Best camera for vlogging

The best camera for vlogging may be the one that you already own. Before you run out and purchase a new piece of equipment, look in your own pocket. Do you own an iPhone 4 up through 6? An Android? Most of these phone have two cameras positioned in two directions. The selfie cam is perfect for video blogging especially when combined with a selfie stick. Ditto with the new iPad. Otherwise, maybe you have a still camera that has a video feature? A laptop with a camera? (an especially good option for a sit-down vlog).

The important thing with vlogging, is to begin shooting. The best vlogs are created through practice. Most of the best vloggers didn’t just wake up one day and upchuck greatness onto YouTube. So if you do already have a vlog camera, dive right in.

Just shoot. The act of shooting itself will help you define the features that are most important to you in a camera.

Still want a brand new camera? Okay, I hear you. Once you are ready to purchase a camera, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Buy a camera that allows you to view yourself while you shoot. Popular cameras such as the Kodak zi8, Playtouch, Playfull and most of the Sony Bloggie line – while being good cameras otherwise – do not allow you to see yourself while shooting. Depending on the style of vlog you are planning this can be a huge issue. But there are notable exceptions. The best cameras for vlogging are below:

  • Panasonic HC-V770 Full HD w. WiFi. This is a sweet camera, well designed and wifi enabled for great connectivity. The camera features a 5 axis image optical stabilization which is heads above the electronic stabilization on other cameras. The image is great with nice noise reduction even in low light. A great flip screen rounds it out. Recommended!
  • Samsung HMX F90. Better made than the (discontinued) RCA EZ-1000 above, this SD card camera features one-touch upload, performs well in low-light. It has a 2.7″ flip screen and uses electronic image stabilization. They are solidly built and can take a beating (within reason of course).
  • Bell+Howell T100HD-BL Take 1. Bell+Howell made their name in the motion picture industry back in 1907 and continues to produce a variety of consumer and pro electronics. They drop the ball a little bit on the T100 but for the price (less than $30 as of this writing) this is a good blogging crash cam for days when you want to leave the iPhone or high end camera at home but still want to get some good video blogging and selfie shots.
  • Panasonic HX-DC2 Full HD Camcorder. Want to video blog in the pool or underwater? Well you can with this model (don’t go any deeper than 3 metres though). Panasonic has been quietly discontinuing/rebranding the Xacti since their purchase of Sanyo in 2009. The HX-WA2 is similar to the venerable Xacti but at a slightly lower price point (although the frequent discounts on the Xactis bring them closer together). Unfortunately this camera does not have external microphone ports. Shame on you for ditching this hard-to-find feature Panasonic.
  • RCA EZ-1000 & RCA Small Wonder EZ205. These budget models were recently discontinued and the upgraded models no longer have flip-out screens!

New camcorders are released nearly every month.  If you don’t find one that fits your needs right now, buy the cheapest one that seems the closest and wait half a year. Something new and better is sure to come along soon. Also note that if you are specifically seeking the best camera for YouTube videos, all of the above will work. YouTube is the most flexible online video service to be found – it can handle anything.

Video Blogging Tips

Video blogging is not difficult but keeping a few video tips in mind will help make you the best video blogger you can be! First, what type of video blog do you plan on keeping? A video blog might mean you speaking directly to your camera about a topic of you are passionate about. Or a video blog might just as easily be the ongoing saga of your whacky family life. There is no one single definition as to what a video blog is, so don’t get too caught up in that. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to communicate?
  • What do you want to help people discover?
  • Why is video the best way to do it?
  • Choose something that you feel passionate about.

If you don’t (yet) have a clear idea as to what you want to video blog about, don’t sweat it. Start with an introduction – who you are and what makes you tick – and see how that feels. It goes without saying that you’ll need a video camera to video blog but if you don’t have a fancy or expensive one don’t let that stop you. Use your pocket digital camera, your cellphone or your laptop.

  • Eye contact with your viewer is key. The only way to make eye contact is by looking directly into the camera lens. Experiment with this. You don’t have to *constantly* look in the lens. See what feels natural then play back the recording and see how it looks.
  • Don’t forget about audio. Bad audio can ruin any video. Pick a quiet location and sit as close to the camera mic as possible. For better quality, consider purchasing a camera that has an external mic input. Some of them are quite reasonable (and most laptops already include this).
  • Make sure you have adequate lighting and that the light is not coming from behind you. The lighting source could be a window or a lamp. Natural light tends to look the best with the least amount of effort.
  • Remember framing. Framing includes everything that is not you. Choose a background that looks pleasing to you and that expresses something of what you want to convey through your video. You can also make a green screen quite inexpensively.
  • If you are not going to edit your video afterward, try and keep your video relatively short – under five minutes. Editing is often helpful though to cut out awkward pauses and mistakes you might make here and there. Try imovie on the mac or windows media maker on the PC.

People sometimes get nervous about video blogging, but it’s easy once you start. The best way to learn is by doing so quit reading and researching and start doing!

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