So you’re all set to start your new YouTube channel where you’ll show how you create wigs for dogs with bald spots. Great! But before you get started, you’ll need a camera. We’re here to help you wade through the tidal wave of options coming your way. This article should give you an understanding of a handful of the cameras on the current market, and help you come up with some ideas for the features that are most important to you in making your purchase. These are our current choices for the best cameras for YouTube. To learn more about what to look for in a camera, check out our guide on the best mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.
Best fixed lens
When it comes to current cameras for YouTube, the Sony ZV-1 is definitely a popular choice. The Sony ZV-1 is a fixed lens compact camera, purpose-built for vloggers, content creators and influencers. It released in early 2020 and gained quite a following right off the bat.
Creators will appreciate the 3.0’’ touch screen that flips out so you can see yourself while you’re in front of the camera. The on-board 3-capsule directional mic picks up sound directly in front of the lens while minimizing audio coming from other angles. Additionally, the front-facing tally lamp indicates when the camera is recording. The ZV-1 gives the user the option to add accessories with a 3.5mm mic jack and a Multi-Interface Shoe.
The heart of the ZV-1 is a 20.1MP 1’’ sensor. Its ISO ranges from 100-128000. The Zeiss 24-70mm equivalent lens has a max aperture of f/1.8-2.8 and an internal 3-stop ND filter. The camera is not limited by the 4GB recording limit that several others have, and although the battery only lasts a little over an hour. It pulls power from USB to stay running for longer, allowing extended recording.
The Sony ZV-1 features Face-Priority Autoexposure, which automatically adjusts the camera’s settings to keep your face exposed as you move through different lighting conditions. Its Soft Skin Effect helps smooth blemishes and minor wrinkles, at three different levels of intensity. The Background Defocus mode changes the settings to isolate the subject in a shallow depth of field and provides pleasant bokeh. The Product Showcase setting racks focus on an object brought into frame in-between the subject’s face and the lens, perfect for influencers showcasing their sponsor’s products.
There are, however, a few small marks against the ZV-1. The tripod-mount hole is right up against the battery compartment door, so you have to remove the camera from any mount to the battery, or the SD card, which is a considerable inconvenience. Also, the articulating touch-screen controls focus, but not any other exposure settings, which can also be a bit of a pain when filming yourself and you can’t adjust settings from in front of the camera.
All in all, this is a great camera for YouTube; its few drawbacks are inconvenient, but not necessarily deal-breakers.
Best for most people
Fujifilm’s X-T4 is a great option for an all-around camera. It’s a solid choice for those who want to shoot both video and photo. The Fujifilm X-T4 is built around an APS-C 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS sensor. The X-tran sensor is known for its image quality and sharpness. The X-T4 supports internal 10bit 4:2:0 colorspace at a 400 Mbps bitrate.
The big feature that sets the X-T4 apart from the X-T3 is the new internal image stabilization. Based around a 5 axis sensor-shift stabilization mechanic, which can minimize shake by up to 6.5 stops. Plus, an additional 4-axis digital stabilization can be used, but it will crop your image by about 10%.
Fujifilm is especially popular for its film simulations and in particular, the X-T4’s new Eterna Bleach Bypass is a hit among creators. it also offers F-Log to maximize dynamic range.
The X-T4 is useful for vloggers who are filming themselves, thanks to its articulating screen that swivels out so that the subject can see themselves while shooting. It also has a micro HDMI port for video out. There is an option for mic input, but if you want to monitor audio, you’ll need an additional dongle.
The X-T4 gets up to 90 minutes of battery life and can hold two SD cards. However, it has a recording limit of 29 minutes, 59 seconds.
Best budget mirrorless
When it comes to budget cameras for YouTube, the Canon M50 is a standout. The M50 has a 24mp APS-C sensor, providing great image quality in a small form factor. It shoots at 4K 24fps, but that requires further cropping. For slo-mo, it shoots 1080 at 240fps. It offers shutter speeds up to 1/4000 second and an ISO of 100-25600.
One of the main features is the fantastic dual-pixel autofocus with Eye Detection and up to 143 AF points. Couple this with the M50’s articulating touch-screen and it’s a breeze for vloggers to keep themselves in focus while in front of the lens.
The menus on the M50 are aimed towards beginner users and are easy to navigate. The camera itself has a small form factor, making it convenient for shooting on the go, but limits the on-body controls available. One of the most impressive things about the M50 might be the battery life, which can easily extend beyond two hours.
There are a couple of issues to keep in mind when considering adding the Canon M50 to your kit. First, there are rolling shutter issues, and there is no output to monitor audio. Additionally, when shooting 4k, you’re cropping a lot of image and losing some of the camera’s AF functionality. Also, the tripod mount blocks the battery door, which can be a bit of a pain.
the M50 is a good camera all around, especially given the price point. It has a few issues, sure, but every shooter knows the perfect camera doesn’t exist.
Panasonic Lumix G100
Another good option for budget cameras for YouTube is the Lumix G100, mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera. The G100 is a great tool for vloggers with a 20MP sensor that shoots 4K30p from a compact body that’s easy for shooting on the go. Panasonic calls it “the logical next step from your smartphone”, an idea supported by the G100’s Vertical Video mode, for content you intend to be seen on a smartphone.
The 3’’ articulating touchscreen swivels out to the front, which makes it easy to record yourself and Video Selfie Mode automatically highlights your subject through the use of autofocus, autoexposure, and optimizing the depth of field.
The G100 uses Nokia’s OZO Audio, via three built-in microphones, to provide spatial audio recording and Audio Tracking which improves sound quality. The audio recording can function automatically, or the user can set it to record Surround, Front, or uniquely, Back- to get audio from the person behind the camera. However, there is no audio jack, so you have to rely on the visualization to monitor audio, or port out through the micro HDMI slot.
5-axis Hybrid I.S. works in conjunction with Panasonic’s lens-based OIS, for powerful image stabilization and smoother video results.
Best for the pros
When it comes to professional-grade cameras for YouTube, look no further than the Canon C70. The Canon C70 is a powerhouse of a camera. Using a Super35 Dual Gain Output sensor, it captures images with a staggering 16+ stops of dynamic range. It can capture DCI 4k at up to 60fps and UHD 4k at 120fps. It boasts a 10-bit 4:2:2 color space.
This thing is loaded with features. Dual pixel AF, built-in ND filters with up to 10 stops of density, 2 mini-XLR audio inputs, it even supports BNC timecode in/out. C-log 2 is the best quality to record in, but is also resource-intensive and takes a long time to grade, so users will be happy to have options, including C Log-3 and HLG recording.
A few features stand out most for vloggers. Like the two tripod mounts, one on the bottom and one on the side, to allow both vertical and horizontal orientations. The 3.5’’ articulating screen is perfect for shooting video selfies. Two SD Cards allow simultaneous recording in two formats, can hand off the load when one is full, or one can capture video while the other card captures stills.
To keep your video smooth, the C70 utilizes enhanced image stabilization, which is always pretty good, and works especially well when paired with RF lenses.
Best android phone
Sony Xperia 1 II
Sony’s Xperia 1 II is a smartphone with specs focused on media creation.
For the phone basics, the Xperia 1 II has 8GB of ram and 256GB storage, with a micro-SD slot to support up to an additional 1TB of space.
But for content creators, we’re mostly looking at the camera and audio right? So what’s the Xperia 1 II packing under the hood? How about three 12MP sensors each matched with Zeiss lenses — a 16mm f/2.2, a 24mm f/1.7, and a 70mm f/2.4, plus a front-facing 8MP f/2.0 lens for selfies.
Additionally, the Xperia 1 II has a slew of features that help take your production to the next level. Cinematography Pro shooting mode supports 2k 120fps 10bit video, and Touch AF that offers both eye-tracking for humans and even other animals. It also has Metered Manual controls, a level meter and upgraded white balance capabilities.
For audio, it uses 360 Reality Audio hardware developed in collaboration with Sony Music Entertainment. The mics include an intelligent wind filter and audio can be monitored via front-facing speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack or bluetooth.
iPhone 12 Pro Max
When it comes to smartphone cameras for YouTube, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a head above the rest. Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max packs powerful imagining capabilities into your pocket, with options for 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage. It features the highest capacity battery in the iPhone 12 line, at 3687 mAh.
At the high end of iPhone offerings, the 12 Pro Max has a sensor 47% larger than its predecessors, and the sensor’s pixels are larger, allowing in more light and helping you make stunning images under challenging lighting conditions. The Pro Max has the longest zoom range of all iPhone 12’s, at 2.5x zoom.
The 12 Pro Max makes use of ProRAW and Dolby Vision to capture high resolution and frame rate video — 4K at 60fps. It makes use of LiDAR technology to map distances and help adjust exposures. For stabilization, the iPhone 12 Pro Max shifts the sensor itself, instead of the lens elements, which Apple totes as being stable enough to allow users to shoot a 2-second still exposure.
Creators will also appreciate the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s super bright 6.7’’ screen: 1,200 nits, with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, so it’s easy to see on the brightest of days.
Best to take anywhere
GoPro HERO9 Black
Sometimes cameras for YouTube need more mobility. Sometimes vloggers need a camera they trust to get the job done while kayaking the Snake River or skydiving over Kansas. Since they first came out, GoPro cameras have filled this role — the action cam.
The HERO9 Black uses a 20MP sensor to capture 5k30fps video and livestream in 1080p. Or it connects to your computer via USB to be used as a webcam. It uses Hypersmooth 3.0 for in-camera stabilization and makes use of Digital Lenses to create different fields of views: Super Wide, Wide, Linear, Linear +Horizon-leveling, and Narrow image modes.
Another big perk of the Hero9 Black is the front-facing LCD screen with Live Preview so you can frame yourself well when shooting selfie-style, and a rear touch screen for viewing and control. For audio, the HERO9 Black uses a 3-mic system to capture raw stereo audio with Advanced Wind-Noise Reduction built-in.
GoPro now offers Mods for those who want to get a little more performance from their cameras. They offer a Max Lens mod to upgrade lens abilities, a Media Mod for better audio, and a Light Mod to include onboard light. These features allow users to dial in the settings they want from their GoPro and get a more tailored experience.