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The best camera for YouTube in 2021

best camera for YouTube
(Image credit: Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm via Getty)

If you're planning to launch or grow a YouTube channel then you'll want to use the very best camera. There are many options to produce content suitable for the world's biggest video sharing platform. To decide which is the best camera for YouTube in your particular case, you'll need to consider the type of video you want to record – whether it's product reviews, travel vlogs or behind-the-scenes footage of your own creative projects.

DSLRs are a sturdy, weather-resistant option, but they’re also heavy and don't always have the newest video features found in smaller, lighter mirrorless cameras. Both of these options 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. Cheaper, lighter, and more portable, some of these boast sophisticated focusing systems and other useful features for vlogging.

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 for solid support for your camera, see our list of the best tripods. 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

Best camera for YouTube: Canon G7 X Mark IIICB

(Image credit: Canon)

01. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

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

Specifications
Best for: Beginner to intermediate
Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K UHD at 30p
AF points: 31
Weight: 304g
Battery life (CIPA): 235 shots
Reasons to buy
+Fast and versatile lens+Great flip-up touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-10-minute 4K limit -Middling battery life 

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III ticks so many boxes, we reckon it's the best camera for YouTube overall. It's powerful, convenient, easy to use and also fairly affordable. It’s a compact camera, with a fast and versatile 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens that offers great flexibility for shooting.

This Canon can produce great-looking 4K UHD video at 30fps, though there's a 10-minute time limit on its highest-quality footage. It also has live-streaming capabilities, so you can set it up to broadcast straight to YouTube. There’s a 3.5mm mic input – vital to ensure your videos sound as good as they look. 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.

Best camera for YouTube: Panasonic Lumix GH5SCB endorsed

(Image credit: Panasonic)

02. Panasonic Lumix GH5S

The best camera for YouTube at the higher end

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Multi-aspect sensor +Low-noise technology 
Reasons to avoid
-Twin UHS-II card slots-No in-body stabilisation 

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

The build boasts rugged, DSLR-like ergonomics, which make the GH5S a pleasure to handle and a sound choice for outdoor use. There's no limit on recording time, so you can film to your heart’s content, while features like 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.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

03. Sony A6000

The best camera for YouTubers on a tighter budget

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Amazing value for money+Autofocus still great
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K-Menus a bit dated

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

With its Sony E-mount, the camera offers the option of choosing from a range of great lenses, and the footage it produces still looks terrific. 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.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony ZV-1

A specialist vlogging camera with useful features for beginners

Specifications
Best for: Beginner to intermediate
Max video resolution/frame rate: 4K video at 30p
AF points: 315
Weight: 294g
Battery life (CIPA): 260 shots
Reasons to buy
+Built-in directional mic+Exceptional autofocus
Reasons to avoid
-No headphone jack-Micro USB not USB-C

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 changed that. This model was designed specifically with vlogging in mind, and it comes with a slew of handy video features as standard. One particularly useful one for YouTube video production is an onboard directional microphone, which eliminates the need to purchase an additional mic for most users.

As one of Sony’s newer cameras, it boasts best-in-class autofocus and has several useful automated modes to streamline the process of shooting, making it a great camera for anyone who's starting out with video production for YouTube.

GoPro Hero10 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

05. GoPro Hero10 Black

The best camera for YouTube adventurers

Specifications
Best for: Outdoor users, sports, travel vloggers of all ability levels
Max video resolution/frame rate: 5.3K video at 60p
AF points: Not specified
Weight: 158g
Battery life (CIPA): Not specified (real-world tests indicate about 90-100 mins continuous shooting)
Reasons to buy
+Useful front display +Class-leading stabilisation 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive -Small image sensor

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, or if you want something small and reliable for a live stream, then the GoPro Hero10 Black is probably the camera for you.

Updated to compete with rivals like the DJI Osmo Action, it sports a useful front screen to make vlogging easier and class-leading HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilisation to record silky-smooth footage in extreme conditions. The Hero10 Black now captures even more detail thanks to the 5.3K video resolution (91% more than 4K) which can capture at 60FPS. It even has a new video feature of 4K at 120FPS for those who like to slow things down in the edit. If you want a camera that you can take skydiving or attach to the front of a mountain bike or white-water raft, the Hero10 Black is a sure bet for adventurous footage.

Best camera for YouTube: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

(Image credit: Blackmagic)

06. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

The best camera for YouTube pros

Specifications
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)
Reasons to buy
+Superb 6K footage +Canon EF lens mount
Reasons to avoid
-Battery not great-No articulating screen 

With a reputation among filmmakers as excellent run-and-gun devices, Blackmagic cameras produce 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 YouTube videos that stand out above the rest in quality.

The camera sports a Canon EF mount, so it can take any of Canon's huge range of lenses, allowing you to kit it out cheaply. This is a professional-grade camera at a much friendlier price, making it a brilliant choice for anyone who's aspiring to make YouTube 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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Strong battery life+Weather sealed
Reasons to avoid
-Only one card slot-No in-body stabilisation

The EOS 70D was perhaps more popular among YouTubers than Canon expected, and the company built on that with the later model. The specs for the Canon EOS 90D show that Canon clearly had the video market in mind this time. It shoots impressive uncropped 4K video, Full HD at up to 120p and boasts many more features for YouTube producers, including microphone and headphone ports.

The EOS 90D draws on its DSLR heritage, so it’s chunkier and heavier than other cameras on this list. However, the advantage is that 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 anywhere

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+High-quality 4K +Hugely effective stabilisation 
Reasons to avoid
-Audio isn’t great -Screen is really tiny 

If you need to shoot content for YouTube while out on the move, you'll normally have to attach a handheld gimbal to your camera to ensure fluid, stable footage. But 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 you can take it anywhere, and reliably produce smooth footage in almost any situation thanks to the three-axis gimbal mechanism. 

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

Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Nikon)

09. Nikon Z fc

A high quality mirrorless with beautiful vintage aesthetic

Specifications
Best for: Beginner, Intermediate users
Max video resolution/frame rate: 4KUHD
AF points: 209
Weight: 445g
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful vintage design+4K UHD
Reasons to avoid
-Lens selection limited-No UHS-II compatibility

Blurring the lines between YouTube filmmaking and excellent stills imagery, the Nikon Z fc is a perfect balance between hybrid shooting and traditional film styling. Armed with an array of physical control knobs and buttons, the Z fc's design is the stand-out appeal. 

Although aimed at a market filled with nostalgia it can also keep up with modern requirements such as 4K UHD video, a vari-angle screen ideal for composing, and WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity. For those who want to capture stills as well, it can shoot up to 11FPS on the 20.9MP crop-sensor. There's also a vlogging-specific accessory kit which includes a directional microphone and Bluetooth ML-L7 remote.

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Jon Stapley

Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. Interests include old film cameras, new digital gadgets, and pounding the pavements of London looking for fresh photo opportunities. If he finds any, he will let you know.