Last Updated on July 23, 2022 by Devaun Lennox
Today’s mid-range market has plenty of exciting options that are excellent starting points for aspiring creators. But, not just any camera can tackle this purpose. And creators require a different subset of features and capabilities than a typical photographer.
When looking at options, these are the essential points to consider: continuous autofocus, screen articulation, inputs, and video capabilities. In this list, we’ve compiled the top ten best cameras that are not only budget-friendly but also perfect for starting your YouTube channel.
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10 – Panasonic LUMIX G7
Panasonic’s G7 is another installment into the company’s backbone G series. Released in the summer of 2015, it features a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine 9 Image Processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen, a microphone input, zebras, a 2x teleconverter, time-lapse, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 49-point contrast-detection autofocusing system with Panasonic Depth from Defocus technology and Face Detection. This system works reasonably well in continuous focus, given the subjects remain in frame and aren’t turned profile. This camera also provides extensive customization over the footage, including HSL, dynamic range, and gamma curves, which is perfect for tailoring it to your specific style. Unlike rivals, Panasonic’s Image app allows full remote control over video recording and is the most versatile app available.
Overall, Panasonic’s G7 is, in many respects, a baby GH4, and it provides much of the same performance with only minor differences. And it too makes an excellent choice as a hybrid camera for still and video. But, it’s a far more economical way to enter Panasonic’s ecosystem. And the better option for aspiring creators on a budget.
9 – Canon T8i
Canon Rebel T8i is their latest release and the current flagship in the Rebel lineup to replace the popular T7i. Initially released in the spring of 2020, it features a 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 image processor, 4K video up to 24 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch fully articulating touchscreen, time-lapse, digital stabilization, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 45-point all cross-type AF system that brings both Face and Eye detection. And it marks the first camera to feature Face Detection tracking through the viewfinder, a revolutionary addition among current DSLRs. It also supports vertical video, a rare feature in this class that provides easy sharing to Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok.
Overall, Canon’s T8i now stands tall as their most advanced Rebel camera to date. It improves its predecessors’ tried and true features, with updated video, and far superior autofocusing. And it packs a surprisingly advanced feature set given its budget-friendly price.
8 – Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D
Canon’s SL3 is their latest entry into the Super Lightweight category. Released in the summer of 2019, it features a 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 image processor, 4K video up to 24 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch fully articulating touchscreen, time-lapse, HDR movie, digital image stabilization, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 9-point autofocusing system and Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, now with eye-detection for added accuracy. And it also obtains Canon HDR Movie mode, which merges videos in-camera to maintain detail in high-contrast scenes. And at 402 grams, it’s also the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market.
Overall, Canon’s SL3 is a significant improvement over the SL2. It provides a new sensor, 4K video, and superior battery life. And it delivers a comprehensive feature set for its incredibly small size.
7 – Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II is their seventh mid-range mirrorless camera, and the current flagship of the M lineup. Released in the fall of 2019, it features a 32.5-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 image processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, USB charging, HDR Movie, time-lapse, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It inherits Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF. However, it now offers the best implementation of this system to date with a total of 5,481 selectable AF points. This new system also brings along both Face+Tracking and Eye Detection AF for relentless tracking during video recordings. This camera is also among the first Canon cameras to provide Dual Pixel AF when shooting 4K video, unlike the M50 and SL3, which both use contrast-detection in 4K. It even offers digital image stabilization when recording movies, which works well when hand-holding the camera. And this camera also supports the High Frame Rate Movie mode, which shoots video at 120 fps in full HD for super slow-motion videos.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II provides the highest resolution sensor in the APS-C segment we’ve seen thus far. As Canon’s latest flagship, it does an incredible job and sets a new standard for the class. And it’s the strongest high-resolution compact to date.
6 – Canon 80D
Canon’s 80D is the outgoing flagship of their multimedia lineup. Released in the spring of 2016, it features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 6 image processor, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch fully articulating touchscreen, time-lapse, digital zoom, HDR movie, wireless connectivity, weather sealing, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses a 45-point all cross-type AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Unlike other contenders on this list, it’s the only camera to provide both headphone and microphone inputs, useful to monitor recorded audio to prevent bad recordings. It’s also the only camera to offer full weather sealing, giving you the confidence to capture even the riskiest clips.
Overall, Canon’s 80D is an excellent multimedia content creation tool. And one that takes a familiar design and couples it with top of the line performance and a friendly mid-range price point. And it’s an excellent jack of all trades and Canon’s best-valued SLR to date.
5 – Canon EOS M50
Canon’s EOS M50 is an entry-level mirrorless camera they market towards beginning hybrid shooters. Released in the spring of 2018, it features a 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 image processor, 4K video up to 24 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch fully articulating touchscreen, time-lapse, digital stabilization, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 99-point AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which provides similar performance as the 80D. However, this iteration delivers Eye Detection, making it the first Canon camera to obtain the feature. The camera also offers a high-speed movie mode at 120 fps, to capture super slow-motion videos for delicate moments.
Overall, Canon’s EOS M50 is the smaller and more robust version of both the 77D and 80D. And while it offers a more minimal and straightforward layout than those two larger SLRs, it remains one of their most capable mirrorless cameras below the M6 and EOS R lineups. And it’s a strong budget-friendly option with a comprehensive feature set to match.
4 – FUJIFILM X-T200
Fujifilm’s X-T200 is their most recent addition to their mid-tier lineup, to sit between the entry-level X-A7 and semi-profession X-T30. Released in the spring of 2020, it features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.5-inch fully articulating touchscreen, USB charging, HDR Movie, digital stabilization, time-lapse, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 425 point phase-detection AF system, which now brings along both Face and Eye Detection AF. Fuji’s also equipped the camera with the High-Speed Movie recording mode that provides super slow-motion videos in Full HD up to 120 fps. It also shoots HDR movies, which combines multiple videos of varied exposures in-camera to increase dynamic range and preserve details. And combined with Fuji’s color science and historic film simulations, the camera offers a unique stylistic appeal. It also provides the rare option to convert the camera’s USB-C port into a headphone input, a distinct edge over rivals that lack the feature altogether.
Overall, the X-T200 provides notable improvements over its predecessor with superior autofocus, better processing, screen, and proper 4K video. And while it’s aimed at first-time users, it’s powerful enough to give mid-range cameras twice its price a run for their money.
3 – Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Canon’s G7X Mark III is their third entry into the GX7 lineup and a camera that offers multimedia capabilities in a sleek, compact design. Released in the fall of 2019, it features a 20.1-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 image processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, time-lapse, optical stabilization, neutral density filters, HDR Movie, USB charging, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 31-point contrast-detection AF system with Face + Tracking and a built-in 24-100mm lens for excellent versatility. This is also one of few cameras to support vertical video recording for Instagram, Tik Tok, or Facebook stories. And it’s also the first camera to live stream to YouTube via Canon’s Image Gateway app. Canon’s even equipped the camera with the High Frame Rate Movie mode, which shoots super slow-motion videos at 120 fps in full HD.
Overall, Canon’s G7X Mark III offers exciting updates over its predecessor, with the latest sensor and processor, to provide even better image quality. Plus, the new live streaming option and addition of 4K make it into quite the compact powerhouse.
2 – Sony a6100
Sony’s a6100 is the long-awaited replacement to their hallmark a6000. Released in the fall of 2019, it features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, the Bionz X image processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 120 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, zebras, time-lapse, USB charging, a microphone input, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 425-point phase-detection AF system that brings along Real-Time Eye AF for both humans and animals. And these points cover 84% of the frame, allowing the camera to focus and accurately track subjects virtually anywhere on the screen. Unlike rivals, it records both sound and maintains autofocus when shooting FHD video at 120 fps, a rare feature in the class. And it’s also one a few cameras on the market that offers unlimited video recording, instead of the standard 29-minute limit.
Overall, Sony’s a6100 is an excellent all-rounder that gives rivals in the entry-level class real competition. It’s a significant improvement over the a6000. And while it’s the most affordable option in Sony’s newest Alpha series, it inherits much of the class-leading innovations and functionality from its pricier peers.
1 – Sony ZV-1
Sony’s ZV-1 is a brand new lineup for the manufacturer to depart from the long-standing CyberShot lineup. This compact point & shoot is designed specifically with videographers and Youtubers in mind. Released in the summer of 2020, it features a 1-inch 20.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, the Bionz X image processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD up to 120 fps. It also has a 3.0-inch fully articulating touchscreen, a tally lamp, time-lapse, a microphone input, USB charging, optical stabilization, neutral density filters, vertical video, and wireless connectivity.
It uses a 425-point hybrid AF system, with Sony’s acclaimed Real-Time AF for both stills and videos. And this latest iteration uses machine learning and AI for subject recognition, for a class-leading focus speed of 0.03 seconds. With this new release, Sony equipped the camera with a three-capsule microphone specially designed to capture audio without distracting ambient sounds. The camera also has a tally lamp, a front-facing light that indicates the video is active. Plus, it offers smart auto-exposure, ensuring your face is always accurately exposed. And the new Product Showcase mode, which smoothly transitions the focus to a product held in front of the camera.
Overall, Sony’s ZV-1 ups the standards in the compact segment, and now takes the reign as the current leader of this class. It delivers a large 1-inch sensor, high-quality lens, unfailing AF, unlimited video, and log profiles. And compared to rivals, it’s a slam dunk considering the feature set and starting price. And a home run release for Sony that’s now the ideal choice for YouTubers and vloggers. It goes leaps and bounds above the competition in automation. And it provides a feature set that makes the process of creating great content that much easier.