My Camera Gear! - Page 2

A lot of people have asked me what I use for recording my videos on YouTube, so this is a page dedicated to all the camera gear I use and recommend to others. (This page is updated as I buy/change my camera equipment so check back for my latest stuff!)

UPDATE: I have a new dedicated website called PhotoRavels.com for all my camera gear, check my new Camera Gear page after reading this one, thanks!

First, I primarily use Canon DSLR cameras to record videos as I am fond of the ability to change/swap lenses and also have great low-light abilities.

But if you are just starting out with videos, perhaps you want to start a YouTube channel or maybe just need a good camcorder for recording home videos, you may want to consider the Sony CX330, which is my other favorite camera I carry with me when I travel. DSLR cameras are great but if you have never used one before, the learning curve is rather steep and you may just want to stick with something simpler.  I recommend the Sony FDR-AX33 4K camcorder for 4K videos, this camera is BOSS!

If you absolutely must have the best video equipment, DSLR is still the way to go, you cannot beat the quality of large lenses and depth-of-field/focus you can get with a DSLR.

Here’s some equipment I use:

  • Canon 7D – I bought this camera nearly 4 years ago and it still works great.  The Canon 7D can take excellent 18MP photos and video recording up to 1080P 30FPS.  There’s many more lower-priced DSLR cameras you can buy these days though but this is my first DSLR camera.
  • Canon 60D – I bought this 2 years ago and this one does just as well for photos and videos like the Canon 7D.  The specs are nearly identical and Canon 60D is much cheaper.  What I like this over my Canon 7D (and why I use it more now) is the flippable liveview screen.  It’s not as sturdy as my 7D but I love being able to carry it everywhere with me without worrying about breaking something more expensive.

If you want to get started with DSLRs, Canon released many new cameras that are just as good as 7D and 60D at much lower prices.  I do recommend the Canon T5i for starters, it’s nearly the same specs and for video especially, the quality is going to be nearly the same.

Don’t waste your money on the camera, I would actually buy the cheapest camera possible but spend most on buying good lenses.  You can start out with a 18-135mm kit lense (as most DSLR have package sale with that lens) to hone your skills for zooming, playing with lights/aperture/F-Stop, etc…etc…

One Lens You Should HAVE – Sigma 18-35mm F1.8

Once you get a hang of making some videos with DSLR, you will definitely want to get some good lenses.  If there’s ONE lens I recommend you to buy that performs GREAT and it’s affordable, try the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 lens.  Nowadays, I do nearly every one of my High On Android YouTube videos with this one lens.

The Sigma 18-35mm lens is a wide-angle lens with low F-stop of just 1.8.  What’s great about that?  The lower the F-stop, the more in-focus you can get to your subject and also have more depth-of-field (where your subject comes in focus while background blurs out).  Not only that, you get F1.8 from 18 to 35mm, which means you get all-around great zoom lens with super-low F1.8.  Even famed tech YouTuber MKBHD has one of these in his bag, ask him and he will swear by it.

This one lens can do everything as it’s wide-angle but the coolest part with this lens is that you can focus on object even an inch away.  This means that so long as you can point your camera close to your subject, you can use it like a zoom lens that can get super-close shots to your subject with great focus.

I used to use the 24-105mm Canon L lens religiously, but having F-stop of 4 vs 1.8 makes a HUGE difference in your videos.  I can pretty much do everything the Canon L lens can do along with more focus, better videos in low-light, and also wide-angle.   Now, the Sigma lens does not have as much zooming capabilities but simply moving your camera closer to the subject and having great short-distance focus makes up for it.

Okay, I own other lenses too like the Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, which is great for selfie videos, I primarily use this for my intro since my office is not huge and takes in a lot in a short space.  If you have more room to work with, you probably can do the same thing (or better) with the Sigma 18-35mm.

Audio without background noise – Sennheiser EW 112P [MUST HAVE]

If you go to any tradeshow and look at the #1 audio gear professionals/bloggers/vloggers use for interviews and videos, it’s the Sennheiser EW 112P.  I bought this couple years back and never looked back.

Now, you probably don’t want to spend $700 on a wireless microphone but THIS is one you should have in your bag as every professional/vlogger/YouTuber who is serious about making great videos have one.  Think of it as a sand wedge in your golf bag (if you play golf like me), you won’t be able to get out of the sand without it.

I love this thing because it allows you to have wireless audio with hundreds of frequencies to choose from.  The Sennheiser EW 112P will automatically find open frequencies so you will have ZERO interference.  I tested this at CES 2015 and boy, it works well even though literally hundred other people were using it at the show.

But the coolest feature on this wireless microphone isn’t the “wireless” but its ability to control the background noise.  Whether you use a Canon 60D or Sony handycam, you will want to use this microphone.

First, you get a clear sound with the lavalier (the microphone) attached right under your mouth.  This eliminated 80% of other noise.  Even if there’s 100 other people talking in the same room, you will be able to record your voice clearly with Sennheiser EW 112P.

Second, you can control the amount of decibels on the input and output side of the microphone.  So, even if your camera/camcorder picks up a lot of background noise, you can eliminate 98% of it by tweaking the decibels on the Sennheiser EW 112P receiver/transmitter.  If you use your camera/camcorder built-in microphone, you WILL pick up unwanted background noise (regardless of how expensive your camera/camcorder is).  That is why people hook this up to even $20,000 camcorders.   This is the best $700 I spent for making videos.

For starters, you don’t need this but if you want to take your videos to the next level and make your audience hear clearly what you are saying, you definitely need this at some time.

Fluid Head + Tripod

You will probably want to get a good, solid tripod.  I do highly recommend any of the Manfrotto tripods, I’ve taken them under water, in the snow, and they’ve held up really well.  Plus, they will hold your expensive DSLR equipment.  Don’t buy anything plastic with tripods, you will regret it when your DSLR falls off plus they cannot handle the weight of DSLR equipment.

Probably the biggest change in my videos came after buying a fluid head.  A fluid head helps you get those super-smooth, fluid shots not possible without.  So, definitely get a fluid head and you can get those nice stunning tracking shots horizontally and vertically.

I also own a slider and a crane but I do recommend getting the fluid head first then the slider/crane.   Fluid head has much more uses and more portable while slider/crane can only be used in certain situations and they are pain to carry around.

My “Perfect” 4K DSLR Setup (Current Setup for My YouTube)

If you want to shoot 4K, you will need to get a DSLR like the Panasonic GH4 which supports 4K.  Canon DSLRs currently do not support 4K yet.  With this setup, I think you can make a very professional video, and you can always get more gear/lenses as you get better but this is my absolute must-have list.

I will be updating my “perfect” 4K DSLR setup often, this is my current setup for the highest-quality 4K videos without having to spend $20K+ on camera equipment.

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 – $1498 on Amazon – Link
  • Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Lens – $799 on Amazon – Link
  • Metabones Speed Booster Adapter for Canon – $599 – Link
  • Sennheiser EW 112P – $630 on Amazon – Link
  • Manfrotto Travel Tripod – $199 on Amazon – Link
  • Manfrotto Fluid Head – $170 on Amazon – Link

1 Response

  1. tkj says:

    hi .. i’ve always valued your demo’s etc but your descriptin of the Sigma lens is just absurd:
    re:
    The Sigma 18-35mm lens is a wide-angle lens with low F-stop of just 1.8. What’s great about that? The lower the F-stop, the more in-focus you can get to your subject and also have more depth-of-field (where your subject comes in focus while background blurs out).
    er:

    Any photographer worth his/her salt knows that the total opposite is true!!! Low f’s such as 1.8 mean very *shallow* depth of field!!!! ie, THINNER is that zone where things are in focus. An extreme example of the opposite effect woujld be a pin-hole camera which might have a f-stop of 90 or 120 !!
    So hUGE is the ‘plane of focus’ that no lens is even NEEDED!!! EVERYTHING to infinity will be reasonably sharp! I could do the calculations but i wont, i’ll just estimate:
    If lens to subject is , say 5 feet, at f1.8 (ie, wide open) , i’d expect the zone of focus to be perhaps several inches! ie,… NARROW .. ie, LESS depth of field ..

    Tue, it’s easy for non-photog’s to be a lil confused .. The real advantage of f1.8 would be twofold:
    ability to emphasize a certain device, blurring the rest in the distance, aND to allow more light to hit the sensor (film or chip or eyeball!) allowing a faster shutterspeed … I think you git my drift now … Please do correct the impression your lines above present ..
    and please do keep up the good work we’ve come to value !

    tkjtkj@gmail.com

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