I was speaking to a friend who wanted a suggestion on buying a Video camera for travel vlogging and also travel content creation and had some specific requirements ( due to his age factor ). Below is a detailed breakup of my suggestion for travel-vlogging setup with emphasis on quality vs cost vs weight
PS: These suggestions are based on what is available as of mid 2021 in India
From what i could infer from the message he had sent me the requirements that i could gather are
4K 30p / FHD 120-240p ( quality visuals + slow-motion capability )
Light Weight ( ease of travel and owing to his age )
Mirrorless ( well this is the IN THING now right 😉 )
Good AF ( what’s the point in vlogging when your face is not in focus throughout)
Good lenses ( by default and options in the future )
Flippy LCD Screen ( you got to see yourself when you are vlogging isn’t it?)
Stabilization / Gimbal
* 2L INR Budget *
To summarise most current-gen video cameras which offer 4K videos are very capable and produce some really very good or high-quality images and videos. But at the end of the day, it also matters as to what lens you are clubbing it with and the light or lack of it.
Now when it comes to low light – the discussion shifts completely into low light capable cameras and we are talking about one key camera which is Sony A7S3 which is very expensive but a camera worth every penny. But its an overkill not just with cost/features but also weight-wise considering the situation we are talking about.
So below i have segregated the suggestion into 4 categories and done that intentionally because all of the segments are of diff kinds of sensors but these cameras produce the best images and videos of the competitors available in the market when it comes to 4K video and some of them even for photos.
PS: All the below cameras have IBIS or lenses have IS/VR/OS etc which in current-gen negates the use of gimbal. Firstly use of gimbal in certain places might get termed as being a professional and they might restrict its usage in certain places, secondly, there is a setup time for gimbals which eats precious times. Am (currently) not a huge fanboy of gimbals though they are very good items to have in the kitty i am telling the below because of their run&gun capability.
We do not have many options in FF in the given budget because if we go for anything in the Sony A7 series or Panasonic S series or Canon’s newer EOS-R series we tend to get into the beyond 2L budget. But to put in big and bold all of them are heavy – yes noticeably heavy for the purpose that it will be used to. In that way A7C is PERFECT and the only full-frame camera available which is not just within the budget but is also compact and gives the best images/videos. it has most bells and whistles that its elder siblings come with. The default kit lens itself is good to start with vlogging and general videos. And when it comes to even wider or telephoto requirements then Sony inarguably has some of the best lenses in the market right now. But if you are worried of the cost of a Sony G lens then don’t worry Sigma and Tamaron have dedicated Sony lens which are razor-sharp but at fraction of cost as that of Sony
Sony A7C + 28-60 – https://amzn.to/2TPFzv9
If you feel that you might get a bit overwhelmed by the size, features, cost of a FF sony camera then their APSC is meant just for that category of people. And again if you are not sure if you really need a FF camera then these are what you have to look at. These are what Sony itself markets it as “targetted for vloggers and content creators”. The APSC lenses for Sony are far more affordable but still very high quality when compared to FF counterparts. The summary is that You won’t go wrong with any of these two cameras and they are def long term ( like at least 4-5 yrs or more )
Sony A6400 – https://amzn.to/3iQ8LN5
Sony A6600 – https://amzn.to/2TOQzc9
Other very good options
While we are at APSC then i definitely want to bring your attention to Fuji who is THE BEST when it comes to color science and photos. They are doing very well when it comes to Videos off late and their codecs are on par with that of Sony or Canon. And these two below in 2 diff price points are my personal recommendations. I personally have used X100S and currently use X70 as my everyday pocket camera and i love them to the core.
Fuji XT4 – https://amzn.to/3zDAGWM
Fuji XS10 – https://amzn.to/3gMmamU
High-end compact cameras
I intentionally brought this segment because of the weight factor and ease of use and less hassle of changing lens and all that. The reach might not be well suited for extreme things like wildlife or sports but then these are anyways not meant for it. The suggestion here is based on the fact that the idea should be to concentrate on shooting videos or taking photos than worry about lens and settings and all that.
Here if am really given an option to convince you then i would force you to buy a ZV1 because its one of the most newer camera which is literally bang for buck high-quality compact camera. Very beautiful image quality and for the size you just can’t believe the quality you get out of it. It has even new features like live streaming capability which came as a recent firmware upgrade which is a big plus in the kind of world that we are living in now. If ease of travel and compactness is key then my money is on ZV1. The other two are good too.
Sony ZV1 – https://amzn.to/3gO8aJa
Sony RX100 M7 – https://amzn.to/2SbKV3D
Canon G7X M3 – https://amzn.to/3xw5DKu
On camera mic
While we gave so much importance to 4K and Slowmotion and Gimbal and all that – one key requirement according to me is inarguably the Audio. Audio plays equally or more importance in a video esp when its travel documentary or vlogging. I would def force people to buy a very good mic if not for any other fancy accessory. Below are some options but at various price segments but all of them offer good quality audio. But don’t compare a Rode with a Boya but we get what we pay for. But not paying anything for good audio is not something you want to be in.
Choice 1 – Rode Video Micro – https://amzn.to/3q8l7lk
Choice 2 – Sennheizer MKE 200 – https://amzn.to/3gM4bwF
Choice 3 – Mavo VXR10 – https://amzn.to/3xs0uTE
Choice 4 – Boya MM1 – https://amzn.to/2U7zkD9
It doesn’t just stop there, good, fast high capacity memory cards are most needed as 4K eats data just like a scared young girl eating popcorn in a horror movie. While there is a various theory about carrying multiple smaller cards vs one big capacity cards etc. My personal choice is to stick to around 64Gb and have enough cards of this capacity and well labeled and organized so that you know which is empty and which is recently used.
Below are some of my choices ( what i personally use )
Sandisk 64GB – https://amzn.to/3zN5vZd ( this is a high-speed version – don’t get carried away by the cost of the low-speed version of this )
Sandisk 64GB Extreme – https://amzn.to/3qbcoz5 ( i have a handful of these which i use when i shoot long duration videos like interviews or instructional videos )
Lexar 64GB – https://amzn.to/3cU6UTQ ( pretty decent )
Prograde – 64GB V60 – https://amzn.to/3qhWpiI ( have heard a lot of good reviews about them but yet to use them)
THIS IS ALSO A MUST
Last but not least don’t forget to invest in a very very good and reliable external HDD for backup. Because travel contents are memories and you def don’t want to lose them while they are lying around in multiple places.
My tried and tested setups are Seagate & WD 4TB portable drives.
Segate 4TB – https://amzn.to/2TMDb8y
WD 4TB – https://amzn.to/2TJxSqs
I think that’s pretty much is good to get started with. Editing software ( free and paid ) and things around that are a diff discussion altogether. If you have any questions happy to help with whatever little that i know of. The comment section is all yours.