Vlogging and creating monologue talking head videos require two different types of cameras (see our guide on the best YouTube cameras) There is no one camera that can do it all, and while some YouTube stars like Casey Niestat or Lost Leblanc vlog using a large DSLR and an expensive lens does not mean that is how you should vlog.
What is vlogging?
Before we get started, what exactly is vlogging?
Vlogging is simply recording your thoughts or your day casually using a camera. Vlogs can and should have a theme, that theme being some aspect of your life that is interesting and unique. People will subscribe to your channel because of this general theme and you should try to stay on topic.
Nick Bare vlogs about his life as it relates to fitness and building his business. Reekay (of the channel Reekay’s Life Beyond the Sea) vlogs about his expat experiences. Holistic Trainer vlogs about going on fun trips with his cute Thai girlfriend. Harald Baldr vlogs casual travel videos where he tells a story.
You’re going to annoy and lose subscribers if you radically change your vlog topic week to week. People and YouTube want to box you in, so pick your theme and go with it. If you’re about travel, then 90% of your vlogs should be about travel stuff with 10% off topic stuff.
Some popular themes for vlogs are travel, diet, health, over coming some struggle or difficulty in your life, parenting and so forth.
What do you need in a vlog camera?
For vlogging, smaller and lighter is the way to go. While you will see people talking about getting some big camera and some expensive lens, you will not want to carry around a big setup with you as you go about your day.
Small and light
Small and light is the primary feature you will want for a vlogging camera. A camera that is light, easy to carry will allow you to record video on the go.
Larger setups become clunky and annoying to carry. If you have a big camera it will become a burden to take with you. Instead, focus on something that is portable, light and that you will actually want to take with you.
Stabilization – Digital or IBIS
You’re going to want to get a vlogging camera that has stabilization. Stabilization comes in two forms, digital or in body stabilization (IBIS).
Digital stabilization means the camera automatically stabilizes the video footage digitally. IBIS however is mechanical and is far superior to digital stabilization. Though having digital stabilization much better than no stabilization.
What exactly is stabilization?
Stabilization is what makes your videos smooth and watchable when you’re walking and talking into the camera or if you’re doing a point of view video.
Without stabilization in the lens and the camera body, your videos will be way too shaky for people to enjoy unless you use a gimbal which is a large piece of equipment mean’t for film makers.
People who suggest using a gimbal almost have never used a gimbal themselves.
If you’re vlogging, a gimbal makes your setup way more complicated as a gimbal needs to be balanced and is quite large and heavy. Many assume a gimbal is a glorified tripod. It’s not. It’s a big heavy item that is not designed for on the go vlogging.
It’s designed for film making and does an excellent job at providing smooth, steady shots. Unless you’re making a film, you don’t want a gimbal.
Audio is important. With most vlog setups, it’s not essential to have amazing audio as telling a story is more important. Audio is more important when doing a talking head video.
But it’s still something to take into consideration which is why we excluded the DJI Pocket Osmo from the list as the internal audio is simply unacceptable for vlogging.
Last is that you’re going to want a vlogging camera to be durable. You don’t want to buy a large, expensive $6000 camera which you then drop and break because you thought it was a good idea to vlog your boring day at the park with your mom.
Vlogging is part of being out in the world and telling a story. As such, accidents are more likely to happen when vlogging than when in your recording space.
Best Cameras for Vlogging in 2019
So here are Website Creative Pro’s top choices for the best cameras for vlogging. If you’re wanting to create additional content for your website and are wanting to start vlogging, these are the cameras you should consider (in no particular order):
- G7X Mark iii
- GoPro Hero 8
- Sony RX0 ii
- Sony x3000
- Canon M50
G7X Mark ii – The Overall Best Vlogging Camera
There is a newer mark iii but at the time of this review it’s too handicapped to recommend and it’s more expensive. The mark ii is a tried and true vlogging camera you’ll love.
What makes the G7X so good as a vlogging camera is that it’s a small point and shoot that fits comfortably on a selfie stick. With built in stabilization it does a nice job when creating point of view videos or walk and talk videos. You can also zoom in and do time lapses with this camera.
Lastly, the G7X has a flip up screen to help frame yourself as well as an external mic jack. Overall, this camera is good at many things but master of none. But all these elements combined make it into a compelling vlogging camera.
- Good picture and audio.
- Flip up screen and mic jack.
- Small and easy to take with you.
- Good autofocus.
- Very easy to use and beginner friendly. Just turn it on and vlog.
- Stabilized. Not at GoPro level, but enough to make walk and talk videos or point of view videos.
- Not durable. You need to be careful not to drop this camera.
- Have to install a firmware update to get good auto-focus and 24p shooting.
GoPro Hero 8 – Tiny Vlogging Camera
The GoPro Hero 8 is an action camera that is slowly becoming the vloggers choice of camera. The GoPro is a rugged camera. You can drop it, dive under water with it, run out in the rain and so forth.
The GoPro is also small and looks like a toy so it’s easy to vlog in public or in random situations without drawing attention to yourself. With it’s wide angle for point of view videos, linear mode for vlogging and incredible stabilization, this is a high quality camera you can take with you and use in all sorts of fun ways.
- Compatible with accessories like a flip up screen and external mic.
- Incredibly stable.
- Small, light and easy to use with a wide angle look.
- Durable. It’s an action camera that’s turning into the perfect vlogging camera.
- Has time lapse and time warp which add character to your videos.
- Battery life is terrible at 1 hour or so. You’ll need at least 1 spare battery in your pocket.
- Audio is mediocre. The Hero 8 is much improved however.
- The colors and sharpness are not as good as a proper point and shoot like a G7X.
Sony RX0 ii – The film makers GoPro
Is a point and shoot too big for you? Want something a bit more durable too? Then take a look at the Sony RX0 ii. This amazing little camera is the same size as a GoPro roughly but comes with a 1 inch sensor like the G7X.
That means the video quality will be just as good as a larger point and shoot but in a tiny body. It has a flip up screen, is water proof, can withstand being dropped. At 24mm this lens is not a wide angle shot, can not be adjusted and the aperture can not be changed either.
Please note this camera does not have continuous auto focus. That means when ever your subject changes, you need stop and refocus. Quite annoying if you’re vlogging as if you’re filming yourself then you switch to a point of view shot, it will be blurry.
If you’re fine with these limitations and annoyance, this is basically a mini G7X that is durable and fits in your pocket.
- Small as the GoPro but produces better video and has better audio.
- Waterproof. You can dive into the ocean with no worries using this camera.
- Flip up screen to frame yourself and audio mic jack.
- Stabilized video. Perfect for point of view shots or walk and talk videos.
- No continuous auto focus. Quite annoying for vlogging.
- 24 mm is a tight shot for walk and talk videos. It’s acceptable, but would be nicer to have a wider field of view.
- Battery life like the GoPro is terrible.
- Overheats when recording in 4k.
Sony x3000 – The GoPro Rival
This camera came out years ago but is still a great choice for vlogging. It’s a small pocketable design that has a wide angle lens, good audio, stable and decent battery life. Put this on a selfie stick with an external mic and you have an affordable vlogging setup.
- Small and light. This camera fits in your pocket.
- Good audio and a wide angle view due to the lens.
- Decent battery life when compared to the GoPro or RX0 ii.
- It’s competitive on price as it came out a few years ago.
- The video is not as good as the GoPro or RX0 ii but still acceptable.
Canon M50 – Small Mirrorless Camera
The M50 is a small mirrorless camera. Slightly bigger than the G7X, but you can switch out lenes with the M50. That means you can use Canon’s 11-22mm lens that is designed for their mirrorless system which is a bit wide but has the ability to zoom in a bit as well as the 15-45mm zoom lens.
These two lenses give you a wide variety of shots with the M50. Lastly, the M50 as digital stabilization so you can walk and talk or do point of view shots. The stabilization is not amazing and no where near as good as the GoPro or x3000, but it’s good enough to prevent shaky camera footage.
- Digital stabilization to help minimize shaky camera footage.
- Good audio and video.
- Small, lightweight camera that can double for vlogging or talking head videos.
- The camera body, lenses and microphones make this an expensive setup.
- It’s not as portable or durable as a GoPro or the RX0 ii.
- Minimal lens selection for Canon’s mirrorless system.
Should You Vlog?
Learning how to create video content, shoot at different angles and positions as well as just getting comfortable being on camera are all good reasons why you should start a vlog. Before creating tutorial videos on YouTube I started a vlogging/travel channel that never took off.
But in reality, I was simply learning how to create compelling content using video.
Best Vlogging Camera For YouTube
So that is is for this list on the best vlogging camera for YouTube. My personal choices are the RX0 ii or the GoPro Hero 8. These cameras fit in a pocket, produce great video and allow you to vlog in public with ease. But again, it depends on what you need and want.