There are several creative pathways you might take when starting out in film and video. While classic narrative, commercial, and documentary genres may necessitate a few years of schooling and/or experimentation, there is one area you can jump into right now: vlogging. Vlogging has gone from a fad to a full-fledged video revolution in a matter of months.
And the notion of taking up a camera and starting a vlog should be quite appealing to every aspiring content creator. All you need is a camera, a little personality, and a lot of imagination. While the latter two are entirely up to you, we have some of our top recommendations for the finest budget vlogging camera solutions currently available.
1. Nikon D850
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7 megapixel full-frame DSLR camera with no optical low-pass filter and a back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor. With the optional MB-D18 Multi Battery Power Pack and EN-EL18b battery, the D850 can shoot continuously at 7 frames per second at full resolution with full AF performance, or even faster at 9 frames per second.
Other notable features include an ISO range of 64–25600 (extendable from 32 to 102400), the same 153-point AF system as the flagship D5 with 99 cross-type sensors and a dedicated AF processor, 4K UHD video recording, 8K timelapse movies, slow motion movies up to 120 frames per second at 1080p, a tilting LCD touchscreen, Nikon’s highest magnification optical viewfinder ever (0.75x), silent photography in Live View mode, 1,840 shot battery life
The Nikon D850 is the successor to the popular D810 camera, and it looks remarkably similar to its predecessor from the outside. It boasts a revised handgrip that is considerably deeper and smaller, yet the overall contour of the camera body is nearly identical. The D850 is little heavier than the D810, weighing 915 grams and feeling reassuringly weighty in your palm once again.
There is another way to select the focusing point on the Nikon D850, but only if you’re shooting in Live View. Because the screen is touch sensitive, you can now use it. Simply switch the camera to Live View mode (there’s a dedicated button near the screen) and tap on the screen to position the point. While the majority of photographers will compose using the viewfinder, the screen might be handy in some situations, such as when photographing macro subjects.
The central AF point and the more sensitive cross-type sensors are designed to work in settings as dark as -4EV for the central AF point and -3EV for the more sensitive cross-type sensors. This gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to working in different lighting conditions, and the Nikon D850 excels at it, locking on to subjects in low light quickly and easily without having to hunt around – news and reportage photographers who work with natural low light at night will appreciate this.
There is a clear and significant improvement over the previous D810 model in low light. Only AF and M are available on the D850’s focus mode switch on the front. Similar to the D5 and D7200, cycling through the available choices (single, 9-, 21-, and 51-point dynamic, 3D tracking, auto area, and group area) is done in a similar manner.
The focus mode switch, for example, features a little button at its center. By holding down this button and twisting the rear control wheel while the switch is in the ‘AF’ position, you can transition between AF-S and AF-C modes. Instead, utilize the sub command dial to cycle among the possible AF Area modes. The settings are displayed in the viewfinder and on the status LCD on the top of the unit. The Pinpoint AF Live View option, which is new to the D850, allows you to place the small focus point literally anywhere within the frame.
A two-way Live View mode selection surrounds the Live View button on the back. This lever can be adjusted to either “live view photography” or “movie live view,” as shown by a small, self-explanatory icon for either. There is just one Live View mode in the implementation, in which the mirror is locked and AF is performed using the contrast detection mechanism. The mirror is raised and the lens is shut down to the working aperture while entering Live View, providing for an accurate depth of field preview.
There’s a red rectangle that you can position anywhere within the frame, much as on other Live View-enabled Nikon DSLRs, so you can focus precisely on the region of your subject that you want to appear sharpest in the finished photo. Auto focus speeds in Live View aren’t great, especially when compared to the latest generation of tiny system cameras, but they’re adequate for a DSLR.
The D850 now has a completely silent Live View mode: enable Silent Photography in Live View and you’ll be able to snap images without any sound or mechanical disturbance. In Mode 1, you can photograph at 45.7 megapixels at up to 6 frames per second.
Mode 2 allows you to shoot 8.6-megapixel images in the DX image area at 30 frames per second for up to 3 seconds. When filming a time-lapse, the silent electronic shutter can also be used, which helps to maintain the image sharp and reduces wear and tear on the mechanical shutter.
You may enlarge into the live view feed up to 23x for manual focusing, although it’s worth mentioning that this magnified view is at least somewhat interpolated, which is a bummer. There’s also a live histogram, however you’ll need to remember to press the OK button first to enable the Nikon D850’s Exposure Preview feature in order to see it.
Architectural photographers may like the fact that the virtual horizon is available in a dual-axis form that shows both pitch and roll. The Live View split-screen zoom magnifies the left and right sides of the live view frame, allowing for even more exact adjustments than the virtual horizon.
2. Sony A7 III
Despite being the lowest model in Sony’s full-frame line-up, the Sony A7 III is far from being a “entry-level” 35mm full-frame compact system camera. The Sony A7 III features a 24.3 megapixel back-illuminated full-frame sensor with an optical low-pass filter, BIONZ X processor, extended dynamic range of 15 stops at low sensitivity settings, dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body, ISO range of 50-102400, hybrid auto focus system with 693 phase detection points covering 93 percent of the frame and 425 contrast-detection points, Eye AF in both AF-S and AF-C modes, 10f
The new Alpha A7 III camera’s outward look isn’t very dissimilar to either the previous A7 II model or the more expensive ones already available, the A7R III and the A9. The Sony A7 III’s aluminium body is slightly larger and heavier than the 3-year-old Mark II it replaces, but it’s still a compact and slim camera, measuring 26.9mm x 95.6mm x 73.7mm and weighing 650g (nearly 100g more than the A7 II) without a lens, battery, or memory card.
This increase in depth and weight is mostly due to the larger battery and, as a result, the larger handgrip required to accommodate it. The higher capacity battery more than doubles the CIPA-rated battery life to 710 shots, making it the longest of any Sony Alpha camera. This addresses one of the most prominent concerns about Sony’s mirrorless camera series, particularly the poor battery life.
As a result, the A7 III is somewhat heavier than the Mark II version, but it’s also simpler to grip and capable of shooting for a full day on a single charge, which Sony photographers have long desired.
The shutter release button is logically placed on top of the larger handgrip, and there’s also a command dial on the front. The redesigned reinforced lens mount, which has been enhanced to better accommodate heavier lenses, and a small porthole on the left for the self-timer/AF illuminator are also on the front of the A7 III.
The awkwardly placed one-touch movie record button on the back of the A7 II has been relocated to the right of the viewfinder, which is a much better location, while the C3 button has been relocated to the rear-left of the camera.
Under the memory card cover, you’ll find not one, but two SD card slots, however only one of them supports the quickest UHS-II standard, which is a squandered opportunity for such a quick-shooting camera. Finally, Sony has included both USB-2 and USB-C / 3 ports, the latter allowing you to power and tether the camera at the same time, which is a huge plus for studio shooters, albeit it misses the PC Sync port seen on the A7R III.
In low-light situations, the Sony A7 III has an in-body 5-axis image stabilization mechanism to assist eliminate undesirable camera shake. For both still photos and movies, it automatically corrects for pitch and yaw movement, as well as horizontal shift, vertical shift, and rotating motion (rolling).
The A7 III boasts an improved 5-stop compensation, which is 1/2 stop better than the A7 II, which is noteworthy given the A7 III’s huge sensor. Furthermore, because the Alpha A7 III uses an in-body system rather than a lens-based system, it can stabilize a wide range of lenses, not just those with the FE designation, such as E-mount lenses without Optical SteadyShot (OSS), A-mount lenses, and even third-party lenses mounted via the popular Sigma MC-11 or Metabones adapters. Note that lenses without electrical contacts only have three axes of compensation, and you must manually input the focal length to ensure proper stabilization.
A second prominent dial for setting Exposure Compensation and two small buttons labeled C1 and C2, which may be customized to access one of the camera’s essential functions, round off the top of the A7 III. We wish Sony had made the EV button lockable, as its location on the camera’s corner meant it was frequently bumped into an undesirable position when placed in a camera bag.
The A7 III features a hybrid AF technology that employs both phase-detection and contrast-based auto-focusing, similar to the previous model, although the number of AF points and frame coverage have both been considerably improved. The AF system is now twice as quick as the A7 II, with 693 phase-detection points (up from 117) covering 93 percent of the frame and 425 contrast-detection points (up from 25).
This is something I really liked in the field, where the camera almost never, if ever, lost a shot due to auto-focusing issues. It excelled in portraiture thanks to the unique Eye AF mode, which rapidly recognizes, locks onto, and tracks a human eye in both the AF-S and AF-C focusing modes, and showed adept at both locking onto and tracking a moving subject.
In our tests, this mode worked well with a variety of third-party lenses – we were able to snap fantastic shots of fast-moving toddlers using an ancient Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens and a Sigma MC-11 adapter, all thanks to the Eye-AF mode, which never missed a beat.
The addition of a thumb-operated joystick to adjust the AF point has improved the AF experience, something that several competing cameras now provide and is a far more natural technique than using the navigation pad, as with the Mark II.
Another improvement is a new AF-On button, which makes it a breeze to back-button focus with your thumb rather than half-pressing the shutter button, which is a method that many photographers swear by. The AF/MF switch on the A7 II has been removed, and you’ll have to configure it via the Function menu or the dedicated button on the lens (if there is one).
The Sony A7 III’s continuous shooting speed is another significant speed boost. The Mark II had a respectable 5fps burst mode, but the new Mark III takes things to the next level with 10fps burst shooting with Full AF/AE tracking for up to 177 JPEGs, 89 compressed RAW, or 40 uncompressed RAW images in one high-speed burst, available with either the mechanical or completely silent electronic shutter. It, like the A6500 camera, can shoot continuously at up to 8 frames per second in live view mode.
3. Fujifilm X-T20
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a new mid-range compact system camera that is smaller, lighter, and, most importantly, less expensive than the X-T2. The X-T20 has a 24.3 megapixel APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS III sensor, 4K video recording, AF-C Custom Settings, a tilting touchscreen LCD screen, ultra-fast auto-focusing speed of 0.06sec, 325 AF points, including 49 phase-detect AF points, and the latest X-Processor Pro engine.
It also has a built-in pop-up flash, a 2.36 million dot resolution OLED electronic viewfinder with a 0.005 second lag time, 8fps burst shooting (14fps with the electronic shutter), expandable sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 51200, exposure compensation up to 5 stops, wi-fi connectivity, interval timer shooting, in-camera raw conversion, and a variety of film simulation modes including the new ACROS mode, multiple exposure and panoramic shooting
The new Fujifilm X-T20 is smaller, lighter, and “squarer” than the X-T2, drawing admiring glances and remarks wherever it went. One of the most notable distinctions between the X-T2 and the X-T20 is that the latter is still not weather-proof, which is understandable given its mid-range position, but something to bear in mind if you’re choosing between the two. The X-high-resolution T20’s OLED electronic viewfinder is another notable change.
The magnification is just 0.62x instead of 0.77x, despite the fact that it has the same 2.36m dot resolution as the X-T2. Still, with a lag time of only 0.005 seconds, it addresses one of the most common complaints regarding electronic viewfinders in practice.
The Fujifilm X-T20 is another well-built X-series camera, with die-cast magnesium alloy top and base plates and machined aluminium control dials providing nearly no flex or movement in the chassis. At the same time, it’s a touch lighter than a quick glimpse would imply, weighing 383g with the battery and memory card installed and measuring 118.4mm (W) x 82.8mm (H) x 41.4mm (L) (D).
The X-T20 has a modest front handgrip and a large thumb rest at the back, with the rough faux-leather surface that runs the length of the camera assisting your grip in no small part. The supplied shoulder strap is connected by two small metal eyelets on either side of the torso.
Because the camera’s metal tripod mount is somewhat off-center from the lens and adjacent to the battery/memory card compartment, you’ll have to remove it from the tripod to change the battery or memory card. The X-T20 is only compatible with Ultra High Speed UHS-I SDXC memory cards, however the X-T2 is also compatible with faster UHS-II cards and has two instead of one card slot.
If you utilize a UHS-I SDXC card, the X-T20 still has a rapid continuous shooting rate of 8fps for 62 JPEGs or 25 Raws, which increases to 14fps when utilizing the electronic shutter, putting it on par with the quickest compact system cameras in its class.
No optical viewfinder could ever hope to match the viewfinder’s amazing Graphic User Interface. The default Full mode provides exactly what its name implies, providing an uninterrupted view of the scene with all settings information displayed outside the frame, allowing you to focus entirely on your subject. Normal gives you the best perspective, including the shooting options.
The ingenious Dual mode uses the EVF’s size to show a split view of the scene in front of you, with the full frame on the left and a smaller 100 percent manual focus region on the right, using either focus peaking or Fujifilm’s digital split image capability.
When the X-T20 is held in portrait mode, the displayed settings in the Full and Normal modes rotate automatically (although sadly not for the Dual view). Finally, Fujifilm has included Natural Live Vision, which effectively removes the current image quality settings and replaces them with a more realistic view akin to that of an optical viewfinder.
The new 24.3 megapixel APS-C sized “X-Trans III” CMOS sensor lies at the heart of the X-T20, with APS-C being a size that is more typically utilized by DSLR cameras than compact system cameras. Thanks to a new sensor with a form of color filter array that simulates film grain and no optical low-pass filter for higher resolution photographs, Fujifilm claims that the X-sensor T2’s will produce image quality that surpasses most APS-C DSLRs and even some full-frame DSLRs.
The 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens, which we used to test the X-T20, contributes to the great image quality. Fast maximum apertures of f/2.8 at 18mm and f/4 at 55mm are available, with built-in optical image stabilisation to keep your shots clear. The lens barrel has aperture and manual focus rings, which, when combined with the shutter speed and exposure compensation controls on the top of the camera body, make adjusting the exposure simple.
4. Panasonic Lumix GH5
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a new flagship compact system camera with integrated 4K 30p 4:2:2 10-bit video recording, a new 20.3 megapixel sensor with no low-pass filter, and an enhanced 6K Photo feature that recovers 18 megapixel photos from a 30fps burst. The Panasonic GH5 is the successor to the famous GH4 camera, and it boasts the latest Venus Engine CPU, as well as built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
0.05 second contrast-detect autofocus with 225 focus points, 1/8000th top shutter speed, 1/250th second flash sync speed, 1,728-zone metering system, 3,680K-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 3.2-inch 1,620K-dot swiveling and tilting LCD screen, touchscreen control system with touch-based functions like Touch AF/AE and Touch Shutter, ISO range of 100-25600, completely silent electronic shutter, 12 (
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is larger and heavier than its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix GH4, measuring 138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4 mm and weighing 645g body only. The GH5 has a magnesium alloy body with a full die-cast front and back frame. The GH5 is splash/dust-proof and freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius thanks to its sealed joints, dials, and buttons. The tripod socket is aligned with the metal lens mount’s center, and the camera’s shutter release has a life of 200,000 shots.
This is the Panasonic camera with the best build quality. The Panasonic GH5 is available with either the Panasonic 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 lens or the fantastic Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens, which we reviewed. While the GH5’s body is comparable in size and weight to a mid-range APS-C DSLR camera, Panasonic’s lenses are where the total system has reduced the most.
Given the fast maximum apertures available, the Leica 12-60mm optic is tiny and light, delivering excellent image quality while being quick to focus and fully silent, making it ideal for video use. The Lumix GH5 can be used with the new DMW-BGGH5 battery grip, which has an additional battery to prolong the overall battery life. The DMW-BGGH5 grip is splash and dustproof, just like the GH5 body.
The picture stabilisation system of the Panasonic GH5 has been greatly improved. The new 5-axis Dual I.S. MK II system uses new gyro-sensor technology to combine the 2-axis stabilisation from the lens (if it has OIS built in) with the 5-axis stabilisation from the camera body, resulting in compensation for shutter speeds up to 5-stops slower.
Rather than using a phase detection auto-focus system like a traditional DSLR, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 uses a 225-point Contrast AF system similar to that used in compact cameras. The GH5 still has one of the fastest autofocus systems of any interchangeable lens camera, be it a compact system camera or a DSLR, with a claimed speed of just 0.05 seconds when used with certain lenses, thanks to the inclusion of DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology, which reduces the time it takes to focus even more.
This is really fast, and the GH5 virtually never failed to lock onto the subject, even when utilizing the center AF point, resulting in a very speedy and, more importantly, dependable AF system. Multiple-area AF with up to 225 focus areas, 1-area AF with a customizable focus area, Face/Eye Detection, AF Tracking, Custom Multi, and Pinpoint AF are among the AF modes available. The Custom Multi AF mode, as its name suggests, lets you choose from a variety of settings and patterns for your AF points, and you may save up to three of them.
A small focus-assist and self-timer indicator lamp, lens release button, customizable Function6 button, metal lens mount, flash sync connector, and a sculpted, rubberized hand-grip are all found on the front of the Panasonic Lumix GH5. The Fn6 button toggles between a live preview of the effects of the current aperture (essentially a digital version of Depth of Field Preview) and the current shutter speed by default.
The latter will be especially valuable for beginners, since it will allow them to see how varying shutter speeds effect the capture of various subjects, such as rushing water. The majority of the GH5’s exterior is matte black plastic, with a more tactile rubberized covering on the handgrip, right-hand, and left-hand corners.
The burst mode/6K photo/bracketing/self-timer/time-lapse dial, external flash hotshoe, stereo microphones, lockable shooting mode dial surrounded by the on/off switch, shutter release button, front control dial, white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation buttons, a customisable Fn1 button, and a large one-touch movie record button can all be found on top of the Panasonic GH5. There’s also a small LED that indicates if wi-fi is turned on or off.
The camera’s primary exposure parameters are easily accessible thanks to the row of white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation buttons, while the two control dials make using the fully Manual shooting mode simple.
The GH5 combines both a traditional mechanical shutter and a silent electronic shutter, which ensures that your subject is absolutely crisp by preventing pixel shifting as well as without spooking your subject. By releasing the shutter after a set amount of time, the Delay Shutter option helps to eliminate the effect of handshake (8, 4, 2 or 1 seconds).
The Lumix GH5’s start-up speed of less than a second from turning it on to being ready to capture a photo is amazing. A JPEG image is stored in around 1/2 second, letting you to continue shooting while the images are being recorded onto the memory card – there is no discernible LCD blackout between each image.
A single RAW image takes about a second to save and does not lock up the camera in any way; you can use the menu system or shoot another image while the first one is being written to memory. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 offers a fantastic Burst mode that allows you to shoot up to 600 JPEG shots at the highest image quality or 60 RAW files at 12 frames per second with focus and exposure fixed at the first frame or 7.5 frames per second with AF tracking.