Are you on the lookout for the best YouTube camera? We’ve put all of the top recording alternatives for YouTube creators to the test, from rugged action cams to mirrorless flagships.
This buying guide will help you discover your ideal YouTube camera, whether you’ve just launched your first channel or are a seasoned videographer looking to step up your game.
In 2021, there are a plethora of ways to capture video footage on YouTube. You can use your webcam to film walkthroughs, your smartphone to record brief snippets, or a point-and-shoot camera to capture parts.
However, if you want to give your channel a more polished, professional feel, it’s worth investing in an upgrade: the finest YouTube cameras will quickly increase the quality of your footage, thanks to larger sensors, superior autofocus, and versatile audio options.
The type of video material you intend to create will determine which camera is best for you. If you want to shoot adventurous hobbies or first-person vacation vlogs, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is a good choice.
The very tiny Insta360 Go 2 might be a better fit for your needs if you need high-quality, off-the-cuff recordings right out of your pocket.
1. ZV-1 (Sony)
The Sony ZV-1 offers pretty much everything a traveling YouTuber could want in a small package. Sony’s Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF technologies will keep you in focus as you move around the frame.
While the brilliant lens and huge 1-inch sensor size ensure clear, sharp shots in most settings and lovely background bokeh – both of which are uncommon on pocket-sized cameras.
Everywhere you look, there are careful touches. The hot shoe can hold an external microphone or LED light without impeding the side-flipping touchscreen, the video record button is significantly larger than on ordinary compacts, and a built-in ND filter helps you shoot smooth action on brighter days.
It even has a feature called ‘Product Showcase,’ which allows users to swiftly change settings for best photographing of things, and YouTube live streaming will be available in July 2020 via a software update.
It isn’t perfect; the touchscreen controls are limited, and Sony has persisted with the outdated microUSB port rather than the more adaptable USB-C port.
The video stabilisation is also not up to par, and the camera is not waterproof. It’s the best pocket YouTube camera around unless you’re usually shooting in difficult settings.
2. Fujifilm X-S10
The Fujifilm X-S10 is one of the best mirrorless all-rounders, especially at its price point, and its superb video features and versatility make it one of the top YouTube cameras.
You get a superb 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, as well as an X Processor 4 that enables some of the camera’s best video features, such as 4K/30p video recording.
There’s also an external mic input, 4:2:2 10-bit video output, Full HD at up to 240p for a slow motion effect, and an excellent in-body image stabilisation system.
All of this comes in a beautiful and simple-to-use packaging that also takes amazing stills when you’re not using it for your YouTube adventures. It’s also reasonably priced, especially given the features.
3. Olympus E-M5 Mark III
E-M5 Mark III is one interchangeable lens camera that feels intended for long handheld filming sessions, thanks to its lightweight polycarbonate construction and outstanding in-body image stabilization.
It also has some very great video specs, including the ability to shoot Cinema 4K at 24fps with a bit rate of 237Mbps and slo-mo 1080p footage at 120fps.
The Four Thirds sensor isn’t as huge as those found on many mirrorless competitors, but while the E-M5 Mark III isn’t the best camera in its class in terms of image quality, its video clip has excellent colour rendering and rich detail. Meanwhile, a multi-angle touchscreen makes self-shooting a breeze.
A headphone connector for real-time audio monitoring would have been nice on a camera this pricey, and a slightly wider handgrip to make handheld filming a bit more comfortable wouldn’t have hurt either – but neither of these flaws keeps the E-M5 Mark III from being a fantastic video camera. You can easily use headphones with it.
4. Sony A6600
At first sight, you might question why we recommend the A6600 over the A6400, which is substantially less expensive. After all, the video specs of the A6400 and the A6000 appear to be nearly identical at first glance:
Both cameras have the same 24.4MP Exmor APS-C sensor and Bionz X processor, allowing them to shoot 4K at 30fps with support for S-log3 and S-log2 profiles, as well as hybrid log gamma HDR.
If you look closely, you’ll see numerous crucial features that distinguish it as the best YouTube camera. To begin, there’s in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), which smooths out handheld shooting regardless of the lens used. Second, the A6600 features both a microphone and a headphone jack, but the A6400 only has the former.
Finally, there’s the fantastic Real-time Eye AF for movies, which keeps faces in focus even when they move around the frame. Finally, the A6600’s battery capacity is roughly double that of the A6000, providing you significantly greater shooting time per charge.
The touchscreen capabilities are restricted, and anyone unfamiliar with Sony’s complicated menus and tiny keys may find it challenging to use. Keep in mind that the screen also flips up to face front, so anything put on the hot-shoe will block your view. Apart from these little flaws, the A6600 is one of the best YouTube cameras available.
5. Canon’s G7 X series’
Latest iteration ups the video ante by adding 4K recording and a microphone socket. These features, along with the huge 1-inch sensor, excellent picture stabilisation, tilting touchscreen, and USB charging, combine to make this a capable compact for creating YouTube content.
Furthermore, it includes YouTube livestreaming capability out of the box, allowing you to broadcast live to the globe by tethering it to your smartphone or a Wi-Fi network. The camera is well-made, comfortable to hold, and the touchscreen controls are snappy.
Despite the microphone socket, there is no hotshoe, so you’ll have to place your mic somewhere else, and the contrast-detection autofocus technology isn’t as advanced as rivals like the Sony ZV-1’s hybrid arrangement. Nonetheless, YouTubers seeking for a pocket-sized camera might consider this a viable option.
6. X-T4 (Fujifilm)
The X-robust T4’s shell may look antique, but it’s the polar opposite of old school. Fujifilm’s most advanced APS-C camera to date comes with a long list of capabilities that make it ideal for filming YouTube videos.
The X-T4 is a nice camera to handle, solidly made and weather-resistant, with a fully articulating touchscreen that comes in handy when framing images.
Apart from Cinema 4K at up to 60 frames per second, the X-T4 offers 10-bit internal recording, HMDI out, a bit rate of up to 400Mbps, and F-Log and HLF profiles as standard.
To put it another way, it’s a really versatile solution for capturing material for YouTube, especially when super slow-motion is thrown into the equation (Full HD at up to 240fps).
For those whose channels are more walk-and-talk than slow-mo magic, there’s also five-axis image stabilization, with sensor-shift and digital stabilization significantly decreasing vibration.
YouTubers will like the longer battery life and improved eye- and face detection focusing, while Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity should compensate for the lack of a headphone jack. The X-T4 is a capable tool for YouTube vloggers, despite its high price.
GoPro Hero 9 Black
The GoPro Hero 9 Black is no exception. Action cameras are meant to be simple to use in a variety of settings, making them ideal cameras for YouTubers.
It’s the most powerful and adaptable action camera on the market, and it’s rugged enough to withstand the most extreme adventures, while the new full-color front display is a boon for self-shooters.
Although its touchscreen interface is a little sluggish, the Hero 9 Black caters to a wide range of creatives because of its combination of simple presets, a variety of recording modes, and full manual control choices.
With the greatest boost setting available at all resolutions, image stabilization is better than ever. The Hero 9 Black can also take detailed 5K footage at 30p thanks to an improved sensor, however, the highest 4K frame rate remains at 60p.
Built-in microphones reduce wind noise well, and Mod support enables custom adaptations to fit your shooting needs. Vloggers will like the ability to take dynamic B-roll for YouTube using software gimmicks like TimeWarp, as well as the option to Live Stream at 1080p.
Although the Hero 8 Black offers better overall value, the Hero 9 Black is the greatest all-in-one YouTube action camera available.