BEST YOUTUBE VLOGGING CAMERA SETUP 2021 – (ZV-1, M50 MK II, A7III)

I’m going to show you four things that you need to get a compact, portable and extremely versatile YouTube setup. It’s going to help you create beautiful content. Plus, I’m gonna show you one bonus item that depends on what you like to film can go from a nice to have to an absolute critical piece of gear. So, whether you’re about to start on YouTube or you’ve already started but you’ve been using your cellphone and you’re looking to up your production value, let’s get to it. And the first thing most people wanna pick is a camera. And don’t get me wrong, you can use your cellphone or an action camera but if you’re looking to take that next level, there are three different types of cameras that I recommend that you look at. I’ve much more detailed reviews of all of these cameras but in this video, I’m just gonna give you a high level overview of each type. And my goal isn’t to sell you on a specific camera but rather just to explain the differences so that you can make an educated decision. So, the first type of camera is a compact camera. This is going to be the smallest and lightest option and it’s also the most convenient.

1. Sony ZV-1

I have the Sony ZV-1 and it’s absolutely one of the compact cameras that I recommend most often. And don’t let the small size fool you. This camera actually has some extremely impressive features that we mostly see in much more expensive models. This is an all in one camera. So, it has a 20-megapixel, one inch CMOS sensor has a built-in 24 to 70-equivalent, f1.8 to f2.8 lens. We’ve got a fully articulating touchscreen with touch functionality for autofocus. Beautiful 4K at up to 30 frames per second. If you wanna do slow motion, you can shoot at 1080p at up to 120 frames per second.

You even get log and HLG shooting modes. And these are able to maximize the performance of the image sensor to give you an image with more details in the highlights and the shadows. The ZV-1 also has a clean HDMI out and it can be powered using a micro-USB cable. So, it’s a fantastic option if you ever want it to live stream. It also has no recording limit, so you can use it to record long form videos and even events. You’re looking at about 700 bucks but remember that you don’t need to spend any more money on lenses. Now, I wanna move on to cameras that have interchangeable lenses and you can look at Micro 4/3 APS-C and full frame sensor cameras.

2.Canon M50 Mark II

The first one is the Canon M50 Mark II, and together with the original M50, might be the most popular cameras for YouTube, period. It’s got a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, so it’s bigger than the sensor on the ZV-1 and it’s an extremely easy camera to use. Canon has very simple main and quick menu systems. And we also have a fully articulating full touchscreen. That means that you can use the touchscreen for autofocus to navigate and make selections from the menus and to change all your exposure settings. And because we’re so used to interacting with our phones and tablets with the touch screen, that makes for a really good user experience. Although, it can shoot in 4K, it does have some pretty substantial limitations like an additional crop and a slower and less reliable autofocus. But if you plan on shooting an 1080p, it’s a great option. We’re still getting a clean HDMI out, so we can use it to live stream but unlike the options from Sony, it can’t be powered via USB. But you do have the option for a coupler instead.

And check out that video, if you wanna see the one that I use from limited power. If you wanna shoot in 4k and wanna stick with Canon, check out the M6 Mark II. And if you wanna look at some options from Sony, look at the A61, A64 or A6600. I do have videos about all these cameras, as well as comparisons and I’ll link to them in the description. As far as price we’re looking at about 600 bucks for the M50 Mark II for the body alone or about 700 bucks with the 15 to 45-millimeter kit lens. And I’ll get into more lens options in the next section. Now, let’s talk about full frame sensor cameras. And these are the big boys and they also tend to be the most expensive. So, a full frame sensor is larger and definitely has some advantages like the ability to get shallow or depth of field or that blurry background effect. It’s also better in low light. And this particular camera has in-body image stabilization.

3. Sony A7 III

Got the Sony A7 III here which is a good option, but as you can see, it’s quite a bit bigger and so are most of the lenses. So, while there are advantages to full frame sensor cameras, keep in mind the heavier and less portable setup. As Sony actually makes A7C, which is a full frame sensor camera with a similar body style to that of the Sony A6000 cameras. And one of the nice things about Sony is that they use the same lens mount for their APS-C and full frame sensor cameras. And technically there’s cinema cameras too but we’re not gonna go there. Speaking of lenses, we’re mostly talking about wide angle lenses. So, let’s talk about focal length. So, the ZV-1 has a zoom lens. So, you can go from 24 at its widest to 70 at its most zoomed in and these are full frame equivalent focal lengths. And the nice thing about the zoom lens is that you can get wide shots for when you’re trying to capture more of the scene or if you’re handholding the camera and then you can zoom in when you wanna bring something closer to the camera. If you’re going to use an interchangeable lens camera then you have a lot more options but you’re also gonna end up spending more money. So, with the Canon M50 Mark II or any of the Sony APS-C cameras, we have the Sigma 16 millimeter f1.4 and it’s an absolutely fantastic option. It’s gonna give you a similar field of view as the wide end of the ZV-1. And the aperture opens all the way up to f1.4. This lets more light in which makes it a great option in low light. And it gives us really shallow depth of field or again, that blurry background effect.

I have a video dedicated to Canon M50 wide angle lenses and it also explains what you should look for in a wide angle lens. So, I’ll link to that video at the end of this one. Now, with Sony full frame cameras, my favorite lens is the Tamron 17-28 f2.8. Looking at what you get for the money, I’m not sure that you can beat this lens. It’s wide, it’s fast, it’s fairly small and light for a full frame lens and it’s really sharp. In general, where people struggle is finding a lens that’s wide enough at an affordable price. And this is one of the advantage of using one of my absolute favorite accessories, a small tripod. This is the MantisPod, it’s made by PGYTECH and it’s definitely my favorite portable tripod. Now, some products have features where I might say, that’s cool, but I don’t know how much I would use it. Well, this tripod has a lot of features but they’re actually features that I use. First, it does something that other small tripods do. If you’re handholding the camera and that’s moved the camera farther away from you so that you can get a wider angle of view. But it has two advantages over something like the GorillaPod that I used before. So first, it’s way more sturdy and there’s no give, so my shots end up being smoother.

Second, I can actually extend it and then move the ball head farther away to a second position and get an even wider angle of view. Next, because I’m not super careful, I really appreciate all of the security features that this tripod. I mean, at the low-end, we’re looking at 700 bucks with the ZV-1 and at my high-end with my Sony A7S III, which I’m using right now so I can’t show you. With that lens, I’m looking at over $4,000. So, I wanna know that my gear is safe. First, the Arca-Swiss quick release plate, snaps into place and then you have a dedicated lock so you can’t accidentally hit the release. Then if you wanna remove the entire ball head, you have to unscrew this aluminum coupling and it still won’t come up, you have to like pull down on this lever and that releases it. So, even if you forget to tighten it after putting it in, it’s not gonna fall out. All right, enough with the safety lecture and onto the features. Let’s start with stability. And the legs rotate out and this thing is super well-made. So, even with bigger setups, I’m not worried about it. With my previous tripod that had those flexible legs, they worked okay in the beginning but then after a couple of months, they loosened up and then I really couldn’t trust it. Back to the MantisPod, there are different locking positions for the ball head attachment, so you can get it at all different types of angles. And once it clicks into a setting, it’s not going anywhere.

I also liked the height adjustment, where I can get the camera lower to the ground and get an even wider base. Now, the ball head itself is really well-made. It’s smooth and provides a little resistance even when it’s completely unlocked. So, you can get the camera at just a right angle. Now, once it’s locked, you’re good to go and you can actually unlock the pan access, and then rotate it 360 degrees. There’s quite a bit of dampening on this axis so you can use it to get surprisingly smooth pans. And another great use for this tripod is to flip it over and get low angle shots. The next feature is super clever and it solves a very real problem when you’re out and about and you’re looking for a place to mount your tripod. So if you look under the main leg right here, you’ll see there’s a little lag that comes out and it folds out and it lets you hang this entire setup from like a fence or the back of the chair or a ton of other things. Once you start knowing what to look for. And I think this feature adds a lot of versatility. And one last option is that if you look inside the leg PGYTECH actually included a phone mount. So this way you always have one with you. And if you decide that you want to use your phone for a quick shot, you could do that without using the quick release plate or you can attach it to the quick release plate using the quarter 20-threaded hole at the bottom. Or there are two versions of the MantisPod the standard one, which comes with this head and then the MantisPod Pro, which comes with the ball head.

I would 100% recommend that you go with the pro model, if you can. So you have a camera, you have a lens, you’ve got your tripod, now onto the fourth item, a microphone. And if you want good audio do not, I repeat, do not use the built-in microphone on your camera. Like the ZV-1 actually has a pretty good directional microphone. And it’s designed to pick up sound from in front of the camera. So if you’re handholding it to, you’re closer to the camera and you’re in a relatively quiet area, you can get pretty good audio. But as soon as you step back a bit, you’ll notice a significant dip in quality. And this is where it’s hard to compete with a dedicated microphone. And they’re really two options that I wanna talk about. Shotgun microphone and a Lavalier mic. Now a shotgun microphone is a long and very directional mic. So it’s designed to pick up audio from wherever it’s pointed. Now a good affordable option is the Rode VideoMic which you can mount right onto the cold shoe of the MantisPod. Plug it into your camera and pointed at yourself. Another feature that I like about this tripod is that the cold shoe can actually rotate. So when you’re in front of the camera, you can have the mic pointed at you. But then if you all of a sudden, want to turn the camera around and record some bureau but you still wanna talk, in theory, now the microphone is pointed away from you, but because this cold shoe rotates, you can just flip it over, point the microphone at yourself and just keep talking. This microphone also has a shock mount built-in which reduces handling noise. And it comes with a Dead Cat or this little furry thing, which prevents wind from ruining your audio. You can get this whole setup for 60 bucks. And if you want even better audio and more features, you can step up to the Rode VideoMic Pro Plus, which is fantastic. Now I actually have a video comparing the entire lineup of Rode VideoMics with audio samples from each one.

So if you’re interested in hearing the difference and seeing whether that’s worth the money that it’s gonna cost, check it out when you’re done with this one. Now the next mic option is a Lavalier microphone which you would connect to the camera and then clip onto yourself. And this gets you excellent audio because the microphone is much closer to the source or your mouth, and the distance between the mic and the source doesn’t change as you move closer and farther away from the camera. It does mean that you have to be tethered to the camera though, which is why I like to use the Rode Wireless GO. It’s a wireless setup obviously, Rode Wireless GO, and its got a transmitter and a receiver. So the transmitter is gonna be clipped onto me and then the Lavalier mic is gonna be plugged into it, and then the receiver is gonna be either on the camera or on the MantisPod and then attached to the camera. Now I don’t have to worry about how far I am from the camera and I have the freedom to move around and still always get crisp and clean audio. If you’ve gotten value from this video so far, give it a thumbs up. It lets me know what kind of content you like so that I can make more of it.

And I still see that over 90% of you are new viewers, so hit that subscribe button. All right now on to the bonus item, and this is something that a lot of people don’t think about when they get started and then they’re frustrated when they can’t get the footage that they want. Now, if you’re gonna be filming outside and you want that buttery bokeh or again that blurry background effect, you’re going to quickly realize that you’re running into a problem, you have too much light. And a variable ND filter, let me get this open, allows you to block the exact amount of light that you need to get a perfect exposure. And at the same time, you can use a wide open aperture to get that beautiful look. By rotating the filter, you can decide just how much light you want to let through. So for example, if you’re out and you’re filming and you’re in the sun, but then a cloud comes and covers the sun, you could just twist it and then let more light in and brighten your image. Now these come in specific sizes so make sure that you get one for your largest lenses. And you can actually get step up rings and then you attach the step-up ring to the small lens to fit a larger filter. Now if you have any more questions, I’ll put a link at the end of this video to a more detailed explanation of variable ND filters. Remember that I’ve linked in description to all the products that I talked about. Hopefully, this video was helpful. Click on my face to subscribe and then watch one of these videos. You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy twice. Good luck and see you soon.

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