Casey Neistat is probably the most well-known lifestyle vlogger on earth right now. He caught mass attention for the first time when he published a short film documenting how Apple was being ignorant for not protecting iPod’s users with battery replacement program (check it out here). There aren’t many like him. He uses his cameras to turn a simple story to an interesting short movie that’s actually worth your time. No wonder his subscriber numbers nearly reach 8 million at the time of this writing.
So, if you think about starting a vlog, who’s the best person to learn something from other than him? In this post, I’m going to unveil multiple different cameras as well as other gears and equipment that Casey Neistat uses to film his videos. Hopefully, after you reading it, you get a better idea of which vlog camera to buy and what complementary tools are going to be helpful for you.
Do take note, though, that Casey himself often says to anyone interested to make their own vlog at YouTube that gear is not of upmost importance; the story you tell is. Heck, he even proved it himself when he made this video titled Bike Lanes. As of now, the said video has gotten close to 20 million views and the camera he used to film it was a dirt cheap Canon 300 HS that costs less than 100 bucks. The point is people will likely overlook your poor choice of camera if you serve them an interesting story.
Now, don’t take that the wrong way. By no means Casey is advising you to have a go with modest to low quality camera. In many other videos of his, you can totally see his professionalism, dedication and commitment to make a good video for his audience. It’s not rare to find time-lapse, aerial, and 360-degree footage used as a transition in his videos. And that cannot be done if you use a series of sub par equipment.
With that out of the way, here are are a number of cameras, accessories and other handy tools that Casey Neistat use in his daily vlogging routine.
Casey Neistat’s Vlog Cameras
Being a successful YouTuber, Casey doesn’t have any problem at all to afford multiple different cameras for his vlogging needs. His shooters range from an entry level point-and shoot camera to high-end full frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras. With such wide options, he’s bound to have a few favorites, while some other cameras are only used in special occasions like when he shoots in his studio. Check them all out below!
Canon EOS 70D
This is the camera that Casey Neistat uses regularly. While it’s not really a high-end DSLR camera from Canon, it still comes with many convenient features that make vlogging much easier. To begin with, the continuous autofocus can be used full time in video mode, making it so simple to get a smooth subject tracking. The live view autofocus has been improved as well allowing the LCD display to function similarly to traditional viewfinder. It’s fully-articulated too, so you can flip it out to make it easier to monitor the shooting while you’re facing the camera. Finally, image sensor is upgraded to 20MP as well.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
It’s a top-tier camera sporting a steep price right from the get-go. It’s huge and bulky, which is the reason why Casey Neistat doesn’t use it as frequently as the 70D. You know, with him frequently out on the street, this weighty camera is not very practical for him. Aside from the size, this camera produces an exceptional video quality, thanks to its full frame 23MP CMOS sensor. The autofocus system is so advanced that it’s never a fuss to get an spectacular shooting. For professional needs, almost everything about its image capture functionality is easily configurable. If you’re new to DSLR, there is a lot to learn about this camera.
Next to Canon EOS 70D, Panasonic GH5 is the camera that Casey Neistat uses on regular basis. One major advantage it has over the former is its ability to capture footage in Ultra HD 4K resolution. You should now that while it’s new, 4K video has been getting closer to become industry’s standard. And when it comes to that, this camera is about the best you can find. The price difference between the two is stellar, though, because GH5 is currently one of the most advanced mirrorless cameras Panasonic ever makes. It’s aimed to compete with the likes of EOS 5D Mark III and Sony A7S which we will talk about below.
It’s the first 4K camera that Casey Neistat uses, even though not for long. He quickly moved up to Panasonic GH5 simply because it has a vary-angle screen. In contrast, Sony A6500 LCD display can only tilt up and down, making it a little tricky to monitor your shooting from the front. That aside, the hybrid image stabilization system that this camera sports makes it an interesting deal for many video makers. Additionally, the display is touch-sensitive which means it allows you to quickly select certain object within the frame quickly. Changing focus while you’re recording becomes much more easier, thank to that.
Sony A7S II
For indoor shooting, Casey Neistat uses this camera. The fact that it incorporates full-frame 12MP CMOS sensor makes this camera an excellent option for shooting in low light situations. Because of its huge form-factor, which is the case for all full-frame cameras, he commonly leaves it in his studio, attached to a tripod. Signifying Sony’s characteristics, the A7S II boasts industry’s best image stabilization system, comprised of 5 axis capable of reducing vibration up to 4.5 stops. Combine that with wide ISO range of 100-102,400, your video is guaranteed to look silky smooth, no matter where you capture the footage. The only catch is its expensive price tag.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
I used to think that Sony’s 4K-capable RX100 IV could not be any better, but I was wrong. The company released the upgraded version not so long ago and even Casey Neistat has to admit that this point-and-shoot digital camera is amazing. This compact camera is so great, you can completely forget about getting a DSLR or mirrorless model with interchangeable lens. Casey himself has this little guy as his go-to camera whenever he’s out on the street. Its image sensor is unusually big for a pocket camera and its performance on high ISOs is beyond anyone’s expectation, making it an ideal choice to shoot in both bright and dark settings.
Canon PowerShot S120
It’s probably the least expensive camera on the list of gears of Casey Neistat. He used this low profile digital camera when he just started to vlog on YouTube. One of its biggest selling points aside from its attractive price is its build quality. Despite being compact, Canon PowerShot S120 is surprisingly robust and sturdy, which is exactly what you need if you’re going to make videos on the street frequently like Casey does. Although it maxes out at full HD 1080p, the camera still allows you to record at higher rate of 60fps. The touch screen can also be used to control the AF system and to add even more convenience, the optical zoom is functional too in video mode.
Canon G7X Mark II
A good step-up from the modest S120 is Canon G7X Mark II. Even though it has the same maximum video resolution (1080p), the better and much more advanced hardware it comes with enables it to produce far superior video quality. The LCD display at the back does not swivel and flip out but it does tilt to 180-degree upward, which is the same as convenient as a fully articulating screen. As good as it is, Casey does have a little warning for anyone looking to use this camera for vlogging. The construction seems to be a little fragile in contrast to the S120.
GoPro Hero 5 Black
Of four GoPro’s cameras he tested – Hero 5 Black, Hero 4 Black, Hero 5 Session, and Hero Session – Casey Neistat decided that he’d use GoPro Hero 5 Black for his outdoor filming. The main reason is it comes with a touchscreen which allows everything to be much easier and less fussy. The maximum resolution is 4K/30fps, but there are literally loads of other shooting modes, varying not only in resolution but in frame rate and field of view as well. The software-based image stabilization system works quite effectively in minimizing the shaking in the footage, but for some reason you can’t use it in 4K mode. The body is completely rugged and waterproof, and it also offers a neat voice control too.
Casey Neistat is no stranger to aerial filming. If you’ve been following his channel on YouTube, you can see that he’s inserted footage taken from extended heights in a number of his videos. He uses his camera drone to capture that footage and here are the drones he uses or at least used in the past.
DJI Phantom 4
It’s currently the camera drone that Casey uses to take a breathtaking aerial shot for his vlog. It’s far from cheap, but then no one argues that it’s a serious tool for dedicated filmmakers, instead of a glorified toy that many enthusiasts prefer. Its camera itself is on par with high-end mirrorless cameras, offering you maximum resolution of 4K/60fps with a whooping bit rate of 100Mbps. With such high data saving capability, the footage it captures is much sharper than common 4K. Its safety and automation features are also exhaustive, giving you 360-degree collision detection sensors and various smart flight modes, like Draw, Orbit, Follow, Gesture, etc.
Parrot Bebop 2
Before he uses DJI Phantom 4, Casey used to have a good time too with Parrot Bebop 2. In terms of pricing, this one is much more affordable. Obviously, it comes with many limitations, as well but for anyone wanting to learn how to pilot a small UAV properly, this drone is a good starter. Unlike its competitors, this drone has a unique selling point which is an FPV goggle. While it has no screen of itself (requires your smartphone), the goggle allows you to be the drone’s eye. It feels as if you were flying with the drone. The camera maxes out at 1080p/30fps and the quality is rather subpar.
DJI Phantom 3
The Phantom 4 might be the drone of his choice today, but Casey Neistat wouldn’t have been as good with aerial videography as he is today if he hadn’t spent a good deal of time flying DJI Phantom 3. In one of his videos, he admitted that he crashed it a lot but it wasn’t because this drone was difficult to fly. Rather, it was simply due to his inexperience in controlling a UAV mid air. The drone itself is one of the best you can get for less than $500 (the standard model). Even though it lacks 4K capture functionality, it has all important features of a good video drone such as top-notch image stabilization and a few smart flight modes (Point of Interest, Follow Me, and the likes).
Before the advent of 360-degree cameras, Casey Neistat used his GoPro camera assisted with a special mount to capture full spherical videos. But now that the technology has made it possible to get such footage using one piece of hardware, he decides to jump into the world of 360-degree capture himself. Below are a couple of 360-degree cameras that he uses.
Samsung Gear 360 (2016 Edition)
If you want to make a high quality 360-degree video that is not a huge fuss to convert, be like Casey and use this Samsung Gear 360. Compared to the current crowned king of consumer-grade spherical camera, Ricoh Theta S, this little shooter offers better image resolution. It has two wide-angle lens on opposite sides and external control that lets you change settings without hooking up the camera with your smartphone via Wi-Fi. The company released the upgraded version earlier this year, claiming to have improved compatibility with wider range of mobile devices. However, in terms of specs and features, nothing seems to be significantly different, hence not worth the higher price.
Ricoh Theta S
Despite not being his primary option, Casey still favors Ricoh Theta S. Its ergonomic candy bar design allows him to bring it anywhere with ease. This can’t be done with Samsung Gear 360. Although it’s similarly small, the ball-like form factor makes an awkward bulge if you forcefully put it in your pocket. The easy operation of Ricoh Theta S is also what draws Casey to recommend it. All the on-camera buttons are backlit brightly and using it is even simpler than using a point-and-shoot camera. Ricoh has also made sharing an instant process with this camera. The only downside is everything with it is built-in, from the memory to the battery. You can’t expend the storage using external memory nor can you swap the battery with a spare for instant recharging.
Accessories and Supporting Tools
Canon EF-S 10-18mm Lens
This lens is what Casey uses with his Canon EOS 70D. It’s an ultra-wide angle zoom lens designed for DSLR with 1.6x APS-C image sensor. As you can tell from its name, the focal length of this lens ranges from 10 to 18 millimeters, while its maximum aperture is set at 1:4.5-5.6. With this lens, you can get up to 0.72 feet close to the camera without making it lose its focus. The emerging noise while filming videos in poorly lit areas can be reduced using the stepping motor. Additionally, it’s the only lens in its class that offers optical image stabilization which helps keep your footage shake free.
Canon EF-S 10-22mm Lens
This is the old lens that Casey used prior to switching to the one above. Having wider focal length (10-22 millimeters), it’s the more expensive and older version of Canon APS-C lens (yes, it released 10 years before the EF-S 10-18mm lens). Its mount is made of metal, which gives a nice robust feeling. Optical focusing speed is also faster than Canon’s newer APS-C lens both the auto and manual, but not by much. Other than those two, the 10-18mm lens above is better, which is kind of intriguing when you know that it’s sold for half the price of the 10-22mm lens.
Rode VideoMic Pro
One of the most important features of a good video is quality audio and Casey Neistat understands it all too well. He uses this rather pricey Rode VideoMic Pro to handle the audio capture on his daily vlog routine. Rode microphones always excel in performance, particularly the VideoMic Pro. This shotgun microphone incorporates a new 1/2-inch condenser capsule that’s majorly hyperdirectional. In other words, the mic is capable of filtering all the background noise while at the same time capturing sound that’s directly in front of it, delivering audio quality similar to that of a broadcast. What’s even better is, it’s compact and lightweight, which makes it a perfect choice for vlogging on the go.
Shure VP83 LensHopper Microphone
Slightly more inexpensive than Rode VideoMic Pro is Shure VP83 LensHopper Microphone. Although it’s not his primary microphone, Casey does recommend it to all of his followers who wish to start their own vlog. Like what a quality microphone should do, this camera-mounted mic can tell which sound to pick up and which to filter out. The original sound source will be rendered crystal clear in the footage, while the background noise is left almost completely unheard. Its mounting system also features a shock absorber, which is helpful to minimize the noise coming from the vibration when you move your camera around. And if you concern about audio artifacts from mobile devices, it should give you peace of mind knowing that this microphone is entirely immune to it.
Joby should thank Casey because if it were not for him using the GorillaPod, the odd-looking tripod probably wouldn’t be as popular as it is among vloggers today. Yes, Casey Neistat was one of the few early adopters of this flexible tripod and not long after he introduced it, numerous vloggers jumped in. Anyway, he uses his GorillaPod as a selfie stick in many cases. His Canon EOS 70D is too bulky to be hold with one hand, so he figures he needs something to help him with that. Also, by mounting his camera on the GorillaPod, he can extend it further away from him, allowing the camera to get better focus.
If you do buy GorillaPod, you’d better purchase it in bundle with the ballhead. You can still mount your camera to the tripod without using the ballhead, but that will give you lots of limitations that may frustrate you. The ballhead improves the flexibility of the tripod by allowing you to change the angle of the camera, panning and tilting it in any way you want to get the best shot for your vlog. The locking knob that secures its connection is adjustable and you get the help from the bubble level to make sure it’s precise. And if you wonder whether it’s compatible with your old tripod, the answer is it is. Well, as long as your existing tripod comes with a 1/4-inch screw and 3/8-inch adapter.
Casey personally believes that the way people vlog, especially those in lifestyle niche as he is, will change quite drastically in the future, thanks to DJI Osmo. Instead of lugging around a bulky interchangeable lens camera along with its awkward tripod, people will just opt for a nice handheld stabilizer that has a camera on it, which is what DJI Osmo is essentially. The handheld device is more than just a selfie stick. It’s actually a 3-axis gimbal that can keep the camera steady when shooting no matter how much you move, delivering a professional looking video t ease. The camera itself is no glorified toy. It’s a highly capable small shooter with 22-77mm lens and 12MP sensor offering 3.5x optical zoom and 4K capture.
Beholder DS1 Handheld Stabilizer
Next to DJI Osmo, Casey has also spent time together with another handheld stabilizer, the Beholder DS1. Unlike the former, it is devised for DSLR and mirrorless camera with maximum weight it can support being 2kg. Even a bulky full-frame digital SLR camera like Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a mounted lightweight shotgun mic won’t have issues sitting on its holder. It may be a little too much, though, if you use a separate lens. Just like DJI Osmo, the motorized gimbal sports 3-axis stabilizer and can be controlled remotely. Using it is fairly straightforward, but you do need some time to calibrate it beforehand. There are a number of videos on YouTube that show how to fine-tune this device properly.
This is a special GoPro mount that Casey uses to create an absolutely amazing 360-degree panoramic footage. It supports all GoPro cameras, but in case you own a different action cam, the top can be removed, allowing you to mount literally any camera (so long as it has the right connector to ¼”-20 screw and weighs less than 2-pound ). This device can rotate continuously for up to 60 minutes, which is perfect to make a scenic 360-degree time-lapse video. Best of all, it’s all mechanical, so there’s no need for battery. The bottom has ¼”-20 connection that enables it to be mounted on any standard tripod.
Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar (2016 Model)
For editing purpose, Casey Neistat entrusts it all to the Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch that comes with the innovative Touch Bar. Now I have no idea which configuration he chooses – whether it’s the base or the high-end model. The thing that I do know is that he uses the last year’s version instead of the one that was launched this year (2017). I don’t use the laptop myself but from various reviews, even the base configuration of Macbook Pro 2016 can handle 8K video editing very smoothly. Yep, you read it right. It’s 8K video. So, if you’re going to use it to edit a 4K video or even lower, then you can be sure that you won’t be noticing any signs of lag. As for the software, he uses Final Cut Pro X. It’s much inferior compared to the more professional Adobe Premiere Pro, but Casey doesn’t like the idea of spending much time to learn about the software, especially when he can get the job done all right with something simpler.
I know you won’t likely be needing this, but as I said in the beginning of this post, I’m going to list all the cameras along with the supporting tools that Casey Neistat uses to vlog and that I happen to know. Casey has been showing off his Boosted Board for quite some time now. It helps him move around New York faster but without all the hassle like finding a safe parking space. More importantly, it gives him a style boost, getting him attention from people more easily, allowing him to connect with them with no problem at all. This electric skateboard can be controlled via remote control. The maximum mileage when fully charged is 7 miles and can move up to 22mph.
Unique Story Telling Techniques of Casey Neistat
As an added bonus for still staying with me up to this point, I’d like to share with you something that you can learn about how Casey Neistat tells story in his daily vlog. Now it’s important that you do not try to mimic him down to the minutest detail. Being your genuine self is about the best thing you can do when you’re starting to build your vlog empire. Still, it doesn’t hurt to get an insightful peek of how the pros like Casey do it. Check ‘em out below!
- Abrupt Cutting: This is very prominent, especially on the final part of many of Casey’s videos. He often abruptly cuts the footage right when he’s about to complete a sentence. However, if you look at it more closely, you’ll find that the cut-off is done right at the moment when his viewers very likely know what he’s about to say.
- Continuous Thought: If there’s one thing constant on Casey’s vlog, it’s how he starts to tell some info about certain something in one location and provide the rest of that something in another location. It’s one way to engage your audience.
- Associative Cut: When he films about something unusual, Casey often takes some sort of referential footage or even a sound clip to strengthen what he says about that unique moment; to give you better idea what it’s like to be in that unusual event. Much like meme, but in video format. This should be easy for you if you love movies.
- Video Montage: This is what you do if you want to look good at something when in reality you’re probably not that good. You cut off very short segments of long footage in which you’re doing a task and put them all together like a montage.
- Engaging Zoom: One thing that Casey likes doing in all of his videos is he’s going to put the camera closer to his face when he’s about to say something that (he thinks) is important. You may see it as a form of narcissism but really it’s a good way to engage your audience.
- In-camera Transitions: Instead of using fancy video effect to make a transition, Casey creates the transition on the camera itself, like putting down the camera and shutting off the lens with his hand. It’s easy, simple, and looks more fun.
- Limited Staging: One thing that separates Casey Neistat’s vlog from many others is its real and natural look, and how he does it? He deliberately makes amateurish shots using limited resources.
Do you agree with the above list? Have you seen anything about how Casey does his vlogging that’s not included on that list? Tell me what you know. And don’t forget to thank Sven Pape who has been so kind to compile that list. He reviews all of them in the video below.