So. You’ve decided a Canon vlog camera is for you. But which one?
Full disclosure: I love Canon cameras. I’ll get into exactly why I love them below, but I want to put that out there at the beginning, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into. That said, Canon did not pay me to write this review, and their cameras are far from perfect.
Still, I’ve used a bunch of Canon vlog cameras (and there are a lot), from cheap compact cameras (small, rectangular cameras you can fit in your pocket), to high end DSLR cameras (big, bulky, often seen hanging around the necks of professionals, and wannabe professionals) that cost a small fortune.
I’ve played around with lots of them, but when it comes to the best vlog camera (meaning a camera for making vlogs on YouTube), my absolute favorite is the Canon PowerShot G7X.
Here’s a video I made with it:
Click the image above to find out today’s price on Amazon.com
No lies: The G7X is the best Canon vlog camera money can buy. Not only does it feature incredible video quality, but it’s also not prohibitively expensive.
The G7X is not a beginner’s camera, unless you’re willing to make a small investment, right off the bat, but it’s a seriously impressive piece of kit that’s proven itself time and time again by its popularity with some of the biggest YouTubers out there.
Everyone from Casey Neistat, to KSI, to Trisha Paytas, and dozens of other big names use the G7X, or its successor, the G7X Mark II.
I know I’ve called this article “Brian’s Favorite Canon Vlog Camera,” but the truth is that this camera is my favorite vlog camera, period.
Here’s why the G7X is the best Canon vlog camera
Portability: 4 out of 5
The G7X packs a lot in, like a 4.2x optical zoom, and flip-out LCD screen. It’s a little thicker than most compacts, so I’m impressed that it’s still portable. Weighing just 10.7 ounces, I’ve used the G7X for hours at a time without it ever becoming a pain to hold.
It’s also not prohibitively large. The only thing that sets it apart from cheaper compact cameras is the lens, which protrudes from the camera even when off. (This is a necessity, as cameras with small lenses are unable to produce such high quality video footage. Even with the lens, I’m able to fit the G7X in my pocket. If you wear tight jeans, you might need to purchase a case.)
Portability is most important if you do travel vlogging, like me, and is less critical if you plan on using this camera mainly at home. But I recommend you always take this factor into consideration, as it’s always more difficult to maneuver, and store, a bigger, bulkier camera, even if it’s just around your bedroom.
Video Quality: 4 out of 5
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: Having good video quality does not mean you will be successful on YouTube. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. However, using a better quality video camera lends you versatility that cheaper cameras don’t have. In the G7X, that means incredible quality while filming in low light, and even in darkness. I cannot understate how well this camera performs under poor lighting conditions. There is almost no visible noise (camera speak for the “grain” often seen in videos recorded using cheap cameras), and colors look more vivid and realistic than on other cameras in this price range, whether you’re filming in broad daylight or not.
How does the G7X achieve this? The camera shoots at 1080p (meaning videos have a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels), and at 60 frames per second (meaning the camera takes 60 pictures every second, and stitches them together in real-time to make video). It has a 4.2x optical zoom. That’s also pretty standard. These features are not exceptional for a compact camera, and have become the norm, even on mid-range Canon vlog cameras.
What sets the G7X apart is the width of its lens (ie. how wide it can open), allowing it to take in more light than cameras with smaller lenses, and produce better footage. Technically speaking, the lens is a f/1.8-2.8 lens. (These numbers refer to apeture, and lenses with lower apeture can open wider.) There are other elements that contribute to strong video quality, but here’s the main takeaway, technical details aside: You will not find another camera within this price range that’s capable of shooting this kind of footage.
Here’s another video I made with the G7X:
Sound Quality: 3 out of 5
If you’ve read any of my other reviews about compact cameras, you’ll know what I’m about to say here.
The G7X has stereo sound, meaning it physically has two microphones on top of the camera. The microphones are located about an inch apart, so don’t expect to record surround sound, but stereo is considerably better than mono (meaning one microphone).
In practice, this means the camera’s sound recording is versatile, producing clear, crisp audio, whether that sound is your own voice, and you’re a few feet away, or it’s background noise.
The G7X has two drawbacks, and they’re exactly the same drawbacks that you’ll find on the rest of the Canon PowerShot range (at least so far). First, if you stand too close to the camera, your voice may “pop” on the microphones and cause them to peak. (Perhaps it’s just me—I have a pretty deep voice. I haven’t properly tested this with other people’s voices.) In practice, that means you’ll hear a slight, but noticeable buzzing noise whenever you say something loud.
The second issue is that, out of the box, the microphones are unsuitable in windy conditions, where noise will sound muffled, and in some cases, unusable, as if someone is blowing directly onto the microphones.
Alas, these are not deal breakers. I’ve actually found a way to overcome both of them using one solution: a small wind muff. Have you ever seen a camera crew filming, and noticed the guy holding the mic (often a long pole, held over the head of the person or people being filmed) with a big fluffy thing on the end? That “big fluffy thing” does something really awesome—it prevents wind interference, and allows you to record sound outdoors, even in windy conditions, without screwing up your sound quality.
Wind muffs work on most compact cameras, too, and exceptionally well on the G7X. I purchased the MicroMuff Skinny, which is tiny, and inexpensive, and just about the right size to place over the microphones on this camera (you may need to cut it down slightly, but it’s easy to do). I was shocked by how well a micro wind muff overcomes sound issues with this camera—it makes both peaking, and wind, non-issues.
Just make sure you pick one up if you decide to buy the Canon PowerShot G7X.
Battery life: 2 out of 5
Canon likes to advertise that the G7X battery is good for 210 shots. But how long can you shoot video on a single charge?
Around 30 minutes.
I know, that sounds almost ridiculously little. Unfortunately, Canon (the same goes for Sony, Nikon, and the other big camera manufacturers) still hasn’t figured out how to design a battery that can shoot for longer. That’s partly because, technically, compact cameras are not video cameras. They’re photo cameras with video capability. In some countries, they are defined like this because duties are higher on video cameras. Producing straight-up video cameras (that record for more than 30 minutes continuously) means these companies have to pay more duties, so this is their workaround.
All of this means you can’t film for very long, but in practice, there are ways to make this work for you. First of all, when is the last time you filmed for 30 minutes, without stopping? When I’m filming a vlog, a film a couple of minutes, maybe as little as 15 or 30 seconds, here and there, and shut it off again. If you plan on filming like I do, this battery should last you for a full day, or close to it. Of course, if you’re filming something like a beauty vlog at home, it’s up to you to decide whether 30 minutes is long enough for you.
Thankfully, there is a solution here: buy a second battery (you’ll need the NB-13L for the G7X). Canon batteries aren’t ridiculously expensive, and they’re a must if you’re a vlogger. I find I only need two, as I can charge one while I use the other. I highly recommend you only purchase official Canon batteries, as Canon does not guarantee third party accessories.
Usability: 4 out of 5
I have found that the more versatility a camera has, such as a flip screen, the more you will be encouraged to use that versatility in your videos, and the more creative your videos will become.
That’s why I love these extras:
Flip screen: The screen on the G7X flips 180 degrees upward, meaning you can see yourself while you film yourself. That’s absolutely critical if you’re a beauty vlogger, as you need to be able to see what you’re doing, but is hugely convenient for just about any type of vlogging where you’re the star. My first three cameras did not have a flip-out screen, and I made many videos where I only realized after shooting that my chin was not in shot, for example.
Touch screen: The G7X has a really responsive touch screen. I have huge fingers, and it still manages to almost always understand the buttons I’m trying to press.
Canon’s famous user interface: Sure, the Canon PowerShot G7X has a ton of cool features. But that’s sort of pointless if the camera’s user interface is a pain to use.
Canon’s user interface—the browseable settings on the LCD touch screen, is the same on its entire compact range, meaning if you’ve used it before, you’re sorted. But even if the G7X will be your first Canon camera, ever, the user interface is so simple that you can pick it up and start vlogging straight away.
As a vlogger, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Click the image above to find out today’s price on Amazon.com
The Canon PowerShot G7X is a higher pedigree of compact camera. With a larger lens and better picture quality, footage looks great even in low light, and it mimics bulky DSLR cameras with its shallow depth of field.
There are downsides, namely the internal microphone, and the battery life, but they can be overcome with accessories.
Overall, the G7X is a powerful, easy-to-use device that’s the perfect step up from your first or second vlogging camera.
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