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Social media has taken the world by storm, not only does it have the power to boost any business brand online, but it can actually prove to be a great source of money-making machine for those who know the secret! From vlogging, blogging, and live streaming to become an Instagram or YouTube influencer, there’s plenty of money and followers in between. Most of these don’t require a big setup, just a computer, an innovative idea, and a good camera.
Live streaming is a powerful tool to engage with your audience, build brand loyalty, and scale your brand. Every great marketing guide on the internet that talks about how to increase your followers on any platform, live streaming is bound to be on its list. Some examples of this include Instagram and Facebook live, holding a Q&A session, makeup tutorial, or let’s play and playthrough videos on YouTube, or live streaming on Twitch.
A good camera makes a world of difference between a forgettable live stream and a memorable one. A streaming camera is different from your phone’s camera or your laptop’s webcam. It can do wonders for your video quality and is a must if you’re serious about improving your presence on social media and gaining followers.
This guide will help you pick the best camera for live streaming, taking into consideration factors like image quality, the field of view, and other features. Browse our selection to find the best camera for live streaming before you make your purchase.
Also, if you’re looking for a vlogging camera instead, we’ve got that covered in a different guide.
Also Read – Best Vlogging Camera
Hardware You’ll Need for Live Streaming
Now that you know that you need a good camera and a computer to live stream, let’s talk about other necessary requirements to make the production process perfect. For better audio and video quality, some accessories and tools are essential to consider. The following equipment can help you make the most out of your streams.
1. Tripod or Mount
It may seem like an extra purchase, but live streams can go on for hours at times, especially if you’re recording a playthrough or doing a live Q&A. Of course, you can’t hold the camera for such long hours. It’s better to invest in a tripod or mount to ensure your long streaming sessions go without any problems and that your videos remain stable and clear. The tripods don’t cost a lot, and you can easily find one on Amazon like the AmazonBasics tripod or Torjim.
2. External Microphone
Most cameras do come with a built-in microphone. However, most don’t have the best audio quality and aren’t noise-canceling either. To make sure your videos are of the highest quality and your followers are easily able to understand you, it’s better to invest in a good external microphone. The best-suggested microphone for live streaming is Samson G-Track Pro and Maono lavalier microphones for portable on-the-go live stream.
3. Any Internet Device
If you’re doing outdoor shoots or live streaming in areas that don’t have a decent internet connection, there is little point in going live as your followers won’t be able to watch your videos.
Having a stable Wi-Fi connection makes a big difference when you’re streaming or going live, and luckily, most modems and internet devices are easily affordable. Having at least 5 Mbps for HD streaming, and at least 25 Mbps for Ultra HD videos is a must.
4. Dependable battery support system
When you’re live streaming, you can’t shut off your camera, even if you need to change batteries for any reason. Usually, there is a high chance that your camera may run out of power mid-shoot as videos use up a lot of battery life. This is why you need a reliable battery power system so that your camera can stay charged during streams. This Case Relay Power System is a good one to consider.
5. Video Encoder
Video encoders convert video files from one format to another, which is necessary for converting RAW files of the camera into content that can be streamed. This is important when taking interviews and when you don’t have a computer with you. The LiveU Solo Video Streaming Encoder and Blackmagic Design are compatible with almost all live-streaming platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and Facebook. Using HDMI or SDI video sources, you can instantly stream video using these encoders to have a professional content live.
What Factors do You Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Streaming Camera?
There is no one best camera as for everyone the requirements and budget is bound to differ. Still, there are a few essential factors that can apply to everyone when considering to purchase a streaming camera. These factors are:
1. HDMI or SDI Output
Many cameras for streaming can’t transmit clean and clear live video data, especially if the cameras aren’t designed for streaming. This results in your videos being pixelated, blurry, or simply, not able to run properly.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that the camera you choose sends out a clean and clear HDMI or SDI signal.
2. HD Video Resolution
When you choose a camera, double-check its maximum video resolution. The lowest range you should go for is 720p which is standard HD; above that is 1080p, which is full HD, and then finally 4K, which is Ultra HD. If your camera doesn’t support HD resolution, there is very little chance that you’ll gain followers because poor quality videos aren’t known to increase followers.
If you are planning on gaming streams or any live stream that requires you to stay put, you should probably consider the weight of the camera as an essential factor when purchasing a camera. It may seem insignificant now, but when you’re carrying heavy and fragile equipment for hours, you would regret not considering its weight when making the purchase.
4. Doesn’t overheat or shuts off automatically because of inactivity
If your camera overheats, it may not allow you to continue to shoot any live videos shutting off automatically. This could be pretty embarrassing if your camera shuts off during a live stream. You must check the reviews to make sure you purchase a camera that has neither of these issues.
The Best Cameras for Live Streaming (Mirrorless, DSLR, Webcam, and Action)
If you’ve already dabbled in streaming and know your way around a professional camera, then a Panasonic Lumix G7 Mirrorless Camera will be the perfect streaming companion for you. It has a 14-42 mm lens, which will make sure all your videos are always high quality.
Built-in EVF and multiple options of on-body controls are great for photographers who want to have excellent shooting experience. However, too many on-screen buttons can be a little complicated for beginners. Panasonic Lumix can shoot videos in 4K ultra HD or 1080p. The 4K feature is also used to provide an instant capture with still image mode called the “4K Photo” mode.
G7 provides two auto ISO modes: auto ISO and iISO. Auto ISO is straightforward and does not allow you to specify the shutter speed or focal length ratio; however, you can select the upper limit of ISO. The iISO is a bit smarter as it automatically detects movement and increases the ISO to ensure proper shutter speed.
The Wi-Fi/ WPA/WPA, two settings in G7, is compatible so users can stream anytime and any place, and has a 3.5 mm mic port which can be used to connect an external microphone for enhanced audio quality. This camera is best for live streaming videos.
- Can shoot in 4K Ultra HD and 1080p at 60fps
- Comes with multiple compatible lenses
- Panasonic patented high-speed autofocus
- Easy to use
- As it is a professional camera, it will seem complicated for new users
- An external monitor cannot be attached with the HDMI port
2. Sony A7 II
Another mirrorless camera on the list is the Sony A7 II. This is a very high-end camera, but if you consider it’s specifications: a 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, can stream in 1080p60, can record in Ultra HD comes with interchangeable lenses, it’s one of the most affordable full-frame sensor cameras available.
This camera is excellent for live streaming because of its different lenses that allow you to shoot from different angles, crispy video quality, and a unique feature that prevents the camera from shutting off due to inactivity. This is important because, while you are using the camera for recording the video, the live streaming takes place on your computer, so many cameras power off because of ‘no activity.’ It also has a built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC so you can record and stream at the same time. The camera also performs great in low light.
- Excellent image stabilization
- Full-frame 35mm sensor
- Has different interchangeable lenses
- The good kit lens for beginners
- Short battery life
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is an excellent camera for DSLR beginners and an equally great option for streamers. This is one of the most affordable cameras in the market that provide features like streaming in 1080p60, have an external 3.5mm microphone jack, interchangeable lenses, and provides a decent HDMI output.
This camera has a fully articulating screen that is great for capturing different kinds of shots, and you won’t have to move the camera around continually. Besides this, Rebel SL2 has a Dual Pixel Autofocus system, which is excellent for making videos and also has a face tracking autofocus, which will come in handy during live sessions without having the camera to focus on your face and background continually. This affordable camera holds its weight against other high-end cameras with ease.
- Excellent AF system
- Wi-Fi and NFC compatible
- Easy-to-understand settings menu
- No headphone jack
- Doesn’t have in-body image stabilization
Canon EOS 80D is one of the best DSLR cameras for live streaming and photography that can be bought under $1,000. This camera has an advanced autofocus system, probably the best compared to other available cameras at this price. It also has an excellent ISO range and has a 45-point all cross-type AF system. The 24 MP sensors in the 80D can take beautiful, detailed photos, enough to handle any reasonable size of the print. While it cannot record 4K videos, it does provide 1080/60p clicks and continuous autofocus during streaming. A headphone jack has also been added.
This camera is made especially for advanced users, as it is powerful and easy to use, exuding a solid feeling and a thoughtful design. The 80D is an essential development of the Canon sensor, and the dual pixel autofocus can not only focus continuously during filming but also during static shooting.
Canon 80D is a relatively light body made of a polycarbonate and magnesium alloy, which is very durable. It’s weather-friendly, however dust, sand, dirt, etc. can quickly get stuck in the compartment behind the screen and accumulate.
- Best for beginners
- Ideal for low light shots
- Autofocus sometimes doesn’t work correctly
This camera remains as the top-recommended action camera despite the launch of the latest GoPro Hero 8. The GoPro Hero 7 is a more affordable, waterproof 4K quality camera which is incredibly sturdy, and lightweight. The pocketable feature makes it easy to carry this camera anywhere, especially during a live stream that involves sports, action, or any adventure. This is especially great for users interested in doing different sports and dance-related challenges.
While this camera’s resolution isn’t the best, still it offers high-quality shots and has a fantastic field of view. And not just this, the handy little camera also has a voice-command feature that lets you issue basic commands like GoPro, take a shot’ or ‘GoPro, turn off.’ Besides streaming, you can make amazing time-lapse videos with this, and instead of holding it, you can attach it to yourself for hands-free photography and videos.
The HyperSmooth feature of this action camera is a form of video stabilization, and GoPro considers it equivalent to using a gimbal. If you record a 4K 60fps video at full resolution, you can do it in Hypersmooth mode. Although, it is advisable not to use this feature when recording in 4:3 aspect ratio and full HD resolutions of 120 fps and 240 fps.
GoPro has a touch screen, and the user interface has also been updated on Hero 7 Black. Portrait mode has also been added, allowing users to take photos and videos vertically on platforms such as Instagram or IGTV.
- Sturdy and weatherproof
- Excellent image-stabilization
- Voice control features
- The streaming resolution doesn’t go beyond 1080p
- Not the best battery life
The best camcorder to live stream videos, Canon XA11, is the perfect camcorder for users looking for high-quality videos. It’s not only perfect for live streaming videos, but you can also make documentaries and cover different event shoots with it as well. It has a 20x optical zoom lens and HD CMOS Pro image sensor.
The XA11 offers complete manual control for users and auto mode functions like focus, exposure, shutter speed, gain, and white balance. With its incredible 5-axis image stabilization feature, your videos will always be crisp and clear. Its storage capacity is excellent, as is its sound recording. Like many modern camcorders, the XA11 also has a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen with a 1.56 million dot electronic viewfinder. The only major downside of this camcorder is its price; otherwise, it’s near perfect.
The camera has adjustable zoom settings and has options like fixed, slow, normal, fast, and variable. The 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensor in the XA11 can record video at various frame rates up to 59.94p. For a more dynamic movie effect, the camera can be set to record at 24p. The camera also has a built-in infrared diffuser, which prevents infrared hot spots from forming. The USB port (micro-B) is available for download, which is directly stored on the memory card.
- Full HD quality live streaming
- Storage capacity and battery life is beyond amazing
- Ergonomic and easily portable
- One of the best auto-video-stabilization
- Not the best low light performance
Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam 1080p is one of the best cameras for webcam live streaming. This is considered the best camera for a webcam, ideal for all streamers’ levels because of its multitude of features. The Logitech C922 stands out for its excellent qualities like dual microphones for stereo sound. Pro Stream Webcam can shoot videos or live streams in 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps in its hyperfast mode. The integrated webcam stand is configurable. The C922 comes with a tripod. The tripods are also extended to double their length, resulting in a 7-inch triangular footprint.
This isn’t geared towards the camera-to-Youtube function but is excellent for streaming games, and its privacy shutter is compatible with Skype, Google Hangouts, and Mac. It has a 360-degree swivel mount, and its legs extend from 4.3 inches to 7.3 inches. The C922 can take beautiful photos and can capture sensitive surrounding sounds. Logitech, with Personify, developed its software called ChromaCam. This creates a green screen effect behind the streamer whose background is removed. Logitech also adds a three-month license to XSplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster. The C922 Pro Stream Webcam is a simple-to-use webcam that would make any streamer happy.
- Full HD streaming
- Can be fixed to a monitor or tripod
- Easy to set up
- Good stereo microphones
- Doesn’t perform great in low light
- The video quality is too low at 720p 60fps
This is the best-selling gaming peripherals manufacturer in the US and is designed for streaming. The main attractions of these webcams are the built-in LED ring light, and videos recording in 720p 60 FPS and 1080p 30 FPS because of these features you’ll never have to worry about any light imbalance shots. This camera is especially useful when you’re streaming or recording live playthroughs as the light of your computer’s screen won’t be reflected on your face.
Razer Kiyo is a lightweight, compact, and brilliant webcam that has a light-adjusting feature and spot on low light performance. Besides, the 4-megapixels lets you take colorful images and record videos with 81.6 degrees field of view. The mount brackets and tripods at the bottom of the lowest disc are for people who don’t want to clamp cam to the monitor.
Most webcams are known to have horrible quality and are nowhere near the level of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, but this webcam could compete with a few high-end cameras in the market.
- Gorgeous and useful multi-step LED light ring
- Full HD at 30fps
- The light ring isn’t of the best quality
When a camera has Microsoft and HD in its name, you know it’s going to be good. This is one of the best budget options for live streaming, and you get a video quality of 720p at 30fps, which makes it a stellar buy for a camera under $100.
This camera has an excellent low light adjustment, does automatic face tracking, and has a built-in microphone that is noise canceling. LifeCam HD is a Skype-certified webcam that can be used mainly for casual settings. There is also the digital zoom feature and the option to focus so you can adjust the camera’s focus manually. The camera also offers TrueColor Technology through which video brightness and colors can be adjusted according to lighting conditions.
The built-in microphone has excellent audio quality but can easily pick ambient noises in the room and surroundings. One of the best features of LifeCam is that it is easy to mount and also features a wide-angle lens that is perfect for streaming.
- Plug and play functionality
- Excellent audio quality
- HD streaming
- Only offers 720p quality
- Users have complained about the auto exposure/white balance finder
With influencers and social media gurus realizing the importance of frequently interacting with your audience, live streaming has become incredibly popular in the last couple of years. All you need is a camera and a computer, and you’re set to roll.
For beginners and streamers looking for a relatively low-priced but high-quality option, Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is the best option. With its affordable price, fantastic autofocus system, Wi-Fi compatibility, and ease of use, you just can’t go wrong with this camera.
Suppose you’re a professional streamer, familiar with camera mechanics, and willing to shell out a decent amount of money. In that case, Canon XA11 Professional Camcorder is hands-down the perfect camera for you. With its full HD live streaming, incredible storage capacity and battery life, and superior image stabilization, there’s not else you can ask for in a streaming camera.
We hope this guide comes in handy for you, and you’ll consider all the reviews before deciding which camera to buy. The easiest way to finalize your choice is to outline your needs, requirements, and budget and see which camera meets all your conditions. Happy streaming!
Bernard currently works full-time as a growth hacker and content researcher for HUSTLR. When he was studying in the US 2 years ago, he flipped Yeezys on eBay as a side hustle to fund his degree and living expenses. He’s currently working on his Amazon FBA business & dropshipping on the side.