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Best Camera for Starting on YouTube 2019

Updated on January 5, 2019
Emma Barton profile image

Hi, I’m a mom to 3, I aim to provide quality information on products, so families can save time and money by choosing the right products.

Looking to make it Big in the YouTube World?

Starting a YouTube channel depends on many factors, to have entertaining and highly appealing, fixating video content, crystal clear audio and a decent enough camera to turn viewers into fans, and fans into superfans.

You may be able to get away with a grainy video, but one thing your viewers will not tolerate is poor sound quality. It is important to ensure that you’re filming with the best sound equipment that you can afford. If you want to be a vlogger, to get crisp sound, it’s important to not to rely on the in-built default microphone.

While not all cameras come with a 3.5mm stereo jack and a headphone jack, I believe it’s important to be able to attach an external microphone. High-quality audio would complement your High Definition video, add to the professional feel of your movie and keep your audience engaged. The headphone jack will allow you to monitor sound recorded into the camera.

If you have a camera that doesn’t have an audio input, then I would advise purchasing an external microphone to record audio and then to sync the audio and video in post-production. An external microphone that I have used on many occasions and highly recommend is Zoom H4n Portable Audio Recorder.

If you’re on a relatively low budget, then a video capturing device such as an iPhone 5, or if you prefer an android, then a Galaxy 4 or above generally take pretty good video. But, if you fancy yourself as the next Casey Neistat or Lilly Singh, then to create a video with the professional look of the big names, you will need a proper camera. If you’re aiming for a successful YouTube channel, then without a doubt, purchasing the best camera that you can afford would be the most logical step to take.

The kind of camera that you purchase is very important which depends on the type of video content you’re planning to have. Point and shoot cameras are great for travel vloggers, but If you’re a beautician or an artist and you intend to create videos containing vibrant colors, then for sharpness and clarity a DSLR, used by most of the top vloggers, would be ideal, or if you’re willing to go the extra mile and can afford it, then a less bulky mirrorless camera, also referred to as a compact system camera (CSC) would be the perfect choice.

There are other equally important features to consider when choosing a camera. For Ultra High Definition video quality, you’ll need 4K video resolution or at the very least 1080p for Full High Definition, both formats being supported by YouTube.

Having a camera that can perform well in low-light conditions indoors and outdoors will increase the frames per second and produce sharper images and also avoid image noise. Performance in a low-light environment is dependent upon the size of the digital image sensor. Large image sensor cameras such as DSLR or Mirrorless cameras are able to capture more light compared to compact cameras. A larger image sensor will also allow you to achieve a strong background blur on images which is virtually impossible with a small image sensor.

If you intend to purchase a camera for shooting videos while moving around or have shaky hands like I do, and don’t fancy carrying your tripod wherever you go, then the key to avoid shaky videos and blurry images is to look for a camera that offers image stabilization. Wi-Fi is another very useful feature to look out for when purchasing a camera. With built-in Wi-Fi, you can automatically upload your videos to YouTube and make vlogging much easier and much more fun. Also, it’s a good idea to look for a camera with a Hot Shoe for attaching a flash or other accessories such as a shotgun mic.

Here are some affordable cameras that made it onto our shortlist.

Canon EOS 200D

The Canon 200D is the ideal introduction to the world of photography and is aimed at those looking to purchase their first DSLR, especially YouTubers looking to make the transition from a smartphone or compact camera, as well as enthusiasts wanting to learn more about photography.

The 200D is one of the world’s lightest APS-C DSLRs that boasts great spec for its size. The lightweight and compact design of the camera makes it easy to pop in a bag and take it with you wherever you go. At its heart is a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and Canon’s cutting-edge DIGIC 7 image processor that’ll enable you to capture every detail in your images for professional results.

The camera comes with a bright optical viewfinder and offers an ISO range of 100-25,600, which can be expanded to a maximum of ISO 51,200 in expanded H mode and a capture rate of 5fps for continuous shooting.

Not only will the EOS 200D allow you to take detailed still images of a variety of scenes from landscapes to portraits, with the included 18-55 mm lens, you’ll achieve smooth, near-silent focusing and be able to record impressive Full HD video footage at a fast frame rate up to 60fps for sharing with your YouTube audience.

The EOS 200D also comes with Dual Pixel AF for superior focusing in Live View and the AF options you get for shooting stills or movies are excellent. There’s also responsive image stabilization and subject tracking.

The vari-angle touchscreen is easy to use with all the controls available to you with a touch of a finger. If you’re like me and prefer pressing buttons, there is an option to disable touch control altogether. Being a vari-angle touchscreen, it’s simple to compose images from almost any angle or position and can be used to navigate the menus and change settings from the quick menu.

With the Canon EOS 200D you can transfer images wirelessly via the built-in WiFi to your smartphone, tablet or PC. NFC and Bluetooth will make pairing an easy task and allow you to easily activate WiFi from your mobile device without even touching the camera. Using your smartphone, you’ll also be able to control your camera remotely, get a Live View of the scene, or adjust the camera’s settings. A Hotshoe is included for flashgun attachment or other accessories and a 3.5mm stereo mini jack for attaching an external microphone to improve the quality of audio.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is one of the best for vlogging. It is included as Canon’s premium compact camera with a useful grip on the front of the camera to help it sit snugly in the hand and is just the right size to slip into a pocket, making it a more portable option for recording on the fly.

The camera features the popular 20MP one-inch type CMOS sensor and combined with a DIGIC 7 processor, speeds up performance overall including subject recognition, detection, tracking performance, image stabilization, noise reduction, resolution during high sensitivity shooting and delivers stunning image quality, especially in low light. The Mark II has fast burst shooting, especially when shooting Raw files. It can shoot Raws, JPEGs or both at 8fps. The camera also offers Dual Sensing IS to reduce blur during camera shake. With the ability to reduce shake by four stops, there’s also a panning IS mode that will adjust the shutter speed to freeze the subject.

The camera comes equipped with a professional nine-blade iris diaphragm and 4.2x optical zoom, captures 1080p full HD video, and the video can be filmed with a 24p and 60p recording option. The camera has a long battery life to give you 265 shots per charge, so you can focus more on capturing those unforgettable moments and less on it dying on you.

Although there's no built-in viewfinder, with the multi-angle three-inch LCD touchscreen, the AF point can be set by tapping on the screen, as well as navigating through both the quick menu and the main menu. The screen is bright, has a high resolution, can be tilted for shooting from awkward angles, angled out of direct sunlight and can be faced forward for capturing self-portraits, making it ideal for selfies and vlogging.

To make vlogging easier, the camera comes with built-in Dynamic NFC for easy connectivity and Wi-Fi sharing, along with a Wi-Fi button that provides a simple shortcut to wireless functions for ease and convenience.

It’s worth noting that although there’s no Hotshoe to attach accessories such as a flashgun, there is a small built-in flash that can be released via a switch on the side of the camera. If you do decide that G7 X Mark ll is the one for you, you may need to purchase an external audio device such as a Zoom H4n, as the camera has no audio input.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7KK DSLM

If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera that shoots impressive video and great for vlogging without the bulk, weight, and high price tag, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7KK DSLM is the perfect choice.

The camera features a 3-inch fully rotating vari-angle LCD touch screen that can be rotated 180 degrees and twisted through 270 degrees, making it ideal for selfies and vlogging. It has a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor capable of shooting 4K (UHD) video with either 30p or 24p frames at 100Mbs in MP4 format, and 4K photos that can be saved straight from the camera. The camera is equipped with a Venus Engine that has a quad-core CPU for faster processing. The sensor coupled with the Venus Engine produces outstanding image quality.

The G7 has an impressive start-up time of less than 0.5 seconds from turning the camera on to it being ready to take a photo, and about 1 second to store a JPEG image or a RAW image, allowing you to keep shooting as the images are being continually saved. When using the mechanical shutter, the G7 has an excellent burst mode and is capable of shooting 8fps for an unlimited number of highest quality JPEG images, or 13 RAW images. 40fps can be shot when using the electronic shutter, and 6fps at a 16MP resolution with AF Tracking turned on. Also, the electronic shutter function raises the shutter speed to 1/16,000 sec, as well as allowing silent shooting.

Besides the fact that 4K video (3840x2160 pixels) is superior and twice the resolution of full HD video (1920x1080 pixels) it has lots more to offer. If you have ever tried taking snaps of fast action sports like skiing, skating or any kind of racing, you may agree that timing is crucial to get that perfect snap. The G7 gives you the capability to pull an individual frame from a recorded 4K movie clip shot at 30 fps of a fleeting moment to create a high-resolution 8MP still image.

The camera also has photo functions such as 4K Burst Shooting, 4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-burst, a function that makes the difference between capturing that perfect moment or missing it altogether. The 4K photo functions are easy to set up by simply rotating the drive dial to its 4K setting and selecting the required 4K burst setting, making the process of capturing a still image a breeze.

As focus peaking has been so popular with moviemakers, photographers are also beginning to see the benefits of focus peaking along with zebra highlight warnings – two of the key tools the G7 offers, that are necessary for shooting usable video.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G7KK DSLM comes with an interchangeable lens and offers several different accessory options. It comes with a 3.5 mm jack and a Hotshoe for attaching an external shotgun microphone and is capable of recording Dolby Digital sound. Although the G7 doesn’t have NFC, it has built-in Wi-Fi sharing, which makes it much easier to upload vlogs. The Wi-Fi function also allows you to use your smartphone to change the camera’s settings such as focus, Photo Styles, exposure compensation, and ISO. GPS data from a smartphone can be used to record the shooting location onto your images.

Canon, Panasonic or Nikon

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Canon EOS 80D

An excellent choice for creating YouTube Videos is Canon EOS 80D. The older version 70D has been a huge hit with YouTubers since it was popularized by the famous vlogger Casey Neistat. The 80D has nearly everything the already impressive 70D was missing, except the Ultra High Definition 4K video, which isn’t something you would need for YouTube anyway.

The EOS 80D, an interchangeable lens camera, is one of the best Digital SLRs that really excels when it comes to the autofocus system and is super-fast when using the rear screen or the viewfinder to compose shots. The camera is capable of low-light focus to -3EV. The Dual Pixel autofocus system comprises of 45 cross-type autofocus points that offer great potential in both flexibility and performance and provides a broad coverage across the frame. There are several options to choose from, ranging from a single AF point to nine AF zones. The AF system is fast and accurate.

The 80D has a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, and combined with a Digic 6 image processor, gives it an ISO range of 100 to 16,000 (expandable to 25,600) and a shooting speed of 7fps. The camera offers many recording options which include FULL HD 1080p at 30 and 24 fps in MOV mode and at 60, 30, and 24 fps in MP4 mode.

The Canon 80D is weather sealed and well-built with a lightweight polycarbonate and magnesium body. It offers a high-resolution 1.04 million dot 3-inch articulated LCD touch-screen that can swivel 360 degrees. The camera comes equipped with a built-in flash and a Hotshoe for an external flash or other accessories. It also offers a remote-control terminal, HDMI mini out, an external microphone jack and a headphone jack to monitor sound. The battery life is excellent at 960 photos per charge.

With WiFi enabled, your 80D will allow you to connect to various devices for picture sharing, printing, and downloading. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the Canon Camera Connect app on your smartphone or tablet, transferring pictures to your mobile device will be easy. The app will also make it possible to use your smart device to trigger the camera’s shutter.

The optical viewfinder provides a what-you-see-is-what-you-get 100 percent coverage of the scene, unlike the predecessor 70D that provided 98 percent field-of-view, two percent couldn’t be seen in the composition. The 80D captures excellent photos and video and will be an asset to aspiring YouTubers.

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Ever since Panasonic’s GH series came on to the scene they have been immensely popular with amateur and professional videographers. The Lumix GH5 is Panasonic's top-of-the-range feature-rich mirrorless camera that is capable of shooting great stills and movie footage and is the standard bearer for independent filmmakers.

The GH5 is a professional camera featuring a Micro Four Third 20.3MP Live Mos sensor without an optical low-pass filter. It has a range of 200 to 25600 ISO. There’s also a Venus Engine for the ultimate processing power. It is one the best 4K solutions out there, if not the best.

The camera can record 4K-quality footage at 60fps for high framerate footage or slow-motion playback at 24fps, 25fps, as well as 30fps 4:2:2 10-bit capture and up to 180 fps at 1080p. Having a 10-bit color capturing ability means there are a billion colors supported, giving images much richer colors and beautiful quality.

The GH5 can lock focus in 0.05 seconds and can shoot at 12fps. There’s also a 6K photo mode that will pull 18MP stills out of a 30fps video filmed at 4K and thus enabling you to capture that perfect shot from the fast-moving action with relative ease.

This camera comes equipped with professional tools such as waveform monitoring, focus peaking, and zebras. It also includes five-axis stabilization which will work as a dual Image-Stabilization system when paired with two-axis lens optical image stabilization for impeccable image quality with minimal shaking.

There’s a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a 3.2-inch fully articulated multi-angle LCD touchscreen with 1620K dots that will allow you to shoot from just about any position and will be great for vlogging and selfies. There is a full-size HDMI socket, which is much sturdier than the Micro-HDMI socket, USB Type C and dual SD card slots to ensure you don’t run out of storage space.

The Lumix GH5 comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to allow you to easily share and upload images and video files. Also included is a 3.5mm microphone, headphone jack for monitoring sound and a Hotshoe for attaching a flash, shotgun microphone or other accessories.

Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is an advanced entry-level DSLR packed with a lot of impressive features for immaculate results. As the D5600 is one of Nikon’s smallest and lightest DSLRs, it’s the perfect companion for travel and a camera that many vloggers find simple to use and enjoy creating videos for sharing with their fans. If you’re thinking of starting a YouTube channel and wish to upgrade from your smartphone, then the D5600 certainly has what it takes to get you started. It’s also the perfect camera for photographers upgrading from an entry-level model or those wishing to sharpen their skills

The D5600 comes with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with the absence of a low pass filter and Nikon's EXPEED 4 image processor for running through innumerable operations at super-fast speeds, giving your stills and movies exceptional quality, rich and vibrant colors and an ISO range of 100 -12800, expandable to 25600. At high ISO settings, because of Nikon’s superior noise reduction, you’ll achieve minimum color noise and beautiful textures.

With Nikon D5600 you have the benefit of downloading the free SnapBridge app and after completing the initial setup, SnapBrdige creates a constant connection between your smart device and up to 5 different Nikon cameras. The app will allow you to fully control the camera for remote photography, change the camera’s mode and adjust different shooting settings. SnapBridge can also be used to wirelessly transfer movies and images from the camera to your smart device, remotely capture still images and add comments to images.

The D5600 comes with a large and bright viewfinder, providing 95% coverage of a frame, which is standard on entry-level DSLRs. As the full frame is not visible through the viewfinder, before taking a shot, it’s a good idea to always double check on the rear display to ensure nothing unwanted is in the outer most edges of the frame.

With the D5600 you’ll be able to record stunning Full HD video with a choice of 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p frame rates that you’ll be proud to share with family, friends and your YouTube fans. The camera is capable of tracking and locking on to a fast-moving subject and keeping that subject in focus.

There is also a 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD with a 1037K dot resolution which folds away neatly into the camera body, a dedicated a 3.5mm port for attaching an external microphone, pop-up flash, Hotshoe for attaching a flash or a shotgun microphone. Other features of the D5600 include 14-bit RAW shooting, a 39-point AF system, a time-lapse mode for altering reality in a fun and creative way and add a high production value to any of your projects.

GoPro HERO7 Black - Action Camera

The GoPro family of action cameras has been a huge hit with action seekers, especially since the launch of Hero 5 which came with Optical Image Stabilization. While Hero 6 Black had much better and quite smooth Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), it was still a bit jittery. Hero 7 Black, GoPro’s flagship camera has enhanced EIS to a whole new level, which GoPro calls HyperSmooth, a feature that will make all the difference between a shot that’s ok to share with friends and something that’s ready to share with the world.

I tested the GoPro Hero 7 while cycling and chasing my kids through the park and I can say that, without a shadow of a doubt, stability has greatly improved over the Hero 6 and something that will save hours of video footage from being moved to the trash folder.

Because the stabilization is so smooth in Hero 7 Black there’s really no need for a Karma Grip, which frees up the USB port to attach an external microphone for recording footage with much better sound than having to rely on the onboard microphone.

The Hero 7 Black also has excellent support for live-streaming. You can broadcast live to Facebook or use your RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) stream to broadcast direct to the world.

Another great feature is the ability to record smooth time-lapsed footage with the TimeWarp mode, which allows you to apply high-speed effects to your video footage. It’s a neat feature if you want to transform video of longer or mundane parts of your adventure into a sped-up short video that is compelling to watch and easy to share.

The Hero 7 Black is robust, waterproof to 33ft (10m) and comes with a 2GB SD card which makes TimeWarp possible at up to 30 times normal speed. The camera can record crisp video footage in 4K at 60fps and capture amazing snaps with SuperPhoto.

GoPro Hero 7 is a no-brainer. It is one of the best, if not the best lightweight and compact action cameras that I’ve had the pleasure of using. It’s being sold at exactly the same price as Hero 6 and has much more to offer. If you’re purchasing a GoPro for the first time, then it’s simple, go for Hero 7. If you’re thinking of upgrading from Hero 6 and aren’t too concerned about the extra stabilization, social features or HDR, then maybe you should stick with the 6. But if you do want all the extras the Hero 7 is offering, as well as live-streaming, then Hero 7 will be great for you.

Final Thoughts

When you have decided on the camera brand, you should choose a camera relevant to your needs and that will last you a few years. I prefer cameras with interchangeable lenses, especially DSLRs.

Nearly all the cameras that have been selected for you have either a flip out screen or a fully articulated vari-angle screen. As a YouTuber, you'll often be trying to film yourself while documenting your life, your passions or out on your adventures. So, making sure that the camera you choose has at least a flip out screen would be a good idea.

I hope you found the article to be helpful in choosing the right camera.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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