The best camera for YouTube is just what you need to take your channel to the next level. Whether you do product reviews, travel vlogs, or just chat with your subscribers, having a high-quality camera will open up all sorts of options and improve the production value of your videos. Plus, it really doesn't have to cost a fortune.
While there certainly are many expensive video cameras out there, there are also loads of models that offer tremendous value for money, whether that's because they're a few generations old, or just because they've been pitched at a more casual user. For this guide we've picked out a mix of fixed-lens compact cameras, as well as DSLR and mirrorless options that allow their lenses to be changed. Neither type is necessarily "better" – it's all about what works for you. If you need some pointers, you can scroll to the bottom of this article where we answer a few FAQs.
If you need a camera that's good for all sorts of things, not just 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
Hugely popular among YouTubers, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a compact camera that's designed to be a bit of a jack of all trades, with specs to impress. It's lightweight enough to use handheld with ease, and while you can't change the lens, the 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens is going to be more than fine for the majority of real-world use cases.
It seems incredible that this little camera shoots 4K UHD video at 30fps, but it does, and the quality is top-notch. Just bear in mind that this comes with a 10-minute time limit, so you'll need to exercise some forethought when shooting your 4K footage. You can also step the resolution down to HD to unlock 120fps shooting for super-slow-motion.
The G7X Mark III also has another ace up its sleeve: it can live stream. If you fancy going live to your channel, you can do so wirelessly and with ease. Add in the 3.5mm jack that lets you plug in a microphone for superior audio quality, and you've got a capable compact video solution.
Unless you're a real pixel-head who needs top-of-the-line video features (and if you are, stop down at our next entry...), the Canon G7 X Mark III will likely do everything you need for your YouTube channel.
An upgrade to one of the most popular video cameras around, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is an incredibly potent tool for any YouTuber. The level of video customization it offers is simply mind-boggling – if you're someone who knows the difference between Apple ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ, you'll have a whale of a time tweaking the GH6's settings to your liking.
It's all down to the new 25MP stacked sensor, which provides a significant increase in readout speeds, and thereby enables all the new codec options available on the GH6. Panasonic has also added active cooling, which gives the GH6 its unlimited recording times; as long as your battery lasts, you can keep on shooting without pause. A CFexpress Type B card slot is also a welcome inclusion, allowing for the fast writing of data required by the upper video resolutions the GH6 is capable of (5.7K at 60p? Yes please).
Now, not everyone on YouTube is such a technical geek, and if the previous two paragraphs read like so much gibberish, then you probably don't need the Lumix GH6. It's made for video creators who like to get under the hood and tinker with their image, and it fulfils that function brilliantly.
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.
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.
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.
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.