In only eight years, Zoella Elizabeth Sugg – better known as Zoella – has managed to get more than 11 million subscribers in her YouTube channel. She’s quite a celebrity on YouTube and definitely one of the most successful vloggers. Her videos range from makeup tutorials, fashion and beauty product reviews, life hacks, and almost every single thing that’s currently trending on internet. She started out as more of an interior design blogger rather than a beauty vlogger as she’s more known today. Things didn’t turn out well for her right away as one year later she only managed to get a little over 1 thousand followers for her blog.
Even after she made an attempt on YouTube, uploading her first video titled “60 Things in My Bedroom” near the end of 2009, her audience still grew very slowly – amounting to 40,000 subscribers in two years. It wasn’t until the early 2013 that her vlog began to really take off, with her subscribers getting to one million for the first time in April. From then on, it was a piece of cake for her. Now, I’m not going to talk more about Zoella’s ups and downs during her process of becoming a YouTube superstar. Instead, I’ll just focus on unveiling her camera setup together with any supporting equipment that she uses regularly to vlog. Check it out!
What Camera Does Zoella Use?
For her vlogging needs, Zoella uses two different cameras. One is a point-and-shoot camera in the form of the pocket friendly yet robust Canon PowerShot S120, while the other is an entry level digital SLR camera Canon EOS 70D. Both are quite popular among vloggers as another YouTube celebrity, Casey Neistat, uses them too.
Canon EOS 70D
This is the camera that Zoella uses to film all of her beauty and fashion videos, be it a tutorial or a review. Despite being only an entry-level camera, Canon EOS 70D has all the qualities necessary for a great vlogging camera. The flip-out screen, for instance, is a must-have feature that lets you easily monitor your recording. Turn the LCD display over to face toward you, and you can tell easily whether or not you get the right angle. There’s also a microphone jack that lets you pair the camera with an external mic to get a refined audio quality. Sadly, it has no any port for a headphone. So, while you can check what you’re shooting easily, you can’t do the same with the audio captured.
That aside, Canon EOS 70D offers a continuous phase detection autofocus in video mode too. In layman’s term, this camera works similarly like a camcorder. It can change its focus between subjects within its frame flawlessly, but with 20MP sensor, you can be sure that the video quality will be far better. No more distraction for your audience. Video resolution is limited to 1080p, though, with three frame rate options: 30p, 25p, and 24p. Choose the first one to the get the best quality but if you want your videos to look more cinematic, the third one works best.
Canon PowerShot S120
This is the point-and-shot camera that Zoella uses to produce some of her vlogs. Its compact form-factor makes it a good option for filming videos on the go. Despite its affordable price tag, this camera offers several features that should be good enough for any beginner vlogger; from full HD video captured at 60fps, 5x optical zoom, decent image stabilization, and good battery life. The point is if experienced vlogger such as Zoella and Casey Neistat includes this little guy in their production equipment, you have little to no reason to doubt its capability.
Canon PowerShot S120 brings up an improved autofocus system from its predecessor, the S110. Video shot in low light settings also show better quality, thanks to the bigger image sensor. One thing where this camera notably excels is macro filming. Using its Macro Focus mode, you can lock the camera lens on a certain subject while maintaining its focus, no matter how close you put the camera in front of that subject. Last but not least, it’s Wi-Fi enabled which makes it very convenient to transfer files to your laptop for editing. Seriously, you can spend over $500 and still wind up with so-so camera, but not with this one – which is sold for less than 400 bucks presently.
You can’t make a good YouTbe video with just a camera alone, no matter how great it is. You’re going to need a range of good equipment too. Zoella knows this and invests nearly as much as the camera to get these quality tools. Below, you can find out what sorts of equipment that Zoellas uses to help with her video production; from lens, lighting kit, to laptop.
Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 Lens
There are two lenses that Zoella uses hand-in-hand with her DSLR; one being this Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 Lens. Holding it in one hand, you’ll soon know that this lens is more on the heavy side, but it’s a good thing for it means the build is solid and robust. It was the first lens to offer maximum aperture of F/1.8, making it one of the fastest options out there. With such large aperture, you can never get poor quality footage when you’re filming under insufficient light, nor can you when you‘re shooting in a shallow depth of field work during the day. In short, this is the lens you need if you’re going to make your videos indoor frequently.
Canon EF 50mm f1.2 Lens
This lens is freaking expensive but if you’re a successful vlogger like Zoella, there’s no stopping you from buying it. Its biggest selling point is it’s the sharpest 50mm lens that works at wider aperture. Also, compared to the previous lens, it’s much smaller, which is necessary if you’re going to mount your camera on a stabilizer as there’s limit to how heavy the weight a stabilizer can support. Anyway, Zoella uses this lens mainly for her make-up videos that naturally require faster autofocus. The fact that it has ultra-large aperture helps the camera capture thoroughly crisp footage in narrow depth of field.
Manfrotto LED Flood Light
As a beauty vlogger who often films her makeup tutorial indoor, Zoella naturally needs an artificial lighting to maintain her video quality. For this one, she opts for the LED Flood Light manufactured by Manfrotto. The biggest advantage to this lighting kit is that you can actually adjust its intensity, eliminating the needs to use soft boxes to tone the flash down. A simple turn dial is used to brighten and dim the light. Using the same dial, you can also infuse some warmer color shade to the lighting. It’s really a versatile kit that offers lots of convenience, in contrast to using conventional setup (flash + soft boxes), which may require you to adjust your camera settings.
Rode VideoMic Pro
Canon EOS 70D may be one of the best DSLR camera to get you a crisp and vibrant full HD footage, but it doesn’t excel much in audio department. Despite the built-in microphone, the sound quality it reproduces simply isn’t good enough for YouTube standard and Zoella is aware of this, which prompts her to trust the audio capture to one of the best microphone for YouTube, Rode VideoMicPro. Design-wise, this external microphone is fairly compact with weight no more than 3 oz. The condenser capsule within the microphone has a unique pattern that allows it to pick up sound on its front while simultaneously blocking any noise from its sides and rear, resulting in crystal clear broadcast-quality audio recording.
Velbon Videomate Tripod
Even though tripod is crucial equipment for many vloggers, it doesn’t have to be too fancy and expensive. Zoella herself doesn’t use a professional-grade tripod. Instead, she chooses a modest Videomate tripod made by Velbon. The maximum weight it can support is 4.5lbs and its extension stretches its height to 60-inch tops. For less than 100 bucks, you get a well-built aluminum tripod along with its ballhead. Just so you know, a good ballhead that allows you to pan and tilt your camera freely while mounted on a tripod is commonly sold for over $40. So, for its price, this tripod is a steal.
Macbook Air 13-inch
Zoella edits all of her YouTube videos on her Macbook Air 13-inch with the help of Final Cut Pro X. By far, it’s not the best laptop for video editing. The dual-core i5 processor under its hood is just not powerful enough for the task. It will run particularly slow, especially when you edit a long footage or any that’s captured in 2.7K resolution or higher. However, for 5-10 minutes videos in full HD 1080p resolution, this laptop should do the trick. You may occasionally notice that the CPU will max out on its limit and the fan will run quite hot, though. But then, not everyone can buy the more superior Macbook Pro and sometimes you have to stick with a lightweight machine like this Macbook Air 13-inch.