Vlogging camera buyers guide

In this buyers guide we will show you some of the best vlogging camera’s. We will go through their features and what makes them great for vlogging.

Vlogging camera line up:

Canon Powershot s120

Vlogging Camera: Canon Powershot s120

The Canon Powershot s120 is a great little camera. It only has 12.1 megapixels but it shoots video at 1080p at up to 60fps(frames per second). It also has a Digic 6 processor to help improve image quality and improved high iso quality.

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Pros:

  • 1080p 60 fps video
  • Digic 6 processor
  • f1.8 lens at 24mm(full frame equivalent)
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3.0 inch touch screen
  • Good low light performance
  • Time lapse built in
  • Great size

Cons:

  • No flip screen
  • No 4k video recording
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Panasonic Lumix ZS70

Vlogging Camera: Panasonic Lumix ZS70

The ZS70 is smaller than the LX10. It has a smaller sensor more typical of a compact camera but it can still record 4K video with a 180° flip up screen.

This is a small camera with big features, one of those features is the fact that it has 30x zoom functionality which could be useful but it wont be used too often when vlogging. Luckily the camera has a 5 axis hybrid optical image stabilizer.

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Pros:

  • 4K video recording
  • 5 Axis Hybrid Optical Image stabilizer
  • 180° 3 inch Flip up touch screen
  • 30x zoom
  • Video autofocus

Cons:

  • No interchangeable lenses
  • Poor native ISO, up to 3200
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Canon M3 & M6

Vlogging Camera: Canon M6

*Canon M6 pictured

These are extremely compact little camera’s. They have interchangeable lenses which is great, but they use EF-M lenses instead of EF and EF-S. You can get adapters but the lenses might not always work the same with the adapter.

EF-M lenses are good lenses. They are built specifically for Canon’s mirrorless cameras.

The Canon M3(Body Only) and the Canon M6(Body Only) both allow for external mics and both have hot shoes so that you can mount the mic above the camera.

Both of these cameras have APSC size sensors. They have similar sensors to the other canon APSC sensor Canon DLSR’s on this list.

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*The pros and cons apply to both of these cameras

Pros:

  • 180° Flip up 3 inch touch screen
  • 1080p up to 30fps (M6 – 1080p up to 60fps)
  • Good native ISO up to 25600
  • Continuous autofocus during video
  • Small and light

Cons:

  • EF-M natively, otherwise you need an adapter for EF or EF-S lenses
  • No 4K video

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Panasonic Lumix GX850

Vlogging Camera: Panasonic Lumix GX850

The GX850 is bigger than the LX10. It comes with a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Unfortunately the GX850 does not have external mic input nor does it have a hot shoe. However, it can record 4K video and it has 180° flip screen.

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Pros:

  • 4K video
  • M43(Micro Four Thirds) sensor
  • Video autofocus
  • Good native ISO up to 25600
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • No external mic
  • No interchangeable lenses
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Panasonic Lumix G7

Vlogging Camera: Panasonic Lumix G7

The G7 is bigger than the previous two Panasonic cameras. It has a M43 sensor similar to the GX850 however the G7 has interchangeable lenses. The G7 can record 4K video at up to 30fps and 1080p video at up to 60fps.

The G7 allows for external mic input and a hot shoe to mount in on to.

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Pros:

  • 4K at up to 30fps and 1080p at up to 60fps video recording
  • Video autofocus
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • M43(Micro Four Thirds) sensor
  • Good native ISO, up to 25600
  • Light weight and compact for interchangeable lens camera
  • Tilt screen to help framing up when recording video

Cons:

  • Bigger and more expensive than the GX850.
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Panasonic Lumix LX10

Vlogging Camera: Panasonic Lumix LX10

This is a compact camera. It has a built in lens so you cannot change it later if you want to try different things. That being said, this is a fantastic little camera.

It has a 1 inch sensor which is good for a compact camera. It can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps and 1080p video at up to 120fps. The LX10 has a 180° flip up screen to allow you to easily frame your shot as well as control the camera settings.

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Pros:

  • 4K video at up to 30fps and 1080p video at up to 120fps
  • Good native ISO, up to 12800
  • Video autofocus
  • 1 inch sensor
  • Lens aperture: F1.4-F2.8
  • Image stabilization
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • No external mic.
  • No interchangeable lenses
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Canon Powershot G7X Mark 2

Vlogging Camera: Canon Powershot G7X Mark 2

The Canon G7X mark 2 is a very popular vlogging camera. It is used by quite a few YouTubers. The G7X is small and compact camera that can shoot at 1080p 60fps video recording. It also has a flip screen so that you can see what you are vlogging as well as easily change settings.

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Pros:

  • 1080p 60fps video
  • 1.0 inch sensor
  • Digic 7 processor to boost image quality in low light
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3.0 inch touch screen that can flip 180 degrees
  • F1.8-2.8 lens. Great for low light situations
  • Autofocus during video

Cons:

  • Average battery life
  • No 4k video recording
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Canon SL2/200d

Vlogging Camera: Canon SL2/200D

The Canon SL2/200D(Body only link) is the first DSLR camera on the list. The SL2/200D is one of Canons entry level DLSR cameras. It has 24.2 megapixel APSC sensor. A similar sensor is found in the higher end 80D camera. This is a great beginner DSLR vlogging camera.

When you start getting into the DSLR’s you will find useful features like external mic input, longer lasting batteries, better autofocus speeds and the ability to change lenses and get better ones.

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Pros:

  • APSC sized sensor
  • Dual pixel Autofocus system for fast autofocus
  • Vari-angle 3.0 inch touch screen
  • External mic input
  • Hot shoe to fit external light source or external mic
  • Digic 7 Image processor
  • Small and light weight for a DLSR
  • Comes with a decent kit lens to get started with
  • Continuous autofocus while recording video
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Good ISO range, native ISO up to 25600

Cons:

  • Can be more confusing than the smaller cameras
  • While being small and light for a DLSR, it is much larger than a compact camera
  • No 4k video recording
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Canon G5X

Vlogging Camera: Canon G5X

The Canon G5X is good compact camera. It has decent ISO performance and a nice 1.0 inch sensor. It can take 1080p video at up to 60fps. It has a vari-angle 3.0 inch touch screen which helps when you are recording but also makes it easier to control camera settings if you need to.

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Pros

  • 1080p at up to 60fps
  • 3.0 inch vari-angle touch screen
  • Compact size
  • Hot shoe if you want to add a portable continuous light
  • Image stabilization
  • f1.8-f2.8 aperture
  • Good ISO range, native ISO up to 12800

Cons

  • No mic jack.
  • No 4k video recording
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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

Vlogging Camera: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV

The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV is a highly praised camera, and is used by a few vloggers on Youtube. It is small and compact, record at 4k and has a 1 inch sensor. It can also record video at up to 960fps but at a lower resolution.

The RX100 IV is a great choice as your main or backup vlogging camera.

You could also look at the Sony RX100 V. This is the latest model but it is about $150 more expensive at the time of writing this.

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Pros:

  • 4K video recording
  • 1 inch sensor
  • f1.8-f2.8 aperture
  • Good video autofocus
  • Flip screen to be able to monitor what the camera is recording
  • Small
  • Not too expensive

Cons:

  • Rolling shutter at 4K
  • No touch screen
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Canon 77D

Vlogging Camera: Canon 77D

The Canon 77D(Body only link) is quite a step up from the Canon SL2/200d(Body only link). They have the same sensor but the 77D has more features and it is a bigger camera. This camera is the highest end “beginner” APSC camera that Canon makes. It can take 1080p video at up to 60fps, it also has a vari-angle screen.

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Pros:

  • 1080p video at up to 60fps
  • Digic 7 image processor
  • External mic
  • HDR movie and Time-lapse movie modes
  • APSC sized sensor
  • Dual pixel Autofocus system for fast autofocus
  • Hot shoe to fit external light source or external mic
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Autofocus during video
  • Great price with starter kit
  • Good ISO range, native ISO up to 25600

Cons:

  • Bigger than something like the Canon SL2/200d
  • No 4k video recording
  • Not too much benefit over the Canon SL2/200d for video
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Canon 80D

Vlogging Camera: Canon 80D

The Canon 80D(Body Only link) is a fantastic video camera. The 80d was sort of made for videos in some ways and it is a popular camera amongst Youtuber’s. It has a better focussing system than the other Canon DSLR’s. It has a similar sensor to the others but only a Digic 6 image processor.

No matter the older processor, this is best Canon camera out of all the ones that I have listed here. For video and photography. It is more robust and can take a bit of a beating. It also has a bigger battery so it will last longer when out and about.

Check out this DigitalRev review on the 80D.

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Pros:

  • Canons best APSC camera for video
  • Great autofocus system for video
  • Good ISO. Native ISO up to 16000
  • 1080p video at up to 60fps
  • Good build quality

Cons:

  • No 4k video recording
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Sony a6500

Vlogging Camera: Sony a6500

The Sony a6500(Body only link) is another great vlogging camera. It is a small compact mirrorless camera with an APSC sized sensor. It has good dynamic range and ISO capabilities.

The best thing about this camera is how it brings DSLR features to a camera of this size. It might be more expensive that the previous two Canon cameras but the a6500 can record video at 4k. It also has 5-axis in body image stabilization.

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Pros:

  • Very small camera for the features
  • 4k video recording
  • 1080p video at up to 120fps
  • APSC size sensor
  • Good ISO capability. Native ISO up to 25600
  • Interchangeable lenses

Cons:

  • Tilt screen does not tilt enough to be able to see what you are recording
  • Price might be a bit too steep, especially since this price is for the body only
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Panasonic GH5

Vlogging Camera: Panasonic Lumix GH5

The Panasonic Lumix GH5(Body only link) is a fantastic camera for video. This is one of those cameras that has a sort of cult following when it comes to video recording and with good reason. It shoots great 4k video at up to 60fps and 1080p at up to 180fps. It also has in body 5-axis image stabilization which is great because lenses with image stabilization can be more expensive. Up to 5 stops of image stabilization with compatible Lumix MFT(Micro four thirds) lenses.

The GH5 is also built tough and able to handle a few knocks and bumps with its magnesium alloy body.

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Pros:

  • Fantastic 4k video at up to 60fps or 1080p video at up to 180fps
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization
  • Up to 5 stops of image stabilization when using compatible lenses
  • Interchangeable lens
  • Vari-angle 3.2 inch touch screen
  • 4:2:2 10bit video
  • No low pass filter for shaper images and video
  • External mic
  • Headphone port
  • Hotshoe
  • Dual card slots allowing you to shoot more video
  • Good ISO. Native ISO up to 12800

Cons:

  • Quite expensive, but it does come with some professional grade features
  • Only has a micro four third size sensor
  • First party lenses can be expensive
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Sony A7R II

Vlogging Camera: Sony A7R II

There is no other way to put this but the Sony A7R II(Body only link) is the best camera, the best vlogging camera, the best photography camera. However it is not cheap. At $2700 you would expect it to have amazing features, and it does. 42.4 megapixels, full frame, 4k video, 5-axis in body image stabilization and the list goes on.

This camera is incredible and to be fair is quite overkill for a vlogging camera.

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Pros:

  • Full Frame
  • 4k video recording
  • Great ISO. Native up to 25600 while recording video
  • Good autofocus while recording video
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization
  • Touch magnesium alloy body
  • External mic

Cons:

  • Tilt screen does not tilt far enough to see what you are doing
  • Expensive
  • Overkill to use as a vlogging camera. If you are into photography too, then it is not really overkill.
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Conclusion:

These days cameras are generally quite good and to find a good vlogging camera is not that difficult. There are some things to keep in mind that can make some cameras perform better as a vlogging camera than other cameras. One of the features that help with this is a screen that flips out and is viewable when the camera is facing you. Another feature that is good to look for is an external mic. External mics can really up your audio quality which can make a big difference to the overall quality of your vlogs.

 

If you decide on a camera that has interchangeable lenses, you should take a look at my post detailing what you should look for when choosing a vlogging lens.

Vlogging lens: What you should look for when choosing one

In this post I will be talking about what you should look for when you are trying to find your perfect vlogging lens.

Sensor Size

Before we start, I just want to talk about camera sensor size. This can be a pain point when learning about cameras in general and before we carry on you need to know that different sensor sizes might affect the type of lens that you want to be looking at.

There are two main sensor types that I want to talk about. One of them is the Full Frame sensor and the other is the APSC(known as a crop sensor) sized sensor. When you look at lenses you will see that each lens has a focal length, or a focal length range. So you could find a lens that says it is a 50mm lens, or a lens that says it is a 10-18mm lens. These numbers represent the focal length of the lens, the smaller the number the wider the lens is, the higher the number the more “zoom” the lens has.

This is where the problems of picking a lens starts. Those focal lengths are all based on Full Frame sensor sizes, which is great if you have a Full Frame camera. If you do not have a Full Frame camera and you have a APSC size sensor then you need to do some calculations. When it comes to APSC sensors you will generally multiply the focal length of the lens by 1.5 or 1.6 depending on the brand of camera that you are using. For e.g. if you have a 50mm lens and you use that on a camera that has an APSC sized sensor then your equivalent focal length will actually be around 75mm(1.5x) to 80mm(1.6x). This is not an issue but you need to pay attention to this. Buying the wrong lens is an expensive mistake.

Vlogging lens: full frame vs crop sensor size

Lens types

Prime

A prime lens is a lens that has a fixed focal length, meaning that you cannot zoom in or out. When I use the word “zoom” I do not mean see further away, I just mean you cannot change the lenses focal length.

These lenses generally allow for wider apertures which let in more light and will help if you are vlogging in darker areas.

Example of a prime lens:

Vlogging lens: EF 35mm f1.4L II USM FRA
Canon 35mm L lens

Zoom

A zoom lens is a lens that allows you to change the focal length by zooming in or out. Generally if you buy a DLSR kit, you will get a kit lens with it. This kit lens might have a focal length of 18-55mm.

The drawback of zoom lenses is that they generally have smaller apertures and their apertures are not fixed/constant.

Example of zoom lens:

Vlogging lens: EF 16-35mm f2.8L III USM FSL

I discuss apertures in the apertures section below. 

Focal length

When looking at lenses you will see a number with “mm” next to it. That number is the focal length. Like I said before a small number means the lens is wider which will get more of the scene in the shot or video and the higher the number is the more it becomes a telephoto lens, meaning it will allow you to see things that are far away.

Generally when Vlogging you want a wider angle zoom lens. When I say “zoom” in this context I mean the ability to change the lenses focal length. It is always useful to be able change the focal length while vlogging. When you are vlogging normally you might want to have the lens at its widest possible focal length and then when you want to have more emphasis, you can zoom in. In general it is better to use a wide angle zoom lens.

Having said that you might still want to look at prime lenses, or fixed focal length lenses. These are generally sharper in terms of image quality and usually have wider apertures, which produces a shallower depth of field and can help separate you from the background. They can also allow you to have better “bokeh”.

Having said all of this, I would suggest going with a wide angle zoom lens for your first vlogging lens. Something along the lines of a 10-18mm lens.

Aperture

When picking a vlogging lens one needs to consider aperture but it is not as important as it would be in photography.

The aperture of a lens is basically controls how much light the lens lets in. The wider the aperture the more light it will let in which can help when you are vlogging in doors or in a dark area.

Aperture also controls depth of field. Depth of field is basically how narrow your focus area is. The wider your aperture is, the narrower the focus area is. If this is used well it can be great and can add an extra dimension to your vlog. However it also makes focusing more difficult.

A vlogging lens generally doesn’t need a wide aperture. When looking for a lens make sure that it has an aperture within the range of 3.5 – 5.6. What this means is that when your lens is at its widest zoom the widest aperture of the lens will be 3.5 and when you are fully zoomed in then the widest aperture will be 5.6.

Dont let these numbers scare you. When you are looking for a vlogging lens, most of the lenses will be in this range.

Aperture chart to help visualize how aperture or f-stop value changes the aperture of a lens.

Vlogging lens: Aperture chart

Image stabilization

This is a very short but very important point when picking a lens to vlog with. Make sure that it has IS(image stabilization). When you are vlogging you will be moving around a lot and shaky video is not enjoyable to watch.

Image stabilization will help smooth out the video while you are recording it, making editing the videos easier.

Autofocus

This is another very important feature to look for when picking out a lens. Most lenses have autofocus for photography.

This does not mean that the autofocus will work in video. This is not only a lens issue. Your camera might not support autofocus during video mode with some lenses. So when picking up a lens, make sure that your camera will be able to use the lenses autofocus feature while recording video.

Desired vlogging lens specs:

  • Wide angle zoom lens. Something between 10-18mm(APSC sized sensor) or 16-35mm(Full Frame).
  • Aperture within the range of 3.5-5.6.
  • If you are holding the camera a lot then getting a lighter lens will be beneficial.
  • Image stabilization is a must.
  • Autofocus. This will depend on the camera and lens.

 

Conclusion:

Lenses are great and all but they are meaningless without a camera attached to them. If you need help finding the best camera, check out my vlogging camera buyers guide post.

What to look for in a vlogging camera

What to look for when buying a vlogging camera

Before getting into this topic, you need to understand that you need a vlogging camera that suits what you want to do. It is perfectly acceptable to just use to your phone. These days smart phones have good cameras and their mic’s are decent too. I personally think that this is the best way to start vlogging. That way you can see if you enjoy it or not before you spend money on equipment that will never be used.

Image Quality

Resolution

Resolution is not as important as one thinks but it should still be decent. Even though 4K video is becoming popular vlogging at 1080p (Full HD) is still more than good enough, especially if you are getting started. You might even get by with a camera that does 720p video but I would not recommend doing that.

Low light performance

Low light performance generally refers to ISO. ISO is a setting to make a camera more sensitive to light, in other words, the higher the ISO is the more light your camera will capture. One down side with high ISO is an increase in noise and grain. Noise and grain will reduce image quality, and depending on high you push the ISO it can dramatically reduce the image quality.

This is another setting that might depend on the type of vlog that you want to make. If you are going to have full control over your lighting then this is not too much of an issue since you will have enough light to be able to use a lower ISO. If you are going to be walking around then you will generally have little to no control over your lighting. Depending on the settings of you camera, you might find that it will increase the ISO when you go into an area with low light. So it is just something that you need to watch out for, and if you know that you are going to be doing vlogs where you are moving to very different lighting situations then you would be better off with something that can handle higher ISO.

Lens selection

Lens selection will depend on camera and on brand. If you go for a compact camera it will only be able to use the lens that comes with the camera. If you go with something like a mirrorless or DSLR camera then you will be able to choose from many lenses, again the amount of lenses depends on camera brand and type of camera.

DSLR and mirrorless cameras will allow you to use interchangeable lenses. This means that you can change the lens on your camera. This also allows you to buy lenses that suits your vlogging style and gives you more control by giving you constant aperture, depending on lens, or being able to give you an ultra wide focal length.

For more info about lenses, I have done another post with more in depth information about lenses and what to look for.

Video autofocus

When looking for a good vlogging camera make sure that is has autofocus for video. This feature is a deal breaker. If it does not have autofocus look else where.

Trying to vlog and manually focus is a complete and utter nightmare. It can also waste a lot of time. If you have filmed most of your day and then when you get in to edit all the clips that you have shot only to find that they are out of focus and unusable is really not something that you want to experience.

Mic

Strangely enough, sound quality on videos is more important than video quality. For e.g. people would much prefer watching a video at 720p with good sound quality than watching a 1080p video with poor sound quality. Sound quality can make or break a video, which can hurt your vlogging channel. Unfortunately sound equipment can be expensive but there are also cheap alternatives that can give good sound quality while being inexpensive.

Just like cameras and lenses, there are different types of microphones. Depending on the style of vlog you want to make, you might need a different type of mic. 

Flip out screen

A vlogging camera needs a flip out screen otherwise it will be near impossible to vlog. Flip out screens will help you view the camera screen while you are recording you vlog. This allows you to get your focussing and exposure correct. It will also allow you to monitor your audio levels, if the camera has that ability.

Vlogging Camera: EOS 77D BCK LCD
Canon 77D

Tripod/Handle

When vlogging you will need to put you camera on something when you are holding it, or when you are just sitting and talking to the camera. A tripod or a handle will help depending on the type of vlog you are making.

If you are going to be making vlogs while walking around or going about your day to day tasks then you should probably get a handle. A handle will make easier to hold the camera further away.  Having this kind of control can help you create different effects or looks to your video. Being able to hold your camera out further with a wide angle lens can help you to get more of the environment in the shot. At the same time, being able to hold a camera further away will allow you to use a longer focal length that could have less distortion or could help give you a tighter and more close up shot.

If you are going to be shooting a lot of your vlogs at home, or somewhere where you will be sitting down a lot, then a tripod can be a huge help. You could use a table or something along those lines but a tripod will give you far more control. You can raise or lower a tripod by adjusting the height of the legs, or you can tilt the camera up and down or left and right. This provides a lot of flexibility while filming.

Vlogging camera: gorilla pod

Size

This is another point that depends on the type of vlog you are or will be making. If you vlog from a desk or in your lounge while seated then going for a bigger heavier camera is not a problem. However, if you plan on walking around a lot make sure that you think about the size and weight of the camera, lens and all the other accessories.

Some bigger DSLR cameras like the Canon 7D mark ii can weigh up to 2lb(910g) and that is without a lens. A lens could weigh up to or more than a than the camera depending on the lens.

So getting a lighter setup can improve your vlogging experience. Carrying heavy gear around can potentially stop one from doing something because of how uncomfortable it might be, or it might just tire you out faster.

Budget

This is probably the most important point just because it puts a limit on to what you can buy. When buying a vlogging camera don’t always go for the cheapest setup that you can find. If you are wanting to do that then I would suggest that you use you smartphone instead.

Smartphones have decent cameras as well as decent mic’s and getting started like this is probably the easiest and cheapest way to start vlogging.

When looking for the perfect vlogging camera, look at cameras out of your price bracket and see what video features that they have, do some research about those features and then try and find a more affordable camera that has as many of those features as possible.

If you are going to go with a mirrorless or DLSR camera, remember that do not always come with a lens. When you are looking at these cameras make sure that they don’t say  it is body only.

Desired vlogging camera specs:

  • Lightweight, depending on your vlogging style
  • Video autofocus
  • Good ISO performance
  • Flip out screen

Examples of good vlogging cameras:

Canon G7X:

Vlogging Camera: Canon G7X

Canon 200d:

Vlogging Camera: Canon 200d

Sony A7R II(Body only link):

Vlogging Camera: Sony A7R II

Check out my Ultimate guide to buying a vlogging camera