May 31, 2018 at 9:33PM

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What is the most simple to use camera for v-logging that I can add a good lavaliere or shotgun mic to?

I've been asked to spec out a dead-simple camera setup that complete novices can use to record themselves with that will also yield very good audio (to record their voice). I'm weighing several different setups including having people just use their own smartphones, but good voice audio is paramount, so I'd need them to be able to easily connect and power up a decent and simple-to-use external microphone. Some lights and a tripod would be provided to them, so its just a matter of determining the most simple to operate camera/microphone combo. Any suggestions?

Total budget for camera and mic would be less than $1500, and again, this is for total novices, so something super easy to set up and use is the primary goal, with the secondary goal being the best possible audio recording of their voices.

Typically they'll be talking directly to the camera and sitting or standing just a few feet away from it.

2 Comments

I would say a Canon 60D with a TAKSTAR SGC-598 would be the ideal setup. Good auto focus and a fully articulate screen. The Takstar is super cheap and can snag decent audio from it. I mean you can't do 4k but beginners don't need to deal with that. Also grab a 24-105mm lens too.

June 1, 2018 at 11:00AM, Edited June 1, 11:21AM

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A friend of mine has actually been struggling with this same question. I would say, as much as I like Canon DSLRs, they wouldn't come close to what I would call "simple to use". For that reason, I would recommend a more traditional camera.

The Zoom Q8 runs $349.99 and shoots reasonable video with a good angle of view for vlogging. It has very good audio for a camcorder and likely wouldn't require an external audio. The on camera microphones are interchangeable. So it's definitely worth a shot. Video wouldn't be the best, but for the price, the audio/video quality combined can't be beat.

If you're willing to spend a bit more on a camera and microphone, I'd recommend something like the Panasonic HC-V800. The reason is because the image quality is going to be a bit better than the Zoom, it is extremely simple to use, and has a cold shoe mount for attaching a microphone like the rode videomic pro. This camera is only HD, but this shouldn't be a problem for most people. It has a reasonable zoom range, decent image quality, good image stabilization, and reasonable battery life with the optional extended battery. This camera runs about $598 on B&H right now and the original Rode Videomic is another $150. That's not bad.

That being said if you need more power in your camera and don't mind a slight learning curve, I'd probably move toward a mirrorless system. I love Canon DSLRs but if you want to take your video somewhere, you are more likely to want to invest in a more upgrade-able system. The issue with Canon is that the 5D hasn't made any large advancements in video quality since the mkiii which was almost identical to the 6D. The 80D and T7i are arguably just as good. Where do you go from there? The Cinema line. That's it. That's the only upgrade path for Canon lenses unless you jump to blackmagic. Either way the next reasonable upgrade is going to cost $3000+ more than likely. (This is coming from the owner of an all Canon line-up).

If you want to go into DSLR/mirrorless cameras, I'd suggest starting with Sony. Grab a Sony A6300 or A6500 and a decent wide angle zoom from the Sony E line. This will provide better image quality than anything recommended on here, a cold shoe mount for an external mic, a mic input, good codec and color space options when you're ready for them, and it takes good pictures. The AF isn't perfect, but when vlogging it'll be fine. The image stabilization is actually pretty good. Bottom line this camera will serve you well for years to come. The A6500 does 4k internally as well as 120fps HD. It's a good all around option and has a more direct, reasonably priced upgrade path if you are going to take video more seriously.

June 1, 2018 at 10:03PM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
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