Finding the best camera for YouTube videos can feel like a mammoth task!
A camera is a vital piece of YouTube equipment for video creation. But the best camera for video for you will depend on a range of different factors including features and price point…
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There are some key things you need to take into consideration when finding the best YouTube camera for YOU! There’s no point looking at the best 4K camera for YouTube if an iPhone or Android will fulfill your YouTube filming needs.
In this guide, we’ll share the most important things to get clear on BEFORE purchasing your YouTube camera.
Then we’ll cover some of our top recommendations when it comes to the best camera for beginners including everything from the best budget camera for YouTube to more expensive options.
Here’s exactly what this guide will run through:
- Things To Consider When Buying A New YouTube Camera
- Best YouTube Camera For No Budget
- Best YouTube Camera For Under $500
- Best YouTube Camera For Over $500
Let’s dive in.
Things To Consider When Buying A New YouTube Camera
First of all, we want to be clear that you don’t need to have the latest or greatest YouTube camera to run a successful YouTube channel! The belief that you do need a special, fancy camera can hold people back from getting started.
Having said that, if you are going to buy a camera the first thing you need to do is decide on your specific needs and requirements. Below are the top things you need to consider.
There are options from $100 to over $50,000 when it comes to cameras so get clear on how much you want to spend.
Types of Video
What types of video will you be creating? You might be doing static, locked off shots like our YouTube videos or you might be moving around a lot where something like a vlogging camera would come in handy.
When looking at the camera features, ask the following questions:
- Is the size or weight of the camera something you need to consider?
- Do you need a flip out screen?
- How long would you typically be recording for – what type of battery life and storage capabilities do you need?
- Is it cheap enough to get extra batteries or storage if you need them?
- Are there any other specific features you require e.g. in body image stabilization
Look and Feel
This is about the end result you’re trying to achieve. Consider these questions:
- Do you want something that looks cinematic?
- Do you want a shallow depth of field or that blurry background look?
The video quality you need will also play a big factor in the right camera for you. Ask the below questions:
- What’s the max video resolution you’ll need?
- Do you need really high quality video? Is 1080p enough or do you want to shoot in 4K resolution or higher?
- Do you require slow motion capabilities? And if so, to what degree?
Do you want to be able to swap out your camera lenses for different shooting situations?
What kind of audio quality do you require? Will the built-in microphone in the camera do everything you need or do you need the capability to plug in a more professional external microphone?
The last thing to consider is the usability experience. Are you going to be using the camera in automatic modes or are you someone who wants to lock everything down and manually control everything?
This will help you decide whether the camera needs really good automatic modes or if you want easy access to manual features.
It’s really important to consider this stuff upfront because not all cameras are built equally. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. There really is no perfect camera for every person, every shooting scenario and every budget.
So knowing that there is no single ‘best camera for YouTube’, your goal is to find one that’s in your price range that ticks the most amount of boxes.
PRO TIP: Consider older models. Just because it was released last year, or the year before, doesn’t mean it couldn’t meet your requirements. Plus this can save you a lot of money!
Now obviously there are a lot of options out there. We’ve narrowed it down to some top picks to help you decide, depending on your budget.
Best YouTube Camera For No Budget
If you have no budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t be creating awesome YouTube videos.
This is where we recommend looking at what you already have. In a lot of cases, this could be enough.
The top two options here would be to use the built-in camera on your computer or smartphone.
Obviously if you need to run out and buy a new computer or phone to make this happen, it’s not a cheap option. But if you already have these things, it’s a great way to get started without needing to outlay any costs.
Best YouTube Camera For Under $500
If you have a bit of money to spend on a camera for YouTube, you might fall into this category.
You can pick up a great cheap camera for recording YouTube videos, but the right one for you will come down to the types of videos you’re making.
Here are some of our top picks.
If you’re creating videos where you’ll be in front of your computer, it could make sense to use a webcam for filming.
Some solid webcam to check out include:
- Logitech C922: Around $80 on Amazon
- Logitech Brio: Around $170 on Amazon
- Insta360 Link: Around $299 on Amazon
The Insta360 Link is our personal favorite right. We’ve used it to shoot a lot of our course content in Primal Video Accelerator, for online interviews and some YouTube videos!
Point-And-Shoot Style Camera
If a small, portable vlogging camera sounds up your alley then the Sony ZV-1F could be a good fit. You can see it on Amazon here.
This type of compact camera typically has great autofocus and the picture quality is really good. You can even start to get some more cinematic looks with the blurry background look if that’s what you’re after.
These vlogging cameras also allow you to lock down some of your settings so you’re able to get some more creative control. Having said that, they also work pretty well in auto!
While the compact camera is great for moving around, it can also be a solid option for more locked off shots (like the ones in our YouTube videos).
That’s because you can set it up on a tripod really easily and use it . Then you can either run it off batteries or you can usually get dummy batteries that plug into the wall as well.
There are lots of models that fall into this category that you could check out but we think the Sony ZV 1 is one of the best vlogging cameras.
If you’re looking for something small, portable and light for use outdoors or for more action-orientated footage – that’s where an action camera comes in.
The top pick here would be a GoPro Hero which can cost between $300 and $500 depending on which model you get.
These types of cameras typically lean into simplicity. It’s incredibly quick to turn it on, press record and capture the shot.
Generally they have great stabilization so you can mount it to something or have a lot of movement and you’ll still get a great shot.
The downside is that you won’t get a very cinematic shot or something like the blurry background look. So if this is the look you’re after, we’d recommend going with a different camera for YouTube.
Best YouTube Camera For Over $500
This is a huge category because you could spend $500 or you could spend $50,000. You could also spend $50,000 on a single lens if you wanted to!
So again, we want to stress that there is no ‘perfect’ camera or a single ‘best camera for YouTube’.
There’s definitely a point of diminishing returns here. Your viewer likely won’t notice the difference in video quality from a $2,000 camera and a $10,000 camera, depending on the type of content you’re creating.
In this category is where you’ll typically be looking at DSLR or mirrorless cameras or even a professional video camera if you’re more advanced.
Once again, this will come down to the type of videos you want to create. But below are some good popular mirrorless cameras that you could consider.
The Canon M50 sells for around $700. It’s a great all rounder that’s at the lower end of the market. It does a lot of things really well so could be a great DSLR to get you started.
There are a lot of cameras in the Sony A-Series. They start at $650 but if you’re looking for a more professional option with a lot of the advanced features, that’s where you’ll be looking at the Sony A7 series which starts at around $2000.
This is one we’re big fans of! Justin has used the Panasonic GH5 to shoot most of the videos on our YouTube channel. It was released in March 2017 and he hasn’t upgraded because it still ticks the boxes.
Some of the top things Justin loves about it are:
- It has amazing in body image stabilization
- There’s incredible wi-fi control so he can control it from sitting in front of the camera
- It’s got two memory card slots so there’s redundancy when he’s filming
- Great audio input options that allow him to have the microphone directly connected to the camera
But beyond that, he doesn’t need anything more fancy or complicated for his use case.
That’s not to say this camera ticks ALL the boxes. For example, it doesn’t have great autofocus. But Justin doesn’t use autofocus that much so it’s a feature he’s happy to sacrifice on.
This is where doing the exercise above to identify your specific requirements will allow you to narrow down a camera that fits your needs.
If you’re someone who’s looking at the more professional cameras that have interchangeable lenses, we’d recommend looking at this long-term and investing in the lenses themselves more so than the camera.
That’s because you can upgrade your camera at any point, but you’ll likely find that the lenses you invest in will continue to be used as you progress through cameras.
So if you’re going to prioritize one over the other, make your lenses the priority because there’s a good chance you’ll be able to continue to use them for longer.
Now you know how to find the best camera for YouTube videos that suits your needs to help you shoot YouTube videos!
Whether you’re after a cheap vlogging camera, action camera, mirrorless camera, interchangeable lens camera – you’ll now have a starting point for some options to check out.
Make sure you run through the exercise at the beginning to help you nail down what you really need.
What is the best camera to use for YouTube videos?
The best camera for YouTube will come down to your specific needs, budget and the type of videos you’ll be creating. Do the above exercise to find out your camera requirements!
Which camera do YouTubers use?
Most YouTubers use different cameras depending on the type of content they’re creating. Some use smartphones, webcams, action cameras or DSLRs.
How do I choose the best camera for YouTube?
Do the above exercise to find out your exact requirements for a YouTube camera. Once you’ve narrowed those down, check out our recommendations for each type of camera.
Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!