The best camera for YouTube can make a world of difference to your online content. In order to choose a device that's right for you, it's important to consider how you'll be shooting your videos. Whether that means doing a travel vlog, product review or capturing candid behind-the-scenes content of your projects, each type of video will need specific features in-camera.
For the longest time, DSLR cameras have been the norm when it comes to capturing high quality stills and video, but they are generally quite big and bulky compared with modern mirrorless counterparts. That, and they often require external hardware in order to live stream video to YouTube, so they're a better option for people wanting to shoot offline and edit videos together in post-production. The majority of DSLR and mirrorless cameras are based on a system of interchangeable lenses though, which enhances their flexibility in a range of shooting conditions, though this comes at a cost. Mirrorless options open up the world of in-body image stabilisation which keeps video silky smooth even when handheld, though they come in a variety of different axis types and stop strengths.
Compact or point-and-shoot cameras normally have a fixed lens which make them less flexible but more budget-friendly, meaning it's easier for those with tight purse strings, or if you're new to creating YouTube content and want to dip your toes. They're also cheaper and lighter making them more portable. Far from being a beginners camera, some compacts have excellent focusing systems, rotating screens and other useful controls for vlogging or taking selfie style video. If you're a little more adventurous and need to shoot in inclement weather or want good in-built stabilisation action cameras are a decent option, too and are usually much cheaper.
However, if you need a device for all kinds of uses, not only for making YouTube videos, see our roundup of the best cameras for creative projects. And if you're looking to improve your lighting, see our list of the best ring lights available now. To get started on YouTube, see our guide to the best video editing apps for YouTube. Meanwhile, read on for our guide to choosing the best camera for YouTube.
The best camera for YouTube available now
A step above a jack of all trades, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III performs well in a range of areas so that's why we have it picked as the best camera for YouTube overall. Feature-rich, small and lightweight, with a great interface and well laid-out buttons, it's also a bit of a bargain. The PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a compact camera, so that means no interchangeable lenses, but the fixed 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens is fast and flexibl enough to shoot in all light conditions, whether you need that wide vista or close up portrait shot.
Although it can shoot 20MP stills and has a good autofocus system, it can crucially shoot 4K UHD video at 30fps for excellent detail. Drop that down to HD quality footage and the camera allows 120fps shooting for slow motion footage. Bear in mind that there's a 10-minute time limit on video recording when set to the highest quality setting. That's not too limiting for YouTubers though as it can live-stream straight from the camera, perfect for broadcasting straight into YouTube Live. Top quality audio is also within reach thanks to the 3.5mm microphone input allowing use of external microphones. All in all, it's probably the best camera for YouTube that serves beginner and intermediate users who want a solid, reliable device to film on.
Though now nearly four years old, the Panasonic Lumix GH5S still offers some of the best video specs going in its price range. It has a smart multi-aspect sensor which means users can switch aspect ratios in-camera. This saves so much time editing footage when it comes to delivering content to social media, as each platform deals with its own aspect ratio. It even includes a wider Cinema 4K 17:9 format, something which many other cameras don't have but looks impressive. Dual Native ISO is a sophisticated technology that offers cleaner video with less image noise, this comes in handy when shooting in low lighting conditions, something that the GH5S is well known for.
The GH5S is comfortable to use thanks to its DSLR-inspired styling with a deep grip and textured rubber coating, a good choice for outdoor, on-location use. For those that like to shoot long single-shot videos you'll be pleased to hear that the GH5S has no recording time limit. Additional features include 10-bit 4K footage and 10x slow-motion in Full HD, make this a seriously capable tool for producing sublime content for YouTube or for any other platform for that matter.
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.
Sony’s compact and mirrorless cameras in the past tended to be primarily still shooters, with video added on as an extra, but the Sony ZV-1 has turned things on its head. The ZV-1 has been built for vloggers specifically and as such it comes with a slew of helpful video features straight out of the box. One useful feature for YouTube video production is an onboard directional microphone, which eliminates the need to purchase an additional mic for most users, especially if recording indoors.
Since the ZV-1 is one of Sony's newer compact cameras you can expect some upgraded hardware. Best-in-class autofocusing makes this a useful camera to have if you're out and about. It's also accessible for new users with an integrated automated shooting mode to take the pressure off the technical aspects of capturing video.
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.
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 so 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, but it's lighter on the wallet than most cinema cameras as well.
Read more: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K review
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. It's 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.
When portability is key but you want a little more stylistic control than what GoPro can offer, the DJI Osmo Pocket can fill that camera-shaped void. Great for tracking movement or shooting vlogs on-the-go, the Osmo Pocket combines the versatility of a handheld camera with an in-built gimbal to produce smooth steady shots. This tiny little camera works well for YouTubers always travelling as it easily fits in a jacket pocket but consistently delivers smooth video in any circumstances thanks to the three-axis gimbal technology.
The quality is surprisingly high for a camera of this type. The DJI Osmo Pocket can capture 4K 60p footage which puts it up there with the best action cameras. Admittedly, the sound could be improved, but it's still a great option for dynamic travel vlogging and those on-the-move.
Blurring the lines between YouTube filmmaking and excellent stills imagery, the Nikon Z fc is a perfect balance for hybrid shooters. It complements traditional film camera styling with an array of tactile knobs and buttons to control camera settings, so there's stand-out appeal to the Z fc's design, especially if users loathe touchscreens or regularly shoot in bad weather.
Although aimed at a nostalgic market it doesn't undersell itself when it comes to modern requirements. It can shoot 4K UHD video, and has a vari-angle screen to enable quick selfie shooting or speeding up composing scenes when shooting from high and low angles. Integrated WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity means less wiring up, too. It stands apart from smaller cameras in this list in that the Z fc captures 20.9MP stills on the crop sensor at up to a speedy 11fps burst rate. There's also a vlogging-specific accessory kit which includes a directional microphone and Bluetooth ML-L7 remote.
Do more expensive cameras capture better footage for Youtube?
If I spend more on a camera will I get better-looking YouTube videos?
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?
Is 4K video absolutely necessary for YouTube filming?
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.
What does video length limit mean?
Some cameras have video length limits, what does that 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.