What is the BEST camera for YouTube?
Why are you not on YouTube yet? I’ve made well over two thousand dollars from my first year on YouTube from advertising and affiliate commissions.
Seriously, my tiny YouTube channel made $150 a month in 2018 (or $1,800 a year) in passive income from Google AdSense (and growing) and then I make random affiliate commissions for various products and services I promote. All from YouTube and linking stuff in the video description.
To get started with creating videos though, you’re going to need a camera. So what is the best camera for YouTube and vlogging in 2019?
As a YouTube content creator I can help give you some insight into what you’re going to want and why.
My Top 3 Cameras for YouTube and Vlogging
This content is long, if you’re in a hurry i’ll get right to the point and share with you my top 3, BEST cameras for YouTube. If you want a more thorough explanation then of course continue reading.
#1 – Canon SLR2
The Canon SLR2 (Canon 200D) is what I personally use for all my talking head, presentation videos. If you’re looking for a low priced, flexible camera that can get you that pro shot without the pro price then check out the Canon SLR2. It’s a small DSLR that can be used on the go, but where it really shines is talking head videos.
The Canon SLR2 is an entry level DSLR. It’s small, light and compact. You can combine this camera with quality Canon lenses to get some high quality video footage. I bought the Canon 2 lens kit which includes the amazing 10-18 mm wide angle lens as well as the helpful 50 mm lens. I also got the Rhode Video Micro microphone to go along with it for that quality audio
The main advantage of this setup is that you can get a quality setup for the lowest price possible. The body is small and affordable and can be combined with proper lenses and a microphone. It’s small enough and light enough to where you can actually vlog with it or simply set it up in your house to make talking head, YouTube videos.
The main con of the Canon SLR2 / Canon 200D is that it does not have any sort of stabilization. When using a wide angle lens like the 10-18 mm, it does minimize shake, but just be aware that it does not have stabilization. If you’re wanting a camera where you can walk and talk into, the SLR2 can do the job as it’s small and light (and thus easy to carry) but the video may be slightly shaky.
#2 – Canon G7X Mark ii
The G7X Mark ii is a good upgrade from the original G7X. Colors are brighter and the overall video is sharper. What I liked about the G7X over it’s main (and more expensive) competitor, the Sony RX 100 is that it has a wider angle look. The Sony RX is more cropped in. This is critical when vlogging, as you want more space around you when talking into the camera instead of it being cropped in. The G7X also has better stabilization, but the Sony has more pro features.
This is a camera that will grow with you as your skill as a YouTuber and vlogger increases. It also provides good quality in terms of video and audio when compared to other point and shoots.
Next, it’s a point and shoot camera. That means it’s small and mobile. You can take this camera with you to get some quality shots you otherwise would not be able to with a larger camera.
Last, it has built in stabilization, slow motion and a good zoom. If you’re looking for the best vlogging camera for YouTube, the G7X is an excellent choice.
The audio. Point and shoot cameras don’t have the ability to link up an external microphone. As such, the audio is fine for on the go vlogging and B roll. But if you’re primarily going to be sitting in your home in front of a camera for your YouTube videos, I would get the SLR2 over this simply due to the fact that it has a wide angle lens you can use and an external microphone.
#3 – GoPro 7 Hero Black
The GoPro 7 Hero Black is the top of the line action camera on the market today. It’s tiny, looks like a toy, and is easy to vlog and record video on the go.
Quality video, durable (you can drop this and it won’t break unlike the G7X) waterproof, and a tiny profile which makes vlogging easy as it has a minimal profile.
It also comes with an adapter where you can plug in an external microphone. To keep with the overall small profile I suggest you get yourself a Sarmonic Microphone. It’s a tiny microphone that pairs well with the GoPro and gives you a setup of good audio and good video.
If you’re looking to get studio shots, that is, sit down and talk into the camera style videos – the GoPro is a terrible choice. It’s an action camera and is perfect for the on the go vlogger. Also, it’s an action camera. No flip out screen like the G7X.
If money was no issue:
I would have buy the Canon SLR2 and get the 10-18 mm lens and the Rhode Video Micro. That setup is affordable and provides excellent audio and video. Perfect for professional studio shots for your talking head videos.
Then, I would get the G7X Mark ii and use that for vlogging and on the go video clips. It has stabilization, good video, good audio (but not as good as the SLR2) and it’s small. You can actually vlog comfortably with that camera and it’s tiny body size makes it easy to take with you and not stand out in a crowd.
That’s my personal choice, the Go Pro Hero 7 with a microphone is also a good choice. Just depends on what video you like more.
YouTube Camera Buying Guide Contents
- What Do You Need in a Camera For YouTube?
- What is vlogging and should you do it?
- Best Camera For Vlogging
- Best Camera for YouTube
What do you need in a camera for YouTube?
When I first started creating YouTube videos I bought myself a Canon G7X. It’s a small point and shoot that can fit in your pocket. Everyone on YouTube at the time was saying that this was the camera to get for YouTube and vlogging.
So I bought it and I started using it for vlogging. It’s small form factor made it really easy to carry and take on trips to places like India, Korea, South America and Europe. The drawbacks though are that you’re stuck with one lens and there is no external mic jack. So you have to use the on board audio which is just mediocre.
For actual vlogging, it’s a pretty good camera to start with if all you’re wanting to do is vlog. So if that is you, stop right here and go get a Canon G7X!.
For me though, the lack of a wide angle lens and the lack of an external mic became a bigger issue as I transitioned over from vlogging to wanting to create higher quality presentation videos for WebsiteCreativePro.com and the associated YouTube channel. I became annoyed with the on board audio when vlogging outside and the less than sharp picture quality of the original G7X (not the mark ii).
Take a look at one of my older videos shoot 100% with the Canon G7X to get an idea:
This camera is ideal for vlogging but for professional use, it just did not make the cut for me anymore.
I would strongly suggest you get a camera where you can switch out the lens. This allows a camera to grow with you as you become a more talented vlogger and video content producer. It’s also helpful because it gives your videos a variety of shots from close ups, to wide angles.
In terms of lens, the aperture is very important. A good lens should have a wide aperture so you can capture more light. The reason this is important is because it will allow you to improve the look and feel of your videos and vlogs that you create. It’s also how you get that blurry background (called bokeh).
What specific lens should you get? Well that depends on the camera body of course. If you buy a DSLR or a micro four thirds, each body is considered a different system that has different lenses. Think of it like a video game system. If you buy into the Playstation eco-ystem, you can’t play games made for Xbox and vice versa.
With camera though there re work-a-rounds through buying lens adapters and speed boosters, but these are no cheap and are an additional cost on top of buying your camera and various lenses. So be careful about what system you’re buying into.
I can tell you from vlogging and creating videos for 2+ years now what lens you’re going to want are:
A wide angle lens
I personally use a 10-18mm wide angle lens from Canon. A wide angle lens is ideal for vlogging because it gives your videos a nice perspective of the world around you and makes your videos more enjoyable to watch . As the subject of the video, you don’t want it to be too close to your face, you want to show the world around you.
Wide angles are also amazing for nature and street videos because it gives so much perspective. Once you start using a wide angle lens, you’ll never want to go back to anything else.
A 50 mm portrait lens
You’re not going to be vlogging with a 50mm lens. It’s too up close, however it’s an ideal lens for close up shots and portrait photography. Say you want to zoom in on something close to give perspective (like if you’re reviewing a product for example) or you want to take shots with a blurry background, a 50 mm lens will come in handy:
A 18-55 mm lens
Most kit lenses, that is, the lens that come with the camera are in this range. It’s a good idea to sell your kit lens and replace it with something that has a higher aperture as most kit lenses are of not that high quality.
This is a great range because it’s adjustable. You can make this lens into a 25 mm lens for B-roll footage, or use it at 18 mm for vlogging and talking head videos or ramp it up to 55 mm to give perspective on something in the distance.
In body stabilization (IBIS)
One thing I really liked about the G7X was that it had IBIS. In body stabilization (or IBIS for short) simply means that the camera body stableizes the video. Stablization is critical for vloggers because it helps reduce shaky camera footage.
Stablization comes in two forms, in body and with the lens. Not every lens has stablization and not every camera body offers IBIS. However, if you buy a system that has both, your video is going to be smooth like butter when you’re vlogging.
Again though, it comes down to what you’re doing. If you’re creating talking head videos, IBIS is not essential at all since you’re not moving the camera. If however, you intend to walk and talk with the camera you’re going to want IBIS or at the very least, have a lens that has electronic stablization.
The sensor is the equivalent to what film was. Sensors come in different sizes. Full frame cameras has full frame sensors. Miro four third cameras have micro four third sensors. The size of the sensor is very important as it captures and converts light into the image you see on the LCD screen and then in turn our video.
Small point and shoot cameras and camcorders tend to have small sensors which is why the video quality is lacking. A small sensor also performs poorly in low light situations.
Audio is more important than video quality. Really. You’re going to want a camera that has the ability to plug in an external mic. There are quite a few different options you can pick from from in this department.
For microphones I suggest the following:
Rhode Video Micro:
This is an excellent, affordable and small microphone. It’s smaller than the professional Video Mic Pro, but it still provides good quality. Not as good as the Video Mic Pro, but it’s smaller form factor make it an ideal choice for most camera setups.
If you decide to go the action camera route, you may want to pick up a Sarmonic microphone. It’s quite small and pairs well with an action camera due to it’s small size.
What is vlogging?
With that out of the way, let’s define what vlogging exactly is: Live your life and share your story with a camera. That’s it.
Vlogging is simply recording your thoughts or your day casually using a camera. It’s similar to blogging, but instead of writing you’re recording.
Vlogs can and should have a theme, the theme being some aspect about your life that is interesting and unique. People will subscribe to your channel because of this general theme and you should try to stay on topic.
For example, Jason Fonger has numerous YouTube videos (650+) but is still at less than 10k subscribers because he tends to go off topic too much into areas where he simply does not have the knowledge or expertiese to speak on. He has created numerous Thailand travel videos, but then goes and creates very basic videos on veganism as well as videos on being a tri-athlete. His channel first started off as a music channel too.
These are all different topics and I can tell you from experience, you’re going to annoy and lose subscribers if you radically change your vlog topic week to week. People (and search engines) want to box you in, so pick your theme and go with it. If you’re about travel, then 90% of your vlogs should be about travel stuff with 10% off topic stuff.
Some popular themes for vlogs are travel, diet, health, over coming some struggle or difficulty in your life, parenting and so forth.
Should You Vlog?
Vlogging can work for some people. I’ve seen numerous travel vloggers grow an audience pretty quickly and easily like the Holistic Trainer. He leverages his girlfriends sex appeal in order to get clicks on his video which then in turn results in the YouTube algorithm promoting his videos more widely. His videos are good though.
Good production, format and interesting. It’s these things put together that make for a good vlog.
I would give the same advice for vlogging as I would for blogging. Give yourself a year. Produce two videos a week for a year and see where it takes you. If after a year you’re still at sub 1k then I would quit and call it a day or change. Don’t be like Jason and make hundreds of videos no one watches.
That’s what I’ve done over at my personal travel vlog. After a year of creating content, my vlog is still at 500 subscribers and my videos only get around 20 views then die. I tired, I failed. I’ll occasionally publish new videos on my vlog, but by no means is it a serious focus for me anymore unlike the channel for WebsiteCreativePro.com which grows day to day quite nicely.
Best Cameras For Vlogging
My top pics for vlogging cameras for beginners. All of these cameras are easy to use, small and highly functional.
The Canon G7X
This is a small, easy to use point and shoot camera that provides good video and decent audio. What makes this camera ideal for vlogging is the small form factor and the video quality. This camera was my first “real” camera that I used to vlog and create travel videos with. I love how small this camera. The only drawback is that it lacks an external mic jack for audio so you’re going to have to use the built in microphone.
For vlogging this is fine, but if you’re looking to create talking head presentation videos I would keep looking.
The Sony x3000
Probably the most under rated camera in this guide, this tiny action camera packs a lot of premium features and outperforms the Go Pro series in a lot of ways too. It comes with the ability to record in 4k, you can plugin an external mic like a lapel mic to get higher quality audio and it’s smaller than the Canon G7X. The drawback? The video quality is good, but it has a fish eye distortion due to it’s action camera nature.
Overall, an excellent choice for vlogging as this thing is small. Making it easy to vlog and explore new places without drawing too much attention to yourself.
Canon SLR2 Rebel
This is my current camera and my camera of choice for anyone looking to get started making YouTube videos as well as looking to get into vlogging. While not the smallest option when compared to the G7X, it’s still a small camera. The smallest DSLR actually on the market today. What makes this camera excellent is that you get high quality video and audio, comparable to the more expensive Canon 80D but in a tiny body.
As it’s a DSLR, you get access to Canon’s full range of lenses, including the amazing 10-18 mm wide angle lens that will really help your vlogs stand out. Last, this camera is small enough as to allow you to vlog comfortably. You’ll actually want to take this camera with you unlike the bigger Canin 80D.
The drawbacks? Well, if you’re looking for something really small stick to action cameras and point and shoot cameras. Also, this camera does not have IBIS so walk n talk videos are not ideal.
One of the best point and shoot ever made. Superior in many ways to the G7X. This camera can do it all. Slow motion, quality video, good audio and it’s a small point and shoot. Meaning you’ll actually take this camera with you when you’re traveling.
The only drawback of the RX1000, like the G7X is a lack of an external mic jack. The internal audio is fine for vlogging outside, but for studio shoots it’s going to leave you wanting. It’s battery also dies quickly if you use the more advanced features like the built in time lapse and lastly, the framing of the video is a bit closer than the G7X which has a slightly wider shot.
GoPro Hero 7 Black
The GoPro is an excellent action camera with a nice wide angle look, sharp picture quality and vibrant colors. The audio is terrible however. You’re in luck though because the ecosystem for the GoPro Hero 7 black does come with an adapter for an external mic. If you’re looking for a tiny, on the go setup for travel vlogging the Hero 7 Black is an excellent choice.
The main drawback? No flip out screen (obviously) and it has a bit of a fish eye look.
Best Cameras for YouTube Talking Head Videos
Now with action camera and point and shoots out of the way. Let’s talk about proper camera setups for studio videos where you’re recording from your home into a camera. If that is what you’re looking to do then I suggest you checkout the following cameras:
- Canon 80D
- Canon 1DX
- Canon SLR2
- Canon M50
- Canon 77d
- Panasonic Lumix GH5
- Panasonic Lumix G7
- Panasonic Lumix G85
- Sony a6500
The classic camera made popular by Casey Neistat. This is a large heavy camera that lacks stabilization. With a microphone and a couple of lenses, this setup will set you back over $1000 USD. But you’ll have everything you need to start making high quality videos for YouTube. Not ideal at all for vlogging, but if you’re looking for a solid setup for studio recording the Canon 80D is a popular choice.
The best consumer camera on the market. The 1DX is the top of the line consumer camera made by Canon. The next type of camera beyond this are large cinematic cameras. The 1Dx is a very large, very heavy, very expensive camera that lacks a flip out screen.
It’s ideal for the documentary film maker or the serious YouTuber who wants the best picture quality possible. The 1DX is over kill if you’re just starting out due to it’s price point and advanced features you’re unable to take advantage of as a new YouTuber and vlogger.
Again, this is my camera of choice. It’s what I use and love. Small body, light and it’s a DSLR and can work with proper Canon lenses. If you want the quality of the 80D without the price point or the size issues, the SLR2 really is the best Camera overall for new vloggers and YouTubers because it can do both.
It’s small enough to where you can walk and vlog with it (within reason, the lack of stabilization is it’s main drawback) but at the same time provides quality audio and video.
The Canon M50
The Canon M50 is the main competitor to the SLR2. The M50 is a mirrorless camera while the SLR2 is a DSLR. As such the M50 has a different mount called an EF mount and currently their are 20 lenses from Canon for this mount.
The M50 has digital stabilization and can record in 4k. However the 4k is cropped in significantly and auto focus does not work in 4k. Making the 4k only workable for B roll shots where the camera is stationary or shots where you’re going to be talking into the camera and not moving at all.
As for the stabilization, again it crops the video a bit when turned on. It’s actually quite difficult to get a wide field of view with this camera and it’s native wide angle lens.
The M50 is also unique camera. It’s packed with a lot of pro features that are lacking in the SLR2. But each pro feature is crippled in some way.
The 77D is the step up from the SLR2 / 200D. The main difference with this model over the lower priced SLR2 is that it has stabilization, can shoot in 4k, has a better processor and has better slow motion. It’s also bigger and heavier, but still manageable.
An excellent choice for video, particularly if you’re going to be doing doing strictly talking head videos. The drawbacks are that this camera are that it is expensive and a bit bulky. It’s not the sort of camera where you’re going to be travel vlogging with it.
If you’re looking for your first camera, this is a fantastic choice if all your going to be doing is narrating in front of the camera in your home. If you need mobility and portability then I would keep looking.
One of the best, if not the best budget camera available. The Lumix G7 is an old camera that is packed with a lot of pro features like being able to record in 4k, slow motion all while being combined into a small, light weight body. The Lumix G7 is a micro 4/3 camera.
So if you’re wanting that wide angle look, it’s tough to get as all 4/3 cameras are cropped in. The Lumix G7 also lacks any sort of stabilization. That combined with the micro 4/3 cropped sensor makes this camera a terrible choice for on the go vlogging. It’s ideal for talking head videos.
The Lumix G85 is the upgraded version of the G7. The main difference with the G85 over it’s predecessor is that it has stabilization and the video quality is a bit better.
The Sony A6500 has an excellent form factor. The body of this camera is quite small and Sony has a wide range of lenses for this body. Videos shot with the A6500 tend to have a very cinematic look to them. Colors obviously can be changed in post, but the native Sony colors are quite subdued. Last, it can shoot in 4k. Ideal for film making.
The drawbacks of this camera are that it lacks a flip out screen (a deal breaker for most vloggers) as well as stabilization.
There is no best camera for YouTube. There is no one perfect camera for vlogging. Both vlogging and presentation videos require different gear. If you’re going to be strictly vlogging, I would say go with the G7X. If you’re going to be doing presentation videos in a home studio setting, get the SLR2 (or camera with switchable lenses of your choice). Particularly if you want that wide angle look.
In a perfect world, you’re going to want a camera where you can switch out lenses for your talking head shots and a point and shoot for vlogging and on the go videos and an action camera for shots involving water (swimming underwater, jet skis, snowboarding) or where you could potentially drop your camera (like snowboarding etc).