12 Best Cameras for YouTube in 2019
- Coordinates with your smartphone via Camera Connect app
- Records in both Full HD and 4K UHD
- AF tracking works well with dynamic movement
- Shoots 4K video at a tremendous frame rate
- Supports a variety of different lenses
- Design is resistant to freezing and splashing
Do you want to share your passion with the world? YouTube has created a climate where anyone with the skills, knowledge, and personality can become a celebrity overnight while reducing the need for traditional gatekeepers like agents and producers. And while it may be one of the most egalitarian pathways to exposure, it’s also becoming fiercely competitive.
If you want to become a prominent YouTube personality, you’ll need every edge you get, and that means competing with people who employ increasingly professional methods and equipment to shoot their videos. A good YouTube camera is going to set you back at least a few hundred dollars, and that means you need to be informed before making a decision. We’ve identified some of the absolute best options on the market today.
- The Best Cameras for YouTube
- 1. Canon EOS M50 Camera
- 2. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5S 4K Digital Camera
- 3. GoPro HERO7 Action Camera
- 4. Canon G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
- 5. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera
- 6. Sony RX100 VI Compact Digital Camera
- 7. Sony a7R III Digital Camera
- 8. PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K Digital Camera
- 9. Sony Alpha a6400 Camera
- 10. Canon EOS REBEL T7i EF-S
- 11. Canon EOS 77D EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit
- 12. Nikon 1576 D5600 DX-Format Digital SLR
- Best Cameras for YouTube Buyer’s Guide
The Best Cameras for YouTube
1. Canon EOS M50 Camera
Canon has been working on mirrorless cameras for some time, but they've finally come into their own with the EOS M50. The real standout feature here is the presence of an electronic viewfinder, a real rarity in mirrorless models. That's an advantage that more experienced photographers will love, but it might not make a great difference for more novice vloggers. And if you're worried that it won't have the sort of power you'd expect from a traditional DSLR, there's no need to be.
This makes use of a Dual Pixel CMOS AF that supports between 99 and 143 autofocus points, and the continuous shooting speed of 10 fps solidly outperforms most cameras in this price range. YouTube personalities who demand truly solid videography will appreciate the fact that it supports continuous shooting of full HD, and a number of wireless options make it easier to upload your footage to YouTube.
- Coordinates with your smartphone via Camera Connect app
- Records in both Full HD and 4K UHD
- AF tracking works well with dynamic movement
- Packed with a great DSLR quality sensor
2. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5S 4K Digital Camera
The GH5S by Panasonic is a luxury camera through and through, and while it's best suited to the needs of professional news and nature photographers, it's a contender as the best camera for YouTube for those with the salary to afford it. It's hands down the best video shooting camera under $10,000. It can deliver 4K video at a smooth rate of 60 frames per second, and you can quadruple that if you shoot in 1080p instead.
There's little need to worry about the surrounding environment, as the GH5S can deliver stunning results in even the lowest lighting situations. And while this is a camera that puts video first, it's actually a crossover model, so it can serve in a pinch if you're looking to create stills for your blog as well. And while the sensor employs a relatively low resolution sensor, that allows for a more dynamic shooting range.
- Shoots 4K video at a tremendous frame rate
- Supports a variety of different lenses
- Design is resistant to freezing and splashing
- Comes with twin SD card slots
3. GoPro HERO7 Action Camera
The GoPro Hero7 Black is the cheapest option on our list, and the only featured model under 500 dollars. But that doesn't mean that it's lacking in quality. In fact, its specialized nature makes it the ideal choice for a lot of purposes, particularly as an outdoors camera. GoPros have long been regarded as the premier action cameras, and the Hero7 is no different.
It's durable enough to take out on the waves or mount to the handles of your bike, and the solid stabilization features allow you to just set it and forget it without worry. If you're more concerned about the message of your video and less worried about having to frame the perfect shot, this is a great choice. Particularly useful for outdoor vloggers are the connectivity options that make it easy to share your newly created videos directly with your viewers.
- Time lapse speeds of up to 30X
- HyperSmooth video stabilization without a gimbal
- Live streaming to social media through Facebook Live
- Waterproof to depths of ten meters
4. Canon G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
The Mark II version of Canon's PowerShot G7 X is just an iterative evolution of the earlier model, but that's a good thing. The G7 X is more than just a good camera for YouTube. It's easily one of the best. The one inch sensor provides it with exceedingly strong video quality despite the compact size of the frame, and while it doesn't support 4K resolution, it offers 1080p Full HD, and the built-in mic supports solid and stable stereo sound. The lack of a viewfinder is something of an odd choice, but the flip screen is of a very high quality. The three inch touch surface has 1,040,000 dots packed in to its compact frame. Combine this with a solid battery life and both NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity, and you're left with an exceedingly good video camera for YouTube packed into a tiny package.
- Tilting touchscreen is great for shooting personal videos
- Sports the top shelf DIGIC 7 Image Processor
- Easy video sharing and uploading
- Conveniently portable and easy to carry
5. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera
If you're looking to make the transition from a basic point and shoot camera to something a little more serious, the EOS Rebel SL2 might be right up your alley. This DSLR camera is a step above Canon's entry level option, but it packs in a lot more value for that modest rise in price. Of special value to vloggers is the presence of wireless connectivity (via NFC, Bluetoooth, and WiFi) and the spacious and fully articulated touch screen. This camera has some of the best autofocus around - specifically tailored to the needs of shooting video - and the built-in microphone is pretty respectable as well. Further enhancing the usability of those wireless options is the ability to control it remotely from your phone or other mobile device. But what's really incredible about Canon's workhorse is how small it manages to be despite that full range of features.
- Great range of wireless connectivity options
- Some of the best movie AF around
- Extremely flexible touch screen
- Delivers Full HD footage at a smooth 60 fps
6. Sony RX100 VI Compact Digital Camera
Finding the camera you want to use for your YouTube career doesn't have to mean choosing between a complex camera with interchangeable lenses or a spottier and less professional smartphone, and Sony's RX100 VI is proof of that. Sony makes the best point and shoot cameras around, the the RX100 VI is one of their better choices. It's compact enough to fit in your pocket comfortably, but that doesn't mean it's not up to the task of shooting solid video. It sports what Sony boasts is the fastest autofocus system in the world, and it's fully capable of shooting in crisp and beautiful 4K. That HDR support is further bolstered by two different picture profiles for maximizing shadow detail and highlights within the footage. And despite its small frame, all the buttons and features are intuitively and readily accessible. There's even a pop-up viewfinder built right in.
- Slow motion speeds at up to 32X
- Highly portable without sacrificing video quality
- PlayMemories Mobile app allows for automatic social media uploads
- Hybrid AF has some of the best speeds around
7. Sony a7R III Digital Camera
Vloggers who need to shoot a lot of footage without having to worry about their camera running out of juice or memory will find a lot to like about the Sony a7R III. A variant of one of Sony's premier mirrorless cameras, the a7R III excels at shooting video. Autofocus has been significantly improved over earlier models, while the inclusion of two USB inputs allows you to charge the camera while simultaneously uploading your footage to your computer. And the dual SD cards are both active, allowing you to shoot longer or use the second for recording backup footage. Supplementing those longer legs is an impressive and upgraded battery pack. If there's one major downside, it's that a flip screen isn't built in. That makes selfies much harder to reliably shoot, but the otherwise stacked features may justify the purchase for some aspiring YouTube personalities.
- An ideal camera for longer shoots and trips
- AF can track subjects at up to 10 fps
- 4K video footage is crisp and clean
- LCD screen is entirely touch based
8. PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K Digital Camera
The GHS5 is easily one of the best vlogging cameras on the market, but if you don't have over three grand to spare, its less expensive brother can serve you well. The Lumix G85 offers respectable 4K performance for a camera in its price range. You can expect to reach a solid 30 fps when shooting in 4K, a metric that's usually expected for far more expensive alternatives, and the ability to shoot 4K photos is great for when you're looking to create thumbnails for promoting your videos. Stabilization is the other great selling point for this model. Panasonic offers some of the best camera stabilization in the business, and it's on prominent display in the G85. It's another notch that you'd only expect to find on much more expensive options. Wi-Fi is built in, and the addition of a microphone jack allows you to upgrade your sound quality easily.
- A highly portable option for vloggers on the go
- 4K footage punches above its class
- Magnesium alloy chassis is waterproof
- 5-axis image stabilization
9. Sony Alpha a6400 Camera
You don't need an action camera to shoot action photography. If you need a good mirrorless camera that can suit you well both in the studio and out on the streets, Sony's A6400 is a reliable option. The screen offers 180 degree rotation to suit the needs of vloggers, while a microphone output ensures that your voice won't be lost among the din when you're in more crowded spaces. There's no recording limit even when shooting in 4K, so you can get all the material yo want and then tidy it up in post, and the S&Q mode handles both slow motion and sped up shots admirably. And while the video button isn't ideally placed, the programmable interface allows you to come up with a customization option that better suits your needs as a videographer. Remote control is available, and it even delivers a live feed right to your phone.
- No recording limit when shooting in 4K
- Autofocus is both quick and accurate
- Selfie LCD is very convenient
- AF uses real time tracking technology
10. Canon EOS REBEL T7i EF-S
Quality video cameras can run the gamut from a few hundred dollars to well over ten thousand, and that means that manufacturers have to make some sacrifices to put out something affordable. The T7i is a DLSR that takes a smart approach to its fiscal limitations - opting out of extraneous features in favor of a more meat and potatoes offering. The sensor is significantly larger than what you could expect from a video camera under $1000, and it manages a steady 60 frames per second when shooting in full HD. A single dial oversees the aperture, ISO control, and shutter speed, but it's worth noting that there's just a single jack for both the mic and headphones. All around this is a solid camera that doesn't do anything really out of the box, but its specs are exceptional for the price it demands.
- Comes with Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth compatibility
- Touch screen is large and easy to manipulate
- Feature assistant is available for amateur photographers
- Great video performance for the price
11. Canon EOS 77D EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit
The great thing about a Canon DSLR is that it can work with the expansive and impressive list of Canon lenses already on the market, but the 77D goes a step above to provide one of the best entry level cameras around for shooting video. While it can't offer 4K recording, it does come with the impressive DIGIC 7 processor built right in, and the fact that it can maintain 60 frames per second with no difficulty is a huge advantage. The addition of an external microphone port means that you won't have to worry about sound quality (just so long as you aren't unwilling to spring for an external mic), while the Wi-Fi capabilities and smartphone controls allow you to edit your video and upload them quickly to your YouTube account without having to dig into editing software and slow down the process.
- Allows for time lapse videography
- Supports all major wireless formats
- Uses the powerful DIGIC 7 processor
- Flip screen has full swivel capabilities
12. Nikon 1576 D5600 DX-Format Digital SLR
The D5600 isn't just the smallest DSLR that Nikon produces, it's also the most well connected. That makes it a perfect fit for vloggers out in the wild. The weight puts it in contention with many mirrorless cameras in terms of portability, but it still provides the reliable image sensors and autofocus capabilities for which Nikon is so celebrated. You get access to the full variety of Nikon lenses along with Snapbridge functionality that allows you to connect the device directly to your social media network via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Low light video performance is also a notable highlight, and that's accomplished through the combination of a great autofocus system and the EXPEED 4 image processor built in. The D5600 may be a DSLR, but it manages to smartly minimize most of the factors that make such cameras a turn-off for the vlogging community.
- Supports free cloud storage in the form of Nikon Image Space
- SnapBridge lets you control the camera through your phone
- Works great in low light situations
- Offers solid sound quality through the built-in speaker
Best Cameras for YouTube Buyer’s Guide
If you intend to make it big as a vlogger, finding a good camera for YouTube is essential, but what defines the best camera for Youtube can vary by person, and if you’re going to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars, being diligent with the shopping process is important. What’s why we’ve identified some of the most common questions regarding cameras for vlogging and provided thorough answers below.
What Are the Different Types of Cameras?
DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, cameras, have been around since 1975, but the fundamental SLR technology that powers them has existed for over 150 years. The clever trick of SLR cameras is that they use a mirror to reflect the image that the camera intends to capture into the viewfinder and allow the photographer to see what they’re shooting. The DSLR merely improves on that technology by making use of a digital sensor that processes the light that passes through the lens.
The improved convenience of DSLR cameras have made them the recognized standard for most professional and amateur photographers for years. And the prevalence of this type of camera means that there’s been plenty of time for the features within to be perfected. DSLR cameras often weigh significantly more than their mirrorless counterparts.
All things being equal, DSLR cameras tend to be more focused on still photography than mirrorless cameras, but the top shelf hybrids like the EOS Rebel and SL2 and the Nikon D5600 prove that DSLR alternatives can hang with their mirrorless brethren. The fact that DSLR owners have access to more lenses and better viewfinders on average is certainly a great advantage.
Mirrorless cameras appeared in the mid 2000s, but it’s only been in the past few years that they’ve been seen as a reliable competitor for DSLRs. But a decade and a half of refinement has allowed them to close the gap, and mirrorless cameras are now regarded as generally better for shooting film.
Since mirrorless cameras use a digital imaging sensor in place of a mirror, they tend to weigh less and be more compact, a huge boon for the vlogger on the go. This lightweight structure also means you can achieve stability with much lighter and less bulky rigs. Understandably, mirrorless models dominate our list of cameras for vlogging.
While there’s less variety in lenses available, that’s mostly going to be an impediment for serious vloggers shooting high-end nature photography or other artistic demands. More personality-focused YouTube vloggers should be able to get by just fine with the more limited lens options available. A relatively cheap mirrorless model can serve a vlogger quite well, but a modern and more expensive model will be a practical necessity if you opt for DSLR.
Point and Shoot Cameras
Point and shoot cameras don’t exactly dominate our list of the top twelve cameras for vlogging (with the only point and shoot option listed being the reliable RX100 VI), but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be a suitable option for vloggers, especially those just getting their start. Point and shoot cameras have never utilized a mirror, but what they make up for in size and weight, they lose in terms of versatility.
That’s because, unlike DSLR and mirrorless cameras, point and shoot options use a fixed lens and utilize a smaller sensor. The latter likely won’t be a problem for vloggers who work in closed environments, because they’ll be able to set the lighting themselves. The former provides YouTube personalities with less range in the overall look of their shot, but how big a deal that is will depend on the vlogger in question.
Fundamentally, the strength of point and shoot cameras are their ease of use and their price. While they tend to lack a lot of the features you’ll find in terms of how you want to shoot, that lack of complicated controls can be a boon for people who are just looking to share their content without posturing as professional photographers.
And the real refreshing part is that you can get a video-enabled point and shoot camera under 500 dollars pretty easily. If you’re looking for a cheap camera for YouTube, a point and shoot option can serve you well.
An action camera is largely what it sounds like. It’s built from the ground up to be used in more extreme environments. Any action camera worth its salt is going to be ruggedly built to sustain damage and rocking and come with the ability to be immersed in water to a decent degree. Action cameras are obviously an ideal choice for more active YouTubers.
The other great advantage of action cameras is that they can essentially be set up and left to their own devices. That makes it great for mounting on a bike, car, pet, or other moving object. Most action cameras also come with a time lapse mode and a burst mode.
Today, there’s one brand that stands apart from the rest where action cameras are concerned, and that’s the GoPro. The brand has become practically synonymous with action cameras, and that’s why we’ve highlighted the Hero7 exclusively in this category. If you need an action camera, accept no substitute.
This is a niche variety of camera, but it will be a necessity for certain types of vloggers. Everyone else should probably opt instead for a model that gives them the option to more directly guide the experience for their viewers.
What Should I Look For in Specs?
Each camera for YouTube we’ve listed comes with a convenient outline of some of the most important specs. We picked these five specs because they can be compartmentalized into concrete terms and because of the important role they play in a camera for YouTube videos. Some of these may be a bit technical for those brand new to the vlogging community, and that’s why we’ve provided a thorough analysis of what they mean below. Once you’re done with this list, you can use the specs themselves as a cheat sheet for your shopping comparisons.
The sensor is in some ways the brain of any camera, and that means it’s one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new model. But that also means that sensors are complicated components that can take some knowledge to unpack. We’ve identified two important factors when judging the value of a sensor: the physical size and the resolution.
But first you need to understand what a sensor does. As a solid state device, the sensor performs a number of important functions. It determines everything from the photo’s field depth and image size to its low light performance and resolution. The sensor processes the image that comes in through your viewfinder, translating what you see into what shows up on film.
Camera manufacturers like to tout the numbers of megapixels their sensors support, and that metric isn’t just hype. What may look to us as just an unbroken photograph is actually a series of small dots, each with their own color, which combine together to tell a bigger picture. Theoretically, the more megapixels you have, the sharper and more detailed the resolution of your photo.
But that’s just theoretical. The fact is that many point and shoot cameras boast megapixels on par with more expensive and professional DSLR or mirrorless cameras. That’s because megapixels are scaled to size. A smaller sensor with less megapixels could conceivably offer a better resolution than a larger sensor with more. You don’t just want to look at how many megapixels are supported but instead at the ratio of megapixels to sensor size.
Larger sensors come with distinct advantages apart from resolution as well. Bigger is better here, as larger sensors perform better in low light and deliver results with less noise than their smaller counterparts.
While megapixels in general matter for a camera’s picture quality, the more important issue for video comes down to checking the established supported resolution. All of the cameras on our list have one of two maximum resolutions: Full HD and 4K (or Ultra HD).
For a long time, Full HD was the recognized standard for high definition video. Full HD is defined by its resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The same standards that apply to megapixels applies here. The more pixels you can pack into a screen, the better it looks for your viewers.
A 4K resolution, by contrast, consists of a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. While the numbers are doubled, the actual resolution is significantly greater than just that. Since a resolution’s dimensions cover a squared space, a 4K resolution is nearly four times as detailed as 1080p. Some cameras even allow shooting in 5K or 6K, which can then be scaled down to 4K to provide an even greater level of detail.
So how important will the difference between Full HD and 4K be for your viewers? Chances are that if you’re a younger YouTube personality just getting a start, Full HD will serve you fine. After all, content and personality are the two biggest selling points for this form of entertainment. But if you have aspirations for a truly professional setup, you’ll probably want to eventually make the upgrade to 4K.
Most modern cameras come with autofocus, and while it offers a significant advantage for still photography, things become a little more complicated when you start talking about video. A number of professional videographers prescribe to the belief that you should never use autofocus for video film. There’s truth to that. Someone skilled with a video camera can provide better results with manual focus than you’d ever get with AF.
But since many vlogs are one person operations, you want the camera to do as much work for you as possible. Autofocus is especially useful if you’re shooting selfies since you have less control of the camera and since a static camera in manual mode will assume that the subject of focus will always remain the same distance from the lens. If you have a dedicated camera person or you consider yourself a professional, you may be fine with manual focus alone. Otherwise, AF is a critical variable.
Autofocus is measured in points, but these aren’t a grading scale. The more autofocus points you have, the more accurately you can identify subjects of focus, and the more clear your results will be. Some of the cameras on our list employ AF points in the hundreds. If your camera will primarily be focused on your face, a high number of points won’t be that critical, but it can be incredibly useful if you plan on shooting action shots with moving subjects.
Popular YouTube channels cover a truly staggering amount of content. But whether you’re looking to share the speed run of your favorite game, show how to survive out in the wild, or taste test a box of treats from overseas, one important factor is common across all categories: the need for a good personality.
While older cameras made use of a traditional analog viewfinder to frame a photo, most modern options use a digital alternative instead. Taking the form of a tactile touch screen, these allow you to get an accurate and simulated vision of what’s on the other side of a lens. Obviously, traditional results aren’t going to be the ideal fit for many vloggers.
If you’re looking to put your personality front and center, you’ll probably want a face camera for YouTube. The most practical option is to get a flip screen. That allows you to rotate the viewfinder so that you can see what you’re shooting while the camera is rolling, and it’s a practical necessity for most YouTube personalities. After all, having to do multiple takes because your head was cut off in the first is time consuming and can quickly leech the authenticity out of a video.
That’s not to say that flip screens are a necessity for every type of YouTube star. If you’re making use of a fixed camera on a tripod, or if you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated camera person, you can overlook flip screens in favor of other important features.
The average vlog length is well under five minutes, and even the most popular videos on any given day typically clock in at around ten or less. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take the battery life of your camera into serious consideration. While most of the cameras on our list offer both still and video photography, the latter still takes precedence in how battery life is evaluated.
Battery life is typically judged according to how many shots it can take on a full charge, and that’s not a particularly useful metric when talking about YouTube videos. That’s why we’ve identified the actual model of battery so that you can dig deeper and figure out their strengths and weaknesses.
All of the cameras on our list use lithium-ion batteries, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option around. It’s prevalent because it combines efficiency, stability, and affordability into a single package, but if you shop outside out list, you may find other options. Nickel metal hydride batteries are occasionally used for cameras. But while they’re cheaper, they also have a tendency to degrade over time and are significantly heavier.
What Other Factors Should I Consider?
How much weight is a consideration during your YouTube career is going to depend entirely on what type of vlogging you’re doing. If you’re spending your time out in the wild, a heavier camera can quickly become more of a burden than it seems like at first blush. If you’re shooting makeup videos from the comfort of your home and making use of a tripod, the weight of the camera is going to be negligible.
If weight is a consideration, you’ll likely want to opt out of DSLR cameras entirely. They’re notably heavy compared to all the other alternatives. Mirrorless cameras tend to be significantly lighter, but if you’re really looking to slim down your kit, you may want to decide against a mirrorless option as well. While the camera itself may be light, the need for attachable lenses can rapidly weigh down a bag.
Vloggers who spend a lot of time traveling can get a lot of mileage out of point and shoot or action models when they want a video camera for YouTube. The fixed lens and lack of mirrors in both are a huge advantage in that regard.
If you just plan on having your camera set up in your home studio, durability isn’t going to be that big of a deal, but few professional YouTube celebrities restrain themselves exclusively to a single room. Anyone who plans on getting out in the great outdoors will need a camera with some level of durability.
The best choice here is hands down an action camera like the GoPro Hero7. These are cameras that can get significantly banged around without any damage, and they also offer waterproofing even when fully submerged. But if you need something a little hardier and don’t find an action camera to your tastes, there are options. There are a number of skins and cases that can provide extra grip and also improve the durability of your camera for YouTube recording.
The quality of the sensor can have a major effect on how well your camera performs in low light, but if you want a good camera for YouTube, you’ll also need to take the aperture into consideration. The aperture is the hole that light travels into in the camera lens, and the more light it lets in, the better results you can get in low lighting situations.
Obviously a wider aperture is going to be the best option around the board, and being able to shoot in a variety of different environments is a necessity if you’re just planning on using a single camera. The standard you should be looking for in terms of aperture is f/1.8. While it may seem counterintuitive, the smaller the number, the better, and smaller sizes like f/1.4 and f/1.2 can quickly become extraordinarily expensive.
If you’re using a mirrorless or DSLR camera, you don’t need to sweat the aperture too much. Since they allow you to swap out lenses, you can settle with what the camera comes with to start and slowly add to your lens collection as your needs become more specific.
While a number of the specs on are list vary from model to model, there’s one guiding issue that will limit YouTube vloggers the most: and that’s pricing. The cheapest action camera on our list clocks in at about $350, but the highest end models like the Sony a7R III and the Panasonic Lumix GH5S can cost ten times that. It’s understandable that many vloggers may not be willing or even able to pay for the most expensive cameras on our list, and many won’t need to. These luxury cameras are reserved mostly for the demands of YouTube personalities who have already established their fanbase and are making a meaningful income from their online videos.
We’ve taken value into serious consideration on our list. Every one of these cameras offers features and quality footage that’s comparable to the price you’d expect to pay, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the inherent value of these cameras is going to match the value you’ll get from it as a vlogger. How much difference your viewers will notice between a $650 camera and a $3500 alternative is questionable, and you also have to consider what you plan on shooting. That said, you have to consider your YouTube camera as an investment in your business. Going cheap will show and lend an air of the amateur to your videos. With the exception of the aforementioned GoPro HERO7, expect to spend around $500 or more on your camera. Anything less will show through in the quality of your videos.
The vlogging culture wouldn’t exist without the internet. The ability for users to upload their content directly to a platform and reach their fans allows a personality with even a budget camera for YouTube to find and foster an audience without the need for a traditional middleman. But that intimate connection between creator and fan means that direct communication is a critical trait to foster.
That’s where online connectivity is so valuable. Many cameras come with the capability to upload your video directly to your social media channels or get your editing done on the fly. The quicker you can get your videos up, the more effectively you’ll be able to compete with like-minded channels. There are a few types of connectivity options available, and while they won’t be a make or break factor for your vlogging, they can be a major convenience.
The main form of online connectivity comes in the form of Wi-Fi compatibility. By connecting your camera directly to a wireless internet network, you can readily access or upload your videos to storage without the need for hogging space on your SD card, share your footage with a single click, and even automate the upload process.
That being said, Wi-Fi cameras aren’t magic, and they aren’t perfect. For one, maintaining an internet connection can be a major drain on the battery. For another, you still need to find a wireless hotspot to connect to, so it’s less of an advantage if you plan on spending long periods of time out in the wild.
Then there’s Bluetooth and NFC (near field communications) technology. The two are largely similar, allowing you to directly pair your camera up to another device like a laptop or a phone. The main differences between these two protocols are the fact that NFC can connect with a single tap and that Bluetooth provides a better range.
If you prefer to keep your footage secured on a local hard drive, Bluetooth and NFC can help with that, and it also makes it easy to transfer your video right to your hard drive and get started with the editing process. Many cameras also offer compatibility with remote control apps that allow you to manipulate them using just your phone. These typically depend on Bluetooth protocol to function.
A shaky camera can quickly torpedo the professional look of your YouTube video, and while a separate accessory like a tripod or gimbal can help if you plan for your camera to be completely stationary, many vloggers don’t have the luxury of working from a single chair in their office.
If you plan on shooting something a little more action oriented, you’ll want to look for optical image stabilization. These systems allow your camera to stay steady even in strenuous conditions and in low lighting situations which are notorious for being shaky and uneven.
Image stabilization is a natural and common inclusion in action cameras like the GoPro Hero7. In DSLR and mirrorless cameras, image stabilization tends to be more of a premium feature, but there are a rare few mid-range cameras that support it. The most notable entry on our list with such stabilization is the Lumix G85.
Video quality is perhaps the most important factor when you’re looking to record a vlog, but it’s not the only factor. Sound quality should also be taken into consideration. While all the cameras on our list come with microphones built in, the quality of their performance can vary wildly. If you’re shopping for your first camera and intend to use the built-in mic, you’ll want to check the positioning of the mic to make sure that it can record your voice from a comfortable angle.
And while most of the mics built into these cameras are of decent or better quality, few of them are going to be ideal if you’re shooting in a crowded environment or anywhere with a decent amount of background noise. If you want to use an external mic or are even considering upgrading in the future, you’ll absolutely want to make sure that there’s an appropriate port for that built into your camera. These are a bit rarer, but the Lumix G85 and EOS M50 stand out on our list for their solid external mic support.
The ability to upload your videos right to your computer or social media is a great way to communicate more readily with your audience, but nothing beats the methodology of live streaming if you really want to build a community. Live streaming allows you to speak directly with your audience in real time and build personal connections that pre-recorded videos simply can’t offer.
If you’re interested in live streaming, there are a few options available on our list. Action cameras like the Hero7 are notable for offering cheap live streaming services, but GoPro’s entry only offers streaming to Facebook Live for the moment. Other options include the Lumix GH5 and the Sony Alpha a5100.
Cameras can accomplish live streaming through the presence of a clean HDMI port, but you’ll have to invest in an HDMI capture card to work. Live streaming is fundamentally a separate beast from YouTube vlogging, but if it’s something you’re interested in as an additional channel for your business, you’re better off thinking ahead and making sure the camera you use for your vlogging is up to the task at hand.
What Other Equipment Do I Need?
Your camera is going to be the centerpiece of your vlogging setup, but depending on the type of vlogging you intend to do, other equipment may become a necessity for you. Here’s what you need to know about further investments that can bolster the professionalism and credibility of your YouTube operation.
We’ve already talked about when and why you might need a camera with a dedicated mic port, but if it’s something you’re considering, you’ll also want to keep in mind exactly what variety of microphone you’re going to need.
USB ports are common in practically every compact or DSLR camera, and that means that they’re a cheap option if you’re looking to use an external mic but you don’t want to invest in one that comes with a 3.5mm input. While USB microphones were once practically unheard of, they’re becoming an increasingly common option for YouTubers.
But if you opt in on a camera that comes with a 3.5mm port, you’ll have more options available to you. Shotgun mics are serious pieces of equipment that are often used in video journalism. Able to mount directly onto your mic, they come with shock mounts that can reduce vibrations and utilize a unidirectional system to capture your voice while isolating unwanted ambient noise in the vicinity.
If you want a little more mobility, you can look for a lavalier mic. These use a wireless interface to connect directly to a dongle on your camera. Their small size and the fact that they can pin directly to your lapel also makes them less intrusive than bulkier microphones. You may also want to look at microphones that come with headsets built in. These allow you to isolate the sound in your microphone as you’re recording it, saving you time and frustration during the editing process.
Some of the more expensive cameras on our list come with internal stabilization systems, but you can always get around the absence of one by making use of extra equipment. Tripods, gimbal stabilizers, and camera sliders are the three prevalent forms of external stabilization available.
Tripods tend to be the cheapest option available, and they’re a great, easy choice if you’re looking to set your camera up in your office space. You can get a tripod that can function in your designated studio for less than a hundred bucks, but you may want to invest in something sturdier and more expensive in the long term.
A gimbal stabilizer, by contrast, is designed to minimize shaking while in movement. They might not be a necessity if you’re going to be rooted in a chair, but they can add a lot of value if you’re out and about. Gimbals are essentially a handheld stick on which you can mount your camera. They utilize either weights or motors to maintain a greater sense of balance. If you intend to use one with a heavier DSLR, you’ll want to make sure it’s tested to hold the camera’s entire weight.
Vloggers looking to create more dynamic shots without losing stability in the process should look for a camera slider. These mount directly onto a tripod and allow you to pan smoothly across the environment. They can lend a distinct air of professionalism to your videos, and some sliders can even be converted into shoulder mounts that can work while off of a tripod.
Whether you’re uploading your video over Wi-Fi or using your SD card, chances are that it won’t be delivered straight from the camera to your audience. If you want to bring any degree of professionalism to your product, you’re going to need an editing platform to polish your content.
Adobe Premiere Elements 18 is the leading platform for video editing, but it certainly isn’t the only option available to you. Adobe’s products are notably expensive, and their dense interface can be a trial to learn. A number of cheaper or even free options can be found on the market as well. In fact, YouTube has their own video editor. That said, it’s a fairly barebones and lightweight option, so you may want to start looking for a more robust editor sooner rather than later.
Whether you’re just starting your vlogging career and looking for a budget camera for YouTube or you want a top of the line model to bring the quality of your work to the next level, there’s no lack of options available to you. While the options we’ve listed may cover a broad range of prices and categories, you can count on all of them to provide you with great value and serve you well throughout your career. Whatever you do, you’re going to want to consider your personal circumstances. The needs of a beauty vlogger are going to be very different from a video game streamer, and you should take the time to prioritize your needs and make a purchase accordingly.