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I just want to preface this post by saying I am by no means a camera expert. However, I have been vlogging for many years now, and I know what works best for beginners! Vlogging is about capturing your every day life, documenting your memories, and telling your story. You shouldn’t be stressing about what camera to get, but if you’re looking for some experienced advice then I’ve got you!!
This is an excerpt from my eBook, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Vlogging.” To snag yourself a copy of this eBook then click the button below!
Vlogging expert (and personal inspiration), Casey Neistat, once said that the best camera is the one you currently have available. I love sharing this simple rule with others when teaching about vlogging! I often reiterate to new vloggers this thought: You don't need a fancy camera, the best gear, or anything other than what you have right now in order to get started with vlogging!
I’ve listed four cameras down below that I have and use often when vlogging my daily stories. There are loads of options available for you when selecting a camera to purchase; however, the ones listed below are my personal favorites. I’ve listed some pros and cons of each, as well as some information about which situations I would use each different camera. However, please please please don’t feel like I am in any way saying that these cameras are the only ones available to purchase for your vlogging journey—each vlog is unique, so evaluate your own needs, budget, and make an informed decision.
1. your phone
In today’s technical world almost everyone has a smart phone. I personally have an iPhone X, and the quality of these phone cameras are outstanding in comparison to past phones. Apple, Sumsung, Google, Sony… they’re almost all focused on stepping up their camera game and creating crystal clear images that are comparable to some cameras that you can pick up at Best Buy! It is truly impressive what you can do with your phone.
I always recommend that people who are just getting started with vlogging use their phones to film. It’s a great way to learn how to vlog without spending money on any equipment you don’t already have. Vlogging with your phone gives you the freedom to focus on capturing the story, learning the ropes, and simply whipping out something you have with you all the time and are already comfortable with.
The only con of using your phone to film in my opinion would come when you’re ready to step up your quality. While phone cameras are outstanding when considering that this is your phone and not an actual camera, there is a time and place in which you may consider focusing on better quality in video and audio.
That being said, even with other “fancy cameras” I still find myself filming on my phone from time to time. It’s a great alternative when I am in an area where I don’t feel comfortable with a camera (often times people are okay with you filming on your phone, but weirded out when you film with a camera). I use my phone to film at basketball games, in restaurants, or when I’m out for a run.
2. canon g7x
This camera is the vlogging camera of YouTube. It’s everywhere!! I have the Canon G7x Mark ii, and it is my main vlogging camera in almost all situations. It is popular due to it’s small size making it easily portable, the flip up screen which lets you see yourself while you film, and it’s good quality in video and audio compared to your phone and other point-and-shoot cameras.
If you’re ready to make your next move in camera gear after having filmed for awhile on your phone or old P&S camera then I would recommend the Canon G7x. It’s the most popular in Canon’s line up of P&S cameras due mostly to how it’s been sensationalized by other YouTube vloggers. It has face recognition auto focus, shoots in 1080p HD, offers time lapse options, has features like exposure control, awesome wifi options for sharing between devices, and so much more.
Some negatives often brought up about this camera are issues with the auto focus and no 4k video. I myself have experienced some issues with the autofocus, but not enough to give it a necessarily bad review. It struggles finding faces from time to time, but with me using this camera almost every day I only experience real issues maybe once a week (which is hardly notable). When it comes to 4k video, I’d say don’t stress! In my opinion, 4k is still really above and beyond the average persons consumption anyways since most people don’t even have devices that can view the full 4k experience. So really, I just told you that there were no cons as long as you’re remembering that this is a P&S camera.
The best tagline I every heard about this camera was: “the grab n’ go camera that fits DSLR like qualities in a compact package.” I use this camera almost exclusively when it comes to our out and about moments that need filmed. It’s the perfect compact camera with the best quality.
3. canon 80d
And now we’re bringing out some big guns. The Canon 80D with the 18-135 mm kit lens is my recommendation when you’re ready to step into the waters of DSLR cameras. It is a reasonable price, easy to use, and offers the option of interchangeable lenses that can really help you up your game when you’re ready. Canon camera are almost always going to be my recommendation because of their ease of use. I have personally used Nikon before purchasing this Canon, and I found that Nikon was clunkier to manage when it came to finagling with the settings and customizing your photo/video options. If you’re a beginner with DSLR cameras, I would recommend Canon be your brand to start with.
The Canon 80D offers the best available options at an affordable DSLR price—it’s a step up from your previous P&S cameras without rushing into a cinema type camera body. My favorite part about DSLR cameras is the option for interchangeable lenses that can help change focus and tell your story more dynamically when used appropriately.
Some negatives about the Canon 80D (and mostly just about DSLR cameras in general) is the learning curve that you’ll have to work around. There’s an enormous amount of learning that needs done when moving away from shooting auto to shooting more manually. While this negative is only a personal struggle that you can work to get over, it is important to remember that there are stages in your video creation process that help make the story better but don’t always have to come at once.
When it comes to every day vlogging I don’t often pull the Canon 80D out. It’s used mostly for times when we sit down and talk to a camera, or big events like Easter or Christmas when we want to create some awesome montages with cool quality changes. The Canon 80D is probably the camera out of my entire lineup here that I would say you can live without if you want to.
4. gopro hero5
Finally, the GoPro—the fun, adventurous, environment specific camera that makes vlogging literally every moment so possible. The GoPro is a perfect camera to add to your vlogging gear if you plan to have fun on the water, play a bit in the dirt, or do some active activities that need a tough little camera.
I am not going to assume that people know what a GoPro is (but I’m sure most people do), so I’ll explain it here anyways. GoPro is a company that states to design the worlds most versatile action cameras. They’re often waterproof, dirt-proof, and drop-proof to an extent way better than any other camera on the market. They’re designed with the active sports driven person in mind, and I’ll simply say that this camera is definitely our adventure camera. It’s used almost exclusively in the summer when we’re on the water a lot, but has been used to get some fun shots on the dog harness or while running the mini marathon.
While GoPro is a great camera to have for the lifestyle vlogger who gets out and about often, it is important to remember that it’s not always the best quality camera that you could be using. I know that the GoPro company is working hard to step up their game with quality, and in a couple of years this portion of my blog post could be obsolete, but who’s to say that this whole camera section won’t be obsolete in the future anyways. So, please do your research before taking my word on camera quality before making any of your own purchases.
I would not recommend a GoPro be anyones main vlogging camera, but more of a specialty camera used in active situations when a GoPro is appropriate. We often use our GoPro to create montages when we’re having fun in environments that we’re too cautious to bring any of our more fragile cameras along.
other gear to step up your game
So, since we’re already talking gear, I thought I’d mention a few other items that you’ll want to consider when embarking on your vlogging journey. Ultimately the story is all that matters, but if you have the desire (or budget) to pick up a couple of extra items to help make the story telling process even easier, then I would highly recommend it.
Some items that I have that I use often are the Manfroto mini tripod, a basic monopod, the Rode VideoMicPro, and some other fun bits and bobbles that make my DSLR experience better. I use the mini tripod literally every single day. It’s how I hold my G7x at all times and makes the angle of the camera so much more attractive while you’re holding it, and gives you the on-the-go option of setting your camera down literally anywhere. My monopod and Rode microphone only come out on certain occasions typically when I’m using my Canon 80D. The monopod just makes holding the chunky DSLR a little it easier and more stable. And the Rode microphone gives me better audio when we’re doing some sit down talking videos or creating high end videos for things like weddings or big events.
As far as the rest of my little bits and bobs that I have, I’ve wrote a blog post all about what’s in my camera bag on a regular basis. My camera bag is the bag that I take when I’m filming a wedding, the bag I grab when I want to have all my gear for shooting a more cinematic vlog, or the bag I keep at home simply to store all of my camera gear in so it’s always in one spot. I love this bag, like a lot; it’s the Kelly Moore Libby 2.0 vegan leather tote in Saddle. My mom got it for me during Christmas when it was on a reallllyy good sale, and I told her that she just couldn’t pass it up. This thing is currently my ride or die, so I thought I’d show you what I shove in it on a regular basis. To read more click here.
If you’re interested in learning more about tips and tricks for vlogging when you’re a beginner, then be sure to check out my eBook called “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Vlogging.” Whether you’re just now interested in vlogging or you’re already doing it, it’s important to remember that your story matters! I am a firm believer in the idea that life is meant to be documented and shared with others. Why you might ask? Well, life is about learning, growing, and obtaining happiness in your every day life, and to me this means documenting what you do on a regular basis so that you can evaluate and relive moments, grow from each experience, and remember memories that helped shape you into the person you are today.
This eBook is for those who want to capture their own stories with video and need to know how to get started. I will share everything that I know about vlogging—what it is, what gear you need in order to capture the best stories, what things you can film on a daily basis, how to edit your vlogs so that each one has a theme, and ultimately, how you can share these stories with others so that you all can relive these moments over and over again!