A smartphone, like the the iPhone or Galaxy Galaxy can make a nice video. But, to produce the best YouTube videos, many steer towards a different breed of cameras. The best camcorders for YouTube videos are small, lightweight, and feature packed!
“I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money,” you might say. Or, “Video cameras are too confusing and too big.” Well, I’m happy to inform you that those issues won’t even be thought of with the cameras we’re reviewing today.
What type of YouTube vlogger needs a separate video camera? Put another way, why would we choose a camcorder?
Table Of Contents
- 1 Top 7 Best Camcorders For YouTube Videos
- 1.1 Sony HD Video Recording HDRCX405 Handycam Camcorder (Editors Pick)
- 1.2 Besteker Portable 1080P 24MP 16X Digital Zoom DV – 1080p On A Budget
- 1.3 Canon VIXIA HF R70 Camcorder – Great For Beginner & Intermediate YouTubers
- 1.4 Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder – A True Heavy Weight
- 1.5 Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder – The 4K King
- 1.6 Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder – Holy Grail Of Camcorders
- 1.7 Besteker Portable HD 1080p 24.0 Megapixels Enhanced 16X Digital Zoom – Budget Friendly With All The Features
- 1.8 Conclusion
- 1.9 Share this:
- 1.10 Related
Advantages Of Using A Camcorder
If you want more recording time, a higher quality video, or more lens capabilities, you need a video cameras or camcorder. A DSLR or a bridge camera may have video capability, and will definitely have more lens capability, but these are often quite large compared to a camcorder, and they are primarily designed for still photography.
Many of the lower priced and smaller DSLR choices will prove to have some limitations for video use. Especially in the entry level models, auto-focus (if even available in video mode) and lens zoom noises can be problematic.
A camcorder won’t have these issues. The best video cameras for YouTubers will have a wide ranging zoom lens, discerning auto-focus, and excellent sound quality. There will not be annoying limits on recording length either. Instead of having to think about ten or twenty minute shooting blocks, you can start filming and continue til you’re done.
Two hours to over ten hours on many models, depending on video quality chosen. Easy to use editing software allows you to provide a professional looking finish. These programs may come with your video camera, if not, many shareware and freeware choices are out there.
Limitations Of Camcorders
There are limitations, though. Some of the smaller, least expensive camcorders have sensors that aren’t much bigger than the higher end smartphones. That means there isn’t a giant difference in image quality. This applies mostly to the very lowest priced video cameras. Their wide ranging optical zoom lenses still make even these inexpensive video cameras a great choice.
Additionally, even with the improvement in sound quality, the lower priced units usually don’t have any way of adding a different microphone. Sound quality is still quite good, but you’ll have to spend more for the ability to upgrade audio capabilities.
One last thing that isn’t perfect about these smaller video cameras: bright sunlight washing out the view screen. Happens with smartphones and DSLR’s alike. One thing that can counteract that problem is if the camera has a tilting view screen. And there are some after market sun shades that help.
Let’s look at some camcorder video cameras!
Top 7 Best Camcorders For YouTube Videos
Sony HD Video Recording HDRCX405 Handycam Camcorder (Editors Pick)
This Sony HDRCX405 video camera has a high quality Carl Zeiss zoom lens with 27X true optical zoom and digital zoom to 54X. The wide angle end of this zoom allows for a lot freedom in framing the perfect shot. Photographers know the reputation of Carl Zeiss for image excellence and Sony for video expertise. Know YouTubers will experience the same.
When first picking up this video camera, it’s small size and light weight are surprising considering its specs. It’s really not much bigger than a can of Mountain Dew or bottle of Snapple! If you are transitioning from a smartphone, this small, light camcorder will not present any challenges.
Another huge plus is Sony’s image stabilization. When recording on the go, the image stabilization helps minimize that shaky cam effect. Helpful in still photography, but a virtual necessity when filming video in wide angle or when framing extremely close up. Sony’s version of it is very effective. Even helps smooth out motion when walking and filming. Not a Steadicam, but a very helpful feature.
Using it is a joy. The auto-focus is quick and decisive in most lighting levels. It has pretty good image quality in low light conditions.
The flip out screen is bright and very clear. It swivels so you can adjust it out of the way of direct sunlight or turn it all the way for a selfie video. The menu and control buttons are a little small, but still offer comfortable operation.
Playback can be from the Micro SD card or Micro Memory Stick loading to your computer, or direct from the camera via the built in USB connector. Plug it directly into your HDTV and enjoy.
For its size, operating comfort, and price, this is one of the best camcorders for making YouTube videos.
Besteker Portable 1080P 24MP 16X Digital Zoom DV – 1080p On A Budget
This is what you might call a value priced video camera. You might spend more on the memory card! Don’t discount it as a toy just because of its price, though. It’s another very feature packed camcorder.
On first look, this camera is light. Very light. So light it almost seems a little flimsy. Once you get used to that, you’ll realize it isn’t really an issue. The plastic does have the look and feel that doesn’t imply high end. That being said, this little camera will be a great option for many beginner YouTube Vloggers.
Now to the zoom lens. It’s actually not a zoom lens. All the zooming is done digitally, so by the time you get to maximum zoom, the image quality has degraded significantly. The image stabilization helps, but if you’re wanting high quality long telephoto, you’ll need to explore other options.
The bottom line is that this is a value priced video camera. It is a very good camcorder for someone just dabbling in video, a vacation user, or perhaps a younger vlogger.
Canon VIXIA HF R70 Camcorder – Great For Beginner & Intermediate YouTubers
This is another excellent video camera from Canon. Canon is a premeir brand in the world of photography and video, so it’s hard to go wrong with any of their offerings. This mid priced camcorder is no exception.
It sports a high resolution sensor and an excellent lens with a 57X optical zoom range. With that much optical zoom, digital zoom enhancement simply isn’t needed. With that much reach, you’ll be thankful for Canon’s very effective image stabilization.
This lens starts out a little less wide than the Zeiss lenses on many Sony camcorders, but it does have a a threaded lens front, so an accessory wide angle supplemental lens can be added. Supplemental lenses add another layer of optics to your rig, but lens quality can still be very high if you choose a quality supplement, like Canon’s own.
Again, with many features and options, come many menus and sub menus. Get to know this camera first, and you’ll have lots of good ways to add that little something extra to your YouTube videos.
This camcorder also has Wi-Fi and NFC and allows for live streaming. Seeing your YouTube video on a large TV while you’re filming was a great way to set up and adjust camera postion, framing, and lighting before actual filming. You can do that on the view screen, but seeing it large can show you little things you might have missed that when adjusted makes for a better video.
This mid priced video camera has a very great vide angle lens, beautiful video quality and lets you enhance its capabilities with auxiliary lenses and microphones. A very good choice for virtually any YouTuber.
Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder – A True Heavy Weight
This camera is slightly larger and noticeably heavier than the mid priced competition. While you might relish that higher end feel, it comes with a much steeper purchase price.
What do you get for the money? A whole lot of camera! The high quality 20X zoom lens and Panasonic’s excellent imaging sensor provide a very nice video experience in crispy 1080p. The built in microphone is very good as well, being capable of recording digital surround sound in camera.
In addition to surround sound, other options are an HDR recording mode, dual camera recording, Wi-Fi, and a built in light.
Another mode that is actually going to be very useful to many videographers/YouTubers is the HDR mode. Just like HDR in a still photo, this increases the dynamic range of any scene. Subjects with deep shadows and bright highlights come out very well exposed in a natural looking way.
Using the built in light obviously shortens battery life by a large margin, but is a great aid when you really need it. It was best used at medium distance, like a ¾ or full length portrait.
For more serious users, or for anyone with a need for a more solid video camera, this more expensive option is a great choice of video camera.
Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder – The 4K King
This 4K camcorder is an absolute juggernaut of video quality, but it is significantly pricier. Still, not as expensive as earlier 4K cameras were. Stepping up to extremely high quality video costs more, but this camera is not out of reach for serious YouTube Vloggers.
Like many Sony video cameras, the Zeiss lens starts out wider than many other branded lenses. In practice, this means you are less likely to back into a wall, or fall off the pier, or get hit by a garbage truck when framing a large group or getting a whole scene into your shot.
This can be valuable for some videographers, a non issue for others. This wider angle allows for a whole lot of freedom in setting up even a basic indoor vlog shot.
Besides the view screen, this video camera has a viewfinder, too. A great tool for action shooting, but the battery pack sticking out makes it a little uncomfortable.
This camera has a great optical image stabilization called Balanced Optical Steady Shot (B.O.S.S.) In use, it is very effective. Handheld filming, walking while filming, panning and zooming, all look absolutely incredible with this feature turned on. You can out strip it. Pan really fast, or shoot video while riding a dirt bike, and it won’t keep up. If you do a lot of live action or walk around shooting, this can really enhance your end results.
Shooting 4K in bright daylight can cause a framing effect that some people find a little bit unnatural, but that can be alleviated by adjusting settings in camera or in post production. I’m assuming that if you’re considering this camera, you are probably also into some of the very fine video editing software available.
Extended use of this camera in the field is a joy, as this is a very high quality, full featured video camera. Size and weight are up from the mid priced camcorders, but that seems to lend a feel of confidence to the user. An expensive, but very good choice of camcorder for YouTube videos.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder – Holy Grail Of Camcorders
All I can say is, Wow! What a camera! Except for not including 4K capability, this is very close to what are commonly referred to as prosumer models.
This camera and the Sony above would actually probably be considered by some as prosumer cameras. I loosely define prosumer as a camera that an established professional would be comfortable using on a job or that an advanced user could easily transition to the world of paid videography with.
Size and weight are up there, especially compared to the mid priced camcorders. For some, that will be a make or break deal. If you need or want light weight, that’s not this camcorder.
The size and weight make the viewfinder a welcome addition to this camera. This viewfinder is positioned well, no battery poking your cheek while using it. It’s so clear that you’ll think it’s optical, but it’s an EVF.
The controls of this camera are very well laid out. Even the optional accessories are designed in an ergonomic style with their functions being very easy to access. Like many higher end digital products, though, beyond basic use, menus and setting can get confusing or even tedious. The touch screen is awesome, but some menu functions or camera settings require using both the touch screen and the remote together. Have mercy! Make it one or the other.
Hey, it is a more featured camcorder. Got to get to those features somehow. Again, this is a good reason to get familiar with your camera before taking it out into the wild.
The dual slots for SD cards is great for longer filming times out in the field. Take an extra battery with you and you could do a weeks worth of YouTube videos in a day.
Using the camcorder in full automatic mode will get you a superb video. In this video camera, full manual option is available, as is a full mix of some things auto and some not. The exposure and focus is spot on, in virtually all conditions and situations.
Now, why would a YouTuber need such a full featured prosumer camcorder? You don’t. But if you can afford the price, in size, weight, and money, it sure is nice, your viewers will love you for it.
Besteker Portable HD 1080p 24.0 Megapixels Enhanced 16X Digital Zoom – Budget Friendly With All The Features
Yeah, I know. Some cameras are hard to identify by model numbers. I wish simple names like the OM-1 or 500CM were back in style.
This camcorder is an entry level, very inexpensive video camera. It is small and lightweight, about the size and weight of a 12 ounce can of Royal Crown Cola. This review session is obviously making me thirsty.
This video camera is very similar to the second camera in this review. The lens is a fixed focal length and all zooming is accomplished digitally. This results in a decent image at lower zoom ranges, but zoomed all the way out to maximum telephoto, the image is grainy and soft.
For basic shooting of YouTube videos, this is adequate. One of the things that wasn’t adequate was the instructions for camera use. Basic operations are easy enough to figure out, but any special features this camera may have are going to be hard to use if you can’t find them.
This camcorder is a fine tool for casual use, a beginner, or younger users.
The question of what is the best camcorder for shooting YouTube videos requires an involved answer. What is of higher importance to you? Low price? High quality? Lots of features? Maybe your answer falls somewhere in between.
The lowest priced units we looked at have some limitations. Maybe even some quality issues. But for the price, they are a great way to break into video beyond your smartphone.
The most expensive video cameras we looked at have quality and features approaching lower end models made for professionals. But, the price is high. Expensive, fairly big, definitely much heavier.
This brings us to the camcorders I found to be most intriguing. Small and lightweight without feeling like a child’s toy. Useful features and video quality surpassing what is required for online posting. I wouldn’t say they are a compromise, but rather a very logical choice.
The two mid priced units that won my heart are the Sony HDRCX405 Handycam Camcorder and the Canon VIXIA HF R70 Camcorder. Both are attractively priced, are high quality, and possess a pleasing array of features. Either one would be great choice.
With the Canon, you get a much longer telephoto optical zoom, but you need to add a supplemental lens to get wider angle. While with the Sony, you lose telephoto on the longest end, unless you employ digital zooming, but it has superior audio characteristics and image sabilization for its price point. You can learn more about how to get into YouTube Vlogging here.
What are the best camcorders for YouTube videos? Any of these video cameras reviewed will do the job. Which is produce a great video for use online. You can view more about the history of Camcorders here.