Best YouTube Vlogging Camera (2020)

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​Vlogging and YouTube are both growing at breakneck speed. As the number of videos posted every day goes up, so does the competition to get seen. To break through the crowd, you need quality. Getting a high-quality video camera with capabilities such as 4k, 60fps or even 120fps, and a dedicated mic input will make your content stand out. These features are premium, but there are cameras that can deliver them for a less than premium price. 

In a hurry? Here are my top picks.

Best Overall

​Action Extraordinaire

Considerations

Resolution

​From the beginning of the digital camera revolution, it has been all about the megapixels. The race to the top of the megapixel heap doesn’t seem to have an end in sight with a few popular brands releasing cameras with megapixel counts in the 50s and 60s. It might be arguable that you need that many megapixels for images, but it sure doesn’t matter for video. 4K video is only 8.5 megapixels. It is nearly impossible to find a camera that has less than 10 nowadays. So, when looking for a high-quality video camera for YouTube or Vlogging, we don’t care about the megapixels. All that matters are features and performance.

Action

​Do you plan on using your camera for action video such as skiing, snowboarding, surfing, or biking? You’ll be wanting an action camera. Action cameras are light weight and durable so they can come with you on your action adventures. They also have great image stabilization, so you don’t have to worry about holding your camera still while moving around. These cameras tend to have a wide field of view so they can capture all the action.

DSLR

DSLRs are the largest of consumer cameras. They are usually great for photos as well as video. These types of cameras have larger sensors and interchangeable lenses. Having the ability to change lenses gives more versatility to the kind of shots you can get, resulting in greater creative freedom. DSLRs are great for the stationary videographer looking for quality and versatility, but not the best for the on the go vlogger.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras don’t have a mirror (duh) but have larger sensors than point and shoot and action cameras. They can be thought of as small DSLRs. They share many of the qualities that make DSLRs desirable such as larger sensors and interchangeable lenses. For the on the go vlogger that cares about quality, or the studio setup, mirrorless cameras are a fantastic choice.

Point and Shoot

Point and shoot cameras are less of a happy medium and more of a crappy medium. You are either giving up versatility, quality, or upgradeability. If you’re spending enough money to buy a decent point and shoot camera, you have enough to get a decent mirrorless or DSLR camera. Go with one of those. Having the ability to buy dedicated lenses and upgrade camera bodies without needing to buy new lenses is great. Point and shoot cameras are not worth it.

LCD Screen

​Many cameras have an LCD screen on the back of the camera. This is an important aspect to pay attention to as not all are created equal. Some don’t swivel, so it can be hard to see if you’re filming yourself or just the top of your head. Not all camera LCD screens are touchscreens. This is a useful feature to have for setting focus and it just makes using the camera easier.

External Microphone

​If you care about quality video, you probably also care about quality audio. Built in microphones work, but don’t provide the level of audio that viewers expect. Getting a camera with a mic input allows you to add an external mic such as the very popular Rhode Shotgun Mic to get clear audio that matches the quality of the video.

Best Overall – Sony A7 III

Sony A7 iii

Key Features

  • 4K HDR: 3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p)
  • HD: 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p)
  • Eye-start Auto Focus
  • Adjustable-Angle Touch Screen Panel


The Sony A7 III is a truly great camera. And not just for video. If you are looking to get the best video camera for vlogging, it’s here, but you’ll also be getting a fantastic camera for still photos. The 120p HD video gives so much room for slowing down and getting even fast movements to appear sharp. The eye-start AF beats all other competitors. Sony is simply ahead of everyone else when it comes to auto focus. The in-body image stabilization makes for unbelievably smooth video even when handheld. The color and sharpness of the video that comes out of this camera is spot on. This camera is also mirrorless, so it will be lighter than similar DSLR cameras even though it has a full frame sensor. If you want the best video camera, look no further. You’ll be getting a fantastic still frame camera too.

Best Value – Panasonic Lumix G7

panasonic g7

Key Features

  • 4K HDR: 3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p)
  • HD: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p)
  • Continuous AF
  • Fully Articulating LCD Touch Screen Panel

This is an all-around great video camera and still frame camera for an exceptional price. You get the ability to change out lenses, a fully articulating touch screen, and support for external microphones. The camera has great looking 4K and the HD 60p is great for shots with lots of movement or when you need to slow something down while editing. Panasonic has a great lineup of affordable lenses to upgrade into, so you can keep the body for a long time. Speaking of the body, it’s very light. That’s because it’s another mirrorless camera, but this time with a micro four thirds sensor (difference between sensor sizes). This camera has the features, the form, the function, and the right price.

Panasonic Lumix G7 Full Review

Bargain Best – Panasonic Lumix FZ80

Panasonic fz80

Key Features

  • 4K: 3840 x 2160 (30p)
  • HD: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p)
  • Fixed LCD Touch Screen Panel

This is a great camera to get if you have a limited budget, but still want 4K and the ability to zoom in. Way in. This camera has a full frame equivalent 20-1200mm zoom lens (zoom vs. prime lens). That means you can get right up in the action. The camera has built in image stabilization because of the incredible zoom range, but it is choppy when zoomed in too far. I would recommend a monopod or tripod if you intend to take video while zoomed in. This camera has a built-in stereo microphone but does not support external microphones. This camera is not great for photos, but we’re not here for that. The 4K video looks great and it’s cheap. What else is there to say?

Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Full Review

Action Extraordinaire – GoPro Hero 8 Black

GoPro Hero 8 Black

Key Features

  • 4K: 3840 x 2160 (60p, 30p, 24p)
  • HD: 1920 x 1080 (240p, 120p, 60p, 30p, 24p)
  • HyperSmooth 2.0 + Boost
  • Touch Screen Panel


If you’re on the move and like to get active, this is the camera for you. From 4k60p to HD240p you will have no trouble packing in the action and slowing it down as much as you want. The HyperSmooth 2.0 is unparalleled image stabilization incarnate. It doesn’t matter how bumpy the trail, how fast you run, or how high you jump; this thing will provide steady footage. The Hero 8 is also small and lightweight. It will easily fit in your pocket. Oh, and it can go underwater. This is the ultimate action camera. If that’s what you’re looking for, buy it.

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