Top 7 Best Vlogging Cameras 2017 for YouTube: DSLR, Compact and Mirrorless

The Best YouTube Vlogging Cameras of 2017

Vlogging is steadily becoming more popular as years pass by. Even if you just record vlogs for fun or just want to turn it into a profession, this list of the best vlogging cameras in 2017 for YouTube will save you a lot of research time. If you get the right vlog camera, vlogging becomes easier, faster and you’ll get better video quality.

This list is based on the opinion of many YouTubers, and also my experience working with cameras for photography and video. So I think you will find this list useful.

You can click on the camera names to see their pictures and price. Remember: these are the best cameras out there, so they are quite expensive. You might want to find cheaper cameras on this other post.

CameraTypeFlip Screen

More cameras

Mic. Port

More cameras

Recording QualityBatteryPrice
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark IICompactYesNo1080p60265 shots$$$
Panasonic LX10CompactYesNo4k260 shots$$$
Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIDSLRNoYes1080p30950 shots$$$$$
Canon EOS 80DDSLRYesYes1080p60960 shots$$$$
Canon EOS Rebel T7iDSLRYesYes1080p60600 shots$$$
Sony a7R IIMirrorlessNoYes4k290 shots$$$$$$
Canon EOS M3MirrolessYesYes1080p30250 shots$$$

Now you will find the reviews for each of these cameras, together with a small introduction to understand this list better.

Let’s start!

The Best YouTube Vlogging Cameras in 2017: What You Need to Know First

Before starting, you will notice that most cameras listed here are from Canon.

Why Canon?

I can assure you that the fact that many of the best vlogging cameras are from Canon is not because of sponsorship. There are good reasons for this:

Canon is well-known to focus more efforts than other brands in providing better results for video. Their new STM lenses (which are included as a starter kit for their newest cameras) are built with a silent autofocus motor for video. They also include features like Video SnapShots for their DSLRs, which allows you to basically make an entire YouTube video from many clips without having to edit it.

This can give you an idea of how their cameras are better for video than most Nikon cameras, which are generally best for stills.

Still, you will find other brands that are actually overcoming Canon when it comes to designing cameras for vlogging, mainly mirrorless

Evolution in the camera industry
‘Evolution’ by Son of Groucho. CC.

The Camera Industry is Shifting

There is a huge debate right now on the most important photography forums about the future of the industry. There’s a new competitor on the market that is slowly leaving DSLRs behind with their mirrorless cameras: the Japanese company Sony.

The DSLR industry has been really slow since 2012, as it looks like companies have reached the technologic limit in these cameras.

This is why a camera from that year (the Canon 5D Mark III) is still considered the best DSLR, despite lacking basic things like WiFi because it was released a long time ago.

Now Sony is taking a lot of terrain in the market because they have found ways of making cameras exciting again and even more useful.

It’s now often said that mirrorless is the future of photography—which I personally agree with.

This is why I recommend you to take a close look at the mirrorless section; you will find some interesting machines there that might be what everybody will be using in a few years. You can also check here more mirrorless cameras from Sony.

Now, let’s do this!

The 2 Best Compact Vlog Cameras for Vlogging in 2017

While DSLR cameras are my personal favorite for YouTube, a compact camera is often more useful for vloggers that want to take their camera with them. The compact cameras listed here can record HD video that is comparable to a DSLR in quality, while keeping the luggability people love about them. When recording travel vlogs, there isn’t other way to go than with a small camera.

Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II

Just like the G7 X is still one of the best vlogging cameras in 2017, so it is its new Mark II version, which was released in May.

This model has all the good things the G7 X Mark I offers, but with some additional features and tweaks that improve its performance.

So, this model has the same amazing lens, flip touchscreen, wireless connection, great image quality even in low light and accurate and fast autofocus.

But besides all these great things, the Mark II has few additional things like a new rubber grip that helps you holding the camera so it won’t slip through your hands that easily. It also comes with a better processor, which makes it faster, especially when turning on. It also has improved autofocus in low-contrast situations and cleaner quality in low light.

Finally, it has better battery management. It uses the same one from the previous model, but this one lasts for around 265 shots instead of 210.

It still lacks a microphone port, but there’s not much Canon can do since it’s still a small compact camera that is easy to carry around.

The G7X MII does have its downsides. The main one is that it is a quite noisy camera with its autofocus. I always recommend that if you want to give your channel a professional look, you should always invest first in your sound. If you use your own microphone, you won’t have any trouble with the noise the autofocus motor makes.

Also, the autofocus in video mode is not perfect, but believe me, it’s good for a compact camera. It will perform well in most cases; it might have some problems when your face is not shown clearly —as it works with a face-recognition system—, but this is something you can easily overcome by using the camera’s full manual mode. Just set manual focus, increase your lens f number and you won’t have any focusing problem ever again.

This is why I still think the Canon Powershot G7X Mark II is one of the best vlogging cameras in 2017. Still, if you want 4k recording for about the same price, you should check the next camera on the list.

Camera Highlights

  • High quality lens with decent zoom
  • Very good low-light performance
  • Comfortable thanks to its rubber grip
  • Faster processing and decent battery life
  • Video creator kit available


 

Panasonic LX10

Panasonic has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to their video capabilities, so it’s a brand that you can’t skip in a list of vlogging cameras.

They’ve been making many good small cameras that can compete with the best from Sony and Canon, and the LX10 (LX15 in Europe) is one of the options vloggers are choosing, and for good reasons.

The main reason is that it’s probably the cheapest camera that can record 4k and that is actually worth buying. It doesn’t have the overheating problem many 4k cameras have (like the Sony RX100).

Its flip touchscreen automatically makes it a good competitor for vlogs, but there are also some things that can make you go for the G7XMII instead.

For example:

Even though its autofocus is not noisy like the G7X’s, it does require some work. It’s still usable and it works well in most situations, but I wouldn’t rely too much on it since it can often lose its focus.

However, it isn’t too far from the G7X autofocus performance. After all, it does focus faster than the G7X, but not as precisely as the Sony RX100. This is why I think you should take the recommendation on using its manual focus mode, decreasing the lens aperture and keeping the same distance from the camera to never get out of focus.

On the other hand, the image stabilization from the G7X Mark II is also better, as it achieves less shaky videos.

And finally, even though this one offers an f/1.4 lens, it isn’t as good in low light as the Canon. The reason is that you can use the f/1.4 only at 24mm. The Canon camera has faster aperture as you zoom in, and it also responds better to lighting changes during video, as the Panasonic can sometimes remain darker than it should when you enter a room with lower light.

However, it does perform well enough for a compact. Its sound quality is better than the G7X, the 4k recording is truly stunning and it can be done in 15-minute clips without interrumptions. It’s a good option if you want the highest definition with the best colors.

Camera Highlights

  • 4k recording for a fair price
  • High-quality lens
  • Good low-light performance
  • More realistic colors


 

The 3 Best DSLRs for Vlogging in 2017

DSLRs are the best choice to make videos look professional. These cameras let creators get the result they want through their manual mode and cinematic-style recording. They are usually the favorite choice of professional YouTube channels that usually make their videos in a studio set in a specific place—because carrying this type of camera around isn’t the most comfortable thing due to their size and lenses.

When it comes to DSLRs, the most important thing is the lens you use. Before buying one of these cameras, check my article about what lens to get so you can save a lot of money in the long run.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

This camera is so good, that it might be above the vlogging level, but it still needs to be included because it’s one of the best DSLRs you could get if you really want to plan to take your YouTube channel to the next level.

This camera is the first of the full-frame cameras reviewed here, and it was also the first one to be released, so it lacks some useful features, but its high quality compensates for it.

Still, since it’s a full-frame camera, you won’t depend as much on a wide angle lens for your recordings. This means that you will be able to record videos that look really natural to the eye—since your shots won’t suffer the perspective distortion from a wide-angle lens—and it also makes it the best camera for low-light recording. This last aspect is really important to get the best shots in natural light.

We’re talking about a camera that’s used by professionals of different fields. It is the kind of camera to get if you have a YouTube channel that requires the highest quality for your work to have some impact on your viewers. Channels about makeup, cooking, short films and even traveling will get the best out of this camera thanks to the amazing high quality video and pictures you can capture with it.

The 5D Mark III will get the best out of every image you capture, and it also comes with useful features for video. Its battery life is fair (950 shots), it has crazy high ISO capacity for low light (102.400) and features one of the best autofocus systems on the market.

The only things that this camera lacks are an articulating screen, WiFi and NFC connection. The reason for this is that this camera was released in a time when these features—especially WiFi and NFC—weren’t common in DSLR cameras.

And of course, it lacks 4k recording even though its price is high.

However, although some years have passed, this camera hasn’t found a successor and it’s still the best consumer camera from Canon.

It is still a DSLR, so it is not a camera that is easy to carry around, and you will need to take with you a bag for it and its lenses, so beware of this if you are going to need to carry this camera around a lot.

It’s not the kind of equipment you want to take with you everywhere unless you are really committed to get the best quality, but it’s the perfect camera for recording from home.

If you need the best camera you could get and that you can still carry around easily, check the Sony A7RII below instead. This one just has the advantage of having a more wide range of lenses from Canon available.

Camera Highlights

  • Great battery life, quality and top performance overall
  • Not the kind of camera that will let you down, even if you’re a professional
  • The chosen full-frame camera for indie filming
  • Wide variety of lenses available


 

Canon EOS 80D

After 3 years of its release, the famous 70D finally has a successor this year.

This new version is still a DSLR that is often chosen for YouTube. Although it’s true that it’s not the ideal camera to take out (DSRLs aren’t always the best for this kind of job), the Canon EOS 80D has a fair weight for a DSLR, if you take other DSLRs into consideration.

And it is one of the few DSLRs that it can be said that it was done for video.

Here’s why:

It doesn’t only has one of the fastest, silent and accurate autofocus systems to above-average battery life (960 shots), but also this DSLR doesn’t fall short with other features that helps a lot for vlogging.

It —of course— has WiFi to upload your videos, Video SnapShots mode and touchscreen focus. It has a really useful flip-out touchscreen But this was also included in the 70D.

This new model comes with a few things that I could feel were lacking in the 70D, like:

  • Slow-motion, since it can get to 1080p60 instead of p30
  • Timelapse feature
  • Headphones port
  • 100% viewfinder coverage (70D was 98%)
  • Improved battery life

This is great. But the truth is that they should have included more upgrades. It’s a shame that they didn’t include more significant changes, especially regarding 4k video recording —which you can find in almost any new Sony or Panasonic cameras— or just an improved processor for speed.

This is why I still think you could go for the 70D if you don’t need these creative video modes. This way you could invest some of the money you save in a good microphone or lens.

You still get a lot of value if you want it for video. For example, upgrading to a 5D Mark III DSLR after the 80D won’t give you as many improvements as getting the 80D coming from a cheap compact camera.

This is why it’s not rare still using the 70D, and it’s good enough for professional-looking videos.

Camera Highlights

  • Good price for the quality you get
  • The most reliable autofocus in its price range and above (until the $3,000 mark)
  • A DSLR made for video
  • Wide variety of lenses available
  • Video creator kit available

 

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

The Canon EOS Rebel cameras have been used for YouTube for many years. A Rebel camera is a pretty common choice as the first DSLR people get for video. In fact, this lineup from Canon has been the most common choice between makeup YouTubers. The reason is that they are affordable cameras that are better than other DSLRs in the same price range when it comes to video. These DSLRs are the cheapest ones you can get that can record excellent video.

To be fair, it really isn’t completely necessary to get a 80D if you want a DSLR for vlogging, so the T7i and the T6i are both really good affordable DSLRs for video. They might not have a responsive autofocus system as the 80D, but they get the job—of high quality, professional-looking video—done.

With a T6i or T7i you will already be recording higher image quality videos than most YouTube channels out there.

This is why I don’t think you should go for the most expensive camera out there, if you’re just starting.

As for the T7i features; it does come with quite a few improvements over the T6i, which is something good since they are more significant than, for example, the differences between the T5i and T6i. This is especially true if we take into account the new processor, which is truly a new generation made for Canon cameras from 2017 and beyond. Its sensor is the same that the more expensive 80D uses, but its image processor is even newer. You can expect to achieve image quality very similar to the higher-end 80D.

The camera also has an additional ISO step compared to its predecessor, more focus points, 1080p up to 60fps, and something I think it’s incredibly important for vlogging: significantly more battery life. Instead of 440 shots, this new model can take up to 600 shots before running out of fuel. Funny that this is the first Rebel camera in a while to improve its battery life instead of making it worse.

The only major disadvantage I can say this model has, and I didn’t like at all, is its new 18-55mm kit lens. The T6i’s kit lens was actually much better. This new model brings what is supposed to be a 20% smaller lens, but since it weighs so little to begin with, it doesn’t make an important different at all. Instead, you are getting less light when zoomed out at 18mm because of its f4 aperture instead of the f3.5 at wide of the older lens.

Sadly, you can’t buy the body and get the old kit lens without paying more than an additional 100$, so what I really recommend is for you to invest in a better lens from the start and only get the camera body. You can learn what kind of vlogging lens to buy here.

Considering all the improvements this new model offers over the T6i, I can say it’s worth listing it as one of the best vlogging cameras in 2017.

As this is is a DSLR, it isn’t the smartest choice if you need to go out a lot. Instead, you can check the Canon M3, which is a much smaller camera with the same sensor size as the T6i.

Camera Highlights

  • Good DSLR for starters
  • 1080p60 video, slowmotion, timelapse
  • Flip-out screen and autofocus
  • Wide variety of lenses available
  • Video creator kit available

 

The Best of Both Worlds: The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Vlogging in 2017

There are very good reasons why it is said that Mirrorless cameras are the future of photography. They simply combine the best of both worlds: interchangeable lenses with luggability and durability thanks to the lack of moving parts every time they shoot. It’s probable that if you are the kind of vlogger that is looking for a camera to record both at home and outside, a Mirrorless will be you most valuable ally. Their downside? Battery life.

The Winner: Sony A7RII

If there’s a camera that can beat the classic 5D Mark III, that’s the brand new mirrorless Sony A7RII.

That a pretty bold statement to say the least, and just imagine all the debate this camera is causing right now because of it.

Be it for good or bad, this camera feels like the before and after of the industry.

But this is not something we should discuss here, so here’s what you need to know about this Sony camera:

Besides being newer, this camera improves most aspects from the 5D Mark III. You can find it around the same price range and it can record 4K, has a better sensor, better autofocus, new 5-axis image stabilization system (you won’t need to get a lens with IS for it to work), WiFi, NFC, it’s still full-frame and it’s much, much smaller and luggable.

The only heavy disadvantage? The 5D Mark III can last for 950 shots while this one can only last for 340.

The Sony A7RII is one of the best high-level cameras you can buy in 2017 for any purpose, so even if it’s battery is really low for its price, we must know that this one unique advantages thanks to being a mirrorless; and it’s much lighter and easier to carry around when compared to the brick 5D Mark III.

Remember that its weakest link can be fixed just by buying an extra battery. That’s why on Amazon, you can find this this camera with a special bundle that includes bag, 2 extra batteries, 1 extra charger, memory, tripod and extra battery because of this reason—for the same price as buying only the body of the camera.

This should be the best camera for vlogging and for YouTube videos in general this year 2017.

Camera Highlights

  • Extremely small full-frame camera
  • 4k video
  • Not much to envy to the Canon 5D Mark III
  • Can use Canon lenses without loss (adapter needed)


 

Canon EOS M3

Canon isn’t exactly the first brand to come to mind when we talk about mirrorless cameras. However, they’ve built what I personally think to be a unique opportunity for vloggers.

Why? Well, it’s actually the only worthy small, affordable camera that comes with a microphone input . This is extremely rare, believe me, I’ve searched through a TON of cameras. This is one of the few that outstand because of a truly unique feature.

This is finally a good camera that vloggers can get and not worry about having to use an external recorder —which costs a couple of hundred dollars more— just to be able to connect a microphone to it, and then having to sync both the audio and the video in an editor software.

The Canon EOS M3 just saves all that pain, and it’s still a good quality camera.

It’s might not be the best mirrorless camera. I mean, Sony clearly has the upper hand in that industry.

But I can say that this is one mirrorless camera that is especially useful for vlogging.

Its quality is great for vlogs, and it has an APS-C sensor in that small body. This makes it amazingly good in low light while not jeopardizing the comfort of carrying it around. Just to give you an idea, this camera has a sensor almost 2 times bigger than the G7 X, but its size isn’t that big of a difference.

Talking about the G7 X, the EOS M3 mirrorless is a very similar camera, but with a huge sensor and interchangeable lenses.

The catch is that the G7 X already comes with a really high quality —non-interchangeable— lens that works great for vlogs. And if you want to get the same kind of lens quality, you will have to pay a lot for it just to use it on the Canon EOS M3.

But, you can actually get away with a lower quality lens with the M3 —even with the kit lens—, since it has a much bigger sensor that improves its quality in low light.

I recommend you to use this camera with its manual focus, since its autofocus isn’t that good. And you will also need a spare battery, probably. It has more battery life than the G7 X Mark I but less than the Mark II.

The Canon EOS M3 might not be an example for the rest of the mirrorless cameras, but it’s really close to having all that vloggers need, and nothing more.

As a last comment, if you want to access the best vlogging lenses for Canon, you will need this adaptor for the M3.

Camera Highlights

  • Smallest camera with mic port
  • DSLR sensor in a compact body
  • Flip-up screen
  • Wide variety of lenses available
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60 thoughts on “Top 7 Best Vlogging Cameras 2017 for YouTube: DSLR, Compact and Mirrorless

  • November 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm
    Permalink

    Hi there – great review, thanks. Tempted by a G7xii but can’t make up my mind. After years as a photographer am just learning to edit video and have an action camera.
    A question: In your 5diii review you say: “since it’s a full-frame camera, you won’t depend as much on a wide angle lens for your recordings. This means that you will be able to record videos that look really natural to the eye—since your shots won’t suffer the perspective distortion from a wide-angle lens”
    Can you explain what you mean? Perspective has nothing to do with lenses, rather from camera position. A 16mm lens on the 5D will give the exact same distortion as a 10mm on an 80d. What are you getting at here?
    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm
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      Hello Charlie,

      What I meant is that sometimes you won’t have the need to use wide-angle lenses too often because you get a bigger picture from a full-frame thanks to its crop factor. And as you may know, perspective distortion is especially noticeable in wide-angle lenses. This is helpful if you need to record close to the camera. This is not that big of a deal like the fact of getting much better performance in low light with the full-frame, but it’s something I really like if I need to record a video from home and I don’t have a lot of space between me and the camera.

      Reply
      • November 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm
        Permalink

        Hi Will. Thanks for your reply. We will have to agree to disagree. The space between you and the camera is THE ONLY FACTOR that influences perspective. To get the framing you want, you have to pick the appropriate focal length for the format you are using, and between an iPhone 4s with a 4.2mm lens to a Canon 5d with a 35mm there will be no difference in distortion. I think your post is misleading on this.

        Reply
  • November 5, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    Hi
    I want to start Vlogging and which camera is good for me canon 80d or canon g7x mark ii

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm
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      Hello Sultan,

      That will depend heavily on the kind of video you want to record. If you plan to travel or even just go out a lot with your camera, the G7 X Mark II will make things a lot easier, and it still records really good video. On the other hand the 80D is a camera I would get if I dependi a lot on the autofocus. If you are a vlogger that likes to record creative videos once in a while, you’ll find the 80D really helpful; the 80D is a much more complete camera for video (it’s a compact versus a DSLR, after all), but if your needs are just to record your daily vlogs, there’s no need to get a 80D.

      Reply
  • November 29, 2016 at 6:43 pm
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    I have a Canon 5D mrk iii and am now looking for another camera to shoot video with. The reason being that when I use the mark iii to film video, edit and save, the quality degrades a HUGE amount. (like you’d think it was shot on someones phone) Even an amateur would look at the quality and notice it is bad. Ive looked at the settings and set them to highest quality. It’s also far too heavy to be used as a vlogging camera. Am I doing something wrong when it comes to shooting video? Because I really don’t get that great quality when I use it for video. Should I bother finding a new camera to shoot with?

    Reply
    • November 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Debbie

      It’s probable that you’re losing quality after encoding your videos in your PC. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is one of the best for video you can find. Does your video look a lot better when viewed on the camera’s LCD than after editing your video? There are a lot of formats you can chose to encode your video after editing, and a lot of them do a lot of compression, which decreases the image quality. Make sure you choose the maximum recording quality on your camera (and only use RAW if you know about processing). Here’s good info on setting the different qualities (see the 8th video, shooting video). Then make sure you aren’t choosing a video file that compresses your video after editing it and uploading your video.

      I wouldn’t upgrade the 5D Mark III to get better image quality. I’d change it only if you need to go out a lot with your camera and record yourself selfie mode while walking around.

      Reply
  • January 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm
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    Hi! Great overview. I’ll be traveling to South America later this year. Wanting to travel light as possible (=more freedom) I’d keep my old 2008 MacBook Pro at home. Same for my Canon EOS 550D.

    I own a iPhone 6s plus and use it for both pictures and vlogging, just editting it with iMovie on the phone itself and then upload without ever needing my laptop. Limited editting options but tons of freedom. Perfect for travel. But, I might want to bring a dedicated camera on top of that. Small and versetile. There’s a store here in NL called MediaMarkt which has a 21% discount until tomorrow so I’ve been looking at several options;

    Canon Powershot G7X mark ii
    Sony A6000
    Sony A5100

    The Canon was the first one I considered, but doing some research on YouTube there’s some people regretting their purchase due to auto focus issues and poor audio quality. The Sony A5100 is cheaper and has a better sensor. They do advise to get an additional lense with it, costing another €250 and making it more expensive plus more gear to travel with.

    There doesn’t seem to be one perfect choice to go with, all camera’s have their pro’s and con’s. Not feeling a 100% “YES! THAT ONE” for any of these makes me consider not buying one at all. I also have to take in considering that each € I spend on a new camera will shorten my stay/limit my options for activities while in Soutb America.

    Choices, choices…

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • January 30, 2017 at 2:44 pm
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      Hello Marijn,

      No camera is perfect, not even the ones that cost more than 3k. You have to go for the one that better fits your needs. Those three options are really good, but probably the most cost-benefit effective is the Canon. The reason is that it already comes with a high quality lens that lets you record any kind of video blog. You will need to invest a lot more money if you want a lens as good for your Sony cameras (you’re probably going to need to get two lenses, and that means no zoom).

      I’m not sure what kind of issue about the G7 X autofocus you’re refering about. The camera performs fairly well. The downside is that you can sometimes here the autofocus motor through the camera’s built-in mics, but that’s fixed if you use your own microphone, which is something you should always do. It’s of course not perfect and can do some hunting sometimes, but probably impossible to find something better in such a small body.

      And in case you’re having troubles with the autofocus, you can set it manually for most cases.

      Good luck on your travels!

      Reply
  • January 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm
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    hi! im just getting into vlogging but, i would like to do it on a budget. i didnt know whether or not to get a dslr or a camcoder. My budget is $500. i was looking between Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm IS II Lens THEN Nikon D3300 1532 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens 24.2 MP Digital SLR – Black. Also some camcorders Sony HDRCX405 HDR-CX405 CX405 Video Recording Handycam. Just wanted to hear your opinion!

    Reply
    • January 30, 2017 at 2:51 pm
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      Hello Travis,

      The best way to choose is to ask yourself if you’re going to need to record video indoors or at night. Camcorders are bad at this, and they’re only useful if you use lighting or record outside during the day. DSLRs handle poor light conditions much better but they’re also much heavier, so they aren’t as comfortable to carry around. If you need a little bit of both worlds, I would recommend considering a mirrorless like the Sony a5100; it is both light and good indoors, but it does surpass your budget a little bit on Amazon.com

      Reply

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