It’s easy to say that the best camera for YouTube or the best video camera for YouTube depends on your reasons for wanting to create and post videos. It’s true, but . . . . At the same time, anyone who wants to post videos on YouTube will share a common desire for sharp, clear, well-lighted videos with clear sound or audio. So, whether you‘re posting family videos to share with distant relatives, sharing your knowledge through how-to videos, supporting a cause, reviewing products or services, starting or promoting a business, or recording life as it happens, quirks and all; you’ll want certain basic features, but you will need other, more advanced features to create a professional aura that enhances confidence in the information you present if you’re starting a vlogging business.
YouTube videos and vlogs cover every topic that can legally be posted online.
These videos might be shared on YouTube, but they are probably more commonly shared on Facebook or by email. They might be made at a scheduled family event, such as a birthday party or a reunion, but they also might be made on the spur of the moment when a child or pet does something that simply has to be shared. Whether it’s a scheduled event or spur-of-the-moment happening, these videos are usually shot on the move as the person taking the video follows the action. They might be captured under any kind of lighting, from incandescent or fluorescent indoor lighting, to a mix of indoor lighting types combined with sunlight from a window, to bright sun, or to scenes where bright sunlight is compounded as it reflects off of snow or water.
You will definitely want optical image stabilization, and possibly digital image stabilization as well.
If the event is a scheduled one, you’ll have a better idea of what the lighting will be, so you might want some access to the camera’s settings so that you can choose the settings that best match the lighting. If you really don’t want to learn that much about the camera settings, you can choose a scene mode that matches the lighting that you expect.
If you shoot a lot of impromptu videos, you might not have time to change the camera settings. In that case, you can use the camera’s auto-focus mode and let it choose the settings from its light meter readings.
For capturing spur-of-the-moment videos, you’ll want a small, lightweight camera that you can easily carry with you wherever you go.
An attached or fixed zoom lens will serve you better than removable, interchangeable lenses.
If you plan to share these videos by email, you’ll want small size files, so a resolution of 720p is sufficient. HD video at 1080p has become the standard, though, and you will want at least this resolution if you want to show your videos on an HD TV.
That’s Life and travel vlogs record life, or a vacation, as it happens.
For this type of vlog, you might wear an action type camera like the ones used by action vloggers who capture videos of themselves as they surf, snowboard, ski, parachute, or participate in some other activity. These cameras operate hands-free and use the camera’s autofocus system to adjust the settings.
You also might carry a small, lightweight camera to selectively record the things and events that you encounter. Don’t necessarily dismiss anything because it’s commonplace.
Photographer Peter Funch went to the same location in Grand Central Station every morning between 8:30 to 9:30 from 2007 to 2016 and shot the scene from exactly the same location. Eventually, he realized that he was repeatedly capturing the same people walking alone or in the same group and creating a record of their morning routine.
Another photographer stepped outside the door of either his house or his studio at the same time every morning to photograph the street over a period of years. When he reviewed his images, he realized that he had captured the subtle changes in the street, the houses, and the people that had occurred day-to-day over time.
For this type of vlog, if you’re not using an action cam and you’re shooting impromptu scenes, you’ll want the same features that someone would want for capturing impromptu family videos – optical image stabilization, small size, and a fixed zoom lens.
If you are planning a study like the ones described above and you want professional, artistic quality, you’ll want manual access to all of the camera’s settings. You will know when and what you are going to shoot and the general type of lighting you will have, so you’ll be able to adjust the settings in advance for the highest quality images.
For a travel vlog, you will most likely need a camera with an optical zoom lens that ranges from 24mm or 28mm for landscapes and architecture to 200mm to 400mm or higher for focusing on distant subjects such as wild animals or a castle on a mountaintop. A fixed zoom lens saves you from having to pack and tote multiple interchangeable lenses with you wherever you go. Because you will be carrying your camera with you, you’ll want a small, lightweight one. Depending on the type of vacation you prefer, having scene settings for shooting in museums or through glass might be important. On the other hand, if you engage in active sports, you might want a waterproof camera, a camera with a waterproof case, or even a hands-free action camera with settings for taking photographs underwater.
If you are vlogging video of yourself in action, you’ll want an action cam that you can strap to yourself or attach to a helmet or some of your equipment. Some of these either are waterproof or have waterproof containers available so that you can use them in, on, and around water.
If you are shooting others as they participate in a sporting event, you’ll want a zoom lens with an optical zoom that ranges from wide angle shots of 24mm or 28mm for capturing the entire scene to narrowly focused shots of 200mm or even 400mm or higher for close ups of individuals. Long range zoom shots magnify camera shake, so you will need optical image stabilization, even if you are watching from your seat and not following the action on foot. You can use the camera’s action or sports scene setting, but to ensure the highest quality images, you’ll want to be able to adjust the camera’s white balance, aperture, and ISO or film sensitivity settings yourself.
While these blogs have very different topics, most of the time, they are shot indoors and consist of the vlogger talking into the camera or, possibly, interviewing a guest. For professional lighting and sound, look for a camera with jacks or hot-shoe attachments for connecting external lighting and an external microphone to the camera. Set the camera on a tripod, and look for a camera that allows you to control the camera’s functions remotely from an app on your cell phone or tablet. For the best quality video, you will want to be able to create a custom white balance setting and select the camera’s ISO setting.
If you are shooting your video on location, such as for a review of a store or a restaurant or a how-to sports, gardening, or repair video, it’s best if you have manual access to the camera’s settings so that you can adjust them, especially for low, indoor lighting, but you may have to rely on choosing one of the camera’s scene options or using autofocus.
The main difference between the best camera for YouTube and the best video camera for YouTube is that DSLR cameras can take still photos as well as videos while most video cameras still shoot only videos. However, some manufacturers do have video cameras that can take still images. For that reason, both can be discussed together.
Both DSLR cameras and video cameras use either CCD or CMOS image sensors to capture video. Both of these image sensors use photoreceptors to capture the image, and each photoreceptor equals one pixel.
The main difference between these two sensors, as far as capturing video is concerned, is that CCD image sensors are wired so that the photoreceptors are connected to the camera’s image processing software as a group. So all of the information from that group, which might even include all of the photoreceptors on the image sensor, is processed at the same time.
CMOS image sensors are wired so that each photoreceptor is surrounded by its own network of image processing software. This individual processing creates an effect called shutter roll in video captured by video cameras. It’s similar to what you see when the picture on your television rolls when you are trying to receive an over-the-air signal that’s not quite tuned in clearly. It’s more pronounced in some cameras than others. Most video editing software has a built-in correction for the effect however, just as there’s a correction for red eye.
Another point to keep in mind is that image sensors come in several sizes, and, in order to make DSLR cameras smaller and easier to carry with you everyday, manufacturer’s tend to use smaller image sensors. Video cameras, however, may have larger image sensors, which means that the image sensors can have larger photoreceptors than the smaller photoreceptors on the image sensors in DSLR cameras. Larger image sensors may, then, have fewer photoreceptors than smaller image sensors and fewer megapixels per inch. If all you see is the smaller number of megapixels per inch, you could think that video cameras have much lower resolutions than DSLR cameras, and that is misleading. The larger size of the photoreceptors on the larger image sensor means that video cameras can produce video at resolutions of 1080p, 1080i, or 4k with fewer megapixels per inch.
The best autofocus system will use a combination of phase detection and contrast detection. Phase detection tracks your subject’s movements and uses the subject’s current direction and speed to predict where the subject is most likely to move next. Contrast detection compares the information from adjacent photoreceptors to reduce the overlap in the image falling on each photoreceptor until each photoreceptor has a distinct part of the image to record, thus sharpening the image. Your camera also uses contrast detection to recognize human and pet faces.
Some DSLR cameras record video in very short segments while other DSLRs and some video cameras record in 10-minute segments because that is the limit YouTube sets on uploaded videos. However, to be certain that you have captured the best images or content for your vlog, you might want to record longer segments and edit them down to 10 minutes. So, when you’re buying a camera for vlogging, see if the camera limits the length of segments.
The built-in microphones will pick up extraneous noise that you won’t notice. Built-in microphones also can pick up the sound of the zoom lens as it operates. So, for the best sound quality, you should use an external microphone. If you purchase one that attaches to the camera’s hot-shoe, you can treat the microphone and camera as if you’re carrying one piece of equipment, not two.
While most cameras record monaural sound, some record stereo.
If your camera has a built-in Wi-Fi connection or is compatible with Eye-Fi storage cards, you will be able to upload your videos to social media sites like YouTube anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. If your camera has built-in Wi-Fi and an app that allows you to control at least some of your camera’s functions remotely from your smart phone or tablet, you can set your camera on a tripod and include yourself in your video. With NFC or Near Field Communication, you can share videos between phones or tablets by simply tapping them together. Bluetooth allows you to connect accessories to your camera wirelessly.
If you are recording while holding your camera above your head, to the side, or down low, a flip-out LCD screen will let you see what you are recording. Some act as touch screens so that you can use them to control your camera as you shoot.
It can be difficult to use LCD screens in bright sunlight, but many manufacturers are eliminating them to produce slimmer, lighter weight cameras.
You’ll find two kinds of viewfinders, optical and digital.
Optical viewfinders use mirrors to transfer the image as seen through the lens of the camera to the viewfinder. This is the type of viewfinder used in film cameras when the image captured by the camera was the image seen through the lens.
Digital viewfinders, however, display the image as it is captured by the image sensor, just as the LCD display does. In digital cameras, it’s the image from the image sensor that is actually recorded.
It’s your preference as to whether you would rather see the image from the lens or the one from the image sensor.
You’ll want to shoot the highest quality video possible, which means HD or full HD at 1080p or 4k video. Shooting high quality video means large files, though. So, you will want to buy the storage cards with the largest capacity that your camera will accept.
Shooting video can drain batteries quickly, especially if you are starting and stopping, turning the camera on and off, using the zoom lens, or using an external microphone or light source that uses your camera’s battery as a power source. You don’t want to drain a battery in the middle of shooting, so have extra batteries on hand.
The Canon Vixia HF R80 Camcorder includes a 3.28 MP 1/4.85 CMOS image sensor that produces video with a resolution of 1080p.
The LCD screen flips out and rotates, and it can be used as a touch screen to control the camera as you shoot.
The zoom lens on the Vixia HF R80 ranges from 38.5mm to 1,232mm.
The camera is set to autofocus mode as the default, but you also have a wide selection of scene modes and Superior mode which chooses settings for brightly lit and backlit scenes so that the details of dark areas and of backlit subjects appear. The Vixia HF R80 uses face recognition to automatically track your subject. Use mode P mode to take manual control of the camera’s settings.
You can add filters to your videos to achieve a number of effects, such as the look of an old movie. You can also record all or part of a scene in slow or fast motion. For example, if you are recording your child’s sporting event and he or she is about to score, you could record the dramatic moment in slow motion. If you are shooting a how-to video and you come to a simple but tedious or repetitive, time-consuming step, rather than starting and stopping the camera, you could film it in fast motion, creating a time-lapse effect. However, no sound is recorded in these two modes. Viewers would know that they hadn’t missed a thing.
You can add stamps, animated stamps, and your own free-hand drawings or comments to your videos as you record them.
You also can use the camera to take still photos, even while you are shooting video.
The Vixia HF R80 uses both optical and digital image stabilization. Canon’s Dynamic Image 5-Axis Stabilization system corrects camera movement in general, and the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer corrects camera shake on super sensitive zoom shots. The Vixia HF R80 has a HDMI mini-receptacle for connecting the camera to your TV.
The camera has a jack to connect an external microphone for better quality sound.
The built-in Wi-Fi lets you upload your videos anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection, and, with Canon’s Camera Connect app, you can control the Vixia HF R80, or any other Canon camera that you own, from your Android or iOS phone or tablet.
The Vixia HF R80 doesn’t limit recordings into short segments, so recording length depends on the resolution and speed at which you are filming and the amount of storage space you have. At 1080p and 35 MBPS, you could record for 30 minutes with 8 GB of storage up to four hours with 64 GB of storage. If you use the camera to monitor a single scene, it will record for 12 hours, take three seconds to reset, and then begin recording for another 12 hours.
GoPro’s Hero6 includes a 12 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor and GoPro’s advanced digital image stabilization.
As with the Hero 2018, the Hero6 has an LCD touch screen that you can use to control the camera or to playback your videos.
Like other GoPro cameras, the Hero6 also responds to voice commands.
It is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).
Unlike the other cameras on this list, the Hero6 shoots video in full HD 4k as well as 2.7k and 1080p with stereo sound.
As with the Hero 2018, you can set the Hero 6 for narrow, standard, and wide angles. The Hero6 also captures time lapse images, but it shoots burst mode at 30fps.
The Hero6 has three microphones, and the external microphone is designed to reduce wind noise.
The Hero6 captures both still photos and video, and it uses both JPEG and RAW file formats. This gives you the choice of capturing and preserving all of the details in your images, resulting in larger files taking up storage space, or allowing the camera to compress the image, sacrificing details but saving storage space. The JPEG format is designed to compress files each time you save them, so before editing them on your computer, you should save your still photos as PNG or TIFF files.
Like the Hero 2018 and other GoPros, the Hero6 comes with a frame, flat and curved adhesive mounts, and a mounting buckle. With the GoPro app, you can control your Hero6 from your iOS or Android phone or tablet. When the Hero6 connects to the GoPro app and the Quik app, it can automatically edit your videos and add special effects and music to transform them into QuikStories.
Like the Hero 2018, the Hero6 has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which allows you to upload your videos to the internet, share videos with other devices, and connect other devices to your Hero6.
One pro photographer reports attaching the Hero6 to the hot-shoe of a still camera and setting it to narrow focus and 1080p at 30fps to capture video and still photographs at the same time.
As of this writing, April 12, 2018, the GoPro Hero 2018, released earlier in 2018, is so new that it does not yet even have a user’s manual, and its specs are hard to impossible to find.
It appears to have a 10 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, and it uses GoPro’s image stabilization system.
The Hero shoots still photos as well as videos in full HD at a resolution of either 1440p or 1080p, and it has three microphones. It captures stereo sound, and the external microphone is designed to reduce wind noise. While the Hero 2018 uses auto focus, you can choose from wide angle for landscapes and selfies, standard for mid-range shots and portraits, and narrow to focus more tightly on your subject. The Hero 2018 also takes time lapse photographs and shoots in burst mode at 10fps.
Unlike most GoPros, the Hero 2018 has an LCD screen that serves as a touch screen to control the camera, but the it also responds to voice commands for hands-free operation.
The GoPro Hero is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).
It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which allows you to upload your videos and photos to the internet wherever you have a Wi-Fi connection, share your images with other devices, and connect other devices to your Hero 2018. You can use the GoPro app to control the GoPro Hero 2018 from your iOS or Android phone or tablet. When the GoPro 2018 is connected to the GoPro and Quik apps, it automatically transfers its videos to the apps, which automatically transforms them into QuikStories that are edited with special effects and music.
It comes with a frame, curved and flat adhesive mounts, and a mounting buckle.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 comes with a 20.2 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor and a zoom lens that ranges from 25mm to 625mm.
It does not have a viewfinder but instead uses the fixed LCD screen for composing your videos.
It offers scene modes and Smart Auto mode in which the camera chooses the settings, but switch to P or program mode when you want to take manual control of the settings. Use Tracking Auto Focus to lock onto moving subjects.
Intelligent Image Stabilization, Canon’s optical image stabilization system, uses different stabilization settings when you are recording video in a wide angle shot, a long-distance zoom shot, in macro mode, or when you are using a tripod. The standard advice is to turn image stabilization off when you are using a tripod because the movements of the stabilizing elements in the lens could introduce camera shake, but Canon’s tripod stabilization is designed to correct for movement created by wind.
The SX620 shoots video in full HD mode at a resolution of 1080p. You can connect it to your HDTV using an HDMI cable. With the built-in Wi-Fi, you can upload your video directly to the internet. The Canon Camera Connect app lets you control the camera from Android and iOS devices. You also can share video instantly with NFC compatible devices.
The camera shoots video in 30 minute segments, and the battery will last from approximately 65 minutes to 105 minutes depending on whether you are shooting steadily or whether you are stopping and starting, using the zoom lens, and turning the camera on and off.
The Sony DSCHX80 pairs an 18.1 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens that zooms from a wide angle 24mm to a long distance range of 720mm.
It comes with both a flip up digital viewfinder and a 180° flip up LCD screen.
Manual mode allows you to take full control of all of the camera’s settings, but you also can choose a scene mode yourself or set the camera to Intelligent Auto and let it choose. Set the camera to Lock-On Auto Focus and it tracks your subject for you.
The Sony DSCHX80 combines Sony’s Optical SteadyShot 5-axis image stabilization system with Intelligent Active Mode’s advanced frame analysis technology so that you can move wherever the action takes you. The camera even senses when you are moving and automatically chooses the correct type of compensation.
It shoots video in full HD at a resolution of 1080p or 1080i, which allows you to burn your videos on Blu-ray disk. Use the HDMI connection to play your videos on your HD TV.
With the built-in Wi-Fi, you can upload videos directly to the internet, and with the PlayMemories Mobile app, you can control this camera from your Android or iPhone or your iPad when you are shooting still images, but it’s not clear that you can use the app for shooting video.
You can share your movies instantly with NFC devices.
You can connect the camera to other micro-USB devices through the micro-USB port.
The Sony DSCHX80 shoots in 29 minute segments, and batteries last from 70 minutes to 115 minutes depending upon whether or not you are shooting constantly, whether you are using the viewfinder or the LCD screen, and other factors that drain more or less power.
In the best video camera category, the title goes to the Canon Vixia HF R80. The range of its zoom lens far surpasses the other cameras on this list. With its selection of scene modes and with Superior mode, beginning vloggers can learn to use it to create high quality videos quickly. However, with P mode, it’s a camera that beginning vloggers can grow with as they become more experienced. Experienced vloggers can take advantage of the manual controls immediately, and any vlogger at any level can have fun with the stickers, the animated stickers, and the ability to draw and write on the video while filming. In addition, the Vixia HF R80, unlike any of the other cameras listed, allows vloggers to film in both slow and fast motion. This capability could have serious applications, but it also can be used to have some fun as well.
In the best camera category, we were torn between the GoPro Hero 2018 and the Hero6. The Hero 2018 has a lower price that would appeal to beginning and family vloggers, but in the end we awarded the title to the Hero6 for its advanced image stabilization and its ability to shoot in 4k as well as 2.7k and 1080p. Producing the highest quality videos possible is important, so we felt the added sharpness and clarity of the images created by the Hero6 better serve most vloggers.