Best Vlogging Cameras for Start a vlog (March 2018)

Video ProductionTechnical Quality
In a video production the most important thing with difference is the content (what you are going to tell and how you are going to tell it). In the ‘ how you’re going to tell ‘ can come into play artistic resources, which can sometimes be limited or conditioned by the team (camera, lens, lighting …)
Then there is the technical quality, which is based on at least three pillars of vlogging camera are: the camera , the lighting and the sound . I would say that all three are equally important, although logically it will depend on the type of video. Finally the video editing / post production part

Criteria for choosing a Vlogging camera for video

To choose the most suitable vlogging camera you have to think what kind of videos you are going to do and in what situations you are going to record: study, outdoors, adventure.

Of course, the budget is one of the most important points. normally you have to look for a balance between quality, benefits and price.

We will leave aside the segments of adventure or sports in first person, for which the suitable camera would be in all probability a sport camera of type GoPro or similar.

And we will focus on three or four types of recordings or recording situations more or less typical in vlogging.

When there is a person behind the camera you can have much more control over the recording. For example you could do manual focus, manage the recording parameters (for example adjust the aperture to compensate in case of lighting changes) or play with the frame, etc.

If we are going to record ourselves or have our hands busy (for example in videos of product reviews) we will have to delegate to the camera itself and we would like at least a good system of auto focus and video tracking.

Sometimes it can be done with fixed manual focus, if the depth of field is large enough to cover all the foreground development of the scene.

It is also interesting in these cases that the camera has an articulated or collapsible screen in selfie mode, to see that the frame and focus is fine while recording. Anyway many cameras with WiFi allow control from mobile devices and the device itself can serve as an auxiliary monitor.

If you are going to record a lot outdoors or have a travel vlog for example, The size and weight of the vlogging camera can be an important parameter to consider.

Features that may be important to choose the vlogging camera

  1. Good auto-focus system and tracking in video recording
  2. 4K or Full HD?
  3. Image Stabilizer
  4. Includes or not external microphone input
  5. Rear hinged / folding screen (or possibility to connect a mobile device to the camera via WiFi to view the frame and control the recording)
  6. Video camera or photo camera with video functions? For ergonomics and functions: a camcorder is designed to record video. However, consumer camcorders do not offer very high quality and semi-professional / professional camcorders are very expensive
  7. Performance in low light situations (high ISO noise). Keep in mind that when recording video the shutter speed will be fixed according to the frames per second of the video (1 / 50s, 1 / 60s, 1 / 125s ). A camera with good response at high ISOs offers more room for maneuver in low light situations. You should also keep in mind that everything is relative to the amount of light that the camera picks up.
  8. Includes visual aids such as focus peaking (highlights areas of the scene that are in focus) and zebra pattern (highlights areas of the scene that are overexposed)
  9. Rolling shutter (jello effect or tilt in vertical lines of the scene when moving the camera horizontally, for example when making a sweep -panning- or when recording from a moving vehicle)
  10. Possibility of working with neutral density filters (ND filters). In certain situations in broad daylight we will have to close the diaphragm a lot to have a correct exposure (remember that the shutter speed can not be changed as in photography), sometimes with closed diaphragm we still have overexposure and also the closed diaphragm involves diffraction of the light
  11. Possibility of working with video-oriented image profiles (Technicolor, Marvels, S-Log, etc.), although this would be for slightly more advanced projects
Keep in mind that many of these features are only applicable in very specific situations (which do not occur in all types of video) and other features are only important for professional production

best way to choosing a Vlogging camera

The consumer camcorders and in general the cameras with small sensor offer a flatter image, with little contrast, with a lot of depth of field, etc. practically the whole scene is in focus. The image style is usually typical of ‘ video ‘ or television.

Cameras with a large sensor (SLR, mirrorless, semiprofessional and professional camcorders) can offer a more artistic, more cinematic image. They can play with depth of field (unfocused backgrounds), image profiles, etc.

Although it is not all white or black, one usually distinguishes very well a production that seems ‘ video ‘ of a production that seems ‘ cinema ‘. Depending on each case, one style or another may be interesting, although the cinema style is usually more attractive.

We must also bear in mind that the cinematographic style can be a little more difficult to work, both in the recording phase and in the editing phase.

Some characteristics that are usually related to the vlogging aspect:

  • Little depth of field when the sequence requires it (subject in the foreground in focus, background out of focus)
  • 24 frames per second / shutter at 1 / 50s. At this speed there is ‘motion blur’, in scenes with movement each frame does not get to capture a frozen image, but moved, but the joint effect of movement is usually pleasant.
  • Higher contrast in cinema than in traditional video / TV
  • Color correction / color correction to achieve a certain look / atmosphere
  • Artistic aspects: framing, multiple sequences, telling a story in a visual way, audio quality and soundtrack .

Recommended Vlogging Cameras For videos

Very good quality - performance - price ratio
The Canon EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) . Any of the Canon of this range, with STM objectives, work very well in video. The 700D can now be obtained for a very good price as there are more recent models in this range of Canon (750D / 760D / 800D / 77D)
Very good vlogging camera for youtube / to record yourself
Canon EOS 70D / 80D : good autofocus system and video tracking thanks to its Dual Pixel sensor . In Canon’s intermediate range also the Canon EOS 800D (Rebel T7i) and Canon EOS 77D incorporate Dual Pixel technology and are currently a very good choice. Also the mirrorless Sony intermediate range: Sony a5100 , Sony a6000 , Sony a6300 , Sony a6500… but keep in mind that, except the a5100, these cameras have a folding screen, not fully articulated, which does not allow you to put the screen in ‘selfie’ mode to frame when we record ourselves. In the Sony the focus and video tracking system is very good.
If you have a flexible budget. Better cameras for video
the Panasonic GH4 , the new GH5, or the Sony a7s mark II (also the Sony a7s but needs external recorder for 4K).
Small and lightweight camera for traveling
A compact one with a large sensor (sensor 1 inch or larger) or a small mirrorless like the Panasonic GX80 (4K) or the GM5 (Full HD), the micro system 4/3 from Panasonic and Olympus gets really small and lightweight cameras and lenses compared to other systems with APS-C sensors. Also the Sony ( a5100 , a6000 , a6300 , a6500 ) with the kit lens (16-50mm) are very small and light, but keep in mind that if you are going to need other objectives, they are usually of similar size and weight of the reflex.
You need to record in 4K
The Panasonic G7 is probably the 4K camera with the best quality / performance / price ratio. Also the Panasonic GX80 if you are looking for a more compact camera. Also in relatively small cameras the Sony a6300 and Sony a6500 allow 4K recording with logarithmic profiles and a great focusing system. If your budget allows, the a6500 is one of the most complete and balanced cameras for photography and video. The Panasonic GH4 is a reference in 4K video. The Sony a7S mark II is a beast in low light conditions. Also the Sony a6300 and the Sony a6500 they allow to record in 4K and they are small and light cameras, with a great quality of image and a system of approach and monitoring in very good video.
Recommended cameras, ordered by range / price from the most affordable to the slightly higher range without reaching the high level professional teams.

Most Popular Vlogging Cameras with Features

Sony Cyber-shot RX 100Sony Cyber-shot RX 100

Compact camera (non-interchangeable lenses) . The RX 100 is currently in version 4 (Mark IV). It is a compact high-end and the latest version has a high price, but the original version, the RX 100, we can get a very good price for the features offered: 1-inch sensor and lens f / 1.8 in its focal shorter (28-100mm equivalent, f / 1.8-4.9).

It has no external microphone input, usual in this format of cameras. It is perfect for recording everywhere: in the studio, on the street .. Very good image quality.

Note that the RX 100 (version 1) does not have a folding screen or electronic viewfinder. The RX 100 II and later versions do include a folding screen. The III and the IV include electronic viewfinder. The Sony RX 100 IV includes the ability to record in 4K but only short clips of 5 minutes maximum.

Quick View

  • Good video tracking system
  • Record in Full HD
  • Steady Shot system, pretty good
  • Allows manual focus
  • Allows Exposure control
  • No External Microphone input
  • No 4k recording
  • No Viewer
  • limited to 3200 ISO
  • No specific image profiles

The RX 100 (I) is an interesting option for the quality of image (photo + video) in relation to the price and in such a small format. If your budget allows it, the RX 100 mark III / mark IV would be more complete options (improved video focus system, viewfinder, flip-up screen, better behavior at high ISOs)

Canon Powershot G7 X / G7 X mark IICanon PowerShot G7x

Compact camera (non-interchangeable lenses) . It is the older sister of the S120, practically the same size but with a 1-inch sensor and a very bright lens throughout its zoom range: 24-100mm equivalent, f / 1.8-2.8. It also has a folding screen for selfie mode.

It has no external microphone input. Very good camera, very good optics, fantastic quality, perfect if we want a very small team to record in the studio and on the street, and we do not want to worry about changing objectives.

The G7 X mark II improves some aspects: the screen can also tilt back, new processor (DIGIC 7), slightly improved autofocus, battery life is a bit higher. They are not very big improvements, but if we find them at a similar price, version II can be more interesting.

Quick View

  • Transitions between objects are smooth
  • Image stabilizer
  • Foldable up (selfie mode) + touch
  • Pretty good performance in low light
  • Allows Exposure control
  • No 4k recording
  • No External microphone input
  • No Viewer
  • limited manual focus

Sony Alpha a5100Sony A5100

Camera without mirror (interchangeable lenses) . It is a camera without an internal mirror (mirrorless), with interchangeable lenses, very small, with a flip-up screen for selfie mode. Practically a pocket camera by size and weight, but with an APS-C sensor (like the one mounted by the entry-level and intermediate SLRs).

Good hybrid approach and tracking system. It has no external microphone input. The screen is tactile although the functions are limited, but it allows racking focus in video.

It is a good choice for video bloggers . It offers a very good image quality in both photo and video and the size is comparable to that of a compact one. Between the a5100 and the a6000.

if you are going to use it mostly for video maybe the a5100 is a better option. If you are going to use it for photography and also want to record videos, the a6000 is more complete.

Quick view

  • Very good focusing system
  • Image stabilizer
  • Selfie mode Available
  • manual focus
  • Low light performance Very good
  • Allow Exposure control during recording
  • No 4k recording
  • No External microphone input
  • No Viewer
  • No specific image profile

Canon EOS 700D (Rebel T5i)Canon EOS 700D

SLR camera (interchangeable lenses) . Both the 700D and the more recent EOS 750D or 760D . With STM lenses, and the camera’s hybrid focusing system, they achieve a smooth and silent focus.

For indoor recording we can use a 50mm f / 1.8 lens or a 24mm f / 2.8 lens that will give us very good background blurs. It has fully articulated screen that allows selfie mode.

Touch screen that facilitates the work with the camera, for example if we want to focus on an object in the scene by simply touching the screen during recording. It has input for external microphone.

Very good image quality in both video and photography. It is one of the SLRs as the best balance between photography and video, and a good value for money.

Quick View

  • Auto focusing system pretty good
  • Image stabilizer
  • Includes external microphone
  • Fully articulated + tactile Screen
  • Low light performance Very good
  • Allow Exposure control during recording
  • Allow specific image profile
  • No 4k recording
  • No manual visual aid focus
  • No Viewer

Panasonic Lumix GX80Panasonic Lumix GX80

Camera without mirror (interchangeable lenses) of the micro system 4/3 . It is a fairly small and light camera, and with the micro 4/3 lenses it forms a perfect combination to travel or to carry always on top.

The camera includes a stabilization system of 5 axes in the body, which can also be combined with the stabilization of some Panasonic (Dual IS) lenses. The result is an incredible stabilization for both photography and video.

Quick View

  • Video tracking system is good
  • Shoot with 4K HD
  • Image stabilizer
  • Folding Screen
  • Viewfinder 2.7 Mpx
  • Visual aid to manual focus
  • Low light performance Fairly good
  • Allow Exposure control during recording
  • No External Microphone input
  • No Specific image profiles

Technical characteristics that you have to understand

Some technical features and functions related to video recording

Resolution: HD, Full HD, 4K

The maximum resolution at which the camera can record, ie the number of pixels each frame will have (width x height). Currently, the minimum standard recording format would be Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) and more and more 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) is being imposed on recording.

99.9% of the content is currently consumed in Full HD. You can record in 4K looking for an extra quality in both the original source and the editing process, but the final product is in Full HD.

If your production is for fast consumption (that is, current contents that within 1-2 years will not be consumed) I think it is not worth working in 4K because it means extra work and extra investment in equipment (computer, storage ).

If your content will remain valid in the future (documentaries, clips, etc.) you may want to record in 4K because in the future you will have a material that you can reedit with a certain quality. Anyway, thinking about technological issues in the future is risky because you do not know what is going to happen in a 4-5 year horizon.

Keep in mind

  • It allows to capture more detail
  • It allows editing and post-production with much more information and detail
  • Minimizes or eliminates the Moir√© effect (a higher resolution equals a higher sampling frequency)

Autofocus system

Video autofocus is very important in situations where we record ourselves or record without the help of other people and we can not perform manual focus from the camera.

In any case, manual focus on video (for example being able to keep a subject in focus while moving) is an advanced technique that requires a lot of practice. Video professionals usually work with manual focus, but with teams that facilitate the task (follow focus system, etc.) and with a lot of experience behind them.

Most users who record video for youtube, vimeo, etc. they are not video professionals and recording with manual focus, especially in certain circumstances, can be very frustrating.

That is why it is important to choose a camera that has a good autofocus system. Many cameras include the face detection function, which allows a fairly accurate tracking when there is a single person on the scene.

Touch-screen cameras include the option of focus when touching an object in the scene. In video mode, the focus is usually smooth and allows for visually appealing changes to the focus plane (racking focus).

Keep in mind

  • The process of autofocus the camera and the lens are involved .
  • A good detection and tracking system in the camera can work very badly if the target has a slow focus system or is going to jump
  • In video, it is important that the focus transitions be smooth and linear.

Rolling shutter

The rolling shutter technique consists in that the image information (content of each pixel of the sensor) is read sequentially from top to bottom, row by row, while the sensor continues to gather light from the scene.

Most cameras use CMOS sensors with rolling shutter. The cameras with global shutter are usually professional range cameras designed specifically for video. Technologically it is difficult to get a sensor with global shutter that maintains good characteristics in terms of dynamic range, sensitivity, etc.

The cameras with rolling shutter sometimes generate an unwanted effect in video, that effect is usually known as ‘rolling shutter’ although the name actually refers to the technology of the sensor.

External microphone input

It is interesting that the camera has a microphone input because it will allow us to record more quality audio, with an external microphone, directly on the video track.

The semiprofessional range camcorders (and of course the professional ranges) work with XLR connectors (phantom power for the microphones) and the internal electronics of the camera is much more optimized for audio processing.

When recording video with cameras, the best way to obtain a very high quality sound is by using external recorders, with microphones and XLR cables. What happens is that this implies more complexity in the recording phase and more work in the editing phase, since the audio must be mounted on additional tracks and synchronized with the video, etc.

Keep in mind

  • The microphone input that cameras include is a mini jack type. It is a non-professional connector, which picks up an unbalanced signal
  • The preamps of the cameras are not usually exceptional in terms of the treatment of the audio signal

Image Stabilizer

The optical image stabilizer allows to correct the small vibrations of the camera when it is recording, especially when we use the camera to pulse, without tripod. The stabilization system can be in the lens or in the body of the camera.

Keep in mind

  • These stabilization systems only correct the trepidation of the camera, not the wide movements, for example when recording while walking or running.
  • In some cases the stabilizer can generate unwanted effects in video, for example when we panning or certain movements with the camera the system can try to compensate for those movements as if it were trepidation.

Final Recommendation

Remember that the quality of a video does not only reside in the pixels or the features that a camera offers, one of the main keys for a video to be successful is still the content.

Related buzz list: best Youtube Videos equipment 2018

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