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)
- Sony Alpha 7S iii – The best camera on the market
- Canon 90D – A mid-range “do everything” camera
- Sony ZV-E10 – The best cheap YouTube camera
- Fujifilm X-S10 – A great overall mirrorless camera
- Canon R6 – High quality mirrorless camera
- Canon SL3 – Mini 90D with no useable 4k
- Lumix GH5 – The beginner film makers YouTube camera
- Canon 1DX Mark iii – The best DSLR ever made
- The best vlogging cameras
- Best cameras for streaming
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
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.
- 4k recording up to an hour.
- Twin card SD card slots (essential for professionals as you’ll always have a backup of your work).
- 5 axis in body stabilization so you can vlog and do walk and talk videos.
- A great selection of premium lenses.
- Articulating touch screen.
- Only established content creators should get this camera as it’s overwhelming for beginners.
- The body and lens selection is very expensive and cost prohibitive.
Most popular lens:
- 18-35 f/2.8 G Master – This lens on a full frame like the A7S iii is wide, has good shallow depth of field and can zoom in enough to diversify your shots.
Canon 90D – A mid-range “do everything” camera
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.
- Can shoot 4k uncropped.
- Ergonomic and comfortable to use.
- Can record at 24p, 30p and 60p.
- Flip out touch screen.
- Excellent audio preamps.
- Articulating touch screen
- No stabilization. Not ideal for vlogging and on the go recording.
- APSC sensor, the 90D is not full frame.
- It’s a DSLR body, technology that has been replaced by mirrorless bodies
- Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 – This is the best lens ever made for APSC cameras. The 1.8 aperture allows for that blurry background look. The 18 mm length is also perfect as well for talking head shots.
- 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 – A super wide angle lens. If you want that wide angle look, this lens does exactly that. However, everything will be in focus with no blurry background.
Sony ZV-E10 – The best cheap YouTube camera
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.
- Headphone port to test audio.
- Can use an external mic.
- 4k 30p without an additional crop.
- Eye autofocus in 4k that works well enough.
- Unlimited record time unlike Canon’s 29 minute limit.
- Interchangeable lenses and can use e-mount lenses.
- Articulating touch screen.
- Stabilization is mediocre on this camera.
- Lens selection is limited and this camera is ideal for those looking to vlog.
- APSC sensor, you’re not getting full frame at this price point.
- Sigma 16mm f/1.4 – A wide angle lens that has a low aperture for that blurry background. Record in 4k with this lens and you get quality on par with more expensive systems.
Fujifilm X-S10 – A great overall mirrorless camera
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.
- In body stabilization for vlogging.
- 4k uncropped recording for quality studio recording.
- Flip out screen and external microphone jack.
- Poor battery performance if you’re going to be out vlogging.
- 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 – The kit lens that comes with the camera body is surprisingly good. 15mm is great for vlogging and in studio recording and 45mm is enough zoom to enable different styles of shooting.
Canon R6 – High quality mirrorless camera
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.
- 4k video, no crop and no over-heating.
- C-log is included.
- Excellent stills camera.
- Wide selection of high quality lenses.
- Full frame lens.
- Articulating touch screen
- Can not shoot in 8K like the R6.
- Less megapixels than the R6.
- 15-35mm f/2.8 – This lens on the R6 allows for both a wide angle look with a blurry background and the ability to zoom in when needed.
Canon SL3 – Mini 90D with no useable 4k
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.
- Best price and performance option on the list. A great beginner camera to get started creating content.
- Works with EF lens mount by default, no expensive additional speed booster needed.
- Flip out screen, beginner oriented menu.
- The video quality is on par with the more expensive Canon 90D.
- Excellent dual pixel auto focus.
- Clean HDMI output so it makes for a solid choice for streaming.
- No stabilization, video footage will be shaky if you walk and talk with this camera.
- APSC sensor.
- 4k has an additional crop factor for a 2.4x total crop factor, making any shoot too tight on the face.
- No autofocus in 4k which is a huge deal breaker.
- 18-55 f/4-5.6 zoom lens – This is the stock lens that comes with the SL3. It’s a small starter lens that is acceptable for anyone looking to record 1080P videos.
- 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 – This body uses the same lenses as the 90D. This small, light wide angle lens is a perfect fit for the small and light Canon SL3.
Lumix GH5 – The beginner film makers YouTube camera
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.
- Excellent in-body stabilization
- 4k at 60 frames a second
- Cine D Color profile
- Video centric camera
- Dual card slots
- Articulating touch screen
- Low light performance is poor due to the sensor size. But if you’re not making videos at night this is a non issue.
- No log profile included.
- Micro 4 3rds sensor, smaller than APSC sensors!
- 12-35mm f/2.8 – This is a must have lens for this system. A great zoom lens for recording yourself and the ability to punch in on a subject when needed.
Canon 1DX Mark iii – The best DSLR ever made
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.
- Advanced and feature rich for film making an photography. There are no limitations with this camera.
- Big, heavy and expensive.
- 24-70mm f/2.8 – An incredible lens for a top of the line camera. 24mm on a full frame is quite wide and ideal for recording yourself, you can also zoom into 70mm for tighter shots.
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
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.
- Very stable, 4k video capabilities.
- Small, pocketable, durable and light.
- Multiple recording angles. Everything from super wide to linear.
- Built in front screen for framing yourself.
- GoPro’s are waterproof which tend to make the audio average.
- Battery life is a little over an hour.
Osmo Pocket – The best point of view camera
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.
- High quality video on par with the ZV-1, except in a pocketable form factor.
- Stabilized video that is enjoyable to watch.
- Small and can actually fit in your pocket. Ideal for point of view, walk and talk vlogs.
- Wide angle adapter essential for vlogging.
- The native 24mm is a bit close on the face for vlogging.
- Needs a lot of adapters and accessories to make it work optimally.
Sony ZV1 – The value vlogging camera
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.
- Impressive image quality and can blur the background slightly.
- Flip out screen to frame yourself.
- Shoots in 4k, can do slow motion and has a zoom lens.
- Has a dedicated tripod to enhance it’s usefulness.
- 24mm is tight on the face. If you want a wide angle look you won’t get it with this camera.
- Video footage is a bit shaky and not smooth like other vlogging options such as the GoPro.
Must have accessory
- ZV-1 tripod – This is designed specifically for use with this camera and comes with a nice selection of on-board buttons to control the camera with ease.
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.
- Boss stabilization for smooth video.
- Excellent, best in action camera class audio.
- Ability to shoot in 4k at 30 FPS and 1080 at 60 FPS.
- Multiple viewing angles including wide, medium and narrow.
- Small, light and fits in your pocket.
- Video quality is good, but newer action cameras are slightly better.
- Wind noise ruins the audio, you’ll need a small wind muff.
- They are hard to find as Sony no longer makes this camera but the demand for it is high.
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.
- Excellent price point for a good vlogging camera.
- Wide angle that is ideal for vlogging.
- Can shoot in 4k if you need to.
- Good audio and a built in screen to view yourself.
- I’m not a fan of the color profile of this camera. It needs a bit of grading to get things to look right.
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.
- It’s a phone so you’ll always have it on you.
- Wide angle camera and good front facing camera for narration shots.
- Built in iMovie to edit your vlogs.
- It’s your phone and you’ll most likely have sensitive data on it.
- You run the risk of breaking your phone or having it stolen if you’re vlogging with it.
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
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.
- 1080P webcam.
- Good built in audio and video.
- Works by plug and play and is compatible with streaming software.
- No 4k recording.
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.
- 4k recording (no records in 4k for streaming yet but it’s good to future proof).
- Up to 90 FPS.
- Three built in angle presets.
- As close as you can get to DSLR/mirrorless quality video.
- Price point for this webcam is high.
- Poor white balance and the video clips will need color correction (which you can do in the settings.
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.
- Good video quality that’s color accurate.
- Up to 60 FPS recording.
- Helpful software for customizing the colors like all Logitech webcams.
- No 4k recording.
- Significantly more expensive than the C922 but only slightly better in video quality.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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