Searching for the best YouTube camera you can buy in 2020? You’re certainly not short of options these days, though the number of contenders – from premium compacts to video-focused mirrorless cameras – can make it a tricky decision. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the finest ones available, whatever your needs. If you’re looking for the best vlogging camera, you can also check out our guide to that broader species of a video camera.
The Sony ZV-1 delivers pretty much everything the roaming YouTuber needs, all in a pleasingly compact package. Sony’s class-leading Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF systems will keep you in focus as you move around the frame, while the bright lens and large 1-inch sensor size mean clear, crisp images in most conditions as well as attractive background bokeh – both something of a rarity on pocket-sized cameras.
You’ll find thoughtful touches everywhere. The hotshoe can accommodate an external mic or LED light without blocking the side-flipping touchscreen, the video record button is much larger than on regular compacts, and a built-in ND filter helps you to shoot smooth movement on brighter days. It even offers a feature aimed specifically at reviews-based YouTubers, ‘Product Showcase’, which quickly alters settings for the optimal shooting of objects, while YouTube lives streaming will be added via a software update in July 2020.
Olympus E-M5 Mark III
YouTubers rejoice: with its lightweight polycarbonate construction and impressive in-body image stabilization, the E-M5 Mark III is one interchangeable lens camera that feels engineered for long handheld recording sessions. It also touts some seriously impressive video specs, including the option of shooting Cinema 4K at 24fps and a bit-rate of 237Mbps, plus the ability to capture slow-mp 1080p video at 120fps.
The Four Thirds sensor isn’t as large as those on many mirrorless rivals but, while the E-M5 Mark III might not be the most impressive camera in its class when it comes to outright image quality, its video footage boasts great color rendition and rich detail. A vari-angle touchscreen, meanwhile, makes self-shooting a cinch.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
The latest incarnation of Canon’s G7 X series ups the video ante by adding 4K recording and a microphone socket. These slots in nicely beside the large 1-inch sensor, superb image stabilization, tilting touchscreen, and USB charging to make this a very capable compact for making YouTube content.
What’s more, it comes with YouTube live streaming support out of the box, so tether it to your smartphone or a Wi-Fi network and you can broadcast live to the world. The camera is sturdily built, sits nicely in the hand, and the touchscreen controls feel responsive.
If you’re looking for a YouTube camera that also doubles as a fine travel camera for photos, then the Panasonic G100 is one of the strongest contenders around. Unlike compact cameras like the Sony ZV-1 and Canon G7X Mark II, the G100 has a viewfinder – and a very decent, 3.69-million dot EVF at that. While this isn’t generally necessary for vlogging or shooting videos, it is a useful addition for shooting photos in bright conditions.
What about its video skills? These are also strong, if not quite class-leading. One standout feature is the G100’s Nokia Ozo-equipped triple microphone setup, which does a better job than most cameras in this list of isolating voices from background noise, and also cleverly works with the camera’s face-tracking.
Video quality is also very good, with good colors and plenty of detail. The reason why the G100 isn’t higher up this list is that it has a rather large 1.6x crop in 4K mode (which may be an issue if your YouTube channel is of the ‘walking and talking’ variety) and it also relies on the slightly older contrast AF system, rather than the hybrid phase-detect variety offered by the likes of the Sony ZV-1.