Best Value Cameras for Vlogging & Youtube

Looking for a great camera for Vlogging and/or YouTube?

You would be surprised at how many 1 million+ subscriber YouTube channels got there by just using a regular smartphone!

If you’re just starting out, I recommend using your smartphone as in kit #1. This #2 kit will require more effort and learning on your part to extract the most value out of the equipment.

Vlogging / YouTube Kit #1

  • Your phone: if you own a smartphone, you should start there! Modern phones take great videos (4K is standard at this point). I use my old iPhone 6S for most of my YouTube gear reviews, for example. Cost: free!
  • Third-party app to unlock more video features: I use the ProMovie Recorder App for my iPhone ($2.99)
  • Collapsible stick and mini tripod combo: $20 new.
  • Lavalier microphone: optional, but highly recommended if you want to record your own voice and improve upon the phone’s microphone. Audio is important! Many options here – the BOYA by-M1 Pro is a great value choice at $25 new.
  • Lighting: optional but highly recommended if recording in a studio environment indoors. Budget pick would be the Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED Video Light and Stand Lighting Kit for $150 new.

Total: $200 (assuming you already own the smartphone).

Vlogging / YouTube Kit #2

  • Canon M50 (Mark 1): 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, 2.36 MP EVF, articulated screen, and a microphone jack. Very, very popular camera for content creators. $500 used (bundled with the excellent 15-45mm STM kit lens).
  • Canon EF-M 11-22mm F4-5.6 STM IS: a great lens for youtube and vlogging, giving you an equivalent FOV of 18-35mm (in “full frame” terms). $250 used.

Note: while the Canon M50 shoots 4K, autofocus in 4K isn’t great and the 4K image will be heavily cropped. You’ll want to stick to 1080p for your autofocus video needs.

  • Rode VideoMicro: an excellent external microphone. $30 used.
  • Lights: highly recommended. Budget pick would be the Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED Video Light and Stand Lighting Kit for $150 new.
  • Neewer Portable Desktop Mini Tripod: a great little tripod for recording yourself. $60 new.
  • Spare batteries and memory cards. $150.

Total: around $1,200. This kit should keep you going for a while!

Note: many recommend the Sony ZV-1 for vlogging. However, I don’t think the 24-70mm equivalent lens on the ZV-1 is quite wide enough. Battery life isn’t great either, and requires frequent battery changes and/or an external power source. As always, read and watch reviews before spending lots of cash!

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