The 15 Best Youtube Cameras [+Infographic]
What makes a good YouTube camera? The truth is not the most expensive. If you don’t choose wisely, you might spend $1000+ on a totally useless camera for you.
See, the camera market is HUGE. And if you don’t know what to look for, you are going to get overwhelmed pretty soon and you might just make a bad decision
Just from the start, you will need to decide between a bunch of camera types. There are DSLRs, camcorders, point & shoot, action cameras, mirrorless and webcams. And that’s not all, you can find hundreds of models of each one. Some cameras are completely useless for some YouTube channels, and it doesn’t matter if they are expensive or not.
That’s why I decided to write this article: to point you in the right direction from the start. Let’s start with a simple infographic that will get rid of thousands of camera models for you:
Infographic: What Camera Should You Get for Your Youtube Channel?
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If you want more details about each camera type, keep scrolling down. I’ll talk more about each one down below, and I will show you the best options you can choose for each one.
And if you are still not sure about which one to choose after that, remember: if you got the money for it, you’ll never be wrong with a mirrorless. I only wouldn’t use them for action vlogging or gaming. They will give you top DSLR quality and the luggability of a compact.
Now let’s see the top models that others YouTubers are often using.
Table of Contents
Top 15 Best Youtube Cameras by Type
Top 3 DSLR Cameras for YouTube.
There’s no way around it: DSLRs are heavy. However, there are good reasons for this. These cameras were the professional tools photographers needed. They have a good sensor size for low light —the most common size is APS-C, while the most expensive ones are full-frames—, they are highly customizable with their manual mode and have detachable lenses and good battery life —this latter feature is not so true for the entry-level DSLRs.
These cameras are really versatile thanks to the ability to upgrade their lenses. Many say that it is more important a good lens than a good camera —I’m also a believer of this. When you get a new lens, you will be able to use it with any other DSLR from the same brand, and even with some of the other brands if you get the right lens adaptor. This is a huge advantage and the reason why DSLRs are still the main choice for filmmakers and photographers, even though the fully manual mode is getting available in more types of high-end cameras.
Bear in mind that they have a slight overheating problem. They can overheat when you record for hours non-stop, and they can only record 29-minute clips. What this means is that the camera will turn off to chill for a bit. After waiting for a while you will be able to continue recording. This is more often in some DSLRs than others and it’s usually easy to overcome.
Their first Rebel camera to make it big was the T3i. It was an extremely popular choice for makeup channels since it offered great video quality and beautiful colors for the best price. Since then, this lineup has become the main choice as a video DSLR for starters.
The current model is the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. After the T3i we got lots of disappointments with the following models, but lately, Canon has stepped up their game once more.
The new T7i comes with a new generation processor and a sensor that can deliver images really close to the more expensive 80D.
Additionally, it has a pretty decent autofocus for the price.
As for the rest, there’s not much we could say that it lacks. It comes with just the basics that you would want to record high-quality videos for YouTube, including wireless connection, flip screen, and external mic input.
It is not the camera to go for if you want it to be extremely sharp and trust 100% in his autofocus during video —for this, you can check the higher end 80D—, but most YouTubers will find it more than enough for what they want to achieve.
We could say that the negative points are its price and battery life. If you won’t miss the latest processing technology from Canon, you could perfectly go for one of the cheaper previous models. The T5i or T6i will still give you just what you need for a slightly cheaper price.
For many years, the best DSLR specifically made for video was the Canon EOS 70D.
It was just recently in 2016 that Canon decided to finally give an update to their 2013 mid-range video DSLR —mainly because they now got true competitors for video, like Sony and Panasonic.
Now the 80D stands as the new king of mid-range DSLRs for video.
It’s probable that this camera will live under its predecessor’s shadows for a while. But it is also highly likely that people will end up forgetting about the 70D because of the new technological advantages.
This camera has a new processor and sensor, increased battery life, more focus points, better dynamic range and a couple more advantages that semi-pro filmmakers will find more meaningful than most YouTubers.
If you’re asking if you should choose this one or the T7i, the answer is simple:
If you need to record short films or need to shoot fast movement, the 80D is going to be almost necessary.
Also, if you simply want slightly better image quality, more recording time and overall better performance, the 80D will always be a better camera than the T7i.
And if you think the 80D is too much, Canon has lowered its 70D’s price considerably, which is still superior to the T7i although it’s older technology.
Remember how the 70D was so good that it didn’t have competition for around 3 years? The same happened to the 5D… but for almost 5 years.
Finally, Canon recently decided to bring their flag camera to the modern times, mainly by giving it 4k recording, touchscreen, GPS, time-lapse and wireless connection.
However, this camera is a complete overkill for 90% of YouTube channels out there. This is a DSLR made for professional photographers. It is the main DSLR used to capture professional shots, be it in weddings, concerts or any kind of event that requires professional results.
It has great autofocus, huge dynamic range, long battery duration, multiple memory card slots, huge ISO range and a full-frame sensor. And these are just a few of the features that make this camera the best for pros.
However, in scenarios where you have a lot of control —like recording from home with your own lighting setup— you are not going to take advantage of its fullest potential. Although it will still help you get top-notch image quality.
This camera is a professional tool that the serious photographers need, so it’s probably a bit too much for your channel. I’ve still seen a few YouTubers own this camera and use it for their content, but they are mostly people involved with big brands and they have already made YouTube their career.
So please, if you want to go for it, at least learn about exposure and how to use ISO, lens aperture, and shutter speed to get the best quality out of a picture.
Use this camera in auto mode and you will earn the hate of any photographer that gets to see it.
Top 3 Compact Cameras for YouTube
Compact cameras are the main choice for vloggers for many reasons. The first and most important one is their luggability. Taking a DSLR camera around can be a real pain in the arse, especially if you got a full kit of lenses to take with you. However, the high-end compact cameras come with non-detachable lenses that are of extremely high-quality for their price and come with a good zoom to work with.
These cameras are also optimized for personal use. A lot of them come with a flip screen, good autofocus, and optical image stabilization to let you record without getting a shaky video. The high-end ones also come with full manual mode so you can personalize your shooting like any other DSLR.
These cameras are so small that almost always lack an external microphone port, which is the main disadvantage for vloggers. Still, there are ways around it by getting an external recorder and a microphone you can connect to it. They are still the number one choice for vlogs even though they have really small sensors. They might not give you the best quality in all situations —especially in low light—, but they certainly do their job and most people don’t notice if you are recording with a DSLR or a high-end Point & Shoot.
Canon’s G7 X is a very common choice between vloggers. It all comes down to it being very small and easy to carry around, while also having an articulating screen and way above-average performance in low light for a P&S.
Probably the biggest value you get is its incredibly high-quality lens.
I don’t think there’s any detachable 24-100mm f/1.8 lens for sale on the market. The closest I can find is the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 and it goes on sale for no less than a $1000. However, this camera doesn’t hit the 4 digits price mark. This is a top quality lens for a bargain price.
This makes the G7X at least the top 3 compact cameras on the market.
However, not everything is good: the downside for video is that the autofocus motor is quite loud, so you will be hearing it in your videos.
You can get rid of this by getting an external recorder and an external mic to go with it, so you can have top audio quality and video at the same time.
For the rest of the features, there are really not many complaints you can make as a YouTuber: it has great image stabilization, good low-light performance for a compact and articulating screen. It only lacks the external mic port, but that’s just a common problem with this type of camera.
Of course, you will have to give up a few things for this superior resolution quality.
The Canon camera seems to perform a bit better in terms of getting less shaky videos, and its autofocus seems a bit more reliable. Also, I like its rubber grip, which makes it harder to slip off my butter hands.
Nevertheless, the value you get as a YouTuber is really good, especially because of that yummy 4k for such price.
Bear in mind that this camera captures more light than the Canon when you use its lens at its widest capacity. You can record at 24mm with a f/1.4 aperture instead of f/1.8 like the Canon. This makes it slightly better in low light.
However, that advantage is gone as soon as you zoom in a bit because the lens becomes a lot slower. On the other hand, the G7 X doesn’t get that as slow as you zoom in.
This is a bit technical, but all you need to know is that the LX10 is better in low light but only when recording at 24mm, which is when it’s completely zoomed out.
Also, its autofocus motor isn’t as noisy as the G7 X’s, so it is a better option if you hate the idea of using an external microphone —although if you are a YouTuber, you should NEVER hate this idea, but alright.
While the LX10 has top recording quality, its autofocus isn’t very good. On the other hand, while the G7X can’t record in 4k, its autofocus and stabilization are great. This Sony is the best way to combine the best of both, but it is also the most expensive option of the three.
It can record 4kp30 like the LX10 but has a reliable and fast autofocus, similarly to the G7X II. The camera is completely pocketable and can be carried anywhere.
The most original feature it offers is the ability to record slow-motion at 960fps. This allows you to record extremely slow-motion video to bring some creativity to your vlogs.
The colors achievable by the camera look extremely real. If you’re looking for realism, this Sony will give you a less cartoonish color profile than the Canon G7X.
Still, it’s not like this camera outperforms the last two cameras in every way. For example, the Canon G7X does a better job at keeping the exposure clear. This Sony tends to make things a bit darker than they should be. This is why I prefer using this camera in manual exposure mode for the most part.
The Canon might still be a better option for newbies, and it makes sense since that’s the most common choice vloggers make.
Top 3 Mirrorless YouTube Cameras
Mirrorless are very much like a small DSLR. They come in the small package of a compact but with a big DSLR sensor, so they usually lack an external microphone port and good battery life because of lack of space. There are some exceptions, like Panasonic cameras; for example, they made the decision to make their sensors just a bit smaller to be able to include external mic ports for their best mirrorless models.
Mirrorless had a lot of problems in the beginning, and that’s why DSLRs are still a thing. Issues like electronic viewfinder lag and serious overheating problems were a big deal breaker for photographers and filmmakers. However, in 2017 most of these problems have been overcome and it’s just a matter of time before mirrorless end up replacing DSLRs — at least that’s what I think.
Right now mirrorless cameras have similar overheating problems to DSLRs and they can shut down after a couple recording hours, but this is easy to overcome by letting them chill for a bit while turned off. They are still used for many YouTube channels and they are the best option if you want a DSLR you can easily use for daily vlogging.
The Panasonic G7 seems like the perfectly balanced YouTube camera, at least for me. Reading about cameras and trying some out for years, I feel like this one comes the closest to being perfect for this job.
The reason is that since Panasonic has focused effort in giving their mirrorless exceptional performance for video, you get a lot of value for your money if you are a YouTuber.
The camera comes with the basics to be considered a camera made for recording: articulating screen, image stabilization, and external microphone port.
It can record 4k, and it’s cheaper than some of the top compact cameras on this list, although it isn’t as small — it still isn’t a pain to carry around.
Compared to the rest of the mirrorless in here, its sensor is a bit smaller, so the performance in low light is not as good as its competitors here.
However, the low light performance won’t affect your quality unless you are recording at night and without lighting. Its sensor isn’t as small as a compact camera, so it still performs pretty well and above average. It is just a small disadvantage when compared to other mirrorless cameras.
Another downside is that it feels like the build materials are made of pretty cheap plastic. But the reason for this is that the camera has an extremely low price for all the features that it includes, so I guess that’s what Panasonic decided to sacrifice.
Still, I think this one is the best mirrorless —generally speaking— for YouTube. It has absolutely everything you could ask for this job, and I don’t think I’ll keep making list without this mirrorless included, at least when it comes to YouTube equipment.
The Sony a5100 isn’t a new camera. However, until the Panasonic G7 was released, it seemed like the best camera for YouTubers, and it is still one of the best options you can go for in 2017.
This Sony is a really well-priced camera that has amazing colors, good performance in low light and great 1080p video for the price. On the other hand, the Panasonic offers 4k — which you probably don’t need for YouTube—, touchscreen, electronic viewfinder and external mic port but not as good low-light performance.
Choosing between the two is just a matter of asking what you prefer to sacrifice. If you’re ok with not being able to connect your mic to your camera, you can go for the Sony for a bit better performance.
You can also find another way to record your audio using an external recorder and still go for the Sony. But if you want the easiness of being able to connect your mic to the camera and not needing to sync audio and video during the edition, then the Panasonic is the best option.
Both have really good image stabilization and their LCD screen turns 180º for you to be able to watch yourself while recording. So, in the end it comes to what is more important for you: indoors performance and not relying so much on lighting, or being able to record better audio directly to your video files.
The Sony a6500 is probably one of the best mirrorless that have been ever made. There are of course higher end mirrorless for video like the A7SII, but this one shows incredibly high quality for its price tag. Sadly it falls short in something that is a big deal for many vloggers.
I think the most difficult thing about mirrorless cameras is that they usually don’t come with a microphone port, and when they do, they compromise a bit their video capacities. However, the A6500 has an amazing balance. It not only has an external mic port; it shoots incredible video, even in 4k.
Its autofocus is good for videos that don’t involve extremely fast-moving objects, and its 5-axis image stabilization is perfect for vlogging; it will make all video while walking around —and even running—, really stable.
Its downsides are mainly due to its LCD screen. First the fact that the articulating screen can’t make a 180º turn is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of vloggers.
Secondly, its touchscreen for some reason doesn’t feel as responsive as the modern systems on our touchscreen phones.
Of all the cameras I talk about on this post, this is the only one without a completely articulating screen. But I still had to put it here because the quality is just really good, and I know that some YouTubers out there won’t mind this.
I like to recommend it for vloggers that also want a really good photographic camera. The lack of articulating screen is something that you can work with. As long as you use a wide-angle lens you will be able to do it without the articulating screen — it still is a shame and something we will certainly miss.
Top 2 Camcorders for YouTube
Camcorders are dad’s favorite camera. They are made for recording in the open air when lighting is not lacking and can record for long hours without the overheating problems that DSLRs and mirrorless have. And this is exactly when you should go for one of these.
Their small sensor is a big issue for people looking for the best recording quality. Remember that camcorders are made for the family videos. However, bear in mind that there are some good high-end options, especially from Canon. These camcorders are special and they offer a bigger sensor and really decent quality that can be compared to a DSLR. However, for this to happen you will probably need good lighting — a couple photography lamps will do.
I really like to recommend these if you are going to record for a lot of hours in one session, like gamers that want more quality than the achievable with a webcam.
Canon offers a collection of professional camcorders with their flag ships XA30and XA35. However, the HF G40 is their main offer to prosumers. The reason is that it offers very similar quality, but it’s much easier to carry around without the XLR Audio Inputs, which are used for studio-quality external microphones.
I’ve seen the previous HF G40 models used in a good amount of YouTube channels, and even on some streams, like Annemunition.
It’s not a cheap camcorder, but it also isn’t like most camcorders out there.
Even though I must say that I hate using these cameras, the HF G40 is an exception because it gets rid of the most annoying problems they have. I mean, it still has a very small sensor, but it works well in low light.
This is a very big deal; remember that the major issue with camcorders is low-light performance. That’s why this is a camcorder I can use without many regrets and openly recommend.
Additionally, it’s really good to have two slots for SD cards if you need long sessions, it comes with WiFi, it is surprisingly small and has an external mic input and a tripod screw.
As for the downside: it still isn’t as good in low light as a mirrorless or DSLR, or any camera with an APS-C sensor. Bear in mind you are paying over a thousand bucks for a small sensor. The value you get doesn’t seem as good as what you get with an 80D for the same money.
Still, if you really want a camcorder because you can trust it won’t overheat for really long sessions while keeping top production quality —and you have good lighting—, this is the camera I’d recommend first.
It performs decently well in low light, as it has a larger sensor than most camcorders —even larger than the G40—, and it comes with everything you need as a YouTuber/Vlogger while performing pretty well than anything new found under a thousand bucks.
In terms of image stabilization and autofocus, it is a very reliable camera to take with you, and its size is great for this purpose.
You will find on Amazon that there are some 4k options for this camera, but I don’t think it is necessary to go for it. The price to record 4k is not worth at this moment, and this is truer when it comes to YouTube channels, where a lot of people watch on lower quality because of their internet connection.
With this camera, you can record on 1080p up to 120fps —which allows really nice slow motion captures—, and that is going to be more than enough for most people in terms of image resolution.
Downside? Its battery life is quite short for a camcorder, so you are probably going to need a spare.
As for more camcorder recommendations for YouTube, I wouldn’t go too far into this category. The last recommendation I can give is that the Canon VIXIA R800 is the last, cheapest option for you. It offers really good value for its low price, but since this is a “top best” list, I won’t go too deep into it.
Top 2 Action Cameras for YouTube
Action vlogging, and everything that is filmed outside your house, cries for a wide-angle lens.
This type of lens will allow you to record wide shots, so it’s great when holding the camera and recording yourself while walking around.
There is no doubt that the best brand out there for action cameras is GoPro. There is just something about these cameras that make a lot of people want them.
I know A LOT of people that think this camera is the ultimate recording device, and so they will buy it for any purpose. This is a big mistake. GoPro is made for shoots that are impossible with another kind of camera, mainly because of their size and rugged build.
They are made for very particular environments. And these environments do not include calmly walking while talking to the camera.
That’s why looking at video recorded by these cameras for too long can make you dizzy. Their sound is utterly awful, and the colors look really cold—mainly because they are made to record under water, where light is naturally bluish.
However, the ability to show your perspective through a wide-angle lens located on your head is unachievable by any other camera. This is just gold for people that do incredible stuff and want to show it to other people.
You just have to know what this camera is made for. If you use it for that purpose, it will be the best buy you’ll ever make. However, if you just want to get it to record your typical daily vlogs, you will be highly disappointed.
Do not buy it for the wide-angle lens. You can have a normal camera with many useful features and much higher quality in both day and night with a wide-angle lens.
The HERO5 is the latest version from the action camera king GoPro. It allows you to record 4k video while literally wearing a wide-angle lens that is rugged and waterproof.
It comes with improved image quality, an electronic viewfinder on its larger touchscreen and of course, a few hardware and software tweaks. You can also connect an external mic to it by using a USB-C 3.5mm adapter.
GoPro also offers some smaller cameras that could be useful depending on what you need it for. They are called the Session lineup and are made for people that need a particularly small camera.
Still, their main flagship is the GoPro HERO5 Black, since it is the best balanced and works best for most people.
The two main reasons:
The friendly price and very similar quality.
I think GoPro is going through that phase where brands start to overprice their products a bit because they have established themselves as a unique brand.
On the other hand, YI is the new competitor that wants to offer the most for the lowest price to be able to compete against such a strong name. It has become the option for people that need an action camera and love getting great deals.
The YI 4k, as its name suggests, can still record 4k video and do most of what the GoPro HERO5 Black can, but it sacrifices some features that not everyone needs.
It doesn’t come with the HDMI output or the USB microphone input the HERO has —this latter is a big deal with Action cameras because their sound sucks. Also, the HERO comes with a slightly wider lens in comparison.
Additionally, you should consider this camera’s price a bit higher than what it initially states. The reason is that it doesn’t come with many accessories that are included with the GoPro.
It will cost you extra to get a waterproof case, charger and remote control if you want them.
However, if you ask me, it still is a great deal for a 4k recording action camera with touchscreen and at a much cheaper price than the HERO, even with extras.
Top 2 Webcams for YouTube
Webcams are extremely cheap and useful. And even though most of them are not that useful if you want to record a decent quality video, there are a few exceptions that I will include on this list. The problem with webcams is that many of them say they can record 1080p video, but most of the time it is a lie. The only one that can truly record 1080p is a model that I’ll talk about in a moment.
These cameras are extremely cheap mainly because you can only use them with your PC. So, if you are someone that will record mostly from your computer you should take advantage of their cheap price. Some webcams are good enough to create Twitch or YouTube content.
They are used by most gamers and the only exceptions are people that have built a successful following and make a living out of their channels. They prefer using a camcorder like the VIXIA HF G40 and a lighting setup to achieve top quality, but this is only worth for the top creators out there.
There are good reasons why this camera is the preferred one for Twitch streamers by a big margin.
The main one is that there’s no match for its quality. And the best thing is that it is extremely cheap since it is a webcam. The camera can pan and tilt, and it is compatible with tripods, so you have a bit more versatility.
A lot of webcams will tell you they can record 1080p, but they are lying. Basically, the C920 is the only one telling the truth. I haven’t found a webcam with better image quality.
Bear in mind that since Logitech realized how popular this camera was for streaming, they released another version —the C922— that claims to be optimized for streaming.
That’s a lie.
It just gives you some really small features that a lot of streamers want, like background removal tool and 6 months of Xsplit license. But the truth is that, even if you are a streamer, you can do all this with free software and pay a lot less for the camera.
It’s a lot more expensive for basically nothing new in terms of quality. Get the C920.
Also, do not go for the C930e; that camera is slower and has some compatibility issues, and it’s more expensive just because it’s supposed to be its successor. There’s no real difference in image quality.
Just get the C920 and an external microphone, and you’ll be good to go.
It is a cheaper option that can still record 720p video, and its quality isn’t bad at all.
It can’t be used on a tripod, so you will have to use it on a table or on top of your monitor —I’ve found that it’s more stable when you put it on a table surface, but it’s still usable as a typical webcam.
The sad part is that this one is not compatible with MAC OS. If you want something similar, the C615 is your option. However, since this one is considerably more expensive, you should consider just paying a bit more for the much better C920.