How to choose the best vlogging cameras?

How do I start choosing a camera for a vlog?

The choice of camera depends on your goals. The characteristics of the camera will depend on what type of vlogging you want to conduct, “reviews” or “beauty vlog“, or maybe shooting “events”.

Which camera to choose for vlogging?

It is crucial for vlogging that the camera screen can be rotated to the “selfie” position so that the blogger can see themselves while shooting. 

However, the display can interfere with additional accessories such as a (microphone, tripod), so it is necessary that it rotates sideways, and does not tilt up or down.

A good example of a camera for a vlogger might be:

Sony Zv-1

Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera for Content Creators, Vlogging
Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera for Content Creators, Vlogging

Panasonic G100

Panasonic Lumix DC-G100 Mirrorless Camera
Panasonic Lumix DC-G100 Mirrorless Camera 

They feature high-quality built-in microphones with which you can take self-blogs without an external microphone, a convenient swivel display, and an efficient face-tracking AF system.

These are the most versatile cameras for various types of vlogging.

However, depending on the topic of your content, you may prefer to shoot with an action camera for a travel vlog. In addition the choice of a camcorder for reportage, or even a smartphone for an everyday vlog.

What type of camera is right for a vlogger?

Among the cameras that can simultaneously take professional photos and shoot excellent video, the following models can be distinguished:

Nikon Z6 Body

Nikon Z6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Body
Nikon Z6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Body

Fujifilm X-T4 body

Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless Digital Camera

More advanced vloggers also often opt for mirrorless cameras specifically tailored for video, such as:

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Body

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Digital Camera
Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Digital Camera

Canon EOS R6 Body

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body

For long-term videos choose camcorders

An integrated lens in a camcorder means a higher level of compactness, but also more limited possibilities for creative shooting. A large depth of field makes it easier to work with focus, but you will not get a beautiful “movie” background blur (bokeh).

The advantages of camcorders include fairly stable focusing and good possibilities for working with sound. You can read more below about the advantages and disadvantages of camcorders.

In general, the camcorder is not really recommended as a primary and versatile camera for a beginner. But as an additional camera, it may well be useful for a vlogger. Camcorders are also suitable for filming family events, news, or any lengthy event. In general, camcorders are versatile in terms of video shooting and can be used to record a wide variety of videos.

If video quality is a priority, choose a digital cinema camera

However, for a professional studio video, you will need the appropriate equipment. Digital cinema cameras offer the highest picture quality, excellent ergonomics, and all kinds of built-in functions. 

A video shot with such a video camera, with due experience of the operator. Amazing detail and beauty of the picture, bypassing any cameras in their qualities. 

At the same time, movie cameras are the least compact, the most difficult to learn, and the most expensive cameras from the entire list. Among others, you can pay attention to:

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6k

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

If you need to shoot on the go choose an action camera

Action cameras are great for capturing travel, extreme sports, and vlogging on the go. Among the available models, you should pay attention to GoPro range:

Hero GoPro

GoPro HERO10 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD
GoPro HERO10 Black – Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD

DJI Osmo Action

DJI Osmo Action - 4K 
DJI Osmo Action – 4K 

Some action cameras can even shoot 360 ° VR videos. Insta360 One R has a modular system in which you can purchase a module for standard 4K shooting or a dedicated VR module for 360-degree video.

What characteristics to look for when choosing a camera for a vlog?

The main characteristics that you need to pay attention to when choosing a camera are:

  • Resolution
  • Frame rate
  • Bitrate
  • Matrix size
  • Autofocus and stabilization
  • Dynamic range
  • Audio recording capabilities

Bitrate

Bit rate is the amount of data encoded when capturing video per second, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). In general, the higher the bitrate of the camera, the higher the quality of video footage. However, a high bit rate increases the size of each file, so you need a larger memory card. You also need to take remember that the higher the camera resolution, the higher the recording bitrate should be.

Resolution

4K is already becoming the standard.

Frame rate

Usually, the number of frames per second is consistent with the resolution: 4K – 30 fps, Full HD – 60 fps, etc. The higher the frame rate, the better the picture becomes. It is worth choosing a camera with a frame rate of at least 30 fps.

Matrix size

The larger the matrix, the better the image becomes. However, even here everything depends on your goals. The larger the matrix, the larger the camera, and this is not always convenient.

Autofocus and stabilization

Experienced users prefer manual focus, but having reliable, fast autofocus is a great solution, making it easier to shoot anything from a selfie blog to a sporting event.

Not all camera models have good autofocus, however, almost all the latest mirrorless cameras such as Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, and Fujifilm, adapted for video shooting, have good autofocus and are convenient for capturing people and self-blogs, have autofocus systems with recognition and face tracking.

As for the stabilization system, for cameras with interchangeable lenses, it is better to choose an integrated system or an optical system in the lens, or even better – a combination of both. For camcorders with a built-in lens, an optical stabilization system is suitable.

Electronic stabilization is a less advantageous option since it is carried out by cropping the picture and varies in efficiency from model to model. However, smartphones and action cameras due to their diminutive size, are usually equipped with only electronic stabilization. 

Action cameras, for example, such as the GoPro, this system works very effectively. To get smooth video from a smartphone, we recommend using a manual stabilizer.

Dynamic range

In short, dynamic range is the camera’s ability to recognize and simultaneously convey light and dark details in a scene. The wider the dynamic range of the camera, the better. However, this does not mean at all that for any video this parameter should be as high as possible – it all depends on the shooting style, but the ability to get more details in dark and light areas will be useful. The Dynamic range measures in terms of exposure.

High-quality sound when shooting on a camcorder

Usually, the built-in microphones on all types of cameras are not ideal. If this is not a specified camera for video bloggers, you should choose a camera model with a separate microphone and headphone jack for volume monitoring. 

A convenient option for vloggers is a lavalier microphone or radio system such as the Rode wireless Go.

Rode Wireless Go - Compact Wireless Microphone System
Rode Wireless Go – Compact Wireless Microphone System

And of course, if you need high-quality sound when shooting with a smartphone or action camera, it is better to record it with a separate microphone.

Photo by Gift Habeshaw

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