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1. Best overall: Canon G7 X Mark III
2. Best value: Sony ZV-E10
3. Best full-frame: Panasonic GH6
4. Best pro: Canon EOS R5
5. Best action cam: GoPro Hero11
6. Best Nikon: Nikon Z30
7. Best 6K: Blackmagic Pocket
8. Best modular: DJI Action 2
9. Best DSLR: Canon EOS 90D
How to choose
How we test
The best camera for YouTube is probably one of the first things on your shopping list if you're getting started on the platform or aiming to improve the quality of your content. YouTube remains the world's biggest video-sharing platform, and creatives can use it to promote their work, and even turn it into a business, so it's worth taking the time to find the best camera for YouTube for your needs.
Our reviewers have personally tested a range of options to pick out the best YouTube camera for different niches and budgets, including the best Canon vlogging cameras, Sony vlogging cameras, action YouTube cameras like GoPro and more. As well as premium options, we've included cheaper cameras suitable for beginners who aren't ready to make a big investment in their content. For each option, we compare their specs, including maximum video resolutions and frame rates. If you need clarification of any of the terminology, check the FAQ section at the bottom.
To improve your YouTube setup further, you might also want to see our pick of the best ring lights, since these can significantly improve how you look on screen. We also have a guide to the best video editing apps for YouTube. If you're looking for a more general camera, we have a guide to the best cameras overall, and if you're broadcasting live, see our pick of the best cameras for streaming.
This compact camera is a jack-of-all-trades capable of 4K UHD video at 30p and HD up to 120fps for slow motion. It has a mic jack, a non-changeable lens with a wide aperture for low-light shooting and enough zoom for most situations and it can live stream.
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For more flexibility, the Sony ZV-E10 is our pick as the best mirrorless camera for YouTubers who want the option to change lenses at a mid-range price. We were impressed by the 4K UHD and Full HD at 120p, and the built-in mics do well too.
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For speed and myriad recording options, this full-frame camera is a spectacular option for video. The 25MP stacked sensor enables faster readout speeds, opening up most possibilities. It can shoot using every codec a YouTuber could want, and it can go up to 5.7K at 30fps in Apple ProRes format.
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The best cameras for YouTube available now
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The best camera for YouTube overall
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..
The best value camera for YouTube
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.
See our full Sony ZV-E10 review for more on our reviewer's personal experience with his camera.
The best full-frame camera for YouTube
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.
The best professional camera for YouTube
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.
The best action camera for YouTube
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.
See our fuller GoPro Hero10 Black review for more details.
The best Nikon camera for YouTube
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. See our hands-on Nikon Z30 review for more details.
The best 6K camera for YouTube
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.
The best modular camera for YouTube
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 best old-school DSLR for YouTube
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, in keeping with the 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.
How to 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) or even 4K, which YouTube now supports (see below).
You'll 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).
Image quality 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 film on the move. This is why in our selection of the best cameras for YouTube above, we've included some compact options that are convenient for carrying in a bag, as well as cameras that are more suited to using in a studio.
What kind of camera do YouTubers use?
There's no one answer here, as all different types of camera are popular on YouTube. Some YouTubers take a lo-fi approach, and for that, you might need nothing more than one of the best camera phones. However, most YouTubers want something more polished, and a dedicated camera for YouTube can improve the quality of your content, both in terms of video and audio.
Some like compacts such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, while others prefer mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. It's all about figuring out what works best for you – and for producing the content you like. Cameras that can record at higher resolution can record footage that looks more polished, but it's not only about resolution but also dynamic range, while things like eye autofocus and in-body stabilization can be very useful if you're not shooting in a fixed spot.
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.
How we chose the best cameras for YouTube
To make this selection of the best cameras for YouTube we compared our own hands-on camera reviews, written by experienced photographers and videographers, along with customer reviews online, feedback from the working creatives who contribute to Creative Bloq and an in-depth comparison of the specifications, features and capabilities of the cameras available on the market.
We have aimed to include a range of different types of cameras in order to make recommendations for different needs and budgets, considering everything from budget cameras to high-end professional options and action cameras that can be used to record footage in more extreme situations.
You might want to see our guide to video editing for beginners if you're unsure of how to put your content together in the best way.