The best kind of camera for YouTube videos

best YouTube camera

The best camera for YouTube used to be a dSLR. Hey I even bought one of those — an expensive Canon 5D Mark II.

Now there are cameras on the market that are much better and you can operate them when working alone. They do auto focus – real autofocus – and have flip around screens so you can see yourself in the video screen for better video composition.

These cameras have the option to shoot file formats that work with video editing software like Camtasia and Screenflow which many educators and online marketers use to create video content.

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This video looks at a few types of common cameras people use to record YouTube videos and gives a recommendation for what to buy if you are just starting out and want to get the best possible quality for a reasonable price.

The types of cameras I review are:

  • Handycam
  • iPhone/iPad
  • dSLR
  • Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC)
  • Automatic cameras like the GoPro (see the Update below for additional info about GoPro cameras)

I cover the pros and cons of each type of camera.

My recommendation:

My top recommendation for marketers and educators who are creating web video is the Panasonic Lumix G6. This camera will fit your budget and it delivers excellent video and audio quality. It is fully adjustable and will work with green screen and white backgrounds too. 

[August 2015 update] There is a newer model of this camera, the Panasonic Lumix G7. It has all the same features like flip around screen, audio input, etc, BUT it also shoots 4K video, which has some benefits, but 4K is not necessary for web video. So, I’m sticking to my original recommendation of the G6 for those on a budget, until the price of the G7 comes down. But if you have the funds for the newer camera, and like to have the newest model of your gear, go for it.

What else do you need for your web video studio?


I’ve got a whole post on setting up your video studio. Check it out right here!


I’ve had a ton of views on the YouTube video and several comments too. So I’d like to add that newer GoPro cameras DO have an external microphone jack, so they would also work for YouTube videos of talking heads. Just be sure you shoot in good light, so that you get the best possible image quality, as there aren’t a lot of controls on GoPros, because they are designed to be simple and easy to use.

In future blog posts, I’ll be going through some microphone options as well as other gear needed to get you started in web video.





16 responses to “The best kind of camera for YouTube videos”

  1. Megan Everett Avatar

    This is a great video, Marlene! I’ve been wanting to get started with my first videos to use on my website (Welcome, About, ….) and I want a really professional result… But I know NOTHING about cameras or videography. I love my Lumix point-and-shoot and your recommendation sounds like exactly what I need! I expect once I get started to be making LOTS of videos, so thanks for saving me headaches…. I would have blamed myself not the gear and suffered needlessly for a long time ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      When you are ready for the next step, let me know Megan. I’m currently working with a client who is also starting to shoot her own YouTube videos and she’s starting from scratch. She’s just purchased this camera and I’ll be training her remotely. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. denise butchko Avatar

    Great job Marlene. You always do such a great job of (literally) shedding light on things.

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      Thanks Denise. You’re very kind, and have a nice way of saying things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jane LaFazio Avatar

    Great info Marlene. I have a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. I’ve been creating and editing videos (using movie maker, I have a pc) since January! I would love to hire you to do a one-on-one with me. I do not have external audio (need it). I also have not learned how to do voiceovers in editig. And as you can see from my Vimeo channel, I’ve kept it pretty simple. Can you help?

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      Yes Jane I can help! Get in touch via email anytime.

  4. Mark Avatar

    Nice Video! Is the Lumix G6 is good choice if you are shooting from 20-30 feet away (in a classroom)? Also, we need to record up to a full hour and I read that in MP4 there is a 30 minute/2GB limit even for NTSC models? Thank you in advance.

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      I’m not sure about this particular camera and shooting a long take. Though, I have used a Lumix GH3 to shoot a long teaching event at a trade show (over 1 hour without a break in filming) but I was one of 3 people shooting (we had 3 different angles of view and we edited it together after). You would also need to have a mic or two on the person speaking. I would definitely shoot something like this with more than one camera so you could shoot closeups and different angles so it’s not so boring to watch. And when you are that far away, you’d need a longer lens as well or a person who is moving around. I do know that a handycam would work, but the quality is not always the best if it’s a cheaper handycam, as the sensors are so small in those. It’s a bit unforgiving in bad light.

  5. Rick Avatar

    What is good mic to use with the Panasonic Lumix G Series DMC-G6KK Compact System Digital Camera with 14-42mm II Lens Kit (Black) ?

    $100 or less in cost? Do you have a couple of favorites you can suggest?

    What about a white screen also? Any suggestions?

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      Yes I do! I’ve got a new blog post that answers that question Rick. Check it out here.

  6. […] I’ve written a blog post and created a detailed video about different types of videos cameras for bloggers and teachers. Read it here. […]

  7. John S. Avatar
    John S.

    So glad we found your website!
    Great video! My 10 year old has started doing some videos but we want to get him some better equipment. He has been using a Samsung Tablet, Ipad3 or a compact Nikon. Most of his videos are car reviews at motor shows and antique car shows or more recently box opening of new toys, etc. We struggle with background noise (especially at auto shows) and differing light conditions because video are not usually shot in a studio but on location including outdoors.
    We have a pretty strict and low budget and are considering the Lumix G6 or G7 (possibly even secondhand). Would you still recommend them for how we plan to use it?

    What about lenses?

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      Hi John, Thanks for stopping by.

      If you are on a budget, then definitely get the Lumix G6. It comes with a 14-42mm lens which will be fine for your son’s run-and-gun videos at the car shows, as well as the unboxing ones. Given his age and the need for simplicity, you might want to consider a camera mounted shotgun mic instead of using the built-in one. Make sure to get one with a built-in shock mount (such as the Rode Videomic Pro). The wired mic I have in the blog post will work great too, but he’ll have to deal with the long wire, and for a kid in a car show, that might not be the easiest.

      To keep the noise lower, he needs to be closer to the person speaking. Plus a shotgun mic will pick up less ambient noise and just pick up what’s directly in front of it. Your son will notice the drastic improvement in sound and picture quality immediately.

      Lumix cameras respond very well in mixed lighting situations using Auto White Balance. If he was older and had a big budget, I would recommend something a bit different, but this type of setup will last him for the next few years of his budding career.

      Please let me know how it goes. I would love to see some of his videos. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Irene Avatar

    Hello Marlene,
    Thank you for your videos. I am watching from Holland- Europe.
    I have to decide for a camera shooting while I am making a treat ment on feet.
    so it need to be autofocus automaticly. It is very close up, maybe 30- 35 cm away from the subject. I am alone during this with my client. so I can not make adjustments all the time during treatment. The movie will bemainly used for Internet and maybe also on a large persentation wall screen.( seminar) , also annimations have to be made from the video – afterwards.
    Would you reccomend the Lumix G6 over the G7 ?
    from the films I like to take pictures afwards, which softwarefor this do you recommend?
    Also separate led light you recommend?
    Thank you so much for your response , kind regards, Irene

    1. Marlene Hielema Avatar

      Hi Irene, The Lumix G7 is the newer version of the G6, so I would recommend getting the newer version. Right now the price is the same. The great thing about Lumix cameras is that they work really well on iA Mode (Intelligent Auto). So it’s perfect if you don’t want to worry about camera settings and just take great photos and videos.

      Before you spend money on an LED light, do some tests to see how it works without. If you are doing treatments in a room with a window (during the daytime) that would probably work good too. Just make sure the light is falling on the feet and that your subject is not backlit (window behind the feet). Write me back after you test that out and we can discuss LED lights, as I don’t know what’s available for you in Holland. Mostly that has to do with your budget. I also have a couple of blog posts on LED lights.

      Thanks for writing, and I hope that helps get you started. Marlene

  9. […] though I’ve used the Logitech C920 webcam in this demonstration, the theory applies to ALL cameras with zoom lenses, such as dSLR, mirrorless, and handy cams […]