Beginner Youtubers Series Pt. 1: Best Camera Options

Update: I have now recorded a video with this info for your convenience! You can watch that or read the post below!

I spend a considerable amount of time in facebook groups. To me, it’s a great way to get to know other entrepreneurs and creatives out there. You can learn a lot by chatting with people, and you get to see cool projects people are working on.  No matter what art form speaks to you—creativity is magic. I feel so inspired watching others experiment with their crafts.

BUT…Having talent and a pull towards a creative profession is not enough. We all still need to practice, practice PRACTICE if we ever want to make a real life of it. And this is why facebook groups are filled with people asking for advice and answers to their questions.

I see a ton of video related questions popping up all the time. One topic in particular, is related to youtube channels. People are looking for answers on how to start a successful one. And on top of that, they are not sure where to start when it comes to the equipment needed. They feel lost in the sea of available products—I get it. I’m hoping that I can use my background in videography to help you, if you are in this boat!

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Best Camera Options For Beginner Youtubers

So, are you thinking about starting a youtube channel but you have zero video experience? Wondering where to start? Well hopefully I can help!

I started off making this a master post, telling you about all the components you’ll need to make awesome youtube videos, but the post became wayyy to long. So i’ll be splitting them up so that I can give each category its individual attention.

At the end of this series, I hope to give you enough information so that you can create an awesome Youtuber Starter Kit for yourself. So here we go!


Okay so—first order of business, you need a camera (of course). And as with most things, there are so many choices out there that it can become completely overwhelming pretty quickly.

But the good news is, that you have a ton of options. So that means you can start off your channel with relatively inexpensive equipment without breaking the bank! Advancements in technology have really helped the emerging youtuber and even the indie filmmaker create beautiful images at a fraction of the cost.

So even if you are a super beginner (as in to say, you have no camera or the means to purchase one at the moment) do not fret! You do not have to put off the launch of your channel until you can save up for a expensive equipment.

Here are my recommendations.

Your Cellphone

This may come as a surprise, but you actually have a pretty awesome camera right in your pocket. You can start by filming videos on your phone! I have actually been pretty amazed to see how nice some of the videos come out!

I own an android (an LG V20) and the picture and video quality on it is pretty good. But really almost any newer phone these days comes with a pretty good camera! It’s also important to say though, that the front camera you use for selfies isn’t as good as the rear camera you use for other pictures and videos. The megapixels are different (front camera has less) which helps make the image look clearer and “cleaner”. So if you do plan to use your phone to start your youtube channel and you are aiming for the best quality, I would suggest using the rear camera instead of the front camera.

But doing this proposes a new problem. How are you going to hold it? Well, in order to do this you will either need to hold it yourself or have someone else hold the phone for you (neither of which I recommend). Instead, you can purchase a smartphone tripod like this:

They range in price, I did a quick search on amazon and I found some for as low as 7 bucks! The ones pictured here in case you are wondering are the KobraTech Mini Phone Tripod Stand (top left) and the ECO-FUSED® adjustable tripod kit (bottom right). Of course, some have more bells and whistles than others which dictate the price differences, but regardless it’s a very inexpensive purchase to make in order to get the ball rolling on your channel!

GoPro HERO 4

Update: There is now a GoPro Hero 5 available 

If you want to have a little more freedom with the video files (as far as editing) or if you don’t want to use your phone for some reason AND you don’t want to break the bank just yet, then I can recommend the GoPro HERO 4. One thing you might notice if you look into this camera more is that it comes in silver and black. There are some differences between the two, most of it is technical stuff but you may also find that they are different prices. For the purpose of filming youtube videos, the technical differences won’t affect you that much in my opinion except for one.

The black variety does not have an LCD screen on the back of the camera. This means, that you can’t really see what you are filming unless you use the app (which I recommend using regardless) you also can not play back the videos you record on the camera. You will have to use the app to watch what you recorded.

The silver variety, does have a built in screen so you can see what you are filming and you can playback in camera. As far as pricing, I did a quick search and they are currently ranging between $350-$450 (on amazon or B&H photo and video).

Now you might be thinking, that’s pretty close to a DSLR price, why wouldn’t I just save the extra few hundred dollars and get that instead? And you wouldn’t be totally wrong in that thought. However, there are some major perks to using Go pros, one of them being the portability. If you plan to do a lot of travel vlogging or videos showing you “out and about” then I think this is perfect for you! DSLRs are much larger and do require more accessories which could be a bit much when you are first starting out.


However, if you do plan to do the majority of your videos sitting down in one room, then I suggest saving up and purchasing a DSLR (digital SLR) camera at some point. I personally use Canon cameras (started off with the T3i now i’m using the 5d Mark III) for my vlogs, but I have seen many people speak highly of other brands as well.

DSLRs take a little bit of time to learn, there are a lot of settings/menus you will need to become comfortable with, but the quality of the footage is great! Many professionals are using DSLR cameras today because of the quality they produce.

Now, the next question that I see all of the time is which DSLR is best? This is always a tough question to answer because there are a variety of brands and a variety of camera models, each of course with their pros and cons. What I can tell you is that you can create great images regardless of the brand. Most people get comfortable with one brand and just stick with it, doesn’t mean that brand is “better” than another.

I use Canon, but that doesn’t mean Sony, Panasonic or Nikon can’t create a comparable image. Brand really comes down to preference.

Some good beginner DSLR cameras are as follows:

Anything in the Canon Rebel Series (Like the T4i, T5i, or T6i)

Nikon D5500D7000, D7100

Sony Alpha A58 

The list can go on and on depending on your price point.

Besides that fact, there is one other thing that can make DSLRs very confusing for beginners, and that is the lenses. One of the perks (but often overwhelming) aspects of DSLR cameras is the fact that they have interchangeable lenses. There are literally hundreds of lenses out there, each with their pros and cons (of course).

This is why in part 2 of this series will be all about lenses!

In Conclusion

Hopefully this will help you think about what cameras you can choose from to get your awesome youtube channel going!

Do you have any questions about cameras?! Feel free to ask in the comments below!

Read More

Beginner Youtubers Series Pt. 2: Best Lens Options

Beginner Youtubers Series Pt. 3: Best Lens Options

Olivia J

Olivia J is a video producer, writer, and director specializing in corporate video, events, documentaries and film. To see some of her work visit