If you’re buying a camera to make YouTube videos, you may be confused with all the options available. It even gets worse if you’ve never purchased a camera before. I faced exactly the same issue the first time I decided to get a camera to make YouTube videos. I was naïve, I didn’t know much about cameras and eventually made the wrong choice.
If you plan to make videos, you can’t just pick a random camera off the shelf; there are certain things to look out for if you don’t want to make the same mistake I did. This article isn’t going to deal with technical specifications, it’s going to be more focused on camera features.
Never buy a point and shoot camera
If you’re planning to buy a cheap point and shoot camera, now is the time to get that thought off your mind. The first camera I ever bought was a Sony DSC H400, a bridge camera that was nothing but an advanced point and shoot camera. Although it had a pretty nice fixed zoom lens, it wasn’t a good choice for videography. The fixed lens could not be changed.
I got horrible results trying to shoot videos in low light. It was so bad I had to go back to shooting with my iPhone. It wasn’t a completely useless camera though, it wasn’t just made for shooting videos. If you’re looking for a travel companion, it might be the perfect camera to take along.
To make great YouTube videos, you should narrow your options down to DSLR or mirrorless cameras. You need the freedom to tweak the camera settings as you wish, and you sure need to be able to change the camera lens if you have to.
I had to buy a second camera (Canon EOS Rebel T6i) when my first purchase failed me.
Make sure it shoots in 1080p, at least (or even 4K)
There are still cameras in the market that only record videos in 720p resolution. If your uploaded videos are poorly recorded 720p videos, you may find it hard to gain loyal subscribers. While 1080p looks like the standard, some YouTube viewers prefer watching videos in 4K resolution.
Although the camera I personally use right now only shoots at 1080p, I plan to upgrade to a 4K camera when the time comes. Before you buy any camera, be sure to check the technical specifications. Even if it doesn’t shoot 4k videos, it should be able to shoot in 1080p resolution at least.
You might also want to know the number of frames per second it is capable of shooting. 1080p at 60fps seems to be the gold standard, but your budget may need to rise above average. Shooting at 60fps makes your videos look a lot smoother than shooting at 30fps.
It must have an articulating screen
This may not be really important if you only want to shoot photos. For videos, your camera of choice should have an articulating screen. If you’re shooting alone, you may find it difficult working with a fixed screen– You are facing the camera but the LCD screen is at the other side and you don’t even know if you’re well positioned or not.
With an articulating screen, you only need to rotate the screen to face you. This helps in making better videos as you can already see what the end product would look like.
A few other technical details
The camera you’re choosing must have a port for external microphones. Relying on the camera’s inbuilt microphone won’t give you the best sound quality. With more than half views on YouTube coming from mobile devices, getting a 4K camera is an extra expense to please less than 25% of your viewers. It’s not that important if you’re on a tight budget. Of course, one can’t deny the fact that it’s a future-proof investment.
Other things you should take more seriously is the ISO range (up to 25600), features like WiFi and Bluetooth if they are important to you.
What’s my recommendation?
Canon EOS 70D is generally believed to be the best camera for YouTube, but I personally prefer Canon EOS Rebel T7i (also known as Canon EOS 800D) for several reasons:
- If you are on a budget, it’s cheaper
- It has NFC and Bluetooth
- It has a better ISO performance
- It does time-lapse recording
- It has more focus points
- It has digital image stabilization