The Greatest Camera for YouTube Recording in 2017
If you’re wondering what’s the best camera for YouTube then you probably already know that sharing videos online isn’t just fun, it can also be incredibly lucrative. Plenty of people make a very good living producing their own online video content. And even if raking in the big bucks isn’t your priority, sharing your videos online can be the best hobby that allows you to express yourself and share your life and adventures with tons of family, friends, and followers.
But in order to make engaging YouTube videos that look the best online, you need to have the right camera. The good news is that, thanks to the fact that technology is always rapidly advancing, there are some excellent and very affordable high-definition cameras available that is best for your needs.
But with stiff competition between brands like Canon, Panasonic, GoPro, Nikon, and others, not to mention loads of specs and features, choosing the best one out of all these cameras can be very confusing. Luckily, we’ve put together this comprehensive review with you in mind, combing through the best cameras out there so that you don’t have to.
We explain what kind of camera you need to make stunning YouTube videos, which features you really need, and, in the end, have come up with our list of the 10 best cameras for YouTube. After reading our review, you’ll be able to decide which model is best for your needs.
What is the Leading Video Camera for YouTube Beginners & Beauty Tutorials in 2017?
Buyers Guide Questions
What Kind of Camera Do YouTubers Use?
If you’re interested in starting a YouTube channel or are ready to bring your game to the next level, then you need the right camera. While they might be able to do the job, webcams just aren’t going to deliver the best video production quality that’s going to turn heads. So if you’re serious about vlogging and producing high-quality videos, you’re going to have to invest in a stand-alone camera with solid video capabilities. One of the best ways to decide which camera is right for you is to look at some of the best used models used by YouTubers today.
Sony Alpha A7S
Popular vloggers like RiceGum, Jesse, Casey Neistat Christian Guzman, and FunForLouis all use this impressive digital model from Sony. Why? Because with the AS7, Sony has managed to create a DSLR that actually beats out the long-reigning king of the semi-pro market, the Canon EOS 5D. What they came up with was a smaller, lighter model that offers a truly cinematic-quality video at 4K, full-frame recording, and one of the best low-light performances on the market with ISO up to 409,600. With stunning high-contrast shooting ability and a very solid autofocus feature, the Sony AS7 might be lightweight but it’s a true video-making powerhouse.
Panasonic LUMIX GH5
Top vlogs run by Casey Neistat, DavidSoComedy, Jon Olsson, and Mark Wiens all use the LUMIX GH5 because it’s simply the one of the best high-end mirrorless video shooters on the market today. It is loaded with amazing features for filmmakers while also taking some of the most high-resolution, vibrant still photos you’ll ever see. With 5 stops of correction, the GH5 is amazing in low-light conditions and is capable of truly breathtaking video recording with 4K at 60 fps and 150 mbps. This is truly one of the best 4K video cameras that money can buy.
Canon EOS 80D DSLR
The list of people who use the Canon EOS 80D DSLR or its predecessor, the 70D, reads like a who’s who of the vlogging world. YouTubers like Casey Neistat, BFvsGF, Aspyn Ovard, Zoella, Bethany Mota, and NigaHiga all use one of these cameras because they are simply two of the best DSLR cameras for video recording available. While the 70D was once the gold standard of vloggers, the 80D managed to kick it up a notch with several key features. The 80D offers a 45-point all-cross type system that gives you amazing autofocus during filming, a 100% intelligent viewfinder, headphone jack, Wi-Fi, and an impressive 24.2 MP CMOS sensor. All this in a light but protective and sturdy body?
That’s why there two Canon filmmaking powerhouses are two of the best models out there today. With a variety of content, formats, and styles, every YouTube channel is different. That’s why there’s no ideal camera for every type of situation. But with a variety of options out there including mirrorless, DSLR, and point-and-shoot models, finding the right one to take your channel to the next level is pretty easy.
What are Good Cheap Cameras for YouTube Videos?
Purchasing a quality camera for your YouTube videos doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are actually some of the best budget-friendly options out there. In order to find a camera that will deliver exceptional results at an affordable price, the most important thing is to focus on two key factors: image quality and stabilization. Focus on these key attributes and avoid all the unnecessary bells and whistles that most people never use anyway and you’ll be uploading high-quality videos to your channel in no time.
Here are some of the best affordable cameras on the market, offering excellent video and image quality and an image stabilization system that will make sure your content is as clear as possible.
Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera
This impressive camera is available for around $250 and is capable of creating stunning, high-quality videos in spectacular 1080p Full HD with a smooth frame rate up to 30p. Films made with the SX620 are true-to-life and the colors are incredibly vibrant. With a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with a DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, this compact crossover point-and-shoot outperforms its rivals and with added features like Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, 25x optical zoom, and a Dynamic IS with three different stabilizing systems, it’s one of the best deals on the market today.
Priced at under $300, you can’t go wrong with this entry-level DSLR camera. It boasts a 24.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor and can capture Full HD videos at 1080/30p. The D3200 is simple to use and features automatic and manual shooting settings so that you can learn as you go. And with expandable ISO to 12800, terrific noise reduction and stabilization, and a variety of lenses available from Nikkor, you are truly buying a lot of camera for a little money.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 160
Priced at under $150, this compact camera is one of the best and most affordable options out there and is incredibly popular with vloggers. The ELPH 160 is an entry-level point-and-shoot and is best for someone who is just starting out. Though if you have a little more money to spare, upgrading to an ELPH 170 or 350 would give you some extra video quality and stabilization.
That said, for a camera that comes in at this price, it has some of the best specs and is more than capable of helping you make quality daily content. The ELPH 160 comes with a 20 Megapixel sensor with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor that is capable of shooting 720p HD video, an ECO Mode to increase battery life, and Smart AUTO which selects the proper settings based on predefined shooting situations.
Canon PowerShot SX610HS
For less than $250, the Canon PowerShot SX610HS is another affordable option that is capable of making high-quality YouTube videos. This model offers a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor for one of the best high-resolution results and is capable of recording beautiful 1080p Full HD video with the press of a button. With an 18x optical zoom and impressive image stabilization, this small camera packs a lot of punch.
And with the added benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity, you can easily send your images and videos directly to your smartphone. Purchasing a camera for creating YouTube content doesn’t have to be expensive. While there are tons of stunning models out there that can easily run you over $1,000, beginners and even intermediate users can easily find some of the best options out there for well under $500.
How to Setup Camera for YouTube Videos?
Sure, you can just turn on your camera’s video feature and start recording your next segment but it you really want to maximize your viewer and engagement, changing some of your recording settings will give your channel a more professional feel. Certain resolutions will enable the HD option on YouTube and stop any unnecessary cropping from happening. And by using pre-determined frames per second, you can minimize the size of your files for quicker uploads. Here are a few tips to properly set yourself up. You may wish to invest in a Camera Slider to keep your videos looking professional.
If you’re filming a static scene like a vlog, first set up your tripod. This will prevent blurring and shaking. Then look through the viewfinder to ensure that you’re framing the area you want to capture. Test the acoustics of the room. This is important whether you are using a built-in or external microphone. This is important, especially in small rooms without a lot of sound dampening material in them because the acoustics can cause an echo.
Then take some brief test footage to ensure that your camera is positioned correctly prior to recording your actual content. This will enable you to relax, knowing that you’re capturing exactly what you are planning to shoot.
Even though many cameras offer impressive ISO ranges, the best way to avoid grainy video is to record in a brightly lit room. Reposition your camera or lights in a way that light is coming from being the camera and not beaming at the camera from behind the subject. While lighting is important, ensure that it isn’t too strong or close to the subject, otherwise it could wash out the image.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to film in low-light situations. If this is the case, increase the ISO of your camera and take some test footage to ensure the exposure is correct. It’s also even more critical to use a tripod in these dark settings so that you can reduce camera noise and vibration as much as possible, ensuring your video is as smooth and detailed as possible.
If you want to avoid having those annoying black bars on the sides of your video, put your resolution to 720p or higher. The higher the resolution, the larger your file size will be. This will increase the upload time when you post your content on YouTube. If you’re not planning on editing your video on your computer before uploading it to YouTube, make sure that you are recording in one of the formats that YouTube accepts. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to upload it to your computer and save it in a compatible format. To avoid this, record in MOV, MPEG4, FLV, AVI, 3GPP, MPEGPS, or WMV.
Export to YouTube
While all of the above formats are accepted by YouTube, the best and most popular ones are WMV, 3GP, AVI, MP4, and MOV. By recording in one of these file formats, you have a better chance of preventing your video and audio from being unsynchronized. Also keep in mind that YouTube has a limit of 30 fps (frames per second). So when you are exporting your video, set the rate to this setting. Having it at a higher setting like 60 fps will only make your file size larger but it won’t have any visual difference once your video is uploaded.
Camera or Camcorder for YouTube?
Years ago, cameras were designed for either videos or still images, but not both. But just a few years ago, all of that changed. DSLRS and even point-and-shoot cameras started offering video capability. But there was still a major trade-off when switching from a camcorder to a camera, namely a standalone camera’s lack of autofocus. But recently all of that changed and countless vloggers, both professional and amateur, are shooting with video-enabled cameras.
So which is better, a camcorder or a camera? The word “better” is certainly subjective. It really comes down to your personal preference because, if filmed correctly, the truth is you likely won’t be able to tell if a video was recorded with a DSLR, mirrorless, or point-and-shoot camera or a camcorder. What it really comes down to is a number of subtle differences between the two technologies.
This is the most significant difference. Most video-enabled cameras have larger sensors than similarly-priced camcorders. This is important because the size of the sensor affects two aspects of filming, low-light capability and depth of field. The depth of field is the amount of the image that stays in focus. Large sensors enable you to shoot scenes with artistic blurred backgrounds which is why many filmmakers rely on cameras over camcorders, which tend to give a rather flat recording that lacks focal points.
Plus, larger sensors gather more light, making them better for low-light conditions. Working with a camera that has a large sensor eliminates the need for an external light and reduces the noise when shooting at higher ISOs, leading to less grainy imagery compared to a similarly-priced camcorder. So for anyone who is looking to produce dynamic-looking video and who might shoot content in various locations and lighting conditions, a camera with a large sensor is ideal.
In this category, camcorders win. Camcorders are designed for video and can basically record until the battery runs out. Cameras are designed so that they can only process so much data at one time. Once the camera reaches its data limit, the recording stops. Because of this, filmmakers who use cameras for video recordings tend to shoot their film in shorter clips, between 15 minutes to a half hour in length, stitching them together afterwards.
Because of this, if you’re looking to film an entire concert or play without interruption, a camcorder is preferred. But for the purpose of creating content for a YouTube channel, where most content is rather brief in order to maintain viewer interest, this limitation is pretty much a non-issue.
Camcorders used to have the edge when it came to focus but recent advancements in camera technology have allowed DSLRs and other video-enabled cameras to catch up. Quality cameras now allow for focusing in Live View Mode which allows you to perform phase detection focusing during filming. This is a huge advancement over traditional contrast detection autofocus which caused that in-and-out focus effect while the camera tried to lock in on the target.
Even better, most high-quality camera devices also offer manual multi-point focusing through either the focus ring or touch screen, allowing users to quickly switch focal points while filming. While camcorders used to have the advantage in this category, video-enabled cameras are now surpassing similarly priced camcorders in terms of focusing ability, making them best for creating exciting content for YouTube.
While you can buy a camcorder for the same price as one of the best point-and-shoot or DSLR cameras out there, you are going to lose out on the larger sensor size and many of the more advanced added features. For the price of a comparable camcorder, you could actually buy several cameras, allowing you to film your content from different perspectives depending on your shooting conditions. Since it would cost significantly more to purchase a camcorder with a similarly-sized sensor and the same features that would come loaded into quality DSLR camera, cameras win out in this category as well.
And the Winner Is
While the decision is ultimately a matter of preference, the fact is that, for creating professional-quality YouTube content, a mid-range or semi-pro DSLR camera offers a larger sensor, more features, the ability to create soft, out-of-focus backgrounds, and a lower price than comparable performing camcorders.
Where camcorders win out is in terms of having a longer recording time, which is really not much of a factor for the average vlogger, read why vlogging is the future here. So if you’re interested in making the best possible videos for your channel, and saving yourself some money while you’re at it, your best bet is a high-performance camera.
What Camera for YouTube Beginner?
Starting your career as a YouTube vlogger can be confusing, especially when you start to think about which camera to buy. With so many options out there like point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR cameras, not to mention the huge price difference between some models, choosing which camera is best for a new vlogger can be overwhelming. But by focusing on a few key factors like the price, features, and image quality, you can easily decide which camera is the best starting point as you begin to create dynamic content for your new YouTube channel. All of this is important, whether you are a Gaming Vlogger or Beauty Vlogger – read the study for more on this.
Why are these three factors so crucial? Well, most new vloggers are going to be budget conscious. You’re not going to invest thousands of dollars in a camera before getting your channel off the ground. And, with so many affordable, high-quality options out there, it’s really not in your best interest to start out with a $1,000 camera since the production quality you’ll produce really isn’t going to be much different. And by keeping an eye on what features and image quality the camera offers, you can certainly choose an affordable model that can deliver amazing results.
Here are some of the best cameras that a YouTube beginner can purchase.
Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera
With a large 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and the ability to record beautiful images in 1080p Full HD with a smooth frame rate of 30p, this camera is a bargain at around $250. It packs plenty of features that more expensive models offer, all in a small point-and-shoot body, including 25x optical zoom, Dynamic IS, and Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
Priced at under $300 for the body alone and under $500 for complete kits with countless accessories, this is a terrific entry-level DSLR for YouTube video makers. It features a large 24.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor and is capable of recording Full HD at 1080/30p. This camera is easy-to-use and offers impressive ISO and noise reduction, allowing you to tackle low-lighting conditions easily and with the added versatility of Nikkor lenses, you can definitely grow into this camera.
Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera
At only $449, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital Camera is a steal. It is equipped with an 18 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor and is capable of shooting vibrant videos, even in low lighting. With stunning Full HD video capability, this easy-to-use camera is best for growing your channel and delivering professional-grade content. Plus, this camera offers built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity so that you can send your videos to your smartphone and select social media sites for easy upload.
Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm
A step up from the D3200, this Nikon workhorse is priced at around $500 and is one of the best DSLR cameras available on the market today. It features excellent a large 24.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, video zoom capabilities, ISO 100-25600 for low-light shooting, and superior quality 1080/60p Full HD video. Everything you record is guaranteed to be vibrant and crystal clear. SnapBridge allows you to instantly upload videos to your smartphone or other devices and it offers enough features to grow into while being incredibly easy to learn.
The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera is our pick for the best choice for anyone looking to make stunning videos on YouTube. Priced at around $450, this is one of the best buys on the market today. And while getting one of the best deals for a camera is fantastic, it doesn’t mean anything if the model you buy isn’t up to the job. Luckily, the Rebel T6 is quite possibly the best all-around camera that produces stunning movies in Full HD.
Easy-to-use but with enough features for even intermediate users, this amazing camera captures one of the best high-resolution stills and video with vibrant colors and even performs well in low-light conditions. This camera offers several frame rates and recording sizes, so whether you are vlogging (click here for the full study) or capturing a fast-paced action scene, the Rebel T6 is designed to handle the job, delivering professional results.
With in-camera editing, you can easily polish your latest videos before uploading them. Add in the T6’s built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easy video sharing and upload and you have one of the best cameras for making high-quality YouTube content on the market.
The PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless Camera is one of the best premium options today. At close to $3,000, the GH5 certainly comes in at a hefty price tag. But sometimes you get what you pay for. This camera is capable of delivering truly stunning, cinema-quality 4K video footage at a very impressive 60 GPS, capturing motion and details that most cameras would miss. With rack focusing capability.
The GH5 can smoothly transition between focal points and deliver long, continuous shots that are on par with some of the best top-of-the-line cameras on the market. One of the most dynamic cameras on the market, the GH5 offers some of the most vibrant colors around thanks to its 10-bits of color. Capable of clean noise-free ISO up to 3,200, which is Best for most YouTube videos, this powerhouse is solid in most low-light conditions.
Best of all, the GH5 is about to get even better. Panasonic is adding new features to this camera including 6K anamorphic video, Full HD at 200 maps, and 10-bit 400 maps all-intraframe recording, allowing for optimum resolution and extreme grading. Best for professionals or beginners willing to tackle the learning curve, the GH5 is simply one of the best cameras for shooting video on the market.
For anyone interested in purchasing a camera that is easy to use but still offers the versatility and power of a mirrorless or DSLR camera, the Canon PowerShot SX620, perfect. And at around $250, this crossover point-and-shoot is one of the best values on the market today. With a 20.2 Megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, this camera is a huge step up from using your smartphone’s camera and it’s capable of producing stunning, high-resolution videos and stills and, thanks to its DIGIC 4+ Image Processor.
It outperforms practically any other point-and-shoot on the market. With an impressive 25x optical zoom, the SX620 lets you get up close to the action. And when it’s time to shoot your next video, the SX620 offers Full HD 1080p recording, intelligent image stabilization to reduce camera noise and hand vibrations.
Plus, with its built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, uploading your latest movies to your smartphone or social media account takes seconds. Easy enough for a beginner to use but offering enough performance and features to make an intermediate user has happy, the compact SX620 is one of the best deals out there for making high-quality movies for your YouTube channel.