Shutter Release: How to Choose the Best Vlogging Cameras of 2018

Want to become a vlogger for Youtube or Instagram fame? You’ll need a vlogging camera capable of producing both high-quality video and still photography. Add in a microphone, lighting, and lenses for a complete vlogging camera setup.

We have everything covered from the beginner hacks to the professional setups. You don’t have to break the bank for a great setup. Instead, a couple of cool hacks and you’re golden. If you have the cash, some options open up the vlogging world and will make your videos more professional.

Best Vlogging Cameras of 2017

Here are the best vlogging cameras at various price points and experience levels.

Cheap Vlogging Cameras

Don’t have a load of money to spend? There are options that you’re not thinking about right now. Your smartphone for one. Apple, Samsung and Google have all declared war, and the battle lines are firmly entrenched on the smartphone camera. Those wanting to hit the easy button can opt for the Osmo Mobile 2 for a solid solution.

1. Osmo Mobile 2

Fresh off the Movi announcement from Freefly, DJI entered CES 2018 with an answer in the form of the Osmo Mobile 2. Take everything you liked about the original Osmo Mobile and cram even more features. Extended battery life now hits towards 15 hours for the gimbal. New shot modes allow you to create hyperlapses, panoramas and more. All priced at $129.

You’ll still need something along the lines of the Manfrotto Lumie Art LED light, but it’s definitely the most budget vlogging platform out there as long as you are the type who consistently upgrades your smartphone, be it the iPhone X, Samsung S9 series or the Google Pixel. With three-axis stabilization and a price that’s an impulse buy, you can see if you want to invest more heavily in vlogging.

A quick note if you want to vlog around your city or travels. Invest in Filmic Pro. It’s a $10 app and allows you to turn off optical image stabilization (OIS) in your phone. With a 3-axis gimbal, any sharp movements and the OIS starts to do battle with OIS on any smartphone. That’s just one of the many features of Filmic Pro. I own it, and the app is a must on any smartphone you plan on using for videography.

Movi

While it doesn’t ship until Q2 2018, the Osmo Mobile is getting serious competition with Movi from Freefly. Yes, the company has a weird naming system due to the professional series of Movi Pros, etc. But, the forthcoming Movi adds features the original Osmo Mobile lacked. The Osmo Mobile 2 has since been released and the feature set is similar. Love the look of the hyperlapse we see on Instagram today? Movi has that mode.

Judging by the feature-set, it’s leaps and bounds above the original Osmo Mobile in terms of creating unique visual content. At $299, it’s priced at the old Osmo price point. Hell, I can’t wait to get my hands on one. It may snap up the number one spot on the list of cheap vlogging options despite owning a higher price point.

Canon EOS M50

Canon’s first foray into offering 4K on a consumer camera is targeted at the beginner vlogging set. Though it has some serious headline features, Canon nerfing the 4K with a double crop factor – both the APS-C crop and the 4K crop, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s definitely cheaper than the Canon 80D listed below, but the 4K offering you are getting has Canon’s Dual Pixel AF stripped away.

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera Body w/ 4K Video (Black)
  • Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Eye Detection AF
  • 24.1 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS Sensor with ISO 100-25600 (H: 51200)
  • 4K UHD 24p and HD 120p for Slow Motion

Unless you seriously need a flip out screen, there are better options for similar price points. The Sony RX100V immediately springs to mind. Or toss your phone on a gimbal with the Osmo Mobile 2 and save a truckload of cash. If you find yourself into vlogging, let your success dictate your gear. If you’re looking for a DSLR-vlogging setup and can deal with no 4K, the 80D or Nikon D5600 are your best bets. Affordable and feature-rich.

I’d also watch for refreshes to the Canon EOS M5. That’s the premier mirrorless APS-C from Canon, and right now, the EOS M50 outstrips it. Expect that to change sooner rather than later.

2. Canon 80D Video Creator Kit

Let’s cheat a bit because the deal on this is fantastic. The Canon EOS 80D Video Creator Kit. It’s the go-to in vlogging platforms out there for beginners. The kit includes everything you need to get started. The Canon EOS 80D body with an EF-S 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. A RODE VideoMic Go, 32GB microSD card and the Cano Power zoom adapter.

It’s more expensive at $1500, but you’re ready to rock YouTube with this setup. You also have the added benefit of being able to add lenses from Canon’s near limitless lens lineup. Some accessories you’ll need is a tripod and a lighting system. Audio is covered by the excellent RODE mic included.

Sale
Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body (Black)
  • 45-point all cross-type AF system* allows for superb autofocus when shooting with the optical viewfinder and focusing area selection modes.
  • Intelligent Viewfinder with approximately 100% viewfinder coverage. Approx. 730g / 25.75oz. (Based on CIPA Guidelines),Approx. 650g / 22.93oz. (Body only)
  • 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor helps provide impressive, high-resolution results. Shooting speed of up to 7.0fps makes it an excellent choice for capturing...

What makes the Canon 80D a winner is the 45 cross-type AF system. The low light performance is great for the price, and the 24MP sensor is spot on. One drawback is it doesn’t have 4K support, but most DSLRs in this price range lack 4K. Tradeoffs have to happen.

For a vlogging camera, the articulating screen is huge. It helps to keep you in focus at all times. Being in focus is a hell of a lot more important than 4K when starting out. You can upgrade the body later.

Those wanting the same technology of the Osmo Mobile but for a DSLR or mirrorless camera can opt for the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer. It adds $649.00 but is an absolute beast for any camera system under 3.3 pounds.

3. Nikon D5600

Rather have a Nikon over a Canon? This is the equivalent down to the articulating screen. It’s predecessor, the D5500 was a dream, and the Nikon D500 has only built on it. Some of the new features include Snapbridge compatibility which allows you to instantly transfer still images to your smartphone over Bluetooth. It can be finicky as hell, but once you make a few sacrifices to the gods, it works pretty damn well.

For the camera, it features a 24MP CMOS sensor with 39 AF points. Like the Canon 80D, it lacks 4K support, but as a beginner, it’s about getting the most out of your gear. If you’re working on a 1080p monitor for edits, you won’t see the difference. Quality content rules the day. Hybrid shooters – both vlogging and still photography – will appreciate the 5fps continuous shooting.

Sale
D5600 DX-format Digital SLR Body
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor. Approx. 0.82x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m(*1))
  • 3.2" 1.037m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen

Pricing is cheaper than the Canon 80D at $796.95 with a Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit lens. The issue becomes when you have to stack items up to get a solid setup. The RODE VideoMic Go hits $100 and then add on a tripod and lighting. A Joby GorillaPod with a ball head hits $119.00, and a NEEWER video light is a steal at $32.99.

It’s easy to go big on all of this but the basic package to get you running retails out at $1048.84. Adding the 3-axis gimbal is something you can do at a later date. It is damn cool to have. After you upped your lens game and have plenty of videos under your belt.

4. Sony RX100V

A point and shoot as a vlogging camera? Yeah, it sounds nuts, but the Sony RX100V punches way above its weight class. 315 AF points. 4K support. 24fps continuous shooting. Oh, and how about 960fps slow motion capture?

For a pocket-sized camera, you can make the argument it offers more than it’s DSLR/mirrorless alternatives with the caveat being you have to hack some pieces together for a full vlogging camera setup. And you can’t change lenses, though, with a dedicated Zeiss 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8, you may not give a damn.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 MP Digital Still Camera with 3" OLED, flip screen, WiFi, and 1” sensor
  • ELECTRONIC VIEW FINDER: retractable Tru-FinderTM EVF provides sharp resolution, bright self-illumination, and high contrast to view shots and adjust settings...
  • AUTO FOCUS: World's fastest (0.05 sec.) hybrid AF system (contrast + phase) which is great for action and wildlife photography
  • AF DETECTION: The most comprehensive phase detection coverage in a compact camera utilizing 315 Auto Focus points

It retails for just under $1000 and setting up a full vlogging platform is similar to the Canon and Nikon. A Manfrotto mini tripod is $24.83. You may want a second tripod for lighting as the RX100V lacks a mount for an onboard light.

Why the RX100V? You may want something that’s pocket size without having to deal with extra lenses. Also, it makes one hell of backup and offers 4K capture, unlike the Nikon and Canon offerings.

5. GoPro Hero5 Vlogging Camera

An action camera for vlogging? Why not? You never know when your adventures involve a dip into the water. And you can drop this without having a heart attack. Think of it as the Osmo Mobile solution with your smartphone if you add the GoPro Karma Grip for $300.

Sale
GoPro HERO5 Black
  • Stunning 4K video and 12MP photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes. Charger not included
  • Durable by design, HERO5 Black is waterproof to 33ft (10m) without a housing
  • Additional GoPro HERO5 Black Features + Benefits below on item page. Time Lapse Photo Intervals: 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds

There are a host of accessories for the GoPro Hero5, including tripods, lighting solutions and more. The company may have had issues with the Karma launch, but don’t sleep on adding the GoPro Hero5 as a possible accessory to your vlogging setup.

Semi-Pro Vlogging Cameras

Staying under a $2500 budget and the world opens up for vlogging camera. Better camera bodies, more lighting solutions, audio, and stabilizers. You name it, and you can accomplish it if you play your cards right. You are firmly into the major camera manufacturers and can open up more with lenses. It also guarantees you 4K.

1. Panasonic GH5

The favorite of YouTubers everywhere. The Panasonic GH series. It’s been updated to the Panasonic GH5 and has nearly everything you want in a vlogging platform. The articulating LCD screen keeps you in focus, and everyone loves the 4k60/50P (4:2:0 8bit) & 4k30/25P/24P (4:2:2 10bit).

Onboard 5-axis body stabilization means you can vlog walking down the street with little shaky cam. It’ll still be there, but can be removed in post-processing. Dual SD card slots mean you’ll never worry about card failure again. Unless both fail which is just a bad day. Chalk it up as such and get out there again.

PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless Camera, 20.3 Megapixels, Dual I.S. 2.0, 4K 422 10-bit, Full Size HDMI Out, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DC-GH5KBODY (USA Black)
  • Professional photo and 4K video performance in a durable magnesium alloy body.
  • 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter.
  • 4K video: internal recording at 4k60/50P (4:2:0 8bit) & 4k30/25P/24P (4:2:2 10bit).

It’s not cheap with the body retailing for $2000. You’ll need to be smart adding in audio (RODE VideoMic Go) and nice tripod and lighting. It’ll get the job done, and a lot of vloggers have settled on it as the tops in its class.

Still, can you get the same for a cheaper price?

2. Sony a6500

What it lacks in an articulating screen, it makes up for in pricing and the ability to add on in a hurry. The Sony a6500 retails for less than $1300. With the budget of $2500, the world opens up to accessories. The camera itself over samples 4K video to 6K to give the maximum picture quality. It, like the GH5, has 5-axis stabilization allowing much more freehand vlogging walking down the street.

An absurd AF system features 435 points with face detection. Those unsure about the lack of an articulating screen have that feature to rely on. Additional professional level videography features include S-Gamut3/S-Log3 and Gamma Display Assist, the ability to record Full HD at 120fps for 4x or 5x slow motion HD video7, both a mic jack and XLR compatibility.

Sale
Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95" LCD (Body Only)
  • 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ advanced processing up to ISO 51.200
  • Wide 425 phase detection AF points, Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens. Silent Shooting

The 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor handles still photography with ease, be it landscape, action, portrait or street.

For a starter lens, the 35mm f/1.8 is a solid choice at $448. That takes you to $1700. Adding in the VideoMic go handles the audio with ease at $100. Tripods and lighting will depend on what you want, and it leaves you enough for the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer. You’d have a complete package including the ability for better action shots with the stabilizer.

3. Canon 80D

The video creator kit with the stabilizer. While it doesn’t have 4K capture, adding the 3-axis stabilizer is no issue at this price level. Or you can opt for better lenses. It has its drawbacks, but if you have a $2500 budget for a vlogging camera, don’t underestimate the 80D.

Sale
Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body (Black)
  • 45-point all cross-type AF system* allows for superb autofocus when shooting with the optical viewfinder and focusing area selection modes.
  • Intelligent Viewfinder with approximately 100% viewfinder coverage. Approx. 730g / 25.75oz. (Based on CIPA Guidelines),Approx. 650g / 22.93oz. (Body only)
  • 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor helps provide impressive, high-resolution results. Shooting speed of up to 7.0fps makes it an excellent choice for capturing...

4. Nikon D500

One of the most award-winning cameras to hit the market in 2016, the Nikon D500 is considered one of the best values on the market. Similar in its drawbacks as the Sony a6500, there is no articulating screen. Also, the 4K endures an additional crop factor, which could create issues. For vlogging, you are getting 4K UHD Video recording at 30fps with a Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF system.

The 20.9MP sensor shines in both video and still photography, so if you’re a hybrid shooter, it’s the best of both worlds. 10fps will have you enjoying stills as much as video. You may as well seek Instagram fame along with YouTube.

Sale
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only)
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor.Viewfinder:Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD

Dual memory card slots alleviate any worries of a corrupted SD card, along with the bevy of Nikon and third-party accessories. One way around the non-articulating screen is to attach a small external monitor. You switch to Live View, and you’re good to keep yourself in focus at all times.

Professional Vlogging Cameras

Budget no object? You can open up to the world of cine lenses, full-frame bodies and crazy lighting systems.

1. Sony a7rIII

2017 ended with Sony giving us the much anticipated update to the a7r lineup with the A7RIII. Take everything you love about the a7rII and give it one hell of an upgrade. The sensor remains, but battery life gets the a9 upgrade, performance is snappy and it answers nearly all the gripes we had regarding the a7rII. And it’s finally in stock to start the new year off right. Yeah, now we wait for the a7sIII. We know it’s out there sony. Give it to us.

Sony a7R III 42.4MP Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera
  • 42.4 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with gapless on-chip lens design
  • New front-end LSI and updated BIONZ X processing-engine for maximum processing speed
  • Advanced Hybrid AF system with 399 focal-plan phase-detection AF points cover 68% of the image Plane and 425 contrast AF points covering 47% of the image area

Audio, you can stick with the RODE VideoMic Go. Lighting, the sky’s the limit, and you can start looking at brands like Aputure Lights which include kits with dual LED light panels with stands. Tripods can be the best Manfrotto has to offer.

2. Panasonic GH5

Same reasons as the semi-pro level, but now you can expand your reach with lighting and better lenses.

PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless Camera, 20.3 Megapixels, Dual I.S. 2.0, 4K 422 10-bit, Full Size HDMI Out, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DC-GH5KBODY (USA Black)
  • Professional photo and 4K video performance in a durable magnesium alloy body.
  • 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter.
  • 4K video: internal recording at 4k60/50P (4:2:0 8bit) & 4k30/25P/24P (4:2:2 10bit).

3. Sony a7sII

Imagine the Sony a7rII but made specifically for video. That’s what the Sony a7sII and it’s impressive low light capability is. S-Gamut3, Cine/S-Log3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3 are all available for color correction in post-production.

Sale
Sony a7S II ILCE7SM2/B 12.2 MP E-mount Camera with Full-Frame Sensor, Black
  • Full-frame camera with 5-axis image stabilization
  • Fast and effective, enhanced Fast Hybrid AF
  • 12.2 megapixels 10 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor Lens Compatibility - Sony E-mount lenses

Using it as a vlogging camera is made easy with the same five-axis stabilization and it’s tailor made for video. You can still grab stills, but its performance lends itself to the video market. Add in the necessary tripods, audio and lighting, and you have a beast of a camera that won’t let you down on video shoots.

Its drawback is like with any Sony camera. Battery life. It eats them.

4. Canon 1DX Mark II

The flagship Canon with the flagship price. The Canon 1DX Mark II body alone is $5,999, but it is capable of capturing 4K footage at 60fps. The Sony is a better value unless you need serious battery life. This has it with the battery grips. Hybrid shooters will love the 14fps continuous shooting and 61-point AF system.

Sale
Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera (Body Only)
  • Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors
  • Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast cards in the new CFast 2.0 slot
  • Improved AF performance through 61-point, wide area AF system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility...

It’s in this price range where you need to be thinking serious professional use. Even the top YouTubers are hardly using these and stick with cheaper bodies with better lenses and lighting. But if you want the best, it’s up there with the top camera bodies.

5. Nikon D5

Honestly, I’d prefer the D500 over the Nikon D5. Same capabilities minus a few things in a package that’s easier to handle. At $6500, it’s the most expensive for a camera body. I’d stick with the Sony offerings and just buy extra batteries. But if you’re a previous Nikon user, you know you are getting serious quality, though, for vlogging, it’s overkill.

Sale
Nikon D5 DSLR 20.8 MP Point & Shoot Digital Camera, Dual XQD Slots - Black
  • 20.8MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 2.36m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor

Which Vlogging Camera?

A lot of cameras to choose from. Here are my picks from each of the categories. For the cheap route, you can’t go wrong with the Osmo Mobile 2. Paired with an iPhone X or Samsung S9 Plus, you have a complete solution that’s portable.

Midrange, my favorite is the Sony a6500. You are getting more bang for your buck, and the face detection gets rid of any issues of you being out of focus in your videos.

And for the expensive bodies, the Sony a7rIII. Hard to beat that megapixel count and the sheer amount of features for the price. For what you’d pay for the top Nikon or Canon, you’re completely outfitted with lenses, lights, audio and a tripod.

Those are my picks for the best vlogging cameras of 2018. Sound off in the comments on any you’d like to see added.

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Last update on 2018-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API