More often than not, video quality makes the difference between an average and an outstanding video.
And so, picking an ideal camera can go a long way in increasing the quality and resolution of your YouTube videos.
DSLRs, short for Digital Single Lens Reflex, are one of today's most well-known cameras. They are popular among both amateurs and experts and serve a wide range of functions. One of these is the creation of YouTube content.
Choosing a camera for YouTube may seem simple enough, but much thought goes into it.
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned video creator, it's only normal to need clarification on what camera works for you.
To this end, this piece will show you some of the best DSLR cameras for YouTube content creation.
Sounds good? Dig in!
Top 7 DSLR Cameras for YouTube Videos
A good camera will significantly improve your channel's content and click-through rate.
Different cameras reflect different shooting styles, so, choosing the one that best fits your content and channel is essential.
Here are the best DSLR cameras that are terrific options for YouTubers.
1. Canon EOS 90D - Best for Landscape Photography
The Canon EOS 90D was explicitly made with the YouTube video market in mind.
It can record richly detailed, uncropped 4K UHD video. In addition, when the quality is reduced to Full HD, it can record slow motion at 120 frames per second.
If necessary, the Canon EOS 90D can take 32.5MP still images for multimedia video material.
In addition to redesigning the I/O, Canon added an external microphone and headphone jacks to aid in audio recording and monitoring.
It draws from its DSLR pedigree, making it bigger and heavier than other cameras on this list. In addition, it is weather-sealing, so you can continue shooting even when it rains or snows.
- Sensor: APS-C
- Resolution: 32.5MP
- Effective focal length: N/A
- Viewfinder: Pentamirror
- Monitor: 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Max movie resolution: 4K 30p
- Size, weight: 140 x 104.8 x 76.8mm, 701g
2. Nikon D7500 - Best for Videography
Comparable to the Canon EOS 90D in terms of all-around performance is the Nikon D7500.
Despite lacking the 90D resolution, it boasts a slightly faster continuous burst shooting speed of 8 fps. In addition, the accurate 51-point focusing system can capture 4K footage.
Sadly, it has a rear screen that tilts and relies on slower contrast AF in live view mode.
However, these flaws won't be noticeable if you shoot mainly through the viewfinder.
Among its many features, the Nikon D7500 is famous for its deep grip for a stable and comfortable performance. This is particularly helpful if you plan to do a lot of handheld shooting.
With the D7500, you can take your videos to the next level and bring your vision to life even in low lighting.
- Sensor: APS-C
- Megapixels: 20.9MP
- Lens mount: Nikon
- DXScreen: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 922,000 dots
- Viewfinder: Pentaprism
- Max burst speed: 8fps
- Max video resolution: 4K
- User level: Enthusiast
3. Nikon D780 -Great for Landscape Shooting
The Nikon D780 shares certain characteristics with the Nikon Z6. These characteristics include mirrorless live view performance and mirrorless on-sensor phase detection autofocus.
The D780 has a high-resolution tilting touchscreen display and 4K UHD video.
It also has two UHS-II memory card slots and continuous shooting rates of up to 12 fps in live-view mode. So, it offers more than simply selecting "live view AF."
The Nikon D780 is excellent for taking landscape photos.
It is great for night shooting, with superb image quality, a wide dynamic range, and minimal noise as you increase the ISO.
Its sturdy construction and comfortable handle make this camera a robust choice.
- Effective Still Resolution: 24.5 MP
- Unique Feature: EXPEED 6 Image Processing Engine, Multi-CAM 3500 II 51-Point AF System and Scene Recognition System
- Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, HDMI
- Screen Size: 3.2 Inches
- Photo Sensor Size: Full Frame (35mm)
- Shooting Modes: Auto, Program, Shutter, Aperture, Manual, Effect, User 1, User 2
4. Nikon D3500 - Best For Travel Shooting
The Nikon D3500 is a well-liked camera among amateur photographers.
This is due to the camera's useful "Guide" shooting mode, a tutorial showing users how to operate the camera through the LCD screen.
The rear screen is fixed and can only record in Full HD rather than 4K.
This will appeal to a beginner because it is inexpensive, small, and light. Overall, it is ideal for individuals who are into vlogging and photography.
- Sensor: APS-C
- Megapixels: 24.2MP
- Lens mount: Nikon F (DX)
- Screen: 3in, 921,000 dots
- Max burst speed: 5fps
- Max video resolution: 1080p (Full HD)
- User level: Beginner
5. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV - Great for videography
The Canon EOS 5D IV, released in 2016, remains a favorite among photographers.
It has a high-resolution sensor, a touchscreen interface with full functionality, built-in wireless connectivity, and 4K video recording.
Thanks to the inclusion of Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF, users of the EOS 5D Mark IV benefit from quick autofocus performance in live view and video modes.
A big bonus for professional photographers is that it is durable, trustworthy, and weatherproof.
With a resolution of 30 megapixels, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is still more than adequate for many YouTubers.
This camera is an excellent fit for wedding, portrait, and landscape photographers, including creative videographers.
- Sensor: Full frame
- Megapixels: 30.4MP
- Lens mount: Canon EF
- Screen: 3.2in touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots
- Viewfinder: Pentaprism
- Max burst speed: 7fps
- Max video resolution: 4K
- User level: Enthusiast/Professional
6. Canon EOS 5D Mark III - Best For Photography
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is packed with cutting-edge technology.
It blends the benefits of mirrorless and DSLR cameras to create a hybrid body that can shoot as the setting requires.
It has many detailed features that are valuable to YouTube content creators. For starters, it provides high-quality audio with a standard 3.5mm jack that allows the use of third-party microphones.
It also instantly backs up your images and videos, saving you the stress of losing your work.
Its other features include a large sensor for maximum control over the depth of field, powerful DIGIC processing, and High Dynamic Range mode.
The 5D Mark III targets all types of photography, from landscape and fashion to sports and wildlife. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
- Sensor: Full frame
- Megapixels: 22.3 MP
- Lens mount: Canon EF-mount
- Screen: 3.2-inch fixed touchscreen, 2.1million dots
- Viewfinder: Pentaprism
- Max burst speed: Optical viewfinder 16fps mechanical shutter / Live View 20fps mechanical or electronic shutter.
- Max video resolution: 4K RAW, 4K DCI, 4K UHD, 4K DCI
- User level: Professional
7. Canon EOS Rebel T6i - Best Entry-Level Camera
The Canon Rebel range has long been a go-to for YouTube content creation. Unsurprisingly, the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is video-friendly and produces good cinematic quality.
Any YouTuber can use Canon's vast selection of high-quality lenses for a reasonably inexpensive cost.
In addition to video focusing, it has built-in WiFi, NFC, more MPs, and improved low-light performance.
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i is also well-known for its ability to capture life on the go.
So, if you cover a road trip or a night out with friends, you can be confident that you'll maintain focus even when moving quickly.
- Effective Still Resolution: 24.2 MP
- Special Feature: Wireless
- Optical Zoom: 3 x
- Color: Black
- Connectivity Technology: USB, HDMI, NFC
- Screen Size: 3 Inches
- Photo Sensor Size: CMOS APS-C
- EOS Full HD Movie mode captures in MP4 format.
- High-speed continuous shooting up to 50 fps.
12 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camera for YouTube
Not all cameras cater to the same form of content. There are cameras better suited for recording a vlog, and some are better suited for live streaming.
To help you streamline your search, here's what to consider when choosing a camera for YouTube.
The type of camera you decide to get depends on how much you have to spend. Before you go overboard with your camera, consider your budget.
If you want a high-end camera, you must budget enough to cover it. If not, you can go for more budget-friendly options.
2. Frame Rate, Video Quality & Resolution
Frame rates affect how smooth a video or an image is. Popularly referred to as frames per second, or FPS, frame rates determine the viewer’s viewing experience.
Typically, a higher frame rate makes for a smoother viewing experience, while a lower frame rate makes your videos or images appear blurry and sluggish.
YouTube frame rates include 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, and 60 FPS. Meanwhile, 24 and 30 FPS are the most common.
Considering the quality of YouTube videos is crucial because viewers demand nothing less than the best.
Go for a camera that can capture images in full HD or at least 1080p.
If you plan to record vlogs primarily, you'll need a compact, highly portable, small camera.
The same is true if you routinely film in various locations.
For this reason, many YouTubers choose lightweight mirrorless cameras with many professional functions.
An example is the Nikon 3500, which is extremely light and has several purposes that favor a vlogger.
4. Microphone & Audio
Audio quality is essential to creating a YouTube video with great production value.
The internal microphone of a camera can pick up and record sound. However, using an external microphone will significantly enhance clarity and reduce undesirable background noise.
To do this, look for mic inputs and a hot shoe in potential purchases.
Consider using headphones to listen to recordings and accurately monitor the output of the external microphone.
The Canon EOS 90D, Nikon D7500, and Nikon D780 are excellent options in this category.
5. Live Streaming
If you focus more on broadcasting live, remember to check if a potential camera supports YouTube live streaming. This, however, may be optional for individuals producing videos to upload after filming and editing.
Fortunately, more cameras and webcams now provide high-quality live-streaming options.
These cameras include the Canon EOS 90D, the Nikon D7500, and the Canon EOS Rebel T6i.
6. Articulating Screen
Whether it folds out to the side or pivots to the top, an articulating screen is a godsend when videoing yourself.
It helps you get the fundamentals correct so you can concentrate on other areas of your recording. You get a live preview of the shot composition, exposure, and focus.
If you're shooting while moving, stabilization is essential to take into account. More recent cameras help stabilize your recordings and ensure they are shake-free.
This is all thanks to features like In-Body Image Stabilization, short for IBIS.
Alternatively, a gimbal adds bulk and can stabilize almost any camera.
8. Sensor Size
The image and video quality are determined by the type of sensor a camera uses to record.
Cameras with larger sensors can produce sharper images and record videos even in dim lighting.
For this reason, many creators opt for cameras like the Nikon D3500, Canon EOS Rebel T6i, Nikon D780, and Nikon D7500.
These are very good for nighttime shooting or if you don't have good lighting in place.
For YouTubers, autofocus is a top priority, especially for self-shooting.
With a good autofocus feature, you can always capture what you want in the best possible quality.
This feature is a plus if you move around a lot in your videos. It automatically adjusts the focus once you select the region you want the camera to focus on.
With autofocus, you can produce crisp and clear videos to attract viewers. It is found in most DSLR cameras but is extremely good in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and IV.
Believe it or not, your camera's most crucial component is the lens. Little wonder it’s often called the eye of the camera.
Lenses are typically purchased separately after your initial camera purchase.
The camera lens usually indicates the potential depth of field, aperture range, and focusing distance. This generally gives you a good idea of what your camera can capture.
If you're on a tight budget, start with the lens that came with your camera. If not, you can go ahead and buy a separate lens.
While purchasing a lens, you must consider the interchangeable nature of lenses. This is because not all lens brands are compatible with all cameras.
The simplest way to determine which lenses are compatible with your camera is to assess the lens mount index in front of your camera.
11. Ease of Use
Although choosing the most advanced camera available may be tempting, it's best to hold off if you're just starting.
Cameras can be delicate, and the smallest of issues may affect them; hence, it's best to start with something easy to use, like the Nikon D3500.
The most excellent YouTube camera for you will be one you feel at ease using while you're just starting.
As you advance, you can learn more about your needs and opt for a better camera.
12. Battery Life
The longer the battery life, the better.
Nobody wishes to end up with a dead camera mid-shoot. Not only can it be frustrating, but it can also dampen your creative juices.
Getting a camera with a good battery life may increase the cost, but it's a wise investment.
Alternatives to DSLR Cameras for YouTube
DSLRs have long been the industry standard for professionals and are usually the first choice for devoted amateurs.
This is primarily due to the numerous functions, quality, and ease of use that they offer.
Today, DSLRs are now challenged by mirrorless and high-end compact and bridge cameras.
As the camera market becomes even more competitive, alternatives to DSLRs keep emerging. Some of these include:
1. Action Camera
As the name implies, action cameras are great for capturing action shots. Consider investing in an action camera if you need a strong and durable camera other than a DSLR.
This is mainly because they can do almost everything DSLR cameras can with the right accessories. They also have a wide angle for shooting, so the scenery is captured better in professional quality.
These are filled mainly with GoPro cameras that YouTubers use for vlogging.
Some include the GoPro Hero 11 Black, the Insta360 One X3, and the GoPro Hero 9 Black.
These cameras can handle any situation, from getting under whatever shots to car racing.
The primary purpose of a camcorder is to record videos, with pictures coming in a distant second.
Long zoom ranges are already included in camcorders, and they are good since the lenses are fixed in place.
The videos can be played on the LCD screen, and its smaller sensor aids in producing far more accurate auto-focus and in-focus areas.
Some good camcorders include the Sony FDR-AX700, Panasonic HC-X2000, and the Sony HDR-CX405.
3. Mirrorless Camera
In general, mirrorless cameras are lighter than DSLRs. In the opinion of many photographers and videographers, mirrorless cameras produce more real footage than DSLRs.
This is because it is not laterally inverted.
However, DSLRs have longer battery life, and you can get a lighter one depending on the type.
Some good mirrorless cameras include the Canon EOS R5, the Nikon Z5, and the Panasonic Lumix G100.
4. Point & Shoot Camera
Point-and-shoot cameras are a fantastic choice for filmmakers producing content on the fly.
Although they might not perform as well as mirrorless or DSLR alternatives, they are simple and portable.
Some of the best point-and-shoot cameras are the Canon IXUS 285 HS, the Kodak PIXPRO AZ252, and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II.
5. Smartphone Camera
It's not a coincidence that most YouTubers start creating videos with their smartphones.
Many have stuck with using phones to create content, from iPhones to Samsung, Google Pixel, and many other high-quality brands.
Using your phone is a terrific way to save on a tight budget.
All you have to do is pay attention to the capabilities of your smartphone.
Final Notes: Find Which Camera Works For You
DSLR cameras have become one of the most popular for producing high-quality YouTube videos.
The best part is that they come in various sizes with unique specifications, making finding what works for you easier.
From budget-friendly to high-end cameras, there's a DSLR camera out there to suit your YouTube content creation needs.
Luckily, this guide has provided all you need to know to pick a camera that meets your immediate and long-term requirements.
Here's to shooting high-quality videos and putting out engaging content!