The 10 Best Cameras for Live Streaming in 2021

As live streaming continues to grow in popularity, the competition is tougher and streamers are looking for ways to stand out from the rest. While before the most common camera for streaming was a simple webcam, now regular cameras are used more often due to their higher quality. No matter if you’re a YouTube or a Twitch streamer, here’s the list of the best cameras for live streaming.

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The Most Popular Cameras for Live Streaming

These are the most common choices for streaming, and our favorite ones. But later on in this post you’ll find more options for different needs.

CameraFlip ScreenStabilizationResolutionPrice
Logitech C922
NoNo1080p30
$84.99
Sony a7 III
NoYes2160p120 (4k)
$1,998.00
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
YesNo2160p24 (4k)
$893.94
Sony a6400
YesNo2160p30 (4k)
$998.00
Canon EOS Rebel SL3
YesNo2160p25 (4k)
$599.00

How to Use Any Camera as a Live Streaming Webcam

For the cameras featured in this post, you don’t need a capture card to live stream with them. If you get a new Canon, Sony, or Panasonic camera, or any of the ones in this list, you can stream with them by following these instructions.

However, if you have another camera you want to use for live streaming, you will need to do the following if there’s no native live streaming support for it.

Be it a DSLR, camcorder, or mirrorless camera, you only need a camera with a clean HDMI output and use something like ElGato Cam Link. This capture card will let you stream up to 1080p60 quality.

Alternatively, you could install an app like Camerafi and connect to a camera using either USB or Wi-Fi to start a live stream.

How does it work?

When using a regular camera as a webcam, you don’t have to press the record button. Instead, you are going to stream your camera’s LCD screen. You only need to keep your camera on for as long as the stream lasts.

This prevents damages to the sensor of the camera and bypasses the 29-minutes recording limit that photography cameras have.

This is what also prevents the camera from overheating.

The process for you will be something like this:

  • Install your camera’s brand livestreaming software (more info on this below)
  • Turn the camera on
  • Disable auto turn-off (this is the option that puts the camera to sleep after some idle time).
  • Connect your camera HDMI output to ElGato Cam Link.
  • Connect ELGato Cam Link to your PC through USB.
  • Open and configure you streaming software.

And that’s it! You can start using your camera as a webcam.

Bear in mind that if you’re going to stream for hours, you will need an AC power adaptor for your camera model. This will let you connect your camera to the power outlet directly so you don’t ever run out of battery.

Finally, some cameras like the ones from Panasonic will require you to turn off the overlay so you get a clean image without Meta info on your stream (data like ISO, aperture, etc.). You will find the option to turn it off in the camera settings.

What Cameras Can You Use for Streaming?

If your camera isn’t on any of the lists of compatible products we listed above, you’ll need a camera with all of the following features. Use this info so you understand why we picked these cameras:

1. A camera with CLEAN HDMI output

A camera with simple HDMI output is not enough. Photo credit: PetaPixel

A camera with simple HDMI output is not enough. Since you’re going to stream what your camera shows in its LCD screen, you need the information on the screen to be clean.

What does this mean?

You need a camera that can turn off all the extra information that is normally shown on the screen —ISO, aperture, shooting speed, recording time—, and not all cameras have this option.

2. A camera with unlimited runtime

Most cameras have a limited time that puts the camera to sleep after a while, but you can turn this off in the camera settings. However, some cameras will turn off completely after a certain amount of time, and you can’t deactivate this function. You need a camera that doesn’t do this.

3. A camera that allows you to charge it and keep the screen on

Some cameras won’t allow you to charge it while it’s turned on. You need one that allows you to charge it, be it through USB or with an AC adapter, while the camera is running. Thankfully, most latest cameras allow this.

Best Webcams for Live Streaming

Logitech C922

SensorWebcam
Image Quality1080p30
Weight162g (0.36 lb)
Flip ScreenNo
External Mic PortNo
StabilizationNo
Price$84.99

The Good

  • Most Popular Webcam for content creation
  • 1080p for the lowest price
  • Compatible with tripods

The Bad

  • Only digital zoom

Check on Amazon

If you’re looking to start with streaming, you might want to consider first a cheap webcam that can record 1080p60 video. The previous version, the Logitech C920, was by far the most popular webcam for good reasons. Just imagine it: Full-HD recording for only around $50.

This newer version is almost the same camera, but it comes with some extra apps to help you when live streaming.

This camera is the first option you should consider due to its excellent quality/price relationship that makes it the most popular camera for streaming.

Don’t think that the Logitech C922 webcam is a pushover due to its small size. In fact, it punches way above its weight. It’s designed as a live streaming camera that you can plug into your computer and start streaming right away.

The built-in lens has a field of view of 78 ˚. That’s wide enough for you to move around inside the frame while shooting and yet not be out of frame. The camera has full HD video capabilities at 30 fps and it’s the only webcam on the market to offer true Full-HD for such a low price.

The built-in microphones aren’t really good, but you should know by now that you need a good microphone for any kind of professional live streaming. Combine it with a good USB microphone and you’re good to record with quality that is enough for most people.

Logitech BRIO

The Good

  • f/2.0 aperture lens
  • 4k30p and 1080p60
  • HDR

The Bad

  • Pricey for a webcam

Check on Amazon

With the Logitech BRIO, it is possible to stream with 4k while only using a webcam. This is a pretty decent camera for the price, even though it isn’t cheap.

You get a fast f/2.0 lens and the camera has HDR. This feature allows it to improve exposure in most lighting situations. Basically, you’ll be able to see your face clearly even if it’s darker compared to the background.

And since it uses a fast lens, it can capture lighting better than most webcams.

However, it is not cheap, and you can get a normal camera by spending a few hundred more dollars. But if your budget doesn’t allow for much more, then this is a great choice as long as you’re okay with not being able to move your camera around.

Razer Kiy Pro Streaming Webcam

The Good

  • f/2.0 aperture lens
  • Wide-angle lens
  • 1080p at 60fps
  • Resistant lens
  • HDR

The Bad

  • Pricey for a webcam

Check on Amazon

While, unlike the Logitech BRIO, this camera can’t record in 4k, it is a more durable webcam and it has a wider field of view. This allows it to capture a wider frame, so it’s very handy when used in tight spaces where you can’t get further away from your subjects.

Also, the camera is built with Gorilla Glass, which is one of the strongest types of glasses there are. You can drop it and it will probably be fine. This is why the camera is more expensive than the BRIO even though it can’t record in 4k.

It’s worth the extra money if you don’t plan to stream in 4k anyway since you’ll get a more durable webcam.

However, remember that you can get a cheap mirrorless camera for a few more hundred dollars.

We recommend it if this is the maximum you can spend and you don’t mind using a webcam instead of a normal camera that you can use on the go.

Best Mirrorless for Live Streaming

If you’re looking for more quality, mirrorless cameras are also popular. This is because their main weakness —battery duration—isn’t a big deal when it comes to live streaming from your home/office since you need to connect your camera with an AC power adapter anyway.

You can also get more image quality for your money with a mirrorless since most of them offer 4k recording quality while DSLRs appear to be stuck in 1080p.

Best Sony Camera for Streaming: Sony a7 III

SensorFull-Frame
Image Quality2160p120 (4k)
Weight650g (1.43 lb)
Flip ScreenNo
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationYes
Price$1,998.00

The Good

  • Best price if you’re looking for the best for streaming but nothing more
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Small but great in low-light

The Bad

  • A bit expensive and heavy
  • Low battery life

Check on Amazon

This one is especially good for low-light situations due to it having a full-frame sensor. So this is the best option you have you’re recording indoors and don’t have a lot of light to work with, like in a church or any dark room.

It’s not a cheap camera, but if you need the best camera to live stream, it offers the best offer for your money.

Even its autofocus during video is sometimes better than the higher-end A7R IV. It can record 4k video at up to 120fps. The full-frame sensor means that you won’t see a difference in image quality even if you’re not streaming from a professional studio.

If you’ve wondered how some cameras do that blurry background effect —Bokeh—, a big part of it is due to the full-frame sensor.

You could also go for the Mark II version if you want to save even more money, although I feel like the better autofocus in this new version is worth the price difference. Also, the Mark II can only record 1080p60, so around $500 more for this version seems like a good deal.

Panasonic GH5

SensorMicro 4/3
Image Quality2160p60 (4k)
Weight725g (1.59 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationYes
PricePrice not available

The Good

  • Top recording quality at 4k60p
  • Made for video (flip screen, IS, mic jack, hot shoe)
  • 5-axis and dual image stabilization
  • 180fps slow-motion

The Bad

  • Smaller sensor than other brands
  • Heavy as a DSLR (1.6lbs)

Check on Amazon

The GH5 is a really good more affordable second option if you’re not worried about recording in low light, but you still want great video quality.

This is due to the smaller sensor. The quality can be just as good as the Sony, but it will decrease fast in low light.

Because of its native 4K video recording without crop and a series of other features including superior weather sealing, this is an excellent camera for streaming.

No cropping when recording 4K videos definitely suggests that the GH5 oversamples the video and then downscales it to fit the 4K requirements. This takes care of some of the false coloring and moiré issues.

The GH5 is one of the best cameras in the market to do serious video work. It can output 4:2:2 10 bit output to an external monitor or recorder. A practical solution for recording videos without the artifacts that are a fall out of compression technologies used in ordinary cameras.

Plus, the presence of HDMI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth means streaming is never an issue.

Read the full review: Panasonic GH5.

Best Canon Camera for Streaming: Canon EOS M50 Mark II

SensorAPS-C
Image Quality2160p24 (4k)
Weight387g (0.85 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationNo
Price$893.94

The Good

  • 4k recording
  • Good for low light
  • Lots of vlog-friendly features

The Bad

  • Cropped 4k recording
  • Relatively short battery life
  • No in-body stabilization

Check on Amazon

This is a camera that most people will find affordable and that can record high-quality 4k video.

It has an APS-C sensor, meaning that is almost as large as a full-frame, but it’s still an affordable size. This makes it pretty good for low-light situations, especially if you use a fast lens.

The Canon M50 is one of my favorite recommendations for YouTube and even vlogging in general because of its almost unbeatable price/quality relationship.

You get a 4k camera that has a flip screen, external mic input, and that can stream without needing a capture card or anything extra —it even charges with the USB.

You can even stream in vertical video mode if you want to upload to social media like Instagram.

This is a good deal for anyone looking to get higher streaming quality than a webcam but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Take into account that the 4k mode will add a 1.5x crop to the image, which will make the image look 1.5 times more zoomed in. This is annoying for vloggers that want to show their surroundings, but it’s not a problem if you can keep your subject away from the camera.

Panasonic G95

SensorMicro 4/3
Image Quality2160p30 (4k)
Weight484g (1.06 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationYes
Price$749.66

The Good

  • 4k video for a fair price
  • Made for video: flip screen, hot shoe, mic jack
  • Lightweight
  • Stabilization comparable to the Gh5’s

The Bad

  • Smaller sensor than other brands

Check on Amazon

The Panasonic DMC G95 is a micro four-thirds system mirrorless camera capable of 4k up to 30 fps.

It has excellent in-body image stabilization and it’s compatible with Dual I.S lenses. Just like the Panasonic GH5, it allows it to work together with compatible lenses to bring arguably the best stabilization possible in a camera.

However, bear in mind that this one is its biggest selling point. If you’re just going to use it to stream from home on a tripod, you won’t take advantage of it.

You can go for something else that is cheaper and lacks stabilization — like the G7.

The fully-articulated touchscreen at the back of the camera is really useful when it comes to recording yourself. Especially, when you are a one-man shooting team.

As a cheaper alternative, you can try the Panasonic G7. The real main difference is the lack of image stabilization in the G7, which as I said before, is one thing you can spare if you want to use this camera to stream from home.

Sony a6400

SensorAPS-C
Image Quality2160p30 (4k)
Weight403g (1.45 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationNo
Price$998.00

The Good

  • Top 4k quality
  • APS-C sensor
  • Mic jack, IS, hot shoe
  • Small and lightweight

The Bad

  • No in-body stabilization

Check on Amazon

If you want a similar camera to the Panasonic G95, but with a larger sensor that makes it better for low-light recording, better Bokeh effect — blurry background —, but without the stabilization, this one is the choice.

And even though it rocks an APS-C sensor instead of a micro four-thirds, this model is actually smaller. So that’s a nice additional feature to have without any sacrifice.

And it can record 4kp30 with a crop of 1.2, or without crop in 24p or 25p. Not bad for a camera in this price range. If you really care about 4k quality, you’ll prefer this over the Canon M50.

Furthermore, the autofocus this camera has is one of the best for video. It is a mirrorless that is very frequently chosen for video work due to this.

Remember that stabilization is not needed if you’ll be streaming from home and while using a tripod, so this might be the best choice for your money if you only want it for that.

Read our full review of the Sony a6400.

Honorable mentions:

The only reason I didn’t include the following cameras was just due to space and wanting to feature other kinds of cameras. However, I find them extremely useful for streaming:

  • Sony a7S Mark II: Cheaper alternative to the a7RIII that was made for video.
  • Panasonic G7: Cheaper alternative to the Panasonic G95 without Image Stabilization.

Best DSLR for live streaming

DSLRs were extremely popular but they’ve been slightly put aside by mirrorless cameras. The problem with them is that their main advantage over mirrorless—battery life— isn’t used for streaming. After all, you will need to connect your camera to an outlet if you want to stream for hours.

Still, if you want to get a DSLR for streaming, here are some of the best ones:

Canon EOS 90D

SensorAPS-C
Image Quality2160p30 (4k)
Weight701g (1.54 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationNo
Price$1,199.00

The Good

  • Made for video (mic jack, flip screen, hot shoe)
  • Really good autofocus
  • Good battery life
  • Light for a DSLR

The Bad

  • No in-body stabilization
  • Heavier than most mirrorless

Check on Amazon

The EOS 90D is a 33 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor-powered camera. This is the main advantage of using DSLR and mirrorless cameras: their sensors are much larger than those of camcorders. This makes them great when recording in poor lighting conditions.

One of the critical advantages of this camera is the fully articulated rear LCD touchscreen. This allows you to turn the LCD screen facing you giving you the ability to see exactly how accurate the framing is without having to do guesswork. Comes in handy when you are basically a one-man recording crew.

The EOS 90D captures 4k videos at 30 fps and comes in with both built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

The previous version, Canon EOS 80D, was capable of streaming with a clean HDMI output as long as you turned off the autofocus.

But now, the Canon EOS 90D has clean HDMI output even with autofocus. This is great news for DSLR lovers, and the reason why we’re featuring the camera here.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

SensorAPS-C
Image Quality2160p25 (4k)
Weight449g (0.99 lb)
Flip ScreenYes
External Mic PortYes
StabilizationNo
Price$599.00

The Good

  • Made for video (mic jack, flip screen, hot shoe)
  • APS-C sensor
  • Fair price

The Bad

  • No in-body stabilization

Check on Amazon

The Canon EOS SL3 is an entry-level DSLR camera. It is powered by an APS-C CMOS sensor and comes with Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing technology.

If you want to start with a DSLR, the Rebel SL3 has just what you need without asking for a ridiculous price, so it is perfect for starters that are looking for a DSLR.

For a cheaper price, you could get a mirrorless camera like the Panasonic G7 with a slightly smaller sensor, but that can record in 4k.

However, this camera gives you slightly better video quality, Bluetooth and almost 3x the battery life.

It’s also the lightest and smallest DSLR made by Canon, and its size is comparable to the Panasonic G7’s, as it’s only 39g heavier.

How to Pick a Streaming Camera for Your Situation

There are some features that you may or may not need depending on how and where you want to use your camera.

Image Stabilization

If you’re planning to do some handheld live streaming, you will need image stabilization so your image looks smooth. Even if you have a good pulse, every millimetric movement will be noticeable unless you use a tripod. Like this:

camera on a tripod

If you set a camera on a tripod and record from there, you don’t need a camera with stabilization.

Image stabilization comes in various types. The best type is in-body stabilization, so look for this if you want to hold your camera while streaming.

Low-Light Performance

A camera needs a lot more light than us to “see well” and capture high-quality images. So if you’re trying to use them in a place without a lot of lighting, the quality will suffer a lot.

Places with low light: churches, house rooms, and almost any indoor place.

If you want to record in a place like this, you will need at least one of the following:

  • Option 1 – a good lighting kit with at least 2 softboxes: This is similar to the ones used by YouTubers and professional photographers. It’s the cheapest option, but not always possible.
  • Option 2 – a fast lens: A fast lens means that it has a large aperture that allows the camera to capture more light. You can tell how fast a lens is by looking at the f number in the specifications. A lens of f/1.8 or less is considered fast and luminous.
  • Option 3 – a camera with a large sensor: The most expensive option is also the most effective. With a large sensor, the camera is able to capture more light and process it more efficiently. There are three standard camera sensor sizes, in order from larger to smaller: Full-Frame, APS-C and Micro Four Thirds.

Eye-Tracking Autofocus

This is something that anyone wanting to use video needs to worry about.

You want a camera preferably with eye-tracking focus. This is the best type of AF for filming people. This makes sure that the camera is tracking your eyes and it tries to keep the focus on it all the time.

You don’t want a camera that hunts for the right thing to focus all over the place and makes you look blurry. Thankfully, all of the cameras in this post have acceptable autofocus.

These three are the most important things you have to look for before choosing a camera for streaming. The rest of the things are not as important and are up to your budget.

Is a 4k Camera Worth it for Streaming?

Though the world is moving towards 4K / UHD, full HD still rules the market in terms of the maximum available videos. Actually, you can’t really output 4k quality to a stream yet.

However, when you set your camera to 4k and use ElGato’s Cam Link to output a 1080p image, you will still use a downscaled 4k image. You will still get slightly better quality than 1080p even though you aren’t really uploading a 4k image.

Using a 4k camera is worth it, but it isn’t necessary either. You can go for it if your budget allows it.

Update (September 2021): How to Stream With Any New Canon, Sony and Panasonic Camera

It used to be that no matter what camera you had, you needed a capture card to stream your camera’s display to the internet.

That’s no longer true for selected models from Canon, Sony, and Panasonic. Now, these companies have released apps that will allow you to stream with their most popular cameras.

So, if you have one of these models, you don’t need to get a capture card. The cameras I reviewed in this post are compatible with these streaming apps and don’t require a capture card.

Here’s how to do it with each brand:

Canon

  1. Download the Canon EOS Webcam Utility (compatible with cameras Canon T6 and upwards, full list here). 
  2. Connect your camera to your computer through USB
  3. Open the EOS Webcam Utility and select it as the image source in your streaming software.
  4. If you’re stuck, this video guides you through every step.

Panasonic

  1. Download the LUMIX Webcam Software (Beta). Compatible with LUMIX models: DC-S1H, DC-S1R, DC-S1, DC-S5, DC-GH5S, DC-GH5, DC-G9 and DC-G100/G110.
  2. Connect your camera to your computer, turn it on and select the Tether option in the camera menu
  3. Open the LUMIX Tether program and select the options that you want. Use it as the source in your streaming software.

Sony

  1. Download the Imaging Edge Webcam software and follow the instructions for your camera model. You’ll find the list of compatible models in that same website.