Are you planning to up your video game on Youtube? Is the video quality what’s limiting your growth? Or are you simply looking for a camera to start recording first videos? Below are 10 best cameras for youtube – for every pricepoint.
Entry level cameras:
Samsung Galaxy S6
You may often not realize, that the smartphone you’re carrying around in your pocket may shoot great video. Samsung Galaxy S6 was one of the first smartphones to be capable of 4K video recording. Unfortunately, usually smartphones need lots of light to produce a decent image. However, keep in mind that EVERY camera needs decent lighting to produce sharp image. Just like the human eye cannot see details of objects in the dark. Still, if you’re planning to shoot mostly outside or in well-lit scenes – start out with the smartphone you have. You don’t need the fanciest gear when you’re beginning. You need to start with whatever you have!
Check out a video I once shot with a Galaxy S7:
You can get pretty good deals on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, since they are a little old now. Click here to check the price on Amazon. They both support 4K 30p and 720 120p. The latter means super slow motion goodness 🙂
Canon Rebel DSLRs
The first Canon DSLR to have the 1080p recording capabilities was the Canon T2i (550D). Since we’ve already entered the 4K era, it may be a limitation to the quality of your videos.
Why should I get it if it’s so obsolete?
Cheap DSLRs are a great way to enter the manual exposure world of videography.
Because of the interchangeable lenses, audio jack input, manual focusing and many more, it was the closest you could get to a full-size cinema camera. Therefore, ever since T2i came out Canon DSLRs were widely used among amateur filmmakers.
They can be hacked!
With the Magic Lantern hack, these babies turn into serious film cameras! It allows for:
- Shooting RAW Video
- Headphone audio monitoring
- Focus peaking
- Live view histogram
- Automatic follow focus
- You can even play Arkanoid on mine 😀
All hacking is done at your own risk!
Old ones are so so cheap!
Canon has already discontinued the production of their older DSLRs models, so you should be able to find a used T2i or T3i for cheap. Aim for the T3i or anything above, since they have one of the most useful qualities a camera for Youtube may have – a flip-out screen!
A word or two about the internal microphone…
The internal microphone is pretty useless in this camera. Therefore, I reccomend using an external microphone for any production that requires clear audio. Fortunately Canon equipped their DSLRs with a 3,5mm audio input which allows for connecting on-camera shotgun microphones like the RODE Videomic with Rycote Lyre Mount – click here for our review of it
I’ve owned both the T2i and the T3i, and I can say that they are quite reliable video cameras.
Here is a video I shot for the same company with my Canon T3i:
Gopro HERO 7
Are you keen on extreme sports? Do you go swimming with great white sharks every sunday afternoon and base-jump from Dubai’s tallest skyscrapers in your lunch breaks?
If so, then this is the perfect camera for you.
GoPros provide great versitality due to the amount of mounts you may attach them to. Just keep in mind that they may not be the best for capturing audio with their internal microphones. Therefore, it’s the best to equip yourself with an external microphone if you’re planning to record people talking.
Which generation should you get?
In HERO 6 Gopro added the super smooth I-will-replace-your-gimbal kind of internal stabilization. It is pretty sick, you should check it out!
Gopro HERO 5 was the first one to have a built in touch screen. You could however buy an “LCD BacPac” extension for the previous generations.
If you would like to futureproof your gear, get at least the HERO 4 BLACK, since it was the first one to shoot 4K 30 frames per second. The 4K in the HERO 3 BLACK was unusable, since it was recorded at 15 frames per second
If you’re planning to buy a Gopro only for some occasional action shots, then look through craiglist for second hand ones. Electronics does depreciate lightning-fast!
Here is a video I shot with a hero 3 silver and a hero 4 silver (equivalent to hero 3+ black) with my friend Ola:
Mid-priced cameras for Youtube and more:
Panasonic Lumix G7
Is the Lumix GH5 your dream camera?
Lumix G7 is its cheaper alternative. It fortunately has the same lens mount, which makes transitioning from the G7 to GH5 a piece of cake! With Panasonic Lumix G7 you get 4K recording capabilities and a swivel LCD screen, which will come in handy if you’re planning to record yourself. Shockingly, Lumix G7 does better in low light than GH5!
Unfortunately, you don’t get access to V-log, which is the flattest picture profile in the GH4 and GH5.
Check it out on Amazon here.
Sony A6000 is a compact mirrorless camera released in 2014. It offers 1080p video capabilities in 60 frames per second. I would still recommend the Lumix G7, since it targets the similar price point (Costs exactly this much) and has much more to offer.
Why should I get it if the G7 is more versatile?
Still, if you prefer Sony cameras – the best camera for youtube is the one you’re most comfortable with. And the A6000 may be a lighter alternative to a heavy Canon DSLR that I mentioned above. All in all – your first camera should teach you the basics and this one should get the job done
Canon M50 is the first mirrorless camera made by Canon to shoot 4K video. It is also the first consumer-grade camera they made that shoots 4K video (Canon 1DC was a little to pricey for amateur videographers). It uses the EF-M lens mount by Canon, but fortunately you can attach you favourite EF lenses to it using a converter. It’s a good all-round camera for photos and video.
I have a Canon Rebel. Why would I switch to the M50?
It’s a good idea to buy it if you are planning on switching to 4K from a Canon DSLR and don’t want to sell your lenses
Check out its price on Amazon here.
The A6300 is a refreshed A6000. Sony added 4K video recording. It also shoots 1080p at 120 frames per second, which translates to sick slow mo shots of your significant other slipping on a banana peel!
You can find it here on Amazon.
The most expensive ones, still reasonable for Youtube videos:
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was once a small form factor camera for intependent filmmakers that made it possible to shoot RAW Video with no firmware hacks.
Keep in mind that you need a fast memory card for that. Moreover, RAW Video craves for memory space. A 32 GB card would fit 10 minutes of RAW Video shot with the non-4K BMPCC. Therefore, make sure your cards are big enough to shoot comfortably.
Even the first BMPCC shot ProRes 422 natively, which still is an awesome codec. The original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera isn’t obsolete yet, as long as you’re fine with shooting 1080p.
Actually, the footage looks outstanding even when you upscale it to 1440p
What about the 4K Pocket Cinema Camera?
With BMPCC 4K you essentially get the same functionality, but the video resolution now tops out at 4K. All in all, it is the only camera you’ll ever need to shoot a professional short film. It is the best camera for much more than Youtube videos. Still at a reasonable pricepoint.
Check out the BMPCC 4K on Amazon here.
Panasonic Lumix GH5
We’ve already recommended the Lumix G7. But what if you’d like to take your filmmaking to the next level? Panasonic GH series cameras introduce a lot of useful features, which you won’t find on the G7 like:
- functioning HDMI output (the one on G7 stops outputting video when you start recording)
- magnesium alloy body
- high framerate shooting (even 180 fps with the GH5)
- 6K anamorphic recording, which utilises the whole sensor (GH5 only)
So it’s one of the best cameras for Youtube?
It is definetely used by a lot of content creators.
You can check its current price here.
The A7S and A7S II by Sony are the best consumer cameras you can get for low light video! It is truly astonishing how little noise there is in the image they produce with high ISO settings.
Why shouldn’t I get it if I’m just starting out?
Unfortunately they are really pricey (Check the price here) and the first generation (A7S) couldn’t even record 4K video internally. You would need an external video recorder, to which you could feed the uncompressed video signal from the camera.
But which one should I get?
Don’t get too confused with what camera to get.
All in all it is just a tool. The best camera for Youtube is the one you’re familiar with. You should get the one you’re comfortable with, even if it means that it doesn’t shoot 4K or shoot fireworks when you take off the lens cap. Focus on the functionalities your content would really benefit from, like
- 120 fps video for extreme sports
- flip-out screen for vlogging
- good low light performance for shooting cities at night
And if you’re just starting out – maybe invest in some lighting and audio gear to get the most out of the camera you have?