Choosing the best camera for YouTube is a key consideration for anyone looking to make their mark on what remains the world's biggest video sharing platform. Whether you're just getting started or you want to take an existing channel to the next level, it is well worth taking the time to find the best camera for YouTube for your needs.
For some, one of the best camera phones might be all you need. But most YouTubers will benefit from having a dedicated camera for YouTube, which can radically improve the quality of content, both in terms of video and audio.
In this buying guide, we've selected the best vlogging cameras, and while we've included some premium cameras, we've also included options suitable for beginners who might not be ready to commit to a hefty investment. Different types of YouTubers will have different needs, and our team has tested and reviewed lots of cameras to bring you the best choices available.
We've included different types of cameras, from DSLRs and mirrorless models to compacts and action cameras. For each option, we compare the pros and cons and the main specs provided, including maximum video resolutions and frame rates. If the terminology used for video specs is new to you, scroll down to the FAQ section at the bottom of the page.
To improve your YouTube setup further, check out the best ring lights available now, and to process your footage once it's shot, look at our guide to the best video editing apps for YouTube. Looking for a more general camera? We've also got a guide to the best cameras overall, which includes good options for both photography and video.
The best camera for YouTube available now
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A lot of YouTubers highly rate the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, and it's easy to see why. It's not the most exceptional camera in any category really, but a superb jack-of-all-trades, doing everything that YouTubers need it to do, all in a tiny body that you can basically take anywhere.
This little camera is capable of 4K UHD video at 30p (although there is a recording time limit of 10 minutes), and HD video is available at up to 120fps, allowing you to create slow-motion effects. The Mark III version adds a 3.5mm mic jack, which makes a difference in terms of audio quality. The 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens is fixed and can't be changed, however, this zoom range is 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 YouTubers are concerned is that the camera can livestream, broadcasting footage with a clean HDMI out. 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..
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 on 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 can be confusing. These are small points, however, and the core experience of the Sony ZV-E10 truly is very solid.
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.(opens in new tab)
The Sony ZV-1 has a lot of features that make it a great camera for YouTube. The sensor and lens are similar to the Sony RX100, but the body, the controls, the audio, and the rear screen are all optimised brilliantly for vlogging. You get a vari-angle rear screen for creative shooting and of course, front-facing footage, a clip-on windshield for recording clear audio outdoors, and brilliantly fast AF – all in a compact size that's easy to slip into a pocket.
The camera doesn't have a built-in viewfinder, flash, or even a mode dial, but there is a big Record button and a big built-in mic – just what you need for recording YouTube content on the go. It's slightly more expensive than the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II at the top of our list (which does have a flash) but there's really not much in it.
Nikon now has three APS-C cameras in its Z mirrorless range, and the Z30 is 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 wind-noise reduction.
Although this line of Sony cameras has grown massively as of late, the original Sony A6000 is still one of the most popular models. Newer YouTubers who are yet to bring in enough revenue to pay for fancy kit will rejoice at how affordable the A6000 is now. 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.
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 cameras overall and one of the most versatile professional options for YouTubers. See our full Canon EOS R5 review for more details.
Throw it in a lake, hurl 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 11 Black is for you.
Superseding the popular Hero 10 Black this September, the Hero 11 is waterproof to 33 feet down, will send highlight videos automatically to your phone and now has a longer-lasting Enduro battery. It retains the 10's useful front screen to make selfie vlogging easier and it has updated its class-leading HyperSmooth 4.0 with the, wait for it, HyperSmooth 5.0 image stabilisation. It 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, and the horizon lock feature makes every jump, flight or wild descent look even more impressive. Extreme shooters that need a camera that can keep up with them should opt for the Hero11 Black if they want smooth video and reliable results.
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 among 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 it 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.