When it comes to content creation on YouTube, the quality of your videos is a huge factor in determining the success of your channel. But with the camera market saturated with an impossibly large number of different models, features, brands, price brackets, and more, it can be tricky to know which one is right for you.
Don’t worry, though, we’ve got your back! The Lickd team have searched high and low to bring you the definitive list of the best cameras that content creators can buy, making your life easier so you can start filming today!
We’ve also got the hottest insights into some of the favorite cameras used by none other than YouTube filmmaker experts Film Riot!
Keep reading to explore your options and learn some extra tips and tricks for creating high-quality video content.
Why Do You Need A Good Camera For YouTube?
These days, it’s so easy to just use your smartphones to capture relatively decent footage that viewers will enjoy. But, despite the leaps in phone camera technology over the last few decades, the quality of the videos that your phone can produce still does not outweigh a professional camera. It might still be good enough to start out, to make YouTube shorts, Instagram Reels and TikToks, but it likely wouldn’t meet the high standards that YouTube audiences have come to expect.
Because of this, many creators invest in a more specialist camera to ensure that the videos they produce are as professional as possible. If you want to improve the quality of your raw audio and video, having a good camera is the best place to start.
What Different Types Of Cameras Are There?
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras
Digital single-lens reflex cameras, more widely known as DSLR cameras, offer the best quality in terms of video and recording capabilities. A vital feature of these cameras is that you can change the lens as needed; the downside is that there are more breakable parts, and they are slightly more complex to use.
Once you know the most effective way to switch lenses, you won’t struggle too much with this type of camera. Another thing to bear in mind with DSLR cameras is that they can be larger and heavier compared with more compact models, something to consider if you intend to be filming whilst on the go. For this reason, pro creators will generally use these cameras with a tripod in their at-home setup and use a different, lighter and more compact camera for their on-the-go footage & vlogs.
Mirrorless digital cameras are very similar to DSLR cameras. They still have interchangeable lenses, but the primary difference is that the internal mirror box (a key component in DSLRs) has been removed. The result of this is a significant decrease in the size of the camera’s body, making mirrorless cameras a popular alternative to DSLRs for anyone who wants to use a more portable, lightweight piece of equipment.
A potential downside of mirrorless cameras is that they tend to be more expensive than DSLRs, as they have the same features but in a smaller package. This might mean they are a better option for more experienced content creators who are pursuing YouTube as a career.
Point-and-shoot cameras are another alternative to DSLR cameras. They are good vlogging cameras due to their compact nature, being easier to fit into a pocket or small bag than other types of cameras. Whilst you can’t compare point-and-shoot cameras to DSLR cameras where image resolution and video quality are concerned, they still have above-average picture quality and will yield a better result than the majority of phone cameras.
In addition to their convenient size, they’re also a lot more affordable than DSLR cameras so they definitely shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you are just starting out in content creation.
Webcams are ideal for making home videos and are a much better alternative to the built-in cameras that come with laptops. Whilst the picture quality you get with most built-in webcams will be perfectly fine for having video calls with friends and family, it just isn’t up to scratch for making YouTube videos.
Do bear in mind, though, that webcams won’t match the quality of some other cameras – however, they are more affordable. A webcam may be a good place to start if you aren’t quite ready to invest in a more expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera.
As the name suggests, an action camera is designed for vigorous activities such as skydiving, skiing, or scuba diving. Action cameras are typically strapped to a user’s chest or headgear to offset issues such as the camera shaking. They’re best for filming in first-person and can usually fit in the palm of your hand so that they can be used as a small vlogging camera.
Despite their size, some of the best action cameras on the market are still capable of delivering excellent image and video quality. They’re also known to be very durable, seeing as they’re designed to be used in harsh conditions, so are definitely the right option for anyone who’s planning to be filming whilst doing extreme sports.
Best Content Creator Cameras
Getting a high-quality camera is an excellent way to make your content stand out amongst everyone else’s or to finally start your YouTube journey. As you know by now, a lot of your success on the platform hinges on your ability to produce high-quality content that is engaging for your target audience, but doing so also relies on finding and using a good camera.
So, let’s get into it. We’ve rounded up the best cameras for content creators based on a whole range of different factors so you can find the one that will be best suited to your content style, budget, experience, and more.
Already know what kind of camera you’re looking for? Click on the links below to take you straight to the section that’s most relevant to your content creation!
- Best cameras for beginners
- Best cameras for advanced users
- Best cameras for extra features
- Best budget cameras
- Best cameras for outdoors
- Top picks from content creators Film Riot!
Best cameras for beginners
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
We’ll start the list off with one of the most popular cameras amongst YouTubers, The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III. This is a firm favorite for good reason, as it’s essentially an all-in-one point-and-shoot that can easily outperform other cameras, giving YouTubers everything they’ll need to make videos but in a small body.
Despite having a recording time limit of 10 minutes, this compact camera is capable of 4K UHD video at 30p and HD video at up to 120fps, allowing you to create cool slow-motion effects. Unfortunately, the lens is fixed and so can’t be changed, but the majority of reviewers state that the zoom range is more than acceptable for most YouTube creators and has good low-light performance.
To further add to its appeal, the Mark III has a flip-up screen and headphone jack and can broadcast video using its built-in HDMI out port. There are cameras with better video performance, but YouTubers may not need all those extra trimmings. This camera is ideal for both beginner and advanced users looking to improve the quality of their video content.
The Sony ZV-1 is the best alternative for anyone interested in the ZV-E10 but who may be struggling to wrap their head around all of its technical features, thus making it a perfect option for beginners.
It has many features that make it one of the best vlogging cameras out there, some of the most noteworthy ones being a vari-angle screen, a fixed 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom, the included windshield, and controls that are optimized for vlogging and creative shooting.
The ZV-1 falls short in that it doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, flash, or mode dial. However, it does have a solid built-in microphone and an intuitive record button, thus making it an ideal camera for those who want to record content on the go. Some users criticize this camera for being slightly too expensive considering what it lacks, but it shouldn’t be ignored as an option.
Best cameras for advanced users
Panasonic Lumix S5
This entry is suitable for advanced users looking for a camera that produces superb video quality and offers an incredible range of features.
This Netflix-approved camera is the best digital camera for content creators to capture ultra-HD 4K full-frame video at up to 30p with astonishing 10-bit color. Additionally, it has a dual gain sensor that can deliver spectacular dynamic range at low ISO settings. It also has a variable frame rate function that allows you to slow down or speed up footage effortlessly.
The Lumix S5 has a wealth of top-of-the-line features, but it’s likely that you won’t need all of them when creating video content for YouTube. However, if you’re looking for a well-built camera that’s worth every penny, this one is a great choice.
Panasonic Lumix GH6
The Panasonic Lumix GH6 is often credited with being the best camera for YouTubing, as it offers a pretty unbeatable range of features along with ultra-high image quality. For anyone who’s serious about YouTube, the GH6 is ideal for advanced and professional users and can also shoot in 5.8K.
You’ll generally get the most out of this camera if you’re a pro with a decent amount of experience in handling camera equipment under your belt. Be prepared to put effort into learning how to maximize its potential if you want to get real value for money with this model.
One of this camera’s most exciting features is its new 25MP stacked sensor, which gives users faster readout speeds and many more video options. Besides shooting in 5.8K, the GH6 can shoot using every codec you can think of.
The downside of this camera is that it’s definitely on the heavier side, could have better battery life, and, at well over $2000, it’s certainly not for those on a tighter budget.
Best cameras for extra features
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 is easily one of the best cameras ever made, period. But, this much is only to be expected when it has a $3700 price tag! If you have the funds available, this hybrid camera is a solid investment, as it can offer top-of-the-range video quality and a dizzying array of additional features.
With 8K video recording, it provides much more detail than the mainstream standard of 4K. And, as expected, it’s fitted with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS II autofocus systems (one of the best systems in the business) and in-body image stabilization, making it incredibly easy to capture smooth footage while shooting by hand.
While very few cameras are better than the EOS R5, some users do report that it still has its fair share of issues. It’s widely known to have some recording limits when shooting in a high resolution due to an overheating issue, and truth be told, it may be more than you need, especially if you’re just starting.
Don’t let those points take away from how amazing this camera is, as it will still give you crystal-clear 4K video and some of the best autofocusing you’ll see from any camera on the market.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
For those who aren’t very familiar with the world of video production, you might not have heard of the Blackmagic name. Amongst filmmakers and camera operators, though, Blackmagic cameras have a reputation for being extremely reliable plug-and-film devices, and the Pocket Cinema 6K is no exception.
It has a massive Super 35 sensor and can shoot 6K raw footage, so the quality of your videos will instantly stand out on YouTube’s ultra-competitive platform.
The Cinema Camera 6K also has a Canon EF mount, which means that it allows for many different lens options to accommodate different filming requirements, artistic shoots, and more. This makes it a very versatile camera, the cost-effectiveness of which can be maximized by anyone with the right experience.
Apart from all the pro features it offers, the CC6K is substantially lighter than your average cinema camera. It falls short regarding its battery life and lack of articulating screen.
Best budget cameras
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
This is one of the best cameras for vlogging on a budget and comes with a host of features, such as a fully articulated screen and soft skin filters.
A much-discussed pain point of the M50 Mark II is that it doesn’t have the most reliable autofocus system, especially compared to a similar option such as the Sony ZV-E10. Additionally, it can only shoot in 4K with a substantial crop.
However, if you’re willing to look past these cons and stick to shooting in 1080p, the Mark II is still a good choice, as it has an easy-to-use body, a solid build, and is lightweight…all of which makes it extremely portable.
The Sony ZV-E10 is arguably the best vlogging camera on the market, putting in a stellar performance at mid-range while excellently capturing audio using its built-in mic. It marks the culmination of years of Sony working to develop a compact vlogging camera that facilitates flexibility, something that is in high demand amongst YouTubers.
The ZV-E10 is an APS-C mirrorless camera with features that can take your videos to the next level. It can shoot in highly detailed 4K UHD or full HD at 120p to enable those all-important slow-motion shots. This is also a good option if you have a tighter budget, as you likely won’t have to purchase an external microphone for audio capturing.
Despite its many benefits, this isn’t an entirely perfect camera. There is a rolling shutter effect when shooting in 4K, and the menus can be rather complex for those new to Sony cameras. But, if you’re willing to work around these aspects, it’s still a solid buy.
Sony Alpha 6000
Recent years have seen Sony’s camera lineup grow substantially, but one of its models continues to be a firm favorite amongst content creators – the Alpha 6000.
The price tag makes this camera a highly attractive option for those new to YouTube who cannot immediately afford a fancy kit. Even at this price point, it has a large 24MP APS-C sensor and an excellent autofocus system. You’ll get even more flexibility and outstanding image quality if you pair the camera with one of Sony’s E-mount lenses.
It’s worth noting, though, that the camera can’t shoot in 4K, and the menu is somewhat outdated, which can be a deal-breaker for creators who want as many pixels in their videos as possible.
Best cameras for outdoors
GoPro Hero 10 Black
Adventurers and extreme sports lovers everywhere will have heard of the GoPro name, as it’s renowned for being one of the best camera brands for capturing high-energy content in demanding environments. The Hero 10 is perfect for travel bloggers, outdoor users, and for documenting sports, being built especially for extreme durability and to withstand the splashes, drops, shakes, and bumps associated with action sports.
One of the best features of this little camera is that it allows you to live stream on YouTube, meaning your viewers can catch all the action as it’s happening!
The latest version of this camera has been designed to compete with similar products, such as the DJI Osmo Action. They have done so via the inclusion of a front-facing screen and HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilization, allowing users to capture steady footage in harsh conditions.
Thanks to its 5.3K video resolution, the GoPro Hero 10 can capture even more detail and can record at a jaw-dropping 60FPS. For those who like a good slow-motion shot, the Hero 10 Black can do that but in 4K, making those slo-mo shots even more dramatic. Apart from it being relatively expensive and having a small image sensor, it’s a real winner in our book.
DJI Action 2
As DJI says, the Action 2 offers “more than action.” It’s a small modular camera that is the direct rival of the GoPro Hero. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate user, or frequent traveler, the Action 2 is a solid camera with the right video features.
Apart from offering good durability, the Action 2 has a premium design and high-quality 4K video recording. However, compared to the Hero 10 Black, the Action 2 comes out second best in video quality, features, and durability.
The Action 2 makes up for its shortcomings with its modular accessories, which can extend its battery life and add extras such as a selfie screen, macro lens, and Micro SD card support. Bear in mind, though, that using these accessories will mean that the device won’t be waterproof unless you get additional housing.
Another limitation for YouTubers who want to use this camera is that it tends to overheat, and you can only record the highest quality 4K footage for around 4 minutes at a time.
Film Riot’s Favorite Cameras
Hot off the press! We’ve got the lowdown on some more of the best cameras for creators, as used by none other than filmmaking masters Film Riot. Here’s their ultimate list:
- Panasonic GH6
- Blackmagic 6k
- Canon R5-C
- Canon C70
- Ursa Mini Pro
- DJI Ronin 4D
- Canon C300 mkIII
- Sony FX9
- RED Gemini
- Alexa Mini
- BONUS CAM: Your iPhone. Even if you don’t have a budget for a camera, the phone in your pocket is an excellent solution to get you telling your stories!
Check out their amazing YouTube Channel with tons of tips and effects to make your filmmaking feel like a blockbuster movie.
Things To Consider When Getting A Camera
Now that you’re up to speed on the best cameras available to buy right now, there are some other things to consider before making your purchase. As a content creator, videographer, or YouTuber, you’ll have your own priorities and preferences that you should try to accommodate when choosing a camera. In this section, we’ve listed the most important things to consider when comparing cameras.
The reality is that money is always a factor that influences buying decisions, whether it’s to a greater or lesser extent. Cameras generally don’t come cheap, and most times to get the best quality camera, you’ll have to part with a substantial amount of cash. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a good-quality camera on a budget, as there are cameras out there to fit every budget without compromising quality.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that sometimes investing in a cheap camera could end up costing you more in the long run, as low-quality items may need additional attachments and can be prone to malfunctioning.
If price is a real sticking point for you, it might be a good idea to explore second-hand options as you could bag a real bargain if you’re willing to have a camera that’s not fresh out of the box.
If you want to go the extra mile with your content creation, find a camera that can take you there by offering a high recording resolution.
Generally, any camera that can record full HD or 1080p is an excellent choice, so you don’t need to feel the pressure to get anything higher. However, 4K technology is becoming a lot more mainstream nowadays, with some phones even being capable of recording in 4k, so it’s worth considering a camera that can do so if your budget allows it.
Besides giving you top-tier picture quality, a YouTube camera should also be capable of recording high-quality audio that viewers don’t have to strain to hear. People often overlook audio quality when looking to purchase a camera. Still, unless you’re going to overlay audio from another source over your footage, this is a key area to pay attention to.
When looking for a camera, ensure that it has built-in measures to improve the sound quality, with a good measure being having an external microphone input or noise-canceling capabilities.
When you start out with your YouTube channel, you may not immediately have the funds or access to external light sources or good studio lighting in general. If this is the case, you should be on the lookout for a camera that can give you good image quality in low light.
Luckily, many cameras at different price points allow you to change the settings and adapt to different lighting conditions.
If you intend on shooting in different locations that require you to travel great distances, then the last thing that you’d want is to be lugging around a huge piece of equipment. For example, if you’re a travel vlogger, your camera should be lightweight and small so that it can easily fit into a bag.
In this case, you may also want a camera that has a good battery life and doesn’t compromise on quality despite being small. Do your research and read reviews from similar content creators to yourself to get valuable insights.
The camera that you choose should closely align with the work that you do. You don’t necessarily have to get the Hollywood-standard camera with a whole suite of features such as dynamic range, a front-facing screen, and an external mic jack.
Besides looking at which features it offers, an easy way to determine which camera you should get is by consulting or studying another YouTube channel in your niche, particularly one that has a style you’d like to emulate. Find out what camera they use and see if it’s a viable option for you.
What type of camera do YouTubers use?
The type, make, and model of camera that a YouTuber uses depends on a number of factors including the amount and type of content they are creating. Style or beauty bloggers, for example, may choose a camera based on its picture quality as they will be doing a lot of shoots involving close-ups of products. This will mean the color rendering capabilities of the camera, the quality of the lens, and the zoom range will be critical. On the other hand, vloggers or YouTubers who film content on extreme sports may prefer a camera that has blur and noise-reduction features so that their videos don’t end up appearing jumpy. Ultimately, the best type of camera for you will depend largely on the nature of your content.
What type of camera is best for vlogging?
Vloggers – that’s someone who films their daily life to create a sort of video diary – tend to prefer using compact cameras that are easy to carry around all day in a bag or pocket. They can also benefit from the ease of point-and-shoot cameras, being able to simply turn it on and start filming at a moment’s notice. Vloggers might want to have a number of different cameras if they are going to be filming different types of content in different locations. One for home-based video clips and another for when they’re on the go.
Do I need to use an external microphone on my camera when making YouTube videos?
If you want to make your videos look slick and professional, then using an external microphone is a good idea. The built-in microphone on most recording devices, such as your laptop, camera, or phone, typically doesn’t capture high-quality audio.
External microphones aren’t easily affected by ambient sounds and prevent a loss in volume. On the other hand, if your videos will predominantly be filmed inside or within your home, then getting an external microphone might not be worth the money.
What’s the best format to upload to YouTube?
According to YouTube, the best format to upload videos in is MP4, allowing your videos to be displayed at the highest possible quality. They also recommend using the h.264 video codec and a standard aspect ratio of 16:9.
If, for some reason, you don’t want to or can’t use the format, MOV is generally the second best option, as it also won’t compromise the quality of your video.
Can YouTube live-stream multiple cameras?
You can indeed live stream using multiple cameras on YouTube. To do so, you’ll only need one capture card when using multiple cameras in one location and multiple capture cards or devices if you’re streaming from different locations.
What is the most popular content on YouTube?
There will always be seasonal shifts in terms of which type of content is most popular on the YouTube platform; however, music videos and content for kids are statistically the most popular videos on YouTube. In 2022, every video in the top 10 views has been either a music video or a children’s song.
This further illustrates the importance of music and why you should always endeavor to look for the best songs for YouTube videos when creating content.
How do I improve the quality of my videos?
There are many tools out there that can help you enhance the quality of your videos, Adobe Premiere Pro being one of the most noteworthy. Enhance the quality of your videos by upscaling the resolution, adjusting the frame rate, removing or reducing noise, and optimizing the contrast, brightness, and saturation.