If you're planning to set up a YouTube channel or making content for an existing one, you'll need the best YouTube cameras that come in a variety of specifications and capabilities.
While most of the cameras today are capable of producing YouTube-quality, crystal clear videos, understand that a specialized camera can significantly boost your production quality and give your channel a much more professional sensation.
In Think Media’s YouTube channel, Omar El-Takrori discussed the key features to consider before buying a camera for YouTube content. First is the resolution and frame rates. According to him, a 1080p must be the minimum resolution that a camera should have. This is to ensure hassle-free editing if your computer does not support 4K videos.
Likewise, a quality microphone input is a must for your YouTube camera. The external microphone capability of the cam also helps you in capturing a clearer audio. Furthermore, the introduction of a flip screen and a more advanced auto-focus has become more and more prominent in cameras nowadays and this is something you should take advantage of. Of course, an extended battery life is also a noteworthy feature to check on your eyed YouTube camera.
Most cameras nowadays have the feature mentioned but the Canon EOS M50 is exceptional among others. First, the EOS M50 presents a high-resolution viewfinder with 100 percent coverage. This is a unique attribute from other mirrorless cameras out in the market. Also, it is one of the first Canon models that employs the new CR3 Raw format. It has an updated compression option. This will give you a better writing speed and number of images which are the things you just need for content creation. It also includes an Eye Detection mode and new silent shooting scene mode.
On the other hand, the Sony ZV-1 boasts its “Product Showcase Setting” that can ultimately shift the focus on the item that you are featuring by simply moving the item closer to the lens. Add to this, if you are into motion-based vlogging, the GoPro Hero9 is the most stabilized camera with a HyperSmooth 3.0 mod. It is very reliable and is an upgrade from the previous GoPro Hero8.
Apart from the mentioned products, we also selected other YouTube cameras based on their specifications, functionality, quality, and features. And, to make it easier for you to consider each choice, we asked the assistance of our photography expert here at SolidSmack, Evangeline Summers, to share her views and opinions after trying and comparing each model.
By doing so, we look forward to finding the YouTube camera that meets your budget, needs, and capabilities. Also, don't miss the buttons below to check out Amazon's best deals!
1. Canon EOS M50
3.0 inches vari-angle touchscreen LCD
Max Video Resolution
4K UHD at 25/24p
3.5 mm microphone input
It is very wise for Canon to develop a camera that’s very specific for uploading exquisite videos on platforms like YouTube. Due to its great set of features, saving photos, videos, and even capturing them are made easy.
“Canon has been in the market for so long a time and it’s very interesting that they released their first EOS M model that can shoot 4K video,” said Summers, “For YouTubers, the ultra high definition is a great weight especially if they are always dealing with live videos that need crisp and sharp footages Most of all, it is smaller and lighter compared to other cameras.”
The M50 has a very impressive built-in electronic viewfinder unlike other mirrorless cameras such as its sibling, the new EOS M6 Mark II. Its high-resolution viewfinder has a 100 percent coverage of 2.36 million dots. Add to this, the M50 has a vari angle touchscreen LCD which makes changing the light adjustments and the focus more instant due to its responsive touch. Most of all, it allows you to video yourself since you can adjust it to face you.
Furthermore, this camera has an improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Thanks to the said feature, autofocus subject detection, and tracking precision are at ease. The on-sensor phase-detection AF can have a maximum of 143 points depending on the lens fitted on it.
Lastly, the M50 has the new CR3 Raw format. With this, instead of the downsized not-full-function M-RAW and S-RAW formats, you get a compressed full resolution. This will help you save up more space on the memory card without losing the quality and details of the images. Hence, a perfect solution for content creators who need to use their cams every now and then.
In terms of ergonomics, Summers shared that the large grip of the cam will enable a beginner to avoid fatigue while handling the camera even for a long period of time. It is lightweight, with 387 grams (for the black model) or 390 grams (for the white model), including the battery and memory.
To conclude, EOS M50 is a lightweight camera that every YouTuber needs from stunning video quality to its capability to store images with low memory consumption. Most of all, it is one of the reasonably priced cameras on the market, making it a true star on the list.
2. GoPro HERO9
1.4-inch color front and 2.3-inch rear touchscreen
Max Video Resolution
5K at 30fps
3.5 mm audio input with Media Mod
This GoPro Hero9 is among the few cameras that can take a 5K video and 20MP stills with great clarity and stunning details. Nonetheless, besides delivering images with richer colors and great contrast and shadow details, the in-camera auto-correct horizon leveling is very helpful if you are obsessed with videos with leveled horizons. This makes it a popular choice among YouTubers who create content focusing on extreme activities. Moreover, with its front screen, creators won’t have a problem framing themselves on the camera.
"This GoPro's newest action camera isn't just all about capturing stunning shots.” Summers said. “It can also deliver the best videos ever through its 5K resolution and even if you need to film everything by yourself, it is very easy. The front screen is a huge help. This, together with its lightweight nature and other software features, it is undeniable that it is one of the most convenient YouTube cameras ever."
Further, according to Summers, Hero9 has also improved some of its other features such as the HyperSmooth and TimeWarp by upgrading them to the 3.0 version. It also comes with additional features like scheduled and duration capture and HindSight, with the last one enabling you to capture 30 seconds of the scene before pushing the shutter button.
“The upgraded versions of Hero9’s features are very flattering,” Summers said, “Especially the Hypersmooth 3.0 which gives you stabilized videos in any resolution you fancy. This is very exciting, not to mention that its Boost feature helps a lot to get more even shots.”
3. Sony ZV-1
2.95 inches touchscreen
Max Video Resolution
4K UHD at 30/25p
3.5 mm microphone input jack
If you are a YouTuber who constantly reviews products, this camera is for you. The Sony ZV-1 features a “Product Showcase Setting” that focuses on your featured item. You just need to hold your product in front of your camera and it automatically defocuses on your face to clearly showcase the product that you are holding. This became possible due to its autofocus point of 315 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection.
“The Product Showcase Setting of this camera is very excellent. It detects the item precisely and the transition of focus (from me to the object) is very fast. Therefore, you can smoothly shoot your YouTube content even by yourself,” Summers said.
Apart from the featured setting, Sony has also upgraded this cam. Sony ZV-1 boasts a fully vari-angle screen versus the previous simpler tilting screen of Sony releases. With this, you are capable of shooting your videos vertically, as well. You are free to shoot and frame yourself at ease based on your preference.
Another best feature of this cam is the three-capsule mic and the windshield. Summers pointed out that when shooting outside a windy environment, there are lots of elements that can distort your voice and overall audio. But with Sony ZV-1, it is not a problem since the built-in microphones are designed to filter unnecessary sounds around your environment.
In terms of camera specifications, this cam has a 20.1 megapixels sensor and an ISO range of 100 to 12,800. Despite its size, it is also equipped with 4K up to 30p and Full HD up to 120p. Sony ZV-1 also utilizes the SteadyShot joint optical and electronic stabilization system which helps you give shake-free videos at all times. As per its ergonomics, YouTubers can handle the camera comfortably because it is compatible with all-in-one Bluetooth grips. Due to its size, at only 4 ¼ by 2 ⅜ by 1 ¾ inch, adding additional accessories such as a grip will not cause a hassle in the recording.
4. Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III
3 inches tilting screen
Max Video Resolution
4K UHD at 30/25p
3.5 mm microphone port
“Canon is moving at par with the YouTubers’ demands. This is why Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III introduced the most convenient way to directly create videos online through its Live Streaming feature. This camera can do scheduled live streaming exclusively on YouTube. Once you have completed the registration on the website, image.canon, you are one step closer in maximizing the potential of the cam. Imagine doing that in such a cam with this size,” Summers said.
Also, it comes with a new 1.0-inch 20.1 megapixel stacked CMOS sensor. It helps you capture a considerable amount of details and enjoy the capability of the cam itself. Another thing that the team finds very interesting with this cam is that it can capture 4K videos without cropping them. You can utilize the framing by shooting 4K at 30p. In the same way, you can also capture 120p or 100p in Full HD. Also, it boasts of 20.1 megapixels resolution for your stills.
Likewise, this camera is equipped with an excellent autofocus (AF) system, flip-up screen, easy in-camera charging without removing the battery, external microphone support, and an HDMI output connection. All of these features are compactly organized in this very handy 304-gram point-and-shoot camera. Great!
5. DJI Osmo Pocket 2
Max Video Resolution
4K at 60fps
The DJI Pocket 2 is an upgraded version of the Osmo Pocket. It boasts a wider FOV at 93° and larger aperture at f/1.8 compared to its precedent with 80° FOV and f/2.0 aperture. Hence, more excellent photos and videos can be captured since its qualities are combined with the all-new 64 MP sensor.
Likewise, the DJI Pocket 2’s 3-axis gimbal takes video stabilization to a whole new level. Also, it allows you to upload 4K video resolution on YouTube with no bulky image stabilization equipment.
"Despite its small size, the smoothness of the generated video is stunning," Summers noted, "it continues to remain the best way to capture balanced 4K video and seamlessly flowing time-lapses without having to lug around a full-sized DSLR gimbal as well as heavy camera gear."
Another noteworthy feature of this YouTube camera is the inclusion of accessories with this Creator Combo. Instantly, you will have a DJI Pocket 2 cover, mini control stick, tripod mount, wrist strap, USB cable, smartphone adapter, do-it-all handle, micro tripod, and a wide-angle lens. Meanwhile, if you want to have a larger screen to monitor your footage, you can attach it to your smartphone. This setup will also enable you to do live streaming. The best part? Besides Facebook and Youtube, it also comes with RTMP support. That said, you have a vast selection of other services where you could use it.
Best YouTube Cameras - Buyer's Guide
This is a critical thing to consider when recording a content all by yourself. An LCD screen will allow you to track what you're filming or shooting so you will be aware of the actual video you are creating. Check for a screen that can be used as a monitor when hunting for the ideal YouTube camera. Larger displays with wide viewfinder coverage are also extremely useful in creating YouTube content. For instance, the Canon EOS M50. This camera is equipped with a vari-angle touchscreen LCD that has a flexible tilt range ideal for high angle and low angle shooting. You can also opt for more convenient and innovative designs like what you can get in HERO9. It has a front screen which makes framing of your face easier. Truly perfect for solo creators.
The more pixels are there in your video, the more detailed it will appear. Nowadays, many video cameras can film in 1080p resolution, which has a pixel density of 1920 x 1080. However, if you'd like to stand out, you must go with a camera that has a 4K resolution. At 3840×21600, 4K video offers four times the amount of pixels as HD video. Although standard HD resolution can indeed be competitive, shooting in 4K is an excellent way to get the attention of YouTube viewers. There are also cams that can deliver 5K resolution like HERO9. Although it lacks the features of bigger models like EOS M50, it can excel greatly in filming moving scenes.
Also, do not forget to check the frame rate of the camera. It is common for some models to have a 4K resolution, but it should be accompanied with an impressive frame rate to allow smooth movement in the video. Try to find one that can give you at least 4K at 60p.
If you are someone who always needs to produce content involving a lot of movements, your video could suffer from blurs. That’s when image stabilization comes into action. Surprisingly, many cameras entail image stabilization to automatically adjust motion instantly. Keep in mind that image stabilization varies across models, with some providing better results than others. But if you want to have a camera for large movements, the GoPro Hero9 is the best option to have. It uses the HyperSmooth 3.0 for most stabilized shootings and best for adventure-based content.
A camera’s built-in microphone can record sound but remember that using an external microphone will greatly enhance clarity and reduce undesired ambient nuisance. Therefore, a camera with a microphone input is highly recommended to use to assure your videos will get the best audio possible.
Best YouTube Cameras - FAQs
Many people consider action cameras being the most convenient YouTube video cameras, even though they are designed for rough activities. Action cameras lack the features of bigger cameras but they are easy to carry, offer long battery life, are safe against unintentional falls, and can also film in 4K, so there's no need to worry regarding video content quality
No, it is not necessary to have an expensive camera to begin your YouTube journey. However, investing in a camera that’s capable of producing professional-looking videos is always a smart idea. Also, when looking for one, make sure that the unit has the essential features you need.
Using 4K resolution in your videos will give you detailed video content. Getting a 5K resolution will help you produce even better videos. Nonetheless, also make sure that the resolutions mentioned are combined with impressive frame rates.
For recording casual videos, you can find a decent camera for under $500. This is a much more affordable choice if you're just getting started in creating a YouTube video. Such cameras within the said price range will give you at least 1080p resolution.