Some say that vlogging was invented by and for those too lazy and/or lacking in ability to express themselves through the medium of the written word; and by ‘some’, I of course mean ‘me’.
While many people far richer and far more successful than myself may disagree with this, due mainly to the fact that they became so much richer and more successful through vlogging, I still stand by it, even if only because I can’t address a camera for more than two-seconds without slipping into ‘resting Pritch face’. Oh, and because I resent the success of others, naturally.
Short of any actual facts (because nobody bothered to make a note), the concept of vlogging was invented on January 1st, 2000, when an American man filmed himself eating all the hotdogs. But having nowhere to upload it to, he had to wait until YouTube was launched in 2005, at which point what was to become known as the vlogosphere exploded with the animated faces of both the brilliant and the beautiful.
Flash forward to 2022 and many of those early vlogging innovators (and countless who came later) are now drawing in millions of subscribers on YouTube and TikTok and, in doing so, making millions in money. For example, since launching his YouTube channel in 2010, Swedish vlog sensation PewDiePie has amassed a massive 110 million+ subscribers, earning him an estimated US $40 million.
So, if you fancy cutting yourself a fat slice of the vlogging pie, just what do you need? Firstly, an original idea. Secondly, a face and/or personality that people are pulled to. And, thirdly, a high-quality HD camera to capture every moment of that aforementioned original face and/or personality. Simple, yeah?
Then depending on the kind of hot video content you’re going to produce, get your fizzog in front of one of the beauties below and start your vlogging voyage today…
Nikon Z 30
Best for: Vlogging camera class
As a camera-carrier all my life, I’ve felt a tad sad for the plight of the good old digital camera ever since smartphones started packing in the kind of photo features and megapixel counts most standard snappers simply couldn’t compete with. Indeed, I’ll even be looking at a couple of excellent examples of such phones shortly. But, before I do, I want you look at this truly joyous creation: the Nikon Z 30.
A mirrorless model that allows it all the lightness and portability not permitted to the DSLR, Nikon have crammed in all the advanced photographic features its cameras are famed for, but while keeping dogged old traditionalists like myself happy, it has also factored in the needs of the modern vlogger by creating a camera that, not just capable of shooting stills at up to 20.9MP, can also record 125-minutes of 4K video at 11FPS (Frames Per Second) with all the clarity, depth of field, and crystal-clear sound that the most demanding vloggers, er, demand.
Not only that, but offering a range of video modes, including time-lapse, there is Autofocus to keep your mug in fine focus constantly while you witter on, Eye- and Animal-Detection that stays locked on your peepers in both still and video modes, a sizable sensor that lets in more light for shooting in darker conditions, while connection to a computer via USB-C lets you livestream. So, yes, very much playing right into the hands of the pro vlogger.
What’s more on that score, featuring stereo mics to sort the sound, the Z 30’s stunning 3-inch diagonal, vari-angle TFT touch-sensitive LCD display gives you a 170° viewing angle, approximately 100 per cent frame coverage and, as the ‘vari-angle’ bit might have suggested, means you can turn the display to face you while recording yourself to keep a keen eye on what the camera sees.
Thoroughly feature-packed and available with a wide range of lens and accessories to further up your vlogging ante, the Nikon Z 30 may not be a go-anywhere action-cam, but it is pure camera class that builds on the company’s 100-odd years’ experience of building professional-standard snappers while adding in all the ingenious online bells and whistles that make for vlog perfection.
Buy now £879.00, John Lewis
Best for: All-round social content creation
One for the outdoor action aficionado looking to dabble in Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, this utterly robust and reasonably lightweight can switch through aspect ratios at a click, meaning your content will always be in the correct format for your social media site of choice.
Conceived and created in no uncertain terms for vloggers, influencers and over-sharers alike, the Insta360 X3 comes packing a dual lens design with a ½-inch ÑÐµnÑÐ¾r for capturing images at a massive 72-megapixels and video at 5.7K resolution (in full 360-degrees with horizon-lock). There’s also a six-axis gyroscope with FlowState stabilisation to help keep that video ultra-stable, all controlled via a 2.29-inch tempered glass touchscreen and/or via remote using the iOS or Android smartphone app or even voice control.
To also capture the all-important audio, the Insta360 comes with a built-in mic capable of recording in stereo, but you can also add-in an optional mic adaptor if you want your sound crisp and crystal-clear.
Built to take a battering too, the X3 is as tough as a tiny tank and waterproof to 33ft (10m) in case you take a tumble while filming without due care and attention by a canal or, indeed, actively engage in the kind of wild watersports that your online audience will lap-up.
When it comes to storage, you’ll want to pair it up with a UHS-I V30 speed class, exFAT format SD card with a maximum storage of 1TB and, to fully go pro with your vlogging, a sturdy tripod and – yes – a selfie stick, both of which attach via the bolt thread on the bottom.
The accompanying AI-powered Insta360 app I alluded to earlier makes editing video and images for social media simplicity itself, allowing you to add effects and even animate stills prior to uploading to your array of social sites in an instant thanks to the Insta’s Wi-Fi connection.
With all boxes for the dynamic alfresco adventure vlogger thoroughly ticked, the Insta360 X3 can’t guarantee you fame and fortune, but it’ll certainly frame you in exactly the right light and enhance your chances of finding it.
Buy now £459.00, Wex Photo Video
OPPO Reno8 Pro
Best for: Vlogging convenience on the go
While action-cams and more conventional cameras designed with online in-mind may suit some, there is a generation that learnt not to carry around anything other than their phones, and for that lot convenience is still king. And manufacturers of mobile phones know that, which is why they have evolved the smartphone camera from the somewhat shoddy low-res shooters of old into ultra-portable photo and video powerhouses that the more casual or occasional vlogger can simply slip in or out of their pocket when the muse takes them.
Take for excellent example of this, the Reno8 Pro from OPPO. A slickly styled smartphone that’s more than capable of doing all the things a 5G smartphone should be able to do in 2022, it also comes carrying front and rear cameras that are a vlogger’s dream. Front cam up first, it’s only a 32-megapixel Sony IMX709 sensor with Autofocus, which is ludicrous for a front-facer. But then there’s the backend – a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor! I mean, the photos this phone takes are incredible.
Then there comes video, captured in glorious 4K with the addition of Night Vision powered by a MariSilicon X Imaging NPU (Neural Processing Unit) which, without wanting to get too technical, does some clever algorithm stuff and what-have-we to let you record in that aforementioned glorious 4K even at night. Truly the numero uno request on the wish-list of late-night vloggers and dangerous stalkers alike.
Adding to the vlogging experience, the OPPO lets you shoot in normal time (obvs), hyperlapse at a cinematic-grade level, or in slow-motion, thus allowing you to mix up the styles of your video content.
Naturally, being a 5G phone, audio recording is no issue, and once you’ve edited your content the way you want it, uploading is no issue at all as you have all apps to hand.
Also, although not really relevant to the vlogging side of things, the Reno8 Pro is fantastically designed physically too and feels great to hold thanks (I imagine) to the 800oC hot forging process and eight different nanometre-scale polishing processes applied to the back cover.
So, convenient to carry about, blessed with all the tech-bling of a smartphone, and heavily endowed with truly colossal cameras for massive megapixel stills and 4K content creation, the OPPO Reno8 Pro is packing some real vlogger-pleasing power.
Buy now £599.00, OPPO
GoPro HERO11 Black
Best for: The ultimate adventure vlog
Some of you may have happened across my full review of GoPro’s stonking HERO11 Black action-cam within these very digital pages quite recently, and if you didn’t then we’ll need to have words at the end of this article.
However, to reiterate what a stunning bit of kit this is for vloggers and influencers alike, first on all we’re back in the realms of extreme adventure here. Yep, no make-up tutorials or going on and on about computer games here, the HERO11 Black while also sounding like the code name for some SAS operative is also just as tough, being built to withstand a direct nuclear detonation (or so it feels), while also holding its own down to 10m under water without an issue.
Camera-wise, you’re looking down the barrel of a massive 27-megapixels, served up in 8:7 aspect ratio, and video in either 5.3K @60fps, 4K @120fps or 2.7K @240fps resolutions and 16:9, 4:3 or 8:7 aspect ratios.
Video stabilisation and Horizon Lock mean that however rough your exploits are, your video content will always look professional, level, and not look like you just tripped and fell down a mountain, even if you have. Meanwhile, 10-bit colour footage delivers one billion colours, making for the ultimate in colour realism and also eliminates all the awkward ‘blockiness’ associated with 8-bit.
Dual LED displays front and back keep your eye on the action, while the 2.27-inch rear display also acts as your touchscreen control interface; and those controls can be adjusted to be as simple of complex to operate as you please via the iOS and Android GoPro Quik smartphone app.
You can also control the HERO11 Black remotely using said app should it be positioned out of reach, zooming in and out of your terrified face as you realise you have lost all control over the powered hang glider you confidently bet someone you could fly across a lake of piranhas, or something.
Fully upgradable across lens, audio and lighting, if your vlog is aiming for the extreme, the GoPro HERO11 Black has your back.
Buy now £550.00, GoPro
Best for: Simple, Sony-based livestreaming
To give it its full, vlog-ambitious name, this is the Sony ZV-E10 Interchangeable-lens vlog camera, another mirrorless yet more traditional camera option in the same vein as the Nikon Z 30 of earlier, and also around the same price-point.
Here we find a body with a range of optional extra lens (depending on your needs) that fires from a large APS-C type 24.2-megapixel27 Exmor CMOS sensor, records audio on a directional 3-Capsule Mic with wind screen, and comes with features designed specifically for vloggers, including Product Showcase Setting, Bokeh Switch (background blurring), Still/Movie/S&Q button.
Video capture, naturally, comes in at 4K (although getting technical it actually collects the rough equivalent of 6K in data), while the 3-inch vari-angle LCD touchscreen makes it easy to film selfie stuff. Autofocus is, of course, there to take all the fidgeting out of getting a clear, clean shot, Eye AF keeps focus on the faces of humans and animals alike, and there is even Real-Time Tracking wherein you simply tap the subject you’re recording on the touchscreen and let the Sony do the rest.
Image stabilisation keeps the content of even the shakiest of hands viewable, excellent light collection means the Sony ZV-E10 operates with aplomb in darker conditions, and you can even add effects in-camera before transferring to your smartphone to edit and upload.
Like the Nikon you can livestream through a connection with either a computer or – wait for it – Sony Xperia smartphone, and time lapse and the ability to speed up or slow down footage stops your vlog being stuck in one gear.
An excellent made-for-vlogging camera that will see Sony Xperia owners live streaming from anywhere in 4K, for the vlogger looking to create an enviable reputation as a constant and consistent high-quality livestreamer, no matter where they are, Sony has the answer.
Buy now £679.00, Currys
VTech KidiZoom Studio
Best for: Vlogging for kids
As you might be aware, YouTube doesn’t allow those under 13 to have their own channel; and between the ages of 13 and 17, only with parental permission. Similarly, TikTok users have to be 13+. But that doesn’t mean your progeny can’t practice their vlogging skills at an earlier age for private sharing with friends and family; and the KidiZoom Studio from tyke tech specialist VTech is perfect for that.
Aimed at kidlets of 5- to 12-years, this 720p HD camera kit features a 2.4-inch colour LCD display, a pop-up rear-facing lens for selfie shots, features ‘kid-friendly video editing’, a range of effects, and comes complete with a mini tripod/handle and green screen for letting your little ones get truly creative.
Literally hours of fun for the anklebiters, if you’re hoping for some quality time free from child-friendly TV and boring boardgames this Festivemas, then the VTech Kidizoom Studio could well be the best present you buy… yourself.
Buy now £70.00, Amazon
Studio Creator Ultimate Video Maker
Best for: Getting the full effect on the cheap
Now that we’ve sorted out vlogging cameras for the great outdoors and indoors, when it comes to the latter, how do you jazz things up so that your content is not just you sat in front of some stage-dressed bookshelf like a disgraced MP during a lockdown interview? With the assistance of a green screen, multi-coloured ring light, camera tripod, separate condenser microphone and, although maybe just to avoid any unwanted disturbances of casual passing nudity during a live stream, an On Air lightbox of course!
Yes, while this is not a vlogging camera as such, it is a kit that comes with pretty much everything else you need to set up a temporary home studio to help make your vlogs look and sound as professional as possible.
Containing a dimmable 21cm LED ring light with a choice of 18 colour modes, and XL 2x2m green screen for throwing background effects up on, an adjustable tripod (up to 1.15m high) with shutter remote and phone holder, plus the condenser mic with a lengthy 1.5m cable, the Studio Creator Ultimate Video Maker is targeting the younger 14+ market, but having had the pleasure of testing this quality kit out myself, I can see no reason at all why the more – ahem – ‘mature’ vlogger wouldn’t find this little lot an essential collection of tools in creating far more competent vlog content.
Buy now £59.99, Amazon
Obviously, if we’ve learnt anything from all this, it’s that the camera you choose for your vlogging very much depends on the nature of your vlogging. Yes, I’m saying that the ideal camera varies from person to person, which I know is not much by way of an absolute, but it’s true.
However, on the off-chance you happen to be an out-of-shape middle-aged man with a vlog called ‘What Bits Ache Today’, then the Nikon Z 30 is picture perfect, especially when combined with the Studio Creator Ultimate Video Maker kit to light you well enough to hide the deeply entrenched crow’s-feet on your face and provide a green screen background of somewhere slightly more glamorous than your dust-flavoured work-den. Which is possible. Yeah, watch your back. PewDie Pie, I’m coming for you…