Welcome to Gear In Review. Learn more about how we’ll be bringing reviews, recommendations and insights around the many gadgets, gizmos, and widgets used everyday to capture and tell stories inside hospitals.

In the last episode we explored handheld gimbals; in this episode we are reviewing small handheld cameras including two point and shoot cameras from Canon and a Sony mirrorless camera. We will review the form factor, size, image quality, and versatility for the content creators. We will talk features, functionality, and how much they cost.

Here are links to the cameras we discuss:


Reed Smith: Hey, everybody. This is Reed Smith.

Chris Boyer: And this is Chris Boyer.

Reed Smith: And we are co-hosts on a show called Touch Point, which is a podcast that’s dedicated to the discussions on digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies, not only for just hospitals but health systems and physician practices.

Chris Boyer: In every episode we’ll dive deep into a variety of topics on digital tools, solutions, strategies, and other things that are impacting the healthcare industry today.

Reed Smith: While you listen to this show we would certainly love you to check out ours.

Chris Boyer: All you have to do is swing on over to touchpoint.health for more information, and also some of the other shows that are featured on the Touch Point Media Network.

Reed Smith: Here we are at Gear in Review, back for another episode, Reed Smith, and Bobby Rettew.

Bobby Rettew: What’s up?

Reed Smith: Again, recording from South Carolina, so this is becoming a regular habit. This is two in a row now. This is different yet, based on the fact, I guess, that we are reviewing gear it does help that I could see what you’re looking at.

Bobby Rettew: We got gear all over the table right now.

Reed Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Today, we are actually going to talk about cameras, and not just any camera, and we’ll probably get to some other types, or form factors of cameras at some point. Most people, obviously, are familiar with camera phones on their smart phones, and that’s probably what a lot of people use. On the other end of the spectrum, I guess that’s fair to say, other end of the spectrum, you’ve got DSLRs, or digital SLR cameras. SLR cameras were the ones that people, if you think about it, had flashes on the top and you could could change the lens, and it was film based. Now, the digital is obviously the digital version of that type of a camera. But today we’re actually going to talk about something that kind of falls in the middle.

Bobby Rettew: A little bit in the middle, which is kind of cool.

Reed Smith: Sort of in the middle-

Bobby Rettew: Yeah.

Reed Smith: Maybe more towards the DSLR than a camera phone, so to speak. Not a true point and shoot camera per se-

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: … the one that has the little strap that you put around your wrist.

Bobby Rettew: Yes.

Reed Smith: Not that. How do you classify this type of a camera that we’re going to talk about?

Bobby Rettew: Okay. From a form factor standpoint, Canon started realizing that many professional photographers wanted something portable that was easy to grab and to take a picture, but necessarily didn’t want to have to deal with lenses but wanted the functionality of what they’re traditionally used to. Something quick and easy. There’s a couple pieces. You’ve got the really expensive professional DSLRs, then you’ve got the prosumer, you’ve got mirrorless cameras that don’t have the SLR, the single lens reflex. With a lens the reflex pops up, and exposes the sensor to the image.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: Then you’ve got a point and shoot. A point and shoot is essentially that mirrorless concept but it’s a little bit more compact. This is kind of in between that. I’ve really enjoyed these cameras, mainly because of their portability. You can put them in your pocket. They take really good pictures and they’re very functional. Anybody can pick them up and start shooting.

Reed Smith: Okay. All right. So before we get into who would this be good for, why would you want one and that type of thing, let’s talk about specifically which cameras we’re reviewing. You mentioned Canon.

Bobby Rettew: Yep. There’s three cameras we’re going to look at. First one is the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III, so it’s the third version of the G1 X, the Canon PowerShot G5 X, and then the Sony Alpha a6000 mirrorless camera. It comes with, you can put a lens on it and it comes with a 16 to 50mm f3.5 to 5.6.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So it’s those three cameras. If you look it up on B&H Photo you can find them pretty quickly.

Reed Smith: Okay. Canon really likes to make long titles and names for their products-

Bobby Rettew: Yes, they do.

Reed Smith: … I’ve noticed. I keep wanting to make the Mark III, isn’t that a Lincoln?

Bobby Rettew: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reed Smith: Isn’t that a Town Car of some sort?

Bobby Rettew: I feel like I’m going to go driving. I’m going to be in some movie with something, you know?

Reed Smith: That’s right. That’s right. All right. So let’s start with the two Canon, because those are the true point and shoots-

Bobby Rettew: That’s correct.

Reed Smith: … out of the three that we’re going to talk about. With that said, what’s the difference in the G1 X Mark III and the G5 X?

Bobby Rettew: They’re both the same size. The G1 X has a bigger sensor, so it’s the sensor that typically you find in some of the prosumer cameras.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: The size of it’s pretty good and it has, it’s a CMOS sensor, which means that it has really good ability to collect really good light. The G5 X, even though it’s the same size form factor, the sensor is a lot smaller. So it really works harder to really make a better image. So a lot less real estate on the sensor to work with to capture an image.
Reed Smith: Okay. And these have fixed lenses?

Bobby Rettew: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reed Smith: So you can’t change out lenses like you would on a traditional DSLR or something like that, right?

Bobby Rettew: No. You can’t. Yeah. You can’t change the lenses out on those two Canons. They are true point and shoot.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: Then you’ve got the Sony Alpha a6000. It also has the same size sensor as the G1 X Mark III. It’s the APS-C sensor, which is a small sensor, but it’s bigger than your point and shoot cameras.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: It does a really good job. And you can attach a lens to it.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So you can switch the lenses out.

Reed Smith: Yeah. So you can switch lenses.

Bobby Rettew: Yep.

Reed Smith: This is comparable to probably some of the, I guess from a use case standpoint, and we’ll get into this, but maybe comparable to some of more of the prosumer DSLRs.

Bobby Rettew: Right. Right.

Reed Smith: So it’s something that you would look at, and maybe more even compare to some of those, but from a form factor standpoint-

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: … it’s about the same size, physical size as these Canons we’re talking about, and probably is used more like a point and shoot in a lot of cases.

Bobby Rettew: Right. Absolutely. I want to get past all the crazy jargon, because I’ve talked about sensor size and all that stuff. For most of the average person, they don’t think about that. To me, when I think about these cameras, what makes them so great is how well they can capture in low light settings. Most people-

Reed Smith: Why is that important?

Bobby Rettew: Well, you don’t want to use your flash. Most people don’t like to pop the flash up and blind someone.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So all three of these cameras have the ability to work in low light settings-

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: … based on the lenses and the size of the sensor that’s built into them. Also, the other thing is each one of them has a different price point that hits different people’s budgets. So the G1 X is just about 1,100 bucks. The G5 X is about 700 and the Sony Alpha a6000 is about 550. So right there, you’re going to self-select where your budget is, based on what you want to buy.

Reed Smith: Right.

Bobby Rettew: If that makes sense.

Reed Smith: So all these have a battery that charges, I’m assuming.

Bobby Rettew: Yep.

Reed Smith: And you plug them in like you would your phone, for example, so you’re charging these for a period of time.

Bobby Rettew: Right. You’ve got, each one of them uses an SD card to capture the imagery. Each one of these has, I know that the two Canons have the built in wifi that connects to, if you have an iPhone or an Android device you can get the Canon app and it will connect.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: You can actually control the camera through that app and download the imagery into your phone.

Reed Smith: Very cool. Now, this may be a dumb question, but do these do video as well as still imagery?

Bobby Rettew: They sure do. That’s the one thing that the Canons I like is they can do 1080p, so they shoot HD content. We were looking around, a lot of new cameras, these point and shoots, are going to the 4K and so you really have to suck up financially to get that 4K video. But you can record video and you can drop it onto your phone.

Reed Smith: Okay. Very cool. Very cool. And then the big difference, I guess, if you’re just reading I guess a little bit about these three cameras, is that the Canon is mirrorless. Is there some advantage to that, or disadvantage to that? Is it just different?

Bobby Rettew: It’s just a different way. So when we say mirrorless, it means that when you take a picture on a DSLR, a professional camera, you hear the click.

Reed Smith: Right.

Bobby Rettew: That is the mirror popping up so that the image can come through the camera and hit the sensor.

Reed Smith: Oh, nice. Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So mirrorless means that you do not have that mirror popping up and as soon as you point, the image is going
to the sensor and you can capture. So you’re removing that motion, that mechanism.

Reed Smith: I wonder if they have it, the noise built in. Like you’ve got the electric cars that have the actual sound of an engine.

Bobby Rettew: Yep.

Reed Smith: It’s like you don’t know if you’re taking a picture or not unless you hear that click.

Bobby Rettew: Well, that’s funny you ask, because that’s one of the reasons why I like the more expensive Canon G1 X. It is the only one of all three cameras that has this high speed picture mode, that if you hold the shutter down-

Reed Smith: Like a burst?

Bobby Rettew: … it will do a burst. It literally does the mirror clicking sound. So it sounds like a full scale DSLR. That’s one of the major reasons I like that one. From an image standpoint, the G5 X has more real estate to let more light in through the lens and so when you take a picture in low light, it’s less grainy, whereas the more expensive one has a smaller area to let the light in and so one of the reasons why, even though it has less area to let light in and it’s a little bit more grainy, the picture quality is so much better on the bigger sensor from the G1 X.

Reed Smith: Sure. Okay. So who are these made for? Whether we’re talking about Canon or Sony, maybe those are a little bit different, but the point and shoot, and these are pretty high end point and shoot cameras-

Bobby Rettew: They are.

Reed Smith: What’s the use case?

Bobby Rettew: The use case is they cross the many spectrums. You can put it on completely automatic and anybody with very limited knowledge of the camera can take a picture and it looks really good. You can connect to wifi, put it on your phone and immediately convert that imagery over to a social outlet quickly which is perfect, because people want to take pictures and share immediately, which we are trying to debate whether we should use our phones or get a point and shoot, right?

Reed Smith: Right. Right.

Bobby Rettew: But any person can use those, the expert or the traditional person that knows how to use a camera, can take these cameras into fully manual mode and it’s almost, you have the same options and experience as you would with a full scale, professional DSLR. You can control your aperture, you can control your f-stop, you can control all those pieces, your ISO, complete control over it.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So you can go completely professional, or completely automatic.

Reed Smith: So the pros and cons, let’s talk through a few of those. The pro of doing something like this is you have more control.

Bobby Rettew: You have more control-

Reed Smith: So you get just all, like you just mentioned, you can tweak and set and experiment and do all those types of things. You’re recording the imagery or the video onto removable media, so that’s, from a work flow process, maybe better for some. That could be a negative to some, too. I don’t know. Now, the wifi capability, I think that’s another pro because then it allows you to move that. Now, the negatives, in my mind, are it’s one more piece of equipment, right?

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: So it’s like really is it, am I creating that much better content because I have this versus my phone? We always say, or I’ve heard people say and I’ve heard it for so long I don’t even know who to attribute it to anymore, but the best camera you can have is the one that you have with you.

Bobby Rettew: That’s right.

Reed Smith: Right?

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: So with that said, it’s am I going to create better content with this?

Bobby Rettew: So here’s an answer to that is for hospital marketers are mainly the people that we work with the most, we’re not always outside taking pictures, right? We’re in some sort of closed setting where the lighting isn’t that great, so the difference you’re going to see with these cameras versus your phone is that low light is going to look better on these cameras than on your phone.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: It’s got a bigger image processor, it’s got the ability to do so much more with the image.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: So, number one. Number two is that from a video standpoint, they’ve all got image stabilizers in them. So when you’re holding it and you’re moving around, it’s adjusting and it’s making it smooth-

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: … where holding your iPhone, you’re going to see that shake.

Reed Smith: Yeah. And so, like we’ve talked about before, and people know about hand held gimbals and things like that, you start adding up all that additional equipment, you’re already carrying around something extra, you’re already investing additional dollars and so, talking about the low light, I can see how that is good for indoors where there’s no windows or potentially the community event that’s in the evening hours. Whatever it is, it just gives you more flexibility, so that’s really great.

Bobby Rettew: And here’s another thing that makes these very attractive is that many times we’re in an event, you just don’t want to hand your phone and tell someone to go take a bunch of pictures.

Reed Smith: Yeah.

Bobby Rettew: Like, “Where’d my phone go?”

Reed Smith: Yeah, exactly.

Bobby Rettew: You can hand someone the camera and go, “Go take some pictures for me,” instead of taking your phone away from you.

Reed Smith: Yeah, so it takes away the personalization piece of like I’m handing over my personal life to somebody and you can still use your phone. People text you, call, whatever it is, it’s not an interrupting what you’re trying to do from a photography or videography standpoint.

Bobby Rettew: It captures it on the card and if they want to just text you the image back real quick to post it on social, they can. It gives you that flexibility.

Reed Smith: Okay. Well, that’s the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III, the Canon PowerShot G5 X and the Sony Alpha a6000. We’ll have links in the show notes to all these. Another good episode, another good topic to cover. If you’ve got equipment or ideas or something you’d like us to talk about or review, please let us know.

Bobby Rettew: And one thing, real quick, to close us out. Many people want to figure out if they’d like spending this type of money for this type of equipment. Go rent it first, and many times the rental companies, I rented all these cameras from lensrental.com and it allowed me to use them for a couple days and if I chose to buy the camera, they deducted the rental fee off the amount and then I could buy it on the spot.

Reed Smith: That’s a great idea, and probably well worth the time and investment to find something that works for you because a lot of it is personal preference at the end of the day. Well, for Reed Smith, that’s Bobby Rettew. Visit us at touchpoint.health to learn more about this show and others, and we’ll see you next time. This show is made possible in part by the Social Health Institute. Through research and partnerships with health care organizations around the country, the Social Health Institute explores new and innovative ways for hospitals, health care organizations to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategy. To learn more about the Social Health Institute, visit them online at socialhealthinstitute.com. That’s socialhealthinstitute.com. This has been a Touchpoint Media production. To learn more about this show and others like it, please visit us online at touchpoint.health.