The best kit for YouTube: essential video equipment for social media 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 9,000 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."

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 technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

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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

A new generation 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.

The EOS C70 uses RF lenses, which means communication between lens and body is fast and the IS works in harmony with the in-camera and optical stabilisation. 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 man films with a Canon EOS C70 camera in an artist's studio.

One key aspect Simeon looks for in a video camera is the facility to plug in microphones. "I can have a clip-on lav mic or shotgun mic going directly into the side of the camera. That means that when I drop my MP4 straight onto the timeline, the audio is ready synced," he says. © Simeon Quarrie

Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6

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 stabilisation is great and even better when paired with the RF lenses."

John Maurice, Canon Europe Product Marketing Manager, adds: "The EOS R5 and EOS R6 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 adaptor. You can shoot 4K movies at 120fps on the EOS R5 (60fps on the EOS R6) and use the resolution to re-frame and provide a punch-in."

The Canon EOS R5 camera.

Canon EOS R5

The EOS R5's uncompromising performance will revolutionise your photography and filmmaking.
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."


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 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 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 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.
A man leans on a rock while holds 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.

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.

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 EF, 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 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.

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, one option is the ultra-wide RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens."

The Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM camera.

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.

Simeon personally likes a focal length of 35mm when talking to camera. "The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM or EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lenses hit the spot but also give me the ability to get a wider establishing shot," he says. "The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is also 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.

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

Skrevet af David Clark

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