It’s no surprise that a mobile phone will take the title of the best small vlogging camera. The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone SE are incredible phones and video making machines. I personally use the iPhone 6s as my primary phone and an on-the-go picture and video camera. The technology and quality are so good, it nearly matches the quality of expensive cameras from even only a couple of years ago. The iPhone is widely available and has a ton of built-in features and even more additional apps available, to help you produce great pictures and video. Since millions of people already own this phone, it is a natural choice for vlogging, it might already be in your pocket and your are familiar with how to use it and are comfortable using it.
The iPhone by itself is good enough to record some videos and edit those videos through the iMovie app that can be downloaded right to the phone. In theory, you can shoot, edit, produce and upload videos all from your phone, without ever touching a computer. It’s also handy for when you have an idea about something to vlog about later, you can conveniently save a note or to-do list in the phone for later. One additional benefit of the iPhone is when you’re vlogging, possibly in public you probably will have fewer people looking at what you are doing, if you’re talking to your phone vs. a larger camera. It shouldn’t matter though because a vlogger with a little bit of practice will soon get over the fear of people seeing them being filmed.
All accessories (expect the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens system) here will work with your Samsung phone like the S6, S7 or many other smartphones as well.
There are a few accessories one can use to take the quality over the top, for professional looking and sounding vlogs. First and foremost is image stability, a common but avoidable problem when filming with an iPhone. The phone is inherently small because it is a phone first and a camera second. The size of the iPhone makes it super convenient to carry and travel with, but will cause shakiness with the picture if your moving around in your vlog while holding it. The easiest way to fix this is to get a tripod. A tripod will hold the phone for you and allow you to make the video without your hands being tied up. The next best way to professional take unbelievably steady and awesome video is with a gimbal. I will get to that at the bottom of the page. A gimbal can be a game changer for any vlogger.
I personally recommend the Joby Griptight tripod. It is extremely compact and convenient to carry along with you and will hold your phone securely while you’re filming. It is adjustable and its supporting legs are flexible and can be wrapped around different objects to get that perfect shot you have in mind. There are 2 sizes available, the normal size will fit something the size of an iPhone 6s if you have a larger phone you will need to get the larger tripod kit.
The next accessory I recommend is an external microphone. This is something that is severely overlooked by most people who want to make a video or vlog. Depending on how far you are away from the iPhone the sound can be distant, or not full and hard to hear. If you are filming outside on the go, it’s very likely you might get some wind interference from the internal microphone. You will not hear while you are filming but when you check the footage later you will soon realize its a bigger problem than anticipated. It’s so disappointing to make a video that you felt went perfect while filming and later realize the content is no longer good because of the audio being very poor or worse totally ruined, because of a small amount of wind. An external microphone with solve these issues. The Rode Videomic Me is the external microphone I personally use and it works wonderfully. It is available for a good price and the product’s quality is premium. It is made from lightweight aluminum and can take a beating when you through it in your bag or purse on the go.
The next accessory that can dramatically change and enhance your iPhone’s actual video footage, is an additional lens to mount on the iPhone. There are a handful available on the market that all produce slightly different results. These add-on lenses usually include macro, telephoto, wide-angle and fish-eyed styles or similar varieties. For the iPhone, there is basically 1 clear winner for external lenses, and that is the Olloclip 4-in-1 clip-on lens system. The Olloclip 4-in-1 to me is the clear winner because it easily clips on to the top of your phone without modification. You can take it off just as easily as well. Nearly every other available lens kit for the iPhone requires modification to your phone through the use of adhesives that permanently attach to the back of the phone and also no longer allow for a protective case to be used or require you to switch your case completely to their special case that supports mounting a lens. I have accidentally dropped several phones and broke the screen a few times, it is mandatory for me to usually have the phone wearing some protection.
The only disadvantage to the Olloclip 4-in-1 system is that you cannot use a protective case while using it. For me, that is no big deal because as I am vlogging, I am being precise about my actions and words and at a heightened state of attention, and will not likely drop my phone accidentally. The Olloclip 4-in-1 system will likely add to your arsenal of tools for vlogging and be appropriate for some shots and not needed for others. If your only vlogging tool is an iPhone it should be used to add variety to your videos, you most likely will appreciate the wide-angle lens the most for videos, that way your viewers can take in more of the scenery and background when you are making a video. The other lenses are just a bonus in my opinion for extra cool photography.
The next and last thing you will want to seriously consider for your vlogging camera is a gimbal. What the heck is a gimbal, you say? It is basically a small handheld device that will perfectly stabilize your camera to the point that it appears to magically be balanced and free-floating while filming. The current models use multiple axises to stabilize the camera, so no matter the movement of the film taker, the camera is always steady. The end results are awesome and so clean-looking, people will think you’re filming was done professionally.
I have searched the internet high and low for the best deals on gimbals and personally use and recommend the Feiyu Tech G4 3-axis gimbal. This device is a game changer and can take your vlog into the next stratosphere of the vlogging world. The video comparisons speak for themselves and the results are obvious. I love this product, you will too, for the price and value compared to more expensive options it’s the best pick out there.
*Please note it will probably be impossible to use an external microphone on with your phone if you ae using a gimbal. Most gimbals are designed to only hold a phone and do not leave room for an external microphone. It has not been a big deal so far for myself, but please keep that in mind.
It should also be noted that most people will use the iPhone as their primary phone, texting, and communication device (outside of talking to people face-to-face, still and always will be the best way, in my opinion) the iPhone will quickly lose its battery charge if you are shooting a lot of video. You should consider an extra mobile power bank to travel with you if you will be doing some video vlogging. That way you won’t be without your phone to communicate or shot more video. There are many available on the market, you don’t need the best or most expensive one. I recommend this one.
These are my “top picks” for a small vlogging setup. To check out my other top picks click the different categories on the top menu.
*Important technical note – There are different storage capacities available on the iPhones, the smallest being 16 GB, the next being 64 GB and the largest being 128 GB only for the 6s & 6s Plus. I will not recommend you use an iPhone with a 16 GB capacity as your primary vlogging camera simply because you will run out of storage way too fast. Videos depending on if it’s shot at 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second, will eat through that capacity very quickly. If you already have an iPhone and are not sure which size yours is, click the Settings button on one of your main screens, –> then General –> then About, about mid screen it will tell you the capacity and available storage. I only recommend shooting with the iPhone if you have the 64 GB capacity or larger.