Updated March 2016
With so many options it seems difficult to find the best camera for YouTube. Don’t fret. I got ya.
I’ve come up with 3 categories of cameras to help you find the best camera for your YouTube videos. The baseline criteria for all of the cameras I recommend is simple: they all have to be capable of shooting full HD 1080p. That’s it.
Best Cameras Under $100
For less than $100 I recommend the best HD webcam: Logitech C920
The Logitech C920 will suffice until you can get a more professional camera.
If you don’t have any money to spend on a camera yet then you’ll have to use something you already own: most likely your smartphone (or an iPod Touch). Almost everyone has an iPhone or Android smartphone, and if you’ve gotten it within the past couple years then it should be able to shoot full HD 1080p video.
If you plan to record videos with your smartphone or webcam I highly recommend these accessories:
- Video app such as Filmic Pro for iOS or Cinema FV-5 for Android
- Tripod or GorillaPod
- Square Jellyfish mount for smartphones
- Good microphone (because high-quality audio is the bee’s knees)
The tripod and mount will allow you to set up stabilized shots. A video app lets you control the exposure, focus, and various video settings for you phone’s camera. Don’t forget that microphone.
- Easy to use
- No additional cost
- Usually poor audio from built-in mic
- Can’t see yourself
- Uses phone’s battery & storage space (smartphones)
- Requires computer (webcams)
Summary: All in all when you’re first starting out you can record some pretty nice looking HD videos for YouTube with your smartphone or webcam. But plan on upgrading to a better dedicated camera as soon as you can.
Best Cameras from $200 to $500
Sorted by price, lowest to highest
If you have a budget for a new camera but don’t want to break the bank then I recommend any of these cameras:
- Great quality for the price
- Easy to use
- Not the best audio
- Lack ability to fully customize shots
Summary: These cameras are great for beginner YouTubers, vloggers, and people on a budget who don’t have the money for a more expensive camera yet. Great for capturing that sharp, full HD footage that you really need for YouTube these days.
Best Cameras Above $500
Sorted by price, lowest to highest
Do you want the best video quality possible? Do you have a nice chunk of change to spend? These are the best high-budget options:
- Best video quality
- Fully customize your shots
- Interchangeable lenses
- Professional-looking videos
- On the expensive side
- Learning curve
Summary: These professional quality cameras produce stunning HD videos. If you’ve never used a DSLR or mirrorless camera it may take a little while to learn about all the different settings. But once you start practicing you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly and realize that it’s not as complicated as you may think.
You can even get a camera capable of recording 4K video for less than $1,000. If you want the best quality and you have the budget for it then I would definitely recommend getting any of the professional DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
How To Choose
Pick the category that fits your budget. Click on each camera link, read the reviews, compare the specs, and decide which one you’d personally like the best for your own YouTube videos.
Keep in mind you can always upgrade your camera in the future. Plus, if you purchase a DSLR or mirrorless camera then all the lenses you acquire can still be used if you just upgrade the body of the camera to one of the same brand.
Essential Gear for Your Camera
All these cameras shoot full HD 1080p video, and that’s really all you need when it comes to picture quality. However, it is highly recommended that you invest in some other gear to get the most out of your camera.
Check out my top 10 best microphones. On YouTube it’s essential to get great sounding audio. Also nobody likes a shaky camera.
Bottom Line: Get a tripod and microphone.
If you get any of these cameras, try to get a microphone and tripod along with it. Here are some that I recommend for beginners:
- Rode VideoMic Pro shotgun microphone
- Zoom H1 digital audio recorder
- Sony Lavalier clip microphone
- Magnus VT-4000 full size tripod with fluid head
- Joby GP3 GorillaPod for DSLR cameras
These are all great options that can make a huge difference for your YouTube videos. I hope this was helpful in your journey and endeavors to finding your perfect camera.
Remember: it’s not all about video quality. The most important thing is you just start recording videos.
Work with what you’ve got if you don’t have extra money. But if you have the budget for a camera and gear it is highly recommended to get the best quality possible for your videos.
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