You may have been following your favorite YouTubers for a while, and are thinking that you could do that.
Or you have a great idea for a channel, and know it could find an audience. Or you may simply want to start a vlog, sharing your thoughts and experiences with the world.
No matter what you want your channel to be about, you’ll need a decent camera. And, if you’re just starting out, you may be watching your budget.
Today we’ll look at the best cameras for vlogging, along with a guide to help you choose the camera that meets your needs and your budget, whether you’re a beginner or want to step up your YouTube game.
The Studio Genie is dedicated to helping streamers and YouTubers or anyone looking to have their own home studio. The author, Felicity Martinez, have been helping out streamers and YouTubers for years.
The goal is to provide a free resource for anyone looking to build a quality home studio. The reviews below are a result of hours of research and analysis. We provided the pros and cons and ranked each product to help you make a quick decision.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Our Top Picks for Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
CANON EOS M50 MIRRORLESS
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GOPRO HERO8 BLACK HOLIDAY BUNDLE
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DJI OSMO ACTION CAMERA
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SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-RX100 III
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BLACKMAGIC DESIGN POCKET CINEMA CAMERA 4K
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Best Camera for YouTube Vlogging Reviews & Recommendations For 2020
Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera Video Creator Kit
The Canon EOS M50 was designed specifically for vloggers, and comes in a kit that includes the EOS M50 mirrorless camera and the Rode VideoMic GO directional microphone, with a 32GM SD memory card.
The EOS M50 captures 4K video, has Canon’s famous Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus for fast and accurate autofocus, and has a vari-angle touchscreen LCD that lets you shoot from any angle.
CMOS autofocus automatically tracks your subjects, and automatically detects eyes for clear portraits and selfies. The big 24.1MP APC-C CMOS sensor shoots well in low light, and has combination optical and digital stabilization.
The EOS has interchangeable lenses, a lightweight body, and both an on-body microphone port and a hot shoe for shotguns.
In 4K mode, the camera adds a 1.7x crop on top of the APS-C crop, and 4K mode disables the Dual Pixel Auto Focus. For optimal autofocus, it’s best to use the 1080p/60fps video recording mode.
There are vlogging cameras with better battery life, and the battery cannot be recharged via USB.
This kit comes with the Rode VideoMic GO shotgun microphone, a rugged directional microphone that weighs just 73 grams.
It offers crisp, clear sound with a tight pickup that isolates the subject and reduces background noise. It has an innovative integrated shock-resistant mount that protects your audio from shocks and vibrations.
It plugs in with a 3.5mm jack, and doesn’t require a battery or additional power source.
With the exceptional autofocus, good low-light shots, 4K and 1080p video, and the ability to add and shoot with additional lenses, the Cannon EOS M50 is an extremely versatile vlogging camera.
With the Canon Image Transfer Utility, you can automatically and wirelessly transfer files for backup and uploading.
The Cannon EOS M50 is a great vlogging camera, but it may be worth price-checking various bundles.
The video creator kit includes the Rode VideoMic GO, which is a great microphone, but Cannon offers bundles that include various lenses and accessories that may be a better investment for you.
GoPro Hero8 Black Holiday Bundle
The GoPro Hero8 Black Holiday Bundle comes with the Hero8, the Shorty tripod, a head mounting strap, a 32GB SD card, and 2 rechargeable batteries.
The GoPro Hero8 captures 4K UHD 2160p video, with a smaller, streamlined design and innovative folding fingers that let you quickly switch mounts. The Hero8 is impact resistant and has a side door for fast battery changes.
GoPros are famous for their image stabilization, and the Hero8 has HyperSmooth 2.0 with multiple levels of stabilization and in-app horizon leveling. The Hero8 also has improved HDR for incredibly detailed action shots.
GoPro’s TimeWarp 2.0 allows you to capture stabilized time lapse videos, adjusting speed based on motion, lighting, and smart scene detection. LiveBurst records 1.5 seconds before and after your shot, so you can choose the best frames and clips to share.
The camera has built-in microphones that reduce wind noise, for natural audio, along with mic inputs for better audio.
Battery life is normally about 50 minutes in 4K mode, but decreases over time. GoPros are great for action shots and outdoor adventures, but the fisheye-style footage may not be great for every vlogger.
The GoPro Shorty is a mini extension pole and tripod. Folded down, it’s just 4.6 inches, that extends out to 8.9 inches. The legs can be folded out to stand on surfaces in tripod mode.
As with the Canon EOS M50, the GoPro Hero 8 is offered in a wide range of bundles and configurations.
We prefer this bundle because it comes with the Shorty and a backup battery, but other bundles have different accessory configurations: You may want one with the rugged carrying case, or the waterproof camera body.
DJI OSMO Action Camera
The tiny DJI OSMO is an action camera designed for every adventure, without weighing you down. It has dual screens on the front and back, with clear, responsive displays.
The DJI OSMO lets you capture 4K HDR videos, or shoot 8x slow-motion, or gorgeous time-lapse footage.
This camera is waterproof and temperature resistant up to -10℃, so it can go from the mountains to the beach and shoot up to 11 meters underwater.
It also has RockSteady image stabilization, voice control, and a companion app to customize settings and features.
Unless you buy a support package, the camera and accessories don’t have a warranty or support.
You have to register on the app and create a user account before you can use the camera, and the app requires permissions that some people find intrusive.
There is no way to use an external microphone with the DJI OSMO, and DJI has proprietary cables that require specialized accessories.
Third party manufacturers have made microphone accessories for the camera, but they are specific to each version of the DJI OSMO (microphone adapters that work for the OSMO Pocket do not work with the OSMO Action, etc.), and may require additional accessories for the microphone adapter.
Currently the CYNOVA audio adapter is the most reliable and complete option.
The DJI OSMO base camera package comes with a camera frame, flat and curved adhesive mounts, q quick-release base, battery and battery case, a locking screw, and a USB-C cable.
The DJI OSMO is a great little waterproof, cold-resistant action camera, and captures gorgeous 4K HDR footage. Because of the way that OSMO accessories work, it’s worth remembering that over time this camera will probably cost more than you think.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Digital Still Camera & OLED Finder
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera is a great camera for the vlogger who is an aspiring filmmaker. It is designed for exceptional cinematic shots, with incredible detail and color.
It can shoot 4K video with 13 stops of dynamic range for Hollywood quality and clarity in your shots.
It has 4 built-in microphones, with a 3.5mm jack with timecode input, and an XLR port that provides phantom power for external microphones.
This camera is compatible with film and photography lenses, so you can choose an EF or MFT lens mount and shoot with any lenses you prefer.
The carbon fiber composite body provides rugged durability, and a big 5 inch LCD screen.
Battery life on this camera isn’t great, and it doesn’t come with a backup or replacement battery. Your best option is the third-party Wasabi battery two-pack and charger.
Comes with Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve Studio for editing, color-correction, and VFX.
This is a fantastic pocket camera for Hollywood-quality video with incredible color and detail.
The ability to choose a mount and use third-party lenses opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for indie films, effects shots, and all kinds of video storytelling.
It comes with DaVinci Resolve for professional, collaborative post-production. It’s designed for aspiring filmmakers rather than vloggers, but can take your video to a whole new level.
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
The Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone is compact, stylish, simple to use, and highly recommended for podcasting.
The large condenser diaphragm of the Samson Meteor Mic captures nuances and vocal details, and brings out the richness in your voice.
The mic has headphone out for real-time monitoring, with volume control, as well as a microphone mute button.
It is not only compatible with USB computers and devices, but, with optional additional cables, you can use this microphone with Android devices, or iPhones and iPads.
This mic does not have a pop filter.
The microphone doesn’t have a gain adjustment, so you can’t adjust the recording volume during the session. The on-mic buttons can also be a bit fiddly to adjust, and the sound of messing with the knobs (including the mute button) and connectors is picked up by the microphone.
The Samson Meteor Mic has an innovative desktop tripod that folds flat for storage, but can also be easily mounted to a boom arm or other microphone stand.
It comes with a carrying pouch and a USB cable.
The Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone is a compact, convenient USB microphone that will capture the quality, richness, and nuances of your voice.
Vlogging Camera Buyer's Guide
You can shoot quality video with a smartphone camera, and even use apps to edit, mix audio, and add visual effects.
The biggest drawback to shooting video on a smartphone is memory and storage issues: video files are large, particularly when shot at higher resolutions, and most cameras have limited memory capacity, so files need to be uploaded to cloud storage or placed on a storage device.
Webcams are incredibly convenient, and many popular YouTube channels are shot with webcams, particularly when streaming. Most webcams that come with computers, tablets, and laptops aren’t very high image quality, so it’s worth investing in an upgraded webcam for vlogging.
Pocket/Mirrorless Video Cameras
Conventional and professional video cameras and camcorders can be large and heavy. Pocket cameras are smaller and lighter in weight, because they use a digital display system, instead of internal mirrors that create optical reflections of the shot.
Because they don’t have mirrors, they can also be more rugged and weather-resistant. These types of cameras can be called pocket cameras, action cameras, DSLM, or EVIL cameras. Some of these have the ability to add and change lenses
DSLR cameras were originally designed for still photography, and have many advanced features and capabilities for creating beautiful images.
In recent years, DSLR cameras have been adding video capabilities, but they typically have low memory capacity for video, especially high resolution video. These cameras have the ability to change lenses, have a huge variety of accessories, and create very high quality images.
Field of View
Field of view is the measure of how much of the scene a camera lens can “see.” The field of view depends on the focal length of the lens, and the sensor size of the camera, to determine how much of a scene can be captured by the camera.
Generally speaking, “resolution” is the measurement of how many pixels can be in a frame of video footage, while “megapixels” is the measure of how many pixels can be in a still image.
A 12 megapixel camera can capture 12 million pixels in an image. A typical 4K resolution camera can capture 3840 x 2160 pixels in every frame of video.
A digital camera’s sensor is the equivalent of old-fashioned film. In other words, in an old camera, you would open the shutter, light would enter the lens and land on the film, and the film would react to the photons and create an image.
In a modern camera, a sensor is what reacts to the photons of light and creates an image. A large sensor is better able to capture more light, more detail, and more vivid color than a smaller sensor.
Camera sensor size is particularly important when shooting in low-light conditions, where a larger sensor has more photo sites to create low-light images with greater clarity and dynamic range.
External microphones are an incredibly important aspect of capturing high-quality video. Video cameras, just like webcams and smartphones, have built-in audio recording ability that will capture sound as they capture video.
But this sound from the built-in microphone can be noisy with wind or background noise, or the desired audio can be muffled and distant, and it’s not the best way to capture sound.
Almost all video cameras also have a jack for attaching an external microphone, so you can upgrade your audio with a better microphone for your content and shooting conditions.
There are a huge range of microphones for every need in every price range. Video cameras have microphone inputs that are standard 3.5 mm jacks, so look for a microphone with that type of connector.
High end studio microphones often have larger, ¼ inch jacks designed for mixing boards and audio equipment, but as a rule it is better to use a microphone with the same type of connection as your jack (rather than use an adapter to convert it).
Starting a YouTube channel is fast and easy, and, if your content is good, audiences will often be forgiving (but vocal) about any quality issues they notice in your video and audio, and be willing to give you a chance to improve.
Creating high quality video takes time, effort, and practice, but you can grow your skills and your audience at the same time. With just some basic equipment and some patience, you’ll be creating excellent video content in no time.
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