We all know GoPro as the brand for action cameras. However, that’s not the only way you can use them. Many YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Tim Schmoyer and Louis Cole are using GoPros to create vlogs and other videos for their channels. So the question is: Is using a GoPro for vlogging a good idea? And if so, which is the best choice?
Why using a GoPro for vlogging is a great idea
GoPros have many benefits when you compare them to other cameras:
GoPros are designed to be super portable - which is really useful for vlogging. While other cameras demand a whole bulky camera bag, you can always fit the GoPro in your pocket. This is especially useful if you use the camera outside your house a lot, or if you’re a frequent traveler. Also, since it’s so small you are able to use it in public without drawing a whole lot of attention to you (which can happen easily when you’re carrying around a camcorder, for example).
One of the biggest problems with most cameras on the market is that their audio is useless. You will almost always have to buy an external microphone. Not only does that cost money, it’s also another piece of equipment to carry around and set up before you can start shooting. This makes your video recording process more complicated and can slow you down quite a bit.
GoPros, on the other hand, handle audio much better, especially, if you’re close to the camera. Like other microphones, you will have to be careful in windy weather. However, the most recent GoPros have become a lot less susceptible to wind noise.
If you’re looking for a cheap 4K camera, get a GoPro! This is really one of the most impressive things about the GoPro: How can a camera this small and cheap create these amazing 4K pictures? Other brands really need to step up their game.
If you get the right protective gear, GoPros are hard to break. I mean, that’s the point of an action camera, right? In general, while other cameras need very careful handling, you can be much more lax with a GoPro. This is especially convenient if you’re new to cameras, have a history of breaking electronics or if you just have a very action-filled day. If you have kids or pets, this might be very practical as well. Additionally, the latest GoPro models are waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters). Below I will explain which accessories you can get to protect your GoPro.
The disadvantages of using a GoPro
Of course, using a GoPro for vlogging also has a few disadvantages that I don’t want to leave out.
Mediocre battery life
Maybe it’s because GoPros are so small, but their battery life has always been a little underwhelming. In order to avoid running out of battery, you can buy extra batteries. Be aware, though, that not all GoPro models have the option to exchange batteries.
It might seem kind of weird that an action camera doesn’t have image stabilization, but that’s the case with some of the GoPro models. How big of a disadvantage this truly is depends on your personal vlogging style and taste. People don’t necessarily expect vlogs to look super smooth, and a certain shakiness can add to the immediateness of your videos. However, if you’re truly bothered by the lack of image stabilization, you can either buy one of the more advanced GoPros or a stabilizer.
No flip screen
When it comes to vlogging cameras, most people are looking for a flip screen solution. Why? Because with a flip screen it’s much easier to have control over your image: You’re always aware if you’re on camera and how you look. A flip screen can also help you see problems with your image quickly. Recording without a flip screen can be odd if you’re used to having one. However, it can also be liberating, because you’re less busy looking at a screen and can be more present to deliver your content.
Limited audio options
If you love good audio as much as I do, it can be a little annoying that there is no easy way to connect a GoPro to an external microphone. You will have to buy an (expensive!) adaptor and then deal with a bulky cable. Not ideal.
Which GoPro should you get?
GoPro cameras are in their fifth generation now, with each generation containing a few different versions of the camera. With so many choices, how do you select which one to get?
So, this is my overview of the current GoPro product line. I think all of them would work great for making vlogs. Which one you should get depends on your individual needs as well as your budget.
Which accessories should you get?
Another thing that depends on your personal needs is which accessories you should get for your GoPro. Generally, you don’t need to buy anything with your camera besides an SD card. However, you can do so much with your GoPro that it would be almost beside the point to get one without any accessories.
Here’s a small selection of what’s on the market.
To protect your camera, you can get a case that will deal with environmental influences much better than the camera itself. This is especially useful if you use your GoPro outdoors a lot.
Check out case options for the Black here.
To improve any issues you might have with wind, it’s a good idea to buy a windscreen. I have not found any windscreens for the Session models, but here’s one for the Black.
Straps and mounts
One of the reasons why the GoPro is so much fun is that you can mount it anywhere, including in your car or on your body. There are all kinds of accessory bundles available that will offer you a nice selection of different mount possibilities.
If you want to hold your camera steady while filming or if you’re filming yourself a lot, a monopod (or “selfie-stick”) can be super helpful.
Although accessories can be fun, you definitely don’t need to get them right away. It can make sense to wait a little bit and find out how often and in which way you’re really going to use your GoPro.
Do you already vlog with a GoPro?
I’d love to hear from people who use a GoPro for vlogging in the comments. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Let us know!