The Best Travel Vlogging Gear For Every Budget
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Today we're addressing one of our most frequently asked questions: "What vlogging gear do you use to make your travel videos?" After creating videos on the road for two years, we've learned a thing or two about travel vlogging. Today we're not only sharing the key items we use to make our videos on YouTube but also a list of the best travel vlogging gear for every budget.
Before we get to the goods, I think it's extremely important to acknowledge that the content itself is more important than the travel vlogging gear. Those just starting out on YouTube may have high hopes of making a career from posting travel videos but it's nowhere near as easy as some might think. Consider your intentions. Why do you want to make travel videos? What do you want to share with your viewers? What is your end goal? Do you enjoy the process? Is this a hobby or are you an aspiring filmmaker? First acknowledge what you intend to create and then take it form there.
Two years ago, we had no idea that our videos would bring us to where we are today. Over 2.6 million views later and we're still here, more excited than ever for our next travel series on YouTube. Our motives have evolved over time from merely documenting our 6 months of backpacking in Mexico to creating videos that will inspire viewers to go beyond the capital cities of a country and see more of the world. Truth is, you don't know where you'll end up until you START. Regardless of where you hope your travel videos will lead you, take the first leap and begin.
Chances are you already have a smartphone that you can film with and that's honestly all you need for your first video. You can convince yourself that you need the latest camera before you can ever create a video but that's not true and I think you know it. You've got to start somewhere so hold your breath and hit that publish button. As Scorsese says, "If you don't get physically ill seeing your first rough cut, something is wrong." Which is why Wes and I don't go back to watch any of our older videos!
We've learned a lot about filming and cameras over the last two years and are excited to share some of our favourite vlogging equipment with you today. There are so many different components to the camera gear we use to make travel videos but in this post I'm only going to address the cameras, some accessories and drones. Below you'll find a detailed account of equipment you may need with tips and suggestions for every budget. A complete list of all the travel vlogging gear we're currently using is listed at the bottom of this post.
THE BEST CAMERAS FOR TRAVEL VLOGGING
When looking to invest in travel vlogging gear, versatility is key. If you can find a camera that does several things really well for you, then you've already minimized the amount of accessories you need to travel with. Size, video quality, stabilization and sound were our top priorities when we first started out. Once you've made your first few videos, you'll be able to gauge what you're missing or what you'd like to further invest in. But there's honestly no use in having a bulky Casey Neistat style setup when you're first starting to travel vlog. The best camera is the one you have on you, readily available to capture your style of travel. And remember, buying the best camera won't make for better videos until you learn how to use it and are evolving in your filming and editing process.
[$] BUDGET: GO PRO HERO 5 BLACK
Go Pro has an excellent range of accessories and cameras for the beginner travel vlogger. The Go Pro Hero 5 is a great choice for capturing action shots, underwater adventures and everyday vlogging moments. Because of its size (smaller than a smartphone), you can film discreetly in public spaces and get really creative with your shots when wearing a head mount or using any of the Go Pro accessories available. It has a time-lapse feature, voice activation and an app that allows you to see what your camera is capturing in real time. If you're looking for an affordable and versatile option to start travel vlogging with, this is it. We've been using it quite a lot here in Mexico and are impressed with the results!
Note: For improved slow-motion shots in 4K, better video stabilization and low light capabilities, you may want to consider the Go Pro Hero 6.
[$$] MID-RANGE: CANON POWERSHOT G7X MARK II
A popular choice among many travel vloggers for a reason, the Canon G7X is compact with a display screen that tilts up making it easier to vlog. The latest Mark II version is faster, has improved auto-focus and a slightly better battery life than its predecessor. It's simple to use which is ideal for anyone just starting to get into video and still provides great video quality for this price point. The featured creator kit has everything you need to start travel vlogging and with 20.1 megapixels and raw image capture abilities, you'll get high-res results for your travel photography too.
Note: You can't use an external microphone with this camera but I've seen many vloggers DIY their own wind muff for the G7X.
[$$] MID-RANGE: PANASONIC LUMIX G7
This is a great camera to grow with if you're just starting to get into video but are really interested in developing as a creator. The G7 is a 4K mirrorless camera that will give you outstanding video quality for this price point. It has all the pro-oriented features plus wifi capabilities, long battery life, touch screen and more. Even with everything it offers, it's a very lightweight and compact camera. You can pair the G7 with a mic and a tripod and still have a portable vlogging setup without the added bulk and weight of other cameras.
Note: There is no in body image stabilization on the Lumix G7 and the autofocus leaves something to be desired.
[$$$] HIGH-END: CANON EOS 80D
You know the Canon 80D is good if Casey Neistat used it. If you're looking to upgrade from a point-and-shoot to a camera with all the features a vlogger could want, look no further. This camera has a versatile flipscreen, external mic port, high dynamic range video mode and is even a bit lighter than the 70D that we used to use. With an ISO range of 100-12800 (expandable to 25600!), the 80D allows you to film in low-light conditions without sacrificing quality. The free Canon Camera Connect app is great for any photo or video shots you may want to stage via your smartphone. As much as we love our Lumix's, the 80D has excellent auto-focus capability that we miss!
Note: The 80D doesn't support 4K footage which is something to keep in mind if you're thinking of gear for the long-term.
[$$$$] INVEST IN: PANASONIC LUMIX GH5
This time last year, we had our eyes set on the GH5 and made the decision to invest in a camera that would allow us to evolve from travel vlogs to travel films. And the GH5 does just that. With capabilities to shoot 4K footage at 60fps (and 1080p at 180fps!), you'll be able to capture those dreamy slow-motion shots for your B-roll. We're so happy with the quality of our footage and would highly recommend it for travellers who are serious about their videography and see themselves creating videos for the long-haul. Featured here is the 12-60mm native lens. It's sharp, great for vlogging and offers a nice range for your videography and photography.
Note: While the body is a lot smaller than the Canon 70D we were using previously, I wouldn't consider it compact enough for some of those spur of the moment travel moments.
THE BEST MICROPHONES FOR TRAVEL VLOGGING
The more travel vlogs you create, the more you'll realize how important sound quality is and may find that the built-in mic on your camera isn’t cutting it for the level of quality you want to put out. The problem a lot of the time is not that they don’t capture sound well but that they capture ALL sounds. This usually means that your voice while vlogging can be tuned out by background sounds like music, rain, other voices in a crowd, etc. When buying a microphone for travel vlogs, a unidirectional camera mic will capture sound from one direction which is ideal for speaking directly to the camera. Here are three different camera microphones that will help bring your travel vlogs to the next level.
[$] BUDGET: TAKSTAR SGC-598 MICROPHONE
[$$] MID-RANGE: RODE VIDEOMICRO
[$$$] HIGH-END: RODE VIDEO MIC PRO
THE BEST DRONES FOR TRAVEL VIDEOS
It may only be a matter of time before you're itching to capture that epic bird's eye view for your YouTube viewers. Consumer drones have forever changed the landscape of travel videos and those aerial shots may add value to your content. While drone footage doesn't necessarily make for a better video, it does help viewers (and travellers) see more of the beauty in each destination. When you're looking to travel with a drone, it's very likely that size matters more than anything. Consider your style of travel and be realistic in how much gear you're ready to carry with you every time you go out to shoot. Before buying, think about where you're headed and the drone regulations in that country. Always educate yourself on the rules of flying and have a spotter with you, especially when you're first starting out. As for our recommendations, the reason we're only listing DJI drones is because we have firsthand experience with the video quality they produce and have yet to meet a travel vlogger who is using a different brand.
[$] BUDGET: DJI SPARK
[$$] MID-RANGE: DJI MAVIC AIR
[$$$] HIGH-END: DJI MAVIC PRO
We love travelling with our Mavic Pro. With video quality fairly comparable to some of the larger drones on the market, the Mavic's portability and functionality made it an easy choice for us. It captures 4K footage and stills, fits in our day bag and is easy to maneuver. We've been using it for nearly a year now and never once wished we had purchased a different drone for our travel and film needs.
Note: There are several drones out there with better specs than the Mavic Pro but, if you're travelling often, we wouldn't recommend anything larger in size.
Even though we've touched on the main components of travel vlogging gear, there are several other things to consider when you're constantly creating videos on the road. From SD cards to ND filters, camera bags and hard drives, we feel like we're always looking for something to either improve our videos or help make our lives a little bit easier (lack of file storage is the problem of the day). We'll be introducing more video tips and resources on the blog this year so stay tuned!
Lastly, as promised, below is a list of our complete travel vlogging gear as of February 2018.
Main Camera Setup (What Wes would save in a fire):
Secondary Camera Setup (Fel's Baby):
Underwater Camera (Our newest member):
GoPro Hero 5 Black - Capturing all of our underwater footage and those run-and-gun moments.
The Drone (the one that was stuck in a tree for 9 days):
Our Lenses and Accessories: