What is the best camera for Youtube, vlogging and talking head videos?
So I currently make talking head videos and and I vlog. Back almost 2 years ago when I was doing my own research EVERYONE was recommending the Cannon G7X as THE vlogging camera to get. This was before the G7X mark ii came out so I have the original G7X and I’m really happy with the performance of it.
I got it primarily because of Radu Antonio. He has a fitness channel but occasionally makes vlogs. His older vlogs were done 100% on the G7X. Good story telling + editing + the form factor and ease of use made the G7X a no-brainer purchase. You can see an example of his vlogs here.
// For my own vlog style video (that demonstrates the G7X video quality and sound quality check out this vid on Korea I made.
// For my video on my G7X setup, checkout this vid called “how I make my videos.”
I watched a bunch of videos recorded with the G7X to get an idea as to the quality of the sound and the picture quality and made a decision to buy the G7X as I already own an H2N microphone that I use when I record my laptop for screen capture videos. I thought the on board audio was fine on the G7x and I’m not a professional at this and figured a small point and shoot would be ideal for me. In retrospect, it’s acceptable, but not the quality you’re going to want long term.
Now I’m looking to upgrade my setup for a few reasons:
// 1 – I travel and would like something with a little bit sharper picture quality. The G7x is good, but by no means great. I create videos partly for myself so it would be nice to have something a bit higher quality to look back on.
// 2 – I want something that I can use an external mic on. Its annoying having to sync the audio with the video. It creates another layer of complexity where something can go wrong as well as additional time it adds to creating videos.
What are your options for the best camera for YouTube?
So I’ve done my research, I’ve been vlogging and creating videos for almost 2 years now and I’ve also asked numerous friends what they suggest. Here are the best camera setups for YouTube, their pros and cons as well as price points. We will start off with point and shoot cameras then get into bigger, mirrorless cameras and dslr cameras.
Point and Shoot Cameras
// Canon G7X
// Sony RX 100 (this one is better but significantly more expensive)
Point and shoot cameras main selling points are mainly their ease of use and their size. They are small enough to fit in your pocket or a backpack with ease. Light, easy to use and having decent video and audio quality. With point and shoots, what you see is what you get. No external audio jack, no switching out the lens.
I like point and shoots because they’re the sort of camera you can have on you anywhere. The main drawback of a point and shoot however is the lack of an mic jack for an external microphone. This means that you’ll either be using the built in mic or you’ll have to sync the audio from another microphone.
The latter is what I do and it’s a bit annoying. It’s fine if you’re doing a few takes and your sitting in one spot. But if you want to have a more dynamic video where you’re recording and giving commentary from multiple spots or locations, syncing the audio is a real pain.
The two cameras in this space everyone suggests you check out are the Cannon G7x Mark ii and the Sony RX 100V. What’s the main difference between the two?
The Sony costs roughly 1,000 USD new where the G7X can be purchased for around 550 USD. If you’re going to be spending 1,000 USD on a camera anyways, I would suggest something else for your main camera. One that will allow you to “grow” with it in terms of buying lenses and and the ability to add an external mic. Particularly if it’s your first camera. You can always pickup a point and shoot later if it makes sense.
The Sony has better on board audio. Both are good, but the Sony is better.
Honestly though, you’re going to want to use a lapel mic when vlogging in public and a proper microphone when at home to get that quality audio that really makes a difference, then sync the two different files (the audio file and the video file) when rendering the video. This is an additional cost as microphones can be expensive.
For lapel mics for example, professionals use the Sennheiser AVX Digital Wireless Microphone which costs over 800 USD! If I was to buy a lapel mic I would look for something in the 50-100 USD range. I would probably get the Insignia Lapel mic.
Now you don’t need a lapel mic, the on board audio is good enough for short segments- but for doing voice over work for videos you’ll need an external microphone you can plug into your laptop.
Both are similar in quality but obviously the Sony is going to be a bit better (as it should be given it’s 400 USD more!). The Sony can record in 4k but it’s a bit choppy. The G7X can not record in 4k. The Sony has the slight edge in video quality but it’s not a dramatic difference. You’re not going to watch a YouTube video and be able to tell what camera was used.
Final Thoughts on Point and Shoots
Talking head videos +narration
If you’re going to be doing talking head videos with voice over work using audacity to narrate clips, you’re going to NEED a microphone for your laptop. If that’s the case, then my current setup is fine for you.
Record yourself with the G7x, capture the sound with the zoom H2N, use the H2N for additional narration. The Sony is the better of the two, but watch some videos of each and make up your mind. If you’re going to be doing voice over work for narration, you’ll need to buy a good microphone so the G7x mark ii may be a better option.
In general though, ff you’re looking for your FIRST camera I would NOT get a point and shoot. You’ll want something where you can switch out lens and something that allows for an external mic to get high quality audio instead of fussing with multiple devices and then syncing the audio. You’ll want something that grows with you.
Popular Cameras For YouTube
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Panasonic Lumix G7
Panasonic Lumix G85
Canon EOS M6
Sony a6300 /a6500
After watching countless YouTube camera review videos, and “my camera” videos, I’ve been able to narrow down the most common setups YouTubers (who have 10,000+ or more subscribers) use to film their YouTube videos.
Please note that the most common external microphones are either a lapel mic, the Rhode Video Mic or the Rhode Video Micro Compact. The Rhode Video Mic provides better sound than the compact, lapel mics are surprisingly my favorite if you want that deep, rich sound.
You’ll also need lenses besides the kit lens. You can research this via YouTube videos if you have no idea what to buy. I strongly suggest you go to a camera store and play around with different lenses to really understand overall.
This is a solid, classic choice. This camera plus a couple of lenses and a microphone will set you back 1,500 USD roughly all together. Expensive, but you’ll have everything you’ll need to start making high quality videos. The drawback of the 80D is that it does not have an option to record in 4k and it lacks built in image stabilization. Regardless, this is still one of the most popular setups due to Canon having a great lens selection, good focus and good color science.
LOL, this is a big, heavy 5,000 dollar camera. You’re nuts to buy this if you’ve never owned a camera before. This is for professionals who who want a camera that is a step down from large, cinematic camera. Still, it’s a popular camera that is used by some big name YouTubers so it needs to go on the list. The main drawback of the 1D however is that is lacks an articulated screen, a screen that flips out so you can see yourself. This camera is BIG, you’re not going to be walking around vlogging on this.
An excellent choice for video, particularly if you’re going to be doing doing talking head videos. The drawbacks are that this camera is expensive and a bit bulky. It’s the sort of camera that could be annoying having to carry on trips when traveling (which is why point and shoots are so popular). If you’re looking for a first camera, I would skip on this and go with something more flexible for different situations. But if all your going to be doing is narrating in front of the camera, this camera is your dream come true.
The best budget camera on the market. If you’re looking for a first camera to make YouTube videos with, I would suggest this one – particularly if price is a concern. You can get a whole kit on Amazon including a tripod, external mic and some lenses for under 600 USD. Outstanding value. Honestly, if I was in the USA at the time of my camera purchase, I would have gotten this setup. But i was in Thailand and the Lumix G7 costed over 1,000 USD there so I went with the G7X.
Lumix G85 / Lumix G80
The difference in the name comes from what country you’re buying it in. It’s the same camera otherwise.
This is THE BEST overall camera for new YouTubers. It’s reasonably small and light weight. Allowing you the flexibility to walk and vlog or to do sit down talking head videos. It records in 4k, which you can take and render into a 1080p video for a sharper image. It has awesome image stabilization so you can pan the camera for a nice and smooth video. It has great video quality, it does a great job of eliminating shaky cam and it’s small size will allow you to travel with it and actually use it.
How does it compare to the G7? Better video and it’s smoother due to the stabalization.
Canon EOS M6
This is another affordable option like the Lumix G7. Canon has great color and a great lens selection. You can pick up a bundle for this camera for under 800 USD. The drawback? Well you’ll need to purchase a small cage (as it’s called – not expensive) in order to mount that external microphone next to the camera.
Why? Well the EOS M6 has a flip UP screen, but if you put an external mic on the camera, it blocks the flip up screen. So there is a DIY work around by using this 10 USD flash bracket.
Canon overall has great color science. I just really like the colors of videos shot with a Canon.
Sony a6500 / Sony a6300
This Sony has a great form factor and a lot of great lenses to give your videos a professional look. The only drawback for me is that when I look at videos shot with this in comparison to the Canon M6, I find the colors a bit lacking. Of course, this can always be changed in post production. Both also lack a flip screen and built in stabalization. This has a lot of amazing features such as 4k whcih make it more ideal for filming than vlogging.
CONCLUSION: BEST CAMERA FOR YOUTUBE VIDEOS & VLOGGING
If you’re in front of the camera, without a doubt the Panasonic GH5 is the best for YouTubers overall.
If you’re a filmmaker, consider the Sony a6500.
On a budget go for the Panasonic G7.
For simple vlogging I think the Sony RX100 V is the best but the G7X mark ii is still a great, less expensive alternative. Get it only if you’re OK with buying a lapel mic ans syncing the video.
WINNER: Panasonic G85
The G85 is the best overall camera that will give you the most flexibility for filming in different situation. Built in stabalization makes your walking and talking videos nice and smooth. It can record in 4k which you can downgrade to 1080p for a a better picture quality. The camera is light and small so it’s not a burden to actually take it with you – and the price! It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s still affordable and it’s the sort of camera you can grow with over the years.
So that’s what I think is the best camera for YouTube. Be it a vlog, talking head video or for travel. Particularly if you’re just starting out or perhaps your like me looking to upgrade from a point ans and shoot.
Share? Share! What do you think?
I sold the G7X and bought a Canon 200d. It’s a small DSLR that was very affordable in South Korea where I was at the moment: