If you're getting into YouTube, using your smartphone camera may be the most cost-effective option. Using what you already own also leaves more room in your budget to invest in a good microphone and lighting setup, which is key to creating videos that will stand out in the sea of content on YouTube. That said, there are some things a smartphone can't do. Going with an interchangeable-lens camera gives you more control over the look of your videos. You can try different lenses to create a nice shallow depth of field for talking head videos, or start shooting with Log profiles and learn how to color-grade your footage. If you want to step up your video game, there are plenty of options at different price points that'll let you produce great content for YouTube.
We've bought over 90 cameras, and below, you'll find the best cameras for YouTube videos that we've tested in our lab. If you're looking for something even more advanced, you can check out our picks for the best filmmaking cameras or the best 4k-capable cameras more generally. If shooting sports is more your thing, you can also look at the best video cameras for sports.
The Sony ZV-E1 is the first vlogging camera with a full-frame sensor and one of the best 4k cameras for YouTube on the market. Like other models in the ZV lineup, it has a fully articulated screen that's great for self-recording, a built-in directional vlogging mic, and no viewfinder. It's also one of the most compact full-frame cameras on the market, though you'll likely still need a tripod grip for walk-and-talk style vlogs.
With a full-frame sensor optimized for low light, this is a great choice if you tend to shoot out in less controlled lighting conditions. Features like auto framing or modes like 'Intelligent Auto' and 'Cinematic Vlog' allow you to get the right look for your videos without doing a lot of heavy lifting or getting into the nitty gritty of video production. At the same time, its advanced video capabilities, with Log recording, internal 10-bit 4:2:2, and 4k recording at up to 120 fps, are well-suited to more advanced shooters who want more flexibility over the production process, from shooting to uploading the final product. All said and done, these features combine to make the best camera for YouTube that we've tested.
If the Sony ZV-E1 sounds like overkill, consider a mid-range option like the Fujifilm X-S10. Though it's been superseded by the even more powerful Fujifilm X-S20, the X-S10 is notably cheaper and still has plenty to offer. It's well-built, with accessible controls, a comfortable grip, and a fully articulated screen to easily monitor yourself while recording. For those who prefer a more hands-off approach, Fuji's film simulation profiles allow you to change up the look of your videos in-camera. Video quality is also excellent, thanks to its high-resolution APS-C sensor.
This is also one of the few cameras at this price point to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which can help smooth out camera shake when shooting handheld. Add in an autofocus system that can keep up very well in video and a high frame rate mode in 1080p for slow-motion recording, and you've got a super versatile camera for a range of video styles.
If you're on a tighter budget and don't need a viewfinder, the Sony ZV-E10 is one of the best cameras for YouTube beginners on a budget. It's similar to the Sony ZV-E1 above but with less advanced internal recording specs and an APS-C sensor. Like its higher-end stablemate, it lacks a viewfinder, so it isn't as versatile for photography as something like the Fujifilm X-S10, but it's an excellent vlogging camera for the price. It has plenty of vlog-friendly features, like a fully articulated screen and specialized 'Product Showcase,' which automatically switches focus to any objects held up in the frame, making this a great choice for product and beauty vloggers. The AF is generally quick and reliable, too.
If you're looking for better stabilization, the similarly-priced Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV comes with five-axis in-body image stabilization, making it a great alternative if stabilization and portability are priorities. However, it has a much less reliable autofocus system and uses a smaller Four Thirds sensor. Ultimately, the ZV-E10 is still the best camera for YouTube beginners on a budget, thanks to its larger sensor, class-leading autofocus, and microphone input.
If your cell phone isn't cutting it, but you can't afford an interchangeable lens camera, then a GoPro is your best bet for a cheap YouTube video setup, as long as you don't mind the trade-off in video quality. The GoPro HERO10 Black is one of the best-value options you can get. Though replaced by the GoPro HERO11 Black—which has a new 8:7 sensor tailored more for social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram—the HERO10 is still a powerhouse action camera that can do most of the same things at a lower price than its successor.
Thanks to a handy front-facing screen, you can monitor yourself while recording, making this a great option for action videos and standard walk-and-talk style vlogs. GoPro's HyperSmooth stabilization is the best in its class and ensures your footage looks smooth. The camera also has more frame rate and resolution options than you'll need, with 5k up to 60 fps and 4k up to 120 fps. If the price is still a little higher than you'd like, an older GoPro model like the GoPro HERO9 Black is a good, cheaper alternative, though it has fewer frame rate options and performs a tad worse in low light.
A point-and-shoot camera like the Sony ZV-1 offers portability and convenience if you want something small and simple. It's similar to the other ZV series cameras recommended above, with a fully articulated screen, dedicated vlogging focus modes, and a microphone optimized for vlogging, complete with a detachable windscreen to reduce ambient noise. However, its compact, fixed-lens form factor makes it much more portable, so it's a good fit for walk-and-talk on-the-go vlogging. While you don't get as much flexibility with a fixed lens, it's also an easier jump from your smartphone since you don't have to fuss around with different lenses.
If you prefer a wider-angle lens, the new Sony ZV-1 II has a wider focal length that, on its face, is a little better suited to vlogging. Just be aware that it's pricier and lacks optical stabilization, so you might end up with a cropped image anyway with e-stabilization enabled. The biggest drawback of a compact camera is a smaller battery, a shorter battery life, and a tendency to overheat during long recording sessions. If that isn't a dealbreaker, this is one of the best YouTube cameras for those who need something compact.
The DJI Pocket 2 is unique on this list. This pocket-sized camera has a built-in three-axis stabilized gimbal that ensures your footage looks smooth. While the video quality and low-light capability can't compete with some of the larger-sensor options above, the Pocket 2 can be a powerful all-in-one tool in any content creator's belt. The gimbal makes it incredibly easy to record super smooth handheld footage, and it has a slow-motion capture mode that lets you shoot at up to 240 fps in 1080p.
The camera also has an 'Active Track' feature that automatically follows a person or object, which you can use to get creative when shooting products or action footage. If you want to save money, try finding an original DJI Osmo Pocket. However, the larger sensor on the Pocket 2 gives it an edge in low light. Overall, it's a great choice for those who want a pocket camera to shoot stabilized handheld video.
Jul 14, 2023: Removed the Sony a6400, replaced it with the Fujifilm X-S10 as the 'Best Mid-Range YouTube Camera', and added the Sony ZV-E1 as the 'Best YouTube Camera'. Also removed the Canon EOS M50 Mark II from Notable Mentions and replaced it with the Canon EOS R50.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best video cameras for YouTube for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.