In the past 5 years, the popularity of YouTube has exploded, with nearly 2 billion unique users per month watching videos, earning YouTube creators a combined $4 billion estimated income in 2018. The demand for quality content continues to rise, and those looking to meet that demand with quality content have seen amazing success.
In order to get started with making videos, you will need to invest in the right gear to make your videos stand out. Today we’re going to discuss the best options for YouTube cameras, whether you want to start a vlog or a gaming channel. We discuss several different options, so if you’re on a budget, looking for an action cam, or trying to make the highest quality content possible, we’ve got you covered.
Budget Option 1 – Your Smartphone (Price: Varies)
Yes, we understand how often you probably hear this. It doesn’t make it any less true though. In 2018, nearly every smartphone has an amazing camera, and you can easily start making videos with it.
We’re calling this a budget option since, despite the high price you probably paid for it, you already have it. This means you don’t have to invest any extra money out of the gate. Furthermore, you can easily get set up and going quickly with minimal time spent on learning how to use the camera, since you’ve likely used it before.
There are, however, a few downsides to using a smartphone for YouTube. Microphone quality is often pretty poor compared to other cameras, and there will be many fewer options for adjusting settings. Finally, transferring videos from your phone to a computer for editing and uploading can be clunky feeling.
In order to alleviate some of these issues, check out our guide to Best Smartphone Video-Making Accessories!
Budget Option 2 – Logitech c920 (Price: $49)
A very popular option for live streamers, the Logitech c920 is also a great budget YouTube camera option. The 1080p 30fps video capability is more than acceptable for quality video production. Furthermore, it has a quick autofocus and performs well in all types of light.
The main downside of webcams is the lack of manual adjustment options and a short zoom range. Furthermore, the necessity to keep it plugged into your computer for it to run means it won’t function as a vlogging camera. Where it does shine is in stationary videos such as product reviews or talking head videos.
As mentioned above, the c920 is also great for streaming, as more and more viewers expect streams to include a face cam. The versatility of this webcam is surprisingly high considering the price, and the video quality is more than adequate for anyone looking to start making videos.
At around $49, you really can’t go wrong with the c920 as a starter option, even if you end up needing to upgrade in the near future. You’ll still find many usage options for this webcam, from a back-up/secondary angle camera to a face cam when live streaming.
Mid-Range Option 1 – Canon Powershot G7X Mark II (Price: $550)
Yes, $500 may seem like a steep price for a mid-range option, but in reality, this is what you’re going to need to pay for high-quality video. The G7X is a very popular video camera for vloggers, due to the 1080p video quality at 60fps it offers.
Aside from video quality, there are several other features that the G7X offers that vloggers will find appealing: A flip-up view-finder helps with “selfie-style” vlogs, and its light weight combined with a small frame means it is easy to carry around with you.
The G7X misses out on a few features that would be nice to have for a YouTube camera. A hot shoe mount and microphone port would allow for improved audio quality, and a better lowlight performance would certainly be appreciated. However, at this price point, this is the best non-DSLR you will find.
Mid-Range Option 2 – Canon EOS Rebel T6i (Price: $599)
The Canon Rebel line is extremely well-known in the DSLR market. They are extremely versatile and capable cameras. The T6i is actually last year’s model, but the video capabilities are the same as the newest model. We recommend this model due to the reduced price compared to the T7i.
The Rebel T6i is the perfect introductory YouTube camera for those looking to shoot a wide range of videos, from review/talking head style to vlogs on-the-go. It does extremely well in low light situations, and the interchangeable lenses mean you can be set up for any manner of filming situations.
The one main downside of the T6i, and other DSLR options, is the increased size and weight. This means it will be less agile if you are looking to use it to vlog with. You will also likely have to carry around at least 2 different lenses to match different shooting situations. This means a larger bag will be required to carry all of your equipment.
Despite the increased size and weight, the increased video quality for a similar price to the G7X will make this a perfect beginning YouTube camera. Furthermore, the ability to upgrade lenses means you will be able to continue using this camera for years to come.
High-End Option – Sony Alpha a6300 (Price: $999.99)
The Sony Alpha a6300 is a high-performing interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. Capable of shooting 4K video, it is the perfect step up for anyone looking to get a high-end YouTube camera.
As stated above, the strongest reason for upgrading to the a6300 is the 4K video quality. This, combined with the input for an external audio source, allows for professional-grade video capabilities. Whether you’re looking to vlog or make in-studio videos, this is the perfect camera. The small form factor is perfect for a versatile and agile shooting schedule.
The one downside to this camera, which holds true for most interchangeable lens cameras, is the added cost associated with purchasing lenses. In order to shoot a wide range of video, you will likely need to invest an extra $500 minimum in a longer-range lens.
Action Cam Option – GoPro Hero 6 Black (Price: $349)
The Hero 6 Black is the ultimate action cam for YouTube video-making. It is waterproof, shoots in 4K, and has a battery that lasts for as much as 5 hours of shooting. All of this comes in at an extremely affordable price.
Whether you’re looking to record deep sea diving, downhill skiing, or mountain biking, GoPro has a mount that allows you to keep the camera secure during shooting. You can even control the camera remotely using a smartphone, meaning you don’t need to be with the camera during shooting.
We strongly recommend the Hero 6 Black to anyone needing to shoot action footage, and for $350ish you really can’t go wrong with an investment like this.