Best Vlogging Cameras to Capture Your Essence

min read

Part of the reason it seems like everyone has a vlog is that everyone has a smartphone. For most people, the increasingly adequate, often premium, video cameras built into most mobile devices has made knowing where your phone is the only barrier to shooting video — especially the single-camera, one-shot videos that a lot of vloggers use.

And for most vloggers, a smartphone works just fine. Assuming you already own one, it’s a good way to start creating video without a big upfront investment.

But if you’re looking to raise your game, to graduate to professional-grade video, you need a professional-grade, high-definition video camera. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use a smartphone — just that you can’t use any smartphone.

You can find endless HD camera options out there. And like any consumer technology, the choice can be not only overwhelming but totally confusing. You can simplify things by focusing on three key requirements:

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1. High resolution 

You want a touchscreen camera that can record video in nothing less than 4K resolution. Many cameras still only have a maximum resolution of 1080p. That’s not horrible, but it puts you at, risk of looking low-res and dated. Many newer smartphones come with 4K video capability.

2. Autofocus

If you’re a one-person team, like most vloggers, you need a camera stays in focus by itself.

3. Stabilizing and screen visibility

For your vlog, you’ll want a display that lets you can see yourself and the scene around you while you’re recording. If you’re using with a smartphone, you’ll need a three-axis stabilizer or gimbal to mount it. A shaky camera can blur your picture, which can ruin your footage or, at best, increase your editing time.

With those three factors in mind, here are our picks for the best vlogging cameras on the market today. All but one record in 4K. We’re not including any smartphones; if that’s your preferred route, just try to find one that meets the three criteria above.

5 of the best vlogging cameras

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1. Canon EOS M200 EF-M

This little camera is as powerful as it is lightweight. "This would be great for a travel vlogger or someone who would be doing day-in-the-life style videos," says my colleague and Descript video producer Tiff Bauer. "It's super lightweight and has a screen that you can flip to see yourself while you film."

Even though the camera's body is about as big as a deck of cards, it still has an interchangeable lens like a bulkier DSLR. Combine a great lens with its high quality image sensor, and you've got a lot of camera power for less than $600.

2. Sony Alpha ZV-E10

Like the Canon, this camera is mirrorless — which makes for a slimmer design— and has an interchangeable lens, a screen that can flip forward, and a high-quality image sensor.

"This is very similar to the Canon, but might just be a tiny bit of an upgrade in terms of quality," Tiff says. That slight increase in quality also comes with a slight increase in size and price — this one will run you around $700.

3. GoPro Hero10 Black

You don’t have to be a windsurfer or a teenage motocross jock to appreciate GoPro. "GoPros have come a long way in terms of video quality," Tiff says.

With add-on microphone options, digital stabilization, the ability to mount to a selfie stick, and standard resolution in 4K, the Hero10 is a solid choice for any action-oriented or outdoorsy vlogger. It’s also waterproof and relatively cheap. We’re talking less than $400.

4. Panasonic Lumix GH6

All of these cameras can be used for more than just vlogging, but if you're looking to really invest in a DSLR that can excel at still photography and filmmaking, this Panasonic might be your best bet. It can shoot in a wide range of 4K-focused video modes, and like the Canon and Sony above, has a display that can be flipped forward for selfie mode.

"This is a great entry-level DSLR that has great image quality for the price," Tiff says. That price is around $2,000.

5. Your smartphone with a DJI Osmo Mobile 6 gimbal

If you’ve read this far and decided to record on your smartphone — which, again, totally fine — you need to invest in a gimbal. The one we recommend is the DJI Osmo Mobile 6.

Lightweight and available for $160, the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 lets you work your smartphone hands-free while also stabilizing the picture. It’s sturdy, easy to use, and can fold up for travel. It also comes with a built-in battery and magnetic mounts to secure your phone. 

Vlogging camera FAQs

Now that we've covered the basics, which camera option best suits your vlogging needs? Here are our suggestions for particular vloggers.

YouTubers seeking high-quality video

  • Go with the Panasonic Lumix GH6. It gives you high-definition video, excellent mic options, and plenty of other features.

Beginning vloggers

  • Try the Canon EOS M200 EF-M or the Sony Alpha ZV-E10. Like the Lumix GH6, they both record in 4K and have decent features, but won’t put as big of a dent in your savings.

Outdoor vloggers

  • Go with the GoPro Hero10 Black, which gives you 4K quality and all the mobility you want. Don’t forget to buy a helmet and pay your health insurance premiums.

Smartphone vloggers

  • Just make sure your phone records in 4K, and get the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 gimbal. It will allow you to mount and stabilize your smartphone.

To learn more about hooking up your vlogging camera to editing software like Descript, read more tips and tricks on Descript's blog.

Written by
Written by
Lara Unnerstall

Video Producer at Descript. Filmmaker, writer, and dog weirdo.

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Lara Unnerstall

Video Producer at Descript. Filmmaker, writer, and dog weirdo.

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