9 Best Vlogging Cameras 2018: DSLR, Compact, Mirrorless
Vlogging is steadily becoming more popular as years pass by. Vloggers gather large audiences of followers, be it through it their Youtube channel, Instagram account, and building their own community with services like Ning.com. Even if you just record vlogs for fun or just want to turn it into a profession, this list of the best vlogging cameras in 2018 will save you a lot of research time. If you get the right camera, it becomes easier, faster and you’ll get better video quality.
This list is based on the opinion of many YouTubers, and also my experience working with cameras for photography and video. So I think you will find this list useful.
Remember: these are the best cameras out there, so they are quite expensive. You might want to find cheaper cameras on this other post.
9 Best Vlogging Cameras 2018
Price / Our Rating
Table of Contents
- 9 Best Vlogging Cameras 2018
- What You Need to Know First
- The 3 Best Compact Vlog Cameras in 2018
- The 2 Best DSLRs for Vlogging in 2018
- The 4 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Vlogging in 2018
What You Need to Know First
Before starting, you will notice that most cameras listed here are from Canon.
I can assure you that the fact that many of the best vlogging cameras are from Canon is not because of sponsorship. There are good reasons for this:
Canon is well-known to focus more efforts than other brands in providing better results for video. Their new STM lenses (which are included as a starter kit for their newest cameras) are built with a silent autofocus motor for video. They also include features like Video SnapShots for their DSLRs, which allows you to basically make an entire YouTube video from many clips without having to edit it.
This can give you an idea of how their cameras are better for video than most Nikon cameras, which are generally best for stills.
Still (no pun intended), you will find other brands that are actually overcoming Canon when it comes to designing vlog cameras, mainly mirrorless
The Camera Industry is Shifting
There is a huge debate right now on the most important photography forums about the future of the industry. There’s a new competitor on the market that is slowly leaving DSLRs behind with their mirrorless cameras: the Japanese company Sony.
The DSLR industry has been really slow since 2012, as it looks like companies have reached the technologic limit in these cameras.
This is why a camera from that year (the Canon 5D Mark III) is still considered the best DSLR, despite lacking basic things like WiFi because it was released a long time ago.
Now Sony is taking a lot of terrain in the market because they have found ways of making cameras exciting again and even more useful.
It’s now often said that mirrorless is the future of photography—which I personally agree with.
This is why I recommend you to take a close look at the mirrorless section; you will find some interesting machines there that might be what everybody will be using in a few years. You can also check here more mirrorless cameras from Sony.
Now, let’s do this!
The 3 Best Compact Vlog Cameras in 2018
While DSLR cameras are my personal favorite for YouTube, a compact camera is often more useful for vloggers that want to take their camera out. The compact cameras listed here can record high quality video comparable to a DSLR, while keeping the luggability people love about them. When recording travel vlogs, there isn’t other way to go than with a small camera.
Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II – Best Camera for Daily Vlogging
This model has all the good things the G7 X Mark I offers, but with some additional features and tweaks that improve its performance.
So, this model has the same amazing lens, flip touchscreen, wireless connection, great image quality even in low light and accurate and fast autofocus.
But besides all these great things, the Mark II has few additional features like a new rubber grip that helps you hold the camera so it won’t slip through your hands that easily. It also comes with a better processor, which makes it faster, especially when turning on. It also has improved autofocus in low-contrast situations and cleaner quality in low light.
Finally, it has better battery management. It uses the same one from the previous model, but this one lasts for around 265 shots instead of 210.
It still lacks a microphone port, but there’s not much Canon can do since it’s still a small compact camera that is easy to carry around.
Canon Powershot G7X Mark II Video Analysis
In the following video from vlogger Nesting Story, we can see how the camera performs.
- Minute 3:00 – Notice that the camera’s autofocus is a bit slow, but it is good at knowing what to focus on and it’s pretty sharp.
- Minute 6:20 – You can see how smooth the camera works while walking thanks to its excellent image stabilization.
- From the same minute mark you can also see the camera’s quality remains the same even indoors with poor lighting.
The G7X MII does have its downsides. The main one is that it is a quite noisy camera with its autofocus. I always recommend that if you want to give your channel a professional look, you should always invest first in your sound. If you use your own microphone, you won’t have any trouble with the noise the autofocus motor makes. Also, if you use background music, you won’t be able to hear the noise, like in the example video.
The autofocus in video mode is not perfect, but believe me, it’s good for a compact camera. It will perform well in most cases; it might have some problems when your face is not shown clearly —as it works with a face-recognition system—, but this is something you can easily overcome by using the camera’s full manual mode. If you have good light, just set manual focus and increase your lens f-number so you won’t have any focusing problem ever again.
This is why I still think the Canon Powershot G7X Mark II is one of the best vlog cameras in 2018. Still, if you want 4k recording for about the same price, you should check the next camera on the list.
Read the full review: Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
Panasonic LX10 – Best Cheap 4k Camera for Daily Vlogging
The main reason is that it’s probably the cheapest camera that can record 4k and that is actually worth buying. It doesn’t have the overheating problem many 4k cameras have (like the Sony RX100).
The flip touchscreen automatically makes it a good competitor for vlogs, but there are also some things that can make you go for the G7XMII instead.
Even though its autofocus is not noisy like the G7X’s, it does require some work. It’s still usable and it works well in most situations, but I wouldn’t rely too much on it since it can often lose its focus.
However, it isn’t too far from the G7X autofocus performance. After all, it does focus faster than the G7X, but not as precisely as the Sony RX100. This is why I think you should take the recommendation on using its manual focus mode, decreasing the lens aperture to never get out of focus.
Panasonic LX10 Video Analysis
You can see in the following video sample from Youtuber 7FootVlogs some of these points.
- Minute 0:20 – The focus is faster than the G7X Mark II, but it often struggles while finding what to focus.
- Minute 9:15 – A lot of recording at night. Image noise is barely noticeable. Very good for low-light recording.
- Minute 10:24 – Camera stabilization doesn’t feel as smooth as the G7X II, but it does a pretty good. However, it gets worse if you record at 4kp30 because of the lower framerate (this is one of the reasons I say 4k is overrated for Youtube).
And finally, even though this one offers a f/1.4 lens, it isn’t as good in low light as the Canon. The reason is that you can use the f/1.4 only at 24mm. The Canon camera has faster aperture as you zoom in, and it also responds better to lighting changes during video, as the Panasonic can sometimes remain darker than it should when you enter a room with lower light.
However, it does perform well enough for a compact. Its sound quality is better than the G7X, the 4k recording is truly stunning and it can be done in 15-minute clips without interruptions. It’s a good option if you want the highest definition with the best colors.
Read the full review: Panasonic LX10
Sony RX100 Mark V – Best 4k Camera for Daily Vlogging
It is kind of a combination of a Canon G7X MII and a Panasonic LX10. I like to say that it has a reliable autofocus, like the Canon, with the image quality of the Panasonic (maybe even a bit better).
However, it is also the most expensive of the three, and not exactly better in other aspects.
Sony RX100 Mark V Video Analysis
Let’s see the following comparison video between the G7X II and the RX100 V in 1080p by vlogger Randi Kennedy.
- Minute 2:30 – The G7X Mark II is constantly better at choosing the automatic exposure, but the video from the Sony looks more realistic.
- Minute 7:00 – Both have similar autofocus, but the Sony is sligthy faster. It struggles more to focus in low light though.
- Minute 11:32 -The Sony RX100 is clearer in low light and delivers better contrast, although neither camera shows a lot of noise.
Trying to choose between these options can come down to what you’re willing to give for more specialized features.
For example, the RX100 Mark IV and Mark V come with an outstanding slow-motion mode at 960 fps. With a limited duration of 4 seconds on the Mark IV and 8 on the Mark V, this provides extremely slow short video clips.
But, do you really need it? That’s something you will want to check before paying so much for a camera that doesn’t bring many more benefits.
It is an outstanding machine, but it offers a lot of features that are mainly targetted to professional photographers looking for a small travel camera. It might come with too many unuseful things for a vlogger.
The 2 Best DSLRs for Vlogging in 2018
DSLRs are the best choice to make videos look professional. They come with good battery life and external microphone port. They also have fully manual mode and cinematic-style recording. They are usually the favorite choice of professional YouTube channels that usually make their videos in a studio set in a specific place—because carrying this type of camera around isn’t the most comfortable thing due to their size and lenses. However, the best DSLRs for vlogging you’ll see here are light compared to most.
When it comes to DSLRs, the most important thing is the lens you use. Before buying one of these cameras, check my article about what lens to get so you can save a lot of money in the long run.
Canon EOS 80D – Best DSLR for Vlogging
After 3 years of its release, the famous 70D finally has a successor for this year.
This new version is still a DSLR that is often chosen for YouTube. Although it’s true that it’s not the ideal camera to take out (DSRLs are heavy after all), the Canon EOS 80D has a fair weight, if you take other DSLRs into consideration.
And it is one of the few DSLRs that was made for video recording.
It doesn’t only has from the fastest, silent and accurate autofocus systems to above-average battery life (960 shots), but also this DSLR doesn’t fall short with other features that help a lot for video blogging.
It —of course— has WiFi to upload your videos, Video SnapShots mode, and touchscreen focus. It has a really useful flip-out touchscreen, although this was also included in the 70D.
This new model comes with a few new things that I felt were lacking in the 70D, like:
- Slow-motion thanks to 1080p60 recording instead of being limited to p30
- Timelapse feature
- Headphones port
- 100% viewfinder coverage (70D was 98%)
- Improved battery life
Canon EOS 80D Video Analysis
In the following video from Youtuber Spencer Berke, we can see how the camera performs.
- Minute 0:15 – You can see the DSLR’s sensor records good quality in low-light conditions, even though it’s using an f/4.5 lens. At minute 7:07 it becomes a lot worse due to the complete lack of light, but remember it’s using a really bad lens for low light.
- Minute 1:13 – You can see how smooth the camera works inside the car. Notice things inside the car moving but the image barely does. This is good built-in image stabilization combined with the lens’s OIS.
- From minute 4:00 to 6:05 we see the camera transitioning from mid to low light. Image quality is really good until darkness kicks in.
You still get a lot of value if you want it for video. Upgrading to a 5D Mark III DSLR after the 80D won’t give you as many improvements as getting the 80D coming from a cheap compact camera.
This is why it’s not rare to find vloggers still using the 70D since it’s good enough for professional-looking videos.
Read the full review: Canon EOS 80D
Canon EOS Rebel T7i – Best DSLR for Starters
The Canon EOS Rebel cameras have been used for YouTube for many years. A Rebel camera is a pretty common choice as the first DSLR if you want it for video. In fact, this lineup from Canon has been the most common choice between makeup YouTubers. The reason is that they are affordable cameras that are better than other DSLRs in the same price range when it comes to video. These DSLRs are the cheapest ones you can get that can record excellent video.
To be fair, it really isn’t completely necessary to get a 80D if you want a DSLR for vlogging, so the T7i and the T6i are both really good affordable DSLRs for video. They might not have a responsive autofocus system as the 80D, but they get the job—of high quality, professional-looking video—done.
If you’re just starting, there’s no need to go for something more expensive.
As for the T7i features; it does come with quite a few improvements over the T6i, which is something good since they are more significant than, for example, the differences between the T5i and T6i. This is especially true if we take into account the new processor, which is truly a new generation made for Canon cameras from 2016 and beyond. Its sensor and processor are the same the more expensive 80D uses. You can expect to achieve very similar image quality to the higher-end 80D.
Canon Rebel T7i Video Analysis
In the following video blog from Youtuber Chris McIntyre, you can see the camera in action from minute 1:37:
- Minute 1:37 – Autofocus doesn’t hunt as much as the LX10, but it shows lower depth of field due to the stock lens being much lower quality than the LX10’s
- Minute 8:05 – In low light, the video shows a lot of noise. This is mainly because of the stock lens. DSLRs have larger sensors than compacts, so they are generally better for low light.
- Even though DSLRs have a larger sensor, having a low-quality lens disrupts this. You will need an extra 200-300$ to achieve the same quality as the compact lens.
The camera also has an additional ISO step compared to its predecessor, more focus points, 1080p up to 60fps, and something I think it’s incredibly important for vlogging: significantly more battery life. Instead of 440 shots, this new model can take up to 600 shots before running out of fuel. Funny that this is the first Rebel camera in a while to improve its battery life instead of making it worse.
I really recommend is for you to invest in a better lens from the start and only get the camera body. You can learn what kind of vlogging lens to buy here.
As this is is a DSLR, it isn’t the smartest choice if you need to go out a lot. Instead, you can check the Canon M3, which is a much smaller camera with the same sensor size as the T6i.
Read the full review: Canon EOS Rebel T7i
The 4 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Vlogging in 2018
There are very good reasons why it is said that Mirrorless cameras are the future of photography. They simply combine the best of both worlds: interchangeable lenses and large sensors with luggability. It’s probable that if you are the kind of vlogger that is looking for a camera to record both at home and outside, a Mirrorless will be your most valuable ally.
Their downside? Battery life and even their own size; most of them don’t come with an external microphone port due to lack of space.
If you want to have more options, including cheaper high-quality mirrorless, check my list of the best mirrorless for video blogs.
Sony a7SII – Best Low-Light Vlogging Camera
If there’s a camera that can beat the classic 5D Mark III, that’s the brand new mirrorless Sony a7SII.
That a pretty bold statement to say the least, and just imagine all the debate this camera is causing right now because of it.
Be it for good or bad, this camera feels like the before and after of the industry.
But this is not something we should discuss here, so here’s what you need to know about this Sony camera:
Besides being newer, this camera improves most aspects from the 5D Mark III. You can find it around the same price range and it can record 4K, has a better sensor, better autofocus, new 5-axis image stabilization system (you won’t need to get a lens with IS for it to work), WiFi, NFC, it’s still full-frame and it’s much, much smaller and luggable.
Sony A7SII Video Analysis
In the following video blog from vlogger Christian Maté Grab, you can see the camera at work
- Minute 2:35 – The camera does not show any noise recording during the night out. Being a full-frame camera with its high-tech sensor and good lens makes this possible.
- Minute 4:36 – If you stop the video here you will see a good dynamic range shot. It doesn’t blow out bright parts too much and keeps darker parts visible.
- Minute 9:07 – You can see here how smooth the camera is while walking. This is thanks to the 5-axis stabilization built in its body.
The only real disadvantage of the A7SII? The 5D Mark III can last for 950 shots while this one can only last for 340.
The Sony a7SII is one of the best high-level cameras you can buy in 2018 for any purpose, so even if it’s battery is really low for its price, we must know that this one unique advantages thanks to being a mirrorless; and it’s much lighter and easier to carry around when compared to the brick 5D Mark III.
Remember that its weakest link can be fixed just by buying an extra battery. That’s why on Amazon, you can find this camera in a special bundle that includes bag, 2 extra batteries, 1 extra charger, memory, tripod and extra battery because of this reason—for the same price as buying only the body of the camera.
This should be the best camera for vlogging and for YouTube videos this year 2018.
Panasonic GH5 – Best Youtube Camera
While most mirrorless brands like to imitate DSLRs by adding an APS-C sensor, Panasonic decided to include a slightly smaller sensor (Micro Four Thirds), and this decision has made Panasonic cameras the best fit for vlogging.
They got arguably the best entry-level mirrorless for vlogs with the Panasonic G7, but they also have amazing choices for mid-range —with the Panasonic GH4— and one that might be the best mirrorless for video blogging and their best camera yet, the Lumix GH5.
All these cameras share something in common: fully-articulating touchscreens, external microphone ports and relatively small sizes. They only sacrifice a bit of low-light performance and Bokeh effect due to their smaller sensors, but these sensors are still a lot larger than what compacts have.
The truth is that Panasonic has achieved amazing video quality with the GH5’s 4k capacities, together with its dynamic range and low-light performance.
If you don’t believe me, watch the following video:
Panasonic GH5 Video Analysis
In the following video blog from Youtuber Andyax, you can see a comparison between the GH4 and GH5
- Minute 1:32 – At 6400 ISO, the GH5 looks much less noisy and the color doesn’t get as corrupted as its previous version.
- Minute 2:10 – You can see the GH5’s dynamic range capacities are quite more advanced. The highlights look a lot less intense and the dark zones look a bit brighter. It keeps the middle ground.
- Minute 3:41 – Even at a low 24fps frame rate, the camera is extremely smooth with its built-in stabilization (the test lens didn’t have stabilization).
The GH4 and GH5 might not be the smallest vlogging cameras you can get, but they are extremely useful. Even though I put here the GH5 since it’s the best option, I do believe Panasonic is the best brand for this job. I encourage you to check the full list of Panasonic vlogging cameras here.
I’m sure you learned from the video that the GH5 is much better than its predecessor, but remember that it doubles the GH4’s price. You might want to get one that isn’t as hurtful to your wallet.
Sony A6500 – Best Luggable Vlogging Camera
Have you ever dreamed of a camera that could record 4k, have almost perfect—because nothing is perfect—autofocus, external microphone port and everything for a relatively low price? The Sony A6500 is just that.
The bad thing? It lacks a flipping screen.
Yes, but do no automatically discard it. The price for the quality you get is extremely good.
Sony A6500 Video Analysis
The following video by vlogger Cameron Jeffers shows the camera in action.
- Minute 1:37 – Here’s an example of the beautiful shots you can get with the Sony. Bear in mind that it is brought down to 1080p.
- Minute 3:10 – You can see the smooth in-camera stabilization in action while riding a bike.
- Minute 6:12 – Even though it’s recording in very low light, the image barely shows any noise.
The A6500 is light, records 4k video at a bit rate comparable to the much more expensive Sony A7SII and Panasonic GH5, and it even has an APS-C sensor, which is the same size of a DSLR.
The camera honestly has it all, except the flipping screen. If you use a wide-angle lens—as you should for vlogging—you should never have problems getting out of the frame. It can still be a pain to keep more than subject in the frame though. I understand this is a deal breaker for a lot of people. But there are still vloggers using this camera and love it.
In the end, it will depend on how much importance do you give to being able to watch yourself while recording. Vloggers often fall into the bad habit of looking at the LCD screen instead of the lens, so this might be a good way to get rid of that habit. Think about it.
Sony a5100 – Best Vlogging Camera for Starters
There are a few things that make this camera still worth buying for vlogging in 2018.
The most important one: new Sony mirrorless cameras don’t come with a flip camera like this one does. And in fact, their image quality isn’t too different —unless you compare to 4k with the a6300 and 6500.
Also, the 5100 has the same lens mount as the newest model —excepting the high-end Sony Alpha 7 lineup. This makes it so you can start with this camera and start collecting high-quality lenses you will be able to use when you upgrade your camera.
With a good lens —around f/1.8 or f/2.5—-, this camera becomes of extremely good value for video blogging. Its low-light performance can’t be compared to the compacts listed here unless you get a really good lens.
The biggest downside is the lack of image stabilization, which will make you get a lens with OIS. The stock lens does come with stabilization, but future lenses you acquire for this camera will be more expensive.
However, you should take advantage of its low price to get a really good lens from the beginning.
Read the full review: Sony a5100