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In Search of a Vlogging Camera
When we decided to create a dedicated blog for all our adventures, we quickly realized that we would need to upgrade our camera gear for a vlogging camera. Sure, we could always use our trusty iPhones (the cameras are actually quite good), but sometimes you want the ability to access more features and not drain your phone battery.
In the year before Brendan was born, we bought a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera. With the ups and downs of going through the domestic adoption process and the unknowns it involved, I really needed a distraction. So learning photography and playing around with a new camera was a perfect way to take my mind off all my worries and fears while we waited.
It took some beautiful photos, and I had been pretty happy with it for the most part. But it did get rather bulky and tended to go out of focus when shooting video if it wasn’t perfectly still on a tripod, so I knew that it would not fare well in a vlogging capacity today. It was time to seek out a vlogging camera that would be easy to carry, shoot crystal clear video on the go, and take stunning photos for our blog.
I Thought I Found the Perfect Choice...
My research led me to one top choice: The Canon G7X Mark II. All the videos I watched online about it showed beautiful video with bright colors, and the image stabilization feature seemed like it could eliminate the need for a stabilizing tripod. Plus, one popular travel vlogging family I admire and have learned a lot from (Heather and Pete Reese over at It’s a Lovely Life) mentioned that they use the Canon G7X Mark II in their videos, and have had great success with it. I pretty much had my heart set on the G7X, so I made my way over to Best Buy to test it out.
The camera seemed to perform pretty well in the store. I was thrilled at how lightweight it was. It was a bit frustrating, however, that I couldn’t accurately test things like the image stabilization while walking, or how it performed in low light, because of the short security tether on the camera. I figured I should ask the Canon salesman in the store if I could detach it and test it with his supervision.
…and that’s where I started to second guess my choice. I talked for a while with the Canon rep, who asked me about what features I needed most (he guessed correctly that I needed a vlogging camera once he saw me head to the G7X), and if I had considered the EOS M6. Well, no, actually, I hadn’t.
The Canon EOS M6 is a mirrorless camera, which removes a lot of the inner workings that make a DSLR so heavy. While not a strict point and shoot camera like the G7X, it was similar in size, had the “selfie” flip screen, and had the ability to change out lenses, making it more versatile. It also had an external mic port, which caught my attention (I’m a voice actor, so good audio is important to me!) And it was the same price as the G7X…
Yikes. Now I had a dilemma. Here was another vlogging camera option that sounded even better, but I had done no research on it because I wasn’t aware it existed. Should I change my decision?
What if I bought BOTH cameras, tested them out at home, and returned the one I didn’t want to keep?!? Ha! Genius!
Josh quickly pointed out that there was a large restocking fee for DSLR cameras, which the M6 was categorized as. Well, darn. That added up to a hefty chunk of change I’d lose. However, he explained, it looked like the G7X was classified as a point and shoot, which did NOT fall under the restocking fee rule.
That did it. I was going to bring home the G7X, and hope that I made the right choice. If I ended up hating it, I could always return it and pick up the M6. But at this point, I was pretty confident that I would like the G7X.
Testing the Canon G7X Mark II
With my new baby and some related camera gear on sale cradled in my arms, we headed home to test it out. I tried using the camera in various situations we might encounter, such as walking down the street, quiet videos indoors, noisy outdoor birthday parties, and darkened night scenes. Here is what I discovered.
- Excellent image stabilization
- Nice saturated warm colors and automatic skin smoothing
- Flip screen is great for vlogging/self portraits
- Low light was good
- Very lightweight and easy to pack in a small case or purse. Great for travel vlogging.
- Inconspicuous…people won’t notice it when you’re filming as much
- Easy to start up quickly
- Fairly easy to learn
- You don’t need to purchase a ton of accessories and add ons. (extra lenses, mic, etc)
- No external audio port. Recording only from the direct camera mic, which isn’t great, especially if there’s ANY wind.
- Camera clicks when it is autofocusing. You can hear this on the recordings (BIG con, for me)
- The image did go in and out of focus many times when I was filming a selfie video normally. I don’t like seeing this happen in videos; it’s distracting.
- The wifi “send to computer” capability promised on the box does NOT work with Macs. You have to use a workaround that uploads it to a Canon web portal, then use your computer to download that image. I found it to be a pain, and the wifi drained my camera battery.
I really wanted to love this vlogging camera, because it was so portable and I loved the look of the footage (it’s like it gave me a nice warm “beauty filter” that wasn’t too obvious, and made my blotchy skin look great). But after reviewing all the videos I took, I was disappointed at how often it would get blurry as it tried to focus on faces, and the sound quality just wasn’t very good. Listening back to footage I took at a breezeless outdoor party, it sounded like there was a strong wind, and sound filmed indoors in a quiet room had an annoying clicking sound from the camera itself. I knew this would drive me crazy.
Knowing that I would probably be going with the M6, I headed back to the store. At least now, knowing what I wanted, I could test the two side-by-side and still be able to return the G7X.