A few years ago, we wouldn’t even cover vlogging cameras. Today they are hot-ticket items coveted by a range of content creators. Let’s see how we got here. Blog, a word coined in 1998, is short for weblog, an online journal or text posting that may include images.
A vlog, short for “video log,” is a video blog post. The first known vlog was created in 1999 by Adam Kontras. Then in January 2000, he began posting a series of videos tracking his travels. That vlog started an avalanche of creation.
Vlogging is now a serious endeavor of pros and enthusiast photographers as well as a new generation of video content creators. Many vlogs are sophisticated, masterfully produced videos posted on streaming social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, TikTok and Twitch.
Subjects range from daily vlogs (video diaries), travel vlogs, how-to vlogs, tech vlogs, educational vlogs, music vlogs, challenge vlogs, opinion vlogs, food- and movie-review vlogs to the ever popular “box opening” vlogs. Typical vlogs span 5–40 minutes; the sweet spot is in the 7–15-minute range.
Indeed, vlogging is so insanely popular, attracting huge audiences, that camera makers are targeting this rapidly expanding sector. They now offer cameras with feature sets specifically aimed at a range of vloggers, from emerging enthusiasts to pros.
What Customers Should Look for in a Vlogging Camera
Here’s a concise list of the features a versatile vlogging camera should offer.
1. High-performance video capabilities
This means 4K 30p recording or better. It should also include Log Gamma settings and other in-camera processing options.
2. An articulated LCD, especially one that flips forward for shooting selfies
High-res LCDs and touchscreens that provide direct access to video parameters are a plus.
3. Monitor connectivity
The ability to connect to a TV or computer screen lets creators mirror the LCD and see what’s recording in greater detail. This requires a type of HDMI or USB port.
4. Compact size and light weight.
This is especially important for vloggers on the move. A smaller, lighter camera won’t cause arm fatigue. Even stationary vloggers prefer setting up smaller, easily maneuverable cameras.
The most effective AF systems for vlogging use hybrid AF. It’s a combination of phase-detection and contrast-detection sensors. The greater the number of AF sensor points, and the larger the percentage of the image field they cover, the better.
6. Facial and eye recognition
If the background is busy, regular AF isn’t enough to prevent “hunting.” A camera that identifies faces and homes in on eyes is a big plus.
7. Touch focus.
It’s a plus if you can tap the LCD screen to let the camera know what it should focus on, as well as a failsafe if your regular AF or facial recognition acts up. While not essential, it’s nice to have.
8. Low-light performance.
The camera must be able to capture clear footage in low light—a common occurrence in vlogs shot indoors or at night. Beware that setting the ISO too high can result in “grainy” videos, while setting too wide an aperture may create limited depth of field not suitable for the subject.
9. Image Stabilization
If you walk around with a handheld camera, built-in image stabilization (IS), which minimizes the results of shake, is well-nigh essential. The best systems shift the image sensor itself and/or shift elements in compatible lenses to compensate for shake effects. Digital IS systems are limited but helpful.
10. Long battery life
Running out of juice in the middle of a vlog can ruin your day. The solutions: Make sure the camera has sufficient battery capacity; charge the battery right before a shoot; and spring for extra batteries and keep them charged.
Mirrorless Vlogging Cameras for Video Content Creators
Panasonic Lumix G100
This Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera, optimized for vlogging, incorporates a 20.3MP Live MOS sensor sans low-pass filter. It’s coupled to an advanced Venus Engine processor as well as a user interface and feature set aimed at vloggers.
Its 5-axis hybrid IS in-body stabilization interfaces with lens-based OIS to minimize the effects of camera shake. Moreover, a 3-inch, 1.84M-dot, free-angle touchscreen LCD facilitates high- and low-angle shooting and front-facing selfies. A frame marker highlights the specific region that will show at the selected aspect ratio (ideal for matching direct output to social media).
Additionally, vertical video recording is supported for viewing on smartphones. Plus, users can set a dedicated video selfie mode to begin when the screen is rotated. It automatically highlights the main subject by optimizing the depth of field using face detection AF/AE and automatically configures the sound pickup range. Another plus is OZO Audio by Nokia. The spatial audio recording uses the camera’s three built-in mics. Users can configure them manually or automatically, enabling sound recording in all directions.
Video features include 4K UHD 30p recording with 8-bit color sampling and 4:2:0 sampling while recording internally at Full HD 60p. It also records Full HD externally via Micro HDMI with 4:2:2 sampling and 8-bit color depth. Other niceties are V-Log L to capture a neutral Gamma for grading; a 3.5mm mic input; a 3.7M-dot OLED EVF; 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE for wireless sharing and remote control; 30-fps bursts; post focus and focus stacking; and a max sensitivity of ISO 25,600 for stills and ISO 200–6400 for video. It’s robust body measures 4.6×3.3×2.1 inches and weighs 12.4 ounces. $519.99. na.panasonic.com
Nikon Z 30
Created for vloggers and livestreamers, this Nikon Z-mount, APS-C-format camera employs a 20MP DX-format CMOS sensor. It captures 4K UHD 30p and Full HD 120p video; livestreams at Full HD 60p and 4K 30p; and provides in-camera time-lapse creation.
Vlogging-oriented features include a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, free-angle LCD touchscreen that can face forward for well-composed selfies. It also provides selfie-style control options for focus, exposure, etc. Notably, if users like what they see in the LCD, they can snap a selfie while recording video. Plus, even in low light, full-time AF tracks while users are walking in self-portrait mode.
Moreover, the ILC has a red tally lamp that lights during recording; a top-quality integrated stereo mic with and optional wind muff; a 3.5mm microphone port; and built-in e-VR (vibration reduction) video stabilization to minimize the effects of handheld shake.
The Z 30 uses a hybrid AF system with 209 phase-detection points plus contrast detection, eye-detection AF, face/eye tracking for people and animals, as well as automatic focus shift for product shots. Its sensitivity settings of ISO 100–51,200 for stills top out at ISO 25,600 when recording video. Other features are an 11-fps, full-res burst rate; built-in filters and presets; Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz and Bluetooth that work with the SnapBridge app for always-connected wireless transfer and remote control. Plus, a “?” button provides a concise explanation of camera settings.
The Z 30 measures 5.1×2.9×2.4 inches and weighs a portable 12.4 ounces. $659.95. nikonusa.com
Sony Alpha 7 IV
This Sony ILC is a choice for pros and enthusiasts who shoot both video and stills. Further, used by countless vloggers, the E-mount all-rounder features a 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS BSI sensor. Coupled to a Bionz XR processor, it achieves 10-fps, full-res bursts. Additionally, it provides a sensitivity span of ISO 50–204,800 for stills and ISO 100–102,400 for video, plus 15-stop dynamic range.
Notably, the ILC adopts technology from real-world movie production for a cinematic look, including the S-Cinetone picture profile used in Sony’s Cinema Line cameras. It records 4K 60p video in Super 35mm mode; 4K 30p recording with 7K oversampling in full-frame mode; 10-bit depth 4:2:2 color sampling for natural gradation; XAVC S-I intra-frame encoding; and XAVC HS H.265 long-GOP. And it supports S-Log3, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and other color and Gamma controls.
The camera also streams 4K 15p UVC (USB Video Class)/UAC (USB Audio Class) via its USB Type-C port and 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The latter interfaces with Sony’s Image Edge app to maintain reliable connections to mobile devices. It also supports “Visual Story” for easy cloud-based delivery of videos and photos immediately after shooting. Livestreaming facilitates live social media presentations and videoconferencing.
Other features comprise a 3.7M-dot EVF with 0.78x magnification and a 120-fps refresh rate; a 3-inch, 1.03M-dot, vari-angle, touchscreen LCD with a front-facing orientation for selfies; a 759-point hybrid AF system with real-time eye AF; focus-breathing compensation; 5-axis, 5.5-stop SteadyShot IS; as well as creative looks and soft skin effects. There are dual slots for CFexpress Type A and SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II) cards. It’s all housed in a moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body measuring 5.3×3.9×3.3 inches and weighing 1.5 pounds with battery/recording media. $2,499.99. sony.com
Canon EOS R5 C
Billed a mirrorless cinema camera, the Canon R5 C may be the ultimate crossover. That’s because, at the flick of a switch, users can transform it from a full-featured still camera into a full-frame 8K 60p cinema camera that internally records 12-bit Cinema RAW Light footage. Uninterrupted 8K/60p video is recorded with its active cooling system.
Other video features include 4K 120p recording; HDMI RAW output; Canon Log 3/HLG/PQ support; unlimited recording time; and a timecode port. Pro features adopted from the R5 include a 45MP, full-frame CMOS sensor and an advanced AF system that locks onto and captures fast-moving subjects with impressive accuracy and speed. Moreover, it shoots at 12 fps using its mechanical shutter and 20 fps using the nearly silent electronic shutter.
Canon’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II tech provides nearly 100% coverage of the AF area. Additionally, a built-in EOS iTR AF X system uses AF-tracking algorithms and deep learning to continually optimize the readout speed of the sensor and the processing speed of the Digic X processor.
The system boasts 1,053-automatically-selected zones and provides eye-, face- and head-detection AF for humans and animals. Complementing this is 5-axis in-body IS that integrates with the optical image stabilizer in IS-equipped RF lenses for 8 stops of anti-shake protection.
Other features include ISO 100–102,400 settings; a 5.8M-dot EVF; a 3.2-inch, 2.1M-dot, vari-angle touchscreen; dual CFexpress/SD UHS-II slots; and 5/2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and UVC connectivity. Its weatherproof body measures 5.6x4x4.4 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. $4,399.
GoPro Hero11 Black Creator Edition
Action cameras are popular among vloggers, especially GoPro cams. The Hero11 Black Creator Edition is an all-in-one solution for vlogging, filmmaking and livestreaming. Palm-size and ultralightweight, it offers all the Hero11 Black’s performance plus a long-lasting Volta battery grip with built-in buttons for one-handed control. It provides four+ hours of 4K recording per charge.
Also included is an external mic input; an HDMI port; a high-output LED light; and two cold shoe mounts.
The camera employs a 1/1.9-inch, 27MP CMOS sensor that enables 8:7 aspect ratio video for the largest vertical field of view ever on a GoPro. It’s possible to simultaneously create extra-tall 9:16 vertical shots for Instagram and TikTok as well as 16:9 cinematic shots for YouTube.
The all-terrain compact captures POV video up to 5.3K at 60 fps and 2.7K at 240 fps (8x slow motion), as well as 27MP stills. And HyperSmooth 5.0 digital IS with a horizon lock improves stabilization at the 4:3 ratio. Plus, auto boost maximizes IS while minimizing cropping.
Other features include front and rear LCDs; night effects, including star trails, vehicle light trails and light painting; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth for uploading videos and images to the cloud, which automatically sends an editable highlight video to a phone (subscription service); USB-C charging; waterproof construction to 33 feet; and a water-repellent coating on its 24.4mm lens. The camera measures 2.8x2x1.3 inches and weighs just 4.5 ounces. With one-year subscription, $529.98.
A bit lighter than its X-T4 predecessor, Fujifilm’s new X-mount ILC has a higher-res 40.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor and a fifth-generation, high-speed X-Processor 5. The combination boasts 4K 60p and 6.2K 30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal video recording. Native sensitivity settings of ISO 125–12,800 extend to ISO 51,200 in still mode and 25,600 in video mode. The ILC also achieves 20-fps and 15-fps bursts with the electronic and mechanical shutter, respectively.
The X-T5 has an intuitive dial-based layout and is an adept crossover camera with built-in 7-stop, 5-axis, sensor-shift IS. In addition, its pixel-shift multi-shot mode creates stunningly sharp 160MP files, and the electronic shutter freezes action at up to 1/180,000 sec!
Its moviemaking prowess also includes the ability to record 12-bit ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW via the HDMI port to Atmos and Blackmagic devices. Further, videographers can access Fujifilm F-Log and F-Log2 Gamma curve profiles. Another cutting-edge feature is a phase-detection, 425-point, intelligent hybrid AF system (PDAF plus contrast detection). The system is sensitive down to -7 EV for extreme low-light work.
Furthermore, the camera integrates a 100% view, 0.8x magnification, 0.5-inch, 3.7M-dot OLED EVF with -5 to +3 adjustable diopters. It’s complemented by a 3-inch, 1.8M-dot, tilting touchscreen LCD. Other features include 19 film simulation modes; HEIF file support; and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity with remote control capability. The X-T5 measures 5.1×3.6×2.5 inches and weighs 1.2 pounds. $1,699.95.
Sigma fp L
This outstanding upgrade of the revolutionary Sigma fp is an all-around great camera that makes its way into many of our features! It boasts advanced functions that fans of the unique, ultracompact, modular full framer were seeking. However, it keeps the L mount and distinctive minimalist form factor of its predecessor. All in all, it’s an excellent choice for vloggers.
The mirrorless marvel employs an ultrahigh-resolution 61MP, full-frame BSI Bayer CMOS sensor with a low-pass filter. Its high-sensitivity (down to -5 EV), hybrid phase- and contrast-detection AF system uses 49 contrast-detection and 42 selectable points.
The ILC works with Sigma’s optional EVF-11 electronic viewfinder. The EVF has a 0.5-inch, 3.7M-dot OLED panel for eye-level viewing and 0.83x magnification. It also tilts upward 90° for low-angle shooting and integrates a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone port for audio monitoring.
In addition, the fp L’s sensor captures 14-bit DNG/RAW and JPEG stills. It also records 4K UHD video at 30p and 4K DCI 24p output if recording externally. Plus, it records 8-bit CinemaDNG files to an SD card and outputs 12-bit CinemaDNG over USB C or 12-bit RAW over HDMI.
Other features are a 3.1-inch, 2.1M-dot LCD; a 5x crop zoom function; a full-res, 10-fps burst rate; and a card slot that accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II) cards. The fp L has a diecast, weather-resistant body. It’s 4.4×2.8×1.8 inches and weighs in at a slight 15.1 ounces. $2,499 body; $2,999 with EVF-11. sigmaphoto.com
Sony configured this APS-C-format, E-mount ILC as “the perfect solution for vloggers.” Thus, its specialized feature set targets video creators. Taking its original concept from the ZV-1, it includes a unique 3-inch, 921K-dot, vari-angle touchscreen that uses a side-flip-out design ideal for filming selfies.
A redesigned top plate incorporates a directional three-capsule mic for forward-directional audio recording. And a wind screen for the built-in mic attaches with the supplied shoe-mount adapter, for cleaner audio when outdoors.
There are 3.5mm microphone and headphone ports and a multi-interface shoe to enhance its audio capabilities. A front tally lamp and a red border frame on the LCD provide visual confirmation it’s recording. Specialized shooting modes include product showcase, background defocus, face priority AE and soft skin effect. Further, livestreaming for social media and videoconferencing directly from the camera is possible via a USB connection to a computer or mobile device.
The ZV-E10 employs a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor and a Bionz X processor to achieve sensitivity settings of ISO 100–32,000, extendable to ISO 51,200. They also enable full-res, 11-fps bursts with AF/AE and 14-bit RAW file output. Other video specs include 4K 30-fps recording (using 6K oversampling to yield greater detail) and Full HD at up to 120 fps. Both record in the 100 Mb/s XAVC 5 format with 4:2:0 sampling.
The camera also offers external recording of clean 4K with 4:2:2 sampling, and HDR-HLG, Sony S-Log2 and S-Log3 Gamma curves like Sony’s cinema cameras. Plus, a wide-field 425-point hybrid AF system combines phase and contrast detection to focus in just 0.02 sec.
Other features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for remote operation and posting on social networks; real-time eye AF, face/eye priority AF and tracking using AI-based algorithms; plus soft skin effect and background defocus modes. It measures 4.5×2.5×1.8 inches and weighs 12.1 ounces (with battery/recording media). $699.99.
Nikon Z 6II
This thoughtfully upgraded successor to the acclaimed Nikon Z 6 retains a compact, ergonomic form factor, making it a great choice for vloggers. The multimedia ILC sports a 25.4MP FX-Format (full-frame) BSI (backside-illuminated) CMOS sensor and dual Expeed 6 processors. They deliver 14-fps, full-res continuous shooting with single-point AF and 12 fps in other AF modes. That’s thanks to its increased buffer depth.
The camera records 4K UHD 30p and Full HD up to 120p video, as well as external 10-bit HDMI output along with HLG (HDR) support. Nikon’s firmware version 1.10 enables 4K recording at 60 and 50 fps as well as RAW video output to Blackmagic Design Video Assist external recorders. Without the upgrade, the Z 6II outputs ProRes RAW footage to Atomos external recorders for color grading flexibility.
It features native sensitivity settings of ISO 100–51,200 that are extendable from ISO 50 to ISO 204,800. Plus, in-body, 5-axis, sensor-shift VR dramatically reduces the appearance of camera shake. Its 273-point phase-detection AF system focuses down to -4.5 EV and includes eye detection in wide-area AF modes for stills or video.
Other features include a 0.8x, 0.5-inch, 3.7M-dot OLED EVF; a 3.2-inch, 2.1M-dot, tilting touchscreen LCD; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with always-on SnapBridge connectivity; CFexpress Type B/XQD and SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II slots; as well as a USB Type-C port for charging or remote power supply. Built on a durable magnesium alloy chassis, its dust/weather-resistant body measures 5.3x4x2.8 inches and weighs 1.4 pounds. $1,999.95.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
A compact, point-and-shoot multimedia camera, it’s the latest member of Canon’s G7 series. The next-gen vlogging camera provides livestreaming to YouTube via a wireless connection for posting content in real time. It also offers vertical video support and 4K recording at up to a 30p high frame rate movie with no crop and Full HD recording at up to 120p.
The slim-line beauty employs a 1-inch, 20.1MP stacked CMOS sensor mated to a top-end Digic 8 processor. The high-tech pairing delivers fast AF speeds and a 20-fps, full-res burst rate.
Notable is a 24–100mm-equivalent, 4.2x optical zoom lens (plus 4x digital) with built-in IS that focuses down to 2 inches in macro. Vloggers will also appreciate its microphone jack, improved user interface and creative assist functions. Native sensitivity settings span from ISO 100 to ISO 12,800 (auto mode). And its 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, articulated, touchscreen LCD offers touch & drag AF for easy focus point selection. Moreover, it tilts up 180° for front-facing vlogging and selfies.
Also included are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless transfer to linked mobile devices and remote camera control via the Canon Camera Connect app. In addition, an exposure compensation dial and user-friendly control rings and dials facilitate intuitive operation. The sturdy, lightweight PowerShot G7 X Mark III measures 4.1×2.4×1.6 inches and weighs a mere 10.7 ounces with battery and recording media (SD/SDHC/SDXC). $699.99.