Cameras

The Best Cameras for YouTube in 2021

best cameras for youtube


Being either professional or amateur vloggers means that you are equipped with a top-notch camera for YouTube which is the greatest platform for vlogging. But if you are just on your way to becoming a worldwide famous vlogger, this article is going to facilitate your search for the best camera for YouTube.

Top Picks

How to Choose the Best Camera for YouTube

Everyone knows that choosing the cream of the crop is a tough task. Every time you think you have found the best of the lot there appears a new item that outshines everything you have seen before. And this process may seem to be endless.

But if you know exactly what to check before the purchase and what features the best YouTube camera must have, its selection won’t be so tiring and time-consuming. Here are some tips to remember when choosing a camera for YouTube vlogging.

What are you going to capture?

In order to decide which type of video resolution will be suitable for your vlogging it’s important to take into account the type of videos you want to produce. Sure, there is no camera with a sign “special for family vlogging” or something like that. However, if you know what you are going to capture it’s easier to find a suitable product.

If you need a camera for indoor videos only, then a budget DSLR camera may be enough. At the same time, vloggers who capture videos mostly outdoors won’t be satisfied with the same camera. Good lighting is one of the key features they should look for and cheap cameras can’t offer it. Besides, outdoor vlogging can require a highly portable camera especially if it’s about traveling or kids life.

Types of cameras

When looking for a YouTube camera you will find different types of products. All of them have their own pros and are more suitable for certain situations.

DSLR cameras

Everyone knows that Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera is great for top-notch shots. Such a camera will be also a nice option for vlogging. It allows you to change lenses and control ISO and depth of field. In addition, DSLR camera provides good low light performance and excellent image quality. On the other hand, it is pricey, usually heavy and bulky. Besides, DSLR camera will require time to learn how it works. You can check our list of the best DSLR cameras.

Mirrorless cameras

Unlike DSLRs, these cameras are light what makes them more portable and suitable for outdoor vlogging. Mirrorless cameras also include interchangeable lenses and produce accurate images.

Point and Shoot camera

Need something really compact? Point and shoot cameras are the best option in such a case. Still, keep in mind that they aren’t as powerful as DSLRs or mirrorless cameras.

Sports and Action cameras

This type of cameras is designed for an immersive perspective. Action cameras are usually strapped to your body, so you can easily go scuba diving or paragliding with them. What is more, they are small and comfortable to carry. Still, action cameras can’t boast of top-notch video quality like DSLRs.

Video Quality

Content isn’t the only thing that affects vlogging success. Whatever cool topic you are capturing it won’t bring you the best result if it’s of poor quality. So the first feature your YouTube camera should have is high video quality.

OK, there’s no doubt that superb video quality is great but what is really hidden behind these words? The best cameras have a big sensor size and high resolution. The latter one is especially important for videos.

Here are the main types of resolution a camera can have: HD, FHD and UHD. Let’s have a look at the main difference between them.

HD cameras offer only 720p resolution. In a word, that’s not enough for high-quality videos. Such cameras can be used as a budget option but if you need something really powerful then it’s better to avoid them.

Full HD resolution is the most popular nowadays. It’s a kind of happy medium on which you won’t spend a fortune but its final result will be quite decent. So, if you need a budget camera for YouTube videos pay attention at items with FHD resolution.

Still, the best camera you can choose for vlogging would be the one with 4K resolution. Remember that Ultra HD cameras are quite pricey, but the video quality they offer will blow your mind and will make your audience excited about it.

Frame Rate

YouTube camera should also have a proper frame rate. One may think that the higher it is the better quality it can provide. Unfortunately, if you are YouTube vlogger this rule doesn’t work. High frame rates are cool, especially for high-speed actions like marathons but if it’s a beauty vlog then 60 fps will be too much for it. The most popular frame rates for YouTube videos are 24fps and 30 fps.

Stabilization

Another crucial point to take into account before you purchase a camera is IS, aka image stabilization, as no one wants to get a low-quality image spoiled by various blurs.

Almost all modern cameras include IS option. There are three types of it – digital, dual optical stabilization. You can learn more about them here.

Display

There is no doubt that a camera should be comfortable in use. The display is one of those parts which are responsible for this characteristic. Make sure it is easy to operate especially outdoors as not all of the cameras provide clear image in the direct sunlight.

Audio

If you need a camera for shooting, audio quality may not be of high importance. But everything is absolutely different with YouTube videos. Obviously, a weird piercing voice won’t make your video more popular.

All cameras are equipped with a built-in microphone. Your task is to make sure that its quality is high. Note that DSLRs have much better sounding than action cameras. Anyway, you can always get an external mic for your camera to make it perfect for your vlogging.

Wi-Fi

Sure, YouTube vlogging presupposes an access to the Internet. So, if you are one of those enthusiasts who like sharing videos immediately after you have captured them, then the option of Wi-Fi will be a great bonus for you.

Weather sealing

This feature is important for outdoor vloggers. If you are a travel vlogger who works in the heavy rain then weather sealing is an integral part of your future YouTube camera. But if you go even further and take videos about underwater life then look for a waterproof camera.

Size and Weight

The last but not least thing to take into consideration before your purchase is the size of the camera and its weight. Remember that there are different types of cameras we have mentioned above, which vary in characteristics and have their own advantages.

Best YouTube Cameras

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

An Excellent Action-Based YouTube Camera

canon eos m6 mark ii
If you are after a quality camera that will deliver great image quality and good saturated video with accurate colors and plenty of detail, Canon EOS M6 Mark II should be your weapon of choice.

According to the performance, this camera is slightly behind Sony A6400 and Fujifilm X-T30. However, that doesn’t incorporate its action performance that is much better than that of the mentioned models and YouTube cameras in general.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II comes equipped with a 32.5 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and very fast dual-pixel auto-focus with 143 phase-detect points. More importantly, it allows for uncropped 4K video capturing with a 30fps rate and 1080p one with 120fps rate. It is perfect for sports and overall action recording and offers a very practical, compact design, with a quality grip and flappable screen, which makes it a good option for people that are filming their own stunts and adventures.

This camera has a microphone jack, it comes with good connectivity that includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB Type-C connection and offers 14fps burst shooting with AF/AE on.

All in all, if you are after the best YouTube camera for action recording and overall solid vlogging tool, Canon EOS M6 Mark II is more than a good option.

Pros:
  • Uncropped 4K video
  • Fast auto-focus
  • Great resolution
  • Action-friendly characteristics
Cons:
  • A limited number of native lenses
  • It lacks in-body stabilization

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Canon Rebel SL3

A Great Companion for YouTube Novice

canon rebel sl3
For all the newbies on YouTube or similar platforms, it is essential to find a camera that is both decent-performing and affordable, and Canon Rebel SL3 is exactly that – the best DSLR camera for YouTube.

This camera offers fast and precise dual-pixel autofocus (unfortunately, only with nine AF points), it is supplied with a quality 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and DIGIC 8 Image Processor, and more importantly, it delivers sharp and color accurate image in both video and photography. Moreover, it is equipped with eye and face detection and subject tracking and some handy features such as Time-lapse Movie mode and Creative Assist.

However, although Canon Rebel SL3 is a DSLR camera, it brings a couple of limitations in its 4K video department, such as a not-that-great frame rate (24fps), cropped image and a little bit of distortion. Luckily, its 1080p video capturing with 30fps or 60fps rate doesn’t have such limitations and is a much better option; therefore, if a perfect 4K video image is your primary goal, better go for something else.

Canon Rebel SL3 is equipped with flippable 3-inch LCD screen and microphone input, it has USB2.0 connection and offers UHS-I compatibility. Furthermore, it offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking and altogether presents a solid option for every YouTube wannabe that doesn’t, or can’t spend too much money on their equipment but want something reliable and long-term.

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality
  • User-friendly
Cons:
  • Not the best 4K video quality
  • Only nine points auto-focus

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Sony RX100 VII

A Great Camera for YouTube Devotees

sony rx100 vii
A high-quality picture is one of the most important aspects for many Vloggers and YouTube content makers and there are not that many cameras that can fully comply with their high standards; however, one of the devices that do is a Sony RX100 VII. This is a compact camera that delivers a very detailed and clear video image, but unfortunately has a hefty price, which makes it a not-that-optimal solution for many.

This device offers great versatility and is very practical for a variety of purposes (photography, action video recording, etc.). Therefore, you won’t have to limit its use just to YouTube or similar services.

Sony RX100 VII has a super-fast auto-focus (0.02 seconds) and offers very useful Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking for easier transferring of captured materials. Moreover, it supports for 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p recording at 120fps rate, and more importantly, provides an excellent slow-motion video (1000fps) that, because of YouTube limitations (YouTube videos are limited to 60fps), has a limited potential (at least for now).

This camera comes fitted with a superb one-inch 20MP Exmor RS Stacked BSI-CMOS sensor and Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 lens that are the key reasons for its excellent image quality and color accuracy and a very practical microphone input.

Overall, Sony RX100 VII is one of the best cameras for YouTube, with great versatility and usability, but unfortunately only for those who are willing to pay its high price.

Pros:
  • Very fast auto-focus
  • Crisp and detailed video
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Not the best touchscreen
  • Lack of ND filter

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GoPro HERO9

The Best Action Camera for YouTube

gopro hero9
The latest GoPro is not the hero that we need, but the hero that we deserve. All jokes side, the GoPro Hero 9 is arguably the best action camera money can buy in 2020. To make a long story short, if you’re shopping for a powerful and versatile action camera, and you can live with the price tag, it doesn’t get much better than the Hero9.

On the other hand, if you already own the previous generation (8th), upgrading to the 9th doesn’t really worth the trouble. Now, let’s see about the details: compared to its predecessor, the Hero9 is larger and heavier, due to a higher capacity battery and a larger LCD screen on the back. On top of that, the Hero9 now comes with a front LCD screen, which is kind of cool.

Moreover, the latest GoPro has more of everything, not even size and weight, as in what’s under the hood was also updated, though it’s nothing spectacular or groundbreaking. For example, the new sensor now captures 20-megapixel photos and 5K video @30fps, and the battery offers 30-40 percent more autonomy compared to the Hero8.

However, in real life, there’s no significant difference in terms of photo/video quality between the Hero9 and the Hero8. The main benefit of the 9th gen is the electronic stabilization, the HyperSmooth Boost respectively, which is definitely the best in the industry, and it’s available in all shooting modes. Finally, the Hero9 comes with a bunch of fancy new accessories, including a GoPro Handler floating grip, Magnetic Swivel Clip, spare battery, and a microSD card.

Pros:
  • Superb electronic stabilization
  • Built-in directional mic
  • 5K/30p video and 20MP stills
  • Waterproof
  • Front display
  • Supports Max Lens Mod
Cons:
  • Touchscreen needs improvement

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Panasonic Lumix G100

The Perfect Camera for YouTube

panasonic lumix g100kk
If you’re a die-hard YouTuber looking for cool gear, check out the Panasonic G100. Okay, you’ll have to spend top dollar for this posh-looking mirrorless camera, but we guarantee you that you’ll have a blast using it! To begin with, the Lumix G100 was specially designed for vlogging, it’s 4K capable, hugely versatile, feature-rich, and, first and foremost, looks and feels like a million bucks!

Panasonic actually sells the G100 as the ultimate vlogging camera, and that’s due to its small body and ergonomic design, which makes it great for traveling. Also, the G100 boasts some of the smallest Micro Four Thirds lenses in the industry, a top-notch Nokia Ozo Audio-equipped microphone system which renders external mics unnecessary, a fully articulating screen, a 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor and a ton of video-centric features.

When it comes to video/stills quality on the go, we must mention the five-axis hybrid image stabilization, as well as the electronic viewfinder and the fully-articulating touch-sensitive screen, which are all put there to make your life easier.

Bottom line, the Panasonic Lumix G100 is an excellent choice for YouTubers and vloggers, offering a lot of bang for the buck, and being one of the best-specced and versatile cameras in its niche. Its compact and ergonomic design makes it great for travel photography, and there’s a ton of Micro Four Thirds lenses available to suit a wide audience.

Pros:
  • High-quality video and stills
  • Superb audio recording
  • Articulated LCD
  • Bright viewfinder
  • Good value for money
  • Looks and feels premium
Cons:
  • Lacks headphone jack
  • No USB-C port

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Sony Alpha a6400

An Excellent Mirrorless YouTube Camera

sony alpha a6400
Sony Alpha a6400 is another high-quality camera with great versatility and usability that makes it perfect for YouTube broadcast, Vlogging or any similar type of video streaming.

This is a mirrorless camera, fitted with a 24MP APS-C sensor and Sony’s Bionz X processor that delivers video with great sharpness and high level of details. The main reason for that is the fact that 4K video is originally captured in much higher resolution, but is downsampled to 4K, and as a result, it provides such a high-quality image. Moreover, this camera allows for 30fps and 25fps 4K video capture, with a possibility for cropping when recording with 30fps rate, and offers many handy video recording features such as flat Log profiles, 1080p slow motion, Focus peaking, etc.

However, although great, a6400 also has a couple of downsides: the lack of in-body stabilization, as well as a lack of headphone connection. Nevertheless, there is a microphone input, so the fans of high-quality audio are perfectly safe.

Sony Alpha a6400 offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC connection, and is fitted with a high-quality 425-pt phase detection auto-focus that in a combination with Real-Time Tracking does a great job of providing crystal clear image.

Altogether, if the best mirrorless YouTube camera is what you are looking for, Sony Alpha a6400 is a great choice.

Pros:
  • Excellent auto-focus
  • Mic input
  • Great quality 4K video
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • It lacks in-body stabilization
  • No headphone option

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Nikon D3500

The Best Camera for YouTube Under $500

nikon d3500
Just starting your YouTube channel? Then we have something special for you. Nikon D3500 would be a great starting point for any novice in the field of photography or filmmaking. This camera offers a special in-camera guideline which will help you make the first steps in taking top-notch shots and videos.

So, what does it come with? Nikon D3500 has a 24.2mp APS-C image sensor, EXPEED image processor and an optical viewfinder. There is also 11-point autofocus system and continuous shooting at 5 fps. Its native ISO range covers ISO 100 to 25,600. As it’s not a high-end model there is no option of 4K video recording. This camera offers only 1080p Full HD mode.

Nikon D3500 is a nice camera for traveling as it is one of the smallest and lightest Nikon DSLR cameras. This camera is also equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. So, if you want to share you photos with friends you can do it immediately after taking shots, but keep in mind that you need SnapBridge app for this.

Pros:
  • compact size
  • great image quality
  • reasonable price
  • built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • excellent battery life (1550 shots)
  • built-in optical viewfinder
  • in-camera guide for beginners
Cons:
  • no 4K video recording
  • no mic port
  • no image stabilization
  • no environmental sealing

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Fujifilm X-T30

A Great Value in a Compact Edition

fujifilm x-t30
If you are looking for a good YouTube camera that will properly represent you and your work and deliver excellent image quality, Fujifilm X-T30 is the device for you.

This camera is supplied with a solid 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI-CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 and very fast Hybrid auto-focus system with 425 detect points that will turn your video and photo capturing into a mesmerizing experience. Its AF offers four different modes (Zone, Wide/Tracking, Single Point, and All), while the camera itself features eye and body tracking, along with subject tracking and an overall decent level of control.

Fujifilm X-T30 supports for 4K video capturing in various frame rates, from 24fps to 30fps and 1080p capturing in frame rates from 24fps to 60fps, but more importantly, for that purpose, it uses the whole width of the sensor. Moreover, its image is very detailed and better than that of its main rivals, such as, for example, Sony a6400. However, its 4K capturing is limited to only 10 minutes, which may present an issue for many.

On the other hand, this camera supports 10-bit 4:2:2 output and F-Log that is pretty rare for its class and is fitted with a USB-C port with headphone support and an SD card slot.

All in all, this is a great camera and definitely one of the best YouTube cameras, of course, if you can handle its limitations.

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality
  • Great auto-focus
  • F-Log
Cons:
  • It lacks in-body stabilization
  • 4K video capture is limited to 10 minutes

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Olympus Tough TG-6

A Real YouTube Action Camera

olympus tough tg-6
If you are looking for an affordable, but tough little dude that will withstand any sort of torturing and provides waterproof, dust-proof and crush-proof characteristics that will help you capture your every stunt or underwater adventure, Olympus Tough TG-6 is the camera for you.

Although it is equipped only with a 12MP sensor, this camera still delivers a fairly good image and offers plenty of features that should help you make the best capturing results, including the basic, but fast auto-focus.

Olympus Tough TG-6 can shoot 4K videos in 30fps rate, 1080p videos at up to 60fps and offers three slow-motion modes that allow for 1080p recording with 120fps rate, 720p with 240fps and 480p with 480fps. However, all these videos are cropped; therefore, your wide-angle coverage will surely suffer.

Moreover, this camera offers a Wi-Fi connection and is equipped with GPS and fitted with a micro USB port and micro HDMI port. Tough TG-6 has a one UHS-I SDXC memory card slot and offers multiple underwater modes, including the ones with different white balance levels.

Overall, if you are searching for great durability and overall best underwater action camera for YouTube, Olympus Tough TG-6 is the ultimate choice.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Good image quality
Cons:
  • Only 12MP sensor

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Sony ZV-1

The Best Compact Camera for Vlogging

sony zv-1 camera
Just like the Lumix G100, the ZV-1 from Sony is the company’s 1st camera designed specifically for vlogging. Hardware wise, the ZV-1 shares a lot of components with the RX100 family, including the imaging engine from the RX100 VII and the lens from the RX100 VA.

On top of that, you’ll love the friendly old-school design, the best in class internal mic, the flip forward LCD and the compact size which makes it extremely pocketable, if that’s a thing for you. The body is made from a composite material, which looks good and it’s very sturdy. There’s a little bit of metal around the lens, for improved protection, but the rest is kind of “plasticky”.

In terms of specs, the ZV-1 really shines due to its bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens with Sony’s Real-time tracking and class-leading Real-time Eye AF systems, which are some of the best we’ve ever seen in a compact mirrorless. We must also mention that the ZV-1 is packed with cool features, including AF sensitivity options, a built-in ND filter, live streaming software for Windows, and profiles for users who want to color grade their videos, to name just a few.

Bottom line, if you can live with the price tag, the ZV-1 really plays in a league of its own.

Pros:
  • Real-time Eye AF
  • Real-time Tracking
  • Bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • Crisp, detailed 4K/30p video
  • Class leading AF
  • Side-hinged articulating touchscreen
  • Useful slo-mo modes
Cons:
  • Lacks electronic viewfinder

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Summary

Striving for great videos you will definitely try to find the best YouTube camera. To do this, remember to check all the criteria mentioned above and choose the most suitable item for your successful YouTube vlogging.

About author

TheTechLounge editorial team consists of versatile tech enthusiasts. Each of us specializes in the specific area (from photography to virtual reality).
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