YouTube has become an immensely profitable moneymaking franchise in recent years for musicians, sportsperson, journalists, vloggers, and entrepreneurs just to mention a few. However, the rise of this marketing avenue has evolved hand in hand with technology, and the interdependence between the two is evident. A good YouTube video needs to have a top-notch audio and video quality which only the best cameras made for such can provide.
I have been vlogging on YouTube for over 6 years and although I no longer upload content on my channel as much as I used to when starting back in 2010, I have come to appreciate a few important tenets that form the background of YouTube’s competitive ecosystem. One of the most important of these is quality. And by quality, I mean both video and audio quality.
Getting the best quality for your videos requires you to use some of the high quality cameras on the market, like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera or the amazing Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame SLR Digital Camera.
A few years ago, a video shot from a camcorder was decent enough to pass for a great video, but in a world where effects add to the quality a lot, a better camera is essential. However, there’s a camcorder that has defied this trend, still standing today as one of the best for YouTube videos and Vlogs. If you want a camcorder instead, you will never go wrong with the Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder.
Followers, and YouTube fans in general, these days prioritize quality over content, ironically. So the information you want to pass through might be life changing, but if your video is of poor quality, not many people will pay attention, let alone share it with their online fraternity. To put it better, competition is getting fiercer by the day, and only excellence can cut it.
You can also check out what makes for a great video camera which I have covered at the end of this article but before that, let’s look at the top 12 cameras for YouTube videos and vlogging
Best Cameras for Youtube and Vlogging - Table of Contents
Nikon D3400 Camera For Youtube
With 8× digital zoom and an incredible 24.2 MP effective still resolution, the D3400 is the perfect answer to YouTube video in need of full focus.
Though mostly used for pictures, this camera has a 1080p resolution and a custom lens that uses a stepping motor for quiet and smooth autofocusing. You can count on this camera to capture the things or people you wish to put in your video without losing focus whether in low-light situations or when shooting at high speed.
The D4300 also has easy sharing as it connects to almost all smart devices. The thing that appeals to me most regarding this camera is its automatic backup processes. All your content will be stored on Nikon Image Space (Cloud) so even if you lose it, God forbid, you will still have your footage.
Canon EOS Rebel T5i Youtube Camera
The Canon EOS Rebel is one camera I have been waiting to get my hands on for a very long time. This camera has Wi-Fi connectivity that can help you control it from a distance. Not to mention, fast and unbelievably accurate standard or high-precision focus for clear detail video recording and photography. Also, the Canon Rebel has a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 920,000 dots for clear viewing and enhanced video detail.
Canon EOS Rebel T51 guarantees full HD quality videos at different frame rates and recording sizes. This camera offers outstanding quality for your YouTube videos and even allows for in-camera editing. Also, this camera can accept over 60 interchangeable lenses, so the creative options that come with it are limitless. It’s no wonder most people prefer it for YouTube video beginners with some cash to spend on a camera.
GoPro HERO5 Black Action Camera For Youtube
The GoPro HERO5 Black is a 4K video and 12MP photo camera with a variety of shooting options. Not to mention, it has a durable design that is waterproof even without its housing and allows you to trim and playback your videos or pictures and even change settings on the camera while shooting.
It is the easiest camera you will ever use thanks to its single button simplicity and voice control that make navigation easier. The GoPro HERO5 Black will also offer you a stabilized video with clear audio quality. With over 30 plus GoPro accessories and mounts, you can use this camera and be guaranteed to capture everything whether underwater or on dry land.
Canon EOS 7D Camera
Just as the name suggests, this camera can shoot a 7D video and with ease. It may be expensive for a first camera for your YouTube videos going for over $1,000, but the quality it gives is unmatched.
You can see just a glimpse of what we are talking about when you watch a sample (slow motion) video test shot with this camera below:
This camera can shoot at high speed and continuously at up to 10.0 fps. Also, you can shoot your video like you would with a camcorder thanks to its Dual Pixel CMOS AF. It also has advanced autofocus technology that helps with live view, face detection, multi-area shots, tracking, and center shots just to mention a few. The only thing that doesn’t make this camera appealing to most people is the lack of image stabilization which can easily be eliminated by using a camera stand or fixed support while recording.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
While buying this camera, be sure to check for its custom Micro Four Thirds lenses which are sold separately. Nonetheless, it has a high resolution 3.5 inch LCD that makes monitoring easy while you are shooting. The screen also comes in handy when you need to review your videos, which are stored in the camera’s built-in removable SD card.
The Blackmagic Pocket also has impressive optical zoom at 10× and weighs in at just 0.78 pounds. It is ideal for videos that require you to hold the camera at arm’s length despite the lack of image stabilization.
Nonetheless, you can be sure to capture a high-quality video thanks to its 1080p video resolution and clear photos at 12 MP.
Nikon D810 FX-format Digital SLR Camera
This is a high-end camera so you can be sure to expect some amazing features on this camera. Expectedly, the level of detail, sharpness, rich tonality and extensive dynamic range at almost all light conditions is just too outstanding. Your videos will no longer be the same thanks to its fast frame rates, reduced file formats, fast image processing, and unimaginable autofocus just to mention a few features this camera is packed with.
The D810 has undeniably raised the bar for video quality and taken up a spot with the upper echelon. It can record 1080p videos at 24,25,30,50 or 60p and save them uncompressed to an external hard drive or compressed to an internal SF or CF card. Its inbuilt Multi-CAM 3500FX AF sensor uses 51 focus points to give you the sharpest video and image quality.
There is no doubt this camera will change your YouTube video experience for the better.
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame Digital SLR Camera
The Sony Alpha SLT is yet another camera with incredible video and picture quality. It can shoot a 1080p video and guarantees continuous shooting with AF at six frames per second. Not to mention, playing back and viewing recorded footage is easy thanks to its 3.0 inch semi-articulated LCD with 1.23million dots to deliver outstanding playback quality.
When in video mode, this camera switches to full-time phase-detection autofocus to ensure that not a single detail is missed or shot poorly. It might not have the best optical zoom which makes it ideal for close-up shots, but it makes up for that with optical image stabilization and a variety of other unusual features such as a top notch GPS mapping.
Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder
Camcorders are widely used not only for YouTube videos but personal videos as well. However, not all of them have the specifications necessary for a quality YouTube video. The Canon XA10 is different from most camcorders thanks to its dynamic video recording system (MPEG4-AVC or H.264).
Not to mention, a 64GB internal memory drive and two memory card slots allow you to shoot for an extensive period without having to transfer the footage to clear the memory.
This camcorder can capture videos at 1920x1080p_HD in avchd format. Even with a weight of 1.7 pounds, it has an impressive 10× optical zoom and a TFT LCD that makes playback and shooting very easy.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300K Camera
Panasonic has been making durable and high-quality devices for a very long time, and this Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300k is no exception. This camera is perhaps the cheapest on this list but does not mean it comes short of interesting features especially with the ability to deliver an outstanding 4K Ultra HD video. It also has a very impressive burst rate of 30 frames per second which allows you to extract professional looking clear and sharp images from a 4K video.
Full HD videos are nowhere near a 4K video, which is four times larger and has higher attention to detail. Surprisingly enough, this camera also has an inbuilt 5-Axis HYBRID Optical Image Stabilizer including a feature that ensures the footage is not blurry or shaky. You can be sure to get high-quality images with this camera thanks to its Venus Engine and a 12.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Sensor. if you are ready to publish your first outstanding YouTube video without burning out your savings, this camera is a worthy servant.
Nikon D7100 24.1 MP Digital Camera
This is one feature laden camera currently in use by many YouTube pros. The Nikon D7100 can shoot over 100 consecutive shots at six frames per second effortlessly. The Nikon D7100 has a specially designed 24.1 MP DX-format sensor that doesn’t even need an optical low-pass filter to give you sharp and clear images.
This camera also has impressive autofocus processing speed thanks to EXPEED 3 and it functions flawlessly even at high-speed shooting with metering autofocus.
The Nikon D7100 also shoots amazing 1080p videos and offers room for ultra-smooth slow-motion sequences. The audio quality is boosted by the presence of an external stereo jack, a built-in stereo mic, HDMI, and headphones jacks. This DSLR camera powers up using the custom Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, which provides power consistently even in extreme weather conditions such as snow.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Camera For Youtube
The Canon Powershot G7 can make you doubt its competency with a first look. However, just as the saying goes, looks can be very deceiving. This camera surpasses many others on the market not only regarding picture quality alone but video as well. It can comfortably capture a 1080 Full HD video in MP4 format with remarkable stereo surround.
At 1.4 pounds of weight, it is the perfect camera to carry around if you have a YouTube vlog that requires videos while you are on the go. The Canon Powershot G7 also has 4.2× optical zoom which allows you to capture objects or people from afar and still maintain high video quality and with its image stabilization and an excellent microphone system, recording quality audio has just got easier.
What is the best video camera and what makes a camera great for Youtube videos and vlogging?
Before settling on the ideal camera, there are many things you have to consider. Also, some elements need not bother you such as the zoom highlight. The reason for this is because most videos are shot at a close distance. Still, there are those that will require you to zoom in and capture your footage from afar so the camera you chose is also dependent on the video you intend to capture.
Pay no attention to the megapixels too if you are going to solely concentrate on videos as megapixels are especially needed for photographs. Low-light execution holds a lot of significance to video quality as well. As much as that feature is attributed mostly to vlogging videos due to the movement and shooting environment involved, low-light execution is vital for any YouTube video. A camera that can’t perform well under low-light situations is bound to make a video or picture lose its appeal while diminishing the casings.
Whether for a vlog or an instructional workout video, consider the following tips before purchasing a YouTube camera.
• Image/Video Quality
I have seen YouTube videos with very helpful content but very few views and comments. Even with the likes, most of these videos have no comments or form of interaction between the account owner and viewers/intended audience. The reason for this is because most people click on the video and after a few seconds of a low-quality video quickly skip to the next video.
For a YouTube video with the best quality, I recommend a camera that either shoots Full HD videos or has a resolution of at least 1080p. Most people prefer to purchase cameras that shoot videos at 480p, however, most people on YouTube are beginning to chose to view videos on YouTube at 720p or 1080p, and anything lower than that is guaranteed to hinder your channel from further growth.
There are some good 720p cameras, but these should only be used if you are on a tight budget and really need to upload a YouTube video. Even then, you risk losing followers and potential subscribers due to a low-quality video. Look for 4k, Ultra HD, or even 7D camera such as this Canon EOS 7D to give your viewers an immersive feeling whenever they watch your videos. However, also make sure that you have a good laptop to edit the footage efficiently.
• Optical Image Stabilization
Having worked on hundreds of YouTube videos, I can assure you that video editing software is not all that is needed to ensure that you have stabilized a footage. Considering that most YouTube videos involve walking or activities that might require movement, it is advisable to get a camera with built-in Optical Image Stabilization such as this Sony Alpha SLT A99 Full Frame camera
You do not want to appear and reappear in your video and look like you have zero control and knowledge of your camera in front of your audience. This feature is the difference between stable footage and a shaky video that will get no views unless it is a prank video. YouTube too can help you stabilize your image through their software, but the best way to be sure of a stable video is by purchasing a camera with an inbuilt optical image stabilization feature inbuilt.
• Audio Capabilities
All cameras come with a pre-installed microphone that helps you record audio. However, not all of them are advanced enough to ensure that the sound quality is clear, and not muffled or free from background noises. There is no feeling more frustrating than the perfect shot with clear yet unwanted background noises. To make matters worse, the video can’t be edited and has to be reshot unless you don’t wish to have audio coverage in your video.
It is for this reason that most cameras nowadays are equipped with a microphone jack, which makes it possible to use an external microphone for better sound quality in your YouTube videos. However, most cameras on this list such as Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark IIg have an excellent sound system
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• Type of Video
Different YouTube videos require various types of cameras. For example, a documentary in the wild needs a camera with excellent zoom and ability to capture good footage under different light conditions, such as the famous GoPro HERO5 Black. I bet you have seen those YouTube videos with mixed quality; at the start the lighting is perfect, but the video gets dark every once in a while.
Editing does its best to ensure that light distribution is top notch throughout the video, but a good camera plays the biggest role for this course. Also, if you intend to capture a video on the move, consider purchasing an action camera, like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II and if outstanding clarity with effects in 7D is what you are after, then go for the Canon EOS 7D. If your video requires excellent audio quality, then the best camera for you is one with external audio connectivity. Whatever type of video you intend to shoot, there is always a camera that does the job best.
There are many things to consider when it comes to the lens. First, you need to find out whether it is interchangeable or a fixed lens. The former gives you freedom to try out another lens on your camera which might be ideal for capturing the video at different distances and angles. Still, some cameras can give you good shots at various angles without any need to change the lens.
Secondly, the lens should be able to give you a high-quality video while factoring the distance between the camera and the objects you wish to include in your video. Vlogs require cameras with a lens that can give the best video quality at close range. Still, there are lenses built for long-range shots ideal for videos such as documentaries or sporting activities.
The price does matter when it comes to high quality cameras. More often than not, the best cameras are pricier and a little bit fancier. Nonetheless, you can get good cameras if on a small budget such as the Canon Powershot or this Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300k . However, ensure that the specifications are in line with the video you intend to shoot before purchasing a cheap camera for your YouTube videos.
Have you ever had one of those moments where someone randomly taps your shoulder and when you turn you find them holding a camera requesting you to take a picture of them? In most instances, the device they use is new to you so it might take a minute before you know the right button to press. Some YouTube videos come unexpectedly and require you to be swift with your camera.
Also, your camera needs to withstand different movements and still maintain good video quality. If you have to purchase one with straps just to ensure that it is firm and the video is not shaky then so be it. Overall, you have to make sure that you get a camera with a good handling.
• Battery Life
YouTube videos such as Vlogs are mostly shot on the go. As a result, you need to ensure that the camera you buy has a long battery life. I remember shooting a music video one time with a set full of models and artists before running out of battery power two hours into the shoot with four more to go. It was a sad feeling that cost me a lot than I could recover but then I learned my lesson.
You can consider buying an extra battery so that you can have a backup plan in case one fails. Alternatively, you can purchase a camera with disposable batteries so that when you run out of power, all you have to do is replace the batteries and keep shooting.
Some YouTube videos allow you to position your camera on a stand and sit or stand in perfect view. However, not all videos require a stationary object or person. Some videos demand that you hold the camera for yourself for a couple of minutes at arm’s length. A heavy camera will get your hands shaking after the first few minutes, and the footage will be useless.
Regardless of the type of video you wish to upload to your YouTube channel, a light camera comes in handy in ensuring the quality is not compromised; especially if you have to hold the camera while recording the video.
YouTube videos have made a lot of people rich and popular, there’s no denying this. Both achievements might not be what you want when recording a video to upload to the site, but whatever your reason might be, your video needs to be of high quality.
Very few people will stop to watch a poorly edited/captured or shaky video. Some of the coolest cameras are not even as expensive as their features make them sound. But with the cameras on this list, you can be sure never to go wrong with a YouTube video.
Thank you for reading!