Oftentimes, the best camera is the one you've already got in your pocket: your smartphone. It's typically the most cost-effective option, allowing you to invest in a good microphone and lighting setup and freeing you up to start creating the content you want to make right away. But there are also things a smartphone can't do. Going with an interchangeable lens camera gives you more control over the look of your videos. You can get lenses to achieve a nice shallow depth of field for talking head videos (what portrait mode on your phone digitally approximates) or start shooting with Log profiles and learn how to color-grade your own footage. If you're looking to step up your video game, there are plenty of options at different price points that will be more than capable of producing great content for YouTube.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for YouTube videos. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For other options, check out our recommendations for the best 4k video cameras. Otherwise, if you're in the market for something a little more advanced, see our recommendations for the best cameras for filmmaking, and if shooting sports is more your thing, check out our picks for the best cameras for sport video.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is the best 4k camera for YouTube that we've tested. This mirrorless APS-C camera is Fujifilm's first dedicated vlogging camera, and it packs in a ton of features at a reasonable price point. It's fit for walk-and-talk vlogs thanks to its fully articulated screen, as well as videos that require more of a studio setup. It comes with in-body image stabilization (IBIS)—the only option on this list that does—to help smooth out camera shake when shooting handheld. It also supports Log recording to preserve more shadow and highlight detail and give you more control over the look of your footage. While it's capped at 8-bit 4:2:0 recording internally, meaning it captures a narrower range of color information and gives you less leeway when editing, it can output 10-bit 4:2:2 footage when connected to an external recorder.
With an autofocus system that can keep up remarkably well in video and a high-frame-rate mode in 1080p for slow-motion recording, this camera is very versatile. Its biggest downside is battery life, which is quite limited compared to some competitors, and it can sometimes overheat when recording continuously for long periods. If you're shooting shorter takes, however, it's manageable, and the camera supports use while recharging via USB, which is handy if you have a portable battery pack. If your ambitions lie beyond YouTube, you might prefer a filmmaking beast like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, which has better internal recording capability and offers more recording formats and codecs. However, it's probably overkill for most aspiring YouTubers, and the Fujifilm makes for an easier entryway into video for those just starting out.
If you're on a tighter budget and you can live without a viewfinder, the Sony ZV-E10 is a great option for vlogging and video work. Like the Fujifilm X-S10, it's part of a recent slew of vlogging-oriented mirrorless cameras. It has a fully articulated screen, dedicated recording button, and a revamped internal microphone compared to more photo-oriented Sonys like the Sony a6100. There's also no recording time limit, one leg-up it has over the Fujifilm, and it doesn't suffer from any overheating issues. That said, if you want to get smoother camera movements, you'll need to use an optically stabilized lens or a gimbal since the camera doesn't have IBIS. Rolling shutter is also pretty bad on this camera, so be aware that it can introduce wobbling or distortion with quicker pans or camera movements.
If you'd prefer a camera with better stabilization, a Micro Four Thirds option like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV comes with five-axis IBIS and falls in the same price range as the Sony. Because of its stabilization and compact form factor, it's a great value option for vlogging, and while it doesn't have a fully articulated screen, you can flip its LCD monitor down to face you. The Sony is still a better option thanks to its class-leading autofocus, larger sensor, and microphone input, but if portability and stabilization are priorities, the Olympus is a solid alternative in this price range.
If you're looking for something even more affordable, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a highly popular starter camera and a great option for vlogging and YouTube content creation. It's compact and lightweight, and its fully articulated screen makes it easy to monitor yourself while recording. The camera also has a handy livestreaming feature that lets you stream directly to YouTube via Wi-Fi, but it's worth noting that YouTube enforces a minimum 1,000 subscriber limit to use this feature. Just don't expect the best performance in 4k; the camera can only record 4k at 24 fps with a severe crop, meaning it's using a smaller portion of the sensor, which affects everything from video quality to autofocus performance to stabilization. It's not terrible by any means, and you can compensate somewhat by using a very wide-angle lens or moving farther back, but this camera shines the most in 1080p.
In Full HD/1080p, the camera can take advantage of Canon's Dual Pixel autofocus, which supports eye tracking and does an excellent job keeping moving subjects in focus. You also get up to 60 fps in Full HD, so you can incorporate some slow-motion footage into your videos. Its battery life is decent for video, although it doesn't support USB charging, which may be inconvenient depending on your preference.
If your cell phone isn't cutting it, but you can't afford an interchangeable lens camera system, then your best bet is to get a GoPro. The GoPro HERO9 Black is the first GoPro to feature a dual-screen design, allowing you to monitor yourself on its front-facing screen while vlogging. While the GoPro HERO10 Black improves upon the HERO9 in a few ways (higher frame rate options in 5k and 4k, improved low-light performance, to name a couple), the HERO9 can still do about 90% of what the HERO10 can do at a lower price-point, making it a great value buy. When it comes to vlogging, you won't find a more portable option on this list than this, either. On top of that, its HyperSmooth stabilization feature does an exceptional job of smoothing out camera shake.
Older GoPro models, like the GoPro HERO8 Black and the GoPro HERO7 Black, are also still available to purchase if you want to save even more money. They'll give you similar video stabilization and plenty of high frame rate options, though they lack front-facing live view screens. Overall, the GoPro is the best cheap YouTube camera you can get thanks to its size, price, and ease of use.
If you prefer the convenience of a built-in lens, the Sony ZV-1 is the best point-and-shoot we've tested for YouTube. While you don't get as much flexibility with a fixed lens, it's an easier jump from using smartphones since you don't have to worry about buying and learning about different lenses, which is good news for those looking for the best camera for YouTube beginners. The lens on this thing has a decently wide aperture, so you can get some fairly nice bokeh out of it, and there's even a dedicated 'Background Defocus' button to quickly toggle between a shallow depth of field and a wider depth of field.
The other big advantage of the ZV-1 is that it's more compact than an interchangeable-lens camera, although not as portable as the GoPro above. It's essentially a smaller Sony ZV-E10 with a fixed lens, and just like that camera, it has a fully articulated screen, a large dedicated record button, and a microphone optimized for vlogging (complete with a detachable windscreen to reduce ambient noise). Just be aware that a smaller camera means a smaller battery and shorter battery life. The ZV-1 also struggles mightily with overheating, which can interrupt recording during longer shooting sessions.
Aug 04, 2022: Restructured article for clarity and to align more closely with user needs and expectations.
Feb 17, 2022: Verified that all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations.
Jan 21, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy with no change to recommendations.
Dec 22, 2021: Replaced the Fujifilm X-T4 with the Fujifilm X-S10 as the 'Best Mirrorless Camera For YouTube' and added the X-T4 to Notable Mentions.
Dec 03, 2021: Replaced the GoPro HERO9 Black with the GoPro HERO10 Black as the 'Best Action Camera For YouTube'.
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.