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Best cameras for vlogging in 2021

Best cameras for vlogging — a women sitting in front of a camera
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re a well-established YouTuber or an aspiring star, choosing the best camera for vlogging is a critical component for creating top-notch content for your viewers. 

An online video presence has become increasingly important for a wide variety of consumers and professionals who are creating content across any number of genres and on a variety of platforms. 

Whether talking-head videos from your studio or living room are your thing or you’re out and about, walking, talking and shooting B-roll, you’ll find a camera to suit your needs in this round-up. We’ve concentrated on vlogging-friendly features, but keep in mind that these cameras also shoot stills if and when you need them.

Here, then, is our list of the best cameras for vlogging across a variety of price points and feature sets and suitable for all experience levels.

What are the best cameras for vlogging?

After testing dozens of models, we think the best vlogging camera for most people is the Sony ZV-1, which was designed specifically for creating online video content. It has a long list of important features and comes in at a relatively affordable price point, since its integrated zoom means you don’t have to purchase a separate lens. 

Canon also does a good job with the compact EOS M6 Mark II, which is especially appealing with its excellent Dual Pixel Autofocus — the same AF found in its higher end EOS 90D DSLR.

We also like the Fujifilm X-S10 with its excellent video quality and in-body image stabilization. The camera has a well-balanced feature set that addresses both the practical and creative aspects of motion and still imaging. But really, anything in this list should help you get your vlogging career off the ground — or help you stay on top.

The best vlogging cameras you can buy today

Best cameras for vlogging — Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Terry Sullivan/Tom's Guide)

1. Sony ZV-1

The best vlogging camera for most people

Specifications
Format: 1-inch-type CMOS
Megapixels: 20.1
Body Size/Weight:: 4 ¼ x 2 3/8 x 1 ¾ inches; 10.4 ounces with battery and memory card
Image Stabilization: Optical IS
Viewfinder: No
Display: 3.2-inch touch LCD
Video: up to 4K @30p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast 24-70mm zoom lens+Easy to use+Compact and lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Exposure controls not easily accessible in selfie mode-No EVF

Designed with vloggers in mind, the image-stabilized Sony ZV-1 checks off a long list of “must-have” features, from ease of use and 4K video to a fully-articulated touchscreen LCD. This pint-sized camera comes with an integrated 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens so you can create a soft background by choosing a wide-open aperture. If you don’t want to fiddle with manual exposure, check out the one-touch defocus option that achieves the same result quickly and easily. Eye-AF and excellent tracking keeps you in focus while filming and you’ll look good, too, thanks to the soft skin option. And with the ZV-1’s Face Priority AE, the camera automatically adjusts settings to keep you properly exposed when the lighting changes. You’ll also find video-centric features such as focus peaking and Zebra stripes, a large record button and a front-facing recording indicator light.

The Sony ZV-1’s built-in microphone produces good audio, and the camera even comes with a wind screen. It's also equipped with a 3.5mm microphone jack for an external mic, as well as a Multi Interface Shoe to connect additional accessories. 

In addition to Webcam software, check out the optional Vlogger Kit with a shooting grip, wireless remote control and a 64GB SD card. The grip, which doubles as a mini tripod, has an adjustable head and while it’s not as effective as a gimbal for run-and-gun shots, provides a good handhold when shooting on the go. Among the front-facing controls on the grip are a record button and a zoom rocker for adjusting compatible power lenses. If you don’t want to keep the camera mounted on the grip, the controls still work as long as the Bluetooth connection is still active. The Vlogger Kit is definitely worth a serious look and it’s compatible with some other Sony cameras as well.

Read our full Sony ZV-1 review.

Best cameras for vlogging — GoPro Hero9

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. GoPro Hero9 Black

The right choice for the adventurer

Specifications
Format: 1/2.3 inch
Megapixels: 23.6
Body Size/Weight: 2.75 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches; 5.6 ounces (with battery)
Image stabilization: Yes
Viewfinder: N/A
Screen: 1.4-inch touchscreen
Video: up to 5K @ 30p
Microphone jack: With optional adapter
Headphone jack: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Front-facing screen+Removable lens+Media “Mods” add functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy (for an action cam)

GoPro’s latest action camera, the Hero9 Black offers a number of upgrades from its predecessor. Longer battery life, higher resolution for 5K video capture, and a front-facing display for easier selfie-stills and videos. Of course, an action cam isn’t much good without stabilization and this model offers HyperSmooth 3.0 to calm the video jitters.

Waterproof to 33 feet, it’s perfect for days in and around the pool or the ocean. And the camera’s trio of microphones does a decent, if not perfect, job of recording audio. You also get built-in mounting and lots of cool features like Timewarp 3.0 for smoother time-lapse videos and the new Hindsight, which captures and saves up to 30 seconds of video prior to pressing the shutter button. You can also schedule the GoPro to start recording at a set time if you’re not going to be around (or awake) to grab some video footage. Livestreaming is possible, too.

Naturally, there are a ton of accessories for maximum flexibility for the type of video you want to capture. Although it’s one of the heavier action cams on the market, it’s likely that the GoPro Hero9 Black’s features will easily overcome what might be its main drawback.

Read our full GoPro Hero9 Black review.

Best cameras for vlogging — Fujifilm X-S10

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

3. Fujifilm X-S10

Versatile feature set for more demanding vloggers

Specifications
Format: APS-C
Megapixels: 26.1
Body Size/Weight: 4.96 x 3.35 x 2.57 inches/16.4 ounces (with SD card and battery)
Image stabilization: Yes
Viewfinder: EVF
Screen: 3-inch fully articulated touchscreen
Video: up to DCI and UHD 4K @24/30p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: Yes (with included adapter)
Reasons to buy
+Excellent video quality+Creative film simulation modes+USB power charging +Up to 30 minute 4K clips
Reasons to avoid
-No weather sealing-Modest battery life

With its excellent video quality, five-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and fully-articulated touchscreen monitor, the Fujifilm X-S10 is a great choice for vloggers. 

Since the IBIS provides up to 6 stops of stabilization (depending on the lens), the X-S10 helps steady the camera when shooting walk-and-talk clips. You can choose from a variety of options to affect the quality and aesthetics of the video including Fuji’s notable film simulation modes (be sure to check out Eterna for a cinematic feel). 

A 3.5mm mic jack is easily accessible for adding an external microphone and, although it might interfere a little with the LCD angle, you can use the USB-C port and supplied adapter to hook up a headphone set to monitor audio. The same port can be used to charge the X-S10, so you might want to pick up a power bank if you need to power the camera while filming. Now you can record up to 30 minutes 4K per clip, which is one of the longer capture rates for 4K. When you’re shooting B-roll, the camera’s deep grip makes one-handed shooting easy. 

The Fujifilm X-S10 may be a little pricier than most of the other cameras in this round-up, but given its IBIS, video quality and imaging controls, it’s a solid option for more advanced vloggers.

Best cameras for vlogging — Canon EOS M6 Mark II

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Canon EOS M6 Mark II

For vloggers who want high-res still image capture

Specifications
Format: APS-C
Megapixels: 32.5
Body Size/Weight: 4.71 x 2.76 x 1.94 inches; 14.39 ounces with memory card and battery
Image stabilization: No
Viewfinder: optional EVF
Screen: 3-inch tiltable touch panel
Video: up to 4K (UHD) @ 30p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent Dual Pixel AF+Compact+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-USB charging only supported by Canon’s PD-E1 USB power adapter-Optional EVF

Equipped with the same excellent Dual Pixel autofocus as the Canon EOS 90D DSLR, the compact mirrorless Canon EOS M6 Mark II is quick to focus on whatever subject is under one of the camera’s manually selectable 5,481 AF points. Thanks to Face tracking and Eye Detection, you (or your intended subject) will stay in focus while filming up to 4K UHD. A firmware update last year added 24p, which makes this camera even more appealing.

The 3-inch touchscreen tilts up to a forward-facing 180 degrees. It clears the top of the camera body for an unimpeded view while vlogging, unless you mount a microphone or the optional EVF in the hotshoe. While a microphone jack is available, you may want to look for a small cold shoe mount or cage to offset the accessory and unblock the monitor. This is not unique to the Canon EOS M6 Mark II — it’s a product of using a tilt screen versus a fully-articulated monitor.

As always, Canon’s menu system is clear and easy to navigate. And if you plan on taking still images, too, you get the benefit of a 32 megapixel sensor just like the Canon EOS 90D, except in a much smaller package.

Read our full Canon EOS M6 Mark II review.

Best cameras for vlogging — Sony Alpha a6600

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Sony Alpha a6600

Full-featured powerhouse for lots of control

Specifications
Format: APS-C
Megapixels: 24
Body Size/Weight: 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches; 1.1 pounds
Image stabilization: Yes
Viewfinder: 2359K-dot XGA OLED EVF
Screen: 2.95 inch tiltable touch panel
Video: up to 4K @ 30p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Full feature set+Effective image stabilization+Fast, accurate AF+Dust and splash resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Small record button-Pricey

Although a little larger, heavier and more expensive than most of our recommendations, the Sony a6600 is well equipped for vloggers who want more control over their video capture. A flip up, 3-inch touchscreen LCD faces forward when positioned at 180 degrees and can be used to activate focus and choose a subject to track with just a tap. Although the Sony a6600 is equipped with microphone and headphone jacks, like other cameras with flip up screens you’ll need a cold shoe mount to keep the microphone from blocking the LCD.

Autofocus performance is quite good thanks to Sony’s excellent face and eye AF that keep you in sharp focus when shooting up to 4K video. Video AF speed can be adjusted so you can create some interesting effects. And, as a bonus you’ll get movie markers including a safety zone, as well as Zebra and peaking tools. 

The Sony a6600’s 5-axis image stabilization helps deliver smooth video even when you’re walking. You also get about 250 minutes of battery life, customizable buttons and the ability to turn the camera into a Webcam with Sony’s free Imaging Edge Webcam software. 

With all of its features (and we didn’t cover them all here), the Sony a6600 is best suited for vloggers who like to dig deep into the camera’s many capabilities.

Read our full Sony Alpha a6600 review.

Best cameras for vlogging — DJI Osmo Pocket

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. DJI Osmo Pocket

A tiny, convenient option for vloggers on the go and on a budget

Specifications
Format: 1/2.3 inch
Megapixels: 12
Body Size/Weight: 4.79 x 1.45 x 1.12 inches; 4.09 ounces
Image stabilization: 3-axis gimbal
Viewfinder: N/A
Screen: N/A
Video: up to 4K @ 60p
Microphone jack: With optional adapter
Headphone jack: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Good-quality video and photos+Gimbal lets you take very steady video+Robust controls and features
Reasons to avoid
-Moving gimbal can get damaged

This Lilliputian camera incorporates a 3-axis gimbal into its design for super-smooth video, regardless of how much bounce is in your step. And a button push turns the camera to face you for vlogging or selfies. 

For something so tiny — and comparatively inexpensive — the DJI Osmo Pocket offers a surprising number of useful features. In addition to a color touchscreen and the ability to change settings by swiping across the little monitor, you can hook it up to your smartphone if the larger screen is more convenient. You can shoot video, photos, slow motion, timelapse and panoramas. The device offers JPEG and RAW options as well as manual exposure controls and tracking. On the creative side, the DJI Osmo Pocket offers themed story modes.

The gimbal is fairly delicate, though, and it’s not waterproof, so be careful when handling the camera. But it’s a very cool little gizmo that you can slide into your pocket so you’re ready for whatever action unfolds in front of you.

Also check out the DJI Pocket 2, with updated features such as a (slightly) larger sensor, improved audio and easier-to-use Story mode, along with new accessories. It's more expensive ($349 vs. $220), but we'll be reviewing it soon to see if it's worth the extra.

Read our full DJI Osmo Pocket review.

Best cameras for vlogging — Fujifilm X-T200

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

7. Fujifilm X-T200

A good option for entry-level vloggers

Specifications
Format: APS-C
Megapixels: 24
Body Size/Weight: 4.8 x 3.3 x 2.2 inches;13 ounces (including battery and SD card)
Image stabilization: No
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch, 2,368K-dot OLED EVF
Screen: 3.5-inch fully articulated touchscreen
Video: up to 4K @ 30p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: Yes (with supplied adapter)
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Large, sharp, fully articulated LCD+
Reasons to avoid
-SD card/battery compartment blocked when the camera is mounted on a tripod-No IBIS (in-body image stabilization)-15 minute maximum clip length at 4K

The Fujifilm X-T200 delivers the basics for vlogging with up to 4K 30p video, which is downsampled from an uncropped 6K capture. Perhaps the most notable feature is its large, fully-articulated 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD. Its 16:9 aspect ratio is perfect for video and the screen works well even outdoors in the sun. With accurate face and eye detection AF, the Fujifilm X-T200 works well for vloggers. You’ll get continuous recording of up to 15 minutes at 4K. If you want longer clips, you’ll have to switch to Full HD (1920 x 1080 @60p). 

For optical image stabilization, you’ll have to use a stabilized lens, but the X-T200 offers an interesting “digital gimbal” option, which uses built-in gyro sensors, albeit with a 2x crop. Digital image stabilization is also available, but with a 1.1x crop. Obviously, for the best IS, you’ll want to use one of Fujifilm’s stabilized lenses.

The camera has Webcam capabilities and with a firmware update, you can even adjust exposure when it’s tethered to your computer. This is a fun little camera to use when you want good video clips with great color to share with family and friends. 

Read our full Fujifilm X-T200 review.

Best cameras for vlogging — Panasonic Lumix S5

(Image credit: Panasonic)

8. Panasonic Lumix S5

A full-frame hybrid camera for more than just vlogging

Specifications
Format: Full frame
Megapixels: 24
Body Size/Weight: 5.22 x 3.82 x 3.22 inches; 1.58 pounds (with memory card and battery)
Image stabilization: Yes
Viewfinder: Yes
Screen: 3-inch fully-articulated touchscreen
Video: up to C4K (4096 x 2160) @ 60p
Microphone jack: Yes
Headphone jack: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Near-pro-level features+5-axis image stabilization+Full-frame sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Heavy

The full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 may not seem a likely candidate for vloggers, but its relatively compact body and extensive video features — many inherited from its higher end S1H sibling — are qualifying factors. But it’s because of these features, and the high price tag, that the S5 best serves those who want a hybrid camera with capabilities that extend beyond vlogging. On the other hand, the S5 provides features not normally found in a sub-$2000 camera, making this model a good value for the money — if time code, waveform, vectorscope and LUT are part of your video lexicon and, perhaps, on your must-have feature list.

Five-axis image stabilization delivers 5 stops of OIS; bump that to 6.5 stops with a stabilized L-mount lens. A bright, fully-articulating LCD, dual card slots, microphone and headphone jacks, USB power charging and a dust- and splash-resistant body round out some of the appealing features of the S5. It’s not a camera for everyone, but this full-framer has a lot to offer to the right person.

What to look for in a vlogging camera

Like any other camera search, it’s important to keep in mind how you’ll be using the product. If you plan to shoot a lot of run and gun video, size and weight are important, as is image stabilization; these factors will be less important to vloggers who plan to mount the camera on a tripod in their studio.

A fully-articulated touchscreen LCD is more versatile than a flip-up screen, particularly if you plan to mount an external microphone. Be sure there’s a microphone jack and that there’s a way to attach the microphone without blocking the screen (usually an issue with flip-up LCDs). You can also check if the camera is compatible with a wireless microphone, if that’s more convenient.

While 4K video is the norm, make sure your computer (and destination platform) can handle the large files. Will you be comfortable with the quality of a camera’s full HD video if 4K is going to tax your system and clog up your hard drive?

Face and eye detect autofocus comes in particularly handy for vloggers, so look for a model that has those features. Touch focus/selectable focus points and tracking are good options as well. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of still image capabilities, even if video is your main focus. 

Vlogging camera accessories and add-ons

Naturally, a lens is critical part of a camera setup for an interchangeable lens camera. Look for a wide-angle zoom with a fast aperture (lower f-stop number). The wide angle allows you to get closer to the camera, which may help with better audio. And a fast lens, shot wide open, produces a soft background that keeps the focus on you or your main subject and not other distracting elements. If your camera doesn’t have IBIS (in-body image stabilization), look for a lens that has IS to help keep your video steady.

For the ultimate in smooth handheld video, a gimbal is your best bet. Some are battery-powered and motorized, which are often easier to balance.

Generally speaking, a camera’s built-in microphone won’t deliver the best audio quality so you’ll likely want to pick up an external microphone. There are a lot of options, but we suggest a small, shotgun mic for good audio.

While a fully articulated LCD is more versatile than a flip up screen, both work well for vlogging. The bigger issue is whether or not you plan to mount an external microphone to the camera, and flip-up screens tend to be more of a problem, since the mic will often block at least part of the screen. One solution is to pick up a cold shoe relocation mount (or a small cage). That’s a fancy name for a metal or plastic piece designed to attach the microphone to the side of the camera, so it won’t obstruct the LCD.

Because you need — and want — to look good on your vlog, be sure to set up lighting that flatters your face and eliminates shadows. LED lights are energy-efficient and don’t output a lot of heat. Flat panels can be mounted on your laptop or on a tripod or two. Ring lights, which are used for portraits, provide even illumination and a sparkly catchlight in your eyes. Look for daylight-balanced lights for the best results, and be sure to check out our guide to the best ring lights.

Other accessories to consider include a tripod, neutral density filter and fast/high capacity media cards. Check the camera’s specs for more details about media card requirements for 4K video. 

Remember, you can always start out with the basics and build from there, so don’t worry about going all in right away!

Be sure to check out all of our camera picks:

Best cameras | Best DSLR cameras | Best action cameras | Best waterproof cameras | Best point-and-shoot cameras | Best instant cameras  | Best cheap cameras | Best GoPro camera | Best GoPro accessories | Best drones | Best 360 cameras | Best iPhone lenses | Best iPhone tripods |DSLR vs. mirrorless | Best Nikon accessories | Best Sony a6000 accessories


The best apps and software for editing, managing, and sharing your photos:
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