As the adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. This is true for vlogging, as well. The best way to get started is using what you have on hand, even if that’s “just” a smartphone. Your phone, even if it’s a few years old, can record videos that will look fine on YouTube.
The benefit of using your phone, or whatever video camera you already have, is that you can get used to the process of making vlogs before you spend lots of money on equipment for an activity you might not end up enjoying. It’s also easy and fairly inexpensive to upgrade the quality of what you can get out of your existing camera with some basic accessories, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
Upgrading your video camera, when you’re ready, can result in better-looking video and help you get shots and clips not possible with a video camera. In some cases, our pick for the best action camera is a logical option. As for other cameras, there are a few features important for vlogging that aren’t things we specifically focus on for our camera guides:
- Face recognition, in which the vlogging camera finds your face (or any other face registered in the camera) in the frame and makes sure it’s in focus, proves very helpful in this type of video.
- Flip-up, or flip-out, touchscreens that you can view while the lens is pointed at you allow you to see where you are in the frame while you’re recording yourself.
- Built-in Wi-Fi lets you transfer still images or video clips to your smartphone or tablet, and even more important, it lets you start or stop recording remotely.
- Microphone input allows you to add a directional or wireless microphone, which will make your voice easier to hear when you’re recording in noisy situations.
- 4K resolution offers four times as many pixels as 1080p resolution does, and even if you don’t plan on creating 4K videos, having that extra resolution gives you options during the editing stage to zoom in or crop differently. And in general, your video will have more apparent detail even if the end result is 1080p.
- Slow-motion lets you create cinematic shots that increase your video’s apparent production values.
Generally, in assessing cameras for this guide, we also looked for portability. video camera we like might seem to be obvious options, and if you already own one of them, they are a good choice, given their excellent photo image quality. However, they’re quite heavy and generally lacking in image stabilization, so if you plan on moving around at all with your vlogs, they’re not a great option. If you’re only ever going to stay in one place and produce cooking videos or makeup tutorials, for example, they can be suitable. In many cases, though, the video from a DSLR isn’t as good as what our vlogging picks produce, so if you’re planning to rely on a video camera, just make sure it records video as well our recommendations below do.