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Technology in the classroom and teacher resources blog

Best affordable 4K camera for vlogging and family videos

Choosing a 4k camera

I've been after a new camera a while as my Canon 50D is not producing video to the standard I like. If you look at my video for Nogeyama Zoo there is just a ridiculous amount of out of focus clips. Understandable really given it doesn't have a auto-focus on video setting. Time to raise my game a little, which is producer talk for having found finally a justification to go and buy a new camera.

So what to get then. I was all clever and drew up a comparison table, which worked up to a point, until I went in and handled some of the cameras in a store. The classic Canon 80D I rejected for weight reasons. It's 730g without a lens verses 344g for a Sony A6300. No wonder Casey Neistat goes to the gym everyday. The wants list I wrote before going into a store and playing with the cameras is below. There is also a lot to be said for renting what you want before you buy too. I think I'm too impatient to do that :-/

Feature choices: The must have's.

Price - under $1000 certainly, $800 or less would be better. Any more than this and I will become overly concerned about dropping it. Update: No. Go wild. Treat yourself. Because you're worth it. My current camera is years old and served me well. Screw sensibility, I want bells and whistles and the moon on a stick.

Fixed aperture in video mode. Because as I try and vary the shots in my videos I am zooming in or out while recording. I've read fixed aperture would be useful in maintaining correct exposure while adjusting the zoom. Update: Actually automatic ISO when shooting video with manual aperture and shutter. This was not a common feature at all. If i want the film look, which I do, auto ISO needs to be there.

Touch screen. Because I like shots that have interesting things in the foreground and in the background. I can switch focus between the two smoothly with a touch screen. Update. Yes. And no. This pushes me up a price band. Plus the Sony A6300 has 425 PDAF points (whatever they are), so it's going to focus faster than me anyway. face and object tracking are good these days too. It's rare for me to actually look at the screen so why not lettuce camera do the job.

Aperture - Shallow depth of field. Oh yes please. The shallower the better. With a DLSR this can get crazy expensive. The Sigma Art lenses seems the best value but have no in lens stabilisation. If the camera body has stabilisation then look again at these lenses. Also the price would make them a next year purchase.

Flip up screen. I record my kids mostly, so I like to have the camera at their head height. If the screen is flat against the camera I can't see it very well. If it tilted up that would be great. Update: Flip up, rather than flip out sideways. I feel I am less likely to break this.

Movie resolution. My current camera has 1080 at 30fps. My new camera needs to be 4k as I would like to also buy a big new glossy 4K TV, given my current TV is not working well at all. I've not used slow motion to miss it. All the movie sizes quoted in the tables are to the nearest whole number. Update: 4K video takes processing. The smaller the camera the bigger the issue with heat dissipation from the processor. Some compact only shoot 5 mins at a time.

Movie type. I have an iMac so H264 would be preferred. I've read of some newer cameras with H265, which my iMac doesn't support. In time they will I guess. Update: No. There are multiple file types for video. Select one that gives you high quality recording, not just the one that you have heard of.

Feature choices: Not essential but may add value to the purchase.

Horizon line. I saw this feature on the Panasonic something. I do record video a lot at the seaside. Could be useful for horizons. Update: Yes. I've seen few that indicate if the lens is level when recording. This would be nice as I don't use a tripod at all. I've moved this feature up the list.

Sensor. Not sure sensor size impacts me in any way. It seems a safe assumption that all images will look great, and I would hope significantly better than my 550D. Update Bigger generally means more expensive. Canon is years behind. Sony is running it !

Micro two thirds vs APSC vs full frame. This seems such a big deal from the reviews I have read. Need too explore this. Update: Full frame generally more expensive, and for video might not actually be better. 4/3... APS-C costs about the same if you look carefully so go for that.

Current set up

Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 Digital)

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5–5.6 IS STM

カメラ: Canon EOS 550D Kiss X4 Digital
レンズ: Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5–5.6 IS STM

My current wishlist

If you watch my videos you'll notice that I use a very wide angle lens to get everything into the frame that I like. The downside is that right up close to the camera noses get a little big, but in confined spaces its fantastic. I could not have got the great footage of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine without it. The links below then are for camera bodies only. Wide angle loses is a whole other post. If I go for a Canon there will be a huge selection of lenses available for me to choose from. If I go for NWX-lens for a Sony I'll probably have a choice of two at most.

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body. That big old camera Casey Neistat uses. Looks the part but is really heavy compared to other cameras in this list. Video specs are looking dated too.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100K 4K, Point and Shoot Camera with Leica DC Lens. Yes, it's a compact. But, it has a lovely f1.7 lens from Leica on it. Doesn't go as wide as I would prefer but still high quality in a pocketable form.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera. I like the smaller form factor of a micro two thirds. Not use if I will notice any video quality difference when compared to APS-C cameras.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 BODY DSLM Mirrorless 4K Cinematic Camera. Panasonic is coming up a lot in my search results.

Leica D-Lux (Type 109) 12.8 Megapixel Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD. As far as I can tell it's the same as the LX100, except the body has Leica on it. Again this is a compact but the 4K video is there. pricey sure, but it's a Leica!

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Looking like my favourite. I've been following a number of vlogs that appeal to me on aesthetic grounds, and those made on a Sony are standing out. Low light recording in particular is standing out. To get the width of view as my existing canon lens I'm looking at the Sony 10-18mm f4.

Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95" LCD . Currently outside my budget, but oh my. If you are reading this in Xa years time, then this is the best camera in this page.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera. My friend John, a photographer, recommended I check this out. The old school film dials are amazing. A little to chunky for my own video work in comparison to the A6300, but it's built like a tank so worth serious consideration if you going travelling.

Nikon DL Premium Compact Camera with 18-50mm f/1.8-2.8 Lens. Where is this exactly. It was promoted by Nikon over year ago. Understandable delays due to an earthquake are fine.. but still. Where is it? Another fine looking compact that actually may have a wide enough lens for my needs. 4K and fast f1.8 lens too.


Canon デジタル一眼レフカメラ EOS 80D ボディ

Panasonic コンパクトデジタルカメラ ルミックス LX100 4/3型センサー搭載 4K動画対応 ブラックDMC-LX100-K

Panasonic ミラーレス一眼カメラ ルミックス G7 ボディ 1600万画素 ブラック DMC-G7-K

Panasonic ミラーレス一眼 ルミックス GH4 ボディ ブラック DMC-GH4-K

Leica デジタルカメラ ライカD-LUX Type 109 1280万画素 光学3.1倍ズーム ブラック

SONY ミラーレス一眼 α6300 ボディ. SONY 広角ズームレンズ E 10-18mm F4

Sony A6500 ソニー デジタル一眼カメラ ボディのみ

FUJIFILM ミラーレス一眼 X-T2 ボディ X-T2-B

Nikon デジタルカメラ DL 18-50 f/1.8-2.8 2081万画素 1.0型センサー ブラック DL18-50

I'm counting my pennies and maybe Santa will help out too. Thoughts below please.

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Author: Hi, I’m Tim from The Magic Crayons. I am a GradDipT, CELTA, and CELTYL qualified Primary and Kindergarten Teacher from the UK working at a Tokyo International School as an English Language Support teacher (ELS/EFL). IT Integration Specialist, and Teacher Librarian. This blog reflects my Graduate Diploma in Teaching studies with the University of South Queensland, Australia, PD, and ICT in the classroom interests. I create all the artwork and videos for the teaching materials within this website. New products and special offers will be announced here first. Everything I post is about products or services that I have tried in my own classes.

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