Picking out the best camera for your needs as a YouTuber is not an easy task if you have no background experience in dealing with this type of equipment. Depending on your budget and a number of other factors, cameras you can buy come in all shapes and sizes with different types of durability, portability and features.
First, let’s go over the six types of cameras available. Half of which are basic, the other half being advanced cameras with multiple features but at a higher cost.
The Specs and How They Matter
#1. Best Basic point-and-shoot: Ricoh Theta S
Sensor Size: 12MP
Weight: 900 grams
Pros: The possibility of shooting 360-degree videos at a full frame rate and the reasonable price make this camera a good acquisition. It also makes it very easy to upload videos on social media and YouTube.
Cons: The video resolution for 360 is lower than a Full HD feature, it has only 8GB of memory which gets depleted very fast and provides no removable option. There are no smartphone app essentials for some of the camera functions.
Overview: The Ricoh Theta S is already the third in its generation of 360-degree shooting cameras. The best feature of the camera is that it sports two sensors and two lenses pointing in opposite direction which allows for capture of images and videos in a full angle of 360 degrees. The shape is attractive and it’s easy to hold and carry, much like a smartphone. The phone shaped Theta S doesn’t have a built-in screen so it would be best used on a monopod or outfitted on your helmet if you practice extreme sports. Filming videos in 360 is a bit more difficult and not the same as recording a regular one, but you can choose the direction you which to film in as long as you make sure the lenses are pointed in the area of action. The two sensors included aren’t cheap on specifications with 1/2.3-inch and 12 megapixels. The output of the two sensors combined produces a 14 megapixel image. If we take a look at the price again, the sensor size provided is similar in specification to that of high-end camcorders. The pocket camcorder Theta S is certainly at the top of its category compared to its competition with a f/2.0 rated lens and good performance in low-light conditions. The camcorder has built-in Wi-Fi and 11 white balance presents alongside the auto mode, but with no manual option available. The app allows uploading of the videos on Facebook and YouTube. It’s easy to use, fairly cheap and great for producing VR content.
#2. Best Zoom: Canon PowerShot SX720.
Sensor Size: CMOS 20.3
Weight: 243 grams
Lens: 40x Optical Zoom
Pros:It can be remote controlled using a smartphone, it’s lightweight, has NFC connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi, face detection focusing, manual exposure and 1/3200s high shutter speed. One of the best features is the immense 40x Optical Zoom in a small body.
Cons: It has a very low life battery, no articulating screen or external flash shoe, no touch screen or built-in viewfinder. It’s not capable of RAW shooting, has only 9 focus points, slow lens and no environmental sealing. You cannot take panorama shots with it and it has no AE bracketing.
Overview: The Canon SX720 HS is a compact camera with the biggest optical zoom we’ve seen on the market for such a product in its category. It sports an incredible 40x zoom lens which completely destroys competition in this regards. It allows you to take long distance shots without the need of carrying a very large or heavy device around. The downside in this is that a 40x zoom in a 38mm sized camera isn’t easy to handle when you have to consider stabilization and noise. The zoom feature is a result of high demand, but which such a slim camera the slightest move can distort the subject of the shot.
The fast shutter speed and small aperture means less lightning for the sensor. In order to compensate for this, Canon had the ISO speed which generates more noise levels. The smart gunmetal grey or dusky red camera is riddled with buttons that give it a point-and-shoot feel. It has an exposure mode dial for the professionals and a rear quick setting adjustment. The rubber texture provides a secure handgrip and the optical stabilization does its job well. The remote shooting features allow you to take pictures by using your smartphone or tablet. Later you can use the Image Sync function to transfer all the photos and videos between the camera and your computer or other devices. The 20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor delivers strong image performance and it utilizes sophisticated light-capturing. The 3-inch LCD allows easy viewing of your photos from a wide angle with enough clarity for small details.
#3.Best point-and-shoot: Olympus TG-4 Tough
Sensor Size: 16 Megapixel BSI CMOS Sensor
Weight: 247 grams including battery
Lens: f/2 25-100mm lens
Pros: Durable camera body which is waterproof. It provides RAW capture and a fast f/2.0 maximum aperture with fast AF speeds. It has fairly fun shooting modes for the user.
Cons: It has heavy noise reduction even at base ISO and no continuous RAW image capture. The video performance is rather weak for the price and compared to competitive models on the market.
Overview: The Olympus TG-4 is a camera designed for people that also want to include watersports in their photography and video shooting activities. Its sturdy waterproof exterior with attractive design provides a new and improved package compared to its predecessors. It includes the usual Olympus Aperture Priority exposure mode and ability to record RAW files in almost all shooting modes. Among other modes we have the Live Composite which gives us the ability to capture cityscapes and night scenes at a pretty impressive long exposure in real-time. This eliminates the need for post-processing done later on a computer.
The AF Target selection can be used through the 4 rear buttons to move the focus point granting more composed shots with a precise point of focus.
It’s fully waterproof with a submersion level of 50 feet providing underwater shooting modes for wide-angles and macro shots. The Underwater HDR mode can capture multiple images with highlighted details and increased shadow.
Unmistakably, the TG-4 is equipped with GPS capabilities of using US-based GPS or the Russian GLONASS satellite positioning network. You can use a smartphone app to include GPS metadata when uploading the videos or images on social media. Obviously this is done by using TG-4’s Wi-Fi connectivity.
It can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius, dusty environment and pressure of about 220 pounds. On the Aperture Priority mode you can adjust it in three steps from f/2.0 to f/2.8 or f/8.0 on wide angle or f/4.9, f/6.3 or f/18.0 at telephoto. The video recording is done at a resolution of maximum 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps. The output files are in H.264 compression or .MOV. The wired connectivity can be done through a HDMI port or USB 2.0, analog A/V out and DC input.
#4. Best Action Cam: GoPro Hero
Megapixels: 5.0 Megapixel
Sensor Size: 5 pixels CMOS optical sensor
Weight: 120 grams
Lens:f/2.8 focus free lenses
Pros: It has incredible image quality, great microphones, effective electronic image stabilization and waterproof resistance to 10 meters without a case. Improved design compared to the previous models and additional image functions. The voice-activated camera controls are easy to use.
Cons: It has poor touchscreen responsiveness, no EIS in 4K mode and the older batteries are incompatible. The desktop editing is a bit difficult and it’s less sturdy than previous models.
Overview: GoPro is a modern synonym to extreme sports and their cameras are tailored for harsh conditions and quick access. Holiday exploring is always a good idea to test their products out. The dual microphones have a great quality of capturing wind noises and the subtleties of the environment. For some users this is just as important as the visual quality. Small enough to pocket anywhere, it has great video features and modes to enchant every kind of user. There’s a somewhat hidden feature which also allows you to bookmark choice moments in videos for easier playback later. The downside of the most added features is that it drains the battery quite quickly, up to 15 minutes compared to the previous models. It has USB-C and micro HDMI ports which are adjusted behind a careful design to make the seals waterproof. The camera doesn’t require a waterproof case anymore and it can withstand submersion of 10.06 meters without a case. The built-in GPS and the image stabilization system drain the battery faster but allow more crucial tools at the disposal of the user. It shoots video in 4K up to 30fps and you can get up to two hours and fifteen minutes of use per charge. The rectangular shaped Hero 5’s exterior is covered in rubber and easy to grip. The USB port cover can be removed but has to be attached back in case of use under water. The package comes with a standard adhesive amount in case you end up needing it. On the side of the camera you’ll find the power button that also serves for selecting between three shooting modes. We have the LCD panel on the front used for changing settings and video/picture viewing; it is 2-inches in size.
#5. Best Mirrorless: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Sensor Size: 16 Megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor
Weight: 396 grams
Lens: M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R lens
Pros: It has features from premium OM-D models, excellent low-light performance and great DSLR styling. It also provides incredible auto white balance (AWB).
Cons: We have noticed that the dynamic range is rather poor and unlike some of the other models, this one only has 3-axis stabilization. For the JPEGS, there’s a tendency for them to oversharpen in order to mimic higher picture quality.
Overview: Being the third camera in the OM-D range it has highly capable genetics and it’s part of a serious equipment for professionals. It’s definitely not a recommended camera for casual photographers. It has a 16MP four thirds CMOS sensor, twin control dials. It takes the best of the features from its previous models and includes a 3-axis image stabilization with a high quality viewfinder. The higher-resolution LCD and Wi-Fi features are welcomed on board too. It’s also capable of 4K time-lapse mode.
It isn’t weather sealed for the lower price reason. The modestly sized textured handgrip is a useful feature in keeping the camera steady if you plan on shooting handled videos or photos. The low light sensitivity goes up to a 25600 ISO and the noise reduction is provided through the TruePic VII processor. The on-board Art Filters are very useful for professional photographers and can be applied also to Full HD video and stills. The built-in pop-up flash is a solution that supports wireless flash control. On top we can see a flash hotshoe above the lens. Aperture and shutter priority is one of the main programs among manual, video, scene modes and the Photo Story. The most highlighted feature is probably the iAuto mode.
The total of 11 Art Filters adds an intense gritty outcome to the photos and vivid colors.
#6. Best DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T6
Sensor Size: 18 Megapixel CMOS image Sensor, APS-C size
Weight: 485 grams
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II
Pros: The price range for this camera is pretty low, making it a much easier buy. The camera body is exponentially more lightweight as opposed to other DSLRs. The buttons are easy to access, the lens are included in the package.
Cons: It lacks in quality when it comes to video especially when compared to other DSLRs due to its target audience. It has missing features: no sensor cleaner, no touch screen, no automated lens distortion or auto brightness control for LCD.
Overview: The Canon T6, also named EOS 1300D outside of US is a fairly heavy camera and the least expensive in the DSLR category. It replaces the late Rebel T5 and adds more functions such as a food mode designed for taking pictures of your meals. The Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity provides easy sharing of the photos between your canon and your other devices with the use of Canon apps. The high LCD resolution and White Priority auto white balance mode manage to get rid of washed out orange color casts if you plan on shooting indoors without the use of a flash. The biggest advantage in using this camera instead of your phone for shooting photos is its ability to deal with low-light settings. It has a real flash and it can be equipped with lens to zoom in optically at great ranges without the sacrifice of image quality. While it does have Auto ISO, the slow speed is based on the lens focal length so it cannot be manually configured. The finder has a 95% coverage through a lightweight pentamirror. It is capable of Live View at 30 FPS with 1x, 5x or 10x magnification. The flash can pop-up and it covers 17mm on APS-C with a 2 second recycling. For external flash we can use the hot shoe for Canon EX-series.
In terms of connectivity the USB connecter with analog NTSC/PAL output is coupled with HDMI with CEC connection.
#7. DSLR: Canon t6i
Sensor Size: 24.2 MP CMOS sensor
Weight: 776 grams
Lens: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Pros: It has the highest resolution capability in all the Canon APS-C cameras thus far. The improved dynamic range and high ISO performance makes it a valuable asset for its class. The autofocus is fast and the built-in Wi-Fi with NFC do not disappoint.
Cons: The image quality and autofocus don’t fare well enough during low light conditions. It has shallow buffer depth when it comes to RAW files and below average battery life. It does not include any Servo AF in Live View and doesn’t provide 60p video frame rate.
Overview: This is a more affordable DSLR option which includes most of the coveted features of amateur photographers at a lower price-range. While the t6i lacks the single-axis electronic level and the ability to adjust focus between burst frames in live mode, it provides access to an upgraded APS-C sensor. The sensor stands at 24.2 megapixels compared to 18MP on the previous model. The autofocus sensor is improved to a 19-point AF sensor. The metering sensor has been added some extras too, now sporting a 7560 pixel RGB + IR with skin tone detection. The articulating 3” LCD with touch screen has about 1.04 million dots and the native ISO reaches an incredible range of 100-12,800.
Making it marginally lighter than the previous model, it doesn’t have a top LCD “Quick Control” dial. This way the camera is smaller and easier to fit in your hand. The body of the camera is not weather-sealed even if it feels durable, so you won’t be able to use it much in harsh conditions. Although lacking on the “Quick Control” part it does have a button for quick adjustment of aperture and exposure compensation, it’s placed on the back of the camera body.
The touch-screen works quite well and it’s responsive, easy to use. However should you find the sun or other lights on it, it’s quite reflective and makes it difficult for shootings.
#8.Mirrorless: Panasonic Lumix GH4
Pricing: $1.197 – $1.399
Sensor Size:16.05 Megapixel Live MOS
Weight: 560 grams
Lens: No lens included
Pros: The 4K video facility is unique in its own way; the camera is tough and weatherproofed. Also the AF speed is impressive enough to be considered a big plus.
Cons: The control layout is a bit more complicated than needed and tracking AF performance is a definite let-down in this model.
Overview: The GH4 is capable of handling many situations and shooting video at 4K up to a bitrate of 200 mbps. The versatility in terms of video output primes with file formats such as MOV, MP4, AVCHD and AVCHD progressive. Depending on whether you edit your videos or not, this could come in handy later. The Venus Engine image processor coupled with the quad-core CPU is designed in such a manner to provide smooth video capture. It also provides the ability to take impressive burst photos with modes available to manage 7.5 frames per second. With the AF enabled it increases to about 12 FPS in AF-s mode.
The auto focusing is improved through the capability of the AF system to sport 49 precision contrast-detect AF points. Let’s not forget also the unique Panasonic feature called “Depth from Defocus”, a technology which helps the AF system deliver at speeds as little as 0.07 seconds.
For image composition and review it has a pair of interesting options. The 3-inch 1043k-dot vari-angle touchscreen has a 3:2 aspect ratio. The viewfinder is complete with 100% coverage and a resolution to about 2.36 million dots.
It has a mid-range DSLR feel when it comes to design and build quality because of the rubberized handgrip which makes it perfect for larger hands. It has five customizable function buttons spread all over the exterior body with quick direct access. This is a great feature for advanced users, but a bit of a headache and confusing factor for the amateurs. While still having the GH3 matte finish, the GH4 has a metal frame which provides a sophisticated outlook to make it seem more professional, similar to a high-end DSLR.
#9. DSLR: Canon 70D
Sensor Size: 20.2 Mega Pixel APS-C sized CMOS
Weight: 755 grams
Lens: EF-S 18-55m F3.5-56 IS STM
Pros: The sensor manages to bring out the best autofocus performance we’ve seen at this price thus far and the camera is extremely fast.
Cons: On the image quality it does leave to desire compared to the price in its category. Parts of the design such as the difficult to control multicontroller and Wi-Fi/movie mode conflict resolution are stressful to say the least.
Overview: This camera is a mid-range SLR for photographers of both professional and amateur categories. The overhauled model o fthe late EOS 60D comes with live view and a video-optimized autofocus system which eliminates the necessity for special lenses. The streamlined body design along with the easy-to-use touch screen and Wi-Fi support cover many of the basic needs in a camera. The image quality is not the best for its price; we were expecting a bit more. It doesn’t perform quite good in low-light conditions, however, the continuous and really fast shooting with sufficient deep buffer make it extremely versatile. You can shoot JPEGs at more than 30 shots at a 7.1fps. The raw shooting is going to be slowed down to a 2.5fps. The depth in the sensor can detect focus directly from the optical 3D image for live phase-detection AF. This feature is called “Dual Pixel” by Canon. The autofocus gives 19-cross type AF points that work at f/5.6 or faster and the center point gives extra precision at f/2.8. Unfortunately it has no AF illuminator, although it does have AF fine-tuning. The finder provides a 98% coverage with 53% magnification. The magnification is at a standard for the APS-C 28mm lens with fixed focusing screen. The built-in flash covers just as wide as a 17mm lens and the maximum shutter speed with flash is 1/250.
Videos are outputted in MOV/MPEG-4AVC/H.264 and sport linear PCM audio. Meta data is directly embedded in the file. The maximum shot length is a half hour. For the audio we have a built-in microphone and it’s only recoded with video.
You can connect the camera using USB, HDMI type C, AV and Wi-Fi if we’re talking Canon apps.
#10. Best professional DSLR: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Sensor Size: 22.3 Megapixel Full-Frame Canon CMOS 864mm2
Weight: 950 grams
Lens: No lens included
Pros: It has superb video image quality and it’s very powerful and fast. The AF system is accurate and includes cross-type points, configurability access and frame coverage. It’s weather sealed and has amazing control layout with customizable user-interface.
Cons: The dynamic range has been limited by noise in deep shadows like many other models. The noise suppression is noticeable and heavy with sharpening at default. It has no AF illuminator. One of the minuses on this buy is that it has no included lens so you will have to buy your own separately.
Overview: The 5D Mark III sports a 22 Mega Pixel full frame sensor in a EOS 7D design. It has a 61-point AF system. Its impressive capabilities for video shooting and stills are a great addition for both amateurs and professionals. The DIGIC 5_ processor makes it ten times more powerful than its competition. The 63-zone dual-layer metering system and 150.000-cycle shutter rating is among other features present in the camera. We have a new HDR mode, Full HD 1080p at 24, 25 and 30 frames per second. The screen is a 3.2-inch 1.04M-dot LCD and the CMOS sensor has higher sensitivity and eight-channel readout that allows 6 FPS. The quick control dial now has touch capability for silent adjustment during video mode and the RAW image sizes come in different options. It has a 100% viewfinder coverage that sports an adjustable LCD grid. It also has a dual-axis leveling system and standard or quiet operation modes depending on what type of video you’re shooting and the environment you’re in
It’s size is pretty heavy and the grip is somewhat large for small hands. The infrared port is on the grip and the depth-of-field button is on the grip-side of the body. We can see the monaural microphone right below the EOS 5D logo.
The menu system is divided into color-coded subgroups to make it more intuitive for people that lack time and much easier to navigate.