So you want to vlog your amazingly exciting (or boring) life? You’re going to need a vlogging camera for that so what are the best cameras for vlogging? Unlike big faceless brands, I’m an actual YouTube vlogger. Yes I make professional tutorial videos, run an online business with a small team and live abroad. But on the side I vlog for fun about my experiences being an expat digital nomad.
Vlogging is a lot of fun, not only does it teach you how to actually record and edit a video, you may very well end up building a massive audience that could become a full time income. If I could give any advice for how to start a vlog it would be live your life, share your story.
So what do you need to look for in a vlogging camera?
Unless you’re an aspiring film maker I’m preferential to action cameras because they’re small, light, easy to use, have a wide angle view, good audio and can record in 4k. The video quality on smaller devices is no longer mediocre like they were just a few years ago.
Built in stabilization is essential
Stabilization is a must when vlogging because you’re going to be moving the camera around a lot to get different scenes and you’ll also want to do walk and talk or point of view shots. Without built in stabilization your video is going to be way too shaky and difficult to watch.
You may think you could use a gimbal if your camera has no in body stabilization (IBIS) or software stabilization. But a gimbal is not a glorified tripod. It’s a professional piece of equipment that needs to be balance and taken care of
Small and light
I’m telling you right now, small and light is the way to go. You really don’t need some big heavy camera with a fluffy microphone to make quality YouTube vlogs. A small camera is more comfortable to use in public, you’ll actually want to take it with you and can get the required shots that make for a compelling video.
In an ideal vlog you should mix up your shots from close ups, medium close ups and wide. Wide in general is what you’ll want to be shooting in for most of your clips because if gives better context to the video and is a reliable choice for narration clips and point of view clips.
7 Best Vlog Cameras
So what are the best cameras for vlogging currently? Below are the cameras my team and I have found to have the right mix of good audio, stabilization, wide angle, high frame rates, easy to use and at a reasonable price point.
- GoPro 11
- Sony A7C
- Osmo Action 3
- Sony ZV e10
- Osmo Pocket
- Sony X3000
- iPhone 14
GoPro 11 – The best option overall
The GoPro 11 is my top choice for anyone looking to start a vlog. You get a durable camera that’s waterproof, multiple angles (wide, linear and narrow), the ability to record in 4k at 60 FPS and finally acceptable audio if you use a media mod kit.
With both a front facing and back facing camera you can easily frame your shot of whatever it is you’re recording and you get helpful b-roll features you can use for transitions like time lapse and time warp. Next, the GoPro has software that masterfully stabilizes all your clips.
The only issue with the GoPro is that it does overheat if you record for long periods of time in 4k and above and sometimes the software freezes up. Meaning you think you’re recording when you’re not. Overall, the GoPro has come along way with it’s video quality, audio and stabilization. Not only is this a fantastic action camera, it’s an effective choice for anyone looking for a dedicated vlog camera.
- Small, light and durable.
- With a media mod kit, GoPro finally has good audio.
- A front facing built in monitor to frame yourself.
- 4k+ video recording.
- GoPro’s still have an issue of your camera’s software freezing up. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does it’s quite annoying.
Must have accessories:
Media mod kit – You need this for the microphone that vastly improves the audio.
Sony A7C – The smallest, lightest full frame camera ever made
The Sony A7C is a full frame camera that’s also the smallest, lightest full frame camera to date. It pairs well with equally small (though quite expensive) lenses and is a great choice for someone who want’s to vlog, take pictures and get a little more into cinematography.
Because this is a straight up full frame camera, it has a 2.3x bigger sensor than an APS-C lens camera. That means you get more detail and it’s much easier to get that subject separation called bokeh because full frame lenses often have low apertures.
Last, the Sony A7C comes with a handy little flip out screen so you can frame yourself in the shot, excellent audio through the option to attach an external microphone and mediocre stabilization. That’s really the only weak point of this camera after using it, hand held footage is a bit shaky and nowhere near as smooth as what an iPhone or an action camera can provide.
- An affordable full frame camera to grow into.
- Pairs with small, excellent lenses.
- Flip out screen, 4k 60 FPS recording.
- Hand held clips where you walk and talk are going to be noticeably shaky and amateurish looking. Great camera, but not designed to move it around.
- Equipment for this setup like lenses and microphones are expensive.
Must have accessories:
Sony’s 20 mm F1.8 lens – 20mm is wide nice wide angle shot and the F1.8 will give your videos that nice blurry background.
Osmo Action 3 – Done for you vlogging kit
The Osmo Action 3 is designed physically in the same way as the GoPro, has softer video that’s less detailed with a slightly different color science. The Osmo Action 3 has 8 bit color compared to GoPro’s 10 bit which makes a massive difference in color grading. If you have no interest or intention in color grading then it does not matter.
With regards to video quality the GoPro produces higher quality video technically, but it’s really a personal preference. I would also look at comparison of video footage in addition to this content before purchasing.
Where the Osmo excels is that both screens on the device are touch screens. Like the GoPro it has a rock steady mode for smooth video and best of all you can purchase the “adventure kit” which has everything you need to vlog. Also, they claim that their batteries are more cold resistant and that you can dive deeper in water with this device.
- Alternative video quality to the GoPro. Don’t like the way GoPro looks, you may love the Osmo!
- Both the front facing and back screens are touch screens.
- Multiple angles, framerates and time lapse features for dynamic and interesting videos.
- The adventure kit – comes with this really cleverly designed battery charging case that’s similar to an Air Pod case.
- 8 bit color and softer video. You may though prefer the look of the Osmo.
Must have accessories:
The adventure combo – The camera, a selfie stick, extreme battery pack and three batteries as well as a vertical case.
Sony ZV-e10 – Budget option with interchangeable lenses
If you’re looking for an affordable camera where that has interchangeable lenses then consider the ZV-e10 from Sony. It’s the follow up to their popular ZV-e1 point and shoot camera which was originally marketed as a vlogging camera, but with a 24mm built in lens, it’s just too tight on the face.
With the ZV-e10 you can purchase high quality lenses by contrast. It’s an APS-C camera, not full frame like the A7C so your best options for lenses are the Sigma 16mm F1.4 for vlogging shots and the Sony 16-50mm for everything else (b-roll, medium, close up).
- Lightweight, affordable camera.
- Flip out screen to help frame yourself.
- Can use an external microphone for premium audio.
- Pairs with some fantastic APS-C lenses.
- Has built in software stabilization which is mediocre. Don’t expect gimbal smooth video like an action camera.
Must have lens:
Sony E 11mm f/1.8 – 11mm on this crop sensor camera is going to nice and wide. Perfect for vlogging and any close up shot will have that blurry background due to the f/1.8 aperture.
Osmo Pocket – The best POV camera
You want to create those “walking tour” style videos where your face is not really on camera and you’re spending most of the video narrating? That’s a point of view video or “POV” for short. I can think of no better camera than the Osmo Pocket for this style of content.
It’s a high quality camera on it’s own gimbal style tripod that actually fits in your pocket. It comes with little magnetic lenses too if you’re wanting a wider shot instead of the the built in medium shot. Last, the Osmo Pocket can attach pair with your phone which you can use as a big monitor and you can but a tripod extension for an easier grip.
- I love the video quality that comes out of this device, it’s better than an action camera.
- Your video will be smooth and stable, perfect for walking POV shots.
- Fits in your pocket easily.
- Can use your phone as a big monitor.
- The native 24mm is great for POV but not if you want to talk into the camera and narrate.
- You can use magnetic little lenses to make the video wide, however you need to be careful not to lose the lenses and you need to make sure to take them off when you’re done. A slight hassle, would be easier if like an action camera you could just change the field of view in the settings.
Sony X3000 – My vlogging camera of choice
This the camera I personally use for my own vlogs. It has outstanding audio, three fields of view (wide, medium and narrow), can record at 4K 30 FPS and actually fits in your pocket. This one little white action camera shaped like a camcorder works great without needing any additional accessories.
Where the X3000 is weak as someone who uses it is that the video quality is not as good as the Osmo Pocket or the GoPro. Granted, this is an action camera from 2017 – it’s held up well but it is a bit dated now. But if you’re looking for a small, pocketable camera that works this thing is great.
The additional accessories you can get for it are first the shooting grip from Sony. This grip is part handle, part tripod for the X3000. You can also attach a monitor to the grip which can connect via Bluetooth to the X3000. You also get an underwater case as the X3000 is splash resistant but not water proof.
- Superior audio, small, pocketable and a wide (but not warped) field of view.
- The Sony X3000 has the best built in audio of any camera I’ve ever used. You can also attach an external mic if you like too.
- Can shoot in 4k 30FPS, however I’ve found 60 FPS to look best.
- The video quality is still acceptable even today but it is starting to show it’s age.
- Wind noise is an issue. You can fix this by cutting a piece of a sponge and using a rubber band to attach it to the front of the camera.
iPhone 14 – The casual, prosumer choice
I’m currently using an iPhone 13 mini and love that devices size, but there is no denying that the iPhone 14 lineup is Apple’s best offering to date. Using any modern iPhone (11 and above) is a great choice if you’re wanting to start vlogging. As the 14 is the best, most feature rich option, if you don’t have an iPhone or you have an iPhone 10 or earlier I would suggest upgrading.
First off it’s your phone so you’ll always have it on you. Great for impromptu videos and very helpful to record clips that you could pair with another camera. The iPhone also now has a great wide angle lens in addition to the high quality standard main camera. So you can easily mix up clips to make a more interesting vlog.
The audio is also acceptable to but there are external microphones you can use to get better audio if you like. You can do fun video edits like time lapse and slow motion. Recording in 4k at a high framerate is also possible too. Last, every iPhone comes with iMovie so you can edit your clips together into a vlog that you can export and upload to YouTube.
- Can record in multiple angles from wide, medium to close up easily.
- 4k at a high frame rate.
- Excellent pictures to help create thumbnails.
- All iPhones come with iMovie and picture editing software.
- It’s your phone so you’ll always have it on you.
- Vlogging kits exist for phones that provide a tripod and external microphone for better audio.
- Vlogging in public with an iPhone brings the risks of theft or you dropping an breaking your phone. As it’s your phone, you most likely have sensitive data on it.
- With recording at 4k, you’ll fill up your storage fast if you don’t delete the clips after you’re done editing.
- As a vlogger, I do like having a separate “vlogging camera” apart from my phone to compartmentalize vlogging as a separate activity. I use my iPhone typically as a backup if I don’t have my Sony X3000 on me.
Vlogging kit – Vlogging kits provide a light, tripod and external mic. Not required as the iPhone alone works well. But if you want to vlog with a phone, consider a cheap vlogging kit.
Best cameras for vlogging – Conclusion
So that’s my complete list of the best vlogging cameras available. I strongly suggest you use a small, durable action camera. But if you’re set on having a more traditional setup then the Sony A7C or ZV-e10 are good options too. Last, there is always the iPhone. Lot’s of people have built massive vlog channels using only an iPhone.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers!
The Best Cameras for YouTube (Vlogging, Streaming, Tutorials)
Come find out what the best cameras for YouTube are. From vlogging, streaming to creating tutorials, every use case is covered.
The Best USB Microphones for High Quality Audio Recording
In this guide I review some of the best USB microphones for YouTube, podcasting, streaming, music and even some cheap options.