The best cameras and lenses for YouTube video success

Canon offers a wide range of cameras suitable for shooting YouTube videos. Videographer Simeon Quarrie and Canon product specialists John Maurice and Paul Atkinson discuss the creative options available.
A man stands at a desk in a dark studio framed by four vertical strip lights.

Videographer Simeon Quarrie has delivered creative videos for some of the biggest brands in the world and has his own YouTube channel. © Simeon Quarrie

Simeon Quarrie is a successful video storyteller with more than 9,500 YouTube followers. His day job involves enabling major international brands such as Barclays, Unilever and Burberry to engage with internal and external audiences, while his YouTube playlists range from business advice for production companies to educational videos for filmmakers and behind-the-scenes (BTS) videos from his shoots.

For Simeon, the most important feature of a camera for online video is that it produces output that looks good – quickly. "To get the best out of YouTube, you need to produce regular content, so setting the look in-camera is key," he says.

"Whether I'm recording content or livestreaming on YouTube Live, I want files that are easily manageable – I want to be able to press record, take the MP4 file, drop it on the timeline and I'm done." Resolution is another key consideration. "I shoot everything in 4K, so I can use the full shot and punch in for my secondary shot. That variation in framing gives me two cameras for the price of one, but importantly it keeps the audience engaged."

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If you're a professional content creator like Simeon, a travel vlogger making videos on the move, or have a fashion and beauty channel, what's the essential kit you'll need to make engaging video content for your audience? Here, Simeon reveals what's in his own YouTube kitbag, while Canon product specialists John Maurice and Paul Atkinson also offer their technical insight.

A man sits at a desk with several large Canon telephoto lenses plus some Canon cameras in front of him.

The Canon EOS C70 works with RF lenses for a fast autofocus and great optical stabilisation – perfect for Simeon's line of work. It's also ideal for shooting handheld. © Simeon Quarrie

Canon EOS C70

For the kind of polished, on-brand YouTube content that Simeon produces, he finds the Canon EOS C70 perfect for his needs. It offers 4K 120fps video, over 16-stops of dynamic range using Canon Log 2 and up to 225Mbps internal recording in MP4.

"The weight and image stabilisation, particularly when paired with an RF lens, is great and I can shoot with it handheld," he says. "I do a lot of my filming in my studio, but its compact size means I can shoot in the street without becoming the focus of an environment. Being quite small but still being able to get a high level of production value is really useful."

The Canon EOS C70 camera.

Canon EOS C70

An RF mount Cinema EOS System camera featuring Canon's 4K Super 35mm DGO sensor.

The EOS C70's built-in ND filters also ensure that Simeon can shoot outdoors on a sunny day while still achieving the shallow depth of field he prefers.

Paul Atkinson, Canon Europe Professional Video Product Specialist, says: "Self-shooters using the Canon EOS C70 can be confident the autofocus is always going to follow you. You also have two XLR mic inputs and the option of four-channel audio, so combined with a massive dynamic range, you can really push up your production values with this camera."

A Canon EOS R6 Mark II on a tripod, with a microphone attached to the hotshoe, filming two seated guitar players.

"The Multi-function shoe on the Canon EOS R6 Mark II enables you to add digital microphones or an XLR adapter for professional sound recording," John explains. "But you also have a built-in standard microphone socket and a headphone socket for monitoring the audio recording level."

Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 Mark II

A hybrid video and stills camera, the Canon EOS R5 shoots up to 8K DCI RAW video and its smaller size makes it very discreet when shooting in busy areas. "Sometimes a video-capable mirrorless camera is exactly what you need," says Simeon. "For example, you could be on a stills shoot then switch to video and shoot a BTS for YouTube.

"I love the AF system's subject tracking, which is really powerful, but I especially love being able to flip around the vari-angle touchscreen to film yourself," he continues. "The In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) is great and even better when paired with the RF lenses."

A Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Stills or video, action or portrait – the EOS R6 Mark II's blend of performance and image quality lets your creativity thrive.

John Maurice, Canon Europe Senior Product Marketing Manager, adds: "The EOS R5 and EOS R6 Mark II are full-frame cameras, which give a higher production quality than APS-C models. They also open up a wide range of lens choices, including RF lenses, and EF lenses with an adapter. You can shoot 4K movies at 120fps on the EOS R5 (60fps on the EOS R6 Mark II) and use the resolution to re-frame and provide a punch-in."

A smartphone displaying the same woodland scene on the Canon Camera Connect app as can be seen in the vari-angle touchscreen of a Canon EOS R6 Mark II.

The latest version of the Canon Camera Connect app introduces USB remote control with iOS and Android alongside Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The EOS R6 Mark II introduces several video upgrades that are beneficial for creating YouTube content. The reliable Dual Pixel CMOS AF, for example, has an updated algorithm for improved subject tracking. If you're presenting a piece to camera, then the autofocus will keep you sharp as you move through the shot. Detect only AF, which is a variation of the EOS C70's Face only AF, can also be activated to ensure the camera won't refocus on the background if you walk out of the frame.

"Another useful feature for presenters is what we call recording emphasis," adds John. "This displays a red box around the screen to show that the camera is recording. It serves the same function as a tally lamp on a video camera and is very reassuring."

John highlights the benefit of the camera's recording emphasis frame marker as well: "YouTube is predominantly known as a 16:9 format, but it also supports vertical video. The EOS R6 Mark II will detect if you're shooting vertically, but the aspect marker will allow you to frame appropriately if you're shooting a different format for social media, such as 1:1 or 9:16."

Content creators can also take advantage of the Canon Camera Connect v3 app to start and stop recording remotely, as well as changing shooting settings – perfect when you're presenting to a camera that isn't within reach. Connect the smartphone or tablet to the camera via a USB cable, and you can enjoy video control and playback in the app with minimal lag.

Two video cameras film a man standing at a desk, while the viewscreen of one camera also shows the image.

"Cinema EOS cameras such as the EOS C200 and EOS C300 Mark III are a good stepping stone if people want to move on from YouTube into higher realms," explains Paul. © Simeon Quarrie

Canon EOS C200 and EOS C300 Mark III

Simeon also turns to his Canon EOS C200 when shooting for YouTube, especially when working in a controlled studio setting. "I love it for all the reasons I love Cinema EOS cameras," he says. "It produces movies with a high production value and, like the EOS C70, it can shoot on two video cards at the same time.

"For me, one of the key reasons I use the EOS C200 is the ability to use monitors; if I'm talking to camera, I want to see myself large on a screen. I've got a small HD 17-inch monitor which I connect to the camera and put right next to the lens, so I can make sure the camera's rolling and that I'm in focus."

The Canon EOS C200 camera.

Canon EOS C200

A compact and versatile high-performance camera for a wide range of shooters that captures sharp 4K 50p images.

Paul says that YouTubers who create short films or music videos would benefit from this professional quality. "With the EOS C200, you're shooting in a really high-resolution format, Cinema RAW Light – therefore you've got maximum control and dynamic range.

"The EOS C300 Mark III takes image quality, colour depth and colour reproduction to another level," Paul adds. "Plus, the 4K Super 35mm DGO sensor is a game-changer when it comes to filming images in situations with a wide dynamic range. Both these cameras shoot footage that needs post-production work, but some people prefer to do that for a higher quality result."

A Canon EOS R50 camera with its kit lens extended positioned on a white surface.

The Canon EOS R50 comes with a lightweight and versatile 18-45mm kit lens that can capture both wide and close-up shots. The lens collapses in on itself when not in use, adding to the camera's overall compactness.

Canon EOS R50

If you're looking for a simple but effective way of creating content to share, then the Canon EOS R50 is ideal. It's a practical camera for YouTubers: not only is it small and light, but it also offers excellent video and audio quality, is equipped with a vari-angle screen and features an APS-C sensor that enables 4K 30p video to be recorded without a crop oversampled from 6K.

The EOS R50 shares similar functionality to the EOS R6 Mark II and EOS R7, adds John. "It has the recording indicator, so you know when you're recording, and the clip recording limit has been increased to an hour.

A Canon EOS R50 fényképezőgép.

Canon EOS R50

Capture superior detail in your movies with UHD 4K 30p video oversampled from 6K.

"You've got a mic input, so you can attach an external microphone to the hotshoe, and it's also got an electronic viewfinder. A lot of content creators are hybrid shooters who take pictures as well as video, and the viewfinder provides that traditional camera experience while also allowing footage and images to be reviewed."

A dozen scene modes ensure that the EOS R50 is an easy first step for content creators who are upgrading from a smartphone. It also features Hybrid Auto, a mode which enables a short movie to be created just by shooting stills.

The EOS R50 introduces a new movie feature for close-up product demos, which is perfect for recording 'unboxing' videos on YouTube, suggests John. "If you're speaking to the camera and hold the product near to the lens to point out some details, the EOS R50 will prioritise and focus on the object. When the camera detects that the object has been removed, it will go back to focusing on your face."

A man sits at a desk with a laptop, phone and camera lenses, being filmed by a Canon camera with a mic attached on top.

"The EOS M50 Mark II offers a wide range of lens choice for different uses," says John. "For example, you could add an ultra-wide lens if you want to get yourself in the frame with a lot of context, even at arm's length, or a macro lens if you're very detail-focused."

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II offers a host of features for YouTubers in a small package, including resolutions of Full HD at up to 50 or 60fps (and 4K at 25fps), Live YouTube streaming1, great low-light performance and auto video transcoding that enables you to quickly transfer movies from your camera to a laptop or phone.

"Flexibility is what you're choosing with this camera," says John Maurice. "It's an interchangeable lens camera that uses the compact EF-M range of lenses, and is compatible with EF and EF-S lenses when used with an adapter. For a versatile lens that gives you lots of options, there's the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM, which has an optical Image Stabilizer for steady handheld shooting."

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II camera.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Amazing image quality with shallow depth of field and movies that sound as good as they look. The EOS M50 Mark II's smart tech empowers you to be creative.

The EOS M50 Mark II has a 3.5mm socket for connecting an external microphone and a hotshoe on which you can mount it. It also has a vari-angle touchscreen that enables you to shoot from different angles, or to see yourself while shooting vlogs.

A man leans on a rock while holding a Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III with a mic attached.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III makes a great first camera for an aspiring YouTuber, giving high-quality footage with a mic jack for better audio capabilities.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

"The core proposition of the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is that it's small, compact and very versatile," says John. "For many YouTubers, it will be the first step into taking video semi-seriously, because it enables you to have greater control over your filming than a smartphone would typically allow, and includes an optical zoom and large sensor – giving you control and quality together."

The camera, which weighs just 304g with battery and card, shoots Full HD at up to 120fps and 4K at up to 30fps. It also offers a fast, built-in 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens and a large 1.0-type sensor. "The combination of those factors means that if you're speaking directly to camera, you'll look better in more challenging conditions and it allows some separation between subject and background," John continues.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III camera.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III helps you look your best with superb 4K video, a large 1.0-type sensor and 20.1MP photos – all in a super-portable design you can take anywhere.

It has a 180º tilting screen and, like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, a 3.5mm microphone jack, which enables you to get good audio quality. The camera supports vertical video and has the option of Face Select and Track autofocus, which keeps you and your other subjects sharp in the frame.

Over its lifetime, functions have been added to the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III through firmware updates including Video Blog Recording Mode, which specifically tunes the AF mode to be more responsive to changing scenes and dynamic capture. Zebra, level and aspect marker overlays are available, allowing you to assess the framing and exposure of your footage, and 24fps has been added for users preferring this frame rate.

Livestreaming functions

If you're looking to host a live event on YouTube, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II and the PowerShot G7 X Mark III both support a high quality 'Clean' HDMI output, which can be plugged into video capture cards or HDMI to USB adapters for a clean or graphic-free video feed directly into your streaming software. If you don't have an adapter, both cameras are supported by the Canon EOS Webcam Utility software, which enables you to plug them directly into the USB port of your PC or Mac. Direct streaming is also possible from both cameras, but you need a YouTube account with at least 1,000 subscribers.

As well as providing a clean HDMI feed, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, EOS R8 and EOS R50 all support the industry-standard USB Video Class (UVC) and USB Audio Class (UAC) for livestreaming. "This means they too can be plugged directly into a computer and operated as a webcam, streaming video and audio via USB-C," adds John.

Discover the full range of cameras that offer clean HDMI output in our regularly updated guide on which Canon cameras have which features.

A man holds a Canon video camera to his chest, surrounded by paintings and reflected in a full-length mirror to his side.

Simeon likes zoom lenses for their ability to cover all bases within a shoot. © Simeon Quarrie

Canon RF & Cine lenses

Lens choice depends to some degree on personal preference and the 'look' individual YouTubers want to achieve. "We have prime lenses such as the RF 16mm F2.8 STM, the RF 24mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM, the RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM and the RF 50mm F1.8 STM, which are affordable and light, and suit people who want to get a cinematic aesthetic on a budget," says John.

"Alternatively, a standard zoom lens such as the RF 24-50MM F4.5-6.3 IS STM, which is the kit lens for the EOS R8, is a practical proposition. This lens in particular is a great match for compact full-frame bodies such as the EOS R8, because it's lightweight, affordable and covers everything from landscapes to portraits with its 24-50mm focal length range."

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

A highly versatile zoom lens offering photographers and filmmakers an ideal balance between performance, portability and image quality.

Paul adds, "Some people will want a wide-angle view if they want to show a lot of context – a travel vlogger, for example. If so, consider the ultra-wide RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM or the RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM."

You can find out more about what Canon RF lenses have to offer today's filmmakers, with our guide to the best RF lenses for shooting video.

Simeon personally likes a focal length of 35mm when talking to camera. "The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is great, because you've got wide context, you can use 35mm or 50mm for talking heads and you have the ability to go to 105mm for detail shots."

When shooting with the EOS C200, Simeon's go-to lens is the CN-E35mm T1.5 L F, a premium cinema lens that offers exceptional 4K image quality and a very shallow depth of field.

If you're only shooting for YouTube, Paul recommends lenses such as the CN-E18-80mm T4.4 L IS KAS S and the CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS. "They're eminently suitable because they're compact, lower-cost lenses with a reasonably wide maximum aperture and absolutely outstanding optical quality," he says.

The growing range of Canon Cinema EOS equipment and EOS R System cameras and lenses presents professional vloggers and content creators with the perfect way to upgrade the production values of their YouTube content. Removing the technical barriers of shooting, recording and streaming high-quality video means that filmmakers can focus on what really matters: creating engaging content for audiences around the world.

1 Requires an internet-connected wireless network with a speed of at least 6Mbps plus a YouTube account with at least 1,000 subscribers.

David Clark and Marcus Hawkins

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