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13 Best Cameras for YouTube (Complete Guide For Every Budget)

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13 Best Cameras for YouTube (Complete Guide For Every Budget)

At the heart of every YouTuber’s setup is their camera. Your choice of camera can effortlessly level up your content, capturing your footage in HD quality every time. Although choosing a camera for YouTube sounds easy enough, whether you’re a beginner or experienced content creator, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the jargon and technicalities. In this guide, we walk you through making an informed choice from the best cameras on the market now.

TL;DR 

  • The right camera for you and your YouTube channel is a subjective choice that comes down to what type of content you’re filming. 
  • When choosing a camera, consider budget, type, stabilization, video & audio quality. 
  • For vlogs, try the Sony ZV-1, Mark ii, or Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
  • If you’re looking for an action camera, the GoPro Hero 10  is perfect for you
  • Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs offer high quality (for higher prices), Fujifilm X-S10 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV  are good options. 

How to Choose the Right Camera for YouTube

First of all, no single camera will tick every content creator’s boxes. 

We mean that the ‘right’ camera for you and your youtube channel will come down to what kind of youtube videos you tend to create. For example, the best camera for filming a vlog will not be the best for live streaming. In addition, if you’re a beginner, your needs are likely to be a little different from a well-seasoned YouTuber. 

That being said, here are some of the key factors all YouTubers should consider when it comes to their camera: 

Budget 

Your budget is possibly the most crucial consideration. How much you’re able to invest in your camera will determine what range and type of camera you can get your hands on. 

If you’re still on the market for a high-value camera, a good tip is to look for second-hand or used listings. You may just find the camera you’ve been dreaming of at your price point. 

Type of Camera 

Secondly, you’ll need to decide what kind of camera you need. Combined with your budget, this will help refine your search and narrow down your options. 

DSLR 

DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera. DSLRs boast valuable flexibility because you can change out the lens depending on your needs - and there are a lot of lenses out there for every model. 

Mirrorless 

Mirrorless cameras tend to be more lightweight than DSLRs. Many photographers and videographers would argue that mirrorless cameras capture more faithful footage than DSLRs. That said, they are also power-intensive, so DSLRs win on battery life. 

Point & Shoot 

Point and Shoot cameras are an excellent option for creators who film on the go. Though they may not have the performance capabilities of mirrorless or DSLR counterparts, they're easy and portable. 

Smartphone 

Don’t underestimate the power of your smartphone. If you’re on a tight budget, using your phone could be a great money-saving option to start with. 

Action camera 

If you need a reliable, robust, and sturdy camera, consider purchasing an action camera. These cameras are ready for everything and anything. 

Video Quality & Resolution

For obvious reasons, video quality is vital when it comes to creating YouTube videos. These days, your viewers will expect nothing less than top quality from your videos. So, if there’s one thing you shouldn’t compromise on, it’s being able to record in superb HD quality. 

As far as possible, opt for a camera that shoots in at least 1080p or Full HD. If you’ve got the budget, you should look for a camera with 4k resolution.

Stabilization

Stabilization is a key consideration if you’re shooting while moving. This is probably less of a concern if you film in a studio setting. 

Some newer cameras have IBIS, which stands for in-body image stabilization. This helps to stabilize your videos and guarantee shake-free recordings. Don’t worry, though; if the camera you’ve got your eye on doesn’t have excellent stabilization, you can always use a tripod. 

Frame Rate 

Frame Rate, also known as Frame Per Second (FPS), refers to how many still images are captured per unit of time (generally seconds).

The higher the frame rate, the higher the video quality. For 4K video, you should be looking for anything above 30fps. 

Sensor Size 

A camera’s sensor dictates the image and video quality that it captures. Generally speaking, cameras with bigger sensors shoot better images and capture video even in low light. 

The two types of sensors are Active-Pixel Sensor (CMOS) and Charge-Coupled Device (CCD). You’ll tend to find CCD sensors in more professional-grade cameras, while CMOS sensors are more affordable and aimed at consumers. 

You will also frequently see the terms APS-C sensor, full-frame sensor, and micro four-thirds. A full-frame sensor is the conventional sensor size for 35 mm cameras, while an APS-C sensor measures approximately 0.98 x 0.65” (although this varies between brands). Micro Four Thirds sensors are even smaller than APS-C sensors and measure 0.68 x 0.5 “. 

Autofocus

Autofocus should be a massive priority for YouTubers, especially if you’re self-shooting. With a good autofocus feature, you will always capture exactly what you mean to, in the highest quality possible. 

Lenses

Lenses are often a standalone investment, separate from your initial camera purchase. If you’re on more of a budget, it may suit you to settle (at first) with the kit lens that comes with your camera. 

If you’ve got a bit more to spend, or are looking to make a long-term investment, then when you weigh up between cameras, the available lenses should also factor into your decision. 

Portability 

If, on the whole,  you’re going to be shooting vlogs, you’ll need a compact camera that is highly portable and compact. The same applies if you’ll be filming at different locations frequently. For this reason, a lot of YouTubers go for mirrorless cameras that benefit from a whole host of professional features without the weight. 

Useability 

Although it can be tempting to opt for the most professional camera on the market, it’s better not to jump the gun if you’re a beginner. When you’re just starting as a beginner, the best youtube camera for you will be one that you feel comfortable using. Once you progress, you can invest in a higher-grade camera. 

Microphone & Audio 

Audio quality is also fundamental to recording a high-production quality YouTube video. If the built-in audio microphone on your dream camera isn’t up to scratch, check the mic inputs and whether you can attach an external microphone. This is a surefire way to improve the audio quality without having to give up on your camera. 

Another consideration is if you need a camera with a headphone jack, perhaps if your cameraman wants to monitor the audio as you record. 

Battery life 

Battery life should be a major consideration for cameras for YouTube if you’re filming on location or away from home. This won’t matter if you consistently film from a studio environment. 

Best Cameras For YouTubers

Although it’s impossible to recommend one camera to every creator, we’ve compiled a list of the strongest contenders available in 2021 so that you can see what is on offer. 

Best Vlogging Cameras 

Sony ZV-1, Mark ii

  • Price: $648.00 
  • Sensor type/size: 1” CMOS  
  • Resolution: 20.1MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 4k 30p 
  • Size & Weight:  105.5 x 60.0 x 43.5 mm, 294g 
  • Audio: In-built directional 3-capsule microphone, with the option to attach an external mic with a 3.5mm microphone port 
  • Battery life: 260 shots or 45 minutes of recording 
  • Autofocus: Reliable autofocus feature 
  • Stabilization: Active SteadyShot image stabilization 
  • Frame rate: 120 - 960 fps 

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

  • Price: $749.00
  • Sensor size/type: 1” CMOS sensor
  • Resolution: 20.2 MP 
  • Max movie resolution:  4K Video  
  • Size & Weight:  4.13 x 2.4 x 1.61, 10.72 oz
  • Audio: Decent built in mic and stereo mini jack 
  • Battery life: 265 shots
  • Autofocus: Contrast detect autofocus system 
  • Stabilization: In-lens stabilization and digital IS modes 
  • Frame rate: 120 fps 

Other features

  • Self-contained social media live streaming ability 

Best Action & Pocket Cameras 

GoPro Hero 10 

  • Price: $429.99
  • Sensor type/size: 1 / 2.3” CMOS
  • Resolution: 23.6MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 5.3K60 and 4K120 video 
  • Size & Weight:  2.8 x 2.0 x 1.3”, 5.6 oz
  • Audio: Good in-built mics, with the option to plug in an external mic 
  • Battery life: 56 minutes of 5.3K60 video 
  • Autofocus: N/A
  • Stabilization: Advanced HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization
  • Frame rate: 5.3K up to 60fps, 4K up to 120fps 

Other features: 

  • Waterproof up to 33ft 
  • Cloud-connected 
  • Livestream direct from your GoPro in 1080p 

DJI Pocket 2 

  • Price: $349
  • Sensor type/size: 1 /1.7” sensor CMOS 
  • Resolution: 64MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 4K video
  • Size & Weight: 4.91 x 1.5 x 1.18”, 4.1oz
  • Audio: 4 in-built microphones, record audio in different directions
  • Battery life: 140 minutes 
  • Autofocus: N/A
  • Stabilization: Motorized stabilization 
  • Frame rate: 60fps 

Insta360 One X2 

  • Price: $386.99 
  • Sensor type/size: 1 / 2.3” CMOS
  • Resolution: 18.4 MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 5.7 K 360 Capture  
  • Size & Weight:  2.1 x 0.9 x 08”, 0.65oz  
  • Audio: 4-mic 360 degree audio 
  • Battery life: 200 clips, or 67 minutes 
  • Autofocus: N/A
  • Stabilization: Flow State Stabilization 
  • Frame rate: 25 - 100 fps 

Other features: 

  • Waterproof up to 33ft 
  • Voice control 

Best Mirrorless Cameras  

Fujifilm X-S10

  • Price: $999.00 (without lens) 
  • Sensor type/size: 2 / 3” CMOS 
  • Resolution: 26.1MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 4k 30p 
  • Size & Weight:  3.4 x 5.0 x 2.6 “, 16.4 oz
  • Audio: Decent in-built mic, as well as 3.5 mm mic socket as well as a headphone jack (if you add USB dongle) 
  • Battery life: 325 shots or around 40 minutes 
  • Autofocus: In-built autofocus mode
  • Stabilization: IBIS
  • Frame rate: 30 - 240fps 

Canon EOS M50 Mark II 

  • Price: $699.00 (with 15-45 mm Lens) 
  • Sensor type/size: APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Resolution: 24.1MP 
  • Max movie resolution: UHD 4K and HD 720p120 video  
  • Size & Weight:  4.57 x 3.46 x 2.32”, 13.65 oz 
  • Audio: Decent in-built mic, can attach external microphone 
  • Battery life: 305 shots 
  • Autofocus: Dual pixel autofocus with eye tracking
  • Stabilization: Digital Image Stabilization 
  • Frame rate: 7.4 - 10 fps 

Nikon Z6 

  • Price: $1,596.95 (without lens)
  • Sensor type/size: Micro-four thirds CMOS sensor
  • Resolution: 24.5MP 
  • Max movie resolution:  UHD 4K30 Video 
  • Size & Weight:  5.3 x 4 x 2.7 “, 1.49 lb 
  • Audio: Stereo microphone built in, mic-in jack 
  • Battery life: 310 shots or 130 minutes filming 
  • Autofocus: Continuous autofocus mode 
  • Stabilization: In-camera sensor-shift Image Stabilization 
  • Frame rate: up to 12fps 

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II

  • Price: $1,297.99 (without lens)
  • Sensor type/size: Micro Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • Resolution: 20.3 MP 
  • Max movie resolution: 4K Video 
  • Size & Weight:  3.9 x 5.5 x 3.4 “, 1.6 lbs
  • Audio: Dolby quality stereo sound and 2 XLR audio inputs 
  • Battery life: 400 shots or 60 minutes 4K video 
  • Autofocus: IBIS 
  • Stabilization: 5 axis sensor stabilization 
  • Frame rate: Up to 60 fps

Sony A6600

  • Price: $1,398.00 (without lens)
  • Sensor type/size: APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Resolution: 24.2MP 
  • Max movie resolution:  UHD 4K30p Video 
  • Size & Weight:  5.3 x 4 x 2.7 “, 1.49 lb 
  • Audio: 2 in-built microphones, microphone, and headphone jack 
  • Battery life: 720 shots or 150 minutes video 
  • Autofocus: Autofocus including Lock-on AF
  • Stabilization: 5 axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization 
  • Frame rate: up to 30fps 

Best DSLRs for Youtube 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV  

  • Price: $2,699.00 (without lens) 
  • Sensor type/size: Full Frame CMOS
  • Resolution: 30.4MP 
  • Max movie resolution:  4K video 
  • Size & Weight:  5.93 x 4.58 x 2.99”, 31.4 oz 
  • Audio: In-built mic and mic jack 
  • Battery life: 900 shots or 270 minutes filming 
  • Autofocus: Movie Servo Autofocus 
  • Stabilization: N/A
  • Frame rate: up to 30fps 

Nikon D7500

  • Price: $996.95 (no lens) 
  • Sensor type/size: APS-C CMOS
  • Resolution: 20.9 MP 
  • Max movie resolution:  4K UHD Video
  • Size & Weight:  5.4 x 4.1 x 2.9”, 25.40 oz 
  • Audio: Decent in-built mic, external mic, and headphone jack 
  • Battery life: 950 shots or 80 minutes shooting 
  • Autofocus: 51 point Multicam 3600 FX II autofocus system 
  • Stabilization: In e-VR image stabilization 
  • Frame rate: up to 60fps

Nikon D780  

  • Price: $2,296.95 
  • Sensor type/size: full frame CMOS 
  • Resolution: 24.5MP 
  • Max movie resolution: UHD 4K30 Video  
  • Size & Weight:  5.7 x 4.6 x 3”, 13.7oz 
  • Audio: Decent in-built mic, with external mic jack 
  • Battery life: 2,260 shots
  • Autofocus: 273 point Hybrid AF system  
  • Stabilization: Electronic stabilization (with slight crop) 
  • Frame rate: up to 120fps

Best cameras for youtube FAQs

What camera do YouTubers use?

All content creators use different cameras to suit their needs. For this reason, there’s no single answer to this question. However, our recommendations above capture the most popular cameras on the market right now. 

What cameras do famous YouTubers use?

Many famous vloggers such as Alfie Deyes and Joey Graceffa use the Canon Powershot G7 X. GoPros are also popular because of their durability and versatility. 

What camera does a vlogger use?

Vlogging means filming your day-to-day life. This means bringing a camera everywhere you go and filming wherever you are. For this reason, vloggers generally opt for lightweight and compact cameras. Some vloggers prefer to use their smartphones, others go for compact, action-ready cameras like the GoPro, and others go for smaller DLSRs or point and shoot cameras. 

What kind of camera is best for making YouTube videos?

As we’ve outlined, this comes down to the type of YouTube video you’re making. Once you’ve settled on the kind of content you want to create, it’ll be easier to decide what the best camera for you will be. 

What is a good beginner camera for vlogging?

Your smartphone is quite a good place to start. These days mobile phone cameras offer high quality and convenience. That said, if you’re looking for a separate camera, try the Sony ZV-1, Mark ii as we recommended above. 

Which camera is best for video making?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all camera for video making. Once you know what kinds of videos you will be producing, you’ll better understand what kind of camera you need. 

What camera should a beginner Youtuber use?

We would recommend a compact and relatively affordable camera like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III or the Sony ZV-1, Mark ii, which are perfect for vlogging but are also highly versatile.  If you’re apprehensive about investing in a camera, why not try starting out using your smartphone. 

What cheap camera do YouTubers use?

Your first option should be your smartphone if you’re on a budget—high-quality video for no additional cost - a win-win. If you’re on the market for a camera, browse second-hand listings for popular models. You’ll be surprised by the deals you can find. Alternatively, why not opt for a versatile and robust camera like the GoPro Hero 10?

Which DSLR camera is best for YouTube videos?

There are so many excellent DSLR options for YouTube, but the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Nikon D7500, and Nikon D780 are of particular note. 

Do you need an expensive camera to make YouTube videos?

Definitely not. If you’re on a tight budget or not quite ready to make a financial investment, you can start shooting YouTube videos on your smartphone.


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