Video blogging or simply vlogging is a way to record and share your life and interests with your fans or folks, potentially generating money while you do it. Start from cooking vlogs to travel, from makeup to hair care, from pugs to parrots, whatever you’re into, possibilities are unlimited. YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for vlogging with more than 2 billion users. With enough viewers, you can monetize your content, which avails you a share of the advertising profits.
You don’t need to enter the vlogging field with the thought of making money, but that potential is there. You can treat your YouTube channel just like any other social media platform, sharing your adventures and interests with subscribers and friends. Eventually, though, with a little luck, work, and some compelling content, you can cross the magical 1,000-subscriber threshold and start generating money from your hobby.
But first, you need a vlog video. And to make a vlog, you need a good camera, at the very least. We’ve put together a range of tools and some tips to help you start with, beginning with a camera you probably already have, and working your way up through more expensive choices as both your vlog and your experience grow.
Who is it for?
Vlogging can be so enjoyable, and if that’s the only thing you want from it, all you need is a thought and a video. However, if you want to earn money, it is undoubtedly a job. Several YouTubers get tired of facing the continuous hustle of making new videos that must perform, or else they lose their income. All that is to say, you’ll require to treat it as a job way before you’ll get paid like it’s a job.
Though, you don’t require a lot of costly gear, at least not to begin with. Your first videos generally won’t be seen by so many people other than your family and friends. It will take some time to streamline your process, get used to being on camera, figure out if this is what you want to do, and so on. Spending $3,000 upfront to know that you don’t want to be a YouTuber is not a good investment.
At last, what makes a vlog successful is largely how much effort and time you’re wanting to put into it, regardless of what you’re shooting with.
How We Chose and Tested Vlogging Cameras
As the proverb goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. This is precise for vlogging, as well. The best method to get started is making use of what you have on hand, even if that’s “just” a smartphone. Your phone, even if it’s a bit old, can record videos that will look good on YouTube.
The advantage of using your phone, or whatever camera you already have, is that you can get used to the steps of making vlogs prior you spend lots of money on tools for a task you might not end up enjoying. It’s also convenient and fairly cost-effective to upgrade the quality of your pre-existing camera with some fundamental accessories.
In some cases, our choice for upgrading to the best action camera is a logical option. As for other cameras, there are some features significant for vlogging that aren’t the stuff we particularly focus on for our camera guides:
Face recognition is a feature in which, the vlogging camera identifies your face (or any other face registered in the camera) in the frame and ensures it’s in focus, proves very effective in this type of video.
Flip-up, touchscreens so that you can see while the lens is focused on you enable you to watch where you are in the frame while you’re recording a video of yourself.
In-Built Wi-Fi allows you to export still images or video clips to your tablet or smartphone, and even more significantly, it enables you to start or stop recording remotely.
Microphone input enables you to add a wireless or directional microphone, which will make your voice easier to hear when you’re shooting in noisy conditions.
4K resolution provides four times as many pixels as 1080p resolution does, and even if you don’t intend on creating 4K videos, having that extra resolution offers you options during the editing stage to zoom in or crop differently. And in general, your vlog video will have more clear detail even if the result is 1080p.
Slow-motion allows you to record cinematic shots that increase your video’s apparent production values.
In general, to assess cameras for this guide, we also looked for portability. Nikon and Canon DSLRs we like might look to be genuine options, and if you already possess one of them, they are a good pick, provided their excellent picture image quality.
Best Camera for Vlogging Outdoors and on the Go: Sony ZV-1
When you have gotten comfortable with the camera and vlogging and are ready to boost up your video quality, we recommend the Sony ZV-1. It’s designed as a vlogging camera, with the capability to /shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second, 1080p video up to 120 fps, and ultra-slow slow-motion at 1,000 fps, though at a much lower resolution (912×308, saved as a 1920×1080 HD video). It efficiently records stereo audio with a smart top-mounted directional mic. The flip-out screen allows you conveniently frame selfie shots, and the built-in optical image stabilization sleeks out your movements.
The ZV-1 is able to record a better video than a phone for two prime reasons. The first is the 1.0-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor, which is prominently larger than any image sensor found in a mobile phone. This sensor enables the camera to capture more light, which means it will generate less noise and an overall better image in low light. The second reason is that the ZV-1 connects that sensor with an f/1.8–2.8 Zeiss lens, which allows a lot of light to fall on the sensor despite its compact size. It also gives a smooth 2.7x zoom, providing you a wide-angle and a reasonable telephoto. It isn’t as broad as what you can find in a typical smartphone camera, but at arm’s length, you should be capable to adjust your face and shoulders in the frame, especially if you use any kind of handgrip or selfie stick.
Best of all and something fairly infrequent among reasonably priced cameras that can shoot 4K video. The ZV-1 has a flip-out screen, so you can easily view how your shot will look from nearly any viewpoint.
Several software features built into the camera make it awesome for vlogging, as well. For beginners, with the tap of a button, you can activate a soft bokeh blur to distinct you or your subject from the background. In addition, the quick autofocus will quickly lock in on you, a separate subject, and back to you. It will also recognize your face and remain focused on you if you move around in the frame.
Although we still recommend a separate mic, the ZV-1’s in-built mic works quite better and even comes with a furry windscreen “tribble” to keep wind noise at a lowest. A 3.5 mm microphone input and Sony’s MI Shoe mount on top lets you add an external mic.
Any new camera accompanies a learning curve, especially for someone not used to an actual camera. The menus and buttons on the Sony ZV-1 aren’t as intuitive as they could be. You’ll be capable to learn them, but factor in doing so prior to your first big shoot. Although you can touch the display screen to focus, you can’t adjust any settings there, a baffling decision on Sony’s part; you need to use the buttons and wheel. Optionally, you can use Sony’s mobile phone app (iOS, Android) to adjust the settings.
In bright luminescence, the screen might be hard to view, depending on your sunglasses. The camera also provides you no option to monitor your audio levels, as the ZV-1 lacks a headphone jack.
When shooting 4K video, the camera implements a slight crop, and if you use Active Steady shot stabilization mode, it crops a bit more. The effect is important enough that unless you possess faddishly long arms, you might not be able to hold the camera body and get a well-framed selfie shot. However, as long as you use a handgrip or tripod such as Joby GorillaPod 1K Kit or Sony’s own Bluetooth controller and tripod, you would be fine, for the most part.
At last, it is a matter of cost. The ZV-1 is $798while writing this guide. For the features it provides and its overall performance, this is a reasonable price. We found several other cameras in our research that provided less for more money. However, $798 is still a lot if you’re not sure vlogging is for you. If you already have a camera capable of 1080p, that’s exactly what you should start with before spending money on the ZV-1.
GoPro Hero9 Black: The Best for action vlogging
The GoPro Hero9 Black is one of the most popular cameras for action vlogging because of two major reasons: image quality and stabilization. Both of these features make it a great vlogging camera if your vlog includes any kind of energetic outdoor activity. Maxing out at 5.7K resolution, the Hero9 provides far more detail than any other action cameras do. That resolution allows you to crop down the footage in order to zoom in (the camera itself lacks optical zoom). Its super-smooth stabilization means you possibly don’t require a gimbal for steady shots, even when the camera bounces around while recording. It’s waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meters).Audio performance is also well, thanks to a bunch of built-in microphones, though in most cases you should consider an external mic.
The picture quality isn’t what you would get with a wider-sensor camera such as the Sony ZV-1 or especially the Sony α6600. However, the Hero9 Black makes a vibrant, detailed image in bright light and functions fairly properly in low light. No action camera can bear true low-light conditions, so if you’re generally in dark places, poorly lit buildings, and so forth, consider a bigger camera with a wider lens, if carrying one isn’t a matter of concern.
The two most brilliant features of the Hero9 that make it an excellent vlogging camera are its color forward-facing screen display and its multiple field-of-view options. The forward-facing screen is compact but allows you conveniently set up selfie shots. As for the “lens” alternatives, you can select from linear, wide, and narrow. The lens itself lacks zoom, software handles the difference—but the factors let you shoot yourself and your adventure in more ways than you can with most action cameras.
GoPro’s application, named Quik (iOS, Android), renders a variety of editing options, allowing you to trim and make videos without third-party editing software, though of course, you will have better outcomes if you own a more elaborate video editor.
One essential GoPro accessory that’s a reliable investment for any vlogger is the Media Mod. This kit consists of a plastic frame that tailors the camera with a built-in microphone and two mounts for either a small LED light or a wireless mic or a small LED light. On the backside of the frame are a Micro HDMI port, a 3.5 mm audio input, and a USB-C port (since the frame covers the camera’s USB-C port). Because the frame’s bottom is open, you still have access to GoPro’s foldable mount. You can hear how the mic sounds and see how everything fits together in my YouTube review.
Although the Hero9 Black is a great action camera, it is still an action camera. It doesn’t give any kind of optical zoom, and the digital lens options merely crop in on the picture, so you’re necessarily stuck with a wide-angle lens for every shot.
Best Vlog-Camera Picture Quality for the Costing: Sony α6600
When you are all set to upgrade your production values once again, the Sony α6600 gives the best blend of image quality, price, and stabilization. It’s only for those vloggers who have gotten their process down, possibly already possess a monetized channel, and know for sure that better video quality is something that will move them to the next level. If you are one of them, the α6600 can shoot 4K resolution video and slow-motion; it also consists of a flip-out screen, and you can use it with a big number of E-mount lenses from Sony and third-party manufacturers. The APS-C sensor is bigger than the one found on the ZV-1 and prominently larger than what you find in smartphones and action cameras. This means it should generate less noise in low-light conditions, provide a higher dynamic range, and produces a more professional-looking picture overall.
Appreciate the α6600’s mirrorless design, it’s way smaller and lighter than a DSLR, making it easier to put away from your face for enhanced walk-and-talk vlogging sessions. Unlike various DSLRs, the α6600 was designed for video: Its resolution ranges out at 4K, or 3840×2160, at 30 frames per second. α6600 also supports 1080p60, along with slow motion up to 120 fps.
Additionally, the α6600 has a way longer battery life compared with the ZV-1. Sony approximates over two hours of shooting time per battery, and obviously, you can always find another battery to swap in (and you should).
The zoom ranges from a wide 18mm to a tight 135mm, seemed to be great for numerous vlog moments, and the zoom itself is sleek enough to use in a shot. In this guide of E-mount lenses, we also liked the Sony E 18–200mm f/3.5–6.3 OSS LE. It also has optical image stabilization, along with a bit longer zoom. Note that if you’re willing to keep your camera handheld, you’ll require an extensive-angle lens than you might expect. If you don’t think you require a zoom, we’ve previously suggested the 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens, which gives the added advantage of being small, cost-effective, and lightweight than the zooms.
While the camera’s picture quality is reasonably better in terms of color, detail, and contrast, that comes at a price. Typically, the α6600 is more than double the price of the ZV-1, and that’s without a lens. For starters, the price tag represents an important outlay for something that might not rationalize itself. As mentioned above, the α6600 useful only for experienced vloggers.
The rear screen display doesn’t rotate out to the side as the ZV-1 does. Instead, it utilizes a complex mechanism in order to cantilever out and then flip up. It’s made up of metal but seems delicate. The design is also enough convenient as the ZV-1’s screen
The only issue with α6600 is size. The Sony’s ZV-1, the Hero9 Black, and a smartphone are all lightweight and portable. The α6600 is small and light according to its functioning, but it’s way bigger than those alternatives, smaller than a DSLR camera but far larger than a point-and-shoot. If you think about carrying the α6600 for several selfie walk-and-talks, your arm will get a workout.
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