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The best camera for YouTube in 2021

Best camera for YouTube
(Image credit: Artem Varnitsin/EyeEm at Getty)

You'll want the best camera for YouTube if you're planning to launch or grow your own channel on the platform. There are many different options suitable for producing content for the platform. To decide which is the best camera for YouTube in your particular case, you'll need to think about what you'll be recording – whether it's product reviews, travel vlogs or behind-the-scenes footage of your own creative projects.

DSLRs provide a sturdy, weather-resistant option, but they’re also heavy, and they tend not to have the newest video features found in smaller, lighter mirrorless cameras. Both of these types of camera take interchangeable lenses, which boosts their versatility but also adds to the expense. For something simpler, you might want to consider a compact camera with a fixed lens. Some cameras boast more sophisticated focusing systems and useful features for vlogging.

If you need a device for all uses, not only video, see our roundup of the best cameras for all creative projects. And if you need a solid support, check out our list of the best tripods. If you're looking at getting started on YouTube, you should also see our guide to the best video editing apps for YouTube. Meanwhile, read on for our guide to choosing the best camera for YouTube video production that balances the various factors in play.

 The best cameras for YouTube available now

Best camera for YouTube: Canon G7 X Mark IIICB

(Image credit: Canon)

01. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

An do-it-all compact camera with 4K video that can live stream to YouTube

Best for: Beginner to intermediate | Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K UHD at 30p | AF points: 31 | Weight: 304g | Battery life (CIPA): 235 shots

Fast and versatile lens
Great flip-up touchscreen
10-minute 4K limit 
Middling battery life 

If you want a camera for YouTube that’s powerful, affordable, convenient and easy to use, we reckon the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III ticks all those boxes. It’s a compact camera, with a fast and versatile 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens that gives you great flexibility for shooting.

This Canon camera can produce great-looking 4K UHD video at 30p, though there's a 10-minute time limit for its highest-quality footage. It has live-streaming capabilities, so you can set it up to broadcast direct to YouTube. There’s also a 3.5mm mic input – vital for ensuring your videos sound as good as they look. All in all, this model is likely to be the best camera for YouTube for beginning or intermediate users who want a solid, reliable device to film on.

Best camera for YouTube: Panasonic Lumix GH5SCB endorsed

(Image credit: Panasonic)

02. Panasonic Lumix GH5S

The best camera for YouTube at the higher end

Best for: Advanced and professional users | Max video resolution/frame rate: C4K/4K UHD at up to 60/50fps | AF points: 225 | Weight: 660g | Battery life (CIPA): 440 shots

Multi-aspect sensor 
Low-noise technology 
Twin UHS-II card slots
No in-body stabilisation 

Although it's been around for a few years now, the Panasonic Lumix GH5S still offers some of the best video specs around. Its clever multi-aspect sensor allows you to shoot at different aspect ratios with ease, including in the wider Cinema 4K 17:9 format. It also boasts Dual Native ISO, a complex technology that basically offers cleaner video with less noise. 

Its rugged, DSLR-like ergonomics make the GH5S a pleasure to handle and a sound choice for using outdoors. It has no recording time limits, so you can shoot to your heart’s content, and with features like 10-bit 4K footage and 10x slow-motion in Full HD, it's a seriously capable tool that can produce sublime content for your YouTube channel.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

03. Sony A6000

The best camera for YouTubers on a tighter budget

Best for: Intermediate and budget users | Max video resolution/frame rate: Full HD at 60p | AF points: 179 | Weight: 344g | Battery life (CIPA): 360 shots

Amazing value for money
Autofocus still great
No 4K
Menus a bit dated

Sony’s A6000 range has grown to include many models, but the original is still around thanks to its continued popularity, and it's available at such a good price that it makes sense to consider it if you're on a budget. You don’t get flashy 4K video or the more streamlined kind of menu systems offered on more recent models, but the Sony A6000 has rock-solid foundations in the form of a 24MP APS-C sensor and a capable processor with a 179-point autofocus system that still does the job today. 

With its Sony E-mount, the camera opens up the option to choose from loads of great lenses, and the footage it produces still looks terrific. This is a camera that serves as a reminder that you don’t always need the newest, flashiest devices to produce quality video for YouTube. Sometimes there’s better value to be found by looking back.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony ZV-1

A specialist vlogging camera with features to help beginners

Best for: Beginner to intermediate | Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K video at 30p | AF points: 315 | Weight: 294g | Battery life (CIPA): 260 shots

Built-in directional mic
Exceptional autofocus
No headphone jack
Micro USB not USB-C

Many of Sony’s compact and mirrorless cameras in the past were stills shooters first, with video added as an extra, but the Sony ZV-1 took a shift in the other direction. It was designed specifically with vlogging in mind, so it comes with many handy video features as standard. One particularly useful feature for YouTube video production is an on-board directional microphone, which will eliminate the need to purchase an additional mic for most users.

Being one of Sony’s newer cameras, it boasts best-in-class autofocus, and it also has several useful automated modes designed to streamline the process of shooting, making it a great camera for anyone who's getting to grips with producing video for YouTube.

Best camera for YouTube: GoPro Hero9 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

05. GoPro Hero9 Black

The best camera for YouTube adventurers

Best for: Outdoor users, sports, travel vloggers of all ability levels | Max video resolution/frame rate: 5K video at 30p | AF points: Not specified | Weight: 159g | Battery life (CIPA): Not specified (real-world tests indicate about 90-100 mins continuous shooting)

Useful front display 
Class-leading stabilisation 
Relatively expensive 
Laggy touchscreen 

You probably already know what a GoPro is. The king of action cameras has become a household name thanks to its solid, waterproof wonders. If your YouTube channel is going to feature underwater adventures or extreme stunts, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is the camera for you.

Updated to compete with rivals like the DJI Osmo Action, the Hero 9 Black sports a useful front screen that makes vlogging easier, as well as class-leading image stabilisation to record silky-smooth footage in extreme conditions. The Hero 9 Black is a sure bet for adventurous videos, especially if you want a camera you can take skydiving or attach to the front of a mountain bike or white-water raft.

Best camera for YouTube: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

(Image credit: Blackmagic)

06. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

The best camera for YouTube pros

Best for: Professionals | Max video resolution/frame rate: 6K at 50p | AF points: Not specified | Weight: 898g | Battery life (CIPA): Not specified (real-world tests indicate approx 45 minutes of 6K shooting)

Superb 6K footage 
Canon EF lens mount
Battery not great
No articulating screen 

Blackmagic cameras are known among filmmakers as excellent run-and-gun devices, producing terrific footage as conveniently as possible. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K has a large Super 35 sensor and the ability to shoot 6K Raw footage at 60fps, making it a great option for producing YouTube videos that stand out a notch above the rest.

The camera sports a Canon EF mount, so it can take any of the huge range of Canon lenses on offer, allowing you to kit it out cheaply. This is a professional-grade camera at a much friendlier price, offering a brilliant choice for anyone who's aspiring to turn their YouTube channel into a full-blown career.

Read more: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K review

Best camera for YouTube: Canon EOS 90D

(Image credit: Canon)

07. Canon EOS 90D

A hefty DSLR with classic handling and excellent video specs

Best for: Intermediate to advanced users | Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K video at 30p | AF points: 45 (all cross-type) | Weight: 701g | Battery life (CIPA): 1300 shots

Strong battery life
Weather sealed
Only one card slot
No in-body stabilisation

The EOS 70D proved popular among YouTubers, perhaps more than Canon anticipated. The Canon EOS 90D has built on that, and the specs show that Canon clearly took the video market into consideration this time. The camera offers impressive uncropped 4K video, microphone and headphone ports, Full HD at up to 120p and many more goodies for YouTube producers.

The EOS 90D draws on its DSLR heritage. That means it’s chunkier and heavier than other cameras on this list, but it’s also weather-sealed, and it's satisfying to handle with an excellent optical viewfinder. At this price, it’s an absolute steal for video producers.

Best camera for YouTube: DJI Osmo Pocket

(Image credit: DJI)

08. DJI Osmo Pocket

A mini gimbal camera for super-stable shooting in any location

Best for: Beginners, intermediate users, travelling light | Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K video at 60p | AF points: Not specified | Weight: 116g | Battery life (CIPA): 140 minutes

High-quality 4K 
Hugely effective stabilisation 
Audio isn’t great 
Screen is really tiny 

If you're going to be producing content for YouTube when you're out on the move, you'll normally need to attach a handheld gimbal to your camera to ensure fluid, stable footage. However, another option is to buy a handheld camera/gimbal combo like the DJI Osmo Pocket. This compact little shooter is brilliant for travel use because it can be taken anywhere, and it reliably produces smooth footage in almost any situation thanks to its three-axis gimbal mechanism. 

The quality is surprisingly high for a camera of this kind, with 4K 60p footage putting it in league with the best action cameras. The sound could be improved, but it's still a great option for dynamic travel vlogging.

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