The most important weapon for you as a live streamer is a good video camera.
As the competition grows fiercer among online live streamers and vloggers, you need to have an edge over the rest.
Before, a regular web camera would have done the trick.
However, today you’re faced with dozens of choices with varied specifications and features.
Whether you’re a YouTuber or a Twitch / Mixer streamer, you will find this comprehensive list of my top 8 best cameras for live streaming very helpful.
I’ve also written a buyer’s guide about the following:
- Identifying Cameras for Streaming
- Features Streaming Cameras Don’t Need
- Learning How to Use the Cameras
- Understanding 4K Cameras
It’s going to be right under the list, so scroll down if you’d like to read it first!
Best Cameras For Livestreaming
If you are looking for a camera to use for live streaming, consider your needs.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money.
If you can readily identify the features to prioritize, you can easily find a camera that will suit your needs and budget.
Let me start with my top eight choices based on some common preferences.
In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:
Alright, let’s get to the reviews now.
(Best Budget Camera For Live Streaming)
Don’t underestimate the C920 due to its size and price.
Despite it being a relatively inexpensive option, it comes with a powerful full-HD recording feature.
It can record up to 1080p videos and is arguably one of the popular options for live stream enthusiasts.
The Logitech C920 HD Pro camera can be simply plugged onto your pc and you’re good to go.
Its field view is a whopping 78 degrees – wide enough to keep you inside the shooting frame as you move around.
It comes with full HD capabilities.
At 30fps recording, it is by far the best camera in its price range.
For the downside, the camera’s microphones are pretty bad.
If you are going to record a lot of audio, you are better off investing in a good USB microphone to up your game.
Most streamers use separate microphones because it is much easier and provides flexibility when you want to move around and away from your camera.
- High popularity among content creators
- 1080p 30fps Full HD recording
- Low spec built-in microphone
- Only digital zoom
(Best Mirrorless Camera For Live Streaming)
If quality is a big deal for you, mirrorless cameras are your top option.
They mostly come in high resolutions and don’t really have incompatible features when it comes to live streaming.
The only reason these cameras are generally unpopular to some is its short battery duration – something you can easily remedy during live streaming by attaching an AC power adapter throughout the streaming process.
Price-wise, the GH5 is more affordable than the A7R III – another mirrorless camera I will be talking about after this.
It has a native 4K video (means it does not crop) and several other features like weather sealing.
On the video quality itself, the GH5 already makes my list of the best cameras for live streaming.
Since it has no cropping, it is safe to assume that the GH5 downscales footage to fit 4k requirements.
This process prevents false coloring and other similar issues.
If you are looking to do some serious streaming, this camera can definitely keep up.
It has a 4:2:2 10bit output, clean HDMI, Bluetooth, and WiFi connection capabilities.
- 4K 60fps resolution
- Video recording optimized design with features like the flip screen, mic jack, IS, and hot shoe
- Dual image stabilization
- 180fps slow-motion editing feature
- Has below-average sensor compared to cameras of a similar price and spec group
- Slightly heavy at 1.6lbs
Sony A7R Mark III
Mirrorless cameras typically have better image quality due to them being ‘mirrorless’ literally.
It lies in the design of the device, so it’s relatively cheaper since it requires fewer parts.
So it is possible to find a typical camera with the same price as a mirrorless one but with inferior image quality.
The A7R III is the latest among the Sony A7 camera series.
It has a higher resolution and better detailing with its 42-megapixel camera sensor and BIONZ X image processor.
It is capable of UHD 4K videos at 30fps.
It also comes with an HLG and S-Log3 gamma support for shooting in bright places.
Talking about BIONZ X, it is an image processor with superior specifications and low light results.
It allows the camera to capture a dynamic range of up to 15 stops.
In cameras, the number of stops represents different brightness levels from black to white.
The higher the range, the smoother your videos will be.
If you will be recording a lot of high contrast and colorful images, this feature is a very suitable add-on you need to include in your buying requirements.
The A7R III is superior in this area, earning it a spot in my best cameras for live streaming list.
The A7R III also has a 35mm sensor that not just allow higher quality videos, but also wider ones.
It also makes patterns and line distinctions clearer.
The camera also comes with image stabilization for motion shots or videos.
Although you might be using the camera on a tripod most of the time, the feature can still be a good bonus if you decide to go on a trip.
- High spec recording capabilities
- Full-frame 35mm camera sensor for low lights and Bokeh effect
- Light and compact built
- Low mobility screen
- Quite expensive
(Best Live Steaming Camera For The Money)
Panasonic is a popular manufacturer of heavy-duty long-lasting devices.
DMC G95 is a mirrorless micro 4/3 system camera that can shoot 4K videos at 30fps.
It has a superior built-in image stabilization that is arguably the best among its competition.
It is also compatible with Dual I.S lenses.
Similar to the GH5 above, it has the capability to work with other lenses to come up with better quality footages.
Take note, however, that image stabilization is this model’s best feature and it’s not really necessary for simple home streaming.
It has all the basic features conveniently controllable on its advanced touchscreen located at the back of the camera.
This design allows an easier way to record yourself especially if you are doing your videos solo
- 4K video recording
- Fair price for its features
- Light and compact designs
- Expensive than average popular streaming cameras
- Has too many unnecessary features
If you are looking for a powerful camera much like the Panasonic G95 but with better low light capturing capabilities and Bokeh effect, the Sony A6400 is for you.
It belongs to the mid-price range just because it doesn’t have any image stabilization.
It rocks an APS-C sensor that is larger than the G95.
The camera has a sleek compact design perfect for lugging around during travels.
When it comes to streaming, the A6400’s autofocus gives clearer videos.
It is also mirrorless and can be mounted on a tripod.
- Clean 4K Quality video recording
- APS-C Sensor
- Streaming-compatible features like IS, mic jack and hot shoe
- Light and compact design
- No built-in image stabilization
Best DSLRs For Live Streaming
DSLR cameras were popular a few years back mainly due to their image quality.
However, they have been overrun by mirrorless cameras that have even better resolutions.
Plus, their main selling point – long battery life – is not really a must in video streaming.
But, if you want a DSLR, here are my top picks.
Canon Eos 90D
This 33MP camera with an APS-C CMOS sensor is a mirrorless masterpiece.
It has a larger sensor than most camcorders and makes great captures even under poor lighting conditions.
One of its main advantages is its rear touchscreen LCD. It can be turned towards the recorder or the one being recorded.
This is a great way to check your footage if you are self-recording.
It captures 4K 30FPS videos and can be connected through WiFi or NFC.
Its previous version, the EOS 80D was also a capable live streaming camera with a clean HDMI output as long as autofocus is turned off.
The 90D, on the other hand, can have a clean HDMI output even with autofocus.
- Autofocus feature
- Features for content creation such as hot shoe, flip screen, and mic jack
- Very good battery life
- Lightweight compared to typical DSLRs
- Lacks image stabilization
- Heavier than mirrorless cameras
Sony A7 III
I have mentioned above the expensive variation of this camera, the A7R III.
The A7 III is less expensive with most of the features intact.
The main reason for the A7R being expensive is that it comes with many controls and settings for professional photography.
A7 is more of an entry-level camera with great features that comes at a lower price.
Features-wise, you have autofocus, which is a selling point of the EOS 90D.
The A7’s autofocus can sometimes overwhelm the A7R’s in certain lighting conditions.
It still records clear 4K video resolution at 30fps and sports a full-frame sensor.
Another alternative is Mark II since it’s even cheaper, but you will love the A7 for an entry-level streaming project.
- Good features for a cheaper price than other cameras with similar specs
- Full-frame sensor for clearer images
- Compact design
- Still expensive than average
- Short battery life
Canon EOS Rebel SL3
If you really want a beginner camera with specs that are somewhat comparable to professional-level cameras at half the price, then the EOS SL3 is right for you.
Canon is known for having the best camera sensors and the SL3 is no different.
It features an APS-C CMOS sensor paired with a dual pixel CMOS autofocus software.
Starting with a DSLR camera is a good choice if you are thinking of other ways to use it as well as streaming.
Unlike the similarly-priced G7, the Rebel SL3 has a larger sensor and records 4K video.
So in terms of video quality, the Rebel SL3 is lightly superior.
It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a long battery life 3x the average capacity.
As the lightest and smallest camera in the Canon line-up, the Rebel SL3 is a sight to behold.
- Videography features like flip screen, mic jack, and hot shoe
- APS-C Sensor
- Lacks built-in image stabilization
- Lighter than most – hence feels delicate
Now, let’s talk about the basics:
When I shop for a camera I intend to use for vlogging, I take note of the following features:
- Clean HDMI Output
When I say ‘clean’, what does it mean?
When you take a video, you will normally see several icons on the screen to make tweaking settings more convenient for users.
I’m talking about buttons or icons for shooting speed, record time, ISO, ETC.
This is great for vloggers since they usually just upload the recording.
However, it’s different when you’re live streaming because you’re literally sharing the same screen you have ‘while’ or ‘during’ the time you are taking the video.
A ‘clean’ HDMI output refers to cameras that allow you to turn off or hide the icons around your screen and just leave a blank background except for the footage.
You need to know that not all cameras have this option so don’t immediately pick one that only has good specs.
The more control you have of the recording screen, the more flexible your experience will be.
- Limitless Runtime
This refers to the auto-sleep feature most cameras have nowadays to save energy.
This will work to your disadvantage especially if you’re trying to stream for several hours or recording a time-lapse video.
Anyhow, most cameras have a way to switch this feature off in the settings.
There is another kind of feature though that turns off the camera when idle for a good while.
The problem with this is that it really turns off the entire camera and closes everything.
This means you can lose footage if you’re recording, or completely disconnect from your streaming platform.
There are some that come with this feature built-in and non-modifiable so what you should aim to buy are those that do not have this.
It is nice to own a camera with so many features and high specifications.
But, you don’t need to have all of them.
If budget is a problem for you, you can choose cameras that have features you really need.
It all depends on what you are trying to take footage of.
Image Stabilization is a really good but expensive feature that helps your videos look less shaky when you’re in motion.
If you’re filming riding, driving, playing, running or basically anything that requires movement, you will need this feature for better videos.
The feature can come in many types. Some are built into the recording while others need to be switched on manually in the settings.
Some are just simple integrated software while others include some hardware like a sensor.
If you are only filming stationary at home while playing an instrument, singing or making reactions, you won’t need image stabilization.
It would be good to own a tripod though since you really need a steady camera holder to ensure your camera is stable and at the right angle or placement.
Another feature would be beautification or image processing effects.
If you’re familiar with apps that add filters to captures and footage like Facebook or TikTok, you’ll know what I mean.
Basic settings for brightness, color corrections, etc. are helpful but you really don’t need all the complicated ones like smooth, blur, and such.
These features are better added by a specialized software than haphazardly as a bonus feature on your camera.
They also affect the resolution ever so slightly.
The cleaner and more realistic your raw footage is, the better your streaming quality.
Any of the cameras on best cameras for live streaming list can be used in this manner.
For starters, it’s good to know that you can use capture cards like Elgato Cam Link to stream up to 1080p60 videos.
Remember to secure an HDMI output cable.
Alternatively, you can explore apps like Camerafi to stream.
All you will need is a USB-connected camera and a good internet connection for streaming.
When you’re streaming, you don’t really need to record any footage.
Remember, you are just sharing whatever shows up on your recording or camera screen.
Thus, all you need to do is set-up the camera at the right place and keep it on until your stream ends.
An advantage of this is the lesser pressure on the camera even after long term use.
You avoid damaging the sensors, bypass the recording limit, and prevent overheating.
How to Use a Regular Camera for Streaming:
- Turn your camera on and ensure proper placement.
- Turn-off all settings that may potentially put your camera to sleep or turn off.
- Connect your HDMI output to software like Elgato Cam Link.
- Connect the link to your PC and configure it.
- Once all is set, you can start streaming.
A few pro tips. First, connect your camera to a power adapter if you are planning on streaming for several hours.
Second, some cameras apply overlays to add Meta info on your stream.
Make sure you turn that off in the camera settings.
Lastly, just be very familiar with the tools you’re using so you avoid any untoward mistakes while streaming live.
We all know 4K resolution footage looks great, but is it suitable for streaming?
However, you are not going to be distributing a 4k resolution streaming video to your viewers.
As of today, that is still not possible.
Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the better your raw footage, the clearer your stream.
It is very important to be familiar with the software you are using to stream.
Elgato, for instance, allows you to output up to 1080p resolution captures.
If you have a 4k camera, your output will be only 1080p but it will be from a downscaled 4K video.
In theory, it should be a tad bit clearer if your source is only a 1080p video.
In conclusion, it’s an advantage but not really necessary. If you’ve got a good budget, why not.
Last update on 2020-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API