Even with the YouTube apocalypse, vlogging is still a huge deal. Last year we talked about some of the top daily vloggers, who made hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months.
If you’re interested in becoming a vlogger yourself, whether it be to cover a niche topic, or aiming for internet stardom, you need to get started with the right camera. Here’s the thing, it’s 2018 and if you’re really looking to go big, it’s a good idea to invest in a decent camera.
Depending on what you plan to vlog about initially, you should not have to worry too much about buying additional expensive equipment. For instance, if you’re a traveler, your camera should be able to perform well in high and low light and have some kind of zoom capabilities. However, if you’re doing something like make-up tutorials, you definitely need to get a well lit room/stage, but with so many life hacks out there, you can put together a studio-like lighting set-up for pennies on the dollar.
It’s important however that you get a good camera to capture that quality. You may save a few bucks buying something that’s really cheap, but then come out on the losing end in terms of quality, and by extension, ratings from your fans.
As a side note, these cameras are not necessarily the latest, but more tried and true devices.
Now let’s get on with the recommendations. We’ll go from cheapest to most expensive.
GoPro HERO5 – Portable/4K – ($200-300)
If your vlog does not require too much face time, the GoPro HERO5 is one of the cheaper options out there. It’s a very simple camera, sturdy, and has a few neat tricks up its sleeve like time lapses, 4K video, and slow-motion. These are usually one of the more ideal cameras for travelers/adventurers who want to record more of the scenery from interesting angles.
Here’s the deal. The GoPro HERO5 Black starts at $299 and has a touch screen while the smaller GoPro HERO5 Session is $100 cheaper without the touchscreen. If you’re fine with foregoing the touch interface at the back, then do yourself a favour and save some cash. Video quality remains the same between both devices, so it’s just a matter of having a screen at the back or not.
GoPro HERO5 Black
GoPro HERO5 Session
Canon PowerShot S120 – Portable – ($320+)
Even though the Canon PowerShot S120 is a relatively old camera, it delivers quite a lot for the price for a beginner. It’s actually a favourite among popular vloggers because of its great 1080p 60fps video quality, built in audio recording capabilities, compact size, and image stabilization. It also has decent wide angle capabilities of the equivalent of a 24mm lens.
It should work relatively well even in lower light settings such as on a well lit street.
Sony Alpha a6000 – Portable/4K/Interchangeable lenses – ($500+)
The Sony Alpha a6000 steps up the game as it’s compact but produces excellent photo and video quality content in most lighting conditions. The onboard audio seems to be pretty decent as well but can pick up a lot of ambient noise. This might better serve vloggers who do more in-studio type setups with a noise-reducing mic that can be attached to it.
The a6000 also features interchangeable lenses, which means if you don’t mind carrying around different lens in your backpack, this can work really well for your needs if you plan to capture a variety of close up and distant content with just one camera.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K – Portable/4K – ($550+)
Here’s another compact worth taking note of. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10 (LX15 in Europe) is small, lightweight, and takes really good video due to its high-quality wide-angle lens. The lens has an equivalent zoom range of 24-72mm, with an f/1.4 aperture at 24mm, which is really good for low-light situations.
Another plus amongst vloggers is its ability to record 15 minutes of 4K video at a time. One of the downsides though is its not so great autofocusing capabilities. Vloggers who use this camera recommend using the manual focus mode, and this makes it a better camera for those who are sitting down in a fixed position.
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 – Interchangeable lenses ($650+)
Stepping into the DSLR category, the Canon SL2 is a very good entry level pro camera as in features high quality video 1080p recording, an audio input port, and a wide range of interchangeable lenses. Even though it’s larger when compared to compact cameras, vloggers have reported it as being rather light to hold versus other bulkier DSLRs.
There is also a vari-angle screen which can be flipped around so that you can actually see if you are properly within frame, which is great if you’re on the move.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II – Portable – ($680+)
The G7 X Mark II was released way back in 2016, but has been recognized as one of the most versatile YouTube vlogging cameras on the market.
Some of the top features include a flip up screen so that you can see yourself in the frame, great autofocus, optical image stabilization, and a very good lens with the equivalent zoom of 24-100mm. It also does really well in low light settings, making it one of the favourites for YouTubers on the go. Let’s just say it’s so popular that there is a Creator’s Kit option as well.
Even though it’s about 2 years old (since first release), it still caries a somewhat higher price tag because of its huge demand. It might not have slow-mo modes (high frame rate capabilities), but heck, it’s a pretty good package otherwise for a compact camera.
Panasonic LUMIX G85 – 4K/Interchangeable lenses – ($900+)
If shooting 4K is a priority, the G85 is one of the better starter mirrorless cameras you can get. With dual pixel image stabilization, 4K shooting at 30fps, fast autofocus, and good battery life, it’s definitely something to look out for if you’re a more serious vlogger. It’s not exactly a portable camera, but it’s not as hefty as those DSLR models.
Sony RX100 V – Portable/4K – ($950+)
Like the G7 X MkII, The RX100 V is another favourite amongst vloggers, but what sets it apart is its 4K ability, fast autofocus, and slow motion capabilities, shooting up to 960 fps depending on the settings. Unfortunately it comes at an increased price tag versus the G7 X. If 4K and/or slow motion is important to you, then feel free to get the RX100 V.
Sony Alpha A7S II – Portable/4K/Interchangeable lenses – ($3000+)
If you’re already a vlogger and looking to really step up your quality game, then you need to get the Sony A7 II is the camera for you. Unlike most cameras, it features a full-frame sensor, shoots at 4K at 30fps and can do slow motion videos in 1080p as 120fps. It also has a flip-up screen, which means you can see what you’re looking at from the front.
The A7S II shines brilliantly in the low light department, with a huge ISO range from 100 to 409,600. It also features has super fast and accurate autofocus.
Even though it is very portable, I suspect many may use it for more professional set ups and involve using different lenses in fixed positions. If you’re a vlogger who does more night shoots, then give the A7S II a try.
Body only ($2700)