Best Budget Camera for Starting on YouTube 2020
No camera will make you an instant success on YouTube. However, it can make the process easier if you get the right camera from the start.
Having started my YouTube channel with a webcam and phone, I quickly upgraded to an inexpensive camcorder and then DSLR. These upgrades came after getting my audio sorted, which I feel is your first upgrade after finding a camera that can quickly auto-focus.
Whether you're a beginner, or just looking to upgrade, I'll take you through a few of my favorite cameras right now. Compared to higher-end options, these cameras are not only more affordable, they actually look very similar in overall picture quality.
5 Entry-Level YouTube Cameras You Should Know About
Looking to make it big in the YouTube world? First, you'll need a camera. Here are some affordable options that make our shortlist.
Canon T7i and 8Ti
Canon's EOS Rebel line of cameras has been a staple in the community for many years. When I started my YouTube channel I used a webcam and my smartphone to get by. After that, I quickly upgraded to the T3i. It was a huge upgrade, but it didn't autofocus. Fast forward to the t7i and T8i and you've got inexpensive options that not only have autofocus, but that produce an amazing quality video.
T7i vs T8i
Most of the questions I'm getting in 2020 relate to how the T7i compares to the 70D, the new differs from the 90D, and how the t7i and t8i compare. While I've provided a table below, here's a brief summary of my thoughts on which you should buy. Canon EOS Rebel T8i
I'll go over the 70D below, which I think is a decent buy if you can get it in good condition used. It gives you a similar performance to the t7i.
For the T7i and T8i, both options are lightweight. This makes them fantastic options for hooking up to a flexible tripod or taking on the go. Anytime you can eliminate weight, it just makes your job that much easier. Plus the hotshoe on top makes it easy to mount a good shotgun microphone.
That being said with the newer T8i coming in at just around $70 more than the old model, it's hard to recommend the T7i here. If you can get it cheap or used, I still think it's a very relevant camera in 2020.
Canon EOS 70D Used
Going with a camera that's a few years old can be a great way to spend money and the Canon EOS 70D, even though not completely new, is still being used by a massive amount of YouTubers after being popularized by famous YouTuber Casey Neistat.
And if you go out regularly by yourself, you'll understand why. The 70D keeps the image focused during your video. It's facial autofocus is fantastic and the STM and image stabilization are incredible. It's fast, easy, and effective. In fact, it's much better than even the expensive cameras I have.
In addition, it has a flip-out LCD for seeing yourself while you film - a requirement for those who can't afford a full-time person behind the camera. Throw it on a good budget tripod like the Gorillapod and you're ready to go.
No it doesn't do 4k. However, most people aren't watching YouTube in 4k anyway right now. It's difficult to stream, hard to store, and doesn't look that much better on your handheld device.
Still, the older EOS 70D is at the same price point as the Canon T7i. So, to help you with your decision, let's take a look at some of the key specifications of each of these cameras.
Canon T7i vs T8i vs 70D vs 90D Specifications
EOS Rebel T7i
EOS Rebel T8i
24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor.
20.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+
24-megapixel APS-C sensor
32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor
ISO Range 100-25600 expands to 51200
ISO Range Auto, 100-12800 (25600 with boost)
100 - 25,600
100 to 25,600
weight: 532g 1.18 pounds
755G 1.66 pounds
Dual Pixel CMOS AF (more refined but same system)
Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Full HD: Dual Pixel CMOS AF, 4k: contrast detection
45 cross-type points w/ 220,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor face detection
App is updated for remotely controlling camera and works better than 70D's
Weather Sealed Body
Uncropped 4k at 30FPS and 1080p 120FPS
So, there are a few problems with the EOS 70D. It's getting older, doesn't have a better picture, has many of the same specs as the T7i, has an inferior sensor, and is significantly heavier. If you plan on remotely controlling your camera, you'll also notice that the T7i's app is more refined just like you'll find with the newer T8i and EOS 90D.
Ultimately, if you can get the 70D for cheap refurbished or used, it might be a great way to get in the game on a budget. That being said, if it's the same price as the T7i, you should go with the T7i or jump up to the newer model in the T8i for $70 more or the EOS 90D for an additional $300. For me, the T8i is almost the perfect jump from your phone. That's why it makes our shortlist for our good and cheap audio and video setup for YouTube.
Affordable 4k Camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-G70
There are many people that will tell you that is the best body under $1,000. Truth be told, they have a point. Personally, I've stuck with the Canon lineup because that's where the glass I own is at. the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Mirrorless Camera
However, there's a lot to like about this camera.
First of all, you can shoot this mirrorless lightweight camera in 4k or 1080p 60FPS. This is unavailable with the Canon cameras at the same price range.
Second, is focus peaking. Focus peaking isn't autofocus (although the Lumix G7 does have that). Rather, it allows you to drag a box on your subject in order to focus in on them. For whatever reason, this makes it even easier to get the exact shot you'd like.
Lastly, the luminosity histogram allows you to easily get the best lighting for each situation. This allows you to use a lot of raw footage and cuts down on that post production hassle.
Overall, you get more than what you're expecting with the Lumix G7. I picked up the f/2.8 12-35mm lens to have that one-stop shop lens for shooting. This makes it a lot easier when you're trying to get out the door. Again, if you're looking to shoot in 4k and want an inexpensive option, this might just be what you're looking for.
Canon vs Nikon vs Sony
Which Brand do You Prefer?
For Good YouTube Action Shots - GoPro Hero7 and Hero6 Camera
Even the biggest YouTubers in the world occasionally use the . It's crucial for taking high-quality action shots. It's lightweight and portable, waterproof, has fantastic stabilization, and is super tough. GoPro Hero 7
It shoots up to 240 FPS (frames per second) in 1080p and up to 60FPS in 4k. And it does all of these while being waterproof at up to 33'.
Hero7 vs Hero6
I wouldn't normally say to go with the latest and greatest but the improvement in the Hero7 is substantial. The main difference is in the image stabilization. Something that, if you're on the go at all, you'll care a lot about.
In addition, photos and video seem truer to life and with more detail. That being said, photos, in my opinion, were very similar to the previous generation in actual tests.
Hero5 Vs Hero6
The Hero5 is a fantastic camera. So, if you can get it used at this point, I'd go that route. However, with the Hero6 coming we're likely to recommend that as it shoots in 240FPS 1080p so that you can get that perfect slow-motion shot and 4k 60FPS!
Yet whether you're video gets a lot of views or not depends more on what you're doing in it than the quality of the camera itself. So, if you can only afford an old GoPro, go with that and work your way up.
Best Webcam Camera for Live Gaming and YouTube - Logitech C930e
Even though I have better cameras today, I still occasionally find myself using a webcam. It's ideal for when I'm gaming live or want to post a video where I'm showing various news sites or products. A webcam just makes things so simple.
I highly recommend you hook up a good microphone as any webcam mic won't be up to par.
Even though it's a webcam you can get full 1080p at 30FPS with this one. Again, cameras don't limit the story you tell. As such, there are still many YouTubers with high sub counts that ONLY use webcams. A good example is Hearthstone streamer Kripparrian.
Overall, a good webcam seems like a must-have for almost any YouTuber. And if this is the only camera you have to start with, you can definitely make it work.
Your Smartphone (Whatever That Is)
Whatever your smartphone is, it probably has a camera. If it's only a flip phone, you might want to disregard this. This will become one of your best tools for when you're out and about and don't have your gear with you.
If you've ever heard that the best camera to have is the one that's with you, that is certainly true of your smartphone. Don't forget it's there.
If you're looking for quality video, I recommend you take a look at the iPhone 6 or later, Google Pixel, or the Samsung Galaxy S7 or later. I currently use the Samsung Galaxy S8 and love it.
Smartphone vs DSLR
In the right hands, you'd be surprised at how difficult it is to distinguish between your smartphone and your DSLR. You will see some additional blur with your phone on action shots, but overall, it's not too bad if you're willing to get creative.
What to Look For in a Camera for YouTube
Trying to manually focus while you're recording yourself and others doesn't turn out well. You'll typically have blurry film. I've been there and done that. So, prioritize finding something that not only has autofocus but does it quickly.
Flip out Screen
As a YouTuber, you'll find that a lot of the time you're holding the camera away from yourself while trying to film yourself. It sounds difficult but isn't too bad with a flip out screen. So, make sure that you make a flip out screen a priority.
Should you spend more?
You want to go with something that will last you at least a couple of years. It's easy to want to skimp on the body, but it's the glass/lenses that really end up costing a lot. So, if you can afford it, I'd recommend getting something that will stand the test of time.
Otherwise, it might be a good idea to use a budget option, like your phone, until you can get something that will truly cover some ground.
Sticking With a Single Brand
Over time, you'll likely spend more money on your lenses and accessories than you will on the camera body itself. So, it may be worth it to invest in a brand and stick with it.
You can definitely sell old gear; however, this can be a fairly big burden when you've got a lot of it!
Remember, the best camera to have is the one you've got on you. So, get out there, never quit, make some videos, and achieve the YouTube success you're looking for!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Do you think a Go-Pro would work for making YouTube videos?
A Go-Pro is a great option, but it all depends on what you're doing. Use a Go-Pro along with your phone and a decent mic and you've got a setup you can work with.Helpful 21
What is a good camera for videos like skits and short videos?
I'd probably go with some sort of DSLR, but it really depends on your budget. The T7i is an excellent mid-range place to start. Or, you could even go with a used T5i if you want to go with something on the budget side of things.Helpful 16
What do you think about the g7x mark ii for vlogging?
That's a good choice for a compact vlogging camera. If you personally plan on holding it all the time, there's certainly an argument for it. If you're using a tripod regularly, I prefer the T7i. I like the picture and autofocusing better overall.Helpful 9