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*Updated October 2021

Whether you’ve been making YouTube videos for 10 years or 10 days, there are a few questions that tend to keep content creators up at night. 

Many of those questions revolve around one theme: Gear.

What cameras are worth investing in? What are the best camera settings for YouTube? Which pieces of additional gear should you buy? Do you even need to buy an expensive camera, or can you get started by shooting video on an iPhone

And for that matter, where do you start researching how to choose a camera for YouTube? 

Those are all good questions — the sort of things that really should be at the top of your mind as you work to grow your channel. But today we’re going to focus on just one of those questions. Maybe even the biggest question of them all for creators who want to make the biggest impact on video quality.

Let’s go on a hunt for the best camera for YouTube and look at how some of the most popular choices will help you achieve your goals. But if you want a teaser of what’s to come, here are a few of our top picks:

  • Canon EOS R
  • Canon EOS M50 Mark II
  • DJI Pocket 2
  • Fujifilm X-T4
  • Nikon Z6
  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 II
  • Sony A6600

What we mean by "best"

Okay, so before we get lost in the weeds about camera specs and sample footage, we should clarify what we mean by “best camera for YouTube.”

The truth is that there’s no such thing as one camera to rule them all — the best camera is the one you have (or the one you can afford) right now. You’ll never build an audience if you aren’t making videos because you’re too busy waiting for the perfect camera or the perfect idea.

Filmmaking is an art, and you can use your skills with any equipment you can get your hands on. YouTube success (or any kind of content success, really) depends on your creative ability more than anything else.

Choosing a camera can be pretty subjective, and with the right accessories you could capture almost any footage you want with whatever camera you have.

That being said, if you’re in the market to upgrade, there are definitely some options that are popular among content creators.

A better camera means higher production quality (and more views)

As of January 2021, there were more than 37 million YouTube channels out there producing content. That adds up to over 500 hours of videos being uploaded every single minute.

In other words, the competition for views is fierce and getting fiercer by the day. And everyone on YouTube is looking for a way to elevate their production process and create better videos. Because sharper footage and cleaner videos could be the slight advantage you need to attract subscribers away from everyone else in your content niche.

But it’s not all bad news for content creators. Sure, there are big channels that attract a lot of people — but those viewers often look for similar or related content. That opens up room for other creators to make the videos they love and still grow their YouTube channel.

We’re going to assume that you’re reading this because you’re in the market for a camera. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your search, buying your first camera, or upgrading to top-tier equipment, this list will help you make a smart choice so you can create content that helps you compete for views on YouTube.

20 of the best cameras for YouTube in 2021

When you’re ready to buy a new camera, it’s pretty common for filmmakers and creators to spend weeks or even months reading/watching reviews, comparing specs, and trying to make the perfect decision.

After all, you’re investing in something that will seriously affect your videos. You can’t afford to regret your decision — it’s the kind of buyer’s remorse we want to help you avoid. And there are a lot of factors that go into how to choose a camera for YouTube content creation.

So we’re going to look at 20 of the best cameras for YouTube, what you can look forward to with each option, and (to some extent) how they stack up against similar cameras.

We’ll also break the picks up into five categories to help you jump right to what you need:

  • The best budget cameras for YouTube
  • The best vlogging cameras for YouTube
  • The best professional cameras for YouTube
  • The best cinema cameras for YouTube
  • The best pocket cameras for YouTube

The best budget camera for YouTube

First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Cameras have come a long way in the past decade, and now most people can afford high-quality equipment.

In other words, “budget” no longer has to mean “cheap. You can shoot an award-winning short film or a major TV ad with a $600 camera. That’s great news for content creators who don’t have $3,000 to shell out for the newest and greatest cameras on the market.

This also means you’ve got a handful of options to choose from, which lets you find the camera that works for you and matches whatever budget you have to spend. 

With that out of the way, these are five of the best budget cameras for YouTube content creators that you can get for less than $1,000.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

When most content creators start looking for the best camera for YouTube, they tend to gravitate to the two big DSLR brands — Canon and Nikon.

Canon’s EOS M50 stands as one of the best budget cameras for YouTube because of the combination between Canon’s tech, creator-focused features, and a lower price point.

The EOS line of mirrorless cameras is a pretty trusted name within the YouTube community. And the EOS M50 brings a lot of things that make content creation (both vlogging and filmmaking) easier:

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • Autofocus with eye tracking  
  • 3” vari-angle touch LCD
  • 4K/24p and 1080/120p
  • Livestream directly to YouTube
  • Digic 8 image processor

While it may not be the most powerful Canon EOS model, the M50 II is a great (see: cost-friendly) option at $699.99.

Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III took the framework of a vlogger-favorite camera and packed it full of video-centric features. (It also has an interface similar to the EOS line, which makes it an easy upgrade for Canon users.)

As the third member of Canon’s G7 X line, the Mark III’s predecessors were all big hits with content creators. So you can think of it as a camera built almost from the ground-up to fight for the title as the best camera for YouTube.

Here are the specs:

  • 20MP 1"-type CMOS sensor
  • 24-100mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 lens
  • Built-in 3-stop ND filter
  • 3” touch panel LCD
  • 4K/30p and 1080/60p (slomo)
  • Microphone port

One feature creators love is the Live Streaming feature, which lets you instantly upload footage to YouTube. If you ever go live this camera integrates that process seamlessly without degrading the quality of footage.

The PowerShot G7 X sells for $749.00. 

Sony A6400

Sony is one of the brands constantly fighting to be the top choice among the best budget cameras for YouTube, and the A6400 is old enough to be budget-friendly but new enough to include a lot of must-have features and specs for content creators.

So while the A6400 isn’t the newest model of Sony’s Alpha camera line, it’s an affordable (less than $1,000) entry point into one of the most popular camera series on the market.

Here’s what you get:

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • BIONZ X image processor with Real-Time tracking autofocus
  • 3” flip-down LCD
  • 4K/24p and 1080/120p
  • Microphone port
  • Dust- and moisture-resistant body

Starting price for the Sony A6400 is $898.00.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G100

Panasonic is another major contender in the constant battle royale of camera manufacturers, and the Lumix DC-G100 could easily fit into several of the categories on this list. But an entry-level price tag means you can get fantastic vlogging or filmmaking features in one of the best budget cameras for Youtube.

  • 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis image stabilization (works in sync with in-lens IS)
  • 3” fully articulated LCD
  • 4K/30p and 1080/120p
  • Directional audio (includes a tracking mode)
  • Built-in vlogging UI and selfie mode

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G100 comes in at $747.99.

Fujifilm X-S10

The Fujifilm X-S10 combines modern internals with an old-school look. As a whole, Fujifilm sees the X-S10 as kind of a cross between other camera models (especially DSLRs), something that’s targeted at content creators or filmmakers who are just getting started.

  • 26MP X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization
  • 3" fully articulating touchscreen
  • DCI/UHD 4K at 30p, Full HD at 240p
  • Microphone port and 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder 

Pricing for the Fujifilm X-S10 starts at $999.00.

The best vlogging cameras for YouTube

In a technical (or even a preferential) sense, you can use any camera for vlogging. You could even use an internal webcam or a mounted smartphone if those are the only things available.

However, the sudden rise of filmmakers and creators on YouTube have pushed camera manufacturers to build budget-friendly cameras suited for vlogging. Whether you’re looking for 4K/60p footage, slomo functionality, or compact cameras, you’ve never had more great options to choose from.

Here are five of the best vlogging cameras for YouTube on the market right now:

Sony ZV-E10

The ZV-E10 takes advantage of the E-mount lens system, which gives you an incredible amount of flexibility in swapping out (or upgrading) your lenses. But the biggest seller is the articulating screen, which is why it’s become such a popular vlogging camera.

Combine that with an almost-pocket sized frame, a handgrip, a USB-C port, and even a headphone jack, and you’ve got a pretty remarkable entrypoint that’s budget-friendly and perfect for creators.

Check the specs: 

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Wide lens selection with versatile E-mount system 
  • 3” flip-out, vari-angle touch LCD
  • 4K/24p (no crop), 4K/30p (cropped), and 1080/120p (slomo)
  • Built-in directional 3-capsule microphone with windscreen
  • Microphone port and 3.5mm headphone jack

The ZV-E10 comes in at $699.99, which almost fits in the budget cameras category.

It’s also worth comparing the ZV-E10 to its older sibling, the Sony ZV-1. This model has a non-removable lens and a built-in 2 stop ND filter, which makes it more compact but not quite as versatile. 

Canon EOS Rebel T8i

It’s no exaggeration to say that DSLR cameras revolutionized photography, which is one of the reasons why filmmakers have a better selection of great cameras at lower prices. Canon and Nikon were among the leaders in that field, so a lot of creators default to these brands when they’re looking for the best vlogging camera for YouTube content.

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is the perfect example. You could find other, more high-end Canon vlogging cameras out there, but the combination of price and specs has helped this particular model become a long-time favorite of content creators. 

Here’s what’s under the hood: 

  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • 3” vari-angle touch LCD
  • 4K/24p (cropped) or 1080/60p
  • Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system
  • 5-axis Movie Digital Image Stabilization
  • Bluetooth connectivity allows for remote control

A Canon EOS Rebel T8i starts at $899.99.

Nikon Z fc

Here’s another example of a vintage design that hides some modern features vloggers love. The Nikon Z fc has a Z lens mount as well as external dials for shutter speed, ISO, and exposure, which makes it an ideal option for up-and-coming content creators.

  • 20.9MP APS-C sensor
  • 3" articulating touchscreen
  • 4K/30p and 1080/120p
  • Electronic Vibration Reduction mode
  • External dials for shutter speed, ISO, and exposure
  • Webcam capabilities via Nikon Webcam Utility

Pricing starts at $956.95 for the Nikon Z fc.

Panasonic Lumix GHS II

Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 II is a vlogging camera built for capturing high-quality footage, and the “Mark II” indicates that this particular model is updated and upgraded within the frame that creators have come to love.

  • 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization
  • 3" rear touchscreen
  • 4K at 60p/50p (4:2:0 8bit) and 4K at 30p/25p/24p (4:2:2 10bit)
  • Anamorphic support for 4K/50p and 60K/30p
  • Livestreaming support over WiFi or smartphone

As a fun addition, the GH5 is also built to endure pretty extreme weather conditions. It’s freezeproof, splashproof, and dustproof, so you can take it anywhere except snorkeling.

This higher-end vlogging camera starts at $1,697.99.

Fujifilm X-T4

The Fujifilm X-T4 has been regarded as a hybrid camera that combines Fujifilm’s history of still shooting with the filmmaking specs you’d expect for recording high-quality video. And that makes it a clear choice as one of the best vlogging cameras for YouTube.

If you’re interested in a more high-end alternative to the X-S100 (one of our picks as a best budget camera for YouTube), the Fujifilm X-T4 is basically the top tier variant of the Fujifilm X series. Of course, the price tag goes up to match the bump in quality.

  • 26MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • 3” fully articulated touch LCD
  • 4K/60p or 1080/240p
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization
  • 12 Film Simulation modes 
  • USB-C allows for USB charging

The Fujifilm X-T4 starts at $1,699.00. 

The best professional cameras for YouTube

While it’s true that the best camera is the one you’ve got, it’s also true that there are pretty clear advantages to investing in bigger, better, and newer cameras.

Maybe you put in your time working with budget cameras, and now your channel is big enough that you can go all-in on a professional camera. Or maybe you’ve been saving for a while and want to start with something high-quality because you're obsessed with a specific camera’s specs.

These four top-tier picks aren’t just some of the best professional cameras for YouTube on the market; they’re also equipment you could confidently take onto the set of any client shoot. Sure, you’ll need other gear too, but the point is that any one of these picks puts you on par with the most successful creators on YouTube.

Sony A6600

The Sony A6600 (and the older models in the series) has solidified itself as the best professional camera for YouTube. It’s a camera that’s trusted by vloggers and filmmakers alike.

While it has the specs and features you’d expect from any $1,000+ camera, the A6600 also brings in some of the top-end features from Sony’s line of cinema cameras. It’s a camera you can reliably use whether you’re shooting vlogs or working on short films.

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3" vari-angle LCD touchscreen with touch focus control
  • 4K/30p (Super35mm area) and 1080/120p
  • Log footage includes S-Log2 Gamma Curve (usually restricted to cinema cameras)
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • Microphone port and 3.5mm headphone jack

A Sony A6600 will cost you $1,398.00.

Canon EOS R

The Canon EOS line was the manufacturer’s first attempt at mirrorless cameras, and the EOS R was the first model that took advantage of an improved lens mount system as well as a full-frame image sensor. In other words, it brought these products up to the standards of the best professional cameras for YouTube.

Think of the Canon EOS R as the slightly more expensive and higher-quality sibling of the Canon EOS M50. This pick could easily headline the best vlogging camera list, but the price tag and overall quality line up with the other professional options.

  • 30.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • 3" vari-angle LCD touchscreen with touch focus control
  • 4K/30p, 1080/60p, and 720/120p
  • Integrated Canon Log provides dynamic range up to 12 stops
  • No in body stabilization but RF lens mount allows for better autofocus and stabilization
  • 3.5mm headphone/mic jack

A Canon EOS R will cost you $1,799.00.

Nikon Z6 II

The Nikon Z6 II is an improved version of Nikon’s popular full-frame camera. And like any sequel, it builds upon the previous attempt’s success with a lot of features that target the line between professional and cinematic cameras.

As a result, the Z6 II is a solid pick as the best professional camera for YouTube creators, and it’s only half the price of the top option in this category. (Yes, there are tradeoffs, but not as many as you’d get if you went much lower in pricing.)

  • 24MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 3.2" tilting LCD touchscreen
  • 4K/30p or 1080/120p
  • 5-axis in body vibration reduction
  • N-Log and HLG (HDR) support
  • Wide-Area autofocus mode with Eye and Face Detection

Nikon Z6 II cameras start at $1,999.95.  

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H

While Panasonic is known for its cameras with four thirds sensor size, the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H brings a full frame sensor with features, settings, and specs that prioritize video users over photographers.

6K capture, a focus on Log shooting, and multiple frame rate options will allow for professional grade video production. It’s perfect for vloggers who want to create high-end videos, or creators who are ready to blow viewers away with short films.

  • 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 3.2" tilt, free-angle LCD touchscreen
  • 6K/24p and 4K/60p
  • Variable Frame Rate and High Frame Rate options
  • Pre-installed V-Log, Hybrid Log Gamma, and High Dynamic Range modes 
  • In-body image stabilization (support for Panasonic Dual-IS 2)

All of that quality means the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H will cost you $3,497.99.

The best cinema cameras for YouTube

Cinema cameras are both the most expensive items on this list, but also the most powerful — and the most popular among the top tier YouTube creators. In fact, some of the most popular cameras in the world belong in this category.

Before we look at the best cinema cameras for YouTube, it’s important to note that cinema cameras function differently than the other categories on this list. Sure, they still capture footage, but the codecs are different, the key features are different, and the kit you’ll need are different. 

Our filmmaking team explained it like this: “It’s like going from a gas car to electric. If you can use one, you can use the others — there’s just a learning curve.”

Here are three of the most popular cinema cameras on the market.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

Blackmagic is clearly making a habit of breaking down walls in the world of camera manufacturing, bringing better and better gear to non-Hollywood filmmakers for a “normal human” price that nobody thought possible. And the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is the most affordable — and most approachable — entry point into cinema cameras.

The P4K is one of the most popular cameras in the world because it walks the line of pro-tier cameras and cinema cameras. A big portion of YouTube content creators trust their work to the P4K, and that’s because of everything this camera makes possible.

  • Super35 HDR Sensor with Gen 5 Color Science
  • 5" tilting HDR capacitive touchscreen LCD 
  • 6K/50p, 6K/24p HDR, 4K/60p, and 1080/120p
  • Built-in microphones as well as XLR input
  • EF lens mount  
  • Built-in clear/2/4/6-stop ND filters

The Pocket Cinema 6K starts at $1,995.00. (If you’re interested in the older model, the Pocket 4K, you’ll get most of the same features for only $1,295.00, although you’ll have to buy specific MFT lenses.)

Canon EOS C100 Mark II

Canon considers the EOS C100 Mark II to be a cinema camera designed for indie filmmakers, which means it’s a step above most vlogging or “casual” cameras but not quite as extreme as the $10,999 Canon EOS C300.

No, the C100 isn’t a new camera — even the Mark II model is almost 8 years old. But while you lose 4K capabilities, you’re getting access to a lot of assets (35mm sensor, DIGIC processor, EF lens mount, etc.) that you’d find on the C300 model.

In other words, it’s your chance to get features from the best cinema cameras for YouTube for less than what you’d pay for another, newer camera.

  • Super 35mm 8.3MP CMOS Sensor
  • 3.5” vari-angle LCD screen  
  • Shoots 1080 at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p
  • Dual XLR microphone inputs
  • Canon Log and Wide DR Gamma 
  • EF lens mount

The Canon C100 starts at $2,699.00. 

Sony FX3

Think of this as the top-of-the-line of our best camera for YouTube list. The Sony FX3 is an absolute juggernaut, pulling features from Sony’s different cinema cameras and condensing it all into a compact camera that’s perfect for content creators and filmmakers alike.

  • 12.1MP Full-Frame CMOS Exmor R Sensor
  • 3” articulating LCD touchscreen  
  • UHD 4K/120p or 1080/240p
  • Dual XLR microphone inputs
  • S-Cinetone, S-Gamut3, S-Log3, HLG, and Rec. 709 gamma options 
  • Dynamic range of 15+ stops

A Sony FX3 will cost you $3,898.00. (We did say this was top-of-the-line.)

The best pocket cameras for YouTube

Pocket cameras are a little controversial, mostly because the term covers a pretty broad array of cameras. But for the purpose of keeping this short and sweet, we’re going to consider anything that you could easily travel with as a pocket camera.

Maybe you make videos on the go, or you’ve got a travel blog but never have the luggage space to bring a full gear bag. Or maybe you want to shoot music festivals or sporting events. If any of that sounds accurate, then this section of the list is perfect for you.

These cameras have built-in lenses and tend to trade versatility (or accessory mounts) for portability. But all-in-one cameras are pretty convenient, and they’re tools that a lot of content creators use from time to time.

So yes, these ultra-portable and low-cost picks can still complete with the rest of this list. They might not be the absolute best camera for YouTube videos, but they’re more than capable of capturing 4K footage that you can transform into incredible content.

DJI Pocket 2

DJI Pocket 2 might be the best pocket camera for YouTube content creators. The features and specs are clearly designed with vloggings and creators in mind, bringing together a lot of things you’d find in other (more expensive) cameras on this list and then packing all of that into a condensed shell.

  • 1/1.7" 64MP CMOS Sensor
  • Captures up to 4K/60p
  • 4x zoom for 1080p, 3x zoom for 2K, and 2x zoom for 4K
  • 3-axis gimbal stabilization
  • ActiveTrack 3.0 face-tracking system
  • Four directional microphones with DJI Matrix Stereo “audio zoom” functionality

Pricing for the DJI Pocket 2 starts at $349.00.

GoPro Hero10 Black

GoPro has really established itself as the go-anywhere, shoot-anything camera. From snorkelers to skydivers to mountain climbers, people rely on GoPro cameras for their versatility, solid quality, and the fact that they are mountable and customizable with just about anything you can think of.

The GoPro Hero10 Black is the newest iteration of the family. And because of its size and ease-of-use, it is an easy option for content creators who want the best pocket camera for YouTube videos.

  • 1/2.3-inch 23MP sensor
  • 5.3K/60p and 4K/120p
  • HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization system
  • Brand new GP2 series processor
  • Waterproof up to 33 feet
  • Automatically backs up footage to the cloud

The GoPro Hero10 Black starts at $599.97, but they’re almost always on sale (and almost always bundled with accessories).

Any smartphone

While we could dedicate an entire section to shooting video on a smartphone, the truth is that you probably wouldn’t buy a new iPhone or Galaxy and consider it to be the best camera for YouTube videos.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the latest and greatest phone cameras, which are (at least in some respects) just as capable of high-quality video as other cameras on this list. 

The tradeoff is that it’s not as convenient to upgrade a phone or replace a lens, even if there are different filmmaking kits that try to replicate that process.

If you want to learn more about iPhone accessories for filmmakers, we’ve got you covered.

How to choose a camera for YouTube

Finding the best camera for YouTube can make all the difference when it comes to the kinds of videos you can create and the overall production quality of your work. And while we took a look at 20 of the most popular cameras for content creators, we’ve only scratched the surface of the market that’s available to you.

At the end of the day, approaching how to choose a camera for YouTube content will vary based on a few factors. You may be familiar with one brand over another. Maybe you’ve got a specific budget to work with, or a particular level of video quality you want to hit.

That’s why doing the research matters. Only you know what you’ll use the camera for, so only you know which specs or features will have the greatest impact on your content. And those are the pieces you should prioritize when you’re shopping around for a good deal.

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