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The best camera for YouTube in 2021

Best camera for YouTube: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
(Image credit: Canon)

When it comes to buying the best camera for YouTube, it’s important to think about what you need. You may have decided to start your own YouTube channel, but what kind of things are you going to shoot – perhaps product reviews, travel vlogs, or just showing off behind-the-scenes footage of your creative projects?

There are plenty of different types of cameras suited to each. DSLRs are hardy and weather-resistant, but they’re also heavy, and tend not to have the latest video features of smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras. Both these types can also take interchangeable lenses, which improves versatility but also adds to the expense – for something simpler, you might want to consider a compact camera, with a fixed lens. Some cameras have more sophisticated focusing systems, while others have better battery life. 

If you need a device to cover all sorts, don't miss our round up of the best cameras for all types of creative projects. Below you'll find eight of the best cameras for YouTube that we reckon offer an optimal balance of all the various factors in play. 

 Best cameras for YouTube available now

Best camera for YouTube: Canon G7 X Mark III

(Image credit: Canon)

01. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

A do-it-all compact with great-looking 4K and live-streaming capabilities

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 is the model that’s ticking all those boxes right now. It’s a compact camera, with a fast and versatile 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens that gives you real shooting flexibility. 

It can produce great-looking 4K UHD video at 30p, though there is a 10-minute time limit for its highest-quality footage. It has live-streaming capabilities, so can be simply set up to broadcast straight to YouTube, and there’s also a 3.5mm mic input, which is vital for ensuring your videos sound as good as they look. A great choice for beginning and intermediate users who want a great camera that just works.

Best cameras for YouTube: Panasonic Lumix GH5S

(Image credit: Panasonic)

02. Panasonic Lumix GH5S

The best high-end camera for video creation

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 

Even a few years after its initial release, the Panasonic Lumix GH5S still offers one of the best video specs around. Its clever multi-aspect sensor allows you to easily shoot at different aspect ratios – it can shoot in the wider Cinema 4K 17:9 format, for instance. 

Then there’s also the Dual Native ISO, a complex technology whose bottom line is that the video produced is cleaner, with less noise. Rugged, DSLR-esque ergonomics make the GH5S a useful outdoor camera and a joy to handle, while the video features are simply sublime. The camera 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, you’ve got a seriously capable tool on your hands.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony A6000

(Image credit: Sony)

03. Sony A6000

Older camera still in production because it’s so popular – the best cheap camera for YouTube

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

Many cameras have come along in Sony’s A6000 range, but the original is still around and available at such a good price that it makes sense for many users to consider it! While you don’t get flashy 4K video or the more streamlined menu systems of more recent models, the foundations here are absolutely rock solid – a 24MP APS-C sensor meets a capable processor, with a 179-point autofocus system that still holds up today. 

With its Sony E-mount the camera provides access to loads of great lenses, and the footage it produces still looks terrific. A reminder that you don’t always need the newest, flashiest gadgets – sometimes there’s better value to be had by looking back.

Best camera for YouTube: Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony ZV-1

Sony’s specialist vlogging camera is best for 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

While in the past many of Sony’s compact and mirrorless cameras were stills shooters first, with video as an extra, the ZV-1 represents a shift in the other direction. First and foremost, it’s a vlogging camera, and comes with many useful video features as standard – one particularly welcome one is the on-board directional microphone, which eliminates the need for most users to purchase an additional mic. 

As it’s one of Sony’s newer cameras, its autofocus is also best-in-class. Overall, this is an outstanding camera for anyone who is looking to get to grips with shooting video for YouTube, with useful automated modes designed to streamline the process.

Best cameras for YouTube: GoPro Hero9 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

05. GoPro Hero9 Black

The newest model from the action camera kings is a sure bet for adventurous videos

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 

It’s likely you already know what a GoPro is. These waterproof wonders have become a household name, and if your YouTube exploits are likely to involve underwater adventures or extreme stunts, the Hero 9 Black is definitely the camera for you. 

Updated to compete with rivals like the DJI Osmo Action, the Hero 9 Black now sports a useful front screen that makes vlogging easier, as well as class-leading image stabilisation for silky-smooth footage in all conditions. If you want a camera to attach to the front of a mountain bike or white-water raft, or to take skydiving, then the Hero 9 Black is the best you can buy right now.

Best cameras for YouTube: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

(Image credit: Blackmagic)

06. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

Best pro camera for YouTube

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 have a great reputation among filmmakers for being excellent run-and-gun machines for producing terrific footage as conveniently as possible. The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K took the video world somewhat by surprise, and with its large Super 35 sensor and ability to shoot 6K Raw footage at 60fps, is a brilliant option for producing YouTube videos that are a cut above the rest. 

Also, it handily sports the Canon EF mount, meaning it’ll accept any of the many, many Canon lenses on offer, allowing you to kit it out cheaply. A professional-grade camera at a much friendlier price, this is a superb choice for anyone who aspires to make their YouTube channel into a career.

Read more: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K review

Best cameras for YouTube: Canon EOS 90D

(Image credit: Canon)

07. Canon EOS 90D

A hefty DSLR that blends classic handling with excellent video

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 Canon EOS 70D was rather popular among YouTubers, to an extent that even Canon probably didn’t anticipate. The EOS 90D is the latest in that particular line, and you can tell from its specs that Canon has leant into the video market, with the camera sporting impressive uncropped 4K video, microphone and headphone ports, Full HD at up to 120p and lots more. 

The EOS 90D leans into its DSLR heritage, so while it’s chunkier and heavier than other cameras on this list, it’s also weather-sealed, and satisfying to handle with an excellent optical viewfinder. At this price point, it’s an absolute steal.

Best camera for YouTube: DJI Osmo Pocket

(Image credit: DJI)

08. DJI Osmo Pocket

A miniature, take-everywhere gimbal camera for super-stabilised shooting

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 

For fluid, stable footage on the move, you generally need to attach a handheld gimbal to your camera – or, alternatively, buy a handheld camera/gimbal combo like the DJI Osmo Pocket. This diminutive shooter is great for travel as it can be taken anywhere, and can reliably produce smooth footage in almost any situation thanks to its three-axis gimbal mechanism. 

The quality is surprisingly high for a camera of this type, with 4K 60p footage putting it in league with the best action cameras – though we do wish the sound was a little better. Still, a great choice for dynamic travel vlogging. 

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