Like cars, there are so many different vlogging camera options for your YouTube channel to choose from at various price points. Some offer 4K and slow motion, some don’t, each camera has a specific purpose. So, what are some of the top features that make a great vlogging camera for YouTube?
Flip Out Screen
Surprisingly a lot of the cost friendly cameras available today have this! Flip out screens are immensely helpful when you’re filming on your own. A flip out screen is the screen on the back of your camera being able to flip around so that when looking into your camera’s lens, you can see exactly what’s being recorded in frame.
An extra bonus to the flip out screen is if the camera also has a touch screen feature. So if you’re looking into your lens while vlogging with your screen facing you, then you can use the touch screen feature to adjust any settings simultaneously.
Camera autofocus is huge for vlogging because you always want to make sure the subject is in focus when being recorded. It’s takes a little extra effort to do it manually, but why waste your time fiddling with that when most cameras these days will do the phenomenal job for you.
Each camera brand’s autofocus is a little different. For example, my experience with Sony cameras has been hit or miss. My RX100 camera is amazing when it comes to autofocus but I find my A7s II camera sometimes has a hard time focusing on what I’d like it to.
I’ve also heard great things about Canon’s autofocus system. Whichever camera you end up choosing, this will probably be your most used feature.
Audio Input For Microphones
The biggest thing you should be aware of before you even think about camera settings is how you’re going to record your audio. Not all cost friendly cameras have audio inputs, but if you want to make your vlogs feel more professional then you should heavily consider buying a camera that you can attach a microphone to.
Check out this post on how to record good quality sound for your YouTube videos.
Here’s a couple of features that others may consider when purchasing a camera, although, I don’t think they’re as important the ones mentioned above. However, I thought I would mention them anyway because they might be important to you.
Sensor size is exactly how it sounds. It is the size of the sensor inside your camera. The bigger the sensor, the better your image quality will be. Though I do believe strongly in sensor size and megapixel count, it’s only important when you’re spending $3,000+ on camera equipment.
Being a videographer for a living, most of my work is shot on a “Full Frame sensor” because I’m producing a product for a client. If you’re new to cameras, and are just starting a YouTube channel for your own vlogs, I wouldn’t spend anymore then $2,000 tops.
Full frame sensors unfortunately don’t exist under the $2,000 price point. Some people will argue that APS-C sensors (like what’s in the Canon 80D) are the next best thing under Full Frame, but I personally don’t see the difference between an APS-C sensor and the 1-inch CMOS sensor (like what’s in the Sony RX100 series).
Your vlogging camera’s resolution is referring to the amount of detail that a camera can capture and it is measured in pixels. The more pixels an image has, the more detail it can capture. Most people, including myself, are uploading content in 1080p (that’s 1920 by 1080 pixels).
1080p has been the HD standard for years now and looks great when you’re watching it. Most viewers on YouTube are watching on their mobile phones and most mobile devices still have a display resolution of 1080p. Only recently have cell phones started to get a higher pixel display count, but on a screen that small, it’s difficult to tell the difference between 4K and 1080p.
There is a divide in the online community about whether or not you should film in 1080p vs 4K and there are good arguments for both, but since I’ve owned a 4K camera, I primarily shoot in that resolution (which is 3840 x 2160 pixels).
The main reason I like shooting in 4K is that when I downgrade the footage to 1080p in editing, it makes my footage appear sharper, clearer, and more detailed. It also allows me to reframe my image if I’m unhappy with my original composition.
Allowing for reframing can be huge, especially on more run and gun style shoots where you don’t have a lot of time to properly set up your shots to your liking. The only downside to filming videos in 4K is that you’ll need a computer that can handle those bigger files as well as a fast SD card to keep up with the camera’s recording bitrate.
If you plan on vlogging while you’re out exploring the world, then you may want to consider buying a vlogging camera for your YouTube channel that has stabilization. Stabilization is a feature that is either built into the camera itself and/or a specific lens (usually higher end).
For example, let’s say you’re vlogging while taking a walk. If your camera doesn’t have stabilization, then your camera is going to pick up every bump you make while you’re walking. If your camera or lens does have stabilization, then it will compensate for that movement and will make your footage smoother and less jittery.
Lastly, most cameras that offer the Wifi function usually let you control your camera through an app. This can be helpful with cameras like the GoPro series because navigating through the settings options with 2 buttons is not always the easiest. However, this feature isn’t really that necessary, as you’ll probably not being upload vlogs directly to YouTube without any edits.
Hopefully these tips will help you refine your options when looking to purchase a vlogging camera for your YouTube channel. There is no “one size fits all” solution, so be sure to think about what kind of vlog you want to make and choose your camera based on those needs.
VLOG NATION CONTRIBUTOR
Chris Monteiro is a Canadian videographer and drone pilot, who is passionate about creating dynamic digital content. An avid traveller, Chris loves to explore new places with his Sony A7Sii in hand and aims to tell engaging stories about what he captures through his lens.
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