Camera with good video performace for a tech review channel

JtheGamer

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Feb 14, 2016
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So I am in the process of making a tech review channel on youtube. I already have a good tripod with a video head, soft boxes, and a rode shotgun microphone. The only thing is I haven't found a good camera that can do great video for youtube. Here is what my thesis is...

Budget: from around 400 to $500

Features: Good low-light performance, maybe auto-focus, a external mic jack (obvious for my mic), good zoom, and a good interchangeable lens.

*Can shoot at least 1080p* *60fps can be a option*

*Can be a mirrorless or a DSLR*
 

BlueFireZ

Estimable
Sep 10, 2014
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Good thing that you have all other equipment, since usually people look for a camera, then get surprised at the price of lighting and other equipment.

For your price range the best you can get is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 ($497), which is a pretty good camera that can shoot 4k at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps, which is handy since 4k is here to stay and you wont have to upgrade anytime soon. But if you can save up an extra $100 you can get the better Panasonic G7 which is on sale for $597.

Lumix FZ300 - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1162645-REG/panasonic_lumix_dmc_fz300_digital_camera.html

Some test footage from FZ300- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYmQuM0hHdw

$100 more Lumix G7 - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1148282-REG/panasonic_dmc_g7kk_lumix_dmc_g7_mirrorless_micro.html

Hope this Helps!
 

basroil

Honorable
For that budget, get a camcorder. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1110404-REG/canon_0280c001_vixia_hf_r600_full.html is a good bet and has everything you need, low light performance, 3.5mm input for mic, great zoom range, and AF.

Seriously, I don't understand why people think $500 is enough for high end specs. Considering the budget you stated it's very clear you're not capable of shooting video properly with a dslr. Learn a bit about videography with that camcorder and maybe in a few months you'll see why you were wrong about the budget
 

BlueFireZ

Estimable
Sep 10, 2014
463
0
5,910
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Good thing that you have all other equipment, since usually people look for a camera, then get surprised at the price of lighting and other equipment.

For your price range the best you can get is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 ($497), which is a pretty good camera that can shoot 4k at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps, which is handy since 4k is here to stay and you wont have to upgrade anytime soon. But if you can save up an extra $100 you can get the better Panasonic G7 which is on sale for $597.

Lumix FZ300 - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1162645-REG/panasonic_lumix_dmc_fz300_digital_camera.html

Some test footage from FZ300- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYmQuM0hHdw

$100 more Lumix G7 - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1148282-REG/panasonic_dmc_g7kk_lumix_dmc_g7_mirrorless_micro.html

Hope this Helps!
 

JtheGamer

Commendable
Feb 14, 2016
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Thanks. I was looking at these options online and I thought they were good also. This will be my solutions.
 

bjornl

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Mar 16, 2016
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I have to disagree with BlueFireZ. The FZ300 is the wrong camera. It has a small sensor, poor image and video quality compared to any larger sensor camera, particularly in low light. Also, the fz300 is not particularly fast in AF (also mentioned as a goal). And of course it is not inter-changeable lens camera (another goal).

What you need to pay closest attention to if you wish to get good low light performance is sensor size.
If however you want good zoom (and why in the world would you need that for a technical review site??), then you have options but the majority of them have so-so image and video quality and are not mirrorless or DSLR.
If you want good video AF you need to forget about DSLRs. Because while DSLRs have the better lenses and generally the best at still images (mostly as a result of lens selection, but also due to AF capabilities and sensor technology) but in video mode DSLRs do not AF fast.

I've used several dozen cameras over the years. I currently own and use quite a few. Ignoring the still image portion.

From least capable to most capable:
Samsung Note 3 (my phone) it is handy, Does most things well enough for most facebook users.
Canon SX50 HS (roughly equivalent to the fz300). It looks like a DSLR, has decent manual controls (important), good "zoom". In anything but perfect light the video quality starts to fade. Noise, less dynamic range and autofocus falls off. But still better than the phone. My Son loves to play with this camera.
Panasonic TZ30. Slightly better image quality than the SX50 but much smaller. Fits in pants pocket. Bought as a backup camera for vacations. I only use it in venues where DSLRs are not allowed (less than 100 photos and maybe 10 videos taken in the life of this camera).
Sony rx10. A bridge Camera like the fz300 and sx50 but with a much larger sensor. Much better video quality in low light. Both due to the larger sensor but also because it supports a much higher bit rate. Decent AF speed in video but not lightning fast. A big bonus is this camera is weather sealed and it has a very nice lens. The lens is wider angle than most at 24mm ( This is a very nice FOV for group shots) and it is f/2.8mm constant (lets in 4x as much light as a f/5.6 lens)
Panasonic GH3, This is a larger sensor than the rx10. It is a m4/3 mirrorless. The sensor size means less noise and better DR in low light. The difference is HUGE when you compare it to small sensor cameras and still pretty large even against expensive cameras like the rx10. It is a interchangable lens system camera. So you can pair it with f/1.4 lenses which take in 4x as much light as a f/2.8 on and allow for much better bokeh (smooth, blurry backgrounds helping the foreground object POP). AF speed is dependent on the lens used. With most lenses it will more or less match the rx10.
Nikon d750. A professional level camera. With a full-frame sensor. While you can AF in video, you should only use this type of camera if you want to manually focus in video.

I left out a few, but that is a representative spread of cameras.
If you don't need weather sealing and are willing to give up some video quality (lower bit rate) and accept a little lower low light quality (not constant f/2.8) then I think the best camera for you might be the Panasonic fz1000. It is available on budget for a price of ~$450 used (in like new condition) from amazon. This is the one I recommend for you.
If you want the slightly better rx10, it is 600 from amazon in the same condition. The trade off is that it is slightly slower to focus and does not have 4k video.
Both of these are only capable of around 29 minutes of recording per button push. I believe the fz1000 is much shorter in 4k video, but I don't recall for sure.
If you want even better there is the Panasonic gh3. It can match the bit rate of the rx10, but with the larger sensor and the ability to change to an even better lens it has the best capabilities. But once you add in the price of the lens it will be twice your budget.
 

JtheGamer

Commendable
Feb 14, 2016
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So the g7 is not a good option?
 

bjornl

Estimable
Mar 16, 2016
399
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3,060
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The g7 is ok, but at a significantly lower bit rate (around 1/2 the bit rate of the GH3 as I recall). It might not match an rx10 despite the larger sensor. It should match or beat the fz1000.

Have you considered renting a camera and trying it out?
 

basroil

Honorable


Specs don't make the camera, especially when you go into the budget end. Unless OP understands the fundamentals of videography, any camera will do, and a camcorder will be the best option
 

bjornl

Estimable
Mar 16, 2016
399
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Wrong that is what makes a camera. It takes FAR more work to get good results out of a crappy camera. Understanding lighting (for example) well enough so that a basic (small sensor) camcorder can produce good results is a lot more work.

You don't need to be much of a videographer to see the difference between these. At work, we record events and I can't be there to run the camera most of the time. Upgrading from a cam-corder to a GH3 made a night and day difference when used by my non-video skill staff.
Similarly we record my kids football games and wanted a weather sealed camera. Upgrading our late model Sony cam-corder significantly improved the results my son was producing.

Recommending a camera within budget makes sense. Recommending a crappy one because you think that is all they can handle does not. My recommendation was in budget and easy to use.
 

basroil

Honorable


A decade of experience in professional photography and videography tells me that you're comment is full of rubbish. You cannot just make a crappy scene look great no matter how much you spend on the camera, but more importantly, CONTENT ALWAYS TRUMPS EVERYTHING ELSE. The best way to meet your viewer's demands are to simply give them the right content. If you have to sacrifice content to get a camera, the end result will be shit even if you have a $100000 Alexa+cinema lenses!

Hell, professional studios even use crappy cameras when it improves the content, the second Hobbit movie used go-pro cameras in one scene!
 

BlueFireZ

Estimable
Sep 10, 2014
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Think of it like this:

If you have been watching tech videos lately from popular YouTubers like MKBHD, Jonathan Morrison, Unbox Therapy, Armando Ferreira, etc, you'll notice that they all have nice 4k cameras. If they were to use a simple cheap camcorder, mirrorless, or DSLR, instead of a Red Weapon, Sony A7R II, etc, they would have the exact SAME informative content and scripting and exact SAME shot angles, and everything else BUT camera quality. Just imagine it as instead of playing a video in 4k, playing it in 720p.

Everyone starts small, go to any YouTubers first video and I guarantee you that they had a simple Point and Shoot or Camcorder, maybe even a phone which they recorded with. People don't sub for quality, they sub for the content. They do that because its either informative, entertaining, or a mix of both. There are YouTubers with 4k cameras who only have 3 or 4 subs, you might ask why? Because their content is crappy.

Well my rant is over, lol didn't even know you can downvote an answer.
 

JtheGamer

Commendable
Feb 14, 2016
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Ya I agree, I will get the g7 because of its 4k capability for the future because I just don't want to purchase a 1080p camera, then a 4k camera and overall it has everything I want. Thanks for your help!!
 

BlueFireZ

Estimable
Sep 10, 2014
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Always happy to help!

 
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