Produce winning videos for your channel with one of the best YouTube cameras. Just about any camera with video-recording capabilities can let you record your clips and footage for your YouTube content. But, only an excellent camera designed to record such videos can make your workflow more seamless.
A top-notch YouTube camera can not just help you deliver excellent, high-quality content, offering a range of video resolutions and frame rates. It's also easier to handle and come with useful creative features for shooting and sharing on YouTube so you can spend less time worrying about the technical aspects and focus more on your creative process.
So, even if you're only starting your channel and aren't making a lot of money from your content yet, it's good to invest in one. Luckily, there are capable models that fit within most price ranges so there’s an affordable (or even a cheap) camera if you're on a budget.
We've extensively tested the best cameras and best video cameras, assessing every camera based picture quality, features, usability, compatibility with accessories, and outright value. And we've applied objective criteria to select the top performers below, ensuring we've got options for every need and budget.
Our current top pick for the title of best YouTube camera is the Panasonic GH5 Mark II, a versatile, powerful camera with built-in live streaming skills and a lightweight yet rugged body. It's also one of the best 4K cameras you can buy. We also highly rate the Sony ZV-E10 for its outstanding autofocus performance compact packaging and relatively affordable price.
If you aren't sure what to look for, you’ll find advice at the bottom of this article that’s useful to keep in mind when shopping for a camera to create YouTube content. Of course, you'll find our top picks of the best YouTube cameras below as well.
The best YouTube camera 2023
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Panasonic’s first-generation GH5 was a fantastic camera for creating YouTube content. It offered a full suite of video skills in a well-built but lightweight body. The Mark II takes that capable foundation, makes a few tweaks and adds a major feature: built-in wireless live streaming. With support for the RTMP/RTMPS protocol, the GH5 II works with YouTube right out of the box – a big win if your channel’s audience wants real-time material.
The resolution of footage sent via Wi-Fi adjusts automatically to suit your connection strength, topping out at a respectable 1080/60fps. Need to shoot some sharp B-roll? When you’re not online, our tests found that the GH5 can also capture gorgeous 4K footage, with support for 10-bit 4:2:2 video and super smooth Full HD slow-mo. Low-light performance is slightly limited by the Micro Four Thirds sensor size, but five-axis in-body image stabilization does a decent job, allowing you to shoot handheld without too much shake. Combined with excellent handling and a fully articulating touchscreen, the GH5 Mark II is a versatile option for capturing all kinds of content.
- Read our in-depth Panasonic GH5 Mark II review
The A7S III’s back-illuminated full-frame sensor delivers best-in-class 4K video in low-light situations, making it the ideal choice for YouTubers who shoot in varied lighting conditions. With 15 stops of dynamic range an in-body image stabilization system that we found to be highly effective, it’s able to capture beautiful-looking videos in situations that would thwart most of its competitors.
The sensor’s relatively low resolution of 12.1MP does rule out 6K and 8K recording (and limits detail for stills shooting), but the powerful Bionz XR processor allows 4K footage to be recorded at up to 120fps for smooth slow-motion playback. We liked the full-size HDMI output, found the autofocus to be class-leading, and we're big fans of support for several picture profiles (including the popular S-Log) and ability to record long clips (30 minutes-plus) with no overheating issues mean it's understandably a very popular YouTube workhorse among those who can afford it.
- Read our in-depth Sony A7S III review
Like a cross between the Sony ZV-1 and the more photography-focused Sony A6100, the ZV-E10 is a particularly fine choice if you mostly shoot YouTube videos at home, or are looking for a live-streaming workhorse. It's built on relatively old hardware (like the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor as the A6100), so it does suffer from rolling shutter distortion if you do a lot of panning shots. The ZV-E10 also lacks a viewfinder and in-body image stabilization (IBIS), along with a 4K/60p mode.
But for the price, it's an excellent YouTube camera, particularly if you don't mind those limitations. Unlike the ZV-1, you get the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, and its produces impressive video and photo quality. Perhaps most useful for one-person film crews, we found its autofocus is excellent, with Real-time Eye AF and tracking staying locked to your face – or if you use the handy 'Product Showcase' mode, switching to a product you hold to the camera, and then back to your face. For home-based YouTubers, it's one of the best choices around.
- Read our in-depth Sony ZV-E10 review
Like a mini version of the impressive, Netflix-approved Panasonic Lumix S1H, the Lumix S5 offers a compelling blend of 4K video skills, portability and impressive full-frame video quality, which combine to make it a fine workhorse for YouTube creators. We found its colors and dynamic range to best-in-class among hybrid cameras at this price, and even at relatively high ISOs like 6400 there's barely any noise visible or excessive image smoothing.
The Lumix S5 shoots 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:0 video, or for those who like to color grade there's also the option of recording 4K/30p 10-Bit 4:2:2 video internally. Although there is a 30-minute limit to 10-bit video, you don't have to wait to start recording again, and we found the autofocus performance to be a big step up on previous S-series cameras. If you move around a lot when shooting YouTube videos, we'd probably still consider the Sony A7S III over the S5, but otherwise its Face- and Eye-detection are more than sticky enough for the task. The S5's standard kit lens also starts at 20mm, making it well-suited to filming clips to camera (even with a crop applied).
- Read the full review: Panasonic Lumix S5
The Sony ZV-1 delivers pretty much everything the roaming YouTuber needs, all in a pleasingly compact package. Sony’s class-leading Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF systems will keep you in focus as you move around the frame, while the bright lens and large 1-inch sensor size mean clear, crisp images in most conditions as well as attractive background bokeh – both something of a rarity on pocket-sized cameras.
You’ll find thoughtful touches everywhere. The hotshoe can accommodate an external mic or LED light without blocking the side-flipping touchscreen, the video record button is much larger than on regular compacts, and a built-in ND filter helps you to shoot smooth movement on brighter days. It even offers a feature aimed specifically at reviews-based YouTubers, ‘Product Showcase’, which quickly alters settings for optimal shooting of objects, while YouTube livestreaming will be added via a software update in July 2020.
It’s not completely flawless – we found the touchscreen controls to be a little limited and Sony’s stuck with the aging microUSB rather than a more versatile USB-C port. The video stabilization also falls just short of the best and there’s no weatherproofing either. But unless you're mostly shooting out in challenging conditions, it's the best pocket YouTube camera around.
- Read the full review: Sony ZV-1 review
Panasonic’s GH5 Mark II (below) is an excellent camera for creating 4K video content, with the added bonus of being able to live-stream straight to YouTube. The GH6 loses the streaming option but improves pretty much every other spec: equipped with a 25.2MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, it can shoot 5.7K footage at 30fps.
Overkill for casual YouTubers, its massive array of 10-bit video modes provides huge flexibility for those who like to color grade in the editing suite. Usefully, ProRes and H.265 formats are supported by both the GH6 and YouTube.
Slightly larger than the GH5 Mark II, the GH6 remains a relatively compact tool for recording YouTube videos outside a studio. Forced-fan cooling also means unlimited recording times (handy if you’re targeting YouTube’s 12-hour cap for verified accounts).
During our tests, we liked that the build is robust and familiar, with a few useful additions over other Lumix models: the free-angle touchscreen also tilts, there are tally lights front and back, plus a record button on the front. An algorithmic upgrade has also boosted stabilization performance. Provided you can do without phase-detection autofocus and live-streaming, the GH6 is a portable creative powerhouse for YouTubers.
- Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix GH6 review
One of the best mirrorless all-rounders, especially at its price point, the Fujifilm X-S10 makes for one of the best YouTube cameras because of its great video specs and versatility.
You get a fantastic 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, paired with an X Processor 4 which facilitates some of its top video functions, like 4K/30p video recording.
There’s also the ability to use an external mic source, the option to output 4:2:2 10-bit video, Full HD at up to 240p for a slow motion effect and a great in-body image stabilization system.
All of that comes in a package which we thought was stylish and easy to use during our review, and as a bonus, it also takes great stills when you’re not using it for your YouTube escapades. It’s also available at a great price, considering the specs you get inside.
- Read the full review: Fujifilm X-S10 review
The DJI Pocket 2 is designed for one thing: vlogging. Like its predecessor, the Pocket 2 combines a stabilizing gimbal with a compact body to capture steady handheld footage on the fly. Its smartphone-style sensor won’t impress seasoned videographers, but at 64MP it’s more than sharp enough to shoot watchable vlogs, with performance improved by a larger 1.7-inch dimension. The Pocket 2 also covers a wider 93-degree field of view than the original, so you can record more of the action at once.
There’s also HDR support, a wider ISO range, better audio capture and slow-mo in Full HD. Pick up the Creator Combo and you’ll get an external wireless mic, ultra-wide-angle lens, tripod legs, plus DJI’s Do-It-All Handle for third-party audio as well. The Pocket 2 still struggles in low light, while we felt that its small touchscreen remains fiddly for anything but framing previews. So it’s not perfect, but supported by impressive subject-tracking smarts, it’s a very capable video tool to slip into your back pocket.
- Read our in-depth DJI Pocket 2 review
Pairing accessibility with performance, we think the Canon EOS R10 is a great APS-C hybrid for fledgling YouTubers to get to grips with. In testing, we found it comfortable to hold, with a combination of dials, a joystick and an articulating touchscreen making it easy to control and shoot with. As well as a mic input, the EOS R10 features Canon’s multi-function accessory shoe, something not found even on some full-frame Canon models.
Low-light recording options are limited because the sensor isn’t backside-illuminated and there’s no in-body image stabilization. Even so, the EOS R10 performs well against mirrorless rivals. Uncropped 4K/30p is oversampled from the sensor’s 6K resolution, and even with a 1.56x crop, the ability to shoot 4K at 60fps is useful for YouTubers who want to create half-speed cut-scenes. While there’s no flat color profile, there is a useful ‘HDR PQ’ mode that delivers 4:2:2 10-bit quality, plus you can record clips for up to two hours. All of which make the EOS R10 a very capable hybrid shooting tool for YouTube creators.
- Read our in-depth Canon EOS R10 review
- Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-T4 review
The latest incarnation of Canon’s G7 X series ups the video ante by adding 4K recording and a microphone socket. These slot in nicely beside the large 1-inch sensor, superb image stabilization, tilting touchscreen and USB charging to make this a very capable compact for making YouTube content.
What’s more, it comes with YouTube livestreaming support out of the box, so tether it to your smartphone or a Wi-Fi network and you can broadcast live to the world. The camera is sturdily built, sits nicely in the hand, and the touchscreen controls feel responsive.
Despite the microphone socket there’s no hotshoe, however, so you’ll have to mount your mic elsewhere, while we felt the contrast-detection autofocus system was a little less advanced than the hybrid setups on rivals like the Sony ZV-1. Still, YouTubers looking for a pocket-sized camera should definitely consider this a worthy alternative.
- Read the full review: Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III review
It may not look like a major upgrade on its predecessor, but the Hero 11 Black is much more versatile for YouTubers looking to shoot a lot of outdoor content. Firstly, there's its new 1/1.9in sensor with an 8:9 aspect ratio, which means you can quickly reframe videos for different social media channels other than YouTube. If you're happy to color grade videos, there's also now a 10-bit video option that gives you more color gradations to avoid issues like banding in skies.
In our tests, we found its 5.3K/60p video quality to be impressive in good light, while its Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth talents continue to be the best around for action cam stabilization. GoPro's larger Enduro battery also now comes as standard, which is handy if you're shooting in extreme cold, and you can also easily grab 24.7MP stills from its 5.3K video for quick and easy sharing.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 11 Black review
Fujifilm’s entry-level mirrorless model is an affordable all-rounder, with some interesting features for video makers. YouTube creators will love the widescreen touchscreen, for instance: not only does it flip round to face forward, it’s large (3.5 inches) and sharp (2.78-million dots). There’s also the new digital gimbal feature, which uses a gyroscope and clever cropping to smooth out handheld footage taken while you’re moving. It’ll only work with 1080p or lower resolution videos, though.
USB-C charging is a great addition too, but sadly we found that the camera’s excellent AF technology seems designed primarily with stills in mind, not video: the face and eye detection tracking tech doesn’t work while filming, so you’ll have to do your best to keep your head from weaving about too much when filming to-camera pieces.
- Read the full Fujifilm X-T200 review
A baffling camera for beginners, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is a fantastic option for experienced video enthusiasts who want to take their YouTube content to the next level. Skipping many of the accessible features you’d expect from a consumer camera, the 6K Pro is instead dedicated to top-notch videography alone. That means no image stabilization, no tracking autofocus and seriously limited stills abilities. It also means you get a huge 5-inch tilting touchscreen – ideal for framing – built-in dual microphones, two mini XLR inputs, plus the option of adding an OLED viewfinder and battery grip.
Because it’s relatively compact, the 6K Pro is perfect for filming b-roll and off-the-cuff material for your next upload, while we liked the simple controls that give it an unfussy, focused feel. And as the name suggests, it can capture superb raw 6K video, complimented by time-saving integrated ND filters. If you know your way around a video camera – and you have the computer power and bandwidth to handle huge files – the 6K Pro is a truly powerful tool for the price.
- Read our in-depth Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro review
There’s plenty of life in DSLRs yet and some make for great video tools. While these cameras aren’t quite as new, shiny and small as mirrorless models, they have plenty to offer photographers and, yes, video makers. We found that Canon’s EOS 90D records lovely uncropped 4K footage at up to 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps, works in adverse weather conditions, comes with a flip-forward screen and has access to a vast range of EF and EF-S native lenses – all things that make it ideal for YouTubers.
On the downside, it doesn’t have in-body image stabilization and it’s larger and heavier than a lot of mirrorless alternatives. It’s not cheap, either, and if you’re buying it solely for video you’ll be paying for a lot of still-focussed features and performance that you’ll barely touch. You may be tempted to plump for the older, cheaper 80D instead, but note that it doesn’t support 4K or 24p video.
- Read the full Canon EOS 90D review
If your YouTube content consists of footage recorded at home, you won’t find many webcams better than the Razer Kiyo Pro. Styled like a DSLR lens, it can clip to the top of a monitor for slick sit-down streaming. Alternatively, use the tripod attachment to flexibly position the Pro – ideal for creative framing or recording handheld segments, such as unboxings. The camera itself is larger than a standard webcam due to its powerful sensor, which is capable of capturing footage at a smooth 60fps.
Exposure is excellent as standard and we found that the adaptive sensor does a stellar job pulling in all available light. Switching to HDR mode limits the frame rate to 30fps, but improves the balance of highlights and shadows. If your recording room includes low ambient lighting, the webcam’s color correction can occasionally misfire, but this is easily resolved with a burst of bright light. Setup is simple, while the ability to tweak settings via Razer’s Synapse software – including three fields of view – makes the Kiyo Pro ideal for all kinds of YouTube content.
- Read our in-depth Razer Kiyo Pro review
Choosing your YouTube camera
How to pick the best YouTube camera for you
While your needs will vary slightly depending on the kind of videos you're looking to shoot, there are five main features that you should look for in a YouTube camera:
1. Articulating screen
Whether it flips out to the side or pivots up to the top, an articulating screen is a godsend when trying to film yourself. By giving you a live preview of the shot composition, exposure and focus, it helps you get the basics right so you can concentrate on other aspects of your video.
2. Good autofocus
Manual focus has its place in filmmaking, but to keep everything as simple and straightforward as possible it pays to pick a camera with great video autofocus. Face and/or eye tracking helps if you tend to move around a lot in your videos, as the focus will adjust itself automatically to compensate.
3. Built-in stabilization
Filming on the hoof can result in shaky, hard to watch footage. Thankfully a lot of modern cameras come with image stabilization (optical, electronic or a combination of the two) to automatically compensates for motion. Some, it should be noted, do it much better than others. Alternatively, a gimbal can stabilize pretty much any camera, at the cost of adding bulk.
4. Audio options
A camera’s built-in microphone can record sound – but using an external microphone will vastly improve clarity and likely cut down on unwanted ambient noise. Check potential buys for mic inputs and a hot shoe for mounting mics. You might want to consider headphone sockets too: they allow you to monitor audio levels while recording.
5. Livestreaming options
This might not be vital for those making videos to upload after filming and editing, but for anyone who wants to broadcast live, it’s well worth checking to see if a potential camera supports YouTube livestreaming. It’s not just smartphones and webcams anymore – more and more cameras are coming with the technology built-in.
What camera do YouTubers usually use?
YouTubers use a range of cameras to capture their content. As the list above illustrates, the most useful camera for a YouTuber will often be dictated by the type of content that they’re shooting, whether that’s in the studio or out on the street. But there are certain cameras which are particularly popular with a number of well-known YouTube content creators.
The Sony A7S III comes up time and again when YouTubers are asked about the gear they use. That’s no surprise: Sony’s Alpha series has long been popular with videographers, and the A7S III combines mirrorless performance and interchangeable lens versatility with a full-frame sensor that’s optimized for 4K video. It also supports all manner of filming formats, making it ideal for content creators who like to tweak their footage before sharing online. That said, the price tag of the A7S III (US$3,500 / £3,800 / AU$5,799) makes it an expensive option for most people.
It’s a similar story with some of the other equipment used by YouTubers, with cameras like the Panasonic Lumix S1H and Canon EOS R5 proving popular thanks to their comprehensive video specs, but with price tags that are prohibitive for fledgling content creators.
Helpfully, a number of YouTubers use less expensive cameras which can still capture high-quality footage. The Sony ZV-1 is increasingly becoming a favorite among YouTube vloggers who like to walk and talk, while the original Panasonic Lumix GH5 is another more affordable model which continues to be used by several YouTubers.