Looking for the best vlogging camera you can buy? We’ve tested all of the best options for videographers and boiled down our findings into this in-depth guide. If you’re more interested in finding the best YouTube camera, check out our dedicated guide for that.
Whether you’re a novice videographer or a seasoned camera wielder, there are several factors to consider when deciding the best vlogging camera for you.
You’ll want a model that’s compact enough to carry around all day long, while also offering the performance you need to capture top quality footage and audio. And don’t forget useful features such as articulating screens, external mic inputs and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Certain aspects might also be decisive depending on your style of shooting. If you want to make quick, off-the-cuff recordings, go for a smaller, more portable model. Alternatively, if full creative control is important, try a premium mirrorless or DSLR camera. And if you’re an all-action traveller, pick something rugged.
Whatever your budget, expectations or approach, our vlogging cameras guide will feature the perfect option for you: from 4K compacts to versatile mirrorless models, we’ve trialled the best options to confirm which ticks every vlogging box.
Our outright pick at the moment is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. Lightweight and feature-packed, its skillset should cover almost every base for vloggers. And it remains our recommendation, despite Olympus’ announcement that it’s selling its camera division later this year. That’s not to say it’s the perfect camera for you. The Sony ZV-1, for example, is the finest compact option if you want a model to carry everywhere you go, while the Canon EOS M50 continues to offer great value.
The list below covers the best vlogging cameras that have been released this year, as well as a handful of older models that now promise excellent value – so you can be sure you’ll find exactly the right camera for you.
Best vlogging cameras 2020 at a glance:
- Olympus E-M5 Mark III
- Sony ZV-1
- Canon EOS M50
- Fujifilm X-T4
- DJI Osmo Pocket
- Sony A6400
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
- Panasonic G100
- Canon EOS M6 Mark II
- Sony A6100
- GoPro Hero 8 Black
- Panasonic Lumix G90/G95
Best vlogging cameras in 2020:
Don’t be fooled by the retro shell: the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a top-spec vlogging camera, offering the ultimate combo of solid image quality, lightweight build and a comprehensive feature set. The hand-grip could be bigger, but the polycarbonate construction shaves 50g off the weight of its metal-bodied predecessor, making it a camera you can comfortably hold all day. The 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor – shared with the pro-grade E-M1 Mark II – delivers reliable continuous tracking thanks to on-chip phase detection autofocus, while handheld footage is usually super smooth, courtesy of class-leading image stabilization.
The option to shoot Cinema 4K at 24fps and a 237Mbps bit-rate is seriously impressive, while regular 4K footage at 30fps is routinely excellent, with lovely color rendition and good detail. Full HD at up to 120fps completes a comprehensive video offering. The vari-angle touchscreen makes framing a cinch, too, while the healthy Olympus lens catalogue opens up plenty of creative avenues. There’s no headphone jack, which will irk some videographers, but that sought-after external microphone port is there. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but as a complete vlogging package it’s tough to beat.
For a long time, the Canon G7 X Mark III was our favorite compact vlogging camera, but it’s just been knocked off its perch by the excellent Sony ZV-1. By combining all of the best bits of Sony’s RX100 series (for example, the RX100 VII’s microphone port and autofocus, plus the RX100 V’s bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens) the ZV-1 really nails what most people want from a small vlogging camera. Sony’s latest Real-time tracking and Eye AF are the best around and the ZV-1 also has a huge amount of depth for a compact camera, including a built-in ND filter and profiles like S-Log2 for those who want to embrace color grading. We still think the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III’s stabilization and image quality are better still, but you won’t find a finer pocket vlogging camera than the Sony ZV-1.
If you need to shoot in 4K, then the Canon EOS M50 is best avoided due to mandatory 1.6x crop when shooting in this mode. But if you’re making the switch from a smartphone and don’t mind shooting in 1080p, then it’s an excellent choice at current prices. Equipped with a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor, the M50 was Canon’s first camera to ship with the DIGIC 8 processor – and it was the first mirrorless camera that could shoot 4K footage at up to 24fps. The downside is that crop in 4K, which means you’ll have a narrow field of view even when you’re filming at a wide focal length – tricky if you’re recording with an outstretched arm. You don’t get any of the specialized video profiles found on more expensive models, either, but the point of the M50 is that it’s compact and accessible. With a microphone input, vari-angle touchscreen and range of connectivity options in the mix, the M50 is still a stellar starter cam for budding vloggers.
If video quality is your priority, then it’s hard to beat the Fujifilm X-T4 as a vlogging all-rounder. Sure, some full-frame cameras can still edge it for dynamic range and high ISO performance, but it’s not a huge gap and the X-T4 offers a smaller overall setup that’s ideal for travel. One of the best hybrid shooters around, the X-T4 brings significant upgrades on the X-T3 that include in-body image stabilization (IBIS), a bigger battery and improved autofocus. The latter is quick and reliable for both stills and video, though you’ll preferably want to use it with some of Fujifilm’s more recent glass, like the XF16-80mm f4 R OIS, for the best results. With a microphone input, front-facing screen, weather-sealing and the ability to shoot Cinema 4K videos up to 60fps, the X-T4 is a great all-round vlogging option for those who want a camera that can take care of both their stills and video needs.
Despite being almost two years old, there’s still nothing quite the DJI Osmo Pocket. It’s a unique little camera with one special feature – a three-axis gimbal, which is a handy vlogging bonus for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it offers supremely smooth stabilization for walking videos, making a great option if that’s your main style. Even better, the gimbal also lets you pull off some cinematic camera moves like pans and tilts, which simply aren’t possible on smartphones or other cameras, without a gimbal. You achieve similar effects by pairing your phone with a DJI Osmo Mobile 3, but that setup is far from pocketable. The Osmo Pocket records decent 4K/30p video with face-tracking, and there is also the option to add a microphone via an accessory (not included), which you’ll probably want to add unless you mainly do voiceovers. While it’s certainly not without its faults (a lack of waterproofing and general hardiness, being one of them), the Osmo Pocket remains a unique pocket vlogging option – and one’s that even more tempting at today’s lower prices.
Sony’s Alpha cameras have long been popular with vloggers, and the A6400 is no exception. 4K is a given, while support for S-log3 and S-log2 should please post-producers. There’s 4K HDR (HLG) for instant playback and Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile app makes it possible to transfer video to your smartphone. Front-on framing is straightforward, too, thanks to a flip-up 16:9 touchscreen, while the A6400’s advanced autofocus system serves up superb subject tracking. Port options, though, will put some vloggers off: as with the 6300 before it, there’s a microphone input but no headphone socket on the A6400. Many won’t monitor audio as they record, but it’s worth noting if interviews are your thing. There’s no in-body image stabilization either, and many of Sony’s prime lenses don’t feature it – not a problem if you use a tripod or go for that handheld aesthetic.
Long popular with vloggers, Canon’s G7X range has kicked it up a notch with the Mark III. There’s a very capable 20.1 megapixel one-inch sensor, but now it’s also equipped with uncropped 4K video recording, along with something that’s been requested many times – a microphone socket.
This means you can elevate the sound above and beyond the internal mic’s offering, if you want to. Even better, the G7X III can stream directly to YouTube – which is, right now, an advantage over the Sony ZV-1 – so you can live vlog whatever’s happening around you, without having to downgrade to using your smartphone. USB charging is another great feature which means you can give it power bursts on the go – particularly prudent if you’ve been shooting a lot of 4K video.
The G7X Mark III’s contrast detection-only AF and more limited tilting screen mean it’s been nudged down this list by the Sony ZV-1, but it’s also more affordable and is still well worth considering if you need a pocket vlogging rocket.
Touted by Panasonic as “the ultimate vlogging camera”, budding videographers are bound to love the G100’s compact form. Built small and light for portability, it’s the world’s smallest camera with an articulating touchscreen. And despite its size, the G100 is also packed with video-focused features.
As you’d expect, there’s 4K/30p video recording – albeit with a crop that limits its use as self-recording tool – as well as an arsenal of useful social media tools, including a video selfie mode, a sharing frame marker and a dedicated button for transferring footage to your smartphone.
Most significant, though, is the new audio system: a first on a mirrorless camera, Ozo Audio by Nokia uses three microphones to pick up sound wherever it’s coming from – including from behind – and it does an excellent job of prioritizing audio, even in noisy situations.
The 20.3MP sensor produces vibrant, detailed footage in most conditions, struggling only in low light. And, while image stabilization isn’t as smooth as you’d get with a gimbal, the five-axis hybrid system is still suitable for everyday recording. Add a real-world battery life of 40-45 minutes video shooting and you’ve got an attractive vlogging option.
Canon really is the king of vlogging cameras, with several making our list thanks to a fantastic range of features and options. The Canon EOS Mark II is the latest iteration of its M series of compact system cameras, and is small and light enough to be a great travel companion.
However, in its miniature body, it’s housing the same high-resolution 32.5 megapixel sensor as the 90D DSLR (see below). With Dual Pixel CMOS AF and uncropped 4K video recording, it’s one you could use to kick your vlogs up a gear. There’s also a microphone input socket, plus a screen that faces all the way forward for perfect framing.
Sony’s mirrorless Alpha range is a popular one with vloggers and the entry-level A6000 remains a stellar choice for beginners. Now, five years after its launch, there’s a successor – and the A6100 brings plenty of new tricks to the table for would-be vloggers. 4K is the headline arrival, with 30fps 100Mbps footage taken from the full sensor width, with no pixel binning. There’s Full HD, too, including slow-mo at up to 120fps. Despite its compact proportions, the a6100 trumps its more expensive a6400 sibling by offering that most sought-after of features, an external microphone port, as well as a hot-shoe on top. The display remains flip-up rather than fully articulating, but it’s now touch-sensitive – albeit with limited functionality – which makes framing and focusing easier, especially as 4K footage neatly fills the 16:9 display. An autofocus system shared with the a6600 also delivers reliably excellent continuous tracking, which is ideal for action-packed vlogs. The lack of in-body image stabilization for video is a shame (see the Sony A6600 for that), as is the absence of a neutral color profile, but the A6100 is ultimately an impressive all-rounder with features that belie its entry-level billing.
Although on paper it feels like an incremental upgrade, but this flagship model – which has long been the shorthand for action cameras in general – has a lot to appeal to adventure lovers. There’s improved stabilization, a new microphone and a more streamlined app that makes actually recording and outputting your video a much happier and more pleasant experience.
It’s not something that will appeal to everyone as an all rounder, but if your idea of vlogging includes trekking up mountains, diving under water or biking across uneven terrain, it’s probably the one that makes the most sense.
The recent arrival of the Panasonic G100 (see above) has pushed the G95/G90 down our vlogging camera pecking order a little, but it’s a very different camera that will remain on sale and brings several advantages.
While it’s much larger than the G100, this does mean it has room to pack in sensor-based stabilization, making it a better option for walkaround videos. The G95 / G90 also inherits the flagship Panasonic G9’s sensor, and squeezes in an impressive array of video-friendly features, including microphone and headphone sockets for perfect sound.
There are tonnes of lenses available for the Micro Four Thirds system, so there’s something for every job, while the 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 lens which you can buy it with as part of a kit as a great all-rounder for lots of different shooting scenarios. A fully-articulating touchscreen is ideal for presenting to camera, while there’s also advanced video features such as 4K shooting and V-Log recording, too. Keep an eye on the G95/G90’s prices, because it could become something of a bargain.
What video quality should you be looking for?
Whatever type of camera you go for, considering video quality will likely be top of your list. At the absolute minimum you’ll be looking to shoot in Full HD (1080p), while 4K is becoming increasingly common. Although the higher resolution format will take up more space on your hard drive, it should future-proof your captures a little more than Full HD.
Other specifications to pay attention to include built-in WiFi for sharing your vlogs on the move, a fully articulating or tilting monitor for helping to frame your face, a built-in microphone socket for enhancing sound quality.
We’ve picked out eight top cameras of various shapes, sizes and attributes to suit different styles of vlogging – as well as highlighting some that will fit into your all-round stills and video shooting requirements.