The Best Cameras For Youtube 2017

best video camera for youtube

Since its formation in 2005, YouTube has given birth to a whole new genre of celebrity. It’s now possible to make a living from posting videos to the sharing site, and with the likes of Zoella, Casey Neistat and Markiplier earning mega bucks from their channels, it’s no wonder that interest in vlogging has increased so significantly.

If you’re thinking of getting into vlogging, or you already have a channel but want to take it to the next level, you’re going to need the right tools to do the job.

How to Buy a Video Camera for Youtube
Type of video – What you’re shooting will determine which camera you’ll choose. Do you film in lots of different locations? Pick something small and light that you can take everywhere. Are you an action vlogger? Find a camera that’s rugged enough to handle everything you throw at it. Is all your vlogging done at home or in a studio? You can afford to have a bulkier setup with external accessories.
Video quality - YouTube can take 4K video, but most people will be watching in Full HD so there’s no real need to go any bigger than this. Going any lower than 1080p can damage a channel’s chances of growing though, as viewers don’t tend to stick around for low quality footage. If you can’t afford a Full HD camera you’d be best shooting on your smartphone (as long as it’s capable of 1080p).
Audio capabilities – Will you be recording audio for your videos? If so, you need to think about the sound quality of your chosen camera. Most options will come with a microphone jack so you can connect to an external mic, but if you prefer not to lug around extra kit look for a camera that has excellent inbuilt audio.
Optical image stabilization – If your YouTube videos feature any kind of camera movement, you’re going to need image stabilization technology to ensure that your videos look professional and controlled. YouTube’s software offers some level of stabilization, as do most editing software packages, but in-camera is most effective.

The Top 5 Cameras for Youtube

1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV - Best professional option

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV be

Canon are widely regarded as the best brand for YouTube videos: you only have to take a look at the kit that the sites biggest stars are using to see that they agree. Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III was, for a long time, considered to be the best of the best for YouTubers, but with the 2016 launch of the Mark IV there’s a new winner in town.

This full-frame DSLR boasts a 30.4MP CMOS sensor which delivers incredible sharpness, and the advanced 61 point Auto Focus (AF) system operates over a wide area, so can cover even the most erratic movement across more of your frame. This is ideal if your shooting style is movement-heavy.

Beauty vloggers will love the quality autofocus, impressive dynamic range, and Canon’s mastery of color science. Plus, the ISO goes up to an incredible 32,000 without losing color like many other cameras do. 4K filming capability provides the quality you’ll need to impress your viewers, and will ensure that you’re covered if/when YouTube becomes more focused on 4K video. The machine itself is also built to last, and the advanced weather sealing will keep outdoor vloggers shooting whatever the conditions.

DSLR’s are brilliant for YouTube as they give you greater control over things such as depth of field and focus points, but if you want to go down an alternative high-quality route the Canon XA10 professional camcorder and Sony A7RII mirrorless digital camera are both fantastic options too. If you’re set on DSLR but don’t want something as advanced as the 5D, Canon’s 80D has many of the same features but with a lower price tag.

The Mark IV does have some shortcomings, although nothing that we’d consider a dealbreaker. Vloggers might be put off by the lack of articulating screen, as this can make it trickier to frame a scene. DSLR’s are also bulkier than other options we’ll feature in this list, and although the Mark IV is more compact than other cameras of similar quality, it still weighs in at a hefty 800g without lenses and external accessories. Still, if those minor flaws don’t bother you, this is one of the highest quality cameras recommended for YouTube.

2. Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II – best compact

canon powershot

Next up is another offering from Canon’s premium range, but this time from its compact camera sector. Serving as an upgrade from the equally popular original model, the G7 X is said to be used by YouTube megastars including FaZe Rain and iJustine. The joy of this camera is that it offers much of the control and quality that DSLRs deliver, but at a much smaller size. Many vloggers also use the G7 X as their ‘travel’ camera whilst having something bulkier for when size doesn’t matter (YouTube celebrity Casey Niestat is said to do this).

Manual control and raw footage shooting is what gets professionals interested in the G7 X Mark II; both of which are impressive features for a compact camera. Add to that the 20.2MP 1” BSI-CMOS sensor and Canons newest DIGIC 7 image processor and you’ve got a mighty machine in your hands. The f/1.8-2.8 standard lens doesn’t let the side down either, ensuring the ability to capture creative, cinematic footage even in low light.

This Canon only shoots at 1080p but, as mentioned in the introduction to this article, that’s plenty for YouTube. The 60 fps option comes in handy, and the 3” LCD touchscreen can be used to pull focus for heightened production value. Speaking of the screen, it can also be flipped 180 degrees upwards and 45 degrees downwards, providing much needed usability when shooting at tricky angles

There’s no viewfinder (or hot shoe to attach an external one for that matter), and it can’t shoot 4K, so professional videographers might not automatically run for the G7 X. The almost identical Panasonic LX10 is another brilliant option for professional quality compact cameras, and does offer 4K filming if that’s a deal breaker for you. Alternatively, if you have a bigger budget, the Blackmagic pocket cinema is an incredible compact option boasting raw output and multiple audio channels that will give you Hollywood-style production value. But, both the Panasonic and the Blackmagic are beaten by the G7 X due to its superior image stabilization and, well, how coveted it is by YouTube’s biggest stars.

3. Canon T7i - Best for Newcomers 

canon eos t71

Yes, you’ve guessed it, next in our lineup is yet another Canon. The T7i (known as the 800D outside the United States) is a fantastic choice for an entry-level DSLR, and will give you all the tools you need to take those first steps towards YouTube stardom.

A 45-point autofocus system is supported by a brilliant live view AF will keep vlogs looking sharp, while 24.2MPs and the new APS-C CMOS sensor is sure to impress. The DIGIC 7 chip is the same processor found in the G7 X, delivering improved high-ISO noise performance.
Ease of use is the name of the game with this Canon, and the newly designed graphical interface will have even the newest videographers getting to grips with their kit in no time. The logical layout and handy 3” touchscreen make it even easier to use.

When it comes to audio, the onboard stereo mic will do the job if you don’t want to lug around extra kit. It’s not going to blow anyone away with its quality though, so it might be worth taking advantage of the microphone jack and buying an external one.

The T6i and T5i were both hugely popular with the YouTube crowd too, and even now they still claim a place on many ‘best cameras for YouTube’ lists. But, with the new sensor and improved performance at high ISOs, T7i now reigns supreme. Nikon’s D3300 and D3400 both offer similar perks and smaller price tags, but Canon wins on features that we think really do justify the larger investment. There’s no 4K filming and the build of the camera feels a little cheap, but that’s to be expected with a lower-end camera and doesn’t take away from the T7i being our top pick for newcomers.

4. GoPro HERO5 Black - Best for Action

go pro hero5 black

Action vloggers everywhere swear by GoPro, and the brand has been a firm favorite of YouTubers wanting to shoot dynamic footage for years. The newest addition to the lineup is the HERO5 Black, and it has ensured that they stay ahead of their rivals.

GoPro’s signature fish-eye lens provides the ultra-wide viewing angle that is synonymous with the brand, and with 4K footage and the ability to shoot timelapse at 30fps, you can make up for a lack of cinematic depth of field with heightened production value. The onboard stereo microphone features wind noise reduction which keeps audio at a decent level of quality without an external mic. This is a must for a camera of this type, as it’s likely you won’t want extra kit when shooting action footage.

The HERO5 is waterproof to 10m without the need for casing, and you can take this tough cookie with you in the snow, sand, rain or dirt without having to worry about it at all. The lack of casing also gives easier access to the 2” touchscreen, but if you choose to use voice commands you don’t even need to touch the camera to set it filming. With a camera designed for action shots, image stabilization is a must, and this model features it by default to put your viewers right there with you.

QuikStories is GoPro’s latest editing technology and copies footage directly to a smartphone where it’s cut together to create a movie. This might not be a huge selling point to vloggers that want to take control of their edits, but for anyone who’s style is more ‘shoot and publish’, this will save a lot of time. It also cuts out the need for a video editing laptop or a desktop computer, making it easier to share videos on the go. TomTom’s Bandit is making a bid for GoPro’s crown with its clever ‘shake to edit’ feature, but GoPro continue to reign supreme despite this.

Battery life isn’t the best on the HERO5, especially with GPS, Wi-Fi and EIS enabled, and the HERO5 isn’t compatible with older batteries so you’ll have to shell out for new ones even if you’re only upgrading. The camera itself is relatively cheap for the quality it delivers, but accessories are all sold separately and can end up costing a fair bit depending on what you want to do with it. But, that’s the joy of the GoPro, you can pretty much achieve whatever you want to achieve with it.

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 - Best Smartphone Camera

samsung galaxy note8

It might seem odd including a smartphone camera on a list that features the likes of Canon and GoPro, but the reality is that the camera in your pocket right now can do a brilliant job of recording video for YouTube.

Samsung’s Note 8 tops the camera phone charts, as it features all the good stuff that we saw in the S8 and S8+ and builds on that success. The dual-camera setup features one 12MP lens with an f/1.7 aperture and another telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture. Both options are capable of 2X optical zoom, and image stabilization keeps footage smooth and professional-looking.

Footage is 4K, which is impressive for a smartphone, and the camera app gives the user a surprising amount of control. Other smart features include Live Focus, which lets you adjust the degree of background focus, and the option to switch between wide-angle and close-up in seconds, so you can frame your subject exactly as you wish.

Another perk of choosing the Note 8 over a traditional camera is the all-day battery life.
Take advantage of power saving settings and head out for a full day’s shooting without needing to bring along chargers and additional batteries; as might be the case with a camera. The phone is also water resistant, making it more durable than many cameras on the market.

Seeing as you probably already intend to buy a smartphone, you can afford to spend more on accessories that will take your footage to the next level. If you’re serious about recording audio, an external mic would be a strong investment. Or, if audio isn’t your thing and you want to keep your kit small, invest in an anti-gravity case over a tripod, which allows you to stick your phone to any surface.

If you’re an Apple lover, you’ll know that the 7 Plus has a lot to offer with its dual rear camera setup. And, with the iPhone 8 set for release, it’s likely that the new camera will surpass its predecessor. LG has also recently announced the V30, the world’s first ever smartphone to feature a lens with an f/1.6 aperture, so Samsung may soon be dethroned by its long-term tech rival.

Wrapping it up

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV be

So, to conclude our roundup of the best cameras for YouTube that are available right now, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV takes the crown. With superior autofocus, impressive shooting speeds and excellent usability, the Mark IV comes out on the top of the pile when compared to other models in the same price range. It’s the dream kit for studio or home setups, when weight and size don’t matter.

But, if your vlogging style is more dynamic and you don’t mind not shooting in 4K you can’t go far wrong with Canon’s Powershot G7 X Mark II. Compact and capable, this is the YouTubers’ camera of choice and should be yours too if you need something portable and professional.

If you’re new to video and are set on a DSLR, Canon’s T7i is a solid choice. You’ll still have the DIGIC 7 processor that’s in the G7 X Mark II, and usability is second to none, but you’re sacrificing build quality. Still, at such a reasonable price, you can justify an upgrade to something more durable once you’ve got the hang of shooting footage for YouTube.
GoPro are still top of the ranks when it comes to action cams, and although the HERO5 Black is the model that made it onto our list, any of their range would do the job perfectly well. Keep an eye on TomTom though, they’re serious about dethroning GoPro and their Bandit cam is the first in a while that’s come close to toppling the reigning champion.

Finally, if you’re just starting out and your budget is tiny, there’s nothing wrong with shooting on your smartphone just as long as you pick the right model. Samsung’s Note 8 is our current winner, but we’re tempted to hold on and see what LG’s V30 has to offer before we upgrade.

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About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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