Editors Note: We’ve updated Casey’s Gear below to include some drones and other things as of April 2016 but left some of his old stuff to keep the history. Another Update: Looks like Casey’s gone back to the 70D and he also kindly provided an updated list of his gear with some things we might’ve missed. Update Sep-16: Added a bunch of new gadgets that Casey mentioned in today’s vlog. Update Oct-16: Some pretty sweet ass drones came out we’ve updated the list with.
Few people can capture the human spark of creativity and tell stories with a camera quite like Casey Neistat. Casey has been expressing his unique visions and telling his stories on YouTube, Snapchat, HBO and more. While we must stress this content is not sponsored by Casey Neistat or affiliated with him in any way, we are huge admirers of his work for these reasons.
We are certainly not alone in our admiration of Casey Neistat’s camera craft, which is why we are frequently asked about his gear and camera setup. To that end, we are going to provide an overview of Casey’s favorite gear and camera setups, but let’s make one thing clear from the outset in Casey’s own words:
GEAR DOESN’T MATTER. ONLY THE STORY MATTERS.
Now, good gear certainly doesn’t hurt, but an artistic vision and a compelling story creates memorable photos and videos. In much the same way that great novelists are not made by their word processing software, your camera gear and setup doesn’t tell the story. You tell the story.
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As Casey says, “Bad gear is always forgivable if you have a good story.” Casey’s popular YouTube video Bike Lanes serves as proof of his claim. The video gained immense popularity online (at the time of writing, the video has well over 15 million views), yet it was only shot on a $90 Canon 300 HS.
In effect, a good story trumps gear every time, but we all know that great gear can only help. So without further ado, here are some of Casey’s favourite pieces of gear that you can use to share your stories that will resonate with your world.
The DSLR Setup
Casey has pioneered his own unique DSLR setup that combines an incredible camera, a high-quality microphone that offers hyperdirectional performance and a GorillaPod that provides a convenient selfie stick type of functionality. Here’s a deeper look at each piece of Casey’s DSLR setup.
UPDATE: Casey was lucky enough to get a hold of this Canon EOS 80D DSLR early from two stores in fact thanks in large to this tweet! It’s
now no longer his main weapon of choice for vlogging with a crazy 45-point auto-focus zones. He’s actually switched back to the 70D below.
For the camera body itself, Casey uses a Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera that blends quality and the all-important camera control for vlogging into a compelling and relatively affordable package.
Next, he uses a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens that is wide, looks great and allows a vlogger or filmmaker to pack plenty of detail into a shot.
Update: This is apparently his day-to-day wide lens. The above one is apparently the more expensive one.
Casey adds a quality microphone into his DSLR setup, and he chose the Rode VideoMic Pro. Casey chose this microphone because it is highly hyperdirectional, meaning that the microphone does a great job of capturing vlogging audio directly in front of the camera while peripheral noise gets drowned out. For Casey’s vlogs, this microphone is a natural fit.
Update: He listed a different mic in his latest video. This Shure VP83 LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone. This Highly directional super cardioid/lobar polar pattern rejects unwanted off-axis audio while clearly capturing the intended sound source.
Update 2: As of September 2016, Sennheiser came out with the MKE 440 microphone. He hasn’t tried it out just yet but he’s pretty amped given the quality of Sennheiser’s other products.
Finally, Casey completes his setup with an innovative selfie stick of sorts that is designed to support his innovative DSLR setup. Casey utilizes the Joby GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X bundle, which unlike a selfie stick, provides the bulk needed to comfortably support Casey’s DSLR setup. Not only are the pods great for vlogging, they are also versatile enough to handle plenty of other innovative setup options for creative filmmakers.
Update: Apparently Casey said you need this thing for the GorillaPod.
Update: This is Casey’s expensive camera he apparently doesn’t use enough. We think his footage looks fine though.
The GoPro Arsenal
Update: He’s recently been testing all four of the GoPro’s below to see which one’s his favourite. He’s likely going with the Hero 5 Black given the ease of use with the touchscreen.
Point and Shoots
If you’re just getting started with vlogging or are considering vlogging for a living, Casey suggests modestly priced point and shoots as a great place to start. Remember, the story matters, not the gear. Here are some of the point and shoots that come highly recommended by Casey.
Update: Along with the release of the 80D, Canon also came out with a new point and shoot in the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. The 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon’s new DIGIC 7 Image Processor helps deliver exceptional image quality even in low light.
For a vlogger or filmmaker who is just starting out, Casey highly recommends the Canon PowerShot S120. That was Casey’s go-to point when he started getting into vlogging, and he used it frequently as a daily shooter since it is robust, durable and provides high-quality video without being exorbitantly expensive. Fragile cameras are not an option for daily shooters.
Next up, Casey also recommends the Canon PowerShot G7 X. It shoots amazing video that exceeds the S120 and has an incredible fold-up screen that video creators love, but Casey warns his viewers that it is a more fragile camera than the S120.
Finally, Casey mentioned to his YouTube viewers that the best point and shoot on the market is the Sony RX100 IV. While it is a stunning point and shoot, Casey warned viewers about diminishing returns. In effect, the more you spend on a camera, the less likely it is that the results will be markedly different than a cheaper competitor. Again, this ties into the theme that a great story is more important than cutting-edge gear. Still, for those in need of the very best point and shoot, the RX100 IV fits the bill.
Adding a new dimension to his vlogs from greater heights, these drones give viewers a new perspective on the world in which Casey resides.
This is Karma. It’s a drone made by GoPro and we don’t know too much about it yet, other than it folds up as well. Has an amazing gimbal that you can take out of the drone to use on a hand-held stabiliser and it is also equally awesome as the above drone.
Updated: There’s no question that the DJI Phantom 4 is the best consumer drone on the market. It’s front facing sensors stop it from running into walls and heck, it’ll even follow you around if you want it to! We’ve been loving the diversity and scenic shots that this drone has brought to Casey’s vlogs.
Update Oct’16: Haven’t seen him play around with this one yet but apparently it’s an Action Sports Drone called the AirDog. Pretty dope name so it must be good.
He’s not using the Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone too much anymore now that the Phantom 4 can fit easily into his backpack with it’s clip on propellors. The Bebop is still a great (and cheaper) kick around option for those wanting to learn how to fly before they delve into the big time.
Update: Here’s another one of his old drones that he listed. He crashed this one a lot.
Some video creators may want to capture a 360° space in a single shot. To that end, Casey has a few recommendations.
Update: Casey’s teamed up with Samsung lately on some pretty cool projects, including getting the chance to attend the Oscars! Forget the complicated and expensive GoPro mounts. He’s been taking along this new Samsung Gear 360 Camera that shoots high quality and easy to convert 360.
The Ricoh Theta S provides Casey with an easy to carry and easy to use camera that provides quality 360° images, which leads Casey to recommend it as a quality 360 camera.
The GoPro Hero 4 in tandem with the Freedom 360 GoPro Mount provides a compelling 360° experience that Casey has enjoyed and personally used as well. This setup is great for active video pros who want a camera to keep up with their active lifestyle.
He recently got this roating GoPro Selfie Stick made by a company called Spivo. Pretty nifty but it didn’t look like it turned 180 full each time Casey pressed the button.
This next level marSoar L1 3-Axis motorised Handheld Gimbal for Iphone & other Smartphones and Gopro, and what ever else you can fit on it!
Timelapse Camera Work
Casey also likes to do some timelapse work on occasion, and he has two recommendations on that front as well.
A simple and quality camera on your smartphone — Casey uses an iPhone 6S with the timelapse setting built right into the camera — will do wonders for basic and effective timelapse creative work. Alternatively, Casey also uses a GoPole SceneLapse which provides a rotating timelapse device that offers effective 360° panoramic photo and video.
A Snapshot of Vlogging’s Camera Future
Finally, a look at Casey’s gear would not be complete without his analysis into the future of the vlogging world that he has helped pioneer. Casey swears by the DJI Osmo, a steady and incredibly smooth camera that can be easily held with a single hand. As a camera that is practically tailor-made for vlogging, Casey believes that this kind of camera tech is a snapshot into vlogging’s future.
He’s been testing out this hand-held gimbal for his DSLR over the next couple of days so we’ll let you know how it goes. Judging from him running around the office with it, it keeps his footage pretty stable.
With all of this gear and stories that need to be told, Casey needs a way to get where he’s going in style. To that end, Casey recommends a Boosted Board to capture your stories in style but you can check out some other electric skateboards here.
He’s been riding around recently on this nifty little scooter… or should we say Xcooter. It’s crazy small. Foldable. And rides at 17 miles per hour. Beware if you’re going on a long journey though as they battery only lasts for around 15 miles.
At the time of writing he hasn’t even ridden this thing yet, but we want to stay on top of his gear no matter what. He’s got the box and hinted that there’s a big TUTU on the side of it, so we figured it’s this Electric Foldable Scooter from TuTu.
No matter how you get to your film locations and no matter whether you opt to replicate Casey’s current setup or opt for this camera of the future, remember to put the story first and gear second. Do that, and any of these great pieces of camera gear will help you effectively share stories worth telling.
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