Podcasting has already been huge for many years, of course, but now the popular thing is to share your podcast as a video, too! At first, the thought of watching someone just talk to a camera for an hour might seem odd. However, the added element of a visual aid can keep an audience engaged, and give your content new potential ways to educate or entertain. So, why not add a camera to your podcast equipment?

This article is going to help you do just that. What is the best podcast camera? As you might imagine, it’s still all about the audio, so keep in mind that your budget for a good podcast setup should always focus on sound quality. There are a few ways in which your camera will factor into this, of course, and we’ll get into that. Simply put, the best camera for podcasting is going to be one that allows you to seamlessly integrate good quality audio, and has features that make it easier to work from in front of the camera as opposed to behind it. There’s a lot more to it, so let’s dive in!

[Related: The Best Cameras For Photography & Videography]

What To Look For In The Best Podcasting Cameras

best camera for podcasting youtube podcast studio 2

The first thing you must remember, as we said, is that podcast audio is your top priority. This means that at a bare minimum, your camera should have an audio input (a 3.5mm jack) that allows you to record good-quality audio in-camera. (Even if you use a dedicated broadcasting microphone for podcasting, having a shotgun mic on your camera(s) can help with audio synchronization later.)

O course, you could also plug your desktop or lavalier microphone directly into your camera, if you have a long enough cable. Keep in mind that almost all cameras only have a 3.5mm audio jack and not an XLR input. If you are that much of an audiophile and prefer the “cleaner” and higher-quality audio connections, note that we don’t necessarily recommend spending a ton of extra money on a video camera with a dedicated XLR input, although that is an option. in goes beyond just audio, although that is of course a major component.

Connectivity For All Podcast Equipment

Beyond the bare minimum of an audio jack, you’ll want to consider your own specific needs for the format of podcasting that you want. Do you want to live stream your podcast as you record it, using Youtube or something? If so, then you’ll want to get an HDMI or similar connection so you can connect your camera to your computer and feed its video directly into your streaming app.

Alternatively, you could use wireless connections to stream, but just note that the image and/or video quality may be reduced.

One very important thing is power. Since many podcasts can run for at least an hour or two, you’ll absolutely want a camera that can run directly off external power. Most cameras today can use a “dummy battery” accessory that plugs directly into a wall, but we currently prefer the convenience of USB direct power, so that is something to check for in your camera’s specs.

Front-Facing Interface / Features

One of the biggest differences between the cameras we are going to recommend and most of the other cameras we’ve ever recommended is this: when you’re podcasting, you’re usually going to be operating the camera from in front of it. This is very similar to vlogging, of course: You want to be able to hit record, and see very clearly that you are recording! Furthermore, it can be convenient to have a few custom functions that are front-facing, either on physical buttons and/or in a customizable touchscreen menu.

Autofocus & Face Detection

Whether you are sitting at a desk or you’re standing up or even walking around, autofocus is going to play an important role. Thankfully, all of today’s cameras do an excellent job with autofocus. However, for those who are going to also be using a camera for other activities, especially high-speed action of humans, wildlife, and other subjects, here is our recommendation: the newer the better! Sony, Nikon, and Canon all have excellent cameras on the market, but they’re getting significantly better every year, indeed every 6 months. So, whatever camera you buy, autofocus is one feature that is currently the most time-sensitive.

Low-Light Image / Video Quality

Ask yourself whhat the lighting conditions are like in your podcasting studio. Are you recording in a dimly lit basement, or a well-lit studio space, or outside in a sunny, natural environment? Either way, things like noise in low light, and/or dynamic range in harsh bright light, can be a big concern.

Here’s some more good news: pretty much every video camera on the market today has excellent capabilities in any lighting condition. What you get when you pay for the absolute best cameras will be more advanced image quality settings that give more editing latitude. That may not be something that is very important to most podcasters, of course.

How Many Cameras Do You Need To Podcast?

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All the things we talked about so far are fantastic items to consider, but there’s one factor that changes everything and has possibly the biggest impact on your budget: what if one camera isn’t enough? Podcasters whose format always involves multiple people, whether hosts or guests, will want to highlight the conversational style in their videos.

With this in mind, it might be smart to buy two or even three cameras that fit into a tighter budget, instead of just one camera that blows the entire budget. There are exceptions to this, and we’ll talk about those shortly…

Best Cameras For Podcasting

Depending on the above criteria, at least one of the following cameras should be “perfect” for you. We use quotes because, of course, there’s always a little room for improvement, and each camera will have a learning curve. Plus, of course, none of these cameras are truly “dirt cheap”; we are going to recommend good quality options that you can depend on for years to come.

Sony ZV-E1 ($2,198, $2,498-3,396 w/ lens)
(B&H | Amazon)

Sony ZV E1 best camera for podcasting

With a full-frame sensor and AI-based Auto Framing to create multi-camera angle video content all in one, the Sony ZV-E1 is definitely the Cadillac of podcasting and vlogging cameras. Simply put, with Sony’s Auto Framing, you can use a wide-angle lens to frame your video to include two or more podcast hosts or guests, then allow the Auto Framing to move from one face to another.

best podcasting camera sony zv e1

As its name implies, the Sony ZV-E1 does have an automatic mode where it will frame a subject back and forth throughout a frame, but for high-end production podcasting, especially with multiple hosts/guests, we would recommend having a camera operator behind the camera to use the touchscreen interface to “tap on the faces” of whoever you really want to frame at the moment. Of course, for editing in post-production, there is no substitute for having two or more physical camera angles, because you can instantly crop to any frame and have a lot more liberty when cutting out unwanted pauses, or entire sections.

Aside from this flagship feature which very few other cameras offer, the Sony ZV-E1 is a dream camera in many other ways. The full-frame sensor offers gorgeous image quality in any light, including at extremely high ISOs. Dynamic range is also going to be truly impressive, with various video settings for those who either want to do their own color grading, or achieve maximum dynamic range in-camera without any color grading required.

The ZV-E1’s body is highly tailored to vlogging, and therefore podcasting, with its front-oriented interface and video-centric ergonomics. For those podcasters who are also aspiring or full-time filmmakers, the ZV-E1 is an excellent professional choice. For those who are looking for a more well-rounded camera that can also be a bit more oriented at photography, however, note that the ZV-E1’s sensor is shared with the Sony A7S III, which has a viewfinder and dual card slots, but lacks some of the latest video-oriented features such as Auto Framing.

canon eos r8 vlogging podcasting camera 1Canon EOS R8 ($1,499, $1,899 w/ content creator kit) (B&H | Amazon)

For the podcaster who is looking for a full-frame camera that they can also take out and about with ease, (and have money left over for more lenses!) …we highly recommend the Canon EOS R8. This is one of the few cameras on our list with an electronic viewfinder, which the Sony ZV-E1 lacks. The Canon EOS R8 also boasts a fantastic 24-megapixel sensor, which is a perfect balance for crisp, sharp 4K video as well as high-resolution stills.

At $1,499, the Canon EOS R8 is one of the most affordable full-frame options on the market, and is also one of the most compact and portable. Although it lacks dual card slots and sensor-based stabilization, most of the lenses you’ll consider will include (optical) IS. 4K video comes in at 60p, (59.94) and 4:2:2 10-Bit, making it an impressive all-around content creator camera that seamlessly serves both photographers and videographers (and podcasters) alike.

sony zv e10 review for vlogging podcasting 1Sony ZV-E10 ($698, $999 w/ content creator kit) (B&H | Amazon)

For those podcasters who are on a tighter budget, and/or for any podcasters who want a multi-camera setup, we strongly recommend avoiding full-frame cameras and opting instead for APSC. One of the best cameras, therefore, is the Sony ZV-E10. In many ways, it is just a Sony ZV-E1 with an APSC sensor, and the significant drop in the price tag means you could literally buy three of these instead of one ZV-E1! As we mentioned, if you’re attracted to the idea of a 3-camera podcasting setup that has a wide angle plus two cameras for host and guest close-ups, it’s hard to beat the sub-$700 price tag.

Note that once again, the Sony ZV-E10 does not offer a viewfinder, and lacks IBIS as well. For those looking for a more well-rounded camera that they can do a lot more than record podcasts with, the Sony A6600 is our top pick, currently sitting at $998.

sony zv 1 ii mark2 podcasting camera 1Sony ZV-1 Mark II ($898, $1045 w/ Vlogger kit) (B&H | Amazon)

If compactness and portability are the most important factor for you, then you may want a podcasting camera that is even smaller than APSC mirrorless. In that case, the most versatile option on the market, the Sony ZV-1 Mark II, is simply the best camera for podcasting.

It isn’t an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, but its built-in 18-50mm equivalent lens is absolutely perfect. Both podcasters and vloggers will appreciate the wider angle lens, and the compact form factor means it can be taken anywhere. It uses a 1”-type sensor but still offers Sony’s incredible face/eye detection AF technology

It is important to note that although the Sony ZV-1 Mark II and ZV-E10 do have Sony’s Clear Image Zoom functionality, which allows a user to manually crop the video frame, it’s not the same as Sony’s AI-based Auto Framing video feature. Clear Image Zoom is basically a digital zoom extension of your lens’ optics.

canon r50 vlogging podcasting equipment kit 1Canon EOS R50 ($679, $999 w/ content creator kit) (B&H | Amazon)

Canon is known for the gorgeous images its camera sensors and lenses create. We recommend the Canon EOS R50 for anyone who may also do portrait photography, or anything involving people and skin tones.

Having said that, the Canon R50 isn’t necessarily a professional camera; it lacks certain critical features such as in-body stabilization and dual card slots which we strongly urge pro photographers to look for. However, the R50 will give you access to the Canon RF lens mount, and a general familiarity as well. So, if you’re already using, say, a Canon EOS R5 or a Canon EOS R6 Mark II, the EOS R50 will be a perfect little companion for your side gig as a podcaster or Youtuber.

Canon’s R50, like the other latest Canon cameras, supports vertical video recording, which can be convenient for some social media platforms, but not necessarily long-form podcast videos on Youtube, for example.

nikon z 30 for podcastingNikon Z30 ($656, 896 w/ content creator kit) (B&H | Amazon)

The Nikon Z30 represents an incredible value, plus, it also offers some truly useful features for every content creator who does most of their work in front of the camera. Specifically, I love that Nikon puts their Fn1 and Fn2 customizable buttons on the front of the camera, right where you can see and easily reach them.

Also, the Nikon Z30 has both a physical tally (recording) lamp on the camera itself, and a red dot “REC” on the LCD, so you never have to worry about whether or not you’re recording, even in bright conditions.

Of course, such nice additions aren’t worth it if the actual recording quality isn’t very good, and that is where the Nikon Z30 offers something very nice for its rather modest price tag: The 4K 30p video is full-sensor width!

Note that if you’re also going to do a lot of photography and you want to use this podcasting camera for that purpose as well, the Nikon Zfc is a very similar and truly excellent camera that includes an electronic viewfinder, which the Z30 lacks.

fujifilm x s20 vlogging podcasting all around camera 1Fujifilm X-S20 ($1,299, $1,399 w/ lens) (B&H | Amazon)

Fujifilm is one of the longest-standing companies in the photography industry, and it always shows. Their cameras are both versatile and just a delight to use, plus, they always look the coolest!

Of course, a camera’s looks don’t really matter if your camera has a permanent home in a recording studio, but we’re assuming that a lot of you are going to want a camera that you can also take out and about.

With that in mind, the Fujifilm X-mount system is one of the best mirrorless mounts on the market for APSC shooters who are looking for a portable, affordable kit. The Fujifilm X-mount lenses are stellar, with the widest variety of options compared to any other brand name. Also, the X-S20, like its predecessor the X-S10, is one of the most affordable cameras with in-body sensor stabilization.

For podcasters, the Fujifilm X-S20 has got almost everything you need: An amazing sensor that is capable of 6.2K 30p video, (for those who want to “crop around” to create a 2-camera setup effect) …as well as 4K 60p. Last but not least, there are two 3.5mm audio jacks, so you input and monitor your audio. The micro-HDMI port even supports raw video recording when used with an external recording device!

Best Camera For Podcasting With XLR Connector

Although most podcasters may be on a budget that doesn’t allow them the luxury of a full audio mixing system or the high-end quality of XLR connections, for those audiophiles who do want it, we will make one, broad recommendation: get a camera with an XLR accessory adapter. For example, the Sony FX30 is the best balance of overall value and extensive video & audio features. It doesn’t offer a built-in XLR connector; that’s a ~$400 accessory on top of the ~$1,800 price tag.

Again, $2,200 is a big investment in a podcast camera, which is why we’re keeping this recommendation to a minimum. Having said that, the production value is just that– an absolutely incredible value, with some of the highest quality video and audio available.

The Sony FX30 also offers a few other highly desirable features for both video and audio users, such as a full-size HDMI cable port, plus both a microphone and headphone jack.

Conclusion | Best Camera For Podcasting

best camera for podcasting sony canon fujifilm nikonAll in all, the best camera for podcasting is whichever camera simply lets you focus on the audio experience while adding the dimension of video so that you can add “viewers” to your “listeners”. The cameras we listed above do just that, with an excellent balance of quality and value. Depending on your exact needs and budget, at least one camera ought to be truly perfect for you!

Of course, this is assuming that you’re using these cameras almost exclusively for podcasting and/or vlogging. If you are also into other types of photography or videography, then you’ll want to note our secondary recommendations for similar cameras that also add useful features such as an electronic viewfinder, in-body stabilization, and more. The Fujifilm X-S20 is of particular interest because it offers one of the best all-around values for podcasters, vloggers, videographers, and photographers alike!

Now that you’re familiar with the lay of the land, it’s time to get back to recording! Of course, leave a comment below if you have any questions or other thoughts on podcasting cameras.