How to Choose a Good Camera for YouTube Video Recording or Streaming

Video recording and streaming or Vlogging as it is now called has moved from being a thing of leisure to a genuine and super lucrative career endeavour. This is most especially as vlogs – short videos filmed for various purposes have become very popular in recent years. Whether it is pranks and comedy, products recommendation and reviews, How To guides, lifestyle or fitness, everything about vlogs has an underlining factor to make them; good and quality camera for YouTube video recording.

No matter how good your video is or how well you promote it, if your camera is not top notch you may not stand a chance against the thousands of vloggers out there competing for subscribers to their channels. There are so many video camera options available which makes it so easy for one to get confused with choice. To make it easier, one has to first decide the kind of vlog one wants to create and so know the kind of camera that will suit best.

For example, a beauty and lifestyle vlogger would require a camera with sharp optics, high-quality audio, and perfect autofocus, while a vlog about skiing or hiking may be looking at a light action camera with great portability.

Other factors to be considered when buying or renting a camera for YouTube video recording may include image and audio quality, budget, recording time, battery life, portability, etc.

Thankfully, technology and market competition have made video cameras evolve from heavy analog machines which are pocket draining to simple gadgets like smartphones and camcorders which are budget friendly.

We will try to help you in choosing the best option for your YouTube recording and guide you on how to make the sound choice that will neither break your bank nor leave you unsatisfied. Here is exactly what you should be looking for when it comes to video cameras for YouTube recording/streaming.

Choosing a Camera For YouTube Video Recording and Streaming

Camera For YouTube Video
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1. Your Video Camera Budget

Since there are many options out there in the market, it is important to know what you can and can’t afford. Determining your budget for a video camera is a very big deciding factor in terms of making a choice of cameras for YouTube streaming or recording. You will surely get some DSLR cameras between the range of $200 to $1,500. The price range gets wider because the options available are limitless. It may not be a super professional-grade camera but you will definitely find a budget-friendly range for camcorders, action cameras, or digital cameras. But you must, first of all, have a budget for what you may want or be willing to spend.

2. Your YouTube Video Recording (Vlog) Type

This decision is very important because it even determines the step above –  your video camera budget. There are different types of YouTube videos. The one you are about to make, will to a large extent, also determine your camera choice. Are you shooting an indoor or outdoor comedy skit? Filming an action video like a high jump from the top of a cliff? Indoor vlogging? It is good to identify what it is you want to do as it will help you in choosing the right kit.

3. Audio Quality Of Your Video

Some vlogs have no need for a good sound quality (like most action themed videos). If your video recording is one those (that do not need a good audio) then you may decide that there is no need checking for good audio quality. That will not be entirely wise since you can never tell when you may need it for something that needs good audio quality. If otherwise, it also depends on how clear you want the sound quality to be. You may even have to search around for some add-on/external microphones to boost your sound quality. There are good external mics out there that would suit your choice just right.

Video Camera Types

Camera for YouTube
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Listed below are popular video camera types you can use for your YouTube streaming/recording. Any of these would work perfectly, but again that depends on the type of video recording intended.

Budget or Cheap Cameras

This is generally a very good idea for beginners. You can get a really low budget camera that can get a YouTube video recording job done with reduced risk of wasting a huge chunk of your resources on cameras. It also saves you a lot of money. which you can channel into acquiring other equipment you may need for your venture. Even though they usually have far less ‘technical’ features than their more expensive siblings, they get the job done. Their limitations are in things like limited options for adjusting the image stability, autofocus and their overall performance in a low light environment. The most important thing to know is that they can get you off the ground but don’t expect them to take you to the skies.


Another very good option for your video streaming is a camcorder, especially for beginners. They are often disregarded as good YouTube cameras since their value as a first choice in terms of video recording has fast declined with the availability of several other and even better and more sophisticated alternatives. However, the camcorder still has its stand out benefits in the video recording/streaming business. For example, camcorders tend to come with a flip screen which is an important feature for many YouTubers. They have specialized features strictly for movie making. They also accept a variety of add-on accessories such as an on‐camera light, an external microphone or a handheld rig. They have a time‐honored design for comfortable shooting and a wide zoom range on a single built‐in lens among other merits.

See Also: Top 12 Cameras for YouTube Videos and Vlogging

But it’s not all good. One may want to look at the fact that the camcorder’s sole purpose is making videos, which means it has monomania. It also lacks the ability to capture a wide‐angle view, which by the way might not mean anything depending on the usage.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Cameras

The Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR) is another perfect choice for YouTube video streaming. DSLRs are actually considered the best cameras for YouTube filming if you can afford them. The DSLR’s cameras are great for creating music videos, mini-documentaries, web series, short films, and skits. They are expensive to buy and may also be very technical for a beginner to handle. It is almost impossible to find a DSLR that goes for less than $500. So skipping the DSLR altogether might sound like the best choice considering that its features may be grossly under-utilized for a starter. The size may be another complaint against the DSLRs as they are not a carry around kind of camera.


Who would have thought that smartphones would make this list? Just a few short years ago, considering a smartphone in this category would have left all of us gawking. But today, with the Oscar‐winning documentary, ‘Waiting for Sugarman’ captured by a smartphone, it is now clear that the smartphone is capable of greater things than previously thought. Leading smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung. Apple and the likes of them now offer their customers 4K video in the palm of their hand.

On the downside, you have little control in adjusting the audio or video quality. You also have limited choices for accessories.

With built-in image stabilization, users can easily capture decent footage. You can also edit video on your phone and immediately upload them online. There is already an entire Swiss news channel shooting on iPhones.

While the footage quality is often sufficient, it can be difficult to capture quality audio, especially if your subject is too far away from the built-in microphone. You’ll probably want to go ahead and invest in a separate audio recorder. Size limitations are another major problem. If you are shooting long videos or a ton a footage, you need plenty of space on your phone to store the video files.

If you don’t plan on shooting much and are only interested in making quick short videos, this may be your best camera for filming. But then if you’d like more production value, then you’ll need to look into one of the other stated options.


Camera for YouTube
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A webcam is inexpensive to purchase, on the off chance that you don’t already have one built into your computer. That makes it perfect for situations where you sit down in front of the computer. Just plop yourself down, check the lighting, and start talking. Since most can now capture in HD, you’re good to go. The downside is that you need to stay put or else you might position yourself out of the frame. The audio can sound “thin” if you’re not using an external microphone. And worse than that, if the lighting is too harsh, you can look really bad.

One big advantage for YouTubers using webcams to stream or vlog is that they are very cheap relative to other cameras you could use.  They don’t provide the best video quality, but some of the best ones do look pretty great in 1080p HD.  For (usually) under $100, this is a big win.

Some webcams also come with very helpful features for gamers like providing a green-screen-like effect that mimics what many pro-streamers incorporate into their gaming videos.

Webcam Disadvantages for YouTubers

If you decide to buy a WebCam for YouTube, then you probably know that you will only ever be filming in your home. Sure, you can set up a webcam in other places (as long as it is attached to a computer) but that isn’t where it works best.

You should expect that this camera will stay in one place and that it won’t ever be used for photography. For streamers, these things don’t matter, but for general content creators, that is a major shortcoming.

What channels should use a webcam?

While some stay-at-home vloggers will probably love the cheap price of a standard webcam, the big winners here are gaming YouTubers.  Gamers need to stay close to their console or PC so the lack of portability isn’t an issue, and given that gaming equipment is generally expensive, it is a nice change of pace to have an affordable camera option.

Add to that the fact that webcams are now being developed with specific gaming related features in mind, and it becomes an easy choice for that type of channel.

Points to note…

Once you’ve decided on which type of YouTube video camera to buy, there are a few things to note.

If you are indeed looking for a DSLR video camera, be sure to keep in mind when adding up your total cost that many come as “body only”. This means that you’ll have to buy your lenses separately, which could get costly (it depends on what you want — some lenses are a few extra bucks while others are more than the camera itself!). For YouTube videos, the lens isn’t as big of a deal as it is for photographers or professional movie makers, so don’t stress too much.

If you’re into an action camera, remember that you’ll need to buy some accessories that come along with it. For example, many people use mounts for their action cams, straps on their chest or wrist, and more. Scour the net since a lot of people offer action camera accessory bundles for a decent price.

For any other type of video camera, you should still keep in mind the additional gear you may need to accommodate your setup. Make sure the package you’re looking at comes with a carrying case, tripod, etc. if those are what you need as well.


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