Chances are that if you've landed on this blog, then you're a passionate traveler! On top of that, you're a content creator and vlogger!
In this guide, I will look at a series of cameras that work especially well for travel vlogging.
Travel vlogging is not just for professional vloggers alone. Those who are passionate about travel are doing this as a means to record their experiences and share them with their friends and family.
Whether you make videos for social media, a side hustle or purely for enjoyment, vlogging can be a lot of fun!
My name is Ali G, a Hong Kong-based professional photographer and a traveler who loves to explore this beautiful world. Over the years, I have captured many beautiful destination weddings and have taught many students on how to make amazing vlogs during their visits to Hong Kong.
When it comes to travel vlogging, the camera is the most important component as the video quality and sound should not be compromised. A vlogging camera should include some special features including the option to plug in an external mic, a minimum of 4K/UHD resolution, and Eye-AF (Autofocus) tracking.
Of course, vloggers also need a flipping touchscreen that flips all the way to face forward so that the vlogger can see if she/he is in the frame. For these reasons, I believe the Sony ZV-1 is the best overall camera option.
These requirements are not standard for all content creators but are important for vloggers.
Of course, there are other amazing cameras too. In this guide, we will talk about them one by one so you can make the best buying decision for your.
Sounds Good? Keep Reading!
- Best Overall: Sony ZV-1
- Best Compact Camera: Sony Alpha a6600
- Best Budget Compact Camera for Professional Quality Videos: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
- Best Budget Camera: Canon EOS M200
- Best Audio Quality For Videos: Canon EOS M50
Top 5 Cameras for Travel Vlogging
Here are my top picks for the best travel vlogging cameras and their in-depth reviews. Let me explain their unique characteristics and best uses accordingly.
- Key features: 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor, HLG, and S-Log3 Gamma, built-in 24-70mm lens
- Video resolution: UHD/4K at 24 fps
- Image Stabilization: Digital and optical image stabilization built-in
- Best for: overall
The Sony ZV-1 was launched in early 2020 and since then it has taken the world of vlogging by storm. It stakes its claim as a purpose-built vlogging camera that is easily one of the best (we rate it as the best anyhow) vlogging cameras.
I honestly believe this camera is not just the best camera for travel vlogging but the best vlogging camera overall in 2021.
Very quickly, let’s skim through the main video features of this camera. The Sony ZV-1 is powered by a 20.1-Megapixel CMOS sensor, which is capable of shooting UHD/4K videos at a frame rate of 24 fps.
You will notice that many cameras with 4K/UHD capabilities come with a video length limitation. With the ZV-1 you have no such limitation (only limited by the capacity of your SD card).
The camera comes with a built-in lens that offers a 35mm format, equivalent to a focal length of 24-70mm. That’s the perfect focal length for everyday stills and of course, for shooting videos.
Some users might say that the 24-70mm is a bit limiting in the sense that you cannot shoot telephoto shots or macro shots. However, it is pertinent to remind them that the ZV-1 is designed as a multi-purpose vlogging camera, therefore you don’t necessarily need a telephoto lens nor a macro lens.
There are a bunch of features on the ZV-1 that make it a powerhouse. The first thing is that it has Real-time Eye-AF with Real-Time tracking. Both of these features are very useful when you are moving and talking because you need the camera to track you and keep you in focus.
Next, the ZV-1 comes with Sony’s S-log2 and HLG picture profiles. The first one allows you to shoot using a flat profile. This gives you the ability to work on the color of your footage in post-production. The second one allows for a greater dynamic range.
According to Vimeo, one of the world's top video sharing platforms in the world, Dynamic range "refers to the range of which a camera can successfully capture the lightest and darkest areas of an image without losing detail."
The 3-inch large LCD touchscreen at the back of the camera is useful for keeping an eye on what’s in the frame while you are shooting. This is especially helpful if you are a solo traveler!
I also love how light weight it is (only 0.65 lbs!) giving you a lot of room for cool accessories such as portable lights and tripods.
Finally, the directional 3-capsule mic ensures crisper audio pickup quality. Alternatively, you can use an external stereo mic to further improve the quality of the audio. Professional vloggers will prefer this feature because good audio makes up for 50% of any video.
- Key features: 425-point hybrid AF system, Eye-AF for stills and videos, 5-stop image stabilization system and flipping LCD touchscreen
- Video resolution: 4K/UHD video recording
- Image Stabilization: 5-axis sensor-shift type image stabilization system.
- Best for: best compact camera for travel vlogging
The Sony Alpha a6600 is the latest in a long line of mirrorless camera systems that started with the a6000 back in 2014. The a6600 is a formidable camera which uses the Sony E-mount.
This means it can mount several of Canon’s best lenses including the FE mount lenses and a wide range of third-party lenses designed for this system. This is a huge advantage for content creators who may have other branded lenses.
The features of the a6600 and the previous cameras, the a6500, and the a6400 are similar. Albeit there have been some changes to the a6600. Let’s quickly look at the major features of the camera.
The Alpha a6600 features a 5-axis in-body image stabilization system. This sensor-shift type system can compensate for up to 5-stops of shake. The older a6400 does not have this feature, but the newer a6500 has it.
Add to that the 4D Focus system that is powered by 425 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points to cover almost 84% of the frame.
Another useful feature of the a6600 is that it comes with real-time Eye-AF that works for both stills and videos. The earlier models did not have this for the movie functionality.
The most important feature of the camera is the 4K HDR (HLG) video shooting option along with S-log3. It can sample at 4:2:2 8-bit. This is something cool to have in order to give you more flexibility in post production.
This is the only camera among the three (a6400, a6500 and a6600) that has a headphone socket to monitor the audio. Apart from that you also have the option to plug in an external mic.
This is always a good idea if you are a professional vlogger and need crisp quality audio for your vlogs.
- Key features: 4K/UHD and DCI 4K videos, in-body image stabilization, weather-sealed magnesium alloy construction, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, 4:2:0 8-bit recording to SD cards with the option to record to an external recorder at 4:2:2 8-bit.
- Video resolution: UHD/4K, DCI 4K
- Image Stabilization: 5-axis hybrid image stabilization.
- Best for: best budget compact camera for professional quality vlogging
Micro-four-thirds cameras have a sensor that is smaller than an APS-C unit. Yet, cameras like the GH4 come with a long list of features that make it one of the best cameras for travel vlogging (and vlogging in general).
We have mostly discussed compact cameras in this discussion. But the GH4 is the rare exception. This is not your standard compact camera by any stretch of the imagination. This is a mirrorless camera but built like a hefty DSLR.
Under the hood, the Lumix GH4 comes with a 16.05 effective MP Digital Live MOS sensor. This sensor is capable of shooting UHD/4K videos at a 24p frame rate. It can also shoot DCI / 4K videos at 24p. Paired with this camera is a Venus Engine image processor, which is quite powerful.
There are a bunch of advanced video features such as focus peaking (for manual focus locking) and timecode support (best used in a multi-camera environments) and cine-like gamma options.
You may not know how to use all the features or the Variable Frame Rate option when you start. However, if you are hoping to get a camera that can grow with you till you reach the professional level, this is a great option.
This is one of the few cameras on this list that comes with excellent weather-sealed construction as well. This camera is crafted out of magnesium alloy and can be used in any weather condition . In short, the perfect all-weather camera for your travels without being too heavy.
A small downside to this camera is that there is no built-in image stabilization. However, this can easily be resolved by using a gimbal image stabilizer to ensure a clean vibration-free video.
Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity features have been built-in, which add a lot of convenience for file transfers!
- Key features: dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing, 24.1-MP effective resolution, 3-inch tilting touchscreen LCD
- Video resolution: UHD/4K at 24 fps
- Image Stabilization: No built-in image stabilization
- Best for: Best budget travel vlogging camera
This compact mirrorless camera system is ideal for someone who is looking for a camera that is lightweight and can shoot great stills and videos without any fuss.
The best thing about this camera is that even though the form factor is small, the camera is powered by a high-resolution sensor. At 24.1-MP effective resolution, the EOS M200 is a decent camera with more than decent resolution to shoot excellent quality video and stills.
The average travel vlogger does not want to carry additional kit such as external screens. Therefore, they are invariably dependent on a tilting screen. Thanks to the 180-degree tilting screen of the EOS M200, it is easy to frame yourself when you are vlogging on the go.
Another small but important detail is that most vloggers prefer a tripod receptacle at the bottom of the camera. This allows the camera to be mounted on a small travel tripod (like a GorillaPod) and shoot videos while the vlogger is standing at a distance from the camera. This camera gives you that option.
Personally I feel the main feature of this camera is its ability to shoot 4K/UHD videos. With such a small, compact form and a powerful APS-C sensor under the hood, you are right in expecting a video performance that is on par, if not better, than your average smartphone. The EOS M200 does not disappoint in that regard.
To give you some advantage when shooting videos, this camera comes with Canon’s famed dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing technology. This tech works in tandem with the new STM (Stepper Motor technology) lenses, offering smooth accurate autofocusing that is ideal for movie shooting.
However, our tests show that the M200 has some difficulties handling low-light situations. This means some grain and lack of dynamic range when shooting in low-light situations but if most of your shots are in the daytime, then this is not an issue.
Also, it seems that the camera is unable to take full advantage of fast wide prime lenses. This is one of the reasons that bokeh quality images, especially with wide aperture lenses, are not up to the mark.
Among the other interesting features is the time-lapse movie feature that automatically builds a usable 4K time-lapse video footage. In conclusion, I would rate this camera’s quality higher than a mobile phone and great for someone on a budget or just starting out!
- Key features: Dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing, DIGIC 8 image processor, 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth.
- Video resolution: UHD/4K videos
- Image Stabilization: electronic image stabilization available for the video mode only
- Best for: Audio Quality
There are a lot of similarities between the EOS 200 and the EOS 50 in the sense that they both shoot 4K/UHD videos at 24fps. They also both have a built-in stereo mic.
However, where the EOS M200 does not offer an external mic input, the EOS M50 does. A serious vlogger will make the most of this feature, but if you are just an amateur then you may not feel the need to plug in an external stereo mic.
The other key difference between the EOS M200 and the EOS M50 is the fact that the M50 does have image stabilization with a 5-axis image stabilization system. Moreover, this works together with the dual pixel CMOS autofocusing technology that this camera is bundled with.
Since image stabilization can be an important factor, it can sway an average buyer’s mind towards the EOS M50 rather than the EOS M200.
As mentioned earlier, you could just use a gimbal stabilizer and most travel vloggers will like this option. However, it is still a spec that you can put to good use in some situations such as when your gimbal is out of charge, or you are not carrying one with you.
An important difference between the EOS M50 and the M200 is in continuous still shooting, but we are not too concerned about that here.
The large 3-inch LCD touchscreen at the back of the camera dominates the area. It has a resolution of 1.04-M dots and is vari-angle which allows you to adjust it to face you when you are vlogging.
The EOS M50 also has a useful Eye-detect AF mechanism. This gives you better control over what’s in focus. Plus, as a travel vlogger, you would need this.
Imagine when you are standing in front of the camera and speaking to it, and if there is no one to track your head movement and keep you in focus. With Eye-detect this is done automatically.
The EOS M50 comes loaded with several connectivity features including Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. These help to connect the camera with a compatible device so you can process your footage faster and more efficiently.
As this discussion is centered around travel vlogging I would stress that you can access some of the shooting menus using your compatible smartphone/device as the remote. This is a very useful convenience.
Best Travel Vlogging Camera - What to Consider?
Take into account the following factors before purchasing your travel vlogging camera:
If you want to create high quality videos that can capture the viewer’s attention, I would suggest to go for a camera that can produce at least 1080p Full HD videos. For sure, 4K HD is even better.
If you are a professional who needs to create commercial quality videos, then I would opt for 4K over 5K capabilities. 4K videos would be fine for most editing software and can make up really nice vlogs.
When it comes to travel vlogging, picking a camera that’s light and compact becomes a very important factor. Very likely that you will need to carry your camera around for a long period of time, so I would suggest going for a mirrorless or compact camera.
The third thing you want for your travel vlogging camera is a flipping screen (also named tilt screen). It allows you to take a high quality videos or photos by yourself, and it’s very handy when you want to create some exciting and interactive content with a group of people.
External Audio Device Compatibility
Do make sure your camera can support external audio devices because sound is a very important part of your vlogs too. Most of the time, you will need to connect to an external audio device for better recording, especially on windy days or in a crowded market for example.
Autofocus and Image Stabilization
One of the very important aspects of travel vlogging is capturing interesting and unique events happening in your journey so you need a camera that can start recording on the go, and produce smooth videos even while you are moving and walking around.
A camera that comes with speedy autofocus and impressive image stabilization is highly recommended. Pick a lens with image stabilization as well.
Is a DSLR Good for Vlogging?
Yes, absolutely! However, since most travelers prefer to travel light and pack less bulky equipment, they tend to opt for smaller and more compact cameras like the ones I have suggested above.
If the vlogger is also looking to produce high quality photos, then a DSLR may be a good choice as well!
How do YouTubers Edit their Videos?
Most Youtubers I know use Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or Davinci Resolve to edit their videos.
They usually have a laptop and plenty of external hard drives in order to dump and sort through the content.
How do YouTubers Get Paid?
According to Google(which owns Youtube), here are the ways content creators can earn money from Youtube:
- Advertising Revenue
- Channel Memberships
- Merch Shelf - this is where fans can buy merchandise from you
- Super Chat and Super Stickers - fans may pay to get their messages highlighted
- Premium Revenue
I believe the Sony ZV-1 to be the best camera for travel vlogging on the current market. It comes with impressive features making it a great camera for all sorts of trips.
It is capable of producing high quality videos with impressive autofocus and image stabilization, and a large 3 inch flipping screen with touch LCD monitor.
I love this camera and believe you will fall in love with it too! Have a great trip!
In case you are interested in learning more about different types of travel cameras and equipments, you may want to take a look at these articles:
- Best mirrorless camera for travel
- Best budget camera for travel
- Best light for vlogging, live streaming, TikTok and youtube videos
- Best lenses for street photography
- Best cameras for Street photography
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
The cover photo is © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios
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