Best camera for vlogging: Buyers guide

This should be easy. I mean, there has to be a single camera that will fit most peoples vlogging needs right? An answer is never that simple I’m afraid. So in this post I am going to list a few features that I believe the best camera for vlogging needs and by doing that I am hoping that we end up with a good answer. Lets get started

Below are the requirements and nice to have features that the best camera for vlogging should have.

Requirements:

  • 1080p 60fps video recording
  • Decent battery life
  • APSC sized sensor as a minimum
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Hot shoe
  • External mic jack
  • Flip out/up screen
  • As small as possible

Nice to haves:

  • 4K video
  • In body image stabilization
  • Mirrorless

So the required features are non negotiable. Some of the features like 4K will be required in the future but at the moment I think that 1080p is good enough for most online videos and particularly when vlogging. Having to edit 4K video can be tough and you need a decent PC to handle it easily.

Looking at those requirements there are loads of options. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm. All of those brands have cameras with APSC sized sensors or larger. All of these brands make great cameras, some are better than others with regards to video recording. So for this post I am going to remove Nikon and Fujifilm from the options. Nikons are much better now with video and Fuji have also improved their video quite a bit but Canon and Sony do quite well with video.

LINE UP – BEST CAMERA FOR VLOGGING:

  • Canon 80D
  • Canon M6
  • Sony A6500
  • Sony A7S II

That is a nice short list. Basically those requirement have removed all the point and shoot cameras as well as the M43(Micro Four Thirds) cameras. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those cameras and in some circumstances when a small camera is more valuable than image quality then they would outshine the larger cameras. Most of the time for vlogging one does not need the smallest camera. None of the cameras above a very small but two of them are small while the other two a quite a bit larger but still not massive.

Best camera for vlogging: Canon lineup

Canon 80D

Camera for vlogging: Canon 80D

The Canon 80D(Body only link) is a great camera and Canon has really stepped up their APSC game with this camera. The 80D introduced a new sensor that has much improved dynamic range than their previous APSC cameras had. The 80D even out performs the Canon 7D Mark 2 with regards to dynamic range and low light performance, which is great considering that the 7D Mark 2 is Canons flagship ASPC camera.

The 80D’s predecessor, the 70D, has been a favorite amongst vloggers and YouTubers in general and the 80D has improved on the 70D. Like the 7D Mark 2 the 80D outperforms the 70D by an even greater margin in terms of sensor quality.

Canon have improved on the 70D for video with the new 80D. One of the great new improvements is its new autofocus system. Autofocus is an extremely important feature when it comes to video and the 80D does extremely well with autofocus. It can be annoying when a camera hunts for focus while recording video. While the 80D might hunt in some cases it is mostly spot on and with the new sensor it has much better autofocus in low light situations compared to the 70D.

The autofocus and sensor upgrades are the biggest points with the 80D. It has everything else. It has an APSC sized sensor. It has interchangeable lenses and because it is a Canon there are is a massive range of lenses that one can choose from. It has decent battery life, it is not small but not too large either. The 80D records video at 1080p 60fps and has a hot shoe and external mic jack. It also comes with a flip out screen. On the 80D the screen flips out to the side and can be rotated to face you while you are recording a video or vlogging.

Conclusion: Canon 80D

The 80D comes with all the features that I have put in the required list but it has non of the nice to have features. It would have been nice if Canon had added 4K video but it all depends on what kind of videos one is making. All in all, the Canon 80D is a fantastic camera for vlogging with.

Canon M6

Camera for vlogging: Canon M6

After talking about the 80D I am not too sure what else to say about the Canon M6. The Canon M6 has basically got the same sensor as the 80D. The one improvement it has over the 80D is that it has the newer Digic 7 image processors but it doesn’t make a massive difference.

When it comes to video, the M6 is pretty similar to the 80D. It might not perform exactly like the 80D which makes sense since the 80D is a higher end camera so there will be some features that are lacking. Having said that the M6 performs extremely well. It has great autofocus, it record video at 1080p at 60fps and it is small.

Like the 80D the M6 has all the required specifications. One unfortunate thing is that the M6 does not use EF or EF-S lenses so there are fewer lenses that you can choose from. Canon does offer an adapter so that you able to use EF and EF-S lenses but the autofocus might suffer with the adapter.

Conclusion: Canon M6

The M6 is a great all round camera. It has very similar specs to the 80D but it costs a significant amount less which for me puts it ahead of the 80D when it comes to vlogging. What I will say is that if you are going to start getting more into the video production and geeky side of video creation it would be best to get the 80D as it is a more robust camera overall.

Best camera for vlogging: Sony lineup

Sony A7S II

Camera for vlogging: Sony A7S II

I am going to start off with the Sony A7S II(Body only link). This camera is an absolutely incredible camera. To be fair it should not even be in this line up. Technically it is better than every other camera in the line up for almost everything.

The A7S II might only have 12 megapixels(half of the Canon cameras) but it makes up for that in terms of video quality and low light performance thanks to it having a full frame sensor. This camera can record stunning 4K video at up to 30fps and 1080p video at up to 120fps. Twice as many frames per second as the Canon cameras.

One of the benefits of a larger sensor is that they generally perform better in low light situations and like I mentioned before this is one of the A7S II’s most impressive features. It has an ISO range of 50-409600 which is massive in the camera world. There are some cameras that have higher ISO but they cost much more than the A7S II does. Having this ISO range means that this camera has no issues recording high quality video in low light situations which depending on the types of videos or vlogging you do, it could help tremendously.

The one issue that both the Sony’s have is that their flip screens are not great for vlogging. Their screens might be able to move but you cannot see them from the front of the camera which is very useful when vlogging.

Other than that, the A7S II comes with all the requirements and has 4K video recording as well as being a mirrorless camera. As I said before, this camera has a flip screen but it is not for vlogging, technically it still has a flip screen so I will keep it in this list.

One of the potential issues with going with this camera or the Sony A6500 is that Sony doesn’t have as many lenses as Canon. You can however get an adapter but the autofocus performance is really not good and sometimes it can stop autofocus completely.

Another thing that one needs to keep in mind is that this camera is not cheap by any means. It is more than twice the price of the Canon 80D and more than 3 times the price of the Canon M6. This is one amazing camera but you will need to have a decent audience to be able to justify purchasing a camera that costs that kind of money. Especially considering that is the body only price, you still need to buy a lens and lenses are not cheap.

Conclusion: Sony A7S II

It goes without saying that this camera is incredible and, like I said before it is the best camera in this line up by a long way. Even for photography this is a fantastic camera even though it only has 12 megapixels. You cannot go wrong buying this camera but do you really need to spend almost $2500 on a camera body for vlogging? I personally do not believe that that is needed.

Sony A6500

Camera for vlogging: Sony a6500

The a6500 is the replacement for the Sony a6300, which is still a great camera. One of the improvements that I like the most is that the a6500 now has in body image stabilization. This means that when you are buying lenses you do not need to buy lenses with image stabilization in order to get smooth video. This can help in the long run since IS(image stabilization) can increase lens prices quite a bit.

As usual with Sony the video quality is really quite good. One of the issues can be that it has rolling shutter when recording 4K. This is due to how much data needs to be processed when recording 4K video. It is not too much of an issue but you will notice it during fast movements.

One of the bad points with this camera, like the A7S II, is that the flip screen that it has does not move that much. When you use either of the Canon cameras on this list you will be able to see the screen while recording video. On the a6500 you will not be able to see the screen while you are recording which can be drawback.

The a6500 has an APSC sized sensor which is not a bad thing. It allows the camera to be a bit smaller. The problem with a smaller sensor is that the low light performance will not be as good as the A7S II, having said that the a6500 performs really well in low light situations. This camera also has very good dynamic range, in fact it has better dynamic range than the A7SII.

Like with the A7S II the a6500 can record 4K video at 30fps and 1080p video at up to 120fps. This is better than the Canon cameras and definitely a nice to have. Recording video at 120fps can add that extra unique selling point to your videos.

Conclusion: Sony a6500

Is this the best camera for vlogging? I am not too sure. I have nothing against this camera except for the screen that move enough. In terms of video it is a fantastic camera and I would highly recommend it, but before I do this is not a cheap camera. It costs about $300 more than the Canon 80D and almost twice the price of the Canon M6. As good as the a6500 is I do not believe that it justifies that extra price tag.

 

Over all thoughts about what would be the best camera for vlogging:

For me it is between the two Canon cameras. Both of them are great cameras in general and both do well with video, particularly the 80D.

If I was to go out and choose one of the cameras I would choose the Canon M6. Even though it has issues in terms of not using the EF or EF-S lenses I think that it comes in at a great price. With regards to the lenses that the M6 uses, the EF-M lenses tend to be less expensive so you could potentially get more than one lens.

Another reason for me choosing the M6 is the size of the camera. It is quite a lot smaller than the 80D is. It is also quite a bit lighter. The M6 weighs in at around 390g while the 80D comes in at around 730g. So the M6 is just over half the weight of the 80D. Keep in mind that the EF-M lenses are also smaller and lighter than the lenses the 80D would be using.

So for me, the M6 is the best camera for vlogging. It has all the required features, it is small and performs really well. At the end of the day, it basically has the same sensor as the 80D but not all the features.

If you are going to be using the camera everyday and going to be moving around a lot potentially doing things that could be tough on the camera then I would suggest going with the 80D. It is far more rugged and is used by some of the biggest vloggers in the world.

Videos:

Canon M6

This is a video from Casey Neistat, Canon vs Sony (he has bought 11 Canon 80d’s) –

 

If you want more information or are interested in looking at different vlogging cameras take a look at my vlogging camera buyers guide. If you are not sure what you should be looking for when buying a vlogging camera then you could take a look at my article where I talk about what to look for when buying a vlogging camera.