for everything to transfer….which can take a while.
Keep in mind that most vlogging cameras limit the shooting time to 30 minutes or less, so it’s nice to be able to transfer video over to your editing platform to free up room on your camera.
P.S. – that sounds like a short amount of recording time, but keep in mind that vloggers rarely use continuous shots. You’ll be piecing together lots of short cuts together with your editing software to create the finished product.
Can’t I Just Use My Smartphone?
In some situations, sure. If you’re just getting started vlogging or need a good backup when you’re in a pinch and might not have your camera with you, then a higher-end smartphone, especially the iPhone 8 series, can capture good video.
If you want to record some short video that will appear on mobile platforms and tend to have lower resolution, than something shooting 1080p probably isn’t a huge necessity for you.
Smartphones don’t do great in low-light situations, so that’s a minus if you’re documenting your day-to-life – it isn’t always going to be sunny and 75 out there.
They also tend to have choppy audio, so while using your smartphone is workable, you will probably need to augment it with some vlogging accessories to really make it produce the kind of quality you want.
And if you’re going to be springing for vlogging gear anyway, we’d recommend building it around a solid vlogging camera instead of your phone, which becomes obsolete much more quickly.
This basically means that the camera is better at auto-focusing in on people’s faces. Since your vlog is probably mostly video of you talking, this can be a nice shortcut to make sure that your camera doesn’t think that lamp over there is more interesting.
This feature is really nice if you’re just starting out with cameras in a serious way, though it might be unnecessary if you’re already an experienced photographer, since you’re probably pretty used to focusing the camera where you want it in that case.
There’s also a semi-related feature called Beauty Face on some vlogging cameras – and no, it doesn’t give you an instant makeover.
It’s essentially in-device editing that was borrowed from smartphones, and it lets you address some of the most common issues of portrait filming, like balancing facial redness, smoothing skin, and brightening eyes.
We looked at some models with this: bottom line, its more of a marketing gimmick. If you’re vlogging, you can address any concerns with appearance in post-production before you upload your video.
This one little feature can make your vlogging life so much easier. Many cameras that are optimized for vloggers feature a recording screen that can be tilted out or up so you can see the video you are recording.
A flip out screen is nice because most of us are in the habit of looking at a screen when we record facing the camera. While you can get in the habit of looking straight into the lens instead, a moveable screen just gives you more options when recording.
Benefits of a tilting screen:
- Many are touch screen
- Feels organic
- Easier to frame the shot
- Can capture odd angles more easily
- Easier to use with a tripod
While lack of a tilting screen isn’t a deal breaker, it’s definitely a feature to pay attention to.
While the average vlogger doesn’t need the fancy DSLR camera with a million lenses when starting out, established photographers looking to break into vlogging may want one that can do both stills and video equally well.
The name “point-and-shoot” is misleading, making most of us think of cheap disposable cameras or their first digital camera – which let’s be real, was probably not much better in quality back in the day.
Now though, camera manufacturers know that most vloggers want something cheap and durable that can still produce decent HD video.
Overall, we liked the Canon Powershot G7 for its all-around performance and decent price point, but any of the cameras mentioned here would get you well on your way to vlogging fame.