Best Vlogging Cameras of 2018

Vlogging cameras are critical to your success as a vlogger. A good vlogging camera provides a balance of image quality, features, and availability. The best camera to use is the camera you have, so it’s important to find a camera you’ll use often. Vlogging your life on-the-go, especially when you’re traveling, may require a more compact and more comfortable to carry a camera than vlogging from your bedroom, so keep these needs in mind.

Our picks for the best vlogging cameras of 2018 are broken down into four categories.

  • Entry-level: Affordable cameras for a photography novice
  • Mid-tier: Cameras with acceptable image quality and some advanced features
  • High-end: Pro cameras with the highest image quality and the most features, but come with added complexity
  • Niche: Cameras that are strong for their specific use cases, but can be limiting

How Much to Spend on a Vlogging Camera

Determining how much to spend on a camera can seem challenging, but the benefits of a more expensive vs. a cheaper camera are fairly straight-forward. You typically get three things when you spend more on a camera.

  1. Better Image Quality: Higher-end cameras typically handle poor lighting situations better (such as a darker room or a setting that is both very dark and bright). You may also get a higher resolution and frame rates.
  2. Features: Higher-end cameras may have more control over the image, better autofocus, and built-in apps to do things like time-lapse.
  3. More Control: The most expensive cameras give you a lot of control over an image, but you’ll need knowledge and skill as a photographer to take advantage of these.

There are really two rules to keep in mind when deciding how much to spend:

  1. In good conditions, it’s hard to tell the difference. If you’re going to shoot in good, controlled conditions (well-lit in your room), then you’ll see less difference by price. However, more extreme conditions may require a better camera.
  2. You hit diminishing returns. The higher-end cameras get more expensive faster than they get better. Cameras in the $700 to $1,000 range are about as good as anyone will ever need. You only need to spend more than this if you need the image quality or you are more invested in cinematography.

Lastly, I’ve called out when a camera has a flip screen and what direction it flips. This is helpful for seeing yourself and composing a shot without help or an external monitor. This is a wonderful feature for anyone filming their vlog alone.

With that in mind, here is our list of the best vlogging cameras:

1. Sony RX100 MK V ($999)

Sony RX100 V

Category: Mid-tier
Flip Screen: Yes (Up)
What We Like: Great, high-quality camera squeezed into a compact point-and-shoot body. Good image quality and features.
What We Don’t Like: It’s not cheap for a “point-and-shoot”.

What You Need to Know:

This is one of the best vlogging cameras on the market. It’s not cheap, but between its image quality, features, time-lapse app, and compact size, you’re getting an excellent camera. This is my personal, on-the-go vlogging camera, so I can highly recommend it.

2. Canon 80D ($999)

Canon 80D

Category: Mid-tier
Flip Screen: Yes (Side)
What We Like: Solid and durable workhorse of a camera with great image quality and color. A classic camera model.
What We Don’t Like: It’s bulky. Also, Canon hasn’t kept up with other manufacturer’s improvements and technology.

What You Need to Know:

If you want a dependable camera that never really goes out of style, this is your camera. We’re big fans of the color on Canon cameras as well. However, these are bulky DSLR cameras with lenses, so they’re harder to use on the go. However, they’re great for a small bedroom or office studio.

My first camera was Canon T5i, the younger sibling of this camera. I now shoot on the Canon 1DX ii, so I can highly recommend the Canon DSLRs.

3. Smart Phone (Varies)

iPhone 8

Category: Entry
Flip Screen: No
What We Like: You likely already have one and it’s always with you.
What We Don’t Like: Can require special mount and lacks some benefits of a dedicated camera.

The best camera is the camera you have and you almost always have this camera. If you already have a smartphone, but don’t have the budget to buy a standalone camera, then start with your phone. Even as you progress, your phone can make a great camera in a pinch or for your shorter videos on Instagram.

Most modern flagship phones have excellent cameras, but sites like DXO maintain rankings of the highest rated smartphone cameras. Currently, the iPhone 8, iPhone 10, Pixel 2, and Samsung Galaxy S9 are some of the best options on the market.

4. GoPro Hero 5 Black ($299)

GoPro
Category: Niche
Flip Screen: No
What We Like: Durable in tough conditions, making it great for action shots and sports.
What We Don’t Like: Its use is limited, as it’s best suited to a few use cases.

This is the go-to consumer brand for action video. If you’re doing outdoors, action, or sports video work, then the GoPro is worth exploring. However, it’s a niche tool and may not be suitable for all types of vlogging.

5. Canon G7Z Mk II ($564)

Canon G7
Category:
Mid-tier
Flip Screen: Yes (Up)
What We Like: Solid compact camera with great color. More affordable than its Sony counterpart, the RX100 V.
What We Don’t Like: It’s not as technically advanced, relative to other options at this tier.

This is a solid point-and-shoot camera by Canon. It’s often compared to the Sony RX100 V, which edges ahead of the G7 due to the improved image quality. However, it’s $400 cheaper and a solid option for an affordable and compact vlogging camera.

6. Sony a7R II ($2,398)

Sony a7

Category: High-end
Flip Screen: No (Tilts)
What We Like: Excellent mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.
What We Don’t Like: It’s expensive. It also has no tilt screen at this price. (And personally, we prefer Canon’s skin tone colors over Sony’s.)

This is an excellent camera with wonderful image quality and performance. With its interchangeable lenses, you get a lot of control over your image. Over the last few years, Sony has really pushed image quality ahead of Canon at this tier. As a mirrorless camera, it’s more compact than a traditional DSLR. However, this camera is very expensive for your average vlogger and doesn’t even have a flip screen.

7. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 ($50)

Logitech Webcam

Category: Niche
Flip Screen: No (Computer Monitor)
What We Like: Affordable starter camera for interviews and screencasts. You can use your computer monitor as a screen.
What We Don’t Like: Image quality is limited and you’re tied down to your computer.

If you mostly do interviews, webinars, streaming, or screencasts, this may be a solid option. It’s very affordable and can get the job done for these use cases. You can use it for traditional vlogging, but the image quality is not as strong as a more dedicated camera. Lastly, it’s tied down to your computer, but that also means you can use your computer screen to monitor your video.

8. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS ($286)

Canon Powershot

Category: Entry
Flip Screen: No
What We Like: It’s cheap. It’s a solid starter point-and-shoot with a lot of features.
What We Don’t Like: Image quality won’t perform as well in poorer conditions. There is no flip screen.

If you’re looking for a budget point-and-shoot, this is a good option. It has a lot of useful features as well. However, at this price point, you’ll notice image quality differences. There is also no flip screen like you get on the G7.

9. Sony a6500 ($1,398)

Sony a6500

Category: High-end
Flip Screen: No (Tilts)
What We Like: Solid middle-ground mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, which is a step up from point-and-shots, but with a more manageable price tag.
What We Don’t Like: Not as good as the a7R and bulkier than the RX100.

This sits between the Sony RX100 and the a7R. There are several vloggers who like this camera and for good reason. It has excellent image quality and is an interchangeable mirrorless camera, which gives you more control than a point-and-shoot. If you’re a Sony fan and want something more serious than the RX100, but don’t want to dish out the cost of the a7R, then this is your camera.

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