Vlogging Cameras for RV Travel

by | Jan 19, 2020

Not everyone wants to create and contribute to a YouTube vlog. But, everyone should think about documenting their RV travels regardless if your chose to develop a YouTube channel, at least save the memories of all the great places visited. There are a wide range options to consider for vlogging cameras or that personal camera to share videos and pictures with friends and family. Below are options for vlogging cameras that we use at I Love RV Life that are budget friendly as well as cameras that have a reasonable price tag in the event you want to expand the quality of you video content.

Is there a perfect RV vlogging camera? Maybe. In the video we discuss our “run and gun” style of video recording. What we find important is to use a camera that meets a particular our video style at an affordable cost. There are so many options available when searching for a camera and frankly, it can be overwhelming as well as costly, especially if a camera purchased done not provide the desired results.

We have a number of cameras that we have purchased starting with the very basic and later expanding as we experienced viewer growth from our I Love RV Life website and YouTube channel. All have served us very well, meet our “run and gun” style of video recording and each has their purpose. Any of the cameras that I’ll list below have the ability to provide good videos and some providing great photos of our RV travels. We wanted to provide this short list of vlogging cameras for those starting out on a budget as well as those who may be at the point of stepping up their game a bit.

Your Smart Phone

phoneIn this day and age, everyone has a smart phone in their pocket that contains a camera feature. Some of the new iPhone and Android phones provide excellent photo and video capabilities. This is where I Love RV Life began, but we quickly outgrew the limited features of a phone camera. Below are pros and cons of using a phone as a vlogging camera.

Pros:

  • No additional investment
  • Handy. It’s in your pocket all of the time.
  • Most of the new generation phones have great photo and video features
  • Large screen for viewing
  • Wide range of moderately priced accessories to improve video and photo capture

Cons:

  • Little to no stabilization. Video can be jerky
  • Limited zoom capabilities for those far away shots
  • Video can pixelate when moving the camera across a scene

Sony HandyCam

Sony HDR CX455The Sony HandyCam is a simple to use, full featured camcorder that fits in the palm of your hand. This was our next step to improve our video production. The camcorder provides great high definition video along with the ability to take a reasonable quality picture. At the time of this blog, you can find this camera around $200.

Pros:

  • Small form factor. Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Provides good high definition video even in lower light indoor shots with up to a 30X digital zoom
  • Varying battery size for all day shooting
  • Ability to add a standard SD memory card for video storage
  • Offers some stabilization for minor camera movement

Cons:

  • The zoom capability is digital and can be a little grainy on lower light, longer distance shots
  • No ability to add external lenses for wide shots or longer distance shots
  • Stabilization is not adequate for running or aggressive hiking.
  • Has a jack for an external microphone, but not place to mount

Canon T6i DSLR

Canon t6i DSLRWe wanted a DSLR camera that would improve our video recording along with the opportunity to create better pictures for our website galleries. We looked at a number of cameras and settled on the Canon T6i. We use this vlogging camera for half of our video creation.

Canon has an extensive line of cameras from lower end consumer models to very expensive professional offerings. We found the Cannon T6i to have all the features we needed at an excellent price point. Aside from the camera, we use a 10-18mm wide angle EF-S lens for most of our vlogging. This lens is great for close up shoots supporting a crisp wide field of view. We also use a 75-300mm lens for long distance shots giving clear, bright video and photos. A Rhodes VideoMic GO completes our vlogging camera set up to improve the audio when shooting outdoor video. This not an inexpensive purchase, but on the mid to lower end of DSLR cameras. Basic body and lens kits run in the $600 range, our 10-18mm wide angle lens costs $250 and the microphone with wind cover can be found for $120.

Pros:

  • Excellent high definition video and 24-megapixel photos
  • Ability to use a wide range of lens to meet the style of video and photo shots
  • Has a jack for an external microphone and hot shoe to mount
  • Easy to use auto set options for focus and lighting

Cons:

  • Can be expensive adding lens and accessories
  • Learning curve for all options available to maximize video quality
  • Not suitable for dusty or wet environments
  • Poor video stabilization

GoPro Hero 8

GoPro Hero 8This has become our go to vlogging camera for all of our action style video recording. We love using the GoPro Hero 8 camera. When we pack our vlogging cameras, the GoPro Hero 8 is always the first to go in our bag. Adding a few accessories has made a substantial improvement in our video production. Super simple to use. Compact in size, the GoPro 8 is easy to carry around and allows us to maintain a low profile we recording video in crowded areas. Excellent video quality and superb video stabilization in most aggressive hiking situations or use along bumpy roads. With a couple of batteries, we can shoot all day with the camera. We have expanded with reasonably priced cases and mics all listed below in the Products section. Not the least expensive, but great features with a base price of $350.

Pros:

  • Compact platform making it easy to carry.
  • A multitude of accessories including, SD memory cards, extra batteries, mounting options, cases, interfaces and mics.
  • Extremely good stabilization providing quality high definition video in some of the more demanding vlogging opportunities.
  • Simple push button to record and push again to stop.

Cons:

  • Small fixed screen offering menu access and short view times to set up a shot. Screen does not flip for selfie styled shots
  • Can take pictures, but difficult to frame shots

JI Osmo Pocket

DJI Osmo PocketThe DJI Osmo Pocket is the first camera of its kind to focus on many of the needs of video vloggers. This is our most recent purchase and we’re looking forward to using more and more as we document our RV travels. Extremely compact, supporting a 3-axis stabilized camera, the DJI Osmo Pocket provides stunning HD and 4K video long with 12-megapixel photos. The camera has been available for a little over a year at the time of this blog. A wide range of accessories are available expanding the capabilities of this video platform. We’re looking forward to using this camera more and more in the upcoming year.

Pros:

  • Pocket size camera that’s easy to carry and available to shoot video or pictures in a few seconds
  • Shoots HD and 4K video and also shoots 12-megapixel photos with the press of one button
  • Great for forward and selfie modes of shooting
  • Accessory shoe to connect phones for larger viewing screen along with a wide range of interfaces
  • Very stable video when walking or running

Cons:

  • Very small thumbnail sized screen to frame shots
  • Contains an internal battery. Requires an external source to charge.
  • Camera mounted on a built-in mechanical stabilizer. Could be damaged if dropped.
  • Not weather proof

Crosstour Action Camera

Crosstour Action CameraEveryone needs what I call a “beater camera”. Something cheap, takes reasonable video, can be used in more challenging shots and if lost or damaged, you haven’t blown your budget. That where the Crosstour Action Camera fits our video vlogging camera needs. This Chinese GoPro styled knock off, comes with a waterproof case, a basic mount, couple of batteries and I can stick virtually anywhere to get that out-of-the-way video shot. These can be found in the $30 to $40 range.

Pros:

  • Reasonable HD video
  • Comes with a few accessories and extra batteries
  • Fits standard GoPro style of mounts
  • Simple push button operations
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Poor battery life
  • Fair stabilization
  • Poor documentation

That’s our current list of vlogging cameras. This list is where we started and now what’s used weekly to make I Love RV Life video and photos. As our needs expand, you can be assured, so will our camera and accessory inventory. View the video below for more detailed information about our vlogging cameras, how we use and why you may want to consider one from this list as you document your RV travels.

Products Discussed:

Sony HandyCam – https://amzn.to/3halAig
Canon T6i DSLR (Discountinued – replaced with T7i) – https://amzn.to/33FRdtO
Canon EF-S 10-18mm Lens – https://amzn.to/2LfmmuA
Rode VideoMic GO – https://amzn.to/2LgzOys
Rode DDC-GO Mic Wind Shield – https://amzn.to/2Elsyje
GoPro Hero 8 – https://amzn.to/377XLSK
JI Osmo Pocket – https://amzn.to/2Tz1HYJ
Crosstour Action Camera – https://amzn.to/2Em1PTJ

RV AccessoriesNot sure about what RV accessories you need as you start RV travel? Check out our RV Accessories page where we have listed a wide range of products from essential items to those “nice to have” RV products to make RV life more enjoyable. Every item listed is being used or has been used by Joan and I as we’ve traveled across the country in our RV.
 

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