Thinking about starting a YouTube channel for fun and profit? Or maybe you just need to upload videos on the regular for work or school. Either way, having a good vlogging camera can make or break your workflow. We all know any smartphone can work as a vlogging camera and even an editing machine nowadays, but the truth is, having a dedicated vlogging camera can make your videos look and sound even more professional. Buying a dedicated video camera can be a wise but expensive investment, so another way to go is to upgrade from smartphone to a DSLR camera that also takes high quality video.
What to look for in a vlogging camera
When shopping for the best vlogging camera, here are the most important features, as shared by someone who’s been a professional TV producer and vlogger for years. I’ve been using a Canon EOS Rebel T6i for the last few years, but have been thinking of upgrading. Meantime, check out these considerations if you’re new to the vlogging game and want to get started like a pro.
Resolution isn’t as important as you think
Higher resolution is better, right? Sure, but for the most part, people are still watching things in HD and 4K. For that reason, there’s not much need to shop for a camera that can record in 8K. Plus, the downside of recording in those larger formats is that you need more space to edit and store those video files.
Make sure you get a shoe for light
One of the most important things to consider for vlogging videos is light. While owning a lighting kit is a great way to ensure you look your best, if you don’t have softboxes or a ring light, you can still get great lighting by adding a small battery-powered sungun or LED light to your camera. You can use what’s called the shoe to snap a light securely to the top of the camera. As a bonus, this mounting bracket also works for microphones too.
Check out the Canon EOS R6: those looking for creative video options will appreciate 4K 60P and Full HD 120P recording plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allows for multiple transfer and automatic backup options.
Do I need a Microphone or Mic input?
Speaking of microphones, sound is the other main component of a good video. If possible, get a camera with a solid built in directional microphone and a windsock for buffering outdoor audio too. It’s also always a good choice to ensure there’s an input for an external microphone in case you want to use a hand held mic or a lavalier/clip on microphone.
Reversible view screen is a must for vloggers
In my opinion, if you’re a vlogger, do not buy any camera for vlogging that doesn’t have a reversible viewing screen that flips out from the back of the camera. A flip-out screen lets you properly frame your shot and keep tabs on your shoot. Without one, you’ll need to set up your shot, record a test, then get up to play that back and then adjust the framing. Save yourself time and trouble and just get a screen that lets you see what you’re doing. Most cameras nowadays, including the Sony Alpha 7C FF Camera Body has a reversible view screen, but check to make sure your choice does.
Quiet autofocus or changeable lens options
One of the easiest ways to ruin a good vlog or YouTube video is with a poor autofocus that keeps trying to adjust itself. Worse yet, if that autofocus in the lens is loud and it’s getting picked up on your microphone as a buzzing and whirring sound. Find a camera that lets you swap in your own, ultra quiet lens, or one that operates silently, like the Sony ZV-1. With fast and precise focus transitions, the ZV-1’s Fast Hybrid AF system lets you simply and quickly switch focus from a face to the background, for more stylistic and watchable videos.
Vlogger tips: Subject tracking & autofocus
Chances are you’re a one-person vlogging operation. You don’t have time to fuss with correctly focusing the camera, and let’s be honest, out of focus video is garbage and leads to unnecessary re-shoots. Choose a vlogging camera that has subject or face tracking so you can stay the centre of the shoot.
For this, look at Nikon Z 7II FX-Series Mirrorless Body. With a 493-point autofocus system, plus high-speed shooting, two card slots and wireless connectivity with smartphones and laptops this vlogging camera has a lot going for it.
Vlogger of the future: Vertical Video option
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II 15-45 has another feature that Instagrammers are going to love: the option of shooting vertical video easily. While some platforms like YouTube are geared at horizontally-shot videos, the Canon M50 gives you options.
Can I livestream on a DSLR?
One last consideration as you’re building your video vlogging empire is the ability to stream video live. Not all DSLR cameras let you shoot and share direct to social media platforms like YouTube, but the Canon EOS M50 Mark II 15-45 does.
Compact options for adventure vlogging
Overall, the size of the camera really isn’t that important; if you can get all your most wanted features in a bigger DSLR-type camera, you’re going to get a lot of use from it. If you’re taking a camera mountaineering on the other hand and shooting videos for your Alpine YouTube channel, an ultra compact camera might be the best bet for you. That’s where you might want to look at the GoPro Hero 9.
GoPro’s Hero 9 is practically pocket sized has both a rear adds a 1.4-inch screen to the front for framing shots easily. Cameras made for action and sports like CoPro also give you better looking motion shots with HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization and TimeWarp 3.0 speed ramping.
Whatever your vlogging future holds, the best plan is to make a list of your must-have viddeo and camera features and shop accordingly.