One of the comments we hear most often from members of our websites is that they love the quality of the content we create. In this post I’m going to cover cameras for both photo and videos, and try and help content creators decide what is best for you for your needs.
When Bryci and I started creating our content in 2009 we were using a very simple DSLR camera to shoot photos.A Nikon D40, which if I remember correctly cost us around $500 at the time for the camera body and kit lens. This camera was a whopping 6.10 megapixels. Yes, you read that right. SIX MEGAPIXELS. We were brand new to creating content, and honestly we didn’t have a budget for anything better so we used what we could get our hands on.
The camera only captured photos that were 3008 pixels wide, but they were plenty big enough and our members loved them. As a photographer, I was of course not thrilled. The quality was not what I wanted, and I wanted to try and show the viewers what *I SEE* with Bryci’s beauty and a six megapixel camera wasn’t going to cut it. I know, I sound like a camera snob.. ha.. stay with me here…
Reinvest in yourself!
We decided that once basic things like bills were paid we were going to reinvest in ourselves as needed. The plan was to upgrade cameras, servers, software etc to give our members a reason to keep coming back for more.
We were creating digital content for purchase online so of course, better quality usually translates to more sales or return customers. So before looking at cameras, you need to ask yourself what your needs are. Not what you think you might use it for.. but what you actually WILL use it for.
Example – are you a content creator? That might mean you have a website, a youtube channel or just an instagram channel you’re trying to grow. Perhaps you’re a model, a cam model, a snapchat model? We’re all creating content these days, so why not monetize it if you’re able to right? I read someone online say –
It’s 2019. if you can’t monetize your hobby, you need a new hobby!
I’d credit them but I can’t recall who said it.
So here’s how I would suggest making your purchase; first ask yourself what is more important to you, photos or video? Ideally you’re using both but which do you feel your audience cares more about?
Let’s talk about options for shooting video first.
What is best for video?
Bryci and I currently use two different cameras for shooting video.
We often use a DJI Osmo Pocket for easy handheld videos because it’s got a hardware gimbal built in, it shoots 4K 60 FPS and the quality is amazing. The downside, you need to buy an adapter for an external microphone, possibly even a PGYTech Osmo Pocket Phone Holder+ to hold the Osmo Pocket, the microphone and ideally, your cell phone that you use an external monitor for the video.
No, the quality is not as good as a DLSR or professional video camera, but it’s smaller.. gimbaled and well, easier. Sure it seems like you’re spending a bunch of extra parts but it’s still really small, it shoots 4K 60FPS and it’s buttery smooth because of the built-in hardware stabilization.
I have a small handle on the bottom of this PGYtech holder that
is holding my iPhone XS Max and DJI Osmo Pocket. (linked above).
For youtube videos, we use a Canon EOS R with 24-105mm F/4.0 lens kit.
We use the EOS R because it has Dual CMOS AF and although it has no IBIS, the quality of the video when on the tripod is sharper than other cameras because it holds focus perfectly. Canon is widely known for its more lifelike color science, with Fuji being second, Sony being a distant third.
What is Dual CMOS AF?
The easiest way to explain this is by you recalling videos you’ve seen on youtube. You ever watch a video and the camera seems to go searching for focus? The person’s face is in focus, then the camera is focusing behind the person or something else that doesn’t matter. Hunting or focus searching is something that plagues all cameras, except… for Canon cameras that are equipped with Dual Cmos Auto Focus.
Dual Cmos AF was introduced in 2013 and Canon puts it in most of their cameras, but not all. Canon is also working on new tech called Qual Pixel AF that should be introduced in late 2019 or early 2020 that will replace Dual CMOS AF.
The cheapest Canon camera with Dual CMOS AF as of right now is a compact mirrorless camera. The Canon EOS M100.
The cheapest DLSR Canon camera is the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 or for for $50 more you can grab the 4K video enabled Canon EOS Rebel SL3. It also has better video bit rate, weighs less and will give you almost twice the battery life. (spend the extra $50, trust me)
What about Sony or Fujifilm?
You might notice I didn’t mention SONY or Fuji cameras for video. That doesn’t mean they are bad, because they’re not.. they are fantastic. it comes down to what YOUR needs are.
As of May 1, 2019, Canon’s Dual Cmos is superior to every option out there for AF. Sony has great autofocus and a Sony user will tell you it’s better, but being that we are both a Sony user, a Canon user, and a Fuji user.. we feel we’re in a different place. Doesn’t matter to us what you but from personal experience, Sony and Fujifilm cameras are not as good as Canon dual CMOS for autofocus.
We have three SONY cameras. For small handheld vlogs, we usually use the Sony RX100V.
We use a Sony A7RII and Sony A7RIII for photos and we have in the past also used them for 4K videos. The Sony A7RII and A7RIII have 5 axis IBIS (in body image stabilization) so while not anywhere near as stable as the DJI Osmo Pocket for video, it’s still more stable than say, a Canon camera with no IBIS.
If you are making movies, small videos, tripod work or you want to make really good quality vids that are not handheld… I’d suggest something like the Fujifilm X-T3.
Bang for the buck, the Fujifilm X-T3 can’t be beaten by anyone. It’s affordable but, no IBIS. It does shoot 4K 60FPS though. The money you saved you could easily pick up a Ronin-S gimbal.
Panasonic’s GH5 offers IBIS and 4K60FPS as well, and the quality is great.
The newer Panasonic GH5s is even better quality, but no IBIS in the GH5s.
For Sony users, I’d slant towards the Sony A7III as it’s incredible but if photos are important, consider the Sony A7RII or newer Sony A7RIII model. The Sony A7III does have better low light performance than the A7R series but unless you’re shooting in near darkness, you most likely will never see a difference and the Sony A7RII and Sony A7RIII have a 42-megapixel sensor rather than the Sony A7III‘s 24 mp sensor. Meaning… larger more detailed images.
What is best for photos?
Almost every camera you can buy right now is going to be amazing for you.
We have just ordered a GFX100 and that will take over as the main camera when it arrives in early July 2019.
The Fuji and Sony are both pricey options and odds are, you won’t need/want anything like this. The Canon is more affordable of the three, but still might be more than you want to spend.
If you are looking primarily for family/friend use, a compact camera that is hard to beat is the Sony RX100V or Sony RX100VI. Both are fixed lens meaning you save money not needing to buy more lenses. The Sony RX100VI has a 24-200mm zoom at f/2.8 to f/4.5. The Sony RX100V has a 24-70mm lens at F/1.8 to f/2.8
The newer model (the Sony RX100VI) has many other features over the outgoing Sony RX100V that is still sold, but whether you need those or not is up to you. We currently own a Sony RX100V. We bought a Sony RX100VI and ended up returning it because the Sony RX100V did what we wanted, and it was cheaper.
If you want something more flexible, my top two choices would be the Canon EOS R with 24-105mm F/4.0 lens kit or the Sony A7RIII and yes, I am biased as I own both and love both. Nikon’s new mirrorless system, the Nikon Z6 and for professional use, the Nikon Z7 also are great choices if you’re a Nikon shooter. Remember, for auto focus video… Canon is still #1
The Winner is…
Our all-around choice for best video and photo quality right now would be the Canon EOS R with 24-105mm F/4.0 lens kit
Bryci shoots her Youtube try on videos with it, we shoot our Podcasts with it. It’s an amazing camera!