The first camera I started with on YouTube way back when on my Canny Cuisine channel was a Canon T3i. I wouldn’t recommend buying that model today (1. because it’s old and 2. because it’s discontinued anyways 3. the T4i body and later models support auto-focus in video mode). If you are looking for a cheap, entry level DSLR (that has a recording limit of 30 minutes per individual recording session) I would recommend getting a Canon T4i because it has auto-focus, a flip out screen, and supports external microphones and headphones.

The next camera I acquired (it was a gift) was my Canon Vixia HF R600. It does worse in low lighting that the T3i, but it is a continuous point and shoot camera (the recording cap is limited by the storage card, not the camera). This model also supports headphones and external microphones. If you know nothing about recording videos and want something with decent auto-focus on a small budget that captures continuous photos, this gets the job done. Again, the only issue is the footage gets grainy if there isn’t enough light. The 600 is discontinued (my equipment is getting old) but you can pick up a newer model for under $200 here.

The newest dedicated camera in my collection is the Canon EOS M50 (a wedding gift from my in-laws – thanks mom & dad!). It is a mirrorless DSLR that can record 4K video (though I tend to not use that function since my computer can’t crunch 4K footage very well). It records fairly well in low light, has fantastic facial tracking and auto-focus, and is much smaller/lighter weight than a traditional DSLR. It does not have a dedicated headphone jack, but it does support external microphones. This is the camera you’ll see me using the vast majority of the time.

If I can’t be bothered to bring a dedicated camera out and about with me I tend to reach for my iPhone Xr. It gets the job done.

Now let’s talk about external microphones. I switch between 3 or 4 different mics depending on the situation. My go-to point and shoot microphone (no batteries needed – just plug it in and go) is currently the rode videomic go. It is a “shotgun” microphone – meaning it picks up sounds directly in front of it. This is a very slight improvement over the built in microphone because you won’t hear with the camera lens readjusts itself as it auto-focuses. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as an upgrade – I got it as a bonus as part of my camera kit when I got the M50. I’d recommend saving up your money for the next mic on this list – which is the rode wireless go. If you’re only worried about using one mic then I would highly recommend this one. I’m not a guru on how wireless mics work, but this purchase was worth every penny. I don’t have to worry about walking out of range of the microphone because it’s attached to my body. I also have the rode smart lav+. I used to use this with my old phone and my T3i and I would manually line up my audio files, but with an adapter I use this with the wireless go kit. I don’t think this is an absolutely necessary add on with the wireless go, but it’s nice not to have a big square sitting on my collarbone if I’m recording for an extended period of time.

I can’t tell you what my jank tripod is because it was a hand-me-down given to me when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I only use that tripod as an auxiliary set up for overhead shots on the Canny Cuisine Channel. I wouldn’t wish that tripod on anyone, but since I have it I try to use it when it’s having a good day. The tripod that I use now that I love is the Zomei M8. It’s well made for what I need and is versatile. If I want a monopod, I can turn it into a monopod. If I want an overhead shot that doesn’t require a long arm it can do that too. The fluidhead mechanism for it’s price range performs quite well. I would definitely recommend this tripod.

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