Have you ever wondered how the world's top social media influencers create amazing videos for streaming?
At it's core, streaming refers to the technology that allows views of videos over the internet in real time, without having to download the content first.
My name is Ali G, a Hong Kong-based professional photographer, NFT Artist and social media workshop instructor . I'm here to help you with a review of the best mirrorless camera for streaming.
Choosing a solid camera with valuable features for streaming is your first step to becoming a successful vlogger and video content producer.
The Panasonic Lumix G7 gets my vote for the best mirrorless camera for streaming. It's very user friendly, able to produce 4K UHD video, and comes with a fully-articulated touchscreen.
Of course, other options work great for streaming too, I will provide you with their detailed reviews in the following section.
- Panasonic Lumix G7 - Best Overall
- Canon EOS M200 - Best Portable
- Sony A7 II - Best Beginner Friendly
- Panasonic Lumix GH5 - Best for Professionals
4 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Streaming
Here I will explain the main reasons for my recommendations and what specific niches they are best geared for.
- Key Features: 17.3 x 13 mm CMOS sensor, 4K UHD video and photo with pre-burst mode, fully-articulated touchscreen
- Resolution: 16 MP
- Connector Type: Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, HDMI Type D
- Audio: Stereo mic, Mono speakers
- Best for: Overall
The Panasonic Lumix G7 is a mirrorless camera that doesn't look like one. It resembles a small DSLR and includes most of its best features. The 16-megapixel resolution isn't the highest, but it doesn't need to be as it still gets the job done well for the streaming aspects.
The body also offers a fully articulated touchscreen, which means you can flip it in many different directions when shooting at difficult angles.
What makes it exceptional is the 4K UHD video, which includes essential tools like focus peaking and zebra highlight to make sure that video quality while streaming is top-notch.
With the 4K Photo Mode enabling you to record one-second clips once you hit the shutter, you're sure to capture every moment even with minimal video skills. Autofocus is also decent and stable during recording, but it's better to go with manual autofocus.
Although the camera can stream through the Panasonic Lumix Club service, it can't record while doing it. So, it's advisable to get a capture card if you want to record your stream. Also, the battery lasts for up to two hours of streaming. Go any more than that and you'll need additional battery backup.
Overall, I chose this camera as the best overall option because the G7 is quite versatile and reliable performance-wise. It is also one of the best mid-level mirrorless cameras for streaming available in the market at its price point.
- Key Features: 6000 x 4000 APS-C sensor with dual pixel autofocus, Digic 8 image processor, 4K, and 24p video, tilting touchscreen
- Resolution: 24 MP
- Connector Type: USB 2.0 (Micro), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro HDMI
- Audio: Stereo mic, Mono speakers
- Best for: Portable
The successor of the M100, the Canon EOS M200 is a user-friendly compact camera. Canon retained the success formula of the M100 but made sure that the M200 packs a powerful sensor with exceptional autofocus. Due to this, some even say that the image quality is comparable to a DSLR.
It has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor paired with a Digic 8 image processor, which provides excellent photo and video quality. Face and eye autofocus are also available, making it easier for streamers who need to move around during recording.
The 3-inch tilt touchscreen is quite functional, although a fully articulated one would be better. Also, its Bluetooth connectivity is impressive as you can maintain the connection with another device even if it is off.
In terms of video capability, the M200 can record 4K/24p, but it isn't suitable for wide-angle footage as it's heavily cropped. For streaming, the camera can provide quality 4K video for short streams.
Longer streams mean that you have to lower the quality of the video, which is still great nonetheless. If you insist on lengthy 4K streaming, you can pair it with a capture card to avoid overheating issues and a dummy battery to prolong battery power for longer streams.
The Canon EOS M200 is a great camera for streamers entering the world of live-streaming, vlogging and newbie photographers on the go.
- Key Features: Full-frame CMOS sensor, Bionz X image processor, improved hybrid autofocus system, e-mount with support for FE, E, and A-mount lenses, 3-inch tilting LCD
- Resolution: 24 MP
- Connector Type: USB 2.0, HDMI, Wi-Fi
- Audio: Stereo mic, Mono speakers
- Best for: Beginner
A full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sony A7 II is the fourth release in the A7 lineup of Sony. It utilizes the same 24-megapixel sensor and Bionz X processor from the same series. This is a very user-friendly option if you are starting out with streaming.
The improvements in image stabilization and autofocus make it possible to deliver exceptional image and video quality. In terms of ergonomics, the body is bigger, but the grips are deeper to compensate for handling.
This camera appeals to both seasoned and casual videographers. While it may pale in comparison to the A7S, which maximizes the sensor capacity when capturing video, the A7 II delivers exceptional video nonetheless.
You can also record in AVCHD and MP4 formats even if there's no 4K video. Plus, the in-body image stabilization is very useful for streamers.
Utilizing this camera for long hours of streaming is easy. Just remember to turn off the LCD to prevent overheating. Also, make sure you have a dummy battery and capture card if you want to record while streaming. If you're just streaming for short periods of time, you can do away with these.
- Key Features: 5184 x 3888 four thirds CMOS sensor, Venus Engine 10 processor, 5-axis image stabilization, fully articulated LCD, 4K 60p video
- Resolution: 20 MP
- Connector Type: USB 3.2, HDMI, Wi-Fi
- Audio: Stereo mic (Dolby Digital-compatible audio), Mono speakers
- Best for: Professional
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a big step up from its predecessor, the GH4. With a powerful CMOS sensor combined with a Venus Engine 10 processor, this SLR-style mirrorless camera is guaranteed to deliver high-quality photos and videos.
Aside from the addition of in-body stabilization and 4K video, there are still lots of upgrades that will make this camera more worthwhile for streamers and filmmakers. The firmware updates also provide more options and formats for video and add anamorphic 4K capture, which further minimizes grain on the footage.
By using the Lumix Tether for Streaming application to connect the camera to your computer, the GH5 can be turned into a reliable streaming cam. To add, you can record similar quality videos at lower frame rates without the need for a capture card. Together, these features make the camera ideal for streamers.
All in all, the GH5 is a camera full of video-rich features that can also be used for stills. It's pricier than other cameras but well worth the investment.
Best Mirrorless Camera for Streaming - What to Consider
Take into account the following traits while looking at any mirrorless camera for streaming.
The standard frame rate observed in most countries is 30 fps (frames per second) when it comes to streaming. But in Europe, the frame rate tends to be higher at 50 fps. After that, 60 fps is the next common frame rate for sports live streaming. Keep these in mind when choosing a camera to ensure it will support the streaming frame rate required.
There are many ways to connect a streaming camera to the computer: USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, SDI, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, XLR, audio cables, and more. The most common ones are HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and SDI (Serial Digital Interface). The more connector types the camera has, the more options you have for linking it.
Just be sure that your connector is compatible with the video quality you will be streaming. For example, USB 2.0 is good for low bandwidth connections, while USB 3.0 and USB C are compatible with most capture cards and pro cameras.
Having footage with good video and bad audio does not do much good, but having one with bad video and good audio can still be somewhat useful. Luckily, you can make do with stereo mics on most mirrorless cameras and get decent audio.
This is because stereo microphones eliminate background noise and capture clearer sound. So when it comes to choosing your streaming camera, make sure it's got a stereo mic, or you can buy an external one like a lavalier mic.
A vital feature to look for in streaming cameras is autofocus. A fast and reliable autofocus system is essential to produce clear, quality streams. Also, take note of the noise it produces. Research which mirrorless cameras have quiet and seamless autofocus so that noise won't be picked up during streaming.
Most modern cameras today are able to produce at least 720p resolution, though we suggest you go for 1080p for better quality. Do you really need 4K? If most of your viewers watch your streams on a mobile device, 1080p will do. If they watch on 4K devices, then go ahead and invest in that 4K video quality camera.
Stabilization is important if you'll be doing streams with a handheld camera or if you'll have action shots. This is to make sure that your footage is steady and sharp. If you're streaming with a camera on a tripod or stable surface, then a stabilization feature won't be necessary.
Here are some commonly asked questions regarding choosing the best mirrorless camera for streaming.
Can mirrorless cameras be used for streaming?
Yes, definitely. Just make sure that it can perform longer recordings and offers a connector to your computer, like HDMI. You can pair it up with accessories like a capture card and dummy battery to enhance its streaming features as well.
Mirrorless cameras often capture crisp, clear videos so you're sure to get high-quality streams.
What is the best camera for live streaming?
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is the best mirrorless camera for live streaming. First off, it has an anamorphic 4K video for clear and exceptional footage. What also makes it a popular choice among streamers is that there's no need to use a capture card when streaming by utilizing lower frame rates.
The Lumix Tether for Streaming also makes this possible by conveniently connecting the camera to your computer. It's a robust and reliable camera for your streaming needs.
Can mirrorless cameras be used as webcams?
If you want to upgrade your stream or conference call, you can use your mirrorless camera as a webcam. This will produce high-quality videos as compared to your stock webcam. Depending on your camera, you might need to use a program or purchase hardware to convert your HDMI port to USB so you can connect your camera to your computer.
There are quite a few strong mirrorless cameras for streaming on the market, but the Panasonic Lumix G7 is my top pick. It checks almost all the boxes you need for a reliable streaming camera, including a flipping screen, high-quality video, impressive autofocus and stability, and is easy to operate. Also, the price is attractive.
If you need a reliable camera that can back you up for all sorts of streaming, this is the one you can count on. For sure, all other options mentioned in this article are great, and you will be happy with their performance.
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
Disclosure: As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.