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Best vlogging camera 2021: The best cameras to buy for YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and TikTok

Dave Stevenson
1 Dec 2021
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Want to make your mark on social media? Create standout videos with our roundup of the best vlogging cameras

Whether you're a veteran YouTuber aiming to up your game or a blogging upstart looking to get stuck in, a quality vlogging camera can help take your content to the next level. Vlogging is big business these days, with platforms like Youtube, Instagram and TikTok allowing content creators access to massive global audiences with little more than a camera and a fresh idea. 

For those serious about their craft, there's a whole world of vlogging cameras explicitly designed for self-shot videos of all kinds. Fortunately for those on a budget you don’t need to splash out on uber-expensive kit in order to produce professional-looking vlogs. Certainly, some vlogging cameras will set you back a fair chunk of change, but you’ll be surprised how affordable some of the best vlogging cameras are.

Choosing the right vlogging camera for you will depend on the style of videos you plan on shooting. If you plan on shooting videos from home, you’ll likely have a slightly different set of requirements to someone who wants to vlog their globe-trotting travel adventures in extreme climates. I'm happy to report, however, that there are vlogging cameras so suit all styles of content creation - and all budgets.

Check out our buying guide below to find out what features will be best for you. Or, if you already know what you’re looking for, you can skip straight to our tried-and-tested roundup of the best vlogging cameras money can buy.

The Sony ZV-1 is now cheaper than ever

With 4K recording, excellent autofocus, a flip-out screen, and an external microphone input, the Sony ZV-1 should be atop every vlogger's shortlist. While it usually retails for £699, currently it's on sale for just £579 - its lowest price yet.
Amazon
Was £699
Now £579

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How to choose the best camera for vlogging

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to upgrade your existing setup, these are the key features to consider when looking for a new vlogging camera.

Do I need a specialised vlogging camera?

Honestly, it's never been easier to get into vlogging - these days you can get up and running with little more than your smartphone and free Youtube account. If you're serious about your vlogs, however, you can quickly find yourself in need of a dedicated camera. While no two vlogger's needs are identical, they all share a need for high-quality video and crisp audio wrapped up in a user-friendly device. This is where vlogging cameras come in.

What video resolution is best?

Most cameras – including all of the models on our list – can shoot Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) footage. 4K cameras have rapidly come down in price over the last few years giving more content creators the option to record at higher resolutions. Bear in mind, however, that 4K files will be considerably larger than HD files and will require a more powerful computer to edit.

Given that most vlogs are watched back in HD on phones, laptops and tablets, we still think that Full HD cameras offer the best bang for your buck. But for future-proofing purposes, it's certainly still worth considering a camera that has the option to shoot in 4K.

Are size and weight important?

If you’re planning to shoot active vlogs that involve carrying your camera around, portability is important. Lugging a bulky camera around is a chore, whereas a lightweight model can come everywhere. Luckily, there are many pocket-sized cameras that shoot quality video and are perfect for vlogging on the go. Obviously, this is less of an issue if you’ll mostly be shooting with a tripod or filming at home.

What is optical image stabilisation and do I need it?

Optical image stabilisation lets a camera automatically reduce the effect of shaky hands and other unwanted movements. Without it, your vlogs could look jittery and unprofessional. Editing can help remove some of the shakiness that will happen when vlogging, but if you can keep your footage as smooth as possible in the first place, life is a whole lot easier; it’s worth spending a little more to buy a camera with stabilisation built in.

Is audio quality important?

Even if you want to use music in your videos, most vlogs involve recording speech – some include nothing but. If the sound captured by your camera sounds harsh and boxy, there’s almost nothing you can do to fix it, so choosing a model with a good in-built microphone is crucial. For the best possible audio, choose a camera with a mic socket and connect an external microphone. For even more control over your audio, it may even be worth considering a camera with a headphone output so that you can check your audio levels before you start recording.

What other features should I look out for?

On top of the essential features you’ll need in a vlogging camera, there are a few useful extras to consider. Many vloggers like a flip-out screen so they can see what they're filming when working solo. If you’ll be recording outdoors for long periods of time, choosing a camera with a removable battery will mean you can carry spares, so you always have enough juice to carry on.

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The best vlogging cameras to buy

1. Sony ZV-1: Best all-around vlogging camera

Price: £696 | Buy now from Amazon

With 4K recording, excellent autofocus, a flip-out screen, and an external microphone input, the Sony ZV-1 should be on every social content creator's shortlist. The video quality on offer here is excellent, and you have the option to shoot 4K at 30fps, 1080p at up to 120fps, and even short bursts of 40x slow-motion footage. There's also an internal three-stop ND filter and S-log for more advanced users.

Sony cameras are well known for their tracking autofocus capabilities, and the ZV-1 is no exception. We found the focus to be snappy and dependable, able to grab onto eyes, faces, or wherever you select using the touchscreen. This allows you to concentrate on the content without having to worry about your focus. With three internal microphones and an included windshield, audio is great too. And, thanks to an external mic input you have the flexibility to pair the ZV-1 with just about any mic you like.

If you looking to vlog on to go, you won't find a more capable camera in such a pocket-friendly form factor.

Read our full Sony ZV-1 review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 4K; Image quality: 20.1MP; Flip screen: Yes; Microphone input: Yes; Headphone jack: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes; Weight: 294g


2. Sony Alpha a6400: Best vlogging camera with interchangeable lenses

Price: £899 | Buy now from Amazon

Sony’s pint-sized powerhouse is a great choice for self-facilitating media nodes everywhere. It takes stellar still pictures and shoots up to 4K video. On the back there's an excellent rear monitor that flips 180 degrees to allow you to frame up accurately when you record yourself.

It’s a usable little number and its 16-50mm kit lens is perfect for those starting out as vloggers – although since the A6400 features Sony's E-mount, it's compatible with a vast range of lenses including plenty of pro options, giving you room to grow.

At just 403g it's portable too, offering a great blend of usability and power – so complete beginners and more experienced users alike will be able to get going quickly. It’s expensive, sure, but this is a camera that will last most users a long time.

Read our full Sony A6400 review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 4K; Image quality: 24.2MP; Flip screen: Yes; Microphone input: Yes; Headphone jack: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes; Weight: 403g


3. Panasonic Lumix GH5: Best for professional-looking videos – if you can afford it

Price: £1,199 (body only) | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to shoot professional-grade video, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 should be at the top of your list. It’s not cheap, but serious vloggers will love how much it offers.

As well as shooting 4K footage at 60fps, this mirrorless micro-four-thirds camera can record 1080p at up to 180fps. It uses a super high-resolution 3,680k-dot OLED live viewfinder for perfect framing in all light conditions and has two SD card slots. That means you can shoot for twice as long, or keep a second copy of your footage for safety – as long as you’re shooting MP4 footage, rather than the more data-intensive AVCHD format. It’s also splash, dust and freeze-proof – something that’s hard to come by on cheaper cameras.

The quality of still images isn’t so strong: if that matters, you might want to look elsewhere. But the GH5 excels at video and outperforms similarly priced alternatives by a long way, making it one of the best cameras available for vloggers.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix GH5 review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 4K; Image quality: 20.3MP; Flip screen: No; Microphone input: Yes; Headphone jack: Yes; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes; Weight: 645g


4. GoPro Hero 9 Black: Best vlogging camera for action and adventure

Price: £330 | Buy now from GoPro

Small, lightweight, and virtually indestructible, GoPro's range of genre-defining Hero action cameras have long been a go-to for adventurous vloggers. The GoPro's main drawback has always been its lack of a front-facing screen, but fortunately that all changes with the Hero 9 Black.

With up to 5K video recording, Hypersmooth 3.0 stabilisation, slow motion, timelapse and hyper-lapse modes and of course that front-facing display, the Hero 9 Black packs a wide range of creative options into a pocket-sized device.

The in-built microphone is excellent too and should be more than adequate for most run-and-gun shooting. For those looking for even higher quality audio, the Hero 9 Black is also compatible with GoPro's Media Mod accessory that features a 3.5mm external microphone input.

As you'd expect from a GoPro device the Hero 9 Black is ruggedly built and is waterproof down to 10m, making it an ideal option for more adventurous vlogging situations.

For the best deal on pricing, you'll want to buy direct from GoPro bundled with a one-year GoPro subscription.

Read our full GoPro Hero 9 Black review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 5K; Image quality: 20MP; Front-facing screen: No; Microphone input: Yes (with Media Mod); Headphone jack: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes; Weight: 158g

Buy now from GoPro


5. DJI Pocket 2: The best stabilised vlogging camera

Price: £339 | Buy now from Amazon

The DJI Pocket 2 is a complete stabilised video platform that's small enough, as the name suggests, to fit in your coat pocket. It features a three-axis stabilised camera module, a front-facing touch screen and an array of four microphones.

While the Pocket 2 is a standalone camera in its own right, it can also be connected directly to your smartphone. Once paired up you can benefit from your phone's larger screen and take full control of the device for recording, playback and even direct upload to social media.

As for the performance, it shoots up to 4K video at 60fps and adapts extraordinarily well under low-light conditions; auto exposure works a treat. There's also a wealth of smart shooting modes allowing you to easily create time lapses, panoramas and hyper lapses. For added functionality, the Pocket 2 can be combined with a range of accessories including DJI's Do It All Handle which adds a speaker, microphone jack and wireless receiver to the Pocket 2.

Read our full DJI Pocket 2 review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 4K; Image quality: 64MP; Front-facing screen: Yes; Microphone input: Yes (with Do It All Handle accessory); Headphone jack: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes (with Do It All Handle accessory); Weight: 117g


6. GoPro Max: Best 360 vlogging camera

Price: £380 | Buy now from GoPro

At first glance a 360 camera may seem like an odd choice for vlogging – but stick with us. The Max has lenses on both the front and the back, allowing you to either film what's ahead of you, or to film yourself while making use of the rear touchscreen display. And, since it's a 360 camera you have the option to record full 360° video and crop out the best angles afterwards using the GoPro studio app. In effect this allows you to mimic a multiple-camera setup with just one device.

GoPro's Hypersmooth is also excellent on the Max, paired with the horizon-levelling function you simply have to hold the camera out in front of you and you'll always get smooth, level footage, even while walking or running. There's no external mic input option on the Max, but in our testing, we've been very impressed with the inbuilt mic setup.

While the GoPro Max may not be the obvious choice for a vlogging camera, if you're looking to push your creative limits, want to create striking B-roll, and need it all wrapped up in a durable package, then the Max has you covered.

Read our full GoPro Max review for more details.

Key specs - Recording quality: 5.6K (360°), 1080p (16:9); Image quality: 16MP; Front-facing screen: Yes; Microphone jack: No; Headphone input: No; Wi-Fi enabled: Yes; Weight: 163g

Buy now from GoPro


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