We’ve shortlisted the five best vlogging cameras to buy in 2021 ranging from a fair R9 500 to a premium R22 000. Whether you want to increase your YouTube following or make money vlogging, you need quality video and quality sound.

How do you know a great vlogging camera when you see it? A vlogging camera…

  • is small, compact and selfie-ready
  • shoots full HD 1080p or even 4K video (YouTube supports both formats)
  • has fast autofocus (AF) for tracking moving subjects without the blur
  • has an LCD monitor, preferably tilting, maybe even with touch
  • has a built-in microphone
  • has decent battery life

Depending on your style, it could also have:

  • an electronic viewfinder (EVF)
  • manual controls for aperture, shutter speed and ISO
GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO9 Black

1. GoPro HERO9

The HERO9 Black is ideal for vlogging featuring 5K30, 4K60 and 1080p240, plus live-streaming at 1080p. The HyperSmooth 3.0 image stabilisation technology works at all resolutions and frame rates for smooth, gimbal-like movement even in low-light conditions.

Weighing only 158g (less than any other shortlisted vlogging camera) it has built-in mounting hardware resulting in an overall slightly smaller profile when mounted.

The camera has three strategically placed built-in microphones for recording high-fidelity audio, and captures superb 12MP quality images in JPEG and RAW. You also benefit from other features like TimeWarp 3.0, Slo-Mo, SuperPhoto + HDR and LiveBurst, not forgetting waterproof capabilities to 10m depth.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III Digital Camera

2. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III

The G7X Mark III is one of the most revered vlogging cameras on the market. Part of the up-market PowerShot series, it offers real value for money with UHD 4K30 and Full HD 1080p120 video recording,  20 fps (8fps with AF), a 180° tilt-angle LCD touchscreen, built-in microphone, optical image stabilisation, and built-in Wi-Fi with Bluetooth. Thanks to the large 1″ CMOS sensor, it provides excellent stills quality at 20.1MP and a 24-100mm effective focal range that covers wide-angle to short-telephoto perspectives. The 5 optical zoom lets you get close to the action and weighs only 304g, which makes up for not having a hot shoe.

Sony ZV-1 Digital Compact Camera
Sony ZV-1 Digital Compact Camera

3. Sony Alpha ZV-1

The ZV-1 is a tiny vlogging powerhouse with a vari-angle touch screen that flips horizontally for taking selfies and videos, a recording lamp to know at a glance whether you’re recording, and a good quality built-in microphone for premium sound (it even comes with a windscreen to reduce unwanted noise). Clever autofocus tracks faces and eyes for more stylistic videos even when you’re moving around, and a comfortable selfie grip makes it easy to take a great portrait or vertical footage.

Thanks to a wide-angle lens, this camera takes photos with beautiful background blur and with a good combination of quality image processing and ISO specifications, it lets your take photos with clear details even in challenging low-light conditions. The camera makes all skin tones look vibrant and there’s an optional Soft Skin Effect for achieving a smoother look. Other features include slow-motion and time-lapse, because what would a video content creator be without good b-roll cinematics.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI Digital Camera
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI Digital Camera

4. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Mark VI

The RX100 Mark VI is a premium point-and-shoot camera that’s light enough to slip into your bag without feeling like you’re lugging gear around at only 301g. It offers UHD 4K and 1080p60 video recording with a clean HDMI output function for recording video onto external devices. It also features lock-on AF, a selfie-friendly tilting LCD touchscreen, electronic viewfinder, built-in microphone, and Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity. You can even download the PlayMemories app to personalise the camera’s features to suit your style. These include time-lapse, slow-motion, sports, portraits and close-ups. Combining a 20MP sensor and a bright versatile Zeiss lens with extended zoom, the RX100 Mark VI shoots high-res stills even in dimly-lit conditions.

Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera
Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera

5. Canon EOS 90D

The Canon 90D is a budget-friendly mid-range DSLR camera ideal for full-time vloggers. This quality all-rounder captures high-res 32.5MP stills and shoots 4K30 and Full HD 1080p120 video. It incorporates a headphone and microphone jack for advanced control over audio recording, and offers built-in Wi-Fi with NFC for effortless connectivity. It has a movable flip touchscreen that is visible even in bright sunlight and performs well in low-light conditions with reduced noise and high sensitivity up to an extendable ISO 51,200. Other features include Dual Pixel CMOS and Movie Servo AF focusing ideal for high-quality autofocus in video, and is water-and-dust resistant for shooting outdoors.

Please note that this is a recurring blog that is updated every year.

We welcome any vlogging gear questions in the comments below: