The 12 Best Cameras for YouTube – Beginners Guide

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Creating content for both YouTube and a blog is an effective way to build traffic and an audience. Depending on the type of video content you want to produce will dictate what type of camera you should get.

In this complete beginners guide we’re going to cover the best cameras in each category as well as their ideal use cases. So what should you look for generally in a camera? Here is what we suggest:

Flip out screen

You will want a camera with a flip out screen so you can quickly and easily frame yourself. While a lot of YouTubers opt to use a dedicated monitor (as monitors provide a lot of detail as to the quality of the video and what parts are being over exposed) for most content creators a simple built in flip out screen is fine.

This is important because having a screen allows you to easily frame yourself in the shot and makes creating videos more easy and fast.

Frame rates

You’ll want to have some flexibility in your frame rate options. Frame rates control how the smooth the video is. Most YouTube creators need 24p, 30p or 60p for presentation style videos. 60p looks the most smooth while 24p or 30p is what you’re most used to watching.

If you want to do slow motion you’ll need a camera that can do 120p in 1080 or 4k for best results. This high frame rate allows you to slow down video to 24p or 30p while maintaining quality.

In body stabilization (IBIS)

Stabilization is important if you’re going to be moving the camera around on a tripod or with your hands. While you can get an expensive gimbal to produce smooth video, gimbals are expensive and bulky. Instead you’ll want a camera with IBIS.

This way you can use your camera on the go without any additional gear as a way to produce walk and talk videos or point of view walking videos.

Sensor size

Sensor size affects the quality of the image as well as the blurry background. The bigger the sensor, the more light is let in to record in much higher detail. You’ll want at least a 1 inch sensor if not bigger.

The bigger the sensor, the more expensive and bigger the camera. The best sensor size is any camera that is considered full frame. However, full frame cameras are quite pricy and for most YouTube creators you’re fine with a less expensive camera with a smaller sensor.

Autofocus

Auto focus comes in many forms. Some systems work on a contrast based system, others like Canon have a superior dual pixel auto focus. You want autofocus because it makes recording content more easy. The alternative is to manually focus the camera every single time you go to record.

The Best Cameras for YouTube

So what are your best cameras for creating YouTube content? Let’s break down all the best types of cameras for different situations so you know what camera you’ll need to create a specific type of video.

  • Canon SL3
  • Sony ZV1
  • Canon M50
  • Fuji X-S10
  • GoPro
  • Logitech C922
  • Canon 90D
  • Osmo Pocket
  • Lumix GH5
  • Black Magic Pocket 4k
  • Canon 1DX Mark iii
  • Sony A7S iii

Canon SL3 – The Best Cheap YouTube Camera

Small, light, easy to use.

If you’re looking for the best cheap camera for YouTube content creation, we suggest taking a look at the SL3, also known as the 200D outside of the United States.

What makes this camera so great is it’s low price point, small body, it’s light weight and that it is designed to use Canon’s extensive line of EF mount lenses. It’s the smallest DSLR in the world and fits comfortably in your hand.

Last, it can shoot in 4k (with an additional crop), has a flip out screen, shoe mount for an external microphone and produces video quality on par with the much more expensive 90D. We suggest using the affordable 10-18mm wide angle lens and the 24mm pancake lens with this camera body.

Pros:

  • Best price and performance option on the list. A great beginner camera to get started creating content.
  • Works with EF lens mount by default, no expensive additional speed booster needed.
  • Flip out screen, beginner oriented menu.
  • The video quality is on par with the more expensive Canon 90D.
  • Excellent dual pixel auto focus.
  • Clean HDMI output so it makes for a solid choice for streaming.

Cons:

  • No stabilization, video footage is shaky if you walk and talk with this camera.
  • Has a 1.6x crop factor.
  • 4k has an additional crop factor for a 2.4x total crop factor.
  • No autofocus in 4k.

Sony ZV1 – The value vlogging camera

Excellent point and shot.

The Sony ZV1 is Sony’s dedicated vlogging camera. It has a lot of interesting features vloggers will love and is ideal for anyone looking for a hybrid camera than can be used for vlogging as well as studio recording.

This camera can shoot in 4k at up to 30 frames a second and 120 frames a second at 1080p for some pretty impressive slow motion b-roll. You can also record at 60 frames if you like more of a smooth, look.

It has a flip out screen so you can frame yourself, a microphone jack for improved audio with an external microphone and a 24-70mm zoom lens.

Last, it has a “skin smoothing” feature you can turn on or off to soften the look of your skin as well as a button that blurs the background slightly. It also comes with image stabilization.

Pros:

  • Impressive image quality and can blur the background slightly.
  • Flip out screen to frame yourself.
  • Shoots in 4k, can do slow motion and has a zoom lens.
  • Has a dedicated tripod to enhance it’s usefulness.

Cons:

  • 24mm is tight on the face. If you want a wide angle look you won’t get it with this camera.
  • Video footage is a bit shaky and not smooth like other vlogging options such as the GoPro.

Canon M50 – Best budget mirrorless camera

Very small body and lenses.

The M50 is Canon’s entry level mirrorless camera. It can shoot in 4k (with a crop factor) like the SL3, but also has digital stabilization (unlike the SL3) so you can vlog with this camera if needed. However, the video quality is not as good as the SL3.

Overall the Canon M50 is a good budget choice for YouTubers because of it’s small size, weight and the lenses designed for this body are also small and light. Paired with a quality microphone and you can create online courses, YouTube videos and vlogs.

Last, the digital stabilization is a great feature if you do want to occasionally vlog as your videos will be stable enough. The M50 comes with a 15-45mm lens but you’ll want to get the 11-22mm lens for a more wide angle look. In general, if you’re going to be stationary get the SL3, if you think you may want to vlog get the M50.

Pros:

  • Digital stabilization to reduce shaky camera footage when walking.
  • Small and light with a flip out screen.
  • Can vlog because the video clips are stabilized.

Cons:

  • Video quality is a bit sharp and may not be the most flattering on a face.
  • Stabilization is digital. Acceptable, but in body stabilization is much better.
  • 4K has a substantial crop like the SL3.

Fujifilm X-S10 – The Best Overall Mirrorless Camera

Produces beautiful video.

Our personal favorite on the list is the Fujifilm X-S10. This camera is ideal for YouTube creators because if offers 4k uncropped recording and 5-axis in body stabilization. That means this camera is great for studio recording as well as vlogging.

As it is a mirrorless camera it’s on the smaller side in terms of body and weight, it comes with an electronic view finder, a flip out screen and that all important ability to attach an external microphone. Last, it also offers F-log for your color grading needs and you can get it with an outstanding 15-45mm kit lens.

Pros:

  • In body stabilization for vlogging.
  • 4k uncropped recording for quality studio recording.
  • Flip out screen and external microphone jack.

Cons:

  • Poor battery performance if you’re going to be out vlogging.

GoPro – The Best Vlogging Camera

Ideal for on the go vlogging.

The GoPro is a great choice for vlogging and it tops our best vlogging cameras list for a reason. With vlogging, telling a great story and getting the shot is the most important aspect of a vlog. Having a small, unassuming camera like a GoPro is just easier to use than carrying around a big, heavy camera all day.

Even professional travel vlogger Drew Binsky uses a GoPro for his day travels as it’s more convenient and draws less attention. What makes the GoPro ideal is it’s wide angle view, good colors, good audio, it’s durable and the latest version now comes with a monitor on the front to frame yourself.

Last, it can record up to 5k and has fun video features build in like time warp and time lapse to help add interesting b-roll to your vlogs.

Pros:

  • Very stable, 4k video capabilities.
  • Small, pocketable, durable and light.
  • Multiple recording angles. Everything from super wide to linear.

Cons:

  • GoPro’s are waterproof which tend to make the audio average. But you can attach a lapel microphone for improved audio.
  • Battery life is a little over an hour.

Logitech C922 – The best webcam for streaming

Streaming and screen capture.

This is the best webcam for streaming as well as screen capture software. If you’re creating tutorials and want to have a picture in picture shot where you’re in the corner and people are watching your laptop screen you’ll need a dedicated webcam or you’ll have to setup a camera that has a clean HDMI output.

If you decide you don’t want to setup a camera as a webcam and would prefer the ease of use of a plug and play webcam, the C922 is one of the best. It provides clear video, good colors, a wider angle than your built in webcam and works by simply plugging it into any USB slot.

If you’ve been looking to stream on YouTube or you want to create tutorials using picture in picture shots, get the C922 or use a camera with a clean HDMI output like the budget friendly SL3.

Pros:

  • 1080P webcam.
  • Good built in audio and video.
  • Works by plug and play and is compatible with streaming software.

Cons:

  • No 4k recording.

Canon 90D – The 4k classic choice

4k uncropped DSLR.

The Canon 90D is the step up from the SL3. While it produces slightly better video quality than the SL3, it allows you to record in 4k uncropped.

As a Canon DSLR is pairs with Canon’s extensive library of lenses for EF mounts. Like the SL3 we suggest getting a 24mm and the 10-18mm lens for this camera body. It comes with a 18-135 kit lens, can be paired with a microphone and can shoot uncropped 4k video.

If you’re looking for something that is simply better than the SL3 on all fronts like 4k recording, slightly better video and image quality then the 90D is a reliable choice.

Pros:

  • Can shoot 4k uncropped.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable to use.
  • Can record at 24p, 30p and 60p.
  • Flip out touch screen.

Cons:

  • No stabilization. Not ideal for vlogging and on the go recording.

Osmo Pocket – The best point of view shot camera

Pocket gimbal.

This is a tiny gimbal that fits in your pocket that also produces some high quality video. It’s perfect for any sort of point of view, walk and talk video and is ideal for travelers looking to show off different locations.

The camera is about a 24mm equivalent which is very tight on the face for vlogging. There is a wide angle lens adapter you can buy, but it’s small and can be difficult to use as you need to turn the camera on first and let it balance before applying the wide angle lens.

The picture quality and audio quality out of this device is much better than other action cameras like the GoPro or the Sony X3000. However, as a mini gimbal you can not put this on any sort of tripod. It’s for hand held use only.

Pros:

  • High quality video on par with the ZV-1, except in a pocketable form factor.
  • Stabilized video that is enjoyable to watch.
  • Small and can actually fit in your pocket. Ideal for point of view, walk and talk vlogs.

Cons:

  • 24mm is a bit close on the face for vlogging.
  • As it’s shaped like a stick, you can’t put this on any sort of tripod to extend it away from you or to set it down.

Canon R6 – The high quality mirrorless camera

Impressive mid-range mirrorless.

Canon has an R6 and an R5. The R5 is the more expensive camera body and has a higher megapixel sensor at 45 pixels compared to the R6, 20 pixels. 45 pixels is just 5 megapixels away from being a medium format camera.

However, megapixels are most useful for photography, not video. So functionally speaking the Canon R6 costs less and produces video quality the same as the R5. The R6 can record up to 4k at various framerates with no crop, you get C-log for color grading.

Our favorite lens for this system is the 15-35mm. You have the option to have a wide angle look with a slightly blurry background.

Pros:

  • 4k video, no crop and no over-heating.
  • C-log is included.
  • Excellent stills camera.
  • Wide selection of high quality lenses.

Cons:

  • Can not shoot in 8K like the R6.
  • Less megapixels than the R6.

Lumix GH5 – The film makers YouTube camera

You can also choose the 12-60 mm lens to go with it.

An excellent choice for film makers. This camera is a bit bulky but not too bulky. You can still take this with you on a trip. It has amazing stabilization, great lens selection, can record in 4k at 60 frames a second and the cine-d color profile which is an excellent flat profile to color grade.

If you’re a film maker or aspiring film maker who wants to create both talking head videos as well as point of view, travel videos. The GH5 is an excellent camera for film making.

Pros:

  • Amazing in body stabilization
  • 4k at 60 frames a second
  • Cine D Color profile
  • Video centric camera

Cons:

  • Low light performance is poor due to the sensor size. But if you’re not making videos at night this is a non issue.

Canon 1DX Mark iii – The best DSLR ever made

Only for pro filmakers.

The 1DX Mark iii is a hybrid DSLR and mirrorless camera. It’s technically a DSLR but has a “mirrorless” mode you can switch on to have tremendous functionality between DSLR specific capabilities and mirrorless capabilities.

It’s a professional level full frame camera that is a step down from Canon’s cinema line cameras. As such, there are no real limitations with this device. It can shoot multiple frame rates, slow motion, 4k, does not overheat, is outstanding for still photography, provides accurate tracking and auto focus.

If camera is what professional film makers for YouTube use. If you’re a beginner just wanting to make 1080P YouTube videos or 4k videos there are more appropriate options.

Pros:

  • Advanced and feature rich for film making an photography. There are no limitations with this camera.

Cons:

  • Big, heavy and expensive.

Sony Alpha 7S iii – The pro YouTubers choice

Best for established YouTubers.

Want to future proof your video creation for the next 5 years by getting one of the best cameras that money can buy? You’ll want to get a Sony A7S iii. The A7S iii is a full frame mirrorless camera from Sony. It has all the video features of Canon’s 1D X, including 5-axis in body stabilization and a wide selection of lenses.

As a mirrorless camera, the actual body itself is small and light. The lens you use could potentially weigh more than the camera. It’s a native 4k camera that can record up to 120p for slow motion and it outputs 16 bit raw video.

Pros:

  • 4k recording up to an hour.
  • Twin card SD card slots.
  • 5 axis in body stabilization.
  • A great selection of premium lenses.

Cons:

  • Only established content creators should get this camera as it’s overwhelming for beginners.

Best Camera For YouTube

That is it for our guide on the best cameras for studio recording for YouTube. From using cameras for vlogging, to streaming to film making, you have a lot of choices. Make sure to pick the camera that can create the kind of content you want. Don’t think that you need to spend a lot of money to create quality YouTube videos.

For most complete beginners looking to make nice looking and nice sounding 1080P talking head videos the Canon SL3 or M50 are great starter cameras.