The Best Cameras for YouTube (Vlogging, Streaming, Tutorials)

by David | Last Updated: January 4, 2022

I have both a casual vlog channel where I show my travels as a digital nomad as well as a professional YouTube channel where I create helpful, educational tutorials for creating websites, blogs and online stores. As such, I’m in a unique position to explain to you what the best cameras for making YouTube videos are.

From your typical “run and gun” vlog videos to recording on screen tutorials with a webcam, to streaming or creating long form online courses. I want to emphasis that creating content for YouTube and a blog is an effective way to build traffic and an audience.

Depending on the type of video content you want to produce will dictate what type of camera you should get. In this complete beginners guide I’m going to cover the best cameras for the most popular styles of creating video at different price ranges.

What kind of cameras do YouTubers use?

YouTubers tend to prefer cameras that can shoot in 4k, have the ability to change lenses and can add an external microphone for quality audio.

In reality most YouTubers go through a trial and error process of picking the right camera. Depending on what sort of video content you want to make, your editing skills and budget will dictate what camera to get.

When I first started on YouTube I bought a Canon G7X ( a point and shoot camera) to make vlogs with. When I wanted to transition to making tutorial videos I found my camera to be very limiting for my needs and ended up selling my G7X so I could buy a DSLR camera and a few lenses.

Why you should trust this guide

I’m a professional YouTuber. I make thousands of dollars a month from YouTube and myself and my team all make different sorts of styles of video. In short, we know what works and what you need depending on what you’re trying to do.

This guide will be broken up into specific verticals to help you make a purchase decision. I’ll start with a broad suggestion for cameras, then vlogging and finally streaming. Let’s get to it!

Best cameras for YouTube videos (overall)

In general, anyone looking to get started making YouTube videos is going to want a camera that can do a little bit of everything. You can record online courses, stream and even vlog.

While in truth no one camera can do everything well, there are quite a few cameras that are feature rich enough to handle most tasks you throw at it. So let’s cover the best cameras for YouTube videos.

Sony Alpha 7S iii – The best camera on the market

Best for established YouTubers.

Want to future proof your video creation for the next 5 years by getting one of the best cameras that money can buy? You’ll want to get a Sony A7S iii. The A7S iii is a full frame mirrorless camera from Sony. It has all the video features needed for film making, creating talking head videos and vlogs like the included 5-axis in body stabilization and a wide selection of lenses.

As a mirrorless camera, the actual body itself is small and light. The lens are fairly small as well and it’s a native 4k camera that can record up to 120p for slow motion and it outputs 16 bit raw video.

This it the top of the line, best camera on the market. It’s expensive and a bit excessive for new content creators, but if you’re wanting to know what camera most professional YouTubers use, this is what they select.

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Canon 90D – A mid-range “do everything” camera

4k uncropped DSLR with kit lens.

The Canon 90D is much more affordable than the Sony A7S iii and can get the same quality of video and audio at a fraction of the price. You can shoot in 4k, attach an external microphone and it the 90D has excellent preamps for quality audio.

As this is a Canon DSLR, it pairs with Canon’s extensive library of “EF” mount lenses. The only drawback of this camera is that it has an APSC sensor so it’s not full frame and there is no built in stabilization so if yo intend on moving the camera as you’re recording the 90D is a poor choice.

However, if you’re looking for a high quality camera for talking head videos, slow motion, photography or online course creation that can shoot in 4K with premium audio without breaking the bank, consider the classic 90D.

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Sony ZV-E10 – The best cheap YouTube camera

The ZV-E10 is on back order. But you can get it in this bundle.

The first version of this camera was the ZV-1, but many consumers wanted more flexibility by being able to switch out lenses. As such, Sony released the ZV-E10 which is now the best budget mirrorless camera on the market for under $1000.

The ZV-E10 paired with a Sigma 16mm f1.4 lens is an excellent combination for making YouTube videos. Sigma produces some of the best glass around and at a 1.4 aperture you get that subject separation, blurry background look.

In addition, the ZV-E10 is not limited in the same way as other budget option cameras like having a cropped 4k or no slow motion. With the ZV-E10 you get more dynamic range, no 4k crop like you’ll find on Canon’s M50 which has an additional 1.6 crop when in 4k (and it’s why the M50 is not on this list). You also get autofocus when recording in 4k unlike the M50. Last, this camera can record in slow motion up to 120p.

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Fujifilm X-S10 – A great overall mirrorless camera

Produces beautiful video.

If you want a great mirrorless camera that is a significant step up from EV-10 but is more cost efficient than the Sony A7S iii, then you’ll love the X-S10 from FujiFilm.

As it is a mirrorless camera it’s on the smaller side in terms of body and weight. It comes with an electronic view finder, a flip out screen and that all important ability to attach an external microphone.

Last, it also offers F-log for your color grading needs and you can get it with an outstanding 15-45mm kit lens. Last, the X-S10 has built in stabilization so you can do point of view shots, walk and talk vlogs and more.

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Canon R6 – High quality mirrorless camera

Impressive mid-range mirrorless.

Canon has an R6 and an R5. The R5 is the more expensive camera body and has a higher megapixel sensor at 45 pixels compared to the R6, 20 pixels. 45 pixels is just 5 megapixels away from being a medium format camera.

However, megapixels are most useful for photography, not video. So functionally speaking, the Canon R6 costs less and produces video quality on par with the R5. The R6 can record up to 4k at various framerates with no crop, and you get C-log for color grading.

Our favorite lens for this system is the 15-35mm. You have the option to have a wide angle look with a slightly blurry background.

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Canon SL3 – Mini 90D with no useable 4k

Small, light, easy to use.

The SL3 is like a mini 90D in that you get a lot of overlap in features and you can use the same exact lenses on the SL3 that you can use on the more expensive 90D. It produces similar quality video (thought he 90D is better), however if you want to shoot in 4k then skip the SL3.

What makes this camera so great is it’s low price point, small ergonomic body and light weight design. It is designed to use Canon’s extensive line of EF mount lenses and it’s the smallest DSLR in the world.

It can technically shoot in 4k but when in 4k there is an additional massive crop so it’s not usable as a 4k YouTube camera. The SL3 has a flip out screen, shoe mount for an external microphone and is designed for the total beginner in mind.

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Lumix GH5 – The beginner film makers YouTube camera

You can also choose the 12-60 mm lens to go with it.

An excellent choice for aspiring film makers who are price sensitive. This camera is a bit bulky but quite ergonomic and comfortable. It has built in stabilization, great lens selection, can record in 4k at 60 frames a second and the cine-d color profile which is an excellent flat profile to color grade.

If you’re a film maker or aspiring film maker who wants to create both talking head videos as well as point of view, travel videos the GH5 is an excellent camera.

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Canon 1DX Mark iii – The best DSLR ever made

Only for pro filmakers.

The 1DX Mark iii is a hybrid DSLR and mirrorless camera. It’s technically a DSLR but has a “mirrorless” mode you can switch on to have tremendous functionality between DSLR specific capabilities and mirrorless capabilities.

It’s a professional level full frame camera that is a step down from Canon’s cinema line cameras. As such, there are no real limitations with this device. It can shoot in multiple frame rates, slow motion, 4k, does not overheat, is outstanding for still photography, provides accurate tracking and auto focus.

This is a camera that professional film makers for YouTube use. If you’re a beginner just wanting to make 1080P YouTube videos or 4k videos there are more appropriate options.

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The best vlogging cameras

Vlogging is the art of living your life and sharing your story. You really don’t need a big camera with a fluffy microphone to create fun, interesting and compelling vlogs. On the contrary, small and light is the way to go as you’ll actually take your camera with you and use it.

With vlogging you’ll want a camera with good audio, high frame rates, a wide angle look, good battery life and something that is small and portable. So let’s get started on the best vlogging cameras for YouTube.

GoPro 10 – The best vlogging camera

Ideal for on the go vlogging.

The GoPro is a great choice for vlogging because you can tell a great story and get the shot which is the most important aspect of a vlog. Having a small, unassuming camera like a GoPro is just easier to use than carrying around a big, heavy camera all day.

Even professional travel vlogger Drew Binsky uses a GoPro for his day travels as it’s more convenient and draws less attention. What makes the GoPro ideal is it’s wide angle view, good colors, good audio, it’s durable and the latest version now comes with a monitor on the front to frame yourself.

Last, it can record up to 5k and has fun video features built in like time warp and time lapse to help add interesting b-roll to your vlogs.

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Osmo Pocket – The best point of view camera

Pocket gimbal.

This is a tiny gimbal camera that fits in your pocket and produces some high quality video. It’s perfect for any sort of point of view, walk and talk video and is ideal for travelers looking to show off different locations.

The camera is about a 24mm equivalent which is very tight on the face for vlogging. The Osmo Pocket 2 however does come with a tiny wide angle lens adapter, but it’s a small attachment and can be difficult to use as you need to turn the camera on first and let it balance before applying the wide angle lens.

The picture quality and audio quality out of this device is much better than other action cameras on the list however so it’s a tradeoff. Last, the tripod also comes with an adapter so you can mount it up and the camera has face tracking and time lapse features built in.

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Sony ZV1 – The value vlogging camera

Excellent point and shot.

The Sony ZV1 is Sony’s dedicated vlogging camera. It has a lot of interesting features vloggers will love and is ideal for anyone looking for a hybrid camera than can be used for vlogging as well as studio recording.

This camera can shoot in 4k at up to 30 frames a second and 120 frames a second at 1080p for some pretty impressive slow motion b-roll. You can also record at 60 frames if you like more of a smooth, look.

It has a flip out screen so you can frame yourself, a microphone jack for improved audio with an external microphone and a 24-70mm zoom lens.

Last, it has a “skin smoothing” feature you can turn on or off to soften the look of your skin as well as a button that blurs the background slightly. It also comes with image stabilization.

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Must have accessory

Sony X3000 – The indie action camera

The Sony X3000 is cult favorite among YouTube vloggers. With it’s best in class audio, wide angle field of view, ability to shoot in multiple framerates, 4k recording ability and the functionality to use an external microphone, the X3000 is one of the best vlogging cameras available (if you can get find one).

This action camera came out a few years ago and is no longer made by Sony as they’ve moved onto other cameras like the ZV-E10 and the ZV-1. If you can find this action camera, consider getting one as it’s a fun camera to use for making YouTube vlogs.

With your purchase it comes with a monitor that connects to the camera via a Bluetooth connection and a waterproof case so you can record under water with the Sony X3000.

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Must have accessory:

Shooting grip – This tripod is designed for the X3000. It can be used as a tripod, grip to hold the camera and has a section to clip in the X3000 monitor.

Osmo Action first generation – Better audio than GoPro

The Osmo Action first generation is similar to the GoPro in terms of build which is why they radically changed the design of later versions of the Osmo Action to differentiate it.

Regardless, this camera is still an excellent choice for a vlogging camera. It has a mix of benefits found between the GoPro and the Sony X3000. Good stabilization, wide angle, a tiny screen to view yourself, good video quality. If you’re wanting to vlog but want something that has better audio than the GoPro, take a look at the Osmo Action.

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iPhone 13 – A casual vloggers go-to

Let’s be honest, iPhone camera technology has grown to replace point and shoot cameras all together. With the latest iPhone you get access to a wide angle lens, slow motion, high quality photography, good audio and a built in video editor with iMovie.

With the iPhone you can adjust the video quality you record and you can also record in 4k. With a front facing camera and a back facing camera, recording an interesting vlog with a device you’ll always have on you is easy.

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Must have accessories:

iPhone vlogging kit – A helpful kit for recording video with a phone, microphone and a tripod to hold.

Best cameras for streaming

Streaming with software like OBS is how you can record YouTube videos live. If you’re wanting to make live videos, “let’s play” video game content or a live interviews you’ll need a camera.

First, you can technically use any DSLR or mirrorless camera that has what’s know as “clean HDMI.” All this means is that your picture won’t have any meta data like the frame rate, picture profile settings and so forth. To do this all you need is a HDMI out cable and a power adapter for your camera so you can plug it in instead of running on batter.

However, I strongly suggest using a dedicated webcam. Webcam’s get a bad reputation because most on-board webcams are mediocre at best. But there are a few options that allow you to shoot in 1080P or 4K with an excellent picture quality.

Logitech C922 – An excellent budget webcam for streaming

Streaming and screen capture.

This is the best webcam for streaming as well as screen capture software. If you’re creating tutorials and want to have a picture in picture shot where you’re in the corner, you can achieve that look with this affordable webcam.

If you decide you don’t want to setup a camera as a webcam and would prefer the ease of use of a plug and play webcam, the C922 is one of the best. It provides clear video, good colors, a wider angle than your built in webcam and works by simply plugging it into any USB slot.

If you’ve been looking to stream on YouTube or you want to create tutorials using picture in picture shots, get the C922 or use a camera with a clean HDMI output like the budget friendly SL3.

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Logitech Brio – A 4k webcam

The Brio is the best in class webcam. It can shoot up to 4k at 60 FPS and produces high quality video. In fact, this webcam can record up to 90 FPS if you find yourself needing to do slow motion with a webcam.

It also can zoom in up to 5x, it takes nice pictures, has three field of view presets so if you want a wide angle look you can get it and best off all it’s plug and play.

Another aspect is that it comes with software that allows you to customize the video settings for different applications like Zoom, Skype and OBS.

If you’re looking for the best webcam on the market you’re going to be hard press to find anything that can rival the Logitech Brio. If you’re serious about streaming and don’t want to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera with your laptop then I strongly recommend this webcam.

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Logitech Streamcam – A color accurate webcam

Last on the list is the Streamcam. With the growth in popularity of streaming on YouTube Logitech made a dedicated webcam for this purpose that is a bit more color accurate than the Brio.

So how does the Brio and the Streamcam stack up to one another? First the Brio has a better field of view with it’s three angle presets. So if you want wide, you’ll want the Brio. Where the Streamcam stands out is the video quality. Colors are beautiful and accurate and it produces and overall more pleasing video However, you don’t get 4k recording.

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Additional things to look for in a YouTube camera

You have a lot of different options when it comes to buying a camera for YouTube. From action cameras to your phone to expensive mirrorless cameras. When looking at different cameras take into consideration your needs, budget, the kind of content you’ll be creating as well as the following features:

Flip out screen

You will want a camera with a flip out screen so you can quickly and easily frame yourself. While a lot of YouTubers opt to use a dedicated monitor (as monitors provide a lot of detail as to the quality of the video and what parts are being over exposed) for most content creators a simple built in flip out screen is fine.

This is important because having a screen allows you to easily frame yourself in the shot and makes creating videos more easy and fast. While you can use a monitor, it’s simply excessive if you’re just getting started making videos.

Frame rates

You’ll want to have some flexibility in your frame rate options. Frame rates control how the smooth the video is. Most YouTube creators need 24p, 30p or 60p for presentation style videos. 60p looks the most smooth while 24p or 30p is what you’re most used to watching.

If you want to do slow motion you’ll need a camera that can do 120p in 1080 or 4k for best results. This high frame rate allows you to slow down video to 24p or 30p while maintaining quality.

In general, you’ll want 60 fps for vlogs as that tends to look best when walking and moving the camera around and 30p or 24p for talking head, studio recording style videos where you’re stationary.

Stabilization

Stabilization is important if you’re going to be moving the camera around on a tripod or with your hands. While you can get an expensive gimbal to produce smooth video, gimbals are expensive and bulky. They are not glorified tripods that add stabilization, they are expensive pieces of equipment that need to be calibrated and taken care of.

Instead, as a new video creator you’ll want a camera with built in stabilization. This way you can use your camera on the go without any additional gear as a way to produce walk and talk videos or point of view walking videos. Most action cameras and phones have some sort of digital stabilization and high end mirrorless camera have what is called in body stabilization or IBIS for short.

Sensor size

Sensor size affects the quality of the image as well as the blurry background. The bigger the sensor, the more light is let in to record in much higher detail and the better separation of subject from background you can achieve. Lens makers also typically create higher quality lenses with better aperture.

The highest quality sensor size for any camera that is called “full frame.” However, full frame cameras costs thousands of dollars and their lenses also cost a thousand dollars or more. For most YouTube creators you’re fine with a less expensive camera with a smaller sensor and cheapers lenses.

Autofocus

Auto focus comes in many forms. Some systems work on a contrast based system, others like Canon have a superior dual pixel auto focus. You want autofocus because it makes recording content more easy. The alternative is to manually focus the camera every single time you go to record.

Vlogging

The best vlog cameras are small, light, durable and have good audio, stabilization and a wide field of view. Vlogging typically requires a different camera than what you would use for creating online courses or sit down, talking head videos.

Conclusion

That is it for our guide on the best cameras for studio recording for YouTube. From using cameras for vlogging, to streaming to film making, you have a lot of choices. Make sure to pick the camera that can create the kind of content you want. Don’t think that you need to spend a lot of money to create quality YouTube videos.

For most complete beginners looking to make nice looking and nice sounding 1080P talking head videos the Canon SL3 or M50 are great starter cameras.

*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.