What is the best camera for starting a vlog on YouTube? Creating a vlog and a blog is very powerful combination most content creators don’t take advantage of. Not only can you embed your own vlogs into your website to help get more views and exposure, a vlogging YouTube channel can be monetized with ads as well as affiliate marketing in your video description.
Making your YouTube channel and videos a profitable and fun hobby by driving views to your monetized videos from your website while developing a closer relationship with your audience as people connect more with video than blog posts.
There is no one camera that can do it all.
While some YouTube stars like Casey Niestat or Lost Leblanc vlog using a large camera with interchangeable lenses and an expensive microphone. There are other content creators who use something as simple as an action camera to great effect.
In this YouTube vlogging camera guide, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about purchasing a camera for vlogging on YouTube. If you’re looking to instead create talking head, presentation videos, or a camera for online course creation then checkout our best YouTube cameras for beginners.
What 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 Starting a Vlog
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:
- Sony X3000
- Sony ZV-1
- GoPro Hero 9
- Sony RX0 ii
- Osmo Pocket
- Canon M50
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. Great audio unlike the GoPro, stable video so you can walk and talk with it and it has decent battery life – again unlike the GoPro.
Put this on a cheap selfie stick or pick up the tripod designed for this camera and you have an affordable vlogging setup. It also comes with a tiny monitor that connects to the camera via a blue tooth connection so you can see what the camera sees.
The dedicate tripod for this camera is worth getting because it allows you to attach the monitor to it so you can see what the camera sees.
- Small and light. This camera fits in your pocket.
- Excellent built in audio.
- Can attach an external microphone is you want.
- Has wide, medium and narrow angles of video.
- Comes with a monitor so you can see what you’re doing.
- Comes with a water proof case that can double as a protective case.
- Good battery life for an action camera.
- Great price point.
- Can record in 4k
- Wind noise can be an issue with small cameras like this.
- The video quality is good, but the GoPro and Osmo Pocket are slighlty better now.
- Takes a long time to charge.
Sony ZV-1 – The Best Vlogging Camera for Professionals
Sony has created an outstanding pro vlogging camera with the Sony ZV-1. It produces better image quality than the their X3000 action camera and has a longer battery life. Like the X3000, it has it’s own dedicated tripod (sold separately) which adds a lot of value to this setup.
This camera can shoot 4k at up to 30 frames a second or 1080P at up to 120 frames a second for slow motion. You can also vlog at 60 frames a second at 1080P which provides the most natural looking video. It should also be noted that you can shoot up to 960 frames a second at 420P. Totally unusable for YouTube or professional use but fun to have.
Last the lens on this camera is 24-70 mm. This is incredibly disappointing as 24 mm is too close and cropped in. Which is why we still have to give the edge to the Sony X3000
- Good picture and audio.
- Flip up screen.
- 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.
- No wide angle option with this.
GoPro Hero 9 – The 5k Vlogging Camera
The GoPro Hero 9 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. Though the Hero 9 is a bit bigger than the Hero 8. 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.
- Front screen to see yourself.
- Incredibly stable.
- Small, light and easy to use with a wide angle look.
- Durable design.
- Has time lapse and time warp which add character to your videos.
- The option to record up to 5k
- Battery life is terrible at 1 hour or so. You’ll need at least 1 spare battery in your pocket.
- GoPro audio is just mediocre
Sony RX0 ii – The film makers GoPro
The Sony RX0 ii is a hybrid of a GoPro and a point and shoot camera. It’s specifically designed for film makers looking to get unique shoots from different angles as well the ability to use it under water.
The video quality out of this camera is excellent. However it lacks continuous auto focus and the lens is a 24 mm focal length. 24 mm is too close on the face when vlogging.
A lack of continuous auto focus will be a deal breaker for most reading this. Because it’s not continuous, that means when ever your subject changes, you need stop the camera and refocus. Quite annoying if you’re vlogging as if you’re filming yourself then you switch to a point of view shot, the video clip will be blurry as you’ll have to manually refocus it every time.
The Sony RX0 is a weird camera. Some vloggers will love the audio and video quality that come out of this device as well as the flip up screen to frame yourself. But with a lack of continuous auto focus and a 24 mm lens that is a bit close, there are better options for vloggers.
- 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.
Osmo Pocket – The gimbal like vlog camera
The Osmo Pocket is a unique alternative to action cameras on the market. It products outstanding video quality that is very stable due to it’s built in gimbal. The audio quality is also very good so long as there is no wind noise.
The main issue with this camera is the gimbal needs to set every time the device is turned on. Also, it has an 18 mm lens which is a bit tight on the face. As you can’t put this device on a tripod, you’re stuck with very close up vlog where only your face is in the shot. For some, this may be a deal breaker. But if you intend on doing point of view videos then this camera my be perfect for you.
- Very small and easy to use and carry.
- Excellent video and good audio in a small package.
- Lot’s of pro features like time lapse and time warp built in.
- Video is a tight shot and too close to your face for vlogging. You will need to buy an additional wide angle lens adapter.
- No built in screw mount. You can’t put this on a tripod or a selfie stick.
- No external battery.
Canon M50 – Travel and Talking Head Camera
The M50 is a small mirrorless camera with digital stabilization. Because of the built in stabilization, it’s ideal for both vlogging and talking head videos.
The M50 you can pair with a range of lenses. Our favorite is the 11-22 mm lens. It’s wide enough for both vlogging as well as online course creation or talking head YouTube videos.
Pair this with a quality microphone and you have a small, lightweight setup that allows you to shoot in 4k (with a big crop however).
- Digital stabilization to help minimize shaky camera footage.
- Can pair with quality microphones and wide angle lenses
- A flexible camera for vlogging and professional use.
- It’s not as portable or durable as a GoPro or the RX0 ii.
- Minimal lens selection for Canon’s mirrorless system.
Should You Start a Vlog?
Vlogging is a great way to get started learning how to make video content. Video is going to continually grow in importance and learning how to vlog, create tutorials as well as online courses will help you as a blogger or a small business owner long term.
Last, embedding monetized videos onto a high traffic blog post is a great way to grow your YouTube channel and make money. It adds to the overall user experience and helps your readers connect more with you.
Best Vlogging Cameras Conclusion
You have a lot of different options for vlogging. Overall we love the Sony X3000. It’s low price point, excellent audio, tripod, 4k recording, small size with a wide angle have pretty much has everything a casual vlogger would need to get started.
In addition to the X3000, we also like the M50 as it’s the most flexible camera. Not as good as the X3000 for vlogging, it can do what the X3000 can’t and that’s create online courses and professional talking head videos.