- Benefits of Video Podcasting
- Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Podcast Video Camera
- What Are the Different Types of Cameras You Can Use for Podcasting?
- 15 Best Podcast Cameras to Use
Podcasts have traditionally been an audio medium, but more and more people are turning to video to add another dimension to their shows. With so many different devices on the market, however, it can be a challenge to pick out the best podcast camera from the virtual aisles.
There are lots of considerations to take into account when selecting your camera, from obvious things like video resolution and audio quality, to less apparent factors like the length of your podcast and whether you film in the same studio every time.
1. Benefits of Video Podcasting
Video podcasting can hugely increase your audience and boost your discoverability. After all, YouTube is the second most visited site in the world after Google, ratcheting up more than 2.6 billion active monthly users worldwide in 2022. Adding video to the audio helps build a connection with your audience, the stream of you recording lending a sense of transparency and authenticity.
One of the other great benefits of video podcasting is that you can convert your longer podcast into short, attention-grabbing clips. This in turn drives more people to your full-length podcast. It also gives you a better opportunity to share digestible bites of your show to social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
2. Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Podcast Video Camera
2.1 Resolution Quality
Resolution is all about the number and density of pixels. For your video podcasting, the best podcast cameras to go for are those that can film in at least 1080p (1,080 pixels vertically, 1,920 pixels horizontally). This will give you a balance between image quality and file size. While some podcasters opt to go for 4K resolution so they can achieve a crisper picture, this can lead to issues with loading time and require more powerful processing power on the computer side during post-production.
2.2 The Frame Rate
Rather than a continuous visual experience, videos are a series of static images played very rapidly. The frame rate refers to how fast these images are shown on the screen, measured in fps (frames per second). The more fps, the smoother the image looks. While sportscasters sometimes opt for as much as 60 fps to catch the speed of play, the standard for video podcasting is 30 fps. Almost all modern cameras should be able to accommodate this.
2.3 Audio Quality
Audio quality is obviously important for a podcast. Most serious podcasters use standalone microphones because they can reduce background noise and capture a broader range of frequencies. Built-in camera mics rarely have a high enough quality sound, but if you are just starting out and want to keep the costs low, it’s an option to consider.
2.4 The Recording Limit
When choosing the best podcast camera, the record time is a key thing to check. Most podcasts average around 40 minutes in length, while most digital cameras have a record limit of 30 minutes. Camcorders, on the other hand, are only limited by battery life and storage as to recording limit, and so can film for hours.
Autofocus is the automatic adjustment in a camera to ensure the principal subject is in focus. Most video podcasts shouldn’t require a particularly strong autofocus feature, since you (and any guests) will probably be sitting still in one place. Still, it’s something to bear in mind.
2.6 Battery Life
You obviously don’t want your video to cut out midway through filming, so make sure you check the battery life of a camera before purchasing. This is particularly key if you are often filming on the road or going out to interview people. If you are normally filming in a studio or at home, battery life is of minor importance, since you’ll be able to plug into an electrical socket.
2.7 The Budget
Yes, we can’t avoid talking about money. The best podcast cameras will come with a hefty price tag. That being said, there are several reasonably priced options that will work just fine for most show formats. You don’t need to break the bank to have a successful video podcast.
3. What Are the Different Types of Cameras You Can Use for Podcasting?
3.1 Still Cameras
Still cameras are your classic digital cameras. Back in the analog days, the term ‘still camera’ was used to differentiate between a device that recorded still images and a device that recorded video. Today, most digital still cameras do both. They tend to be more affordable than camcorders and function better in low light than the alternatives.
Camcorders allow for more agile filming than other options. Plus, they tend to come with more storage and are able to record for longer. They also often have better microphones, which is ideal if you’re not purchasing an external device to record sound.
3.3 External Webcams
This is a popular option with live streamers, particularly for podcast-associated interviews or webinars. External webcams plug directly into your computer, which means you bypass any storage issues. However, they are obviously less maneuverable and can’t often reach the same resolution as still cameras or camcorders.
4. 15 Best Podcast Cameras to Use
4.1 Logitech Brio
The Logitech Brio is one of the most popular webcams with video podcasters. This is down especially to the quality of the video. You can opt for 4K high-definition video at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 or 60 fps, and 720p at up to 90 fps. There’s no recording limit because the video is stored directly onto the connected computer.
Of course, it still has the same cons as all webcams, such as being unsuitable for situations where you want to record more than one person at the same time. As webcams go, however, it has a decent mic, which captures sound up to one meter away and includes noise-canceling tech.
4.2 Canon EOS M50 Mark II
An upgrade on the original Canon EOS M50, the Mark II has improved autofocus features, the ability to film vertically and an option to live stream over Wi-Fi. One of the more affordable and easy-to-use options on the market, this mirrorless camera offers 4K video at 24 fps. You can connect to other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and micro USB.
Typical of a still camera, it only offers 30 minutes of recording in one go. The built-in mic may not be the best, but it does have a 3.5mm mic input.
4.3 Canon EOS R5
This really is a top-of-the-line device. The Canon EOS R5 records at 60fps at 8K (uncropped), which is both a plus (beautiful high resolution) and a minus(large file sizes, limited recording time). Of course, you can always opt to film at 4K with 120 fps, still topping the average video podcaster.
At least in terms of storage, this device has got you covered with twin memory card slots. It also has excellent autofocus features. As a serious con, this Canon model has an already infamously bad built-in microphone, so you’ll absolutely need an external option (mercifully, there is a 3.55mm mic input).
4.4 Panasonic Lumix G7
Another mirrorless model, the Panasonic Lumix G7’s compact body and solid autofocus features make it ideal if you’re filming podcasts in different locations. You can film up to 4K video at 24 or 30 fps, with a recording limit of 30 minutes.
While it has a reasonable built-in mic, there’s also a 3.5mm mic input. The Wi-Fi capabilities, however, are weak compared to other devices at the same price point.
4.5 Sony a6000
The a6000 boasts a slightly lower video resolution of 1080p, with options to shoot at 24 or 60 fps. Like the Lumix G7, this mirrorless model is compact and has good autofocus capabilities. It also has nice light sensitivity and offers both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
This model has been around since 2014, so it’s not surprising that the design looks a little dated. And again, it’s got a 30-minute recording limit. However, if your focus is more quality than appearance, it remains a solid option.
4.6 Canon PowerShot SX740
An absolute bargain of a camera, the Canon PowerShot SX740 is an entry-level device that supports 4K video at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are enabled for file sharing.
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about this point-and-shoot camera. It’s certainly not the best podcast camera, but it is a value purchase if you don’t want to go all out on the video aspect just yet.
4.7 Panasonic HC-V770
Moving onto a camcorder, the Panasonic HC-V770 is an oldie but a goodie. It has long been a favourite in the best podcast camera category. It only shoots up to 1080p resolution at 50 fps, but for the price point it’s an excellent choice. The slim build makes it very portable, and it has 20x optical zoom if you want to adjust the proximity of the footage.
As you would expect from a camcorder, there’s no recording limit, and you can get memory cards of up to 128GB that are compatible with the model. Plus, it comes with Wi-Fi connectivity.
4.8 GoPro Hero10
The GoPro Hero10 can shoot up to 5.3K at 60 fps or 4K at 120 fps. As GoPros are designed for activity-based shooting, it unsurprisingly has some good video stabilization features that probably won’t be useful to most podcasters – unless you spend a lot of time bouncing up and down in your chair.
The latest Hero model allows you to live stream in 1080p directly to the web. Plus, it is the best podcast camera if you go by portability alone – its dimensions are just 71 x 55 x 34 mm.
On the downside, it is designed for those eye-catching short clips, so in 5.3K maxes out at about 20 minutes. This is one for those who keep their podcasts short and sweet.
4.9 Sony FDR-AX43
If you want a camcorder with higher resolution, the Sony FDR-AX43 films in 4K at up to 30 fps. You can squeeze out hours of recording time – plenty for any podcaster – and utilize 20x optical zoom. The camcorder also has Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for sharing and transferring the feed.
The FDR-AX43 is particularly designed for steady filming when in motion, which is why it’s popular with vloggers. The stabilization feature is unlikely to be a particular benefit for podcasters, but the system of three mics definitely is, allowing you to capture clearer sound while also cutting out background noise.
4.10 Sony A7III
Another solid Sony choice is the A7III, which also offers 4K resolution at up to 30 fps. It’s a still camera rather than a camcorder, so you’ll still have to deal with that 30-minute recording limit. This is one of the best podcast camera on the market.
While you will get beautifully crisp video from this option, it comes at a pretty steep price. Since that price is largely based on the high level of photography the device delivers rather than its video, it’s arguably a bit costly for podcasters.
4.11 Sony A6400
Once upon a time, the Sony A6400 was a popular model of camera for vloggers and the like. While it looks a bit dated, it still boasts 4K video at 30 fps as well as strong autofocus features. Cheaper than other Sony options, it is also more compact than its siblings listed here.
Just bear in mind that it can be a complex camera for beginners to get to grips with. Unless you’re a podcaster who is a bit of a tech head, figuring out all the features can be a headache.
4.12 Nikon D5300
If you’re looking for a cheaper camera option, the DSLR Nikon D5300 is a (relative) old-timer that’s still worth checking out. It maxes out at 1080p at 60 fps, but it is a good entry-level option for those who don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of camera specs.
The in-built stereo mic is not ideal for podcasts, so you’ll definitely want to ensure you have a standalone mic if you opt for this model. That could still work out cheaper, though, than opting for a camera that has a better in-built mic.
4.13 Nikon Z5
If you’re a fan of Nikon but want a more powerful camera, the Z5 can record 4K at 30 fps. It has a built-in stereo microphone, but podcasters can utilize the external mic input to get a mono device for their recordings. There’s also an audio output if you want to plug your headphones in directly.
The main downside is that it has a 1.7x crop on the 4K video, which will mean a bit of trial and error to get the right shot in frame.
4.14 Canon Vixia HF G50
Canon’s Vixia HF G50 camcorder shares a lot in common with the Sony FDR-AX43, including a similar price point, hours of recording time, 4K video at 30 fps and 20x zoom.
The main difference is that the Vixia HF G50 functions better in low light situations and comes with two SD memory card slots. However, it doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi or a stabilization feature.
4.15 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Rounding out the list of the best podcast cameras is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, with image stabilization, Wi-Fi sharing functionality and 4K video at 30 fps.
It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, but doesn’t have an external mic port, meaning you’ll have to rely on the mediocre built-in mic or set up a separate feed for sound.
- Can I use a GoPro for a podcast?
Yes, absolutely. GoPro has perfectly good resolution for recording or even live streaming a podcast. The only drawback is that it has a relatively short recording limit, so it’s best for shows that are nice and snappy.
- Do you need a camera for a podcast?
You don’t need a camera for a podcast. In fact, most podcasts are still audio only. However, it’s worth considering that one piece of research last year found that YouTube has the largest overall share of podcast listeners.
- What is the best way to film a podcast?
It depends on the type of content you’re filming. If you are a solo host, you just need a single camera on a tripod or a webcam. If you have multiple people being filmed, you’ll need more. Either way, you’ll want a quiet space with minimum ambient noise and good light.
- What is the best platform to record podcasts?