The best camera for beginners is the one you already have. Most smartphones these days already come equipped with a powerful camera that can record HD videos. If you still want to add a camera to your equipment list as a beginner YouTuber, you should look for a camera with the following eight qualities:
What To Look For In A Camera As A YouTuber
1. Fully articulated screen (flip screen)
2. Good continual auto focus while recording video
Below are the best cheap vlogging cameras that you can get for under $500. They all record at least 1080p HD video and all but the Sony Alpha a5100 come with optical image stabilization (if you want OIS with the Sony a5100, you’ll have it get it in the lens).
Yi 4K Action Camera
Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Sony Alpha a5100
Best cheap vlogging camera under $100: Polaroid Cube+
Even before GoPro released their GoPro Session, Polaroid was the first to come out with a 1.4-inch, cube-shaped action camera, small enough to mount on a bike or a helmet. This camera has built-in magnets so that you can attach them to metal surfaces.
This action camera is water-resistant, shock-proof, and weather-proof. It can record full HD 1080p videos at 60 fps with its wide-angle lens.
You can connect this camera with your phone to preview and take your shots.
Best cheap vlogging camera under $200: Yi 4K
At $200, you can record 4K videos with the Yi 4K action camera. Like many other action cameras, this camera is small, durable, and shoots through a wide-angle lens. You won't be able to take this camera underwater though because it isn't waterproof. You'll need to buy the right accessories for that.
Best cheap vlogging camera under $300: Nikon B500
The Nikon B500 gives you a non-interchangeable zoom lens so that you have more control over how you compose your shots. This camera records full HD 1080p videos at either 30 or 25 fps. You can only set its ISO as high as 3200, so it's not going to perform the best in low-light conditions. The tilting LCD screen does not have touchscreen and cannot be fully flipped up or flipped to the side, it only tilts. For a camera in its price range, the Nikon B500 offers a lot of features.
Best cheap vlogging camera under $400: Nikon A900
The Nikon A900 not only comes with a non-interchangeable zoom lens, but it can also record videos in UHD 4K quality. Like the Nikon B500, the A900's ISO goes only up to 3200, making it a weak performer in poorly lit conditions.
Best cheap vlogging camera under $500: Sony a5100
Among the cameras listed in our top cheap cameras list, the Sony a5100 is the only one you can interchange lenses with. All Sony E-mount lenses are compatible with this camera. This camera can record up to 1080p videos at 60 fps. Out of all of the above top cheap cameras, this one also auto focuses the best.
Best Entry-Level and Mid-Range Vlogging Cameras
If you have a bigger budget to work with, the following vlogging cameras are great options:
Canon EOS M50
Canon EOS M100
Canon EOS Rebel SL2
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Canon EOS 80D
Best entry-level mirrorless camera for vlogging: Canon EOS M100
The Canon M100 is a small and powerful camera that can shoot full HD (1080p) videos up to 60 fps. The touchscreen LCD of this camera flips up so that you can see yourself as you vlog in selfie mode.
Best mid-range mirrorless camera for vlogging: Canon EOS M50
The Canon EOS M50 can shoot UHD 4K videos at 23.98 fps. You can also record 120 fps slow-motion videos at 720p. Unlike the M100, which only has a flip up screen, the M50 has a fully articulated screen, so you can use this camera in selfie mode, all while using an on-camera shotgun microphone attached to the camera hot/cold shoe.
Best DSLR camera for daily vlogging: Canon EOS T7i
The Canon EOS T7i is a great DSLR camera for daily vlogging. It can record full HD 1080p videos at 60 fps, it can create HDR and time-lapse movies, and it also has a fully articulated screen.
Best entry-level DSLR camera for vlogging: Canon EOS SL2
The Canon EOS SL2 delivers a lot of power at a low price. This DSLR camera can capture full HD 1080p videos at 60 fps.
Best mid-range DSLR camera for vlogging: Canon EOS 80D
The Canon 80D is an exceptional mid-range DSLR vlogging camera with many features. Coming with a 45-point all cross phase detection autofocusing and a dual pixel CMOS AF system, the camera is great at finding the right focus while recording video.
Part 2: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: LENS
A lot of compact cameras already come with the lens as a part of the camera body. When it comes to these kinds of cameras, you won’t have to worry about which lens is right for you since the decision has already been made for you!
When you start looking into bigger cameras, though, you’ll have to think about which lens you want to shoot with.
The Wide-Angle Lens
Every YouTuber should have a wide-angle lens. With this kind of lens, you can fit much more of a scene into your camera frame, including your own face when you’re just an arm’s length away from your camera. This is especially important for YouTubers because most YouTubers have to operate their camera on their own, without the assistance of an additional camera person.
Optical Image Stabilization
You should also look for a lens with optical image stabilization if you’re shooting a lot of your YouTube videos handheld.
If you plan to film yourself talking in front of the same, unchanging background for an extended period of time, it doesn’t make sense to film yourself handheld the entire time. You’ll just end up tiring your arm out and adding distracting shakiness to your footage.
A tripod is a great solution to this problem. You can set up your framing once, press record, and leave your camera in its fixed position while you talk with both hands free.
Joby GorillaPod With Ballhead
When you film yourself handheld, it’s difficult to keep your arm higher up so that your camera shoots down at an ideal angle. You may also notice that a lot of your arm gets into your shot, which you and other viewers might find distracting.
Holding your camera up by a GorillaPod, however, can give you the extension you need to get that higher angle shot more easily, all without so much of your arm getting into your shot.
Part 4: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: MICROPHONE
Most vlogging cameras come with a built-in microphone that gets the job done. If you want higher quality audio recordings, though, you should check out the following list of top microphones.
Top Condenser Mics For Music and Singing
Top Condenser Mics For Voiceovers-Podcasts, Interviews
Using your smartphone’s camera to film your YouTube videos is a great idea since it’s light, portable, and most likely always with you. The following six smartphone accessories can help you make better YouTube videos:
Lighting for home living and lighting for filming is very different. If you try to make use of just the lights you have at home, you may find that your footage is too dark, grainy, and orange-tinted.
The solution to this problem is getting additional video lighting equipment with daytime light bulbs.
Daytime Light Bulbs
Your home is most likely lit with incandescent light bulbs that illuminate orange-tinted light. You can remove those light bulbs and replace them with daytime light bulbs that illuminate more of a white colored light.
On-Camera LED Light
If you need more light just in front of the camera and you need this light to be portable, LED lights that attach to your camera’s hot/cold shoe will do the job.
LED Ring Light
If you need more light just in front of the camera, you don’t have a lot of space, and you don’t need this light to be small and portable, an LED ring light is the best piece of equipment for you.
You can position your camera inside the circular space of the ring light. This kind of light also gives your eyes the circular shaped highlight that many people like to see.
Softbox Video Light
If you need more light and have more space, another piece of lighting equipment good for beginners is a softbox video light.
Umbrella Video Light
Umbrella video lights are very portable and affordable. The direction of the light from umbrella lights are more difficult to control than the light from softbox video lights.
After you’ve recorded all your footage, you’ll need a computer to edit your video clips together. You can perform basic video editing tasks and upload your video onto YouTube with any computer less than ten years old.
Laptop computers are popular among YouTubers because their portability allows you to work on your videos from anywhere. This way, you can finish and upload your videos more frequently, which is another important part of being a YouTuber.
The following three laptop computers handle video editing very well: