Decided to get out of the Tik Tok ghetto and start cutting serious quality content without relying on built-in filters and trendy voice acting? Well, for a cool picture and good sound, you need an appropriate camera. Today we deal with current camera models for vloggers — from full-frame monsters to miniature action cameras.
What are we looking for
More and more cameras are getting features that are convenient for shooting vlogs — for example, a swivel screen. But some models are especially good for this business.
Here are a few features we’ll be looking for in our best vlogging cameras:
one. Swivel touch display. If you do not have an operator, then the rotary display is an absolute must-have — you should see that you yourself get into the frame and nothing extra gets into it. The screen should rotate sideways, not flip up. In the second case, the folding screen will block the hot shoe, and with it the ability to use, for example, an external flash. Some might say that the screen can be replaced with a smartphone app and cropped remotely, but trust me, as a user of Fujifilm technology, you should not rely on the app completely.
2. External microphone port. While most cameras come with built-in microphones, with a few exceptions (which you’ll learn about below), they don’t sound good. And good sound is half the video (no matter how strange it may sound). So the ability to insert an external microphone is another must-have.
3. Image stabilization. If you shoot at home and do not run around with the camera, then you can get by with the simplest tripod. But if you shoot on the go, having a built-in stub will come in handy. Of course, you can hope for an optically stabilized lens or electronic stabilization, but in the end you will pay with cropping. An alternative option is a stabilization suspension.
four. Availability of 4K video. Yes, resolution is not the most important thing in video (and most importantly, you can read it here), but if your camcorder in 2022 cannot shoot in 4K, this is a reason to think about upgrading. Although the time is not far off when 8K will become the new standard, it is not yet time for “mere mortals” to spend a fortune on 8K cameras.
Below are some of the main types of cameras in different formats that are great for shooting vlogs.
The best cameras for vloggers
Best compact (1‑inch) camera for vlogging
Sony ZV‑1 is the first Sony camera designed specifically for vloggers. It is compact, lightweight and with a convenient swivel screen. The camera has a built-in lens with equivalent focal lengths of 24–70mm (enough wide-angle at one end of the zoom and quite “portrait” at the other) and a more or less decent aperture. In addition to the lens, there are built-in ND filters in order not to overexpose the video in bright sunlight.
The camera shoots in 4K at 30 fps, video profiles are also available, suitable for subsequent color correction. A very fast and accurate autofocus system with eye detection is great for selfies — you don’t have to think about whether your face is in focus or not. Also on board is a decent stabilization system.
For sound recording, the ZV‑1 has both a 3.5mm input for an external microphone and a system of three built-in directional microphones, which are also designed for selfie shooting.
The camera is extremely easy to use: there is a special button on the body to blur the background — you can get a nice picture with one click. And on top of that, you get a whole host of other features for vloggers, like the Product Showcase mode: when you show a product in front of the camera, it smoothly refocuses from your face to the product and then back to your face when you move the product away from the camera. This is a handy feature for bloggers who shoot technology reviews.
The main disadvantages are the lack of protection against dust and moisture, which could be useful for travel bloggers, as well as the built-in lens — although it makes the camera very compact, it limits your creative possibilities. First of all, you will not be able to replace the glass with a faster one.
This is where Sony thought hard and …
The best crop camera for vlogging
… and released an analogue of the ZV‑1 in an APS‑C package with interchangeable optics. You can read a detailed review of the ZV-E10 here, and in this article we will focus on the main pros and cons of this camera compared to the ZV‑1.
The main reason why you might need the ZV-E10 is to attach a fast fix to it, like the Sigma DN 30mm f/1.4, and blur the background behind you in the most powerful way, getting a picture that everyone loves. You still have all the ZV‑1 features, like one-click blur or Product Demos with dramatic transitions. Of course, you can generally play around with lenses, but if you are a blogger, then a more or less wide-angle fast lens is the best option.
The larger APS‑C sensor also gives the ZV-E10 an edge in low-light shooting.
But if you suddenly decide that you don’t need anything other than a kit lens, then forget about the ZV-E10 and take the ZV‑1. In this case, it will be a more interesting option due to its compactness, built-in ND filters and less rolling shutter effect (image distortion when, when shooting a moving object, part of the matrix lags and fixes its previous position).
If Sony’s options don’t appeal to you, then Fujifilm has an interesting alternative. Her X‑S10 meets all of our criteria: built-in stabilization, a convenient swivel screen, cool 4K video, and a compact body. As with Sony, the camera is not protected from dust and moisture. But the main disadvantage of Fujifilm for shooting a blog is not hidden in the cameras themselves, but in an application that does not allow you to shoot video at 24 fps and periodically loses connection with your photo (video) camera.
Full frame vlogging cameras
Full-frame cameras are rarely considered blogger-friendly, primarily because of their large size. However, if you are not going to limit yourself to selfie shots, and you need high image quality and professional tools for working with video, then it makes sense for you to pay attention to full-frame models, sharpened for video. True, this is a completely different budget — prices here start from 100 thousand rubles.
There are a lot of cool full-frame video cameras on the market, so choosing one “best” option for everyone is impossible. We will offer several alternatives at once.
Let’s start with the Panasonic Lumix S5, with a cool stabilization system, a weatherproof housing and detailed 4K video at up to 60 fps. The camera boasts a convenient swivel screen and a clear viewfinder. The main disadvantage, perhaps, is the contrast autofocus system, which does not work as efficiently as the phase systems of competitors. If you want an even more video-focused Panasonic, you can’t help but mention the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 II (although it’s not full frame, it’s Micro 4:3).
Next up is the Canon EOS R6. Complete with an RF lens, you most likely will not get the most compact “whale”, but we have already warned you. Otherwise, the R6 is a cool video camera with detailed 4K, effective stabilization and all the necessary toolset.
Nikon’s Z6 II is worth checking out — great video autofocus, bad weather protection, and great photos as a bonus.
Sony releases some cool cameras for video at once, but to contrast with other full-frame cameras from this point in our rating, we suggest taking a look at the tiny Sony A7C by full-frame standards. Yes, it doesn’t have the best video performance in its class, but it’s really light (509 grams) and at the same time there is stabilization, a swivel screen, and weather protection, so travel bloggers will appreciate this model. If the quality of the picture is a priority, look at the Sony A7 III.
The best action cameras for vlogging
So, with the traditional cameras over, it’s time to look at something completely different.
At one time, action cameras took the vlogging world by storm. Or rather, GoPro has taken the vlogging world by storm. Today you will find a million options for any budget and for any purpose, including 360-degree shooting.
Insta360 ONE R
Ultra-compact and indestructible are the best features of a camera that you always and everywhere carry with you, and even more so if you are still shooting sports / action content. ONE R is waterproof, so you can shoot a report while swimming in an ice hole or surfing in the Gulf of Finland. In addition, you get 4K up to 60 fps with an advanced electronic stabilization system, thanks to which smooth videos are obtained even with strong shaking.
The main feature of Insta360 is a modular system. If you want, you can buy a 1‑inch module for a cooler picture or a 360-degree module for VR video.
Naturally, the main competitor is HERO10 Black. The flagship GoPro shoots 4K at 120 fps, perhaps with the coolest stabilization system among all action cameras. The super-rugged HERO10 Black is specifically designed for extreme shooting, but it’s also suitable for any other type of vlogging.
The best smartphone for vlogging
Taking your smartphone with you anytime, anywhere is the new normal. And if you shoot a lifestyle blog, then a smartphone with a cool camera will make life much easier.
The choice of a smartphone is an eternal topic for holivar, and without a twinge of conscience I will add fuel to the fire by saying that the iPhone 13 Pro is the best smartphone for a vlogger. Why? The answer is simple — it has a “Cinematic Mode” (you can read about the rest of the pluses here). Like the Sony ZV‑1, it makes life as easy as possible by blurring the background at the touch of a button. Only if with the Sony ZV‑1 you get the effect optically, then here everything is done with the help of software. Of course, the subject does not always stand out from the background perfectly, but this problem can be overcome by closing the aperture — choosing a higher f‑number (the blur will be slightly less pronounced, but you will get rid of artifacts).
And when other manufacturers have a regime similar in efficiency and simplicity, then we will talk about real competition in this segment (perhaps, when you read these lines, in the distant city of Seoul, one experienced project manager is already clapping his senior developer on the shoulder) .