Last Updated: December 1, 2017
We all have smartphones these days, equipped with half decent cameras. But if you’re serious about professional vlogging, you’ll want to lift your game and look over my 10 best cameras for YouTube.
Who needs a quality camera for YouTube vlogging?
Any serious hobbyist or person with ambitions to make vlogging a full-time career should invest in a quality camera. Seriously, it’s the best way to create high definition (HD) captivating YouTube videos.
There’s a lot of competition for eyeballs out there. If you want to stand out from the crowd and join YouTube’s elite family of vloggers, you have to make an impression—quality video is a big part of that.
Why use higher quality cameras?
To make your vlogging look professional is the short answer. In this case that means an easy-to-use camera with sharp optics, superb still images, exceptional video quality, and crystal clear audio.
What to look for in a YouTube camera?
If you’re a travel or action vlogger, you’ll want something that’s lighter than someone who only shoots indoors. Understanding the usage your camera gets makes it much easier to choose between models.
Common features to look for include high image quality and low light performance (if needed). Others include optical image stabilization for handheld shooting, crystal clear audio, and a flip screen.
Spotlight: Our Top Three YouTube Video Cameras
To be honest, there are a lot of great cameras out there today, and it took a while to narrow down my top 10 picks for vloggers. All the cameras in this review page offer something for everyone.
Each of my top three cameras are high-quality, affordable devices that are perfect for the dedicated vlogger. Heading my top picks is the world-renowned and powerful little GoPro HERO.
I’ve also added the Canon EOS Rebel T6i in my top three as a great choice for serious entry level vloggers. My third pick is the Nikon Coolpix S7000—another versatile and affordable camera.
The Best Camera for YouTube Vloggers
Anyone who knows anything about cameras will not be surprised at my top choice. The GoPro HERO HD Waterproof is now one of the most popular cameras in the world, and for very good reason.
This is the perfect choice for action vlogs in particular, like sports, travel, hiking, rafting and so on. You can wear it, mount it, talk to it, and have heaps of fun just using it.
There are a few GoPro models to choose from that offer different features and price tags. They’re all rugged and waterproof too. This lets you concentrate on shooting without worrying about the camera.
I love the GoPro editing app which lets you produce outstanding videos automatically. The camera is also famous for its fisheye effect—perfect if you need to shoot using a large field of view (FOV).
There’s so much to love about the smart GoPro cameras for any vlogger who needs the kind of flexibility and features they offer. You can read our more in-depth review further down the page.
Exceptional Photo & Video Capabilities
I have to say the Canon EOS T6i (Rebel) is a perfect choice for vloggers who work in a more studio-like setting using a tripod. With this little beauty you can produce high-quality, impressive cinematic video.
Anyone who needs to improve the quality of their vlogging videos won’t be disappointed with this Canon DSLR camera. Aside from exceptional HD video, you can also swap lenses if you need to.
I love the articulating LCD screen on the Canon T6i, as it lets you easily frame shots of yourself as you produce your vlog. Overall the T6i has a very user-friendly design once you become familiar with it.
The facial recognition and continuous auto-focus make this a great choice for vloggers. It’s especially useful if you move around during a shoot. You can expect a lot of bang for your buck with the T6i.
If you want a professional camera for indoor vlogging, the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is a dependable choice. It awards you with gorgeous still photos and professional looking video every time.
High Quality Audio, Cinematic Video
Nikon Coolpix S7000
Need a high-performance camera for vlogging? The Nikon Coolpix camera, S7000 will give you impressive cinematic movies with stereo sound when shooting in full HD 1080/60i.
This is one of the best prosumer video cameras for the vlogger on the go. It’s light and fits easily into a pocket. That means you can just grab it and start to shoot at a moment’s notice, without any fuss.
The smart dynamic zoom lets you get up close and personal whenever you need to. I love this feature as it essentially doubles your reach for shooting people, places or things.
Thanks to Nikon’s SnapBridge you can share high-quality pictures on the go via Wi-Fi and NFC. You can send them by e-mail or post to your social media accounts straight from the camera.
An impressive vlog needs two important things: excellent content and quality video (that includes sound). The content is down to you, but the little Nikon Coolpix camera will deliver in the quality video department every time. It’s truly affordable too.
- What to Look for in a YouTube Camera
- What to Expect When Spending More
- Rankings & Reviews
- #1 Pick: GoPro HERO
- #2: Canon Rebel T6i
- #3: Nikon Coolpix S7000
- #4: Sony PXW-X70 XDCAM
What to look for in a Camera for YouTube Vlogging
There are many capable cameras for shooting YouTube video, and the choices can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Keep reading to find out how to choose a camera that matches you and your needs.
The size, weight, features and lens angle are all important considerations. Don’t worry if you’re unsure, we’ll look at these things in more detail as we go through the individual cameras.
The first thing to do is narrow down your options. The way to do this is to decide what type of camera is best suited for your purpose. There are five possibilities:
- Point-and-shoot (compact) camera including compact-action
- DSLR: Digital Single Lens Reflex
Why Not Simply Use a Smartphone?
Most of you reading here want a better vlogging camera than the one you’ve got. For this reason we’re going to focus on DSLRs, compact cameras, and camcorders only.
For more professional type vlogging, smartphones don’t usually cut it. The lens isn’t wide enough for one, and the sound is inadequate for producing high-quality audio.
Warning! Shooting video on smartphones drains batteries fast.
High quality footage doesn’t start and end with HD imagery and resolution—audio quality is equally as important. Some cameras have a good built-in microphone (on the front is best). The better ones have an option to add an external mic for enhanced audio (recommended).
Unless you always shoot using a tripod, you’ll want some kind of image-stabilization, particularly with zoom lenses. Without it, your videos can appear shaky and the still shots will come out blurred.
What to Expect from a Pricier YouTube Camera?
The more money you spend on your vlogging camera, the more quality and features you get. But sometimes less is more, meaning you don’t want to buy into bells and whistles you’ll never use.
The best cameras are easy to use, faster, have better quality images, and provide stress-free shooting. This allows you to concentrate on the content without worrying about the camera and its settings.
Key Features of a Quality YouTube Camera
YouTube cameras that cost a bit more usually have better low-light capability. Many come with image stabilization, flip touchscreens, and have wireless connection as standard. Another key feature is a 24mm wide-angled lens or even wider.
HD 1080p video is essential for producing high-quality footage (don’t settle for less). Even better are the models that offer 4K video, also known as Ultra High Definition or UHD.
Those of you who shoot in different locations and situations may want to invest in a model that has a variety of lenses available. Consider audio quality too, and a camera with an external mic port.
And finally there’s the battery life. If you’re away on long shoots, you want a camera that can offer over 900 shots providing it checks all the other boxes on your short list.
Rankings and Reviews
I combed the web and researched a lot of cameras before coming up with my top 10 picks for this year. This review page has something for every serious vlogger who wants to shine on YouTube.
There’s an easy-to-follow format for each of these no-nonsense camera reviews. By the end of this guide you’ll be in a much better position to make informed decisions, of that I can promise.
I’ve also listed each of the models pros and cons. This will help you to quickly check for things that are necessary to you and the way you present your YouTube vlog.
- Key feature 1: 170-degree wide-angle lens
- Key feature 2: Rugged, waterproof housing
- The high points: Tiny size, lightweight, easy to point & shoot, quality, value for money, versatile
- The not-so: No image stabilization, needs accessories, no lens cap, short battery life
Everyone has heard of the GoPro cameras, and there’s a reason for that. There are many justifications for choosing this as my #1 pick as a vlogging camera, even though it’s not perfect.
Not every vlogger shoots video and stills from the comfort of home of course. For those of you who need portability and versatility, as well as quality, the GoPro checks one heck of a lot of boxes.
For the adventure/action vlogger, this is a great choice of camera for shooting YouTube videos. You can secure it to your person and then pretty much forget about it as you concentrate on producing.
The range of accessories helps to make GoPro cameras perfect for all kinds of vlogging, but it needs them. Without the available accessories it wouldn’t have made my top 10 list, let alone the first choice.
I love the way you can take this little camera with you anywhere you want. The tap-and-go navigation system also makes it super easy to use, and simplicity is always a welcome feature on any camera.
Finally, and despite its tiny size, this is a sturdy little camera, and it needs to be if you’re recording action events. It looks good, it feels great, and it does a fantastic job on so many levels.
Is the GoPro HERO perfect? That depends on who you are and your style of vlogging. For some there is no comparison, but for others there are better alternatives.
What Reviewers Have to Say About This Camera
Reviewers who write about GoPro all rave about how they love its compact size and portability. The wide-angle lens is another popular feature that some people find extremely useful.
The affordability factor impresses many reviewers. Although there are different models with various features and price tags, all GoPro cameras are exceptional value for money.
Short battery life is a common gripe though, and the wide-angled lens is too wide for some vlogger’s needs. There are others who are not impressed with the quality of this camera for still photography.
What’s Good About the GoPro HERO
The field of view (FOV) is exceptional, offering a 170-degree wide-angle. In fact, you wouldn’t want it to be any less for a wearable, action camera that has to capture all that’s going on around you.
The rugged, 40 meter waterproof housing that comes with the GoPro HERO withstands just about everything you can throw at it. This makes it an ideal outdoor, all-weather vlogging camera.
We often think of tiny and lightweight tech products as being cheap and fragile. This is not the case with the GoPro HERO. It’s tough, made from quality materials, and it’s also water and weatherproof.
From a vlogger’s perspective, the simplicity and versatility of the GoPro HERO make it a great choice for many. It offers excellent value for money and is point-n-shoot ready. Still, it won’t suit the needs of everyone, and nor is it the only option on the table.
In short—as a vlogging camera—I chose the GoPro HERO for the following plusses: it’s versatile, it’s small, and it’s durable. It has good quality video, fixed focus, wide angle lens, and it’s simple to use.
What Could Be Better with the GoPro HERO Action Camera?
The GoPro HERO is not without a few cons. Whether or not these minuses affect the buying decision depends on the person and their style of vlogging.
I thought the absence of image stabilization was a huge disadvantage until I saw he options in accessories. A good stabilization tool can work just as well, and there are a few to choose from.
This brings me onto the accessories con. On its own, the GoPro is pretty small and basic. The good news is that there’re plenty of wonderful accessories to help you get the most out of this camera. If you’re not into gadgets, though, you’ll want a more inclusive camera for your vlogging needs.
It sounds odd, but the GoPro HERO doesn’t come with a protective lens cap. You can buy them separately, but it’s one of those annoying things that you wished were included as standard.
The short battery life is another disadvantage to this camera. It can be a huge annoyance if you venture out on a long shoot and forget to take spare batteries with you.
How Does It Compare to the Competition?
GoPro is the name that set the standard when it comes to tiny action cameras. The Drift Stealth 2 is one competitor, but compared to the HERO it has limited frame rate and less protection.
There are others too, like the Contour ROAM3, the Polaroid Cube+ and Xiaoyi Yi Action Camera to name a few. But these alternatives are best suited to action only. Most of them don’t offer the same versatility as the GoPro HERO does, not as a good all-round vlogging camera.
In general the GoPro alternatives are cheaper, but they cost less for a reason. If you prefer a larger camera that offers superior stills photography, then you’ll want to consider other picks in this guide.
How Has GoPro HERO Improved on the Early Model?
Since the first commercially viable GoPro 35mm, the HERO has come a long, long way. It used to be an analog camera that took 35mm film. Today every GoPro is digital.
The new cameras are famous as a wearable device, perfect for capturing action video. Back in the day, they were purely mechanical (no batteries needed) and only able to capture still images.
Now you can find a GoPro to match your specific vlogging needs. If you want the most user-friendly option, look to the HERO4 Silver. If you need more advanced features, consider the HERO4 Black.
Each GoPro model from the first to the present continues to get better and offer more. One thing that’s been a constant with all upgrades though, is the compact size and ease of use.
- Key feature 1: 19-point autofocus system
- Key feature 2: 3″ fully articulating LCD touchscreen
- The high points: Light body, easy handling, 3.5mm mic port, built-in WiFi/NFC
- The not-so: Battery life could be better, no image stabilization, no environmental sealing
I chose the Canon EOS Rebel T6i as my second pick as a perfect choice for vloggers who are more stationary. It looks fantastic, handles really well, and produces excellent stills and video for its class.
Like most Canon DSLR cameras, the T6i is a quality product, and one with an affordable price tag. For the YouTuber who’s out to impress with their vlogs, this model meets a lot of expectations.
Vlogging is about producing excellent content without worrying about the technicalities of the equipment. Well, the T6i is very user-friendly, which lets you focus on your vlog not the equipment.
Without clear audio any vlog will fail. The T6i has a built-in stereo mic and a mono speaker. It also has an external mic port so you can connect an external microphone for exceptional sound.
The Canon T6i includes built-in wireless connectivity. This is convenient as it lets you transfer data to compatible devices without having to bother with physical connections.
As with all products, the Canon T6i DSLR is not without its snags. But for many vloggers, especially entry-level who want to up their game, this affordable camera will check a lot of the right boxes.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the T6i
What reviewers like most about the Canon T6i is that it not only looks like a quality DSLR, it feels good too. The way it fits in the hands and handles are other commonly shared pros.
Just about everyone who’s reviewed this camera talks about the outstanding image quality. There are plenty of photographic examples online that back up the reviewer’s claims.
Those new to vlogging and photography love this camera’s simplicity. They also like having the option to explore the many other settings once the time comes to get more adventurous.
One common disappointment I found in the reviews is the HD video at just 30 fps. All the same, most reviewers appreciate that 60 fps or 4k video is a feature found on the more expensive DSLRs.
On the whole, it seems as though the Canon T6i DSLR is a winner for those who have bought it specifically for vlogging purposes.
What’s So Good About the Canon T6i DSLR?
Viewfinder shooting using the Canon EOS Rebel T6i camera is all the better thanks to the 19-point AF system. This feature has improved tracking for moving objects, making it perfect for action shots.
The camera’s articulating LCD touchscreen is an invaluable feature for vlogging as it lets you check everything as you record. This is not only convenient, but a real time saver too.
At just 555g, the T6i has a light body for a DSLR. This may seem like a minor detail, but anyone who has a camera around their neck or in their hands for long periods will tell you that weight is important.
Not all cameras have user-friendly features and handling, but the Canon EOS Rebel T6i does. It can be as simple or as advanced as you need it to be, making it the perfect tool for up-and-coming vloggers.
The T6i’s 3.5mm mic port lets you make videos with high-quality, crisp audio, using an external mic. A great looking video with poor sound is still a poor video. Never underestimate the power of clear audio.
YouTubers who like to upload stuff as they shoot it will welcome this camera’s WiFi/NFC feature. It means you can upload vlogs straight to YouTube, which syncs automatically with modern cameras.
What Could Be Better About the Canon EOS Rebel T6i?
At just 440 shots, the short battery life is a major disappointment with this Canon. To put that into some perspective, the average battery life for a lot of modern DSLRs is double that of this camera.
Another drawback for vloggers who hold their cameras is the absence of image stabilization. There are, however, 89 native lenses for this Canon that have optical image stabilization.
For the YouTuber who likes shoot outdoors in all weathers, the lack of environmental sealing is a letdown. If this is you, then you’ll probably be better off with the GoPro HERO or one of my other picks.
How Does the T6i Compare to the Competition?
You can compare the Canon EOS Rebel T6i with many popular cameras, including other Canons. For vlogging, though, people are often undecided between the Nikon D5500 and Canon’s T6i.
Nikon’s D5500 is a bit cheaper than the Canon, but the T6i offers some features welcomed by YouTubers in particular. It has NFC Connection for one, and a smartphone remote control feature.
The D5500 does have a slightly larger LCD screen, and even a few more features overall than the Canon. Each model has its pros and cons, so a lot of decisions are down to personal preferences.
In short, these are both excellent cameras that offer great value for money and similar features. They also include external mic ports, which professional vloggers place as a top priority.
How Has the Canon T6i Improved on the T5i?
The T6i is an upgrade of the Canon T5i. Most notable advantages are the inclusion of built-in Wi-Fi capability and NFC. There’s also the improved low-light capability, and more cross-type AF points.
The T6i also boasts less shutter lag than the T5i, and offers photos with higher resolution. It has a bigger JPEG buffer too, which lets you take more JPEG shots before waiting.
Other than the major improvements above, both cameras share some common pros and cons. If the extra 100 bucks or so isn’t an issue, the T6i is the better choice for vloggers.
- Key feature 1: NIKKOR quality lens with a 20x optical zoom
- Key feature 2: Full 1080p/60i HD video recording
- The high points: Image stabilization, wide angle lens, time-lapse recording, light body, compact
- The not-so: No articulating screen, no touchscreen, short battery life, no environmental sealing
OK, this brings me on to the third of my top three picks, the Nikon Coolpix S7000 16 MP compact digital camera. For vloggers on the move—and on a budget—this little camera is a godsend.
Although considered a cheap YouTube vlogging camera, don’t let the low price put you off. The S7000 is luggable, offers exceptional image quality for the price, and has Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
With the camera’s OIS, it’s easy to record while on the move. The camera’s microphone is located on the front, which results in better audio quality compared to top-mounted mics.
There’s no external microphone port or articulating screen with the Nikon Coolpix S7000. Despite these missing features, it’s still a winner for raw vlogging. What I mean by ‘raw vlogging’ is that it offers all the essentials necessary for producing quality vlogs on a budget.
The Coolpix S7000 16 MP is perfect for serious entry-level vloggers. It’s also a great extra camera for anyone who wants a portable and capable little tool for occasional out-and-about shooting.
What Reviewers Say About Nikon’s Coolpix S7000
You know when a camera’s popular by the amount of people willing to review it. Well, there’s no shortage of reviews for this little beauty. It certainly enjoys more positive feedback than negative.
The online comments—and my own review of the Coolpix S7000—tend to agree on a few things. The photo and video quality surpassed most people’s expectations, including audio (vital for vlogging).
The size, weight, and range of photographic modes have also impressed many people. For a point-and-shoot type camera of this class, it’s hard to find much to gripe about.
As a vlogging tool, I see an average rating of “good” to “very good” considering the price and user expectations. The biggest shared gripe for this camera has to be its short battery life.
For all-weather YouTubers, the lack of environmental sealing and no panorama shooting mode is a bit of a letdown for some. It depends what you need, so these things are all relative of course.
What’s Good About This Compact Camera by Nikon?
Most users who own one are more than happy with the Nikon Coolpix S7000 16 MP. They like the quality NIKKOR wide angle lens with 20x optical zoom capability. The image stabilization (IS) is another welcome feature, essential for steadying handheld shooting.
Now add the compactness of the product and its lightweight body to the camera’s key features. You have in your hands an impressive all-in-one camera for creating inspiring YouTube videos.
Other plusses worth considering include the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. There’s also face detection focusing, and remote control with a smartphone
What Could Be Better About the Nikon Coolpix S7000 Digital Camera?
Alas, the Coolpix S7000 doesn’t have an articulating screen. This is a minus for YouTubers who need to shoot from low angles, extreme close-up, and other situations where straight viewing is awkward.
Another con is the absence of a touchscreen. This isn’t essential, but people today are familiar with touchscreen technology. This means we expect it on modern electronics, including digital cameras.
Environmental sealing is another valuable feature missing from the Nikon Coolpix S7000 compact. This will disappoint vloggers who like to shoot outdoors in more extreme weather conditions.
The last of the major cons is the poor battery life of just 180 shots. It means vloggers must always remember to take spare, fully charged batteries with them on longer shoots.
How Does the Coolpix S7000 Compare to the Competition?
There are a number of cameras to compare the Nikon Coolpix S7000 with. One of the most popular is Canon’s SX610 HS. There are lots of reasons why Nikon beats Canon as my top vlogging compact.
The Coolpix S7000 has a faster shutter speed than the popular Canon compact. It’s lighter by 26g, and it has the time-lapse recording feature for creative shooting. The optical zoom lens on the Nikon has more focal coverage too.
Where the Nikon falls short against the Canon SX610 HS is with Canon’s 100% higher resolution screen. The Canon also has more focus options, and a longer battery life of 270 shots vs Nikon’s 180.
- Key feature 1: Multi-format recording capabilities
- Key feature 2: Wireless microphone system
- The high points: Super high-quality, compact, light, professional features, large CMOS sensor
- The not-so: 4K upgrade, occasional autofocus blip, clunky zoom ring
This is my first camcorder listed in the top 10 vlogging picks. Despite being bigger than compact cameras and DSLRs, there are plenty of reasons to choose this as a YouTube camera.
Serious vloggers will find the Sony PXW-X70 affordable for a camcorder in its class. This camera comes packed with professional features and therefore provides truly professional results.
Having both basic and advanced features is a major plus point. It makes this camera an ideal choice for entry-level users and those who demand more from thief YouTube productions.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the PXW-X70
Most reviewers who bought and tested the Sony PXW-X70 Professional XDCAM Compact Camcorder are happy campers. The features, price, size, and lightweight are all common likes.
Going through the reviews, people find the Sony PXW-X70 an affordable choice for a truly professional product. The opportunity to upgrade to 4K is also welcome, though the additional cost is not.
Everyone tends to agree that there’re a lot of features packed into a small package. Whether this is right for your vlogging needs depends on what you shoot, intend to shoot, budget, and expectations.
What’s Good About This Sony Camcorder?
The multi-format recording capabilities include AVCHD, XAVC, MPEG HD, plus DV (Digital Video) file-based recording. The option for wireless microphone adds further to this camera’s recording potential.
This camera is a high-quality product for its class, and it feels as good as it looks. For a camcorder it’s incredibly compact and lightweight, making it a joy to operate once you become familiar with it.
I love the external manual controls on the side of the body. These allow for quick adjustments of the aperture (IRIS), GAIN/ISO, and also the shutter speed. And the large CMOS sensor is second to none.
What Could Be Better with the Sony PXW-X70 Professional?
Compared to the competition, like Panasonic AG-UX90 4K/HD, and the Canon XA35 Professional, there’s not a lot to fault with this camcorder. The cost of the 4K upgrade is perhaps the major gripe.
Some people report dissatisfaction with the autofocus, which has a tendency to occasionally fix on the wrong things. A few others have found the zoom ring to be somewhat clunky and obstructive.
- Key feature 1: Impressive 20-megapixel 1″ sensor
- Key feature 2: 24-100mm (equivalent) f/1.8-2.8 lens
- The high points: Excellent image quality, good build, touchscreen, dedicated charger
- The not-so: no 24p support, LCD screen restrictions, clunky manual focus, no external mic
As a YouTube camera, the cannon PowerShot G7X has a lot going for it. I like its exceptional design and the feel of the physical controls. It’s small too, and fits easily into a pocket when you don’t need it.
The big touchscreen at the back makes navigating the menus of the G7X fast and easy. You can also use the buttons and dials on the side. I’d say Canon’s menu system is the simplest of all the cameras.
What I like about the PowerShot G7X premium compact is that it’s at home in the hands and feels like a natural extension to the arms. This comfort aspect makes it a great little tool for vloggers on the go.
What Reviewers Have to Say About Canon’s G7X
Reviewers have lots of nice things to say about the PowerShot G7X. Everyone likes the pocketability, feel, and ease-of-use of this premium compact along with its high-quality images and video.
Most photographers “love” this camera—a word that’s repeated many times in the written reviews. Lots of vloggers have commented too, praising the stunning HD video, shooting at 60 fps at full 1080p.
The PowerShot G7X is not without its critiques though, even though they’re few and far between. The most common gripes are with the below average battery life and poor audio quality in some situations.
What’s Good About This Canon Compact Camera?
This is not a cheap camera—the more serious vlogger is the target user. It has the quality of a good DSLR but without the size and weight. The Impressive 20-megapixel 1″ sensor is a major feature.
Vloggers get to enjoy beautiful colors and excellent image detail. Other plusses are the fast apertures, large 24-100mm zoom, and manual controls. The touchscreen and dedicated charger are two more.
The PowerShot G7X’s low-light performance is pretty good as well, even for video. This is something to consider if you plan to do a lot of shooting at night or in other low-light situations.
What Could Be Better with the Canon G7X Vlogging Camera?
There are a few downsides with the PowerShot G7X. There’s no 24p support for one, which is the classic frame rate. Another negative is that the manual focus tends to be a little clunky.
The built in mic is okay but far from exceptional. A wind filter is available but unfortunately there isn’t an external microphone jack, which would have made the world of difference. And the LCD flip-up touchscreen display is exactly that, with no option to tilt downward.
If 24p support, manual focus, fully articulated screen, and an external mic option are important to you, Canon’s G7X will not be on your shortlist. If these features don’t matter, then it’s a surefire contender.
- Key feature 1: 4K video capture with stereo sound
- Key feature 2: 16.05MP Digital Live MOS sensor
- The high points: Tough and weatherproof design, external mic socket, impressive AF speed
- The not-so: Complicated control layout, no image stabilization, not the best in low light
The Panasonic Lumix GH4 is a mirrorless camera used by serious vloggers. It was among the first Four Thirds camera to capture 4K-resolution video. This really is a great tool for creative YouTubers.
The Lumix GH4 has a 16MP sensor, optimized to take 4K videos up to 4096 × 2160 pixels. I added this camera to my list for those looking for stunning performance and exceptional photographic quality.
There were other features that caught my attention. I like the fully-articulated LCD screen and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity. There’s also the outstanding autofocus and lots of other great features besides.
What Reviewers Have to Say About Panasonic’s Mirrorless GH4
There’re plenty of positive reviews for the Lumix GH4. Photographers and vloggers rave about the camera’s light weight, durability, and handling. Another like is its high-precision, high-speed shooting.
YouTubers buy this camera for its awesome, HD video, but amazing still photography is also just a click away. Many of the reviews do seem to focus on the Lumix GH4’s video capabilities for vlogging though.
Reading through the top critical reviews I saw that a handful of users experienced problems with Panasonic’s customer support. As these were private gripes I can’t comment further.
What’s Good About This Mirrorless Camera by Panasonic?
Vloggers who want to produce 4K video with stereo sound will be more than happy with the Panasonic GH4. The digital MOS sensor guarantees high-res, high sensitivity image recording every single time.
YouTubers who get out and about—or who intend to become more mobile—will enjoy the impressive AF speed. You’ll also want a hardy, weatherproof camera, and that’s exactly what you get in the GH4.
The external microphone socket allows you to add an external mic when you need it. The result will be professional, high-quality audio to match the professional high-quality video—you’ve arrived!
What Could Be Better with This Panasonic Vlogging Camera?
The manual control layout could be better as it seems a bit awkward and complicated. This is not the best camera for shooting in low light situations either, so think about that if it’s important to you.
Another con is that there’s no sensor-based image stabilization. There are 22 native lenses that come equipped with optical image stabilization though.
- Key feature 1: Canon f/2.8 fisheye lens
- Key feature 2: Shoot wide or close up
- The high points: great video quality, impressive audio, built-in stand, portable, image stabilization
- The not-so: No optical zoom, low light shooting could be better
This neat little pocket-sized camcorder is ideal for vlogging. Aside from its size and amazing video, the Canon VIXIA Mini X delivers quality audio too, thanks to its remarkable built-in microphone.
What I love about the VIXIA Mini X is the convenient integrated stand and the LCD flip screen. This might be an unusual looking camcorder, but it’s powerful, portable, and oozing with great features.
Is it the perfect all-round YouTube camera? No. But for recording videos in tight spaces, concerts, and sports, it’s a real gem. However, the fisheye lens has some restrictions for certain types of vlogging.
What Reviewers Say About the Canon VIXIA Mini X Camcorder
As a vlogging camera, many reviewers love the VIXIA Mini X, though it’s only suitable for particular styles. Those who don’t need a fisheye optic will find the fixed focal length (FFL) lens far too wide.
YouTubers who can use the fisheye to their advantage are more than happy with this camcorder and its ease of use. The superb stereo sound quality is another popular feature mentioned by users.
There’s not much praise for low light shooting, but then no one buys it expecting excellent results in low-light. Reviewers who made an ‘informed’ decision to buy this camera love it.
What’s Good About This Tiny Canon Camcorder?
One of the key pros for the Canon VIXIA Mini X is its fixed f/2.8, ultra-wide-angle fisheye lens. It’s perfect for vloggers who need to shoot wide or get close up and personal, at home or away.
The video quality is professional looking, as is the audio produced by the VIXIA Mini X. The built-in stand and the image stabilization keep the camera nice and steady while you produce your vlogs.
What Could Be Better with the Mini X by Canon?
There’s no optical zoom, and that restricts the Mini X’s ability to please more vloggers. It’s perhaps the one drawback that would have made this good Canon camcorder an exceptional one. The camera’s mediocre low-light capability is the other disappointment for those who need it.
- Key feature 1: 5-axis Sensor-shift Image Stabilization (IS)
- Key feature 2: External microphone port
- The high points: Articulating screen, face detection, environmental sealing, good low light ISO
- The not-so: No touchscreen, low battery life, heavy body
This is another of my mirrorless camera picks for YouTube. What I like about the Sony Alpha A7R II is its fast AF ability, 4K resolution, and the option to enhance the sound quality to match the video.
The A7R II by Sony is a serious camera for serious vloggers. If you need lens flexibility to shoot in a whole range of different situations, then consider this camera.
If you’re only into video vlogging, save your money and consider other options. The Sony Alpha A7R II is exceptional for still photography, and if you don’t plan to exploit this it would be a huge waste.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the Alpha A7R II by Sony
The A7R II enjoys lots of positive reviews. Some reviewers are calling it a game changer—the small-bodied camera that suits the needs of photographers and bloggers alike.
YouTubers love all the features and can’t find fault with the quality when recording in 4k. However, there were some reports of overheating and auto shutdown after 20 minutes of continuous shooting.
What’s Good About the Sony Alpha A7R?
This is an exceptional camera by Sony, purchased by serious photographers and YouTubers. It’s for people who insist on impressive stills and beautiful video. The external mic port is another vital feature, welcomed by those who demand high-quality sound.
The 5-axis Sensor-Shift IS (Image Stabilization) ensures crisp images and video every time. And the articulating screen is a must-have for vloggers who need to record themselves whilst on the move.
Face detection is a valuable feature that helps vloggers to stay in focus. The camera’s also good for low-light shooting and has environmental sealing to protect the body when recording in harsh weather.
What Could Be Better with This YouTube Camera?
There’s no touchscreen with the Sony Alpha A7R II, and it’s one of the few absent features that reviewers complain about. You don’t need a touchscreen, but people do find them fast and convenient.
At 625g, this is not the lightest camera. It also has a tendency to eat through batteries. At just 290 shots per charge, you always need to have spare batteries to hand.
- Key feature 1: Ultra-compact body packed with Canon technology
- Key feature 2: Full manual control
- The high points: Lightweight, 9-inch LCD displays, 4k and 5k resolution
- The not-so: Detachable handle rattles, price
My penultimate pick is another small camcorder, and a great YouTube tool. This is the Canon XA10, a prosumer camcorder that will please a lot of serious vloggers.
I recommend this camcorder for travel vloggers in particular, as it’s small and has a detachable handle. There are also XLR audio inputs which expand the audio capabilities to a truly professional level.
What I like most about the Canon XA10 HD camcorder is that it’s small in size yet big on features. It’s like a miniature version of those much larger and bulkier high-end professional cameras.
What Reviewers Have to Say About Canon’s XA10
Reviewers write about how light this Canon camcorder is. At just 1.7 lbs. it weighs a lot less than many of the alternatives. Aside from the weight, the size also pleases those who need portability.
Other high points reviewers talk about are the XA10’s beautiful quality video and versatile zoom. There’s also the ample storage capacity, and dual XLR inputs for producing professional audio.
One of the complaints is also one of the praises, and that is the cameras light weight. The problem is with the handling, as some find it difficult to hold steady because it’s so light.
What’s Good About the Cannon Professional Camcorder XA10?
For its size and weight, there’s an awful lot of Canon technology packed into this camcorder’s ultra-compact body. Having full manual control is another feature that prosumer vloggers love to exploit.
The 4k and 5k resolution ensures professional quality video that’s certain to impress your audience. And the huge side-mounted 9″ LCD touchscreen display makes using this camera a joy.
What Could Be Better with the Canon XA10?
The detachable handle is both a pro and a con. It improves compact travelling and assists shooting in tight spaces. It’s a con because some users report it rattles. It’s a noise, they say, the mic picks up.
And finally there’s the price. At around $1,800 you will want to be certain it checks all your vlogging boxes before committing.
- Key feature 1: 960fps high-speed video
- Key feature 2: 20-megapixel 1″ sensor
- The high points: Pocketable, fast AF, 4K resolution, high-speed video modes, 24mm wide lens
- The not-so: No touchscreen, no environmental sealing
The last pick in my ten best prosumer video cameras is a high-end compact from Sony. The RX100 IV offers a lot of bang for your buck like slow motion video and high-quality 4K shooting.
Most YouTubers want to concentrate on their vlog content and not have to worry about the equipment. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV is a quality, point-and-shoot compact camera that fits the bill.
Vloggers on the move love the slim body of the DSC-RX100 IV. It’s one of those rare YouTube cameras that you can slip into the pockets of skinny jeans for convenience, or any other tight space.
What Reviewers Have to Say About this Compact YouTube Camera
Reviewers have plenty of great things to report on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV. Some even refer to it as the best pocket camera in the world and the best compact around.
Despite its usability and impressive features, not everyone’s happy about the price. My advice is to never any buy bells and whistles you’ll never use, and that’s the likely cause of some of these gripes.
What’s Good About the Sony Cyber-shot RX 100 IV?
This little camera sports some super-fast high-speed video recording modes. And its 20-megapixel 1″ sensor provides better high-ISO performance and improved speed.
Not all YouTubers vlog the same way or have the same expectations. Those who need lightweight, lugability, and quality, will love the pocketable RX 100 IV with its 24mm wide-angled lens.
Add 4K video, Sony’s SteadyShot optical image stabilization and WiFi connectivity and you’re ready to vlog. This simple yet sophisticated camera really is ready to roll right out of its box.
What Could Be Better with This Cyber-shot from Sony?
Apart from the fairly high cost, the only other cons are the absence of a touchscreen and no environmental sealing. I know many YouTubers would welcome these features. Still, they don’t detract from the camera’s overall functionality as an outstanding vlogging tool.
I chose the GoPro HERO camera as my top pick because it checked a lot of vlogging boxes. But I understand that YouTubers also have their own unique styles, so the GoPro will not suit everyone.
This is why there are nine other products listed in my best prosumer video camera picks. Each one has made it here because of its impressive features and ease of use as a YouTube camera or camcorder.
The GoPro HERO is perfect for outdoor vloggers, particularly those who like to record themselves in action situations. Or maybe the more versatile and powerful pocket compacts are a better match for you and your blogging style.
The point is that there’s something for everyone. This no-nonsense guide helps you to make the best decisions. Whatever your choice, one or more of the YouTube cameras on this page will serve you well.