Criteria for choosing a Vlogging camera for video
To choose the most suitable vlogging camera you have to think what kind of videos you are going to do and in what situations you are going to record: study, outdoors, adventure.
Of course, the budget is one of the most important points. normally you have to look for a balance between quality, benefits and price.
We will leave aside the segments of adventure or sports in first person, for which the suitable camera would be in all probability a sport camera of type GoPro or similar.
And we will focus on three or four types of recordings or recording situations more or less typical in vlogging.
When there is a person behind the camera you can have much more control over the recording. For example you could do manual focus, manage the recording parameters (for example adjust the aperture to compensate in case of lighting changes) or play with the frame, etc.
If we are going to record ourselves or have our hands busy (for example in videos of product reviews) we will have to delegate to the camera itself and we would like at least a good system of auto focus and video tracking.
Sometimes it can be done with fixed manual focus, if the depth of field is large enough to cover all the foreground development of the scene.
It is also interesting in these cases that the camera has an articulated or collapsible screen in selfie mode, to see that the frame and focus is fine while recording. Anyway many cameras with WiFi allow control from mobile devices and the device itself can serve as an auxiliary monitor.
If you are going to record a lot outdoors or have a travel vlog for example, The size and weight of the vlogging camera can be an important parameter to consider.
Features that may be important to choose the vlogging camera
- Good auto-focus system and tracking in video recording
- 4K or Full HD?
- Image Stabilizer
- Includes or not external microphone input
- Rear hinged / folding screen (or possibility to connect a mobile device to the camera via WiFi to view the frame and control the recording)
- Video camera or photo camera with video functions? For ergonomics and functions: a camcorder is designed to record video. However, consumer camcorders do not offer very high quality and semi-professional / professional camcorders are very expensive
- Performance in low light situations (high ISO noise). Keep in mind that when recording video the shutter speed will be fixed according to the frames per second of the video (1 / 50s, 1 / 60s, 1 / 125s ). A camera with good response at high ISOs offers more room for maneuver in low light situations. You should also keep in mind that everything is relative to the amount of light that the camera picks up.
- Includes visual aids such as focus peaking (highlights areas of the scene that are in focus) and zebra pattern (highlights areas of the scene that are overexposed)
- Rolling shutter (jello effect or tilt in vertical lines of the scene when moving the camera horizontally, for example when making a sweep -panning- or when recording from a moving vehicle)
- Possibility of working with neutral density filters (ND filters). In certain situations in broad daylight we will have to close the diaphragm a lot to have a correct exposure (remember that the shutter speed can not be changed as in photography), sometimes with closed diaphragm we still have overexposure and also the closed diaphragm involves diffraction of the light
- Possibility of working with video-oriented image profiles (Technicolor, Marvels, S-Log, etc.), although this would be for slightly more advanced projects
best way to choosing a Vlogging camera
The consumer camcorders and in general the cameras with small sensor offer a flatter image, with little contrast, with a lot of depth of field, etc. practically the whole scene is in focus. The image style is usually typical of ‘ video ‘ or television.
Cameras with a large sensor (SLR, mirrorless, semiprofessional and professional camcorders) can offer a more artistic, more cinematic image. They can play with depth of field (unfocused backgrounds), image profiles, etc.
Although it is not all white or black, one usually distinguishes very well a production that seems ‘ video ‘ of a production that seems ‘ cinema ‘. Depending on each case, one style or another may be interesting, although the cinema style is usually more attractive.
We must also bear in mind that the cinematographic style can be a little more difficult to work, both in the recording phase and in the editing phase.
Some characteristics that are usually related to the vlogging aspect:
- Little depth of field when the sequence requires it (subject in the foreground in focus, background out of focus)
- 24 frames per second / shutter at 1 / 50s. At this speed there is ‘motion blur’, in scenes with movement each frame does not get to capture a frozen image, but moved, but the joint effect of movement is usually pleasant.
- Higher contrast in cinema than in traditional video / TV
- Color correction / color correction to achieve a certain look / atmosphere
- Artistic aspects: framing, multiple sequences, telling a story in a visual way, audio quality and soundtrack .
Recommended Vlogging Cameras For videos
Most Popular Vlogging Cameras with Features
Sony Cyber-shot RX 100
Compact camera (non-interchangeable lenses) . The RX 100 is currently in version 4 (Mark IV). It is a compact high-end and the latest version has a high price, but the original version, the RX 100, we can get a very good price for the features offered: 1-inch sensor and lens f / 1.8 in its focal shorter (28-100mm equivalent, f / 1.8-4.9).
It has no external microphone input, usual in this format of cameras. It is perfect for recording everywhere: in the studio, on the street .. Very good image quality.
Note that the RX 100 (version 1) does not have a folding screen or electronic viewfinder. The RX 100 II and later versions do include a folding screen. The III and the IV include electronic viewfinder. The Sony RX 100 IV includes the ability to record in 4K but only short clips of 5 minutes maximum.
The RX 100 (I) is an interesting option for the quality of image (photo + video) in relation to the price and in such a small format. If your budget allows it, the RX 100 mark III / mark IV would be more complete options (improved video focus system, viewfinder, flip-up screen, better behavior at high ISOs)
Canon Powershot G7 X / G7 X mark II
Compact camera (non-interchangeable lenses) . It is the older sister of the S120, practically the same size but with a 1-inch sensor and a very bright lens throughout its zoom range: 24-100mm equivalent, f / 1.8-2.8. It also has a folding screen for selfie mode.
It has no external microphone input. Very good camera, very good optics, fantastic quality, perfect if we want a very small team to record in the studio and on the street, and we do not want to worry about changing objectives.
The G7 X mark II improves some aspects: the screen can also tilt back, new processor (DIGIC 7), slightly improved autofocus, battery life is a bit higher. They are not very big improvements, but if we find them at a similar price, version II can be more interesting.
Sony Alpha a5100
Camera without mirror (interchangeable lenses) . It is a camera without an internal mirror (mirrorless), with interchangeable lenses, very small, with a flip-up screen for selfie mode. Practically a pocket camera by size and weight, but with an APS-C sensor (like the one mounted by the entry-level and intermediate SLRs).
Good hybrid approach and tracking system. It has no external microphone input. The screen is tactile although the functions are limited, but it allows racking focus in video.
It is a good choice for video bloggers . It offers a very good image quality in both photo and video and the size is comparable to that of a compact one. Between the a5100 and the a6000.
if you are going to use it mostly for video maybe the a5100 is a better option. If you are going to use it for photography and also want to record videos, the a6000 is more complete.
Canon EOS 700D (Rebel T5i)
SLR camera (interchangeable lenses) . Both the 700D and the more recent EOS 750D or 760D . With STM lenses, and the camera’s hybrid focusing system, they achieve a smooth and silent focus.
For indoor recording we can use a 50mm f / 1.8 lens or a 24mm f / 2.8 lens that will give us very good background blurs. It has fully articulated screen that allows selfie mode.
Touch screen that facilitates the work with the camera, for example if we want to focus on an object in the scene by simply touching the screen during recording. It has input for external microphone.
Very good image quality in both video and photography. It is one of the SLRs as the best balance between photography and video, and a good value for money.
Panasonic Lumix GX80
Camera without mirror (interchangeable lenses) of the micro system 4/3 . It is a fairly small and light camera, and with the micro 4/3 lenses it forms a perfect combination to travel or to carry always on top.
The camera includes a stabilization system of 5 axes in the body, which can also be combined with the stabilization of some Panasonic (Dual IS) lenses. The result is an incredible stabilization for both photography and video.
Technical characteristics that you have to understand
Some technical features and functions related to video recording
Resolution: HD, Full HD, 4K
The maximum resolution at which the camera can record, ie the number of pixels each frame will have (width x height). Currently, the minimum standard recording format would be Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) and more and more 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) is being imposed on recording.
99.9% of the content is currently consumed in Full HD. You can record in 4K looking for an extra quality in both the original source and the editing process, but the final product is in Full HD.
If your production is for fast consumption (that is, current contents that within 1-2 years will not be consumed) I think it is not worth working in 4K because it means extra work and extra investment in equipment (computer, storage ).
If your content will remain valid in the future (documentaries, clips, etc.) you may want to record in 4K because in the future you will have a material that you can reedit with a certain quality. Anyway, thinking about technological issues in the future is risky because you do not know what is going to happen in a 4-5 year horizon.
Keep in mind
- It allows to capture more detail
- It allows editing and post-production with much more information and detail
- Minimizes or eliminates the Moiré effect (a higher resolution equals a higher sampling frequency)
Video autofocus is very important in situations where we record ourselves or record without the help of other people and we can not perform manual focus from the camera.
In any case, manual focus on video (for example being able to keep a subject in focus while moving) is an advanced technique that requires a lot of practice. Video professionals usually work with manual focus, but with teams that facilitate the task (follow focus system, etc.) and with a lot of experience behind them.
Most users who record video for youtube, vimeo, etc. they are not video professionals and recording with manual focus, especially in certain circumstances, can be very frustrating.
That is why it is important to choose a camera that has a good autofocus system. Many cameras include the face detection function, which allows a fairly accurate tracking when there is a single person on the scene.
Touch-screen cameras include the option of focus when touching an object in the scene. In video mode, the focus is usually smooth and allows for visually appealing changes to the focus plane (racking focus).
Keep in mind
- The process of autofocus the camera and the lens are involved .
- A good detection and tracking system in the camera can work very badly if the target has a slow focus system or is going to jump
- In video, it is important that the focus transitions be smooth and linear.
The rolling shutter technique consists in that the image information (content of each pixel of the sensor) is read sequentially from top to bottom, row by row, while the sensor continues to gather light from the scene.
Most cameras use CMOS sensors with rolling shutter. The cameras with global shutter are usually professional range cameras designed specifically for video. Technologically it is difficult to get a sensor with global shutter that maintains good characteristics in terms of dynamic range, sensitivity, etc.
The cameras with rolling shutter sometimes generate an unwanted effect in video, that effect is usually known as ‘rolling shutter’ although the name actually refers to the technology of the sensor.
External microphone input
It is interesting that the camera has a microphone input because it will allow us to record more quality audio, with an external microphone, directly on the video track.
The semiprofessional range camcorders (and of course the professional ranges) work with XLR connectors (phantom power for the microphones) and the internal electronics of the camera is much more optimized for audio processing.
When recording video with cameras, the best way to obtain a very high quality sound is by using external recorders, with microphones and XLR cables. What happens is that this implies more complexity in the recording phase and more work in the editing phase, since the audio must be mounted on additional tracks and synchronized with the video, etc.
Keep in mind
- The microphone input that cameras include is a mini jack type. It is a non-professional connector, which picks up an unbalanced signal
- The preamps of the cameras are not usually exceptional in terms of the treatment of the audio signal
The optical image stabilizer allows to correct the small vibrations of the camera when it is recording, especially when we use the camera to pulse, without tripod. The stabilization system can be in the lens or in the body of the camera.
Keep in mind
- These stabilization systems only correct the trepidation of the camera, not the wide movements, for example when recording while walking or running.
- In some cases the stabilizer can generate unwanted effects in video, for example when we panning or certain movements with the camera the system can try to compensate for those movements as if it were trepidation.