How to buy a vlogging camera

by mcdix

Our editorial team, independent of our parent company, selects all products Engadget recommends. Some of our stories include affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through one of these links. With the explosion of TikTok and the growth of video on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and other platforms, interest in vlogging has increased exponentially since we last updated our guide. If you’re one of those creators and a smartphone is no longer good enough, upgrading to a purpose-built vlogging camera may be time.

Some models are specifically designed for vlogging like Sony’s ZV-E10 mirrorless camera launched last year or Panasonic’s compact G100. Others, like the new Panasonic GH6, Sony A7S III, and Canon EOS R6, are hybrid cameras that offer vlogging as part of a larger toolset. They all have things in common, like flip-around screens, face- and eye-detect autofocus, and stabilization. Prices, features, and quality can vary widely among models, though. To that end, we’ve updated our guide with all the latest models designed for every vlogger, from novice to professional, in all price ranges. Engadget has tested all of these to give you the best possible recommendations, and we’ll even discuss a few rumored upcoming models.

One caveat to this year’s guide is that a parts shortage has limited the production of many cameras, causing shortages and higher prices. Sony halted production of the ZV-E10 above for a time, and models from Fujifilm and others are also hard to find. The good news is that the shortage appears to be easing, so hopefully, we’ll see normal supply levels shortly.

What do you need in a vlogging camera?

Vlogging cameras are designed for filmmakers who often work alone and use a tripod, gimbal, vehicle mount, or just their hands to hold a camera. It has to be good for filming yourself and other “B-roll” footage that helps tell your story. The first requirement is a flip-around screen to see yourself while filming. Those can rotate up, down, or to the side, but flipping out to the side is preferable so a tripod or microphone won’t block it.

Continuous autofocus (AF) for video with face and eye detection is also necessary. It becomes your camera “assistant,” keeping things in focus while you concentrate on your content. Most cameras can do that nowadays, but some still do it better than others. Electronic stabilization is another option as long as you’re aware of the limitations. If you move around or walk a lot, you should look for a camera with built-in optical stabilization. You’ll also need a fast sensor that limits the rolling shutter, which can create distracting jello “wobble” with quick camera movements.

4K recording is another key feature. All cameras nowadays can shoot 4K up to at least 24 fps, but it’s better to have 4K at 60 or even 120 fps if possible. If you shoot sports or other things involving fast movement, look for a model with at least 1080p at 120 fps for slow-motion recording. Video quality is another important consideration, especially for skin tones. Good light sensitivity helps for night shooting, concerts, etcetera, and a log profile helps improve dynamic range in very bright or dark shooting conditions. If you want the best possible image quality and can afford it, get a camera that can record 4K with 10 bits (billions) of colors. That will give you more options when you go to edit.

Don’t neglect audio either — your audience will disengage if the quality is bad. Look for a camera with a microphone port to plug in a shotgun or lapel mic for interviews, or at least one with a good-quality built-in microphone. It’s also nice to have a headphone port to monitor sound to avoid nasty surprises after you finish shooting. You’ll also want good battery life and, if possible, dual memory card slots for a backup. Finally, don’t forget about your camera’s size and weight. It might be the most important factor if you’re constantly carrying one while shooting, especially at the end of a gimbal or Gorillapod. That’s why tiny GoPro cameras are so popular for sports, despite offering lower image quality and fewer pro features.

The best action and portable cameras

If you’re starting vlogging or need a small, rugged camera, an action cam might be your best bet. In general, they’re generally don’t have to worry about things like exposure or focus. Recent models also offer good electronic stabilization and sharp, colorful video at up to 4K and 60 fps. The downsides are a lack of control, image quality not on par with larger cameras, and no zooming or option to change lenses.

DJI Pocket II

Last time around, we recommended the original Osmo Pocket, but the Pocket II (no more “Osmo”) has some big improvements. As before, its money has a larger, much highewithution 64-megapixel sensor, a faster lens with a wifocusedew, and improved microphones. As before, you can gAs before, it’s mounted on a three-axis gimbal and has impressive face tracking that keeps your subject locked in focus. et accessories like an extension rod, a waterproof case, and more.

The following modes combined with face tracking make the Pocket II great for vlogging. If you’re working for $346, it’s good for beginners and a handy tool for any vlogger. Lo, you follow, set it up, and it’ll rotate and tilt to follow you. That also applies to walk-and-talk vlogging, so you don’t have to worry about focusing or even pointing the camera at yourself. For $346, it’s zon – $349

GoPro H andlack


The Hero 10 Black is a “big, invisible upgrade” over the Hero 9, itself a much-improved came much-improved 8 Black we recommended last time. That’s largely due to the new processor that unlocks features like higher-resolution 5.3K 60p and 4K 120fps video, much improved Hypersmooth 4.0 stabilization, an improved front-screen, and forefront screen makes it ideal for mounting on a drone, vehicle, helmet, bicycle, and more at a manageable $350 price with a 1-year GoPro subscription.

Buy Hero 10 Black bundle at GoPro – $350

DJI Action 2


DJI took a different approach than GoPro with its latest Action 2 camera – no more Osmo branding. Rather than being a standalone camera, it’s a modular system with a magnetic mount that lets you add a touchscreen module with a secondary OLED display and three additional microphones or a battery module for longer life and an extra microSD slot. As with the Pocket 2, it offers many accessories like a 3-in-1 extension rod and more. It’s a versatile option if you do more than just action shooting and is priced well, starting at $399.

Buy DJI Action 2 at Amazon – $399

The best compact vlogging cameras

Compact cameras are a step-up option from smartphones or action cameras, with larger sensors and much better image quality. At the same time, they’re not quite as versatile as mirrorless or DSLR cameras (and not necessarily cheaper) and lack advanced options like the 10-bit video for folks who want the best quality without thinking too much about their camera.

Sony ZV-1

Steve Dent/Engadget

Sony’s ZV-1 came out in 2020, and it’s still the best compact vlogging camera available. Based on the RX 100 V, it has a decently large 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor and a fixed 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8mm equivalent lens. Based on the RX100 V has a 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor and a fixed 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8mm (equivalent) lens. It also offers a lightweight body, built-in high-quality microphone (plus a microphone port), flip-out display, best-in-class autofocus, and excellent image quality. It also has vlogging-specific features like “product showcase” and background blur.

While the $799 ZV-1 can’t shoot 10-bit video, it comes with Sony’s S-Log picture profiles that give you an increased dynamic range for shooting in challenging lighting conditions. The flaws include a lens that’s not quite wide enough when using electronic stabilization, mediocre battery life, and the lack of a true touch display and headphone port. That aside, it does the job nearly perfectly if you’re looking to step up from a smartphone.

Buy Sony ZV-1 at Amazon – $799

Canon G7 X Mark III


Canon’s G7 X Mark III should also be front of mind for vloggers looking for a compact option. It also packs a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor but has a 24-100 mm f/1.8-2.8 35mm equivalent zoom — much longer than the ZV-1 at the telephoto range. It can shoot 4K at up to 30 fps offering optical image stabilization, a microphone input (though no headphone jack), and even the ability to live stream directly to YouTube. The downsides are contrast-detect-only autofocus and a screen that tilts up but not to the side. For $749, it’s still a great option, though.

Buy Canon G7 X Mark III at Amazon – $749

The best mirrorless/DSLR vlogging cameras

This class has changed the most over the past few years, particularly in the more affordable price categories. Interchangeable lens cameras give you the most options for vlogging, offering larger sensors than compact cameras with better low-light sensitivity and a shallower depth of field to isolate you or your subject. They also provide better control of your image with manual controls, log recording, 10-bit video, and more. The drawbacks are extra weight compared to action or compact cameras, additional complexity, and higher prices.

Fujifilm X-S10

Jonas Dyhr Rask/Fujifilm

Fujifilm’s X-S10 has displaced the X-T4 as the best vlogging camera out there, thanks to the more affordable price. It ticks all the boxes for vloggers, offering in-body stabilization, 10-bit 4K external video with F-Log recording (up to 30fps), and 1080p at a stellar 240 fps, a screen that flips out to the side, and easy-to-use controls. It also comes with a headphone jack and a USB-C port that doubles as a headphone jack. The main downside is the limited touchscreen controls, but you get a lot of cameras for just $1,000.

Buy Fujifilm X-S10 at Adorama – $999

Sony ZV-E10


The best Sony APS-C camera for vlogging is now the ZV-E10. While using many of the same aging parts as the A6100, including the 24.2-megapixel sensor, it has several useful self-shooter features. If you can find one, it’s priced at $700 for the body or $800 in a bundle with Sony’s 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens. Sony’s excellent autofocus is high on the list, which includes the same background defocus and Product Showcase features found on the ZV-1 compact. It also offers an electronic SteadyShot, a fully articulating display, and more. The biggest drawback is the rolling shutter, which can get bad if you whip the worseworseworseera around too much.

Buy Sony ZV-E10 at B&H – $698

Panasonic GH6 and GH5

Steve Dent/Engadget

Panasonic’s GH5 was an incredibly popular vlogging camera for a long time, and Beras, the $2,200 GH6 and more budget-oriented d $1,700 GH5-II. The GH6 is a large upgrade in nearly every way, offering 5.7K at 60 fps and 4K at up to 120 fps, along with ProRes formats that are easy to edit. It also comes with the best in-body stabilization on any camera and great handling. The downside is sub-par contrast-detect autofocus and battery life that’s not amazing.

It’s also worth a look at the GH5 Mark II, which is not only $500 cheaper but particularly well-suited for live-streamers. Its live streamers grade over the GH5, but it does more than most rival cameras for the price, offering 4K 10-bit 60p video, a fully articulating display, and excellent in-body stabilization. As with the GH6, the main drawback is the contrast-detect autofocus system.

Buy Panasonic GH6 at Amazon – $2,200
Buy Panasonic GH5 at Amazon – $1,700

Panasonic G100


Panasonic’s G100 is purpose-built for vlogging like the ZV-1 allowing you to change lenses. It has a fully-articulating flip-out screen, 5-axis hybrid (optical/electronic) stabilization, 4K V-Log-L video at up to 30 fps (though sadly cropped at 1.47X for 4K video), 1080p at up to 60 fps, and contrast-detect AF contrast-detectetection. The coolest feature is the Nokia OZO system that can isolate audio to a specific person via face-detection tracking, theoretically improving audio quality. You can grab it now with a 12-32mm lens for $750.

Buy Panasonic GH100 at Amazon – $750

Canon EOS M50 Mark II


Another good buy if you’re on a budget is Canon’s EOS M50 Mark II, particularly if you’re okay with 1080p video only. While not a huge upgrade over the original M50, Canon has made it more compelling for vloggers with a fully-articulating display, continuous eye-tracking in the video, and live streaming to YouTube. It does support 4K but with a heavy 1.5 times crop and contrast-detect autofocus only. Still, it’s a good option for folks on a budget, selling for $699 with a 15-45mm lens.

Buy Canon EOS M50 Mark II at B&H – $699

Canon EOS R6

Steve Dent / Engadget

If you’ve got the budget, Canon’s EOS R6 offers nearly every feature you need in a vlogging camera. You can shoot 10-bit 4K video at up to 60 fps, and the Dual Pixel autofocus with eye and face tracking is incredibly reliable. It also offers 5-axis optical stabilization, a flip-out display, and a relatively compact size. As you may have heard, overheating can be an issue, but firmware updates have improved that issue and only apply to the more demanding video settings.

Buy Canon EOS R6 at Amazon – $2,500

Fujifilm X-T4

Steve Dent/Engadget

The Fujifilm X-T4 is a great all-around mirrorless camera for vlogging. It has everything you need, including a fully-articulating display, continuous eye- and face autofocus, 10-bit 4K log recording at up to 60 fps, 5-axis in-body stabilization, microphone, and headphone jacks (the latter via USB-C) and lower noise in low light.

Image quality, espeWhat I don’t like is an autofocus system not quite as fast or accurate as Sony’s and the steep $1,700 asking price for the body only. cially in the skin tones, it is lifelike, and the sensor has a minimal rolling shutter. It also offers good battery life and comes with dual UHS-II card slots. Finally, it’s fairly light considering all the features, and Fujifilm has a good selection of small lenses ideal for vlogging. I wouldn’t say I like Amazon – $1,700

Nikon Z fc


If you want to look great while vlogging, check out Nikon’s stylish Z fc. It’s largely identical to the Z50, with features like a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor, 4K at 30 fps and a reliable pha, se-detect autofocus system with face detection. However, the Z fc brings a vari-angle touchscreen to the party and has a beautiful vintage body covered with convenient manual controls. It doesn’t have built-in optical stabilization, but you can get that via a lens. The best feature is the price – you can get one for $1,100 with a 16-50mm lens.

Buy Nikon Z fc at B&H – $1,100

Upcoming cameras

If you’re not quite ready to buy, some interesting options are on the horizon. Canon announced the EOS R7, a mirrorless EOS R version of its popular EOS 7D DSLR. It has an APS-C sensor and all-new RF-S lenses, meaning it replans on’s curve itsof  M-series cameras. Specs include a 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, 4K 60 fps video, an articulating display, and more. That wiwillur upcoming review confirms the hype that it is a top vlogging option if our uof that Canon also announced a cheaper EOS R10 model with a 24.2-megapixel sensor that could also be an ideal vlogging camera. Both cameras are coming out towards the end of 2022.

In addition, Fujifilm just launched the X-H2S, its new $2,500 flagship mirrorless camera. With a 26.2-megapixel stacked and backside-illuminated sensor, it offers impressive features. Some highlights include i40 fps blackout-free burst shooting, faster autofocus, a 6.2K 30fps video, a flip-out display, and a 7-stop in-body stabilization. If you’ve got the budget, this could be a solid vlogging choice when it arrives on July 7th.

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