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YouTube Equipment Starter Guide For Beginners

Nov 17, 2020• Proven solutions

If you want to start creating videos and uploading them onto YouTube, you’ll need to have access to some basic equipment. This guide will go over everything you’ll need to be a YouTuber.


Table of Contents

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: CAMERA

What To Look For In A Camera As A YouTuber
Best Cheap Vlogging Cameras
Best Entry-Level and Mid-Range Vlogging Cameras

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: LENS

The Wide-Angle Lens
Optical Image Stabilization

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: TRIPOD

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: MICROPHONE

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: SMARTPHONE ACCESSORIES

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: LIGHT

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: COMPUTER

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: AUDIO

Music Libraries
Sound Effects

Part 1: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: CAMERA

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

3. Good focus priority through face recognition

4. Touch to focus

5. Good low-light performance

6. external mic jack, hot/cold shoe bracket

7. optical image stabilization

8. good battery life

Check out my full list of 10 Things To Look For In A Vlogging Camera to understand the importance of these camera features.

Best Cheap Vlogging Cameras

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).

Camera Release Date Camera Type Flip Screen 4K Price
Yi 4K
Action Camera
Yi 4K February
2017
Action Camera No Yes $169 (MSRP)
Nikon
Coolpix
A900
Nikon A900 February
2016
Compact Flip Up Yes $399 (MSRP)

Nikon
Coolpix
B500

Nikon B500 February
2016
SLR-like (bridge) Tilting No $250 (MSRP)
Polaroid
Cube+
Polaroid Cube June
2015
Action Camera No No $99 (MSRP)

Sony
Alpha
a5100

Sony a5100 August
2014
Mirrorless Flip Up No $450 (MSRP)
Polaroid Cube

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.

Yi 4K

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. 

Nikon B500

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.

Nikon A900

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.

Sony a5100

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:

Camera Release Date Camera Type Flip Screen Mic Port Price
Canon
EOS
M50
Canon M50 February
2018
Mirrorless Fully Articulated Yes $$-
Canon
EOS
M100
Canon M100 August
2017
Mirrorless Flip Up No $$
Canon
EOS Rebel
SL2
Canon SL2

June
2017

Compact SLR Fully Articulated Yes $$
Canon
EOS Rebel
T7i
Canon T7i February
2017
Mid-size SLR Fully Articulated Yes $$-
Canon
EOS
80D
Canon 80D February
2016
Mid-size SLR Fully Articulated Yes $$$
Canon M100

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.

Canon M50

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. 

Canon T7i

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.

Canon SL2

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.

Canon 80D

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.

For more information on camera lenses, check out my Vlogger’s Guide To Camera Lenses.

Part 3: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: TRIPOD

Tripod

Tripod

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 SLR-Zoom

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 Top On-Camera Shotgun Mics Top Shotgun Mics Top Low-Profile Lavalier Mics
  1. Audio-Technica AT2035
  2. Rode NT1-A
  3. AKG C214
  1. Apogee Mic 96K
  2. Blue Yeti
  3. Rode NT-USB
  4. Blue Snowball
  5. Audio-Technica AT2020
  6. Rode Procaster
  1. Rode VideoMic Go
  2. Shure VP83
  3. Rode VideoMic Pro+
  4. Sennheiser MKE 440
  1. Rode NTG-3
  2. Audio-Technica AT4053B
  3. Sennheiser MKH416
  1. Rode SmartLav+
  2. Audio-Technica ATR3350iS
  3. Sennheiser ME2


To read more about each of these microphones, check out our post on The 19 Best YouTube Microphones 2018 – Options for Music, Voiceovers, Vlogging, and more!

Part 5: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: SMARTPHONE ACCESSORIES

SMARTPHONE ACCESSORIES for YouTube Starter


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:

  1. Arkon Tripod Mount
  2. FLII Selfie Ring Light
  3. RODE VideoMic Me
  4. Aukey Optic 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Set
  5. iOgrapher Go for Android and iPhone
  6. Manfrotto TwistGrip System


Read about each one of these items and more in The 9 Best Smartphone Camera Accessories For Vloggers.

Part 6: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: LIGHT

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

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

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

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

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 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.

 

If you're looking for recommendations on which piece of lighting equipment to buy, check out my list of the Top 17 Video Lighting Equipment For YouTubers

Part 7: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: COMPUTER

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:

Computers for YouTube Starter

  1. MacBook Pro With Touch Bar
  2. Dell XPS 15
  3. Microsoft Surface Book 2


Read more about these laptop computers for 4K video editing in The Best Laptops for 4K Video Editing.

Part 8: YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE

Download Filmora9 Win Version Download Filmora9 Mac Version

FREE VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARES PAID VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARES
  1. OpenShot Video Editor (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  2. ShotCut (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  3. Hitfilm Express (Windows, Mac)
  4. VideoPad Video Editor (Windows)
  5. Lightworks (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  6. VSDC Video Editor (Windows)
  7. Machete Video Editor Lite (Windows)
  8. Avidemux (Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD)


Read more about each of these softwares in our post about The Best Free Video Editing Software for YouTube.

  1. Filmora9 Video Editor (Windows, Mac) - $40 one year license, $60 lifetime license. Free trial
  2. Final Cut Pro (Mac) - $299.99, Free trial
  3. Vegas Movie Studio (Windows) - $49.99

YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT: AUDIO

Music Libraries

Music is an important part of YouTube video creation. Here’s where you can get access to music:

ROYALTY-FREE MUSIC LIBRARIES PAID MUSIC LIBRARIES PAID SUBSCRIPTION MUSIC LIBRARIES
  1. Audionautix
  2. Bensound
  3. dig.ccMixter
  4. Free Music Archive
  5. Free Stock Music
  6. Incompetech
  7. Josh Woodward
  8. JukeDeck
  9. Moby Gratis
  10. Musopen
  11. Purple Planet Music
  12. TeknoAXE
  13. YouTube Audio Library
  1. Premium Beat
  2. Audio Jungle
  1. Audio Network
  2. Audio Blocks
  3. Epidemic Sound

Sound Effects

Free Sound Effect Sites

  1. Filmstock Sound Effects
  2. Freesound
  3. PacDV
  4. Sound Bible
  5. Sound Gator
  6. Sounds Crate
  7. Zapsplat
Shanoon Cox
Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.