Finding the best camera for YouTube is the ideal way to kick your channel up to the next level – or to finally get one started. While a smartphone can be good enough for shooting YouTube videos, the best camera will give you so many more options to improve the quality of your video output.
It also does not need to cost the earth. We've selected the best YouTube cameras for this buying guide, and while there are a few high-end premium cameras, there are also budget models designed for those who don't have a lot to spend on their video setup. Different types of YouTubers will have different needs, and our team have tested and reviewed a great deal of cameras in order to suss out which is the best – you can check out our how we test page for more on our review process.
We've included different types of camera in this guide, from DSLRs and mirrorless models to compacts and action cameras. We've also looked at the specs for each one, including their maximum video resolutions and frame rates, and stacked them up against each other when making our rankings. If video specs are all a little new to you, scroll to the bottom of this page to see our FAQ section on all things video.
Looking for a more generalised camera? We've also got a guide to the best cameras overall, which are great for both photos and video. Or, for augmenting your YouTube setup, check out our guide to the best ring lights available now, and for what to do with your footage once it's shot, look at our guide to best video editing apps for YouTube.
The best camera for YouTube available now
A lot of YouTubers highly rate the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, and if you use one for yourself, you'll understand why. It's not the most exceptional camera in any category really, but it's a superb jack-of-all-trades, doing everything that YouTubers need it to do, all in a tiny body that you can basically take anything.
This little camera is capable of capturing 4K UHD video at 30p, and while there is a recording time limit of 10 minutes in this mode, it's still hugely useful and looks fantastic. HD video is available at up to 120fps, allowing you to create slow-motion effects, and this Mark III version of the camera adds in a 3.5mm mic jack, which makes a real difference in terms of audio quality.
This is a compact camera, meaning the 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens cannot be changed. However, this zoom range is going to be fine for most YouTube use, and the maximum aperture of f/1.8 is generous enough to make the G7X Mark III pretty nifty in low light.
Another real plus for the G7X Mark III as far as YouTubers are concerned is the fact that it can livestream, broadcasting footage with a clean HDMI out. This adds another string to the camera's bow, making it a real one-camera-fits-all as far as YouTubers are concerned. There are cameras out there with more advanced video specs, but the majority of content creators won't need them. This is an ideal choice for the majority of purposes.
It's one of the best point-and-shoot cameras you can buy, that's for sure.
Every YouTuber is going to be at a different skill level, with some boasting much more advanced video knowledge than others. If you're someone who likes to get under the bonnet of a camera and tinker with your video footage until it's precisely perfect, then the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is for you. This is one of the best consumer video cameras ever made.
The beating heart of the camera is its new 25MP stacked sensor, which enables much faster readout speeds, and means that it puts many more video options at the user's disposal. It can shoot using basically every conceivable codec a filmmaker or YouTuber could want, and it can go up to 5.7K resolution at 30fps in Apple ProRes format.
If this doesn't mean much to you, then the Lumix GH6 is probably more camera than you need, and you can safely go for a cheaper option. However, for the geeks among us, it's an absolutely superb choice. A CFexpress Type B card slot allows you to insert one of the fastest and best memory cards to take advantage of the high-quality formats.
Sony had for a while been hurting for a dedicated mid-range vlogging camera. While the ZV-1 compact was nice, what vloggers and YouTubers were really after was a mirrorless camera that would allow them to change lenses and generally be more flexible. Step forward, the Sony ZV-E10, an APS-C mirrorless camera absolutely loaded with video features.
The 4K UHD detail and quality is excellent, while Full HD can be stepped up to 120p for slow-motion footage. Also, while buying an external microphone is always better, if you're working to a tight budget, the built-in mics on the ZV-E10 do a thoroughly credible job, thanks in part to the larger grille on top that allows for higher-fidelity sound capture.
It's not a perfect camera – there's a marked rolling shutter effect that occurs when you try to pan in 4K, and as is so often the case with Sony, the menus are confusing and headache inducing in use. These are small points however, and the core experience of the Sony ZV-E10 truly is very solid.
Nikon now has three APS-C cameras in its Z mirrorless range, and the Z30 is the unabashedly vlogger-focused. It's got no viewfinder, just a vari-angle screen, and is capable of shooting uncropped 4K UHD video. Tidy and compact, the Z30 is light enough to carry pretty much anywhere, and we love its chunky, protruding handgrip that makes one-handed shooting a breeze.
The Z cameras are still in relatively early days, especially those with smaller APS-C sensors. This means that there aren't as many lenses widely available to specifically fit these cameras – not nearly as many as there are for the Z30's nearest obvious rival, the Sony ZV-E10, which benefits from the long history of Sony E-mount.
Still, this is a cleverly designed camera with a lot going for it, like in-camera stabilisation for video, and a decent built-in mic with a wind-noise reduction feature.
Although this line of Sony cameras has grown massively as of late, the original Sony A6000 still proves to be one of the most popular models. Newer YouTubers that are yet to bring enough revenue to pay for fancy kit will rejoice at the lower cost of this camera. But it should be noted that there's a limit of Full HD quality video (no 4K, unfortunately) so bear that in mind if it's a deal-breaker. Otherwise, the camera has rock-solid foundations in the shape of a large 24MP APS-C sensor and a capable image processor with a 179-point autofocus system.
Choose to pair the camera with one of Sony's E-mount lenses for enhanced shooting flexibility and great image quality. This camera serves as a reminder that you don’t always need the newest, flashiest device to produce quality video for YouTube. Sometimes there’s better value in older models.
See our full Sony A6000 review for more details.
If you've got budget to spare, and are looking at the high end of camera tech, then we'd recommend considering the Canon EOS R5. It's a hybrid camera designed for both stills and video shooters, but its video features are some of the best-in-class. The headline spec is 8K at 30p, which is more than you need for YouTube, but this also gives you the option to crop in and get excellent 4K footage, or shoot in 4K natively and enjoy some of the best-looking video you can get. You can even dial 4K up to a frame rate of 120fps if you want.
Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS II autofocus is one of the best systems in the business, and it works fantastically for video as well as stills. Video also benefits from in-body image stabilisation, making it a simpler task to capture smooth footage while using the camera hand-held. The burgeoning selection of RF lenses is also fantastic, with some of the sharpest optics around, and if you already have EF DSLR lenses, then the EF-to-RF adapter lets you use them on the R5 with full functionality.
It's not a perfect camera – it gained something of a reputation on release for its recording limits in high resolutions due to an overheating issue. It's not a crippling issue, just something to be aware of; as we made plain in our full review, this is still one of the most advanced and best cameras you can buy right now, full stop, and it's one of the most versatile buys that YouTubers can make.
Read our full Canon EOS R5 review for more on this incredible mirrorless machine.
Throw it in a lake, drop it off a mountain, or bounce it along on a mountain bike, if you need extreme durability then GoPro is the brand for you. If you plan on capturing sports for your YouTube channel, no matter how extreme, then the small and robust GoPro Hero 10 Black is for you. Livestreaming is becoming ever-popular on the world's biggest video site, and the Hero 10 Black can do that, too.
This new version is updated to compete with rivals like the DJI Osmo Action by including a useful front screen to make selfie vlogging easier and it has class-leading HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilisation which can capture smooth, steady footage when being thrown around in extreme conditions.
The Hero10 Black now captures even more detail thanks to the 5.3K video resolution (91% more than 4K) which it records at an incredible 60FPS. There's also a new video feature of 4K at 120FPS for those who like to capture footage for slow motion. Extreme shooters that need a camera that can keep up with them should opt for the Hero10 Black if they want smooth video and reliable results.
See our full GoPro Hero10 Black review for more details.
Blackmagic has a reputation among filmmakers and camera operators alike as excellent plug-and-film devices. They produce cameras capable of capturing terrific footage as conveniently as possible. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K has a large Super 35 sensor and can shoot 6K Raw footage at 60fps, making it a great option for producing high-resolution YouTube videos that stand out from the crowd – something that's very important on the world's biggest video sharing platform.
Thanks to the Canon EF mount built into the BPCC 6K, users can expect to use any number of the EF line-up of Canon lenses which expands affordability and flexibility when it comes to choosing glass. Anyone considering YouTube full-time may want to invest in this camera because not only does it pack pro-level features into a portable body while being lighter on the wallet than most cinema cameras as well. When we reviewed the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, we found this to be a camera that offers great quality and features for a great price.
See our full Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K review for more details.
Canon built on the EOS 70D's popularity amongst YouTubers by producing this latest option, the 90D. Aimed squarely at the video market, it captures detailed uncropped 4K UHD video and can even shoot slow motion 120fps when the resolution is dropped to Full HD. It even captures 32.5MP stills for multimedia video content, should you need it. Canon also revamped the I/O by installing external microphone and headphone connections to help with audio monitoring and recording.
The EOS 90D is chunkier and heavier than other cameras on this list because it draws on its DSLR heritage. But a big advantage to that is its weather-sealing, meaning you can keep shooting even if it rains or snows. We found to be satisfying to handle, too, with a large, bright optical viewfinder. At this price, it’s an absolute steal for video producers who don't mind something slightly bulkier.
The DJI Action 2 is an incredibly compact modular action camera with premium styling. It can't beat the video quality or usefulness of its main competitor the GoPro Hero 10 Black (see above) but it's a fantastic choice for YouTubers who value style and compact portability.
When we reviewed it, we were impressed with the blasted metal finish, although it did strike us as more prone to dents than the GoPro. But we were most impressed with the neat magnetic, modular accessories, which can add extra battery life, Micro SD card support and a USB-C port depending on which package you go for. You can add a selfie screen, a macro lens and more. The downside is that when modules are added, the device is no longer waterproof without additional housing. But the biggest limit for YouTubers will be its overheating, which means you can only record the highest quality 4K footage for bursts of up to around 4 minutes.
See our full DJI Action 2 review for more details.
The Panasonic Lumix S series has wowed camera people and tech geeks alike since its arrival a few years ago, with the Lumix S1H being added to the list of cameras approved by Netflix for use shooting its content. The Lumix S5, a more recent model, basically inherits most of the S1H's functionality and crams it into a much more reasonably priced body, which makes it a winner in our book.
Able to capture 10-bit DCI and UHD 4K full-frame video at up to 30p with 10-bit 4:2:2 color, the Panasonic Lumix S5 is seriously impressive for pretty much any user. The dual gain sensor delivers impressive dynamic range at low ISO settings, and the variable frame rate function that lets you switch from high frame rates to low ones to dramatically slow down and speed up your footage.
While shooting can be unlimited on the Lumix S5, some modes do incur a 30-minute limit. It lacks a few of the S1H's top-of-the-line features, like 6K video, but honestly on YouTube you almost certainly do not need them. This is a superb YouTuber's camera, with a rich full-frame sensor that produces astonishing detail.
How should I choose the best camera for YouTube?
The best camera for YouTube for you will depend on what type of video you're looking to share on your channel. If you want good quality video, then you'll want the ability to record in Full HD (1080p). That said, many cameras now offer 4K, which YouTube now supports (see below).
You also want a camera that can adapt to different lighting settings, and check the camera's video length limit if you're planning to record long videos (see below for more on that).
Video isn't the only thing to consider. There's also sound. The best cameras for YouTube also offer excellent sound recording via a built-in microphone with noise-cancelling capabilities – although you may still want to consider mics depending on the type of video you're producing.
You also need to consider portability because some cameras may prove to be too big and heavy if you're often filming on the move. In our selection of the best cameras for YouTube, we've included some good compact options that are convenient for carrying in a bag.
Do more expensive cameras capture better footage for Youtube?
Not necessarily. Of course, higher end models usually come equipped with higher resolutions, better dynamic range and less image noise. But the best camera for the job is the one that suits your shooting style. A vlogger that loves to edit videos before uploading and requires highly detailed stills photographs of subjects may mean a lean towards dedicated mirrorless cameras.
Do I need 4K video for YouTube?
While you don't need 4K to make a video for YouTube, it certainly does no harm. As video resolution and internet speeds improve we're able to stream higher resolution video, sharing the best quality footage with our audiences. 8K video footage is now seeping through the camera market and 4K is slowly becoming what Full HD was when 4K was introduced not so long ago.
If you spot a camera with 'just HD' video capability we now ask 'why?' - usually because manufacturers are trying to make things smaller, lighter, or cheaper. Even if your end product will be presented in 1080p, 4K still delivers a higher quality downsampled image.
What does video length limit mean?
Video length limits are camera-imposed limits on recording length for video. E.g. a 10 minute video length limits mean that after 10 minutes the camera will stop recording video. You can start recording again after this time, but you won't be able to record any longer footage. If you need to keep recording for as long as possible, in one long take, be sure to look for recording length restrictions when shopping for a new camera for YouTube.
What kind of camera do YouTubers use?
There's no one answer here, as all different types of camera are popular on YouTube. Some like compacts such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, while others prefer mirrorless cameras or even DSLRs. And of course, some YouTubers get by using their smartphones. It's all about figuring out what works best for you.