Best cameras for teaching yoga online

Apr 18, 2022

Every day a yoga teacher asks me what camera I use to teach yoga online.

When I started teaching yoga online, I didn't know much about cameras – but I was fortunate to marry a photographer and a gear geek. My husband Konrad spends an unreasonable amount of money on cameras and lenses and copious hours watching YouTube camera reviews. Here's what he has helped steer me toward.

Before you read more, if you don't have a good mic yet for teaching online, then I strongly recommend you start there. Audio is king, and a good mic will have much more influence on your video quality than a good camera will. Consider checking out this list of the best mics for online yoga teachers.

Now, for cameras, I'll run through options from the lowest cost, most affordable options including the phone you already have, all the way up to the high end system I've ended up building.

Here's the list of choices, in order of price:

Webcam

 Most built-in desktops and laptops have their own webcam. These are typically low resolution and low quaality, but they work fine for some yoga teachers' needs. 

Higher quality webcams can be purchased and plugged into your computer's USB port. If you choose to buy a webcam, I recommend the Logitech C920x ($60) which is Full HD (1080p) resolution.

You can pay more for the Logitech Brio ($136) and get 4K resolution, however I really don't recommend 4K for most yoga teachers. This is because yoga videos are long, and most of us are saving our yoga videos for people to view later. Unless you're saving to the cloud and paying for extra storage, 4K quality means the file sizes are huge and will take a long time to transfer to and from cloud storage.

If you're serious about getting professional quality, don't use a webcam.

Smartphone

Most yoga teachers with an upgraded smartphone have an excellent camera available in their pocket. For picture quality alone, your phone is likely to be a better choice than any webcam. Be sure to mount your smartphone using a tripod like my favorite, the GorillaPod Stand ($22.99).   

Note for Zoom teachers: If you're primarily teaching on Zoom to live groups, a webcam or phone is probably all you need. Moving into the next level of quality is primarily for those making on-demand videos to post to YouTube or professional livestreaming applications. Keep in mind that Zoom degrades your video quality, so it really doesn't make a lot of sense to maximize your video quality for Zoom.

Digital Camera

For higher quality the camera I use is the Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera ($798) which is perfect for vlogging (aka self-videoing) with a self-facing viewer. I use it for all my livestreams and Zoom classes, since it also acts as a webcam.

Mirrorless Camera

When I want the highest professional quality I use Konrad's camera. It's major overkill for most yoga teachers' needs, but it sure makes things looks good. It's the Sony A7R4 mirrorless camera ($3,498) with a 16-35mm wide-angle zoom lens ($2,098).   

What Yoga with Adriene Uses

With over 11 million followers on YouTube, Adriene Mishler and her producer Chris Sharpe use two cameras including the pricey Canon EOS C-200 and the more affordable Sony RX100 ($998, 24-70mm lens included). 

More info:

Yoga with Adriene - Cameras and Gear by Chris Sharpe

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