Believing a common photography camera would do your vlogging job nicely is the first mistake vloggers may make in their careers. Vloggers and photographers have unique needs, and even vlogging can be categorized into different forms. For example, some vloggers create videos in their stationary setups, while others are on-the-go vloggers (e.g., travel vloggers).
Therefore, choosing a camera for vlogging can be overwhelming, especially when so many options are available. You can make this situation less overwhelming by narrowing down the list based on features and functions you specifically need according to job requirements.
So, the question stands; how to choose a vlogging camera? Following are some essential tips to consider when choosing a vlogging camera. In addition to that, we will also cover some top brands.
How To Choose A Vlogging Camera
Nothing is perfect in the world we live in and the same applies to digital cameras. Although it is almost impossible to get everything in one package, considering the following elements will help you make a more informed decision.
1. Fully Articulated Screen
Most vloggers shoot their vlogging videos on their own. If you also intend to do vlogging independently, you will need something to see what you are recording in real time to make sure the camera is capturing what you want. This is difficult if your camera has an LCD screen on the back or there is no screen at all.
One easy way to tackle this problem is to buy a vlogging camera with a flip (fully articulated screen). Some cameras allow you to flip the screen upwards, but you will find it difficult to mount the shotgun microphone for the voice. Therefore, choose a camera that has a screen which flips to the side.
2. Video Quality
It goes without saying that poor video quality can turn off your audience. Many vloggers pay attention to megapixels when buying a camera for vlogging. What they need to know is that video resolution is equally important. There are two important things to consider at this stage:
1. Video resolution should be at least 1080p; the higher the resolution, the better it is.
2. Frame rate, which makes your videos smoother, has a vital role in improving the quality of slow-motion videos. The camera should be able to record at least 60 fps (frames per second videos), which is particularly important when recording fast moving objects.
And it’s not just about megapixels. The quality of those pixels is equally important so don’t get carried away by 100+ MP cameras just because you think they’ll record better videos than a 16 MP camera. Read reviews and user feedback to get an idea of how a model performs in the real world and in different lighting conditions.
3. Extended Screen Connectivity
Extended screen connectivity is a highly useful feature for stationary vloggers. As a stationary vlogger, you might want to connect your vlogging camera to a bigger screen, such as a large television to get a better view of things. It allows you to see what your camera sees. Most modern-day vlogging cameras have this built-in feature via an HDMI output. Many camera brands are now adding the USB-C feature for this purpose.
4. Great Autofocus
Autofocusing is a mandatory feature for a vlogging camera. As a vlogger, you would want to use a camera that automatically shifts its focus to things or objects you want to focus on while recording a video.
Let’s say you are making a video in your studio and talking to your audience. You would want your camera to focus on your face while you talk. However, if you want to review a product in your video and bring it in front of the camera, its focus should shift to that object immediately. Auto focusing is a time-saving feature when you shoot a video from out-of-arms reach.
5. Face Recognition Focus
Unfortunately, it is one of the least focused things when buying a camera for vlogging. Autofocusing can become troublesome when you are filming other people with you. That said, the auto-focusing feature will make sure the camera focuses on your face, but when there are people around you, it will have trouble focusing on your face. Its focus will keep changing, affecting the quality of the video.
You can resolve this issue as some cameras allow you to store your face images which enables them to prioritize focus on your face even if there are others behind or around you.
6. Touch To Focus
Although it may sound like a fundamental feature, it is necessary because it is an immediate solution when everything else fails. If there are other people in your recording and the camera is confused about which one to focus on, the “touch to focus” feature will be an immediate solution. Just touch the object you want to focus on on the screen, and it will immediately shift to it.
7. Microphone Input
Clear audio in vlogging is as crucial as high-quality video. Although vlogging cameras have built-in microphones for recording your audio, it is important to have a microphone input port to attach external audio recording devices with your camera easily.
Some vloggers think they can record the audio later and synchronize it with the video. It can be a good option, but it is more time-consuming. Besides, travel vloggers will need the original sounds of their environment. Therefore, they need audio recording devices attached to their cameras.
8. Built-in Wifi
Built-in Wifi is a great feature to have in your camera for vlogging. Gone are the days when people used to move their videos from cameras to PCs or laptops through USB cables. You can make wireless transfers if you have Wifi in your camera.
9. Battery Life
Extended battery life is a must-have feature for on-the-go vloggers. For example, travel vloggers may have to make videos all day long, which is why prolonged battery life is vital. Yes, you can buy additional batteries, but individual batteries are more expensive. You also don’t want to buy too many of them. Moreover, you will have to charge all the batteries too, which is time-consuming and might not even be possible on long tours.
10. Optical Image Stabilization
If you are one of those vloggers who shoot videos by holding cameras in their hands, you will be well aware of the shakiness problem. Shaky video footage is an immediate turn-off for the viewers. You can look out for OIS (optical image stabilization) feature in your camera, which stabilizes videos using dedicated hardware; not just some software gimmickry.
Vlog Camera Brands
Here are some globally recognized brands that you can consider during your vlogging camera purchase decision.
Sony is a global giant in the field of electronics. The company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and it is one of the biggest manufacturers of professional and electronic products. The company deals in audio, video, healthcare, mobility, photography, computing, robotics, and biotechnology-related products.
Sony vlogging cameras are a little expensive, but if you need all high-end features at one shop, Sony has them all. For example, Sony a7R is an all-in-one product for vloggers that allows them to record smooth 4k videos. It has a tilting LCD screen and image stabilization feature. Sony Alpha a6500 is another notable camera for vlogging (especially for travel vlogs).
Another Japanese tech giant and a globally acknowledged name, Canon, has built an unparalleled reputation. The company is also headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and mainly deals in imaging, optical, and industrial products like printers, scanners, medical equipment, lenses, cameras, and semiconductors.
Canon has so much to offer to vloggers. Canon EOS 80D, Canon EOS Rebel SL2, Canon EOS M6, and Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II are some of the best vlogging cameras money can buy.
The Japanese have a particular liking for electronics. Panasonic Holdings Corporation is a multinational tech giant headquartered in Osaka.
Panasonic Lumix G85 is a camera to look for if you are a vlogger. For starters, you can shoot 4k videos. It has an external microphone port and is dust or splashproof. Other notable features include 5-axis body stabilization and post-focus mode.
GoPro is a two-decade-old American tech company that has a massive fanbase in the USA and other parts of the world. The company manufactures mobile apps, action cameras, and video-editing software.
When it comes to vlogging cameras, GoPro Hero 7 is the option to consider. Its hyper-smooth stabilization makes it a top choice for travel vloggers or those who shoot outdoors. Notable features include 4k recording, voice control, waterproof construction, and the TimeWarp feature.
Yi Technology, commonly known as Xiaoyi, is a Chinese tech company headquartered in Shanghai, China. YI Technology primarily deals in computer vision technologies and cameras. The company offers security cameras, vlogging cameras, and home cameras.
YI 4k Action and Sports Camera is one of the best vlogging cameras for beginners. That’s because it boasts all the necessary and even advanced features required for vlogging at a very affordable price. Although it is cheaper than the competition, it isn’t far behind when it comes to features and video quality.
It allows you to record 4K@30fps, 1080p@120fps, and 720p@240fps and has a high-capacity rechargeable battery. The company also offers a waterproof case in case you want to shoot in water. Other notable features include an LCD touchscreen protected by gorilla glass and built-in Bluetooth and Wifi.
A pricier product generally means a better, feature-packed product and the same also applies to vlogging cameras. But you still don’t have to spend tons of money on features you don’t actually need. For example, Sony a7R is a top-notch professional camera, but a little expensive for those just getting started. Budget buyers or beginners can start with a YI sports camera instead, which offers most of the bells and whistles without costing a fortune.