Share Your World With The Best Vlogging Camera Setups [2019]

vlogging cameras

Want to become a vlogger for Youtube or Instagram fame? You’ll need a vlogging camera setup capable of producing both high-quality video and still photography. Add in a microphone, lighting, and lenses for a complete vlogging setup. When you have the footage you need, take advantage of software like the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for the slick edits.

Oh, and dedication. Don’t expect to blow up overnight, but those who stick it out and want it? The sky’s the limit, and you could be the next YouTube or Instagram influencer.

Pick Your Vlogging Style

What is the Best Vlogging Camera of 2019

Our pick for 2019 is the Sony RX100 VII. It’s a bit more expensive than similar point-and-shoots, but the camera is designed for vloggers. After clamoring for a mic jack for multiple generations, Sony delivered on the RX100 VII

What makes it the top camera is there are features inside that outstrip more expensive full-frame cameras. Sony delivered in a major way and looks to cement itself at the top of the vlog camera niche. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the specs:

  • Newly developed 1.0-type stacked 20.1 MP Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with DRAM chip and latest-generation BIONZ X image processor
  • a9 level speed performance with up to 60 AF/AE calculations per second and 20fps blackout-free shooting with AF/AE tracking
  • World-leading 357-point focal-plane phase-detection AF + 425-point contrast-detection AF with world’s fastest 0.02-sec focus acquisition speed
  • Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals
  • ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 24-200mm F2.8 – F4.5 Large Aperture High Magnification Zoom Lens
  • New Single Burst Shooting Drive Mode at up to 90fps speed
  • Pro-level movie functionality including 4K HDR (HLG), Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting, 4K Active SteadyShot, Vertical-position data recording for movies and integrated microphone jack.

All for $1200. A comparable a7 III will breach $3000 and can’t match the frames per second. Another quality of life improvement of the RX100 VII is the lifting of the recording limit. On a single battery, you can get 60 minutes of footage. Add an external battery pack via USB-C and vlog till you can’t stop.

Sony RX100 VII accessories. An external battery pack will be useful thanks to the USB-C charging port. A cheap and solid solution would be something from Anker. 

Sony will also sell a shooting grip for $99 which will include a grip and a place for a microphone. If you don’t want to wait, there are options to get you shooting today. 

For the microphone, opt for the RODE VideoMicro for $70. It fits cleanly into the mic jack on the side and won’t block the flip-up screen. Another option is the wireless RODE lav microphone system. That will give you room to add an on-camera light source to better control the lighting during livestreams or daily vlogs.

vlog camera

Your Vlogging Questions Answered


How much is a vlogging camera?


That can vary from a few hundred dollars to well above $5000 with lenses. Our pick of the Sony RX100 VII is $1200 but has a built-in lens. Adding a microphone and tripod takes the price to $1500. Own a smartphone? The new Osmo Mobile 3 is $119. What about a Sony a7 III? Once you add the body, lens, microphone, tripod, etc. the price jumps north of $3000.


What is the best camera to vlog with?


The answer you’ll hear most often is the camera you already own. Our pick for 2019 is the Sony RX100 VII. It has a veritable laundry list of features. Compact. Shoots 4K. 20fps still photography. Eye AF. SteadyShot. The autofocus system is borrowed from a $4000 professional camera. Pair it with a simple tripod and a microphone and you’re good to go on your vlogging adventure.


What is a good vlogging camera?


A vlog camera under $1000 is the new Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III. It pairs a 20.1 MP sensor with Canon’s latest DIGIC 8 image processor. While not as feature-packed as the Sony, the G7 X can record in 4K though it places 10-minute limits on each recording. At $750, you can easily piece together a vlogging kit well under $1000.


What is the best vlogging camera for beginners?


Your smartphone. Whatever model you use, most flagship smartphones have incredible camera systems. Invest in a smartphone gimbal for around $119, and you’re set for your first vlog. Once you decide that it’s something you want to take to the next level, you can then start investing in standalone camera setups.


What camera do YouTubers use?


Ah, the age-old question of what gear someone is using. Someone like Peter McKinnon uses the Canon 1DX Mark II. Other popular vloggers stick with Sony, be it the a7 III or the a6400 or a6500. Marques Brownlee uses the ultra-expensive RED cameras. That’s gross overkill. You don’t need a RED. 

If you’re starting out, don’t fall into the gear trap of wanting the latest and greatest. Deals can be had for a camera which is a generation older. Focus on what you want to say and build the consistency and message you want to present. Not a room full of gear.


What is Vlogging?


The videos filling every corner of YouTube and Instagram Stories. That’s vlogging. Sarcasm aside, the term is a riff off of blogging. Instead of writing post after post for a blog, go the video route and drop the ‘b’ for a ‘v.’ Video blog = vlog. You’ll need to get used to being in front of a camera and have a pretty good idea of what you want to say.


How do you become a famous vlogger?


Work. A lot of work. While the vlogs are a picture of living the best life; what you don’t see is the storyboarding, video editing, social media marketing, discipline, and the list goes on. Find your niche and keep after it. What may look like a shortcut to success is months and years of work and dedication.

The Best Cheap Vlogging Camera – DJI OSMO Pocket

DJI’s answer to the question of what happens when you take the camera off a Mavic Pro and walk around with it. The Osmo Pocket. It doesn’t get much more portable than this for a three-axis stabilized camera. At $350, it is in a niche all its own. The ability to shoot 4K60p is astounding for the price point. Loaded with the latest shot modes and external accessories, it can easily become a high quality, yet affordable vlogging solution.

Honestly, how DJI manages to price some of its offerings come across as shots across the bow of other competitors.

Read our DJI OSMO Pocket Review

A Good All Around Vlogging Camera – Sony a6400 

It’s the camera that straddles the line between hobbyist vlogging and professional. Sure, it’s a crop sensor camera. But for vlogging, that’s a bonus over a negative feature. You want portability because you will be shooting at a variety of locations.

One odd feature missing is IBIS, but with tripods and gimbals, you can get away from relying on the in-body image stabilization. Most will want a gimbal, and when the two start fighting, you’ll want IBIS off.  

Quick note: The a6400 is the latest camera of the a6000-series from Sony. Not the a6500. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s corporate branding for you. Let’s take a look at the specs.

  • 4K Video. Sony oversamples to 6K giving you the highest quality video.
  • Fast Tracking AF. If you’re on the move or shooting a fast-moving subject, the frame is always in focus.
  • Eye AF. Sony’s killer autofocus feature. Others are starting to include it, but Sony keeps ahead of the game with firmware updates. And with 425 phase-detection AF points, it’s one of the widest on a crop sensor and fastest with a 0.02-second focusing speed.
  • S-Log/HLG. Picture profiles for those who want to color grade. You’ll need to know your way around Adobe, Final Cut, etc., but the flat picture profiles allow incredible freedom to polish your videos.
  • 180-degree tiltable screen to frame shots. One negative is the second you want to use the hotshoe; it obscures the screen.
  • External microphone jack and XLR adapter for professional-grade audio options.

That’s on the vlogging video side. You’ll still want to load up your Instagram with your latest pictures. The Sony a6400 is a capable still camera thanks to its 24.2MP CMOS sensor. It can hit 11fps with the mechanical shutter and 8fps with silent shooting. The buffer holds up to 46 shots in compressed RAW or 116 JPEG (standard) shots in one continuous burst.

It’s on the still photography side where Eye AF shines. It hardly misses a beat and with continuous tracking, your days of worrying if a shot was in focus are gone. The a6400 also brings back the timelapse functionality with its suite of mobile apps.

Upgrading the Sony a6400

Batteries. Unfortunately, the a6400 didn’t get the latest Z battery from Sony so you’ll need extras. Rated at around 360 shots by CIPA, you can blitz through a couple in a hurry, so plan accordingly. One hack around the battery life is it can be powered via USB and a battery pack.

Lenses. You can opt for the kit lens to get started, but you’ll want to get something solid for video. Our recommendation is the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 for Sony E. It’s $400 so you’re not breaking the bank for a great low light lens which is compact and supports the Fast Hybrid AF on the a6400. The best solution is to pair it with the kit lens and see what else you need further down the line.

Tripod. Yeah, this could turn into a giant list. Our take is one you can accomplish multiple shots or videos. The vlogging tripod of choice among a lot of YouTubers? The JOBY GorrillaPod. It comes down to personal preference.

Gimbals. No IBIS means you’ll need a stable platform while walking the streets. Before you get the topline gimbal from DJI, Zhiyun or others remember you have a light setup. Something like the Moza AirCross gets the job done for a fraction of the price.

Best Prosumer Vlog Camera – 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 a bit over $1000. 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.

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. Adding in the VideoMic go handles the audio with ease at $100. For around $1600, you can have a solid prosumer vlogging setup.

Best of the Best Vlogging Camera – Sony a7 III

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

Want pro-level features for a semi-pro price? The Sony a7 III is making waves as a sub-$2000 full-frame mirrorless camera. Sure, it doesn’t have the articulating screen, but that can be handled with an external monitor. It grabs the AF system off the Sony a9 and records 4K with zero crop.

Dual SD card slots, an audio jack, and a host of other features add up to one of the best values on the camera market today. If your budget can handle it, the a7III immediately puts you into the category of professional vloggers.

Which Vlogging Camera is Right For You?

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 Pocket

Midrange, my favorite is the Sony RX100 VII. 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 a7 III. 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.

Check Out Our Other Guides:

Best Drones for sale

Best Mirrorless Cameras

Best Travel Cameras

Best Beginner DSLRs

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