Best Vlogging Cameras
Our list of the best vlogging cameras has a bias towards cameras that perform well while on the move rather than mounted to a tripod. What are the distinctions between a great vlogging camera and a typical standalone camera or the video camera on your smartphone?
The primary distinction is the superior image stabilization. A lot of stand-alone cameras will at best have poor image stabilization if they have any at all. The same goes for smartphone cameras. A camera used for vlogging needs to excel at taking videos while you are on the move. Without image stabilization or poor image stabilization, your video is going to be shaky from simply holding the camera while you walk.
Here is a quick break-down of our top choices for vlogging. In-Depth coverage of each is on down the page.
|GoPro Hero 8 Black|
Pros: Superior Electronic Image Stabilization, Waterproof Up To 33 Feet, Frameless Mounting, Durable
Cons: Front Facing Display Not Included, Expensive Once You Start Adding Media Mod Options, Poor Low Light Performace
|DJI Osmo Action|
Pros: Front Facing Display Included, Superior Electronic Image Stabilization, Best Price, Compatible With GoPro Mounts, Waterproof Up To 36 Feet, Durable
Cons: Poor Low Light Performace
|DJI Osmo Pocket|
Pros: Pocket Sized Take It Anywhere, Superior Gimbal Based Stablization, Better In Low Light Than The Osmo Action And Hero 8, Gimbal Based Face And Object Tracking
Cons: Not Durbale Like The GoPro And Osmo Action, Not Waterproof, Better In Low Light But Still Not Good
|Best Low Light||Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II|
Pros: Superior Low Light Performance, Will Take Better Still Images Than The Other Cameras, Can Add A Variety Of Lenses, A Conventional Camera That Takes Good Video
Cons: No 4k, Relatively Expensive, Not Durable, Not Waterproof
GoPro Hero 8 Black
The latest version of the GoPro is the Hero 8 Black which retails for $399. Although, you can typically find it for less at Amazon. The GoPro is known for its superb image stabilization and the ability to be submerged in water up to 33 feet deep with no additional housing. The improvements made to the Hero 8 Black over last year’s Hero 7 Black include even better image stabilization. A more substantial improvement is the ability to add what GoPro calls the Media Mod.
One of the biggest gripes some GoPro users had prior to the introduction of the Hero 8 Black was that it had a weak built-in microphone. GoPro’s solution to these gripes had been to sell a dongle allowing you to plug in an external mic. The dongle is cumbersome to use as it flops around and hangs off the camera. The Hero 8 Media Mod solves this problem for those that want a better mic as it comes with a built-in shotgun mic and also has a 3.5mm mic port allowing the user to easily plug-in an external mic.
The Hero 8 Black is also frameless. Prior models of the GoPro required you to put a plastic frame on the camera if you wanted to use the various mounts available for the GoPro. The frame provided the loops to attach the mounts to the camera. The Hero 8 Black has loops built-in allowing you to attach mounts directly to the camera.
Like all action cameras, the GoPro Hero 8 doesn’t shoot particularly well in low light settings. Keep that in mind if you plan on shooting a lot of nighttime footage. With the numerous mounts available for the GoPro Hero 8 Black you really can’t go wrong getting this camera to take vlogging videos.
DJI Osmo Action
The DJI Osmo Action is DJI’s first entry into the action camera space. The company is primarily known for its drones and making gimbals that provide image stabilization for smartphones. Its suggested retail price is only $20 less than the GoPro Hero 8 Black but usually retails for a lot less on Amazon.
This camera was designed to be a direct competitor to the Hero. The Osmo Action like the GoPro is waterproof but to a depth of 36 feet instead of 33 feet. The image stability is on par with Hero 8. Also like the GoPro, it doesn’t perform well in low light settings. A notable distinction between this camera and the GoPro is that it includes a full-color front-facing LCD display making it very easy to shoot selfie-style videos. The GoPro has only a rear-facing display while the Osmo Action has both. If you buy the Media Mod for the GoPro, you can purchase a front-facing screen for your GoPro.
As far as video quality out of the box goes I think it is a matter of personal preference. For travel vlogs, I prefer the darker look of the GoPro. However, the same settings that make those outdoor shots so amazing can give skin tones an orange hue which makes the Osmo a better choice for those of you that shoot a lot of selfie-style videos.
When you boil it down, the cost is the key difference between the GoPro Hero 8 Black and the DJI Osmo Action. You get the front-facing display built-in with Osmo Action. If you want your GoPro to have a similar capability, you are going to have to spend $80 on the Media Mod and then another $80 on the front-facing display.
DJI Osmo Pocket
The DJI Osmo Pocket may be the most interesting camera on this list. It is very different than both the GoPro Hero 8 Black and the DJI Osmo Action. It uses a built-in gimbal for image stabilization rather than electronic stabilization which gives the camera the ability to track faces and objects while holding the camera in a fixed position. This is something you can’t do with the Hero 8 or the Osmo Action.
A lot of people prefer gimbal based stabilization over electronic stabilization, but there is a learning curve. Namely, you have to make an effort not to put too much bounce in your step with the camera when you walk. Once you are used to the gimbal based stabilization, your resulting video will be more stable than that of the Hero 8 or Osmo Action.
One of the more unique aspects of this camera is that you can attach it to your smartphone to access additional features and to supplement the small LCD screen on the camera using your phone’s display. The DJI Osmo Pocket is small and it comes with a plastic case so it is easy to stick in your front pocket which allows you to carry this camera with you everywhere.
Even though the Hero 8 and the Osmo Action are also small, it can be cumbersome to walk around with an action camera. To get the best footage with those cameras, you have to attach them to some sort mount. With the Osmo Pocket, you can just whip it out of your pocket and begin shooting. The Osmo Pocket isn’t waterproof and it isn’t rugged like the Hero 8 and Osmo action. It should be handled with the same care you would use with a regular camera. The Osmo Pocket performs better in low light settings than the Hero 8 or Osmo Action but it isn’t on par with the Canon PowerShot G7’s low light performance.
For those of you that want to carry a camera on you at all times and don’t want to drag around a bunch of mounts, it is a good choice.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Up until now, we have talked about action cameras, but what if you need something that does just as well on a tripod taking still images or shooting indoor video as it does outside in the sunlight? What if you shoot a lot of outdoor footage but a lot of it is at night? The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II has been the mainstream choice for vlogging since it was introduced in 2014.
Why is it so popular? It has amazing low light performance, built-in image stabilization and it is just an all-around great performer. It isn’t as durable as the action cameras mentioned above. You can’t take it in the water or a wet environment but it will take better stills than any of the action cameras. The image stabilization on this camera isn’t as good as the image stabilization on the GoPro or the Osmo Action. You wouldn’t want to strap it on your head and go mountain biking with it, but if you are simply trying to avoid everyday shake while walking and holding the camera it does a good job.
You can usually find this camera for around $599. Keep in mind since it is an older design it doesn’t shoot 4k video. The highest resolution you can shoot video in on this camera is 1080p. Overall, it is still a good choice for an all-around vlogging camera especially if you are going to shoot in a lot of indoors or outdoors low light settings.
Avoid the newer and more expensive PowerShot G7 X Mark III. While it adds the ability to shoot 4k video, it overheats and shuts down while doing so. The autofocus on the Mark III is just plain awful and the overall consensus is that it is a very poor camera.