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Cameras for Live Streaming and Vlogging

Here's a great selection of cameras for live streaming and vlogging.

Live streams have become a massively popular activity for media journalists or even hobbyists for a specific subject matter. Investing in a good camera for this is crucial in order to ensure your stream gets picked amongst an array of options on the popular platforms like Twitch and YouTube.

‘Vlogging’, as a term, feels old and established, a bit like an oak tree or Liam Neeson. However, YouTube was only founded in 2005 and Vimeo in 2004. Since then, video sharing sites have been transformed from places to share third-party content to a destination for user-generated videos, transforming the entire landscape of the media industry.

Some vloggers try to make the world we live in a little more stylish (Freddy My Love), more tasty (Matty Matheson), more weird (Memory Hole) whilst others fight to transform the world itself e.g. Francheska (HeyFranHey).

Whatever your motivation, agenda or goal, there’s nothing more powerful than video to communicate.

Whatever your mission with your vlog, getting best vlogging camera for your precise objectives could ensure you have a vlog that looks high quality enough or alternatively prevent you from spending money you could have otherwise put towards external lighting or video editing software.


Video quality

4K and UHD video resolutions (more detail by capturing more ‘pixels’ or ‘points’ of image information) are becoming the norm, so it's generally worth considering investing in. Reasons you may prefer to save the money might be that you foresee that videos will be viewed mainly on smartphones rather than smart TVs, laptops and tablets.

But video quality is not just about resolution.

The quality of the lens (glass v plastic), number of elements in a lens, zoom or magnification, can all affect the ultimate quality of what you get. But whilst glass might be better, beware ... it is also heavier!

Cameras these days are glorified computers that do much more than simply turning photons of light into digital images. These microprocessors can track moving objects, recognize the environment scenario then use AI to enhance elements in-frame and much more. But whatever you’re looking to film the processor capability will have an impact on the images you end up with.

Significantly, the sensor is very critical in yielding great video. Aside from the quality of the sensor, size here matters. The bigger the sensor the more distinct and precise an image it can capture. Full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can capture more detail than cropped sensor variants of the same cameras types.

Bridge and compacts have smaller sensors still. However, the choice isn't straightforward. If you want to be able to achieve a shallow depth of view (blurred background) then larger sensors help. But if you want everything in shot to be in focus such as in fixed studio conditions, overall you may be better off overall a smaller sensor. To get a good vlogging camera with the right video quality, you’ll have to balance your preferences and make tradeoffs.


Stabilization and tracking

Cameras often offer ‘video stabilization’. This refers to a variety of features designed to keep the movie content free of camera-shake and wobble, leaving you with professional-looking, smooth motion.

In most higher-end DSLRs, a favourite of serious YouTubers and vloggers, the stabilization depends on what lens you buy. It works well, but you’ll have to pay a premium for stabilization tech in each lens. Some of the more modern mirrorless as well as bridge, compact and action cameras tend to have any stabilization built-in.

A cheap solution is for software to pick up the slack. Googles photos service will do this for videos uploaded to its cloud, for free. However, be warned; you may lose video detail in the process, perhaps even see some edge of frame material disappear altogether. Paid-for software, in turn, may be less efficient than paying for the feature in the first place.

If you’re wanting to capture kids running for a family vlog or wildlife darting across the Serengeti, stabilization is critical. Action cameras tend to have the best stabilization for the money

A great way to get awesome stabilization would be to buy a separate gimbal. This used to be eye-wateringly expensive technology. Although it still isn't cheap, nowadays you can pick one up for the price of a good lens or a compact camera.

Again what you choose depends on what kind of vlogging you’re into. If you’re filming in a studio with the camera on a tripod then its a waste of money. Equally, for some styles of movie-making, a shaky video is exactly what’s needed.


Lighting matters

The detail and colour all hit the sensor courtesy of light. Yeah, I know, it's pointing out the obvious, but it's an obvious point often overlooked.

When there is low light, cameras can compensate by increasing the ISO (think of this as the ‘gain’ on the electrical signal), by relying on a lens that lets through a lot of light (often a high quality ‘prime’ lens - but these will have no zoom at all), by relying on a very still subject all combined with a very steady hand. Alternatively, you can use external lighting.

In a studio, this is easier to achieve. It can also be deployed (more hassle, time and money) outdoors. Reflectors can also help.

Some camcorders come with built-in lighting or lights that can be mounted onto the hot shoe. Built-in lighting is great where you have to move around in dark places - think wedding receptions, conferences, red carpet events. But remember they add weight, not to mentioned heat.

The most important factor here is sensor size. Followed by lens type, a big sensor can do the most to ensure that you can capture viewable moving images in twilight on dimly lit conditions


Audio

The biggest mistake made by buyers of cameras for vlogging is focusing on the image and not the sound. But sound is usually the biggest area of weakness for vloggers. You can deal with this by buying extra hardware, remote mics etc or by going for one with a great integrated. You’ll get the best results by having dedicated mics perhaps capturing audio separately, but they can increase your setup time taking longer between shoots. Additionally, there more potential points of failure.


Skill level

This is a tricky one, as skill level is not a static thing. You may be a total novice nor, for example, but what’s to say that you’re not the next James Cameron in the making?!

Nevertheless, if you have a good handle on your skill level and don't see a need to improve it, just remember - DSLRs, mirrorless and pro camcorders all require some knowledge and skill. Some have automatic modes and entry-level versions even have scene modes just like compacts. However, you can get better results spending less on the camera and buying useful extras such as lighting if you're not going to use the deeper features.

On the flipside, camcorders, compacts, action cameras and bridge cameras often come with some of those extra settings if you want to expand your repertoire of techniques. This allows the camera to do the heavy lifting, even if there is a bit of compromise in terms of getting the video exactly as you’d want it. Which brings us to …


Form factor

DSLRs are a very popular answer to the question “what is the best camera for vlogging”. However, they are often bought precisely due to popularity when really factors like skill level and ‘need’ should precede this choice. For example, DSLRs are great if you want to make adjustments to shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance and need different lenses to capture some specific varieties of movie type.

But they are heavy, bulky and require maintenance. They also take longer to pick up and be in a position to start shooting.

Action cameras are perfect for… err action. Not really optimum for a studio setting or shooting celebrities on a red carpet.

If you’re going to scuba dive and don't want to be fiddling around just at the point you’re about to capture your once in a lifetime glide-by a great white shark (without being eaten of course), an action or an underwater compact will probably be perfect. If that same video needs to be pixel perfect, you’ll have to use a professional camera, with a polarizing filter and a crew, mainly to prevent you from becoming your movie star’s meal!

Bridge cameras are another popular format for vlogging. They often come with decent sensors, the key functions of a DSLR, all in a light body without having to mess around with changing lenses. They are lightweight and easy to carry around making them perfect for about-town type shooting.

One thing to remember is that, aside from camcorders, most form factors have their genetic history in photography. The popularity with these formats is down to the much cheaper CMOS sensors type they use are now as good as CCD sensor types used in older and more expensive camcorders. So modern still-cameras have evolved, Darwin style, into the leaders for camcording, leaving actual ‘camcorders’ on their death bed.

However, the one thing camcorders still have going for them is their ergonomics. Their shape, grip, construction are designed with just videography in mind. Hence the horizontal grip position, the location of zoom controls and the position of the viewfinder all lend themselves to shooting video. The flip-out screen which is a very useful and practical camcorder feature has found its way to DSLRs, bridge cameras, compacts, and even some action cameras. This screen will be the main way you judge whether everything is set up correctly. From focus and depth-of-field to colour saturation and glare, needs to be spot on, so a great screen is invaluable. A good vlogging camera with a flip screen, whatever the form factor counts for a lot.


Connectivity

This is an area of vlogging-camera-decision-making that is easy to either overlook or indeed overpay for.

Connections are important as you need a way to 1) actually get your video edited the way you want it and then 2) you need to publish it to your video sharing site. Most commonly this is done by transferring your video clips from your camera to a laptop or perhaps a tablet where your clips can be edited and stitched to the final edit. Then the video can be uploaded via a web browser.

If you’re shooting in 4K and Dolby audio then your video files will be big and you’ll benefit from a camera with high-speed cable transfer i.e. Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.2 or ethernet. If you’re shooting at a lower resolution, using shorter clips or just aren’t in a rush then regular USB cables will probably do.

If you’re looking for convenience, you can’t beat wifi. No wires, no hassles. But even modern wifi is not as fast as cable transfer, and WIFI will push up the cost of your camera.

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Now, if the prospect of researching, tabulating, calculating breaks you into a sweat and the idea of having to trawl the web to find the best prices seems daunting, try out our AI-powered Smart Assistant and get the tailored advice that even the best shop-assistant couldn't provide!

Results 1 - 20 of 116
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Equal parts simple and performance, the Kodak PIXPRO AZ401 enables you to tell your story in a multitude of different ways. When it comes to quality, there's nothing to worry about. The 16.15 megapixel CCD sensor deliver defined, detailed images thanks to the AZ401's 16 million pixels, as well as HD 720p videos. The expandable sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 - 3200 allows you to adapt to just about any tricky lighting condition you may find yourself in. When you need to capture from afar, the ultralong 40x optical zoom lens allows you to dramatically extend your reach, whereas the image stabilization technology irons out any shake when you're walking. Conveniently relying on AA batteries as a source of power, the camera offers roughly 280 shots per fresh set. Elsewhere, the 3-inch LCD display provides convenient playback and easy management of settings, so you can rest assured that you end up with exactly what you're look for. The sky's the limit with the Kodak PIXPRO AZ401.

GoPro HERO Grey

$199.99
$159.99
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Are you a photographer who constantly finds yourself on the go? You'll appreciate the unmatched flexibility of the Kodak PIXPRO AZ251. Whether you're traversing remote landscapes, filming local athletes or simply spending time with the family, the high-resolution 16MP CCD sensor delivers excellent photographs that allow you to enlarge, print and crop while still maintaining fantastic image quality. When the moment feels right, you can record video in HD 720p at the touch of a button. With the PIXPRO AZ251, you're also equipped to capture subjects that are near and far thanks to the impressive 25x Optical Zoom. Best of all? These image capabilities are housed within a compact and lightweight camera body that makes for an effortless carry during those extended shooting days. Elsewhere, you can easily point, frame, shoot and share your photos and videos with the 3-inch LCD screen. Running on AA batteries means the Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 that you'll never run out of battery at an inconvenient time ever again.

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Versatile and pocketable, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS is always ready to capture life's magical moments. Equipped with a 20.2MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor, this compact camera is capable of delivering crisp images that boast a resolution of up to 5184 x 3888. When it comes to video, the PowerShot ELPH 360 HS continues this exceptional quality in Full HD 1080p. Whether you're zooming in on a child's face on stage or capturing animals in the wilderness, you'll appreciate the handy 12x Optical Zoom. This broad reach is complemented by the intelligent image stabilization system that ensures steady footage from afar or while moving. Not only is the camera slender and slim in size, but the compact design weighs just 130g it fits snugly in your bag when abroad. When you're reviewing playback or framing your shot, the 3-inch LCD screen makes for easy navigation so you always end up with the perfect shot.

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Looking for professional video performance? The Sony HDR-CX405 offers the capabilities you need with outstanding flexibility. Delivering incredible video quality, this handheld camcorder is able to record movies in Full HD 1080p, while up to 60 frames per second allows for smooth results. Whether you're shooting vast landscapes or spacious formal events, the 26.8mm wide-angle lens allows you to fit everything into your shots and indoor scenes, something that's particularly handy when you don't have enough room to step back. When your shooting takes you on the road, you'll appreciate the Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system that effectively compensates for any camera shake and movement. The Intelligent Auto Mode is able to take note of your shooting environment and optimizes your settings to provide the best possible results. Think you've got the results you want? Take the time to review your creations upon the 2.7-inch LCD display that delivers a sharp and bright viewing experience at all times.

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Designed to meet the ever-expanding needs of the modern photographer, the Canon PowerShot SX420 is the bridge camera that places a heavy emphasis on versatility. When you find yourself in the back row of a graduation ceremony or you're capturing wildlife out in nature, the outstanding 42x Optical Zoom lets you capture all the action near or far. This extensive reach is paired with an intelligent image stabilization system that minimizes any camera shake caused by movement or walking. When it comes to image quality, the 1/2.3" 20MP CCD sensor works in partnership with the DIGIC IV image processor to capture high-resolution photographs with extraordinary detail and beautiful colours. Think the moment is better suited to video? You'll be glad that the PowerShot SX420 is able to record movies in HD 720p resolution at the touch of a button. At just 308g, not only is the slender body frame easy to carry around, but the ergonomic handling and intuitive button placements make for a seamless shooting experience.

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Looking for a dynamic camera that values precision? The Kodak PIXPRO AZ527 is the perfect match for you. Whether you're near or far, this bridge camera features an outstanding 52x Optical Zoom that ensures you're equipped to capture all the action in full clarity and detail. Well-suited to professionals and amateurs alike, the 1/2.3"" 21.14MP BSI CMOS sensor is able to produce crisp and clear photographs with ease. With a Burst Mode captures 6 frames per second, you won't miss a second of the action, no matter how fast-paced it is. You also have the versatility to capture the moments the way you want to, as the PIXPRO AZ527 is capable of recording Full HD 1080p video at the touch of a button. Between those unforgettable landscapes and priceless group shots, the 360º panorama allows you to capture the entire spectrum around you, so you can look back on those memories in full. When you want to share your photos and videos, the wireless connectivity makes it easy to connect your smart device, even when you're on-the-go.

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Looking for a pro action camera that's tough enough to capture all of your action-packed adventures? The Ricoh WG-M1 has you covered. The ingenious air-tight construction of the WG-M1 allows for underwater shooting at depths of up to 10m, whereas the rugged material means it can withstand drops from up to 2m. Whether you're traversing the amazon or spending an afternoon at the beach, the featherweight design and intuitive button placements make operating this camera a breeze in just about any environment. Between your helmet, backpack and handlebar, the wide array of camera-mount accessories provide many creative solutions that add a new dimension to your adventure-packed movies. When it comes to video quality, the WGM1 proudly delivers videos in Full HD 1080p resolution. The camera is also prepared to take 14MP still images with vibrant colours and crystal clarity, whereas the high-speed processing power has the capacity to take nearly 10 photos per second.

Ricoh WG-60 Red

$325.95
$246.95
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Ready to capture the beauty of life? Power through each moment with the flexible Canon PowerShot SX530. Combining a 1/2.3"" 16MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC IV image processor, this point-and-shoot camera is able to capture high-resolution photographs in outstanding detail, clarity and colour. These superb imaging capabilities continue to video as well, where the camera can record in Full HD 1080p at a maximum of 30 fps. From unnoticed architectural details to live sporting events, no longer is the perfect shot out of reach ever again thanks to the impressive 50x Optical Zoom. Along with the ergonomic grip for comfortable handling and the intelligent image stabilization system, this expansive zoom lens lets you capture everything in sight with accurate focusing and crystal clarity. Elsewhere, the built-in WiFi with NFC connectivity means that you can use your smart device to remotely control the camera, as well as instant sharing with friends and family.

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Whether you're a new parent, online vlogger or aspiring film director, the Canon VIXIA HF R700 is the perfect handheld camcorder for anyone looking for great-quality results, done simply. The 3.28MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor work together to deliver high-resolution video in Full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second. This ensures that your footage will appear clear, rich and detailed, even when played back on a large HDTV through the HDMI port. No matter what situation you're in, your creative flexibility is able to reach new heights with the 57x Optical Zoom that allows you to capture the action from distance during life's spontaneous moments. Building on this, the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer ensures that your footage remains rock steady at all times. Even first-time videographers will appreciate the 3-inch touch panel that's equipped with an easy-to-use interface. Moreover, the LCD screen is viewable wherever your moviemaking takes you, even outdoors in the sun.

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Designed to be both proficient and travel-friendly, the Samsung WB50F is the compact point-and-shoot that's always ready at a moment's notice. Weighing a mere 157g, this handheld camera boasts a lightweight design that you'll appreciate when you're on the move. Not only is the WB50F easy to keep by your side through all your journeys and memories, but it's also compact enough that it takes up next to no space in your baggage. When it comes to image quality, the 1/2.3"" 16.2MP CCD sensor delivers noise-free photographs that reach up to 4608 x 3456 pixels. Think the moment is best-suited for video? The WB50F is capable of recording clips in HD 720p at 30 frames per second. When you want to frame your shot or review playback, the 3-inch LCD display provides excellent contrast and colour reproduction for crystal-clear viewing and brightness in all environments. Elsewhere, the 12x Optical Zoom, image stabilization system and 24mm wide-angle lens means that you're equipped with an impressive array of tools that allow you to always get the shot you want in full detail.