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4K? Megapixels? What Kind of Camera Should I Get?

By Shawn C. Steiner

Before you dive into this article, I want you to ask yourself, “Do I need a new camera?”


For many of you, a new camera and accessories will be a huge expense, and it can be unnecessary. Your current camera is probably just fine and you can even do a lot with just a smartphone. Careful setups and knowledge of your current equipment can go a long way.


If you are in fact in need of something new, here is where I can guide you towards the right option. You can actually ignore features like 4K and super megapixel counts, having a camera that works best for vlogging relies on other features more. One of these is a flip-out screen. Many cameras offer fixed or tilting displays, but the best for a vlog are those that can be flipped out completely or tilted up a full 180º so you can see it when it is facing you. Makes sense, right? If you are planning on recording yourself you need to be able to see what you are shooting.


My next priority would be autofocus. Unless you have a friend willing to stay behind the camera and watch focus like a hawk, having quality Auto Focus will be a lifesaver. This will require a bit of research, though many modern systems will be satisfactory for vlogging. I would like to call out Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Sony’s latest Fast Hybrid AF for providing some of the best options of late.


After that comes size and pricing. Planning on popping it on a tripod at home, you likely don’t need to be that concerned with size and can get a standard DSLR. Planning on vlogging as you travel around the world? Maybe a compact mirrorless or point-and-shoot will do. It may even be advisable to go with a GoPro if your trips may be rough on your gear. Most importantly, make sure you don’t spend outside of your budget.


Many current options are offering 4K. To be honest, you don’t need 4K just yet, especially if you are just starting out. You could also get a 4K camera and plan on using Full HD until you are ready for 4K shooting. The higher-res footage does generally look better, however, it takes up more space, requires better computers to easily work with, and requires a 4K-capable display to view at its full potential. You can add it to a wishlist, but don’t let it stop you from going with a more reasonably priced system.


Vlogging Camera Picks:

Canon EOS M50

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III (Full HD) or V (4K)

Canon EOS 77D

Panasonic GH4/5

GoPro HERO7 Silver

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II


Looking for more gear guides? Check out our guides to lights, microphones, and our picks for the ultimate starter kit!