The major issue that aspring vloggers have is the initial cost required to get started. In this article about the best vlogging camera under $500, you’ll learn that for this budget, you can start getting good quality for both night and day, as the cameras listed here already provide the highest quality video you can get before 4k recording.
Although you won’t find great or astonishingly good cameras here, you will be able to give stunning information to your visitors.
1. Sony A5100
With an APS-C sensor, built-in flash, and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Sony A5100 is the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera. The Sony A5100 is the successor to the 6-month-old A5000 model and features a 24.3 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, Fast Hybrid AF for optimal fast and precise autofocus as quick as 0.06sec with 25 contrast-detect and 179 phase-detect points covering 92 percent of the image, BIONZ X processor, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600, full HD AVCHD (60p/50p/25p/24p The new Sony A5100 is nearly identical to its predecessor, the A5100, with the main differences occurring on the inside rather than the outside.
The A5100 is lightweight, weighing only 224g and measuring 109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7 mm. Despite its light weight (especially without the lens and battery), the A5100 feels substantial in the hand, with a tall, broad grip and a small depression towards the top.
The Sony A5100 doesn’t seem or feel too top heavy with the accompanying 16-50mm power zoom kit lens attached, as the lens retracts back within itself when not in use, making for a very compact overall package, albeit the tiny body isn’t a good match for some of the larger E-Mount lenses.
The disadvantage of using a foldable power zoom is that it increases start-up (and wake-up) times. Those who don’t want to use a power zoom can, of course, purchase the camera in a body-only version.
The Sony A5100’s 3 inch LCD screen on the back can be rotated back and forth through a full 180° – or, if not, swung outwards at 90° – allowing for low and high angle compositions we wouldn’t have attempted otherwise. You can even fully turn it to the front, which is great for those all-important selfies, but you can’t close it against the camera body to protect it.
Higher resolution and touch-screen control are new to the A5100, which it shares with its bigger brother, the A6000. Although it’s limited to either focusing or firing the shutter, being able to track your subject or capture a picture by tapping the screen is a welcome focus over the previous model.
With full HD AVCHD (60p/50p/25p/24p) recording with stereo sound and the added bonus of XAVC S video format at 50Mbps (if your memory card supports it), which is based on the professional XAVC codec and records full-pixel readout Full HD video footage at up to 50Mbps, the A5100 offers significantly improved video shooting.
After the far more expensive full-frame A7S camera, the consumer A5100 is the second Alpha-branded camera to do so. It also has a dedicated red camcorder-style video record button on the back for quick thumb-operated video access, albeit it’s a little too sunken into the camera body for our comfort.
Low light sensitivity without flash, which ranges from ISO 100 to a maximum ISO 25600 equivalent level, looks ready to show rivals a thing or two. That’s impressive, and it matches the specs we’re used to seeing on mid-range DSLRs. Unfortunately, the A5100 lacks in-body image stabilization, so you’ll have to rely on the lens.
It looks to perform well, at least as well as other brands’ in-camera or lens-based anti-shake techniques. The A5100 has a pleasingly simple look, especially when viewed from the front.
Aside from Sony logo and a black plastic DSLR-style lens release button, the faceplate only has a small porthole-shaped window for the AF assist/self timer lamp and a dimpled handgrip for a tighter grip. Oh, and the “APS-C” designation in case you want to brag to your Micro Four Thirds pals about the size of your sensor.
Similarly, the top plate appears to be useful rather than fashionable. Rather than the recessed button found on cameras with such a small form factor, the A5100 is turned on or off with a flick of a robust, pleasantly stiff switch to the far right. When you do this, you’ll have to wait 1-2 seconds for an image to appear on the LCD, allowing you to frame your first shot – somewhat slower than we expected and no match for a DSLR.
A power zoom switch, similar to those found on many compact cameras, is one feature on the A5100 designed to make it more accessible to upgraders.
This allows the 16-50mm kit lens to be zoomed in three distinct ways: one-handed operation with the zoom lever on top of the camera, one-handed action with the zoom ring on the lens, and finally one-handed operation with the zoom control on the side of the lens.
If you don’t have a power zoom lens attached, the zoom lever controls the digital zoom (if it’s turned on), and it may also be used to zoom during image playback regardless of the lens. The dedicated movie record button is located beneath the On/Off switch.
When this button is pressed, the user begins immediately recording video in whatever shooting mode they were previously using. This, like the control found on Panasonic G-series and Olympus PEN cameras, comes in handy while filming on the spur of the moment.
The integrated pop-up flash, which is positioned in line with the lens’s center, is also located above the camera. Unlike the more expensive NEX/Alpha models, the A5100 lacks an accessory port for mounting optional accessories like the FDA-EV1S electronic viewfinder or the ECM-SST1 microphone. The camera’s top-plate is completed by two small holes on either side of the flash enabling stereo sound.
After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of focus/exposure adjustment, the AF point/s highlight in green, accompanied by a confirmation beep, indicating that the user is good to go ahead and capture the shot. Do so, and a full quality JPEG is written to memory in around 2 seconds in single shot mode, to the sound of a pleasing shutter click.
There’s also the ability to shoot Raw files, or even better, Raw and JPEG shots simultaneously for those who want to hedge their chances. For JPEGs, you can choose between Fine and Normal compression levels. Six symbols display on the screen when you press the Menu button on the back: Camera Settings, Custom Settings, Wireless, Applications, Playback, and Setup (this step can be turned off).
When you select one of these, you’ll be taken to a text-based menu system with white lettering on a black background for better visibility. The six Camera Settings folders allow users to choose image size, ratio, and quality, as well as compression rates (if JPEG; RAW and RAW+JPEG are also available), as well as features like long exposure and high ISO noise reduction – all of which are enabled by default – and also contain the video quality and audio options, while the four Custom Settings folders allow you to customize the A5100 to your preferences.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II (Olympus OM-D E-M10 II)
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is the most recent addition to Olympus’ OM-D compact system camera lineup. The E-M10 II features a 5-axis image stabilization system, a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, Supersonic Wave Filter anti-dust technology, 4K time-lapse movie mode, and the TruePic VII processing unit.
The E-M10 II also has a built-in pop-up flash and an external flash hotshoe, as well as an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2.36 million dots and 100 percent frame coverage, a tilting 3-inch LCD screen, an electronic shutter with a top shutter speed of 1/16,000 sec, focus peaking, an innovative Colour Creator, Live Composite Mode for previewing long exposures, a customisable self-timer, 8.5fps continuous shooting, Wi-Fi connectivity,
Despite being the new entry-level model in the OM-D system, the magnesium-alloy body of the E-M10 II feels strong and reassuringly solid. It’s practically identical in size to the original E-M10 model, measuring 119.5 x 83.1 x 46.7mm and weighing 342g body-only. The new E-M10 II isn’t weather-sealed like the more costly OM-D cameras, which is a concession to its lower price point.
There’s a little textured handgrip on the front that’s just big enough to keep the camera steady when shooting handheld, and it’s ably aided by a considerably more obvious thumb-grip on the rear.
Low light sensitivity runs all the way up to ISO 25600, which is thanks in part to the TruePic VII noise reduction technology (which is also used by the flagship E-M1). The E-M10 II, unsurprisingly, retains Olympus’ distinctive selling feature of on-board Art Filters, which are also worthy of praise.
Surprisingly, these filters may be applied to both Full HD video and still images. The E-M10 II is the newest Olympus camera to include a proper built-in pop-up flash with wireless flash control.
Most image stabilization systems correct yaw and pitch to compensate for camera shake. According to Olympus, camera shake is generated by five different types of motion, and its image stabilization technology corrects for horizontal shift, vertical shift, and rotating motion (rolling) in both still and moving images.
Olympus claims that handheld shutter rates as low as 1/4 second may be achieved with the E-M5 Mark II, which has 4-stops of correction and auto panning detection.
When viewed from the back, there’s a vacant flash hotshoe just above the lens, with a brilliant new Off / On / Flash Up switch and Function3 button on the left hand side. The Off / On / Flash Up switch is far more convenient than the original E-On-Off M10’s switch, with an additional push from the On position to Flash Up performing exactly what you’d expect – really neat.
A prominently raised shooting mode dial with a surrounding ridged edge for easier purchase sits to the right of the flash hotshoe, with the same options as the E- M10’s: program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, video, scene modes, Art Filters, Photo Story, and – most prominently – iAuto mode.
There are a total of 14 Art Filters, with Dramatic Tone and the self-explanatory Gentle Sepia working best for us, with the former providing an incredibly gritty look as if a photograph has been photocopied then brightly hand colored. Because the Art Filter digital effects are applied at the moment of capture, write times will always be a few seconds slower than for conventional photographs.
The screen’s refresh rate lowers while applying specific filters, such as Diorama or Dramatic Tone. The little shutter release button is located further to the right, and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II prepares itself for action in about a second.
Squeeze down halfway on the shutter release, and the E-M10 II almost instantly responds, the screen almost imperceptibly blurring before snapping back into focus, with the AF point flashing up in green with an accompanying bleep of confirmation, thanks to the FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) system. With relatively few false positives, the E-M10 II clearly delivers in terms of focusing speed and, maybe more crucially, accuracy.
The OM-D E-M10 II now includes a fully electronic shutter, which enables for absolutely silent shooting and a new anti-shock mode in addition to increasing the top shutter speed to 1/16,000 sec. Shutter shock can occur on the E-M10 II when utilizing the mechanical shutter at speeds between 1/60 and 1/200th second, therefore this mode, which uses an electronic first-curtain shutter, helps to combat it.
This unwelcome effect can be avoided by using either the anti-shock mode or the completely electronic shutter. Take the shot, and when shooting RAW and SuperFine (high-resolution) JPEG at the same time, there’s a two-tandem wait before the shot is entirely committed to the memory card.
However, because of buffer memory, you won’t have to wait nearly as long to get another shot if the opportunity arises (up to 22 Raw files). Action photographers will love the EM-10 II’s quick burst rate of 8.5 frames per second, albeit this can only be reached by locking the focus point at the first frame in the series; when continuously auto-focusing, the EM-10 II can only achieve a slower maximum speed of 4 frames per second.
In a 9×9 grid, there are 81 selectable contrast AF points. Even without the usage of the focus help lighting, the system was able to focus down to -2EV (as long as there was something to focus on). This is extremely low light, comparable to a landscape illuminated solely by moonlight. However, it lacks the 37 on-sensor phase-detection auto focus points found in the flagship E-M1.
The first of two command dials surrounds the shutter release. When utilizing one of the more creative shooting modes, this one allows you to change the shutter speed or exposure compensation by default, whilst the second, which is positioned under your right thumb, primarily regulates the aperture.
Although we did find the front command dial to be too easily adjusted at times, leading in a few images where the exposure correction was mistakenly too high or low, it’s a neat mechanism that makes using the manual mode in particular a lot easier than on most rival cameras.
3. Nikon D3400
The Nikon D3400 is a new entry-level DSLR camera that features a 24.2 megapixel DX format APS-C sensor with no anti-aliasing filter and no anti-aliasing filter. The D3400’s key enhancements are its longer battery life and support for SnapBridge. SnapBridge establishes a connection between the D3400 and a smart device using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), allowing images to be transferred wirelessly and automatically.
The Nikon D3400 also has an EXPEED 4 processor, a 3 inch 921k-dot LCD monitor, one-touch full 1080p HD video recording with autofocus, quick-access Live View mode, ISO range of 100-25600, 11-point autofocus system with a cross-type sensor in the center, 10 special effects, and an interactive Guide Mode.
The Nikon D3400 looks almost identical to its two-year-old predecessor, the D3200, which looked a lot like the D3100 model. Although the Nikon D3400 is a small DSLR camera, it does come with a robust right-hand grip with a prominent lip at the top. If you have larger-than-average hands, expect to have to find a location for your little finger under the camera.
The D3400’s body is mostly plastic, but while it doesn’t feel as solid as some of the company’s higher-spec models, it nevertheless emanates a level of quality that you wouldn’t expect at this price. The unexpectedly elegant rubber covering on the grip, which also appears on the thumb rest on the back of the camera, contributes to this.
In terms of overall dimensions and weight, the Nikon D3400 is nearly identical to its predecessor, with all external controls located in the same locations as previously. The I button on the back of the camera allows you to bypass the main menu and adjust critical settings fast.
One of the D3400’s primary selling features is the new AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens, which comes included with the camera. Nikon has used a retractable design once again to make the lens more portable while not in use, which is something that many compact system cameras have in their lens lineups.
As a result, when retracted to the L position, the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II is quite compact, however you still have to extend it outwards to start shooting.
It also offers Nikon’s Stepping Motor technology for quick, smooth, and very silent autofocus, especially during live view shooting and video recording, and image stabilization up to four stops. If the D3400 is your first foray into the world of Nikon DSLRs, the kit with the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is a must-have.
Snapbridge, which was previously only available on the flagship D500 APS-C DSLR, is the second major innovation. The Nikon D3400 includes Bluetooth connectivity, so you may use Nikon’s Snapbridge software to send your photos to a smartphone. As of September 2016, this app is accessible for both iOS and Android smartphones.
SnapBridge establishes a connection between the D3400 and a suitable smart device using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). After pairing, the D3400 will stay linked to the smart device and automatically transfer photos, eliminating the need to reconnect the devices each time. You can either set all images to download automatically as they are captured, or tag individual images for in-camera transmission.
Synced images are automatically downsized for easier sharing, and the D3400 can even sync with your smart device when it is in sleep mode. Users of the Nikon SnapBridge can also use Nikon Image Space, a free online image sharing and storage service.
Because the D3400 lacks Wi-Fi, some SnapBridge features, such as remote control of the D3400 through a smart device, still image transfer in the original 24 megapizel size, and movie transmission, are not available.
The Nikon D3400 has a shooting mode dial on the top of the camera, which allows you to choose from a variety of sophisticated settings such as Manual, Aperture- or Shutter-priority, or a variety of scene modes. The Guide mode, which debuted on the D3000, has been carried over and now contains sample images to assist you recognize the shot, as well as settings in the Advanced operation menu to minimize blur or soften backgrounds.
The Guide mode’s main goal is the same as it was on prior D3000-series cameras: to teach newcomers what settings to use in various shooting circumstances and how these settings affect the final output. Nikon deserves credit for this, as a mode like this may teach beginners a lot more about the fundamentals of photography than the standard Auto mode, which gives the camera complete control.
The D3400 now offers the Effects shooting mode, which was first launched on the higher-end D5100 and includes 10 various filters that can be applied to both still images and movies. The Night Vision effect is especially worth, as it raises the camera’s sensitivity to a stunning ISO 102,400, however the image is monochrome rather than color.
For stills, you can utilize the optical viewfinder or enter Live View mode to preview the effect. Because the camera needs a lot of processing power to create the effect, the recording is slowed down (depending on the chosen effect), resulting in footage that can feel staccato.
Also, in Effects mode, the camera controls almost everything – exposure, shutter speed, white balance, ISO, file format, and quality – so you’re only being creative in terms of the arty effect you apply.
4. Canon EOS 1300D
In North America, the Canon EOS 1300D (also known as the Digital Rebel T6) replaces the Canon EOS 1200D / Rebel T5 as the company’s entry-level DSLR aimed squarely at first-time DSLR consumers. The new camera, on the other hand, is more evolution than revolution, as it retains many of the major features of its predecessor.
As a result, the 1300D features the same 18MP APS-C sensor and a nearly identical Digic 4+ CPU, resulting in a slow 3fps continuous shooting rate and ISO 6400 maximum standard sensitivity.
A Video Snapshot mode that combines brief video clips into a montage sequence is available, as is full HD video at 30fps. The 1300D has a higher-resolution 920k-dot LCD screen, but the addition of built-in Wi-Fi with NFC pairing is the largest upgrade over the 1200D. You may now transmit images wirelessly to a mobile device for sharing, as well as control the camera remotely from a smartphone or tablet.
The Canon EOS 1300D looks very similar to the Canon EOS 1200D from the outside. The camera’s physical size and weight are nearly identical, as are the control and button layout. The 1300D is 0.6mm narrower and 0.3mm shallower than the 1200D, but 1.6mm taller, at 129mm wide, 101.3mm high, and 77.6mm deep.
The new camera is also nearly identical in weight, weighing 485g when ready to shoot. It’s 25g heavier than a Nikon D3300, although the Nikon is smaller in every dimension than the 1300D, measuring 124 x 98 x 75.5mm.
In real-world shooting, however, even minor size and weight disparities have little impact. The 1300D’s carbon fibre polycarbonate body feels quite strong and well built here, albeit it isn’t weather sealed, which is to be expected for an entry level Canon DSLR. If that’s a deal-breaker for you and you can’t afford a weather-sealed EOS 70D, the weather-sealed Pentax K-S2 is a worth alternative.
The 1300D is also well-designed in terms of ergonomics, with a large rear thumb rest and exposure compensation and playback zoom keys on either side. The main hand grip is adequate, but the finger recess is shallow, making it difficult to hold securely if you have larger hands. Given the 1300D’s small weight, though, this isn’t a huge issue.
The Canon EOS 1300D’s ease of use is a major selling feature for first-time DSLR buyers. In this regard, not much has changed since the 1200D, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
On the back panel, the 1300D has dedicated ISO and white balance buttons — physical controls you won’t find on a Nikon D3300 – and other important shooting settings like file quality and exposure modes can be accessed quickly by pushing the Q button, which activates the quick-access menu.
The main menu is properly thought out and easy to browse, in addition to the clear and effective quick-access menu. The control wheel or rear panel directional buttons may be used to cycle through ten menu tabs divided into shooting, playback, camera settings, and a My Menu customisation tab.
Although most menu functions are sensibly placed, a few features are less easily accessible. If you wish to access the camera’s enhanced ISO 12800 sensitivity, for example, go to page 2 of the Custom Functions menu option.
The mode dial on the Canon EOS 1300D is another feature that isn’t immediately obvious. Night Portrait, Food, Sports, Macro, Landscape, and Portrait presets are among the many scene mode options. There’s also a Creative Auto mode, which works similarly to standard Auto except that you may change the amount of background blur you want behind your subject via a virtual slider.
Because all this does is change the lens aperture, after you’ve figured out how to use aperture, Creative Auto becomes obsolete. Aside from the standard auto, semi-automatic, and manual modes, the 1300D’s mode dial also has a video mode and a Flash Off mode, which allows the camera to shoot automatically but without firing the flash, which is beneficial in museums and religious institutions.
Returning to the back panel, the 1300D offers a convenient drive mode button in addition to dedicated ISO and white balance buttons. You can pick between single shot, continuous, self-timer with a 10-second or 2-second delay, and a continuous self-timer function, in which the camera takes a burst of photos after a delay.
Because the 1300D uses essentially the same image processor as the 1200D, the standard continuous shooting speed remains at a somewhat sluggish 3fps. In comparison to the ordinary Digic 4 chip found in the 1200D, the 1300D has a Digic 4+ chip, however the only noticeable benefit is additional buffer capacity.
Whereas the 1200D could only shoot 69 JPEGs at 3fps, the 1300D can shoot 1110 JPEGs at 3fps, however only 6 RAW images in a row. It’s a significant improvement, but matching the Nikon D3300’s burst shooting speed of 5fps would have been more useful.
5. Canon EOS M100
The Canon EOS M100 is a new camera from Canon. It’s a new Canon EOS M entry-level mirrorless camera aimed squarely at individuals looking for their first ‘real’ camera for better pictures. The camera is a logical advance from utilizing a smartphone in terms of form and function.
The Canon EOS M100 is a small camera that functions as a compact camera without a lens. That’s noteworthy since you’ll receive the same Canon DSLR image quality in a considerably smaller compact, complete with a flip-up LCD screen for selfies and vlogs.
With its pared-down design and function, the EOS M100 appears to be designed with simplicity in mind. Scene Intelligent Auto is in charge of the entire picture-taking control. Creative Assist mode, for example, avoids complicated camera terminology by giving a simple language for users to get the pictures they want. However, once you’ve located the PASM control, you can use it.
The EOS M100, being part of the EOS M series, is compatible with Canon’s EF to EOS M adaptor, allowing it to use any of Canon’s EF lenses. All those excellent lenses at your fingers with such a small and simple camera looks like a mismatch. But, hey, it’s always good to have more options. The EOS M100 is astonishingly small for an interchangeable lens camera. Its design and size are similar to the Canon Powershot S compact camera range. The thumb grip is textured and the exterior is smooth plastic.
Naturally, everything changes as a lens is changed. Because either lens protrudes, the combination will not fit in a trouser pocket. The EOS M lenses, on the other hand, are all incredibly compact for an APS-C format camera, being comparable in size to smaller sized micro-four-thirds lenses.
For much of this test, we used the EF-M 22mm f/2 pancake lens, which is the shortest EF-M lens. The combination is quite small, and it will easily fit into a jacket pocket.
In this camera, there isn’t much to be afraid of. The on/off button is located on the top, surrounded by a three-option automatic shooting mode dial that includes intelligent auto, record mode, and Movie Auto Exposure (video). A shutter release sits next to the on/off switch, encircled by a dial for navigating and changing camera settings, as well as the video record button.
The camera on the back has also been pared. The 3.0in tilt-up touchscreen takes center stage, with a four-way control pad to its right. If you’re a photography aficionado, getting to know the EOS M100 will be a breeze. It won’t take you much longer if you are a beginner.
Existing Canon DSLR users will find the EOS-M line of cameras to be a suitable second smaller camera. The primary menu is identical, and the Canon EF to EOS M lens adaptor is included.
We utilized the adaptor for our test, and it worked flawlessly – AF speed with the two EF lenses seemed to be unaffected. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 lens pairs well with a Canon DSLR, but the EOS M100 is dwarfed by it. It feels wrong to use this lens on such a small camera.
The camera’s LCD touchscreen, which tilts all the way up to 180° for selfies and vlogging, makes it very simple to operate. A pop-up flash appears in front of the screen and partially obstructs the vision of the screen. The LCD screen is gorgeous and brilliant, with a resolution of 1.04 million dots.
It has a responsive and extensive touch function. In image playback, you can use touch shutter, touch AF, scroll, and pinch-to-zoom. There is nothing missing. The LCD screen’s design is ideal for selfies, and you can take use of the complete range of angles between 0° and 180°. This means you can tilt the screen up for shooting from the ground or at waist level, but not down for images from above the head.
Despite the frequent use of touch, which can create marks, we did not have to clean the screen very often. In bright daylight, a filthy screen becomes increasingly difficult to view. In such circumstances, it may be worth to manually increase the screen’s brightness to its maximum setting in order to preserve a clear view.
The EOS M100 lacks a viewfinder and has no option to add one. No, this isn’t the camera for composition with the through-the-eye finder. Everything is contained within the screen, which functions flawlessly.
Without the amazing dual-pixel AF, this camera would not operate nearly as well. Autofocusing is remarkably quick even in low contrast light. It’s not as quick as Canon’s dedicated phase detection AF on DSLRs, but it’ll enough for EOS M100 users.
Video AF is also quite good. Touch AF for a specific portion of the frame has occasionally resulted in back-focused results for us. We’ve done close-up portraits with the ears sharper than the eyes, as well as crisp focusing beyond people going through a forest in the distance.
Back focusing occurred far too frequently for our liking, however if one is trigger happy, the precise sharp images will appear. Those portraits will be sharp in general if the camera is set up for facial identification.
You can shoot single images or use the high-speed continuous mode to select up to 89 JPEG images at 6.1 frames per second. Although the focus is set on the first photo, that is a protracted sequence of action.
The startup time is roughly 2 seconds, which is OK but might be better. There’s also no quiet shutter, making it difficult to shoot surreptitiously due to the camera’s distinct shutter clunk.