Do you remember the days when we all gathered around the TV on a Saturday night, waiting to see our favourite comedy, which aired once a week at eight o’clock for half an hour? If you do, we sympathise, those days were tough! These days, it’s all binge watching and instant access, and most of the time there’s not even a TV involved.
Thanks to the rise of mobile technology, and the internet, people have become adept at creating the kind of content they want to see, and we love it. The leader of this phenomenon is YouTube. A social media platform that thrives on user created content, aimed at any niche you can image.
Obviously, since you’re here, you’re considering taking up the challenge of entertaining the masses and potentially make your fortune. There’s a few things you’ll need to consider. A punchy channel name, a niche that people will invest in and some killer content! Of course, none of that is possible without a pretty decent camera to film yourself on… and that’s where we come in.
These picks are great for any budding serious YouTuber. We’ve got industry staples, like the GH5, a mirrorless camera with a ton of great features, or a GoPro for thrill seekers, and even a 3-axis gimbal for ultra smooth footage. Read on to get some inspiration and start your journey.
Video cameras for YouTubers
Let's start this list with the camera that has become synonymous with YouTube. Panasonic's GH5 was, and remains revolutionary in many ways. not only does it have the much sought after front facing flip-out screen, but it can also shoot in 4K 60 with 4:2:2 10-bit internally and offers V-Logu2026 though this is via a paid firmware update. You have a 225-point DFD (Depth From Defocus) contrast detect AF system, which is capable of tracking your face while vlogging - though it's not the best on our list - and a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation system for smooth footage. 4K 60 will allow you to get slowmo footage in high resolution, while you can record at 120fps in 1080p, or even 180fps in the VFR variable frame rate mode. It's a very impressive entry to our list, and the image stabilisation makes it a great option, even against the newer GH5S, which does better in low-light, though lacks stabilisation.
Not a traditional camera, but that's definitely where the GoPro's strength lies. This action cam is tough and rugged, as well as being waterproof to 10m, or more if you buy the additional case. It also bandits from a wide range of third party mounting options, meaning you can fit it to your helmet, chest or anything else you can think of to get some high-octane b-roll or vlog your adventures in any conditions - perfect for adrenaline junkies. The sensor belts out video up to 4K 60fps, 2.7K at 120fps and 1080p Full HD (the standard viewing resolution for most of us) at a whopping 240fps. It also boasts a 2in rear touchscreen, front facing information panel and voice control. Top this off with the HyperSmooth digital image stabilisation and time-lapse features, and you suddenly have a go-anywhere do-anything video capture device to show the world what you can do. Oh, and did we mention is can also stream to Facebook Live and YouTube - perfect!
Canon's mid-range premium compact boasts a 1 inch sensor and tips the scales at a very manageable 319g. While the 20.1MP and resolution and 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 35mm equivalent lens is great for taking photos of your travels, it also boasts the ability to capture Full HD 1080p video. It's not ground breaking, but at the price, it's a worthy mention for those taking their tentative first steps into the world of vlogging. You'll find a front facing flip up touchscreen, image stabilisation and Face Detection AF system. It only achieves 60fps in Full HD, though this still equates to 2x slow motion, and the inclusion of in-built physical ND filters allows you to cut down on accessories while still capturing scenes in brighter conditions. It won't top any lists for the ultimate companion, but for a starter kit with an incredible compact design and ease of use, it's worth checking out.
If you like the sound of a GoPro with its own dedicated 3-axis motorised gimbal, you're gonna love this hybrid from drone impresarios DJI. Packing a 1/2.3 inch sensor on a mechanical rotating arm, it manages to keep itself steady to return beautifully smooth footage. You can film 4K video in 60fps, allowing you to slow it down 2x, as well as 1080p Full HD in 120fps. You can also take it up a notch by programming in a movement on the free app or rear touchscreen, and setting it to do a moving time-lapse, or hyperlapse as it's known - ideal for insatiably B-roll enthusiasts. If you're looking to switch between filming your surroundings and your reaction, pressing the trigger three times will spin the camera round into selfie mode, while the tracking autofocus will lock on to a subject and point the camera at it even as you walk past. If that sounds too good to be true, wait till you find out that it's roughly the size of a good cigaru2026 mind = blown!
Sony is a force to be reckoned with in the camera market right now. Not only is the company known for revolutionising the full-frame mirrorless market, but it's also distilled some of its most advanced autofocus tech and video capability into this compact APS-C interchangeable. Built with a dust and moisture resistant construction, this rugged little number can belt out 4K at 30fps and 120fps at full HD 1080p. You have access to S-Log to shoot in a flat colour profile and create stunning colour grades in your footage (for free we might add - Panasonic). The focus system is a belter too. Packing in 425 points and the latest firmware from Sony, it boasts one of the best Eye Af systems in the world, and easily tops the list for sticking to faces while you're filming. Of course, you may have considered one of Sony's other A6XXX series, but been put off by the lack of tilting touchscreens. Happily, Sony has learned from this, and the A6400 screen flips right up for some serious vlogging. Unfortunately, it meets the hotshoe, so you won't be using a shot-gun mic unless you buy a cage or go guerrilla with some duct tape. It's possibly the only weak-ness.
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Kirk Schwarz is one of our resident tech experts. A tech-addicted photographer with more than a decade's experience, Kirk's used to putting new gear through extreme field-testing.
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