Having worked with the Sony RX100¹, the A6400 and A6600 and numerous DSLRs, I want to spill the tea on why I think stabilization is inevitable. And why therefore, the A6400 is not a good vlogging camera, because it doesn’t have any.
I’m so stupid, I bought two cameras
In 2021 I bought 2 cameras. First, I got the Sony A6400. That was when I was on a workcation in Sweden and wanted to film some nice cinematic video. In August (before that stay) I completed the Fjällräven Classic, a 110 km mountain race. On this hike I was constantly trying to capture in the mountains and all those epic memories on camera. And afterward, I was just somehow done with my RX100. I guess, I was finally ready to gift myself an APS-C.
(No, I’m not interested in a DSLR. That is what I had before. And I will never go back to dead-lifting gear I dont need, just to have a useless mirror that craps out on me after 50k shots. No thanks. Had it, just as done with it as with that cute little point-and-shoot.)
I had been thinking about an APS-C camera for quite some time
When I ordered the Sony Alpha 6400, upgrading from the RX100, I was a bit in a hurry. There was so much to film and vlog and talk about, and my time in Sweden was limited. I was sure that I wanted another Sony. Because I’m lazy and I like their software. So I took a glance at the specs of the A6400 and they seemed just fine, and not too pricey to me.
Did I mention that I had about 2-4 hours per day to work and was watching my 3-year-old all the time, because we were living in a house all by ourselves? Yeah. So don’t explain reading to me. Try reading while someone is whining, shouting or wanting you to play »Catch the rapsberry before it hits the ceiling« with you, you noob. And I can’t film in the evening, when all the other SAHMS »work« on their husband-financed knitting projects, because there is that thing called light that you need on your sensor in order to take a picture, which only happens to be hitting a limited area of the planet’s surface for a limited time per day…
But I gave it back faster than you can say »F_ck no!« and bought the 6600.—Why? Because I am stupid. Basically, I had never thought of the stabilization. Being super used to the the RX100, where it comes so natural, I just didn’t think of it.. and how necessary it is for vlogging.
I thought: Woohoo, I have found a cheap vlogging cam. Well, not really. But I am happy with the 6600 now. The »alternative« would have been a gimbal, but I did not want that and it’s also another 500 bucks. So you might just as well buy the more expensive camera.
Stabilization in post is not a great option for vloggers
So a gimbal is not really an alternative to image stabilization. The same goes for »fixing things in post«. Post-processing stabilization is not a great option for me and many people on a budget either, because
- you need expensive or complicated software (I only use open source software, and stabilization in blender is not a fun thing to do—I can do it, you can keep your nerd lecture, but if you think it is easy and fast, you are representing a minority and your opinion doesn’t really matter, not even to the average linux user)
- it can not be done fully automated (which built-in stabilization actually is)
- it goes with loss of pixels, so your resolution suffers (and I don’t want to waste space on 4K footage, I don’t need people on YouTube to be able to zoom in to my every pimple)
So there you have it. In case you are poor, buy a point & shoot to vlog. If you can and want to splurge, buy a DSLR. And if you don’t want to do either, buy a mirrorless camera with stabilization.
A gimbal is not good for vlogging
The problem with a gimbal is also that it is
- too heavy for vlogging (unless you’re the Hulk)
- not fast to set up (nowhere near point & shoot)
- bulky and not a great thing to have in your backpack (e.g. while hiking)
So why didn’t I opt for the Fuji?
First of all, I hate Fuji. I just thing they look ugly. I hate their dumb software, and I don’t like this cold metal everyhwere. Yes, it looks pricy and fancy. But that’s all it does. In the winter while hiking, I really prefer a lot of plastic on my camera.
Then I hate their stupid sideway-flipscreen. And moreover, I think you simply get more out of a Sony when it comes to videos. The stabilization of Sony cameras is very good. They had that figured out years ago. And with the video options, they are simply superior by specs.
You gotta watch all this on YouTube yourself. I am not going to list the details. Don’t have the time for it. Just pointing you in a direction. Do what you want with the information.
As I said, I hate the flipscreen to the side. I don’t like recording on the camera over its mic jack anyway. I prefer double recording (for safety reasons), when I have it available. Because if you fail to adjust the levels at some point, or it isn’t plugged in right, your complete video is trash. And I film to many things just once to rely on something as unreliable as a portable camera mic-jack. Just no. From 4 years of YouTube, I can not recommend this to anyone in good conscience. Buy a damn recorder or use the internal and go crazy on Audacity.
In conclusion: Just get any APS-C with stabilization, like the A6600 or better, unless you can’t afford it, then buy a Sony RX100
Anyway, I am good now. I have the nice camera that I wanted. I have the kit-lens from the Sony 6400 (the 18-50mm), which is great for outdoor shooting in good light but really bad for everything else. The Sony A6600 in my opinion is the best camera I have ever owned. If only it was as small as the RX 100. But you can’t have everything and I am really glad that I could afford this monster and 3 lenses with it!
I don’t think that vlogging with a DSLR still makes sense. Even if you are strong, it is a waste of energy and space in your pack (no matter if you are hiking or not). Small cameras are amazing. And since most people (do not lie, my friend) don’t use the viewfinder anyway, why do any of you f_ckers need a camera with a mirror? That’s f_cking pointless.
¹ Affiliate link