Considering a New Video Camera

I’m thinking about getting a new video camera.

Why?

I’ve been recording a lot of video over the past few years and posting it on my YouTube channel. For aerial video I’ve been using my DJI Mavic Air drone, and recently I acquired an inexpensive Akaso EK7000 for close-to-the-ground / novelty shots. However, my main video camera has been my Canon T1i, formerly my main still camera.

One glaring difference between the T1i and especially the drone is the difference in video quality. The drone has 4K video and the stills from the video are crisp and sharp. The stills from the T1i video are… well… not sharp.

Comparing T1i and drone frame captures

The two issues with the T1i video are:

  1. The best resolution it can capture is “full HD” aka 1920×1080 – not 4K aka 3840×2160
  2. It captures 20 frames/second at full HD resolution – not 30 or 60 like most 4K cameras

I’m thinking it’s time to retire the T1i and move on. Goodness knows I have retired a few digital cameras so far…

What’s Under Consideration?

I asked my Instagram readers for video camera recommendations, and they gave me the five in the table below.

Canon G60Canon GX10Sony FDR-AX100Sony FDR-AX33Sony FDR-AX53
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
35mm equiv. focal length25-38225-38229-34830-30030-536
Sensor size1″1″1″1/2.3″1/2.5″
Aperturef/2.8-f/4.5f/2.8f/2.8-f/4.5f/1.8-f/3.4f/2-f/3.8
Optical zoom15x15x12x10x20x
4K Video Speed24-30 fps24-60 fps24/30 fps24/30 fps24/30 fps
Sound2.0 channel2.0 channelDolby 5.1Dolby 5.1Dolby 5.1
Buy on AmazonCanon G60Canon GX10Sony FDR-AX53
Video Camera Comparison Table

Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you buy something using that link, at no additional cost to you.

The first three in the table have a “full frame” sensor, meaning they should do better in low light. The price reflects that!

The Sony FDR-AX53 is an upgrade to the AX33 and adds better low light performance and double the optical zoom. I had several people recommend the AX53.

How About Your Phone?

One obvious question is – why not just use your phone?

I have an Apple iPhone 8 Plus, which has a very capable camera for recording stills and video. I use it frequently for taking photos and occasionally for video as well.

It shoots 4K video at 24, 30 or 60 frames per second!

So why not just use that?

Three reasons:

  1. It only has a 2x optical zoom, which really limits me to wide angle video.
  2. My phone is often controlling my drone
  3. Limited storage space

The lack of optical zoom – because of the built in tiny lens – is the real kicker.

The Winner?

At this point, the Sony FDR-AX53 seems to be the right camera in my price point.

I’m open to more suggestions, though – leave a comment!

6 thoughts on “Considering a New Video Camera”

  1. My main camera is currently the Panasonic DC-FZ80. It has 4K recording, and claims to have 60x optical zoom. To my eye, the quality seems to be pretty good. Good enough for me anyways, and the zoom is great to have.

    Here is an example of zoomed-in footage I’ve taken with it.
    https://youtu.be/Mkt-FGFKjGc?t=752

    Reply
  2. Hi Steve,
    My friend Bill Hall & I were out chasing yesterday in two places. Coteau, QC (where the VIA Alexandria Sub meets the CN Kingston Sub and the branch to Valleyfield. We spent most of the day at Coteau and a couple of hours at CP’s
    Dorion on CP’s Winchester Sub where the commuter trains run into Montreal. We saw 22 trains and a Hi-Rail vehicle! I think that’s some kind of a record. We saw locals, VIA, mainline freights and pick up freights on both railroads.

    Reply

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