Top 6 Best DSLR Cameras for YouTube Vlogging 2021
Digital single-lens reflex cameras are really popular between YouTubers. Some of these have really nice features for vloggers, and their recording quality is the best. Their performance in low light makes them great for indoors and they’re highly adaptable. That’s why I’ve made this list of the 6 best DSLR cameras for YouTube vlogging.
Table of Contents
- Comparison Table: 6 Best DSLR Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
- A Quick Guide on Sensor Size
- How to Save Money When Buying a New DSLR for YouTube Vlogging
- Don’t Forget to Make Space for a Microphone and Lighting in Your Budget
- Why Canon?
- Are DSLRs Really The Best Vlogging Cameras? An Alternative
- What Makes a Good DSLR for YouTube and Vlogging?
- And the 6 Best Are…
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Comparison Table: 6 Best DSLR Cameras for YouTube Vlogging
Price / Our Rating
A Quick Guide on Sensor Size
You will see that the most significant difference between some cameras here is their sensor size. The most expensive ones are Full-Frames, while the rest are APS-C.
Their difference? The explanation is simple:
Full-Frame is the biggest sensor size. This means that they are significantly better in low light—and by low light, I’m including indoors during the day— they can also achieve a more intense Bokeh effect — the gorgeous blurry background — and they are able to capture a wider frame, like if you were zoomed out.
The image above shows how much more full-frame cameras are able to capture from the same distance and with the same lens in comparison to APS-C size. It also makes it obvious why they capture more light since they’re bigger.
Full-Frames are capable of suppressing Perspective Distortion because they can use tele lens that still capture a wide area.
Since they’re better in low light and can use better lenses, they offer the highest quality. Colors and sharpness are just on point—and it’s the main reason they cost a lot of money.
APS-C cameras listed here have smaller sensors, but they’re still good. In fact, their sensors are larger than any compact or camcorder.
The most common choice for YouTube is an APS-C DSLR when recording from home, and a good compact camera for traveling and street vlogs. Only the most serious vloggers get a full-frame camera.
After all, they are not cheap.
How to Save Money When Buying a New DSLR for YouTube Vlogging
When it comes to DSLRs, quality is related to the lenses you buy for them.
This is why when buying a DSLR, I always recommend not buying the starter lens kit. With “kit lens”, I mean the lens that comes with the camera body.
What I suggest is buying only the camera body and getting a good lens straight away. You’ll save money in the long run.
Usually, starter lens kits are of low quality, and you’ll eventually want to change it for a higher quality lens.
But the thing is that good, high-quality lenses are not that much more expensive than the kit lens if you know what to look for.
What you need to look for is a prime lens.
These lenses are cheaper because they are not zoomable. As a vlogger and YouTuber, you do NOT need zoom. You’ll record at a fixed focal length all the time, so why get a zoom lens? Instead, save money with a prime lens.
Another positive thing about prime lenses is that they’re faster. In plain English, this means that they achieve a more luminous, sharper result, for a lower price. That’s why you need a prime lens for vlogging.
But what kind of prime lens should you get?
This depends on the type of sensor your camera has, and the type of video you want to record.
If you want to set the camera on a tripod and record from home, I recommend using a 35mm on a Full-frame, or a 24mm on APS-C.
If you want to hold the camera and record yourself in “selfie mode”, you need a wide-angle lens. I’ve found that anything around 15mm works well for both types of sensors.
Bear in mind that Canon doesn’t have a 15mm prime lens, so you’ll have to choose a zoom lens for this. Still, there’s an affordable option for APS-C cameras.
So, to make things easier for you, here are the lenses for Canon that I recommend for each sensor and purpose:
- Recommended wide-angle lens (APS-C): Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
- Recommended lens for recording while fixed on a tripod at home (APS-C): Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
- Recommended wide-angle lens (Full-frame): Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens — note: you can get this zoom lens and use it for both handheld vlogging and on a fixed tripod at home.
- Recommended lens for recording while fixed on a tripod at home (Full-frame): Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM
Most of the time, buying the camera body with the starter lens kit will be more expensive. If this is the case, buy the body and get one of my recommended lenses.
The mistake of buying the starter lens kit is that you will sooner than later need a better lens. So why not buy it now, skip the starter lens kit and save more money in the long run?
Still, bear in mind that few DSLRs come with the starting lens kit for no extra price. Just make sure they aren’t going to charge extra for it before ordering one.
Don’t Forget to Make Space for a Microphone and Lighting in Your Budget
Take into account that you will also need a good microphone. DSLRs’ built-in microphones are not good. If you want to get the best quality with a DSLR, you better catch up with sound quality too.
Here you will find a list of good shotgun mics you can use. You should bear in mind their cost before finally deciding which DSLR to get.
Don’t worry, they aren’t too expensive. They hover around $25 or less.
Also, a good lighting kit is also affordable and needed to record from home. If you don’t have good lighting, your image quality will decrease.
Finally, you will want to consider a tripod either for recording in selfie mode or for recording in a home studio setup. I’ve reviewed the best for vlogging right here.
No, I’m not sponsored by Canon (I wish). The reason you’ll find basically only Canon cameras in this post is that they offer simply the best DSLRs for video.
If we were talking about the best mirrorless, then you’d see mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras.
DSLRs for video is just Canon’s specialty.
The only thing they lack is in-body image stabilization, but Canon can still get away with it because most of their lenses come with optical stabilization and are of high-quality and affordable.
Are DSLRs Really The Best Vlogging Cameras? An Alternative
This used to be true a while ago, but now the camera industry has changed.
Competitors like Sony and Panasonic are developing cameras that come with the same sensors as DSLRs, but that are smaller, and with the only downside of lacking battery duration.
They are called mirrorless cameras. To this day, they are the most common choice for vloggers.
I’m still going to review here the best DSLRs for YouTube vlogging because that’s what you’re looking for. And don’t get me wrong, they are still a great choice if you want to record mostly from home.
The problem comes when you want to go out with it and vlog your entire day.
Since they’re so heavy, your arms will get tired of carrying and holding one while recording yourself the entire day.
Mirrorless cameras fix this problem. They are also great for indoors recording because they come with the same sensor sizes as DSLRs.
They just have the additional advantage of being easier to be carried around — although not every mirrorless is lightweight.
That’s why I suggest that if you want to take your camera out with you a lot, better just get a mirrorless camera. You can find on this other page our top mirrorless cameras for vlogging.
What Makes a Good DSLR for YouTube and Vlogging?
Image quality is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about DSLRs.
But honestly, most DSLR and mirrorless cameras offer similar image quality.
What can really make one stand out are other features that are more important to content creators:
- Good autofocus
- External Mic port
I’d normally include image stabilization, but since Canon doesn’t offer in-body stabilization often, you only need to get a lens with stabilization (see my recommendations above).
Good Autofocus (Dual-Pixel)
Canon is famous for its Dual-Pixel autofocus because it’s extremely reliable. This is the main thing that makes this brand so good for video.
There’s nothing more annoying than an autofocus system that keeps focusing the wrong thing and takes a lifetime to correct itself.
Just look for a camera with Dual-Pixel autofocus and you’re set.
If you’re a content creator recording yourself, a flip screen is almost mandatory. It’s one of those things that aren’t exactly a requirement, but most people will find it extremely helpful.
A flip screen helps you make sure your camera is still recording and that you’re in focus and inside the frame.
This is much better than recording the entire video and checking afterward if everything went as planned. It will save you a headache.
External Mic Input
What’s better than good image quality? Good audio quality! Having a camera with an external mic input will make it a lot easier to record good audio.
Just connect a lavaliere or shotgun mic to your DSLR, and hit record.
If your camera lacks this, you can still use your smartphone to connect a mic to it, and then just sync audio and video together in post-production.
This is the big downside of going for a DSLR for vlogging.
This doesn’t really matter if you want to set the camera on a tripod and record at a fixed location (like at home) most of the time.
But when taking the camera out with you, a heavy camera can be a pain.
That’s why I still prefer recommending mirrorless cameras to vloggers. They’re just much more versatile.
And the 6 Best Are…
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – The Professional Youtube Camera
The Canon EOS 5D truly is the king of prosumer-level DSLRs, especially for video. The Mark IV is the latest update, which introduces 4k recording.
This update took a long time — around 4 years — and I’m sure it was mainly due to Sony mirrorless cameras becoming more popular.
But that doesn’t matter now. We already got the update we needed for arguably the one of the best DSLRs on the market.
This camera has the great autofocus and dynamic range for high-contrast scenes. It also offers great sharpness and colors. This makes it really good for makeup and beauty. This is why it’s a very popular camera between wedding photographers.
You can trust this camera will live up to the challenge of giving the best quality in low light—unless you’re recording in a cave, of course.
Now, one of the biggest downsides is that this camera isn’t the lightest DSLR. But for vloggers, the main problem is the lack of an articulating screen. This can be a deal breaker for Youtubers.
Still, remember that this is a full-frame camera, so it’s really hard to end up outside of the frame by accident. Still, even for me, the lack of an articulating screen can be annoying.
This is why the 5D Mark IV might be the highest quality camera you could get for Youtube, but it might not be the right one for you.
Canon EOS 90D – Best Video DSLR for Youtubers
The 5D Mark IV is an amazing camera, but it might be too much if you just want to record YouTube videos. Besides, it doesn’t have an articulating screen.
If you want a great camera to record your YouTube videos and even make short films, the EOS 90D should be your main option.
Here’s why this one is my personal favorite for video blogging:
The Canon EOS 90D’s autofocus is one of the best you can find for this price.
It is good even in low light.
One of the most common troubles vloggers face is the lack of a good lighting setup. If you know a little bit about lighting, you can, of course, get away with a DSLR that doesn’t perform well in these situations. However, you can trust it when used in non-optimal lighting conditions.
Its battery is good. The Nikon D7200’s battery lasts for a little bit longer than this one. However, it matches the 5D Mark IV — and it saves you $2000.
This gives you an idea of the kind of value you’re getting for your money.
However, the camera isn’t perfect. For example, it doesn’t have image stabilization.
Also, the newer T7i and 77D are both cheaper, but they have the same sensor and all the video features the 90D brings. The 77D is especially focused on filmmaking and comes with a lower price and in-body image stabilization, something you will miss from the 90D.
So, if you plan to only give your DSLR usage for home video, you can sacrifice battery life and extra-sharp autofocus for a cheaper price tag with these camera cousins. If you choose the 77D instead, you will pay less in the initial upfront for the body and for future lens upgrades since you’ll be able to get cheaper lenses that lack the stabilization the 77D includes.
Canon EOS 77D – Best Value DSLR for Youtube Vlogging
The Canon 77D is a 24.2-megapixel DSLR camera marketed for advanced amateur videographers and photographers. Often said to be a midpoint between the lower-end Canon T7i/800D and the higher-end Canon 80D, the 77D shares a lot of common features with the other two.
All three are equipped with APS-C CMOS sensors, have articulated LCD touchscreens and external microphone ports. They are also equipped with an impressive dual-pixel autofocus system which is one of the most effective autofocus systems for DSLRs.
So, what makes the 77D standout from its siblings?
Well, for a significantly lower starting price, the 77D offers a higher ISO capability than the 80D. This is because the 77D (as well as the T7i) has a more advanced image processor than the 80D. Thus, giving the latter a step of ISO advantage, which may be useful when shooting in extremely dark situations.
The Canon 77D also has a 5-axis image stabilization feature in video mode which makes it better for handheld operation as compared to the 80D. This is also an advantage when compared to the T7i.
It is also unfortunate that the 80D does not offer 4k video recording. Now, the 77D doesn’t offer 4k as well but getting the 80D for that high price tag might not be worth it for you as they offer the same video features and quality.
On the other hand, the 77D and the T7i are almost identical. You might ask then, “why would I go for the more expensive 77D then?”. Well, there are some features the 77D has that you might want to spend those extra dollars on.
One of them is anti-flicker recording mode which counters light flickering when you’re shooting in a particularly sunny setting.
But most differences are about design. For example, the 77D has an LCD screen on top of the camera for easy review of shooting settings. It also has a quick control dial to navigate the options more easily
But the most important one is the inclusion of in-body stabilization, which will allow you to get cheaper lenses without OIS.
And although neither the 77D nor the T7i has a weather-sealing, the 77D’s body is constructed to be more rugged than the T7i’s making it the better choice for vlogging outdoor activities.
However, like most DSLR’s the 77D is a bit bulky and heavy especially compared to the more sleek and pocketable mirrorless cameras.
Canon EOS T7i – Best DSLR for Starters
Canon’s Rebel line has been the favorite between YouTubers for quite some time. Starting from the T3i, these cameras have been the main choice when buying your first DSLR for video.
The main reason Rebels are the first DSLR many YouTubers start with is because they achieve good cinematic quality and are video friendly. It’s also because Canon offers a huge float of high-quality lenses for any kind of Youtuber, and you’re able to use them for a relatively low price thanks to Rebel cameras.
Now the Rebel lineup is much better, they now come with video autofocus, WiFi, NFC, more MPs and better performance in low light.
Also, compared to the previous T6i, this one comes with a new sensor. It gets really close to the image quality you get from the more expensive Canon EOS 80D, and the main reason is that this one is using an even more up-to-date sensor.
It can record 1080p60/30, which is the least we can ask for, since there are already several mirrorless and compact cameras that can record 4k at this price range.
This camera also has an articulating screen and a pretty decent battery duration of around 600 shots. This is also part of the reason why it’s a popular YouTube camera.
It might still be a good idea to get the T6iinstead of this one for the price difference. However, remember this new sensor will give you more quality in low light.
Canon EOS Rebel T6i – Cheaper Alternative to the T7i
Even though Canon REBEL cameras were supposed to be the low-price lineup for Canon video DSLRs, their price went up a lot as they released new models.
That’s why getting an older Rebel camera is not a bad idea. The T6i is still a pretty decent camera for Youtube starters.
The camera has all the basics for video, but it’s like a toned-down version that is slightly cheaper.
It comes with an older image processing technology, which results in slightly noisier images in high ISO. It also has fewer focus points (45 vs. 19), a lot less battery life (600 vs. 440 shots), and it lacks Bluetooth and the timelapse feature.
All these differences make it seem as if getting this older version isn’t worth the hundred bucks you’ll save, but it is a viable option if your budget is getting tight.
After all, it still has a flip screen, mic jack, hot shoe, 1080p30 recording, touchscreen, WiFi, and NFC.
Canon Rebel SL3 – Best Cheap DSLR for Starters
The price/quality relationship of this camera is great for a DSLR.
Of course, nowadays I’d always go for a mirrorless instead because they’re my favorite, but if I HAD to choose, then it would be the SL3.
Canon loves to market this one as the lightest and smallest DSLR camera, at least for now.
So this is as close to a mirrorless as a DSLR has gotten — my prediction is that we will end up getting rid of DLSRs entirely and going full mirrorless eventually.
It’s one of the first Canon cameras to come with 4k, flip screen, and basically everything you need to record good video for a relatively low price.
And image quality is also nice for the price thanks to its new sensor.
So this one is definitely the best “cheap” DSLR and the one you’ll want if you have a lower budget.
The downside? Well… it’s not a mirrorless, so it lacks its technologic advantages.
Why not just make it mirrorless?