Category: Gear Reviews

10 best cameras for Youtube videos

10 best cameras for Youtube videos

Are you planning to up your video game on Youtube? Is the video quality what’s limiting your growth? Or are you simply looking for a camera to start recording first videos? Below are 10 best cameras for youtube – for every pricepoint.

Entry level cameras:

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

You may often not realize, that the smartphone you’re carrying around in your pocket may shoot great video. Samsung Galaxy S6 was one of the first smartphones to be capable of 4K video recording. Unfortunately, usually smartphones need lots of light to produce a decent image. However, keep in mind that EVERY camera needs decent lighting to produce sharp image. Just like the human eye cannot see details of objects in the dark. Still, if you’re planning to shoot mostly outside or in well-lit scenes – start out with the smartphone you have. You don’t need the fanciest gear when you’re beginning. You need to start with whatever you have!

Check out a video I once shot with a Galaxy S7:

Galaxy S6 would give the same results

You can get pretty good deals on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, since they are a little old now. Click here to check the price on Amazon. They both support 4K 30p and 720 120p. The latter means super slow motion goodness πŸ™‚

Canon Rebel DSLRs

Canon EOS Rebel T5

The first Canon DSLR to have the 1080p recording capabilities was the Canon T2i (550D). Since we’ve already entered the 4K era, it may be a limitation to the quality of your videos.

Why should I get it if it’s so obsolete?

Cheap DSLRs are a great way to enter the manual exposure world of videography.

Because of the interchangeable lenses, audio jack input, manual focusing and many more, it was the closest you could get to a full-size cinema camera. Therefore, ever since T2i came out Canon DSLRs were widely used among amateur filmmakers.

They can be hacked!

With the Magic Lantern hack, these babies turn into serious film cameras! It allows for:

  • Shooting RAW Video
  • Headphone audio monitoring
  • Focus peaking
  • Live view histogram
  • Automatic follow focus
  • You can even play Arkanoid on mine πŸ˜€

All hacking is done at your own risk!

Old ones are so so cheap!

Canon has already discontinued the production of their older DSLRs models, so you should be able to find a used T2i or T3i for cheap. Aim for the T3i or anything above, since they have one of the most useful qualities a camera for Youtube may have – a flip-out screen!

A word or two about the internal microphone…

The internal microphone is pretty useless in this camera. Therefore, I reccomend using an external microphone for any production that requires clear audio. Fortunately Canon equipped their DSLRs with a 3,5mm audio input which allows for connecting on-camera shotgun microphones like the RODE Videomic with Rycote Lyre Mount – click here for our review of it

I’ve owned both the T2i and the T3i, and I can say that they are quite reliable video cameras.

Here is a video I shot for the same company with my Canon T3i:

The lenses used were Canon IS STM 10-18 f4.5-5.6 and Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8

Gopro HERO 7

In the picture: GoPro HERO 7 Black Edition

Are you keen on extreme sports? Do you go swimming with great white sharks every sunday afternoon and base-jump from Dubai’s tallest skyscrapers in your lunch breaks?

If so, then this is the perfect camera for you.

GoPros provide great versitality due to the amount of mounts you may attach them to. Just keep in mind that they may not be the best for capturing audio with their internal microphones. Therefore, it’s the best to equip yourself with an external microphone if you’re planning to record people talking.

Which generation should you get?

HERO 6

In HERO 6 Gopro added the super smooth I-will-replace-your-gimbal kind of internal stabilization. It is pretty sick, you should check it out!

HERO 5

Gopro HERO 5 was the first one to have a built in touch screen. You could however buy an “LCD BacPac” extension for the previous generations.

HERO 4

If you would like to futureproof your gear, get at least the HERO 4 BLACK, since it was the first one to shoot 4K 30 frames per second. The 4K in the HERO 3 BLACK was unusable, since it was recorded at 15 frames per second

Older models

If you’re planning to buy a Gopro only for some occasional action shots, then look through craiglist for second hand ones. Electronics does depreciate lightning-fast!

Here is a video I shot with a hero 3 silver and a hero 4 silver (equivalent to hero 3+ black) with my friend Ola:

Mid-priced cameras for Youtube and more:

Panasonic Lumix G7

Panasonic Lumix G7 in “USA Silver”

Is the Lumix GH5 your dream camera?

Lumix G7 is its cheaper alternative. It fortunately has the same lens mount, which makes transitioning from the G7 to GH5 a piece of cake! With Panasonic Lumix G7 you get 4K recording capabilities and a swivel LCD screen, which will come in handy if you’re planning to record yourself. Shockingly, Lumix G7 does better in low light than GH5!

Unfortunately, you don’t get access to V-log, which is the flattest picture profile in the GH4 and GH5.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Sony A6000

The Sony A6000

Sony A6000 is a compact mirrorless camera released in 2014. It offers 1080p video capabilities in 60 frames per second. I would still recommend the Lumix G7, since it targets the similar price point (Costs exactly this much) and has much more to offer.

Why should I get it if the G7 is more versatile?

Still, if you prefer Sony cameras – the best camera for youtube is the one you’re most comfortable with. And the A6000 may be a lighter alternative to a heavy Canon DSLR that I mentioned above. All in all – your first camera should teach you the basics and this one should get the job done

Canon M50

This is what the Canon EOS M50 looks like.

Canon M50 is the first mirrorless camera made by Canon to shoot 4K video. It is also the first consumer-grade camera they made that shoots 4K video (Canon 1DC was a little to pricey for amateur videographers). It uses the EF-M lens mount by Canon, but fortunately you can attach you favourite EF lenses to it using a converter. It’s a good all-round camera for photos and video.

I have a Canon Rebel. Why would I switch to the M50?

It’s a good idea to buy it if you are planning on switching to 4K from a Canon DSLR and don’t want to sell your lenses

Check out its price on Amazon here.

Sony A6300

Sony Alpha A6300 looks almost identical to the A6000

The A6300 is a refreshed A6000. Sony added 4K video recording. It also shoots 1080p at 120 frames per second, which translates to sick slow mo shots of your significant other slipping on a banana peel!

You can find it here on Amazon.

The most expensive ones, still reasonable for Youtube videos:

BMPCC 4K

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was once a small form factor camera for intependent filmmakers that made it possible to shoot RAW Video with no firmware hacks.

In the picture: the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

Keep in mind that you need a fast memory card for that. Moreover, RAW Video craves for memory space. A 32 GB card would fit 10 minutes of RAW Video shot with the non-4K BMPCC. Therefore, make sure your cards are big enough to shoot comfortably.

Even the first BMPCC shot ProRes 422 natively, which still is an awesome codec. The original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera isn’t obsolete yet, as long as you’re fine with shooting 1080p.

Actually, the footage looks outstanding even when you upscale it to 1440p

What about the 4K Pocket Cinema Camera?

With BMPCC 4K you essentially get the same functionality, but the video resolution now tops out at 4K. All in all, it is the only camera you’ll ever need to shoot a professional short film. It is the best camera for much more than Youtube videos. Still at a reasonable pricepoint.

Check out the BMPCC 4K on Amazon here.

Panasonic Lumix GH5

The GH5 is a small form factor, but killer camera.

We’ve already recommended the Lumix G7. But what if you’d like to take your filmmaking to the next level? Panasonic GH series cameras introduce a lot of useful features, which you won’t find on the G7 like:

  • functioning HDMI output (the one on G7 stops outputting video when you start recording)
  • magnesium alloy body
  • high framerate shooting (even 180 fps with the GH5)
  • 6K anamorphic recording, which utilises the whole sensor (GH5 only)

So it’s one of the best cameras for Youtube?

It is definetely used by a lot of content creators.

You can check its current price here.

Sony A7S

The master of low-light himself!

The A7S and A7S II by Sony are the best consumer cameras you can get for low light video! It is truly astonishing how little noise there is in the image they produce with high ISO settings.

Why shouldn’t I get it if I’m just starting out?

Unfortunately they are really pricey (Check the price here) and the first generation (A7S) couldn’t even record 4K video internally. You would need an external video recorder, to which you could feed the uncompressed video signal from the camera.

But which one should I get?

Don’t get too confused with what camera to get.

All in all it is just a tool. The best camera for Youtube is the one you’re familiar with. You should get the one you’re comfortable with, even if it means that it doesn’t shoot 4K or shoot fireworks when you take off the lens cap. Focus on the functionalities your content would really benefit from, like

  • 120 fps video for extreme sports
  • flip-out screen for vlogging
  • good low light performance for shooting cities at night

And if you’re just starting out – maybe invest in some lighting and audio gear to get the most out of the camera you have?

RODE Videomic review after 4 years of usage

RODE Videomic review after 4 years of usage

Today I’m providing you with a review of the RODE Videomic.

Check it out on Amazon here or click on the image below.

So you bought yourself a camera.

You go out to shoot some test footage and it looks wonderful. But then you have to record someone speaking or some fancy ambient sounds and realise that the audio from your internal microphone is really bad. What do you do? You start looking for an external microphone.

There is a vast amount of different microphones on the market. You can get lavaliers, XLR dynamic mics, cardioids, but in my opinion the most versatile choice for everyday videography is a shotgun microphone.

I remember being quite hesitant when I had to choose my first shotgun mic a few years ago. I couldn’t decide between the RODE Videomic and the Videomic Pro.

The two differences between them are that the latter is smaller and provides a stronger, less hissy signal thanks to its built-in preamp.

I eventually made up my mind and bought the RODE Videomic with Rycote Lyre shock mount. Therefore, that’s what I’ll review today πŸ˜€

Specification of the Videomic:

Recording pattern

The RODE Videomic is an on-camera shotgun microphone. Essentially it is a condenser microphone with a super-cardioid recording pattern, which makes it record more from its front than from the sides and the back – that’s why we call it a shotgun microphone

How it’s powered

The microphone runs on a 9V battery, which lasts for a very long time.

RODE Videomic with a VARTA rechargeable 9V battery
The battery hides under a plastic cover.

It informs you if the battery is dying with a red LED. Still, I’ve survived some shoots with the red LED on all the time, so the microphone notices you quite a bit in advance.

To save money I reccomend buying a rechargeable 9V battery. I use this one and it has never failed me πŸ™‚

To charge it you’ll need a charger of this kind:

How to connect it to a camera

RODE Videomic plugged into the Canon T3i
The RODE Videomic connects straight into the jack input of your camera, which is usually on one of its sides.

The microphone is connected to your camera of choice with a 3.5 mm jack. Because of that you won’t need any external audio recorder that supports XLR connection. Gone are the times of carrying around tons of gear πŸ˜€

However, if you are planning to use the RODE Videomic on a boom pole, you need a 3,5 mm jack extension cable like this one I found on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y1gGJZ

The other way to achieve portability is to use an external audio recorder. You will however need to sync the audio in post. If you ever encounter any trouble syncing audio in post, I strongly reccomend Red Giant’s Pluraleyes. It is a plugin which has saved me hours of mindless work.

Mounting the RODE Videomic to cameras, tripods and boom poles

The RODE Videomic has a cold shu mount at its bottom. Therefore it can easily be mounted on top of all DSLR and mirrorless cameras, which can be equipped with a flash.

Cold shu on the bottom of the RODE Videomic
The cold shu mount of the RODE Videomic with a threaded 3/8 inch hole.

Additionaly, It has a hole with a3/8 inch thread, which you can use to attach it to microphone stands and boom poles. Unfortunately it isn’t compatible with standard tripods and monopods, which are equipped with a 1/4 inch screw.

If you’re curious how to attach the RODE Videomic to a tripod or a monopod, read about it here:
https://wemakevids.com/how-to-screw-a-shotgun-microphone-onto-a-tripod/

The Rycote Lyre shock mount

I wanted an external mic to separate my microphone from the sounds of the focus ring and tapping my fingers on the camera body. And that’s indeed what I got.

RODE Videomic on top of Canon 600d T3i
RODE Videomic with a Rycote Lyre shock mount on a Canon T3i

The Rycote Lyre suspension system isolates the RODE Videomic from all vibrations transfered from the camera body, tripod and all surroundings. As a result the audio contains little to no unexpectet bumps or crackles.

Additionaly, it is constructed from one piece of hard-wearing thermoplastic, which means that the construction is much more durable than traditional rubber band based microphone shock mounts. I’ve been extensively using mine for the past 4 years and it still holds up just fine.

High-pass / Low-cut filter of the RODE Videomic

It has a broad recording frequency range of 40Hz – 20kHz, which covers most of the hearable audio spectrum. Trust me, it’s all you need.

The RODE Videomic has a handy feature for certain situations when there’s a constant low hum in the background. In such cases it is often very hard to position yourself in such a way that the person you’re interviewing can be heard.

RODE Videomic high-pass filter
The switch at the back in its top position activates a low-cut filter.

On the back of the microphone there is a switch, which activates the built-in high pass filter. It limits the bottom-end of the frequency range to 80 Hz. This feature has saved some of my interviews πŸ™‚

No built-in pre amp

One of the greatest cons of the RODE Videomic is the lack of built-in pre amp. Because of that that you’ll get a significant amount of hiss in your audio if you set the pre amp gain in your DSLR too high. To solve this problem you may lower the gain of the internal pre amp in your DSLR and increase it in post.

Ideally, use an external recorder like the Zoom H1. And don’t worry about having to sync the audio in post, because you may as well output the audio from the recorder to you camera (The recorder then behaves like a pre amp)

RODE Videomic reduce hiss
Translation: “Audio recording – Manual; Recording level – |–\/-I—-I—-I—-|; Wind filter – off”

Attenuator in the Videomic

RODE even predicted that some people buy these things to record a running jet engine standing right next to it!

They provided two switches in the battery compartment, which reduce the audio level to -10 or -20 dB. This feature came in handy when I was recording drums in a small basement and loud gigs.

Recording a big band in a church with Canon 600d and RODE Videomic
Me recording a big-band with the RODE Videomic to get good reference audio.

Upsides

  • Convenient, all-round microphone
  • High pass filter, which blocks out low, humming noises
  • Great and robust shock mount. Very hard to break.
  • Good audio quality (All in all, it’s a condenser mic)
  • Great value for money
  • Runs for a very long time on a single battery

Downsides

  • It is quite long compared to the RODE Videomic PRO
  • No built in pre amp. Since the ones in most DSLRs are rather hissy, the audio at higher levels may be hissy.
  • It is a bit of a pain in the neck to attach it to tripods and monopods

So do I reccomend it?

Yes, I do. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do – records good quality audio of what’s in front of the camera.

I’ve been using it for solid 4 years now and the battery ran out once. It happened, because I was too lazy to charge it. I went to 2 shoots with the red warning light on and the mic didn’t make it through the second shoot.

It is a great value for money product, which will vastly improve the audio in your videos. And if anything breaks, since all things break, there is a 10 year warranty on it.

First photo is by Oziel GΓ³mez on Unsplash