Everyone says you don’t need a pro camera and accessories to get started vlogging or as a YouTuber. That’s true. But… it’s kind of not true as well.
What I mean is that you can definitely get started creating videos with the camera in your pocket: your phone. You can. Or you can use a compact point and shoot like the Canon G7 X or Sony RX 100 version whatever. You can. But… I think you’re going to be disappointed with the results.
I talking here from personal experience; my own team’s trial and error.
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When I started DailyTekk back in 2012 is was just a blog. Text written up and published using WordPress. This year, though, the blog expanded (well, shifted it more like it) to a video focus.
We didn’t intend to do anything too professional or over the top. We merely wanted to add some video to the site. I mean, this is the Internet and there are lots of “just okay” videos out there that are popular, right? Since we just wanted to make something that was good enough to get us started we picked up a Canon G7 X.
It had decent specs, a selfie screen so you could see yourself as you recorded and it wasn’t all that expensive. Great buy, right? Wrong.
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While something like the G7 X is often touted as one of the very best cameras for vloggers (mostly due to the selfie screen, I believe), it falls very short of being a good camera for a serious YouTuber (in my opinion).
The autofocus is abysmal — especially for closeups. The lack of interchangeable lenses (and the lack of an ability to manually focus for more creative shots) turns out to be very limiting. I have other gripes about the G7 X which you can read about here.
Needless to say, our team finds ourselves a few months later selling the G7 X and upgrading to a 4K camera with a DSLR-style body.
Building an audience really does require quality. We just weren’t able to produce videos that we were really happy with using a compact camera or even an iPhone (6 Plus). We took a look at other YouTube channels operating in our space and found that our videos just weren’t up to par in the technical department. A lot of famous YouTubers will tell you a good story is all that matters, but I really disagree. Once an audience comes to expect a certain level of quality from one channel of the same genre, they probably won’t put up with poor quality from another (in other words, if there’s a better alternative, why would they stick around?).
Just trying to wrap up this quick thought about planning what kind of camera and equipment you should buy right off the bat, let me say that you should not settle. If you’re serious about YouTube (or just Internet video on any large platform), go big. That might sound obvious, but we were tempted to think we’d work our way up to better equipment as we went. That turned out to be really painful and a huge hassle. If we had just spend literally a few hundred dollars more in the first place we would have been far better off.
So here’s my best advice if you’re just getting started with vlogging and YouTube: if you’re serious (and you’ll know down in your heart if you are or aren’t — do you want this to happen or don’t you? — then leverage your resources to get the camera above the camera you think you can afford. And if you really can’t afford something great, like in the $800 to $3,000 range (there are great starter cameras above compact cameras but below professional cinema quality cameras), then start with your phone and save up your money. Learn about editing and lighting and being comfortable on camera and if your passion grows during that time instead of fizzles out… do what it takes to upgrade as soon as possible.
Quality does matter when it comes to vlogging and building a solid audience for your YouTube channel.
As a parting shot, think about this: collabing is one of the easiest ways to grow your channel, right? Would you want to collab with someone whose videos look grainy or whose audio sounds tinny or has an echo?