The best vlogs are engaging, tell a story and have an interesting perspective. More important than the video quality is the story. Sure if you’re an aspiring film maker you may want to invest in an expensive mirrorless camera, but for most an action camera is still one of the best options for vlogging. Small, light and easy to use.
An action camera fits in your pocket and you’ll actually take it with you. What good is your big heavy camera if it’s home because you did not feel like taking it with you? Of the action cameras we’ve used here at Vlog Authority, the Sony X3000 is still one of the best.
Sony FDRX X3000 Review – Pros and Cons
So in this detailed guide, we’re going to share with you all the pros and cons of using the Sony X3000 Action camera for vlogging on YouTube. It’s not the perfect camera, but it’s close in a lot of ways.
Sony X3000 Pros
Here are the main pros of using this little white action camera:
- Small, light and fits in your pocket.
- Very stable – Essential for travel vlogging.
- Decent low light for an action camera.
- Good battery life. You don’t need to carry multiple batteries like the GoPro.
- Wide angle, medium angle and narrow angle view options.
- Good audio quality.
- Ability to shoot in 4k is cool.
- Comes with a protective water case.
- Has an included, tiny monitor
- Can mount it on a cheap selfie stick for ease of use.
- Vivid and neutral color profiles.
- Has it’s own tripod.
- Multiple frame rates
Small, light and fits in your pocket.
This camera is small and looks like a tiny camcorder. It easily fits in your pants pocket or jacket. It weights next to nothing and is the perfect on the go camera for the casual vlogger. You can also vlog with this just by holding it in one hand with ease.
This is a big selling point because you can actually get the shot. What good is a big camera if it takes 5 minutes to setup by putting on the lens, microphone and tripod? The event you wanted to capture is finished. It’s also useful to have a small camera like this because you’ll actually take it with you. Even something like a point and shoot like the Sony ZV-1 or the G7X while small, is not quite pocketable.
The Sony X3000 is simply a tiny camera you can always have on you to record interesting events and places as they happen. Also, some places are not too keen on you walking around with your big camera. Want to go into a nightclub or bar and record? You’ll be asked to leave your camera at the door.
Also, some places you simply won’t want to lug around your big heavy camera with a fluffy microphone. Want to go to a full moon party in Thailand or a party district in your city? A small camera is your go-to option.
Video by default is shaky without any type of stabilization. Most don’t realize this until you’ve tried vlogging with a camera that has no stabilization like the Canon SL3 where your clips are a shaky mess.
What’s great about the X3000 is that it has mechanical stabilization built in (call the BOSS system) so your video is smooth and natural looking when walking or doing a point of view shot.
Decent in low light for an action camera
Most vloggers are not our roaming the streets at night vlogging, but there are some situations where you will want to shoot in a low light setting. For example, you’re on the famous Khao San road in Thailand, as a party street it only gets fun and interesting at night.
Because the Sony X3000 has mechanical stabilization and not software stabilization like the GoPro, it performs to an acceptable level in low light settings where the GoPro is completely unusable.
X3000 has good battery life
The GoPro lasts an hour at best but the x3000 can go about 2 hours on a full charge. You may want to get a second batter for this camera but for an action camera the X3000’s battery life is decent.
Wide, medium and narrow angle point of view
The X3000 has a wonderful wide angle that’s not too warped like the GoPro. When vlogging you don’t want anything more that 18mm. Otherwise it’s just too cropped in on your face when talking into the camera.
You can also switch the camera to medium and narrow. The medium view looks like any DSLR or mirroless camera and can be used to blend into any vlog shot with a DSLR or mirrorless camera and the narrow angle mode is perfect for close up shots.
Good audio quality
I’m incredibly impressed with the internal audio on this action camera. It sounds as good as my Canon 200D with a Rhode Microphone attached. Granted, this thing falls apart when there is wind (which is normal for any camera – that’s why wind muffs for microphones exist).
The audio quality simply adds to the value of this camera. Small, light, wide angle and good audio. It’s the perfect vlogging camera.
Ability to shoot in 4k
You can shoot in 4k with this camera. I’m still amazed that this thing came out years ago. I almost never shoot in 4k because editing the clips on a laptop take an excessive amount of time. But the ability to make 4k videos exists with this camera.
Comes with it’s own protective water case
If you’re not already sold on how awesome this camera is, it also comes with a protective underwater case. I use it to simply protect the camera when not in use of to get shots when I’m riding a motorbike. But it’s cool that you could use this underwater if you want too.
Has a tiny monitor included
It’s funny how it’s such a big deal that GoPro released a “media mods” update to their device when the Sony FDR X3000 has had it’s awesome little monitor since it’s release.
It’s also included in your purchase. This monitor is helpful because it allows you to easily frame your shot because you can see what the camera sees.
Can mount on any cheap selfie stick
The Sony X3000 is compatible with any selfie stick due to it having a screw mount at the bottom of the camera.
Vivid and neutral color profiles
I personally like vivid, but if you’re more into color grading you can always shoot with a neutral color profile.
Has it’s own awesome tripod
One last thing is the tripod (sold separately) that is designed for this camera. It’s comfortable in the had, can easily be adjusted and it has an attachment where you can add the monitor so you can hold the tripod and see what the camera sees.
Multiple frame rates – 60P, 30P and 24P
The Sony X3000 looks best at 1080P 60 frames a second. But it is nice that this action camera does have the ability to switch between popular frame rates. For example, travel YouTuber Drew Binsky uses a mirrorless camera and a GoPro for his videos.
When shooting with multiple cameras, you need to decide what frame rate you will be first using. If your clips are all at different frame rates it will make creating the final video difficult. This is a non-issue with the X3000 as you can shoot at 24P with both a mirrorless camera and the X3000 for the same video.
Sony X3000 Cons
So the X3000 like all cameras is not without it’s limitations and drawbacks. Here are the aspects of using this camera you’ll find the most frustrating:
- Wind noise.
- Terrible low light performance.
- Takes a long time to charge.
- You may need a second battery or power bank.
- Rendering takes more time.
No surprise here, anyone who has used a point and shoot or an action camera knows what I’m getting at. This camera has excellent audio but it is sensitive to wind. You need to be aware when vlogging to avoid direct wind as it ruins the audio of your vlog and will annoy your audience if it is too excessive.
Terrible low light performance
The X3000 is simply unusable in low light conditions. This is not a camera for nights and evenings out. Again, not a big deal as most vloggers are not roaming the streets at night vlogging but if you are somewhere like an interesting night market, bar or party scene you’ll be disappointed by the low light performance of the X3000.
Takes a long time to charge
This action camera comes with a USB charger. It’s helpful as you can simply charge this camera using your laptop or any outlet but just be aware that it’s slow. You may want to buy a fast charger to speed things up.
You may need a second batter or power bank
For action cameras the battery life is good, but if you’re going to be out all day shooting it won’t last you. I would suggest getting a second battery or a power bank that you can charge your camera on as you’re on the go.
Rendering takes more time
Rendering speeds depend on a lot of things: your processor, graphics card, how much editing of the clips as been done as well as the file size. I find the Sony X3000 looks best recorded at 60 FPS and rendered at a variable bit rate of 30 to 40.
As it’s easy to make long videos with the X3000, the higher frame rate and bit rate cause videos to take a bit of time to be rendered.
Sony X3000 is the Best Casual Vlogging Camera
I’m extremely impressed with this action camera. Small, light, great audio, good video, wide angle, comes with a monitor, a water proof case and has an excellent additional tripod.
If you’re wanting to vlog consider getting the X3000 and it’s tripod. It makes creating, long, interesting YouTube videos easy.