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DSLR for stills / video or separate DSLR and camcorder?


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#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Chuck Anstey

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Posted March 11 2014 - 07:47 AM

I think it is time to finally upgrade my second generation Canon D60 DSLR (the original one).  I also have a older Sanyo Xacti 2000(?) 1080/60p HD camcorder that isn't bad but is probably pretty obsolete as well and the actual resolution is of the video is well below 1080p.  I am a parent of two kids into music so I am always shooting a performance or activity on a stage in lower light from a fair distance away.  I tend to shoot both stills and video (when not absolutely disallowed).  Just to be clear, my primary usage is stills (about 2 to 1 over video) but I still want decent video when I want video.

 

My quandary is whether I should get a DSLR to do both, like the Canon 70D, or should I plan on getting one of each (say Canon T5i and some $500 camcorder) because of video quality or practical usability (i.e. DSLR is not a very friendly camcorder or you really do want to shoot stills and video simultaneously so separates are better). I'm looking for advice from anyone that has been through this.  I know that if I want top level video I need a separate camcorder but I am really not wanting to spend $1K on a DSLR and another $1+K on a camcorder.  This question is asked a lot on the internet but all the responses are from either pure still photographers or videographers and therefore always recommend separates of top level.

 

I have specifically listed Canon because I am familiar with them and therefore the default among equals but I don't have any real investment in glass so I could just as easily switch to Nikon.



#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 11 2014 - 08:00 AM

Not as a consumer no, using a DSLR for family videos is going to be a pretty limiting experience. It does come down to practicality and optical stabilization. That's my vote anyway, others may disagree.

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#3 of 25 OFFLINE   Northgun

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Posted March 11 2014 - 08:04 AM

I am really short on time so if you are willing to wait I can give you much more detailed information later. I would recommend getting the Sony A65 and skipping the camcorder (I can explain why to go with sony over nikon and canon at your price range later). You need to consider two things though when using a dslr as a video recording device. First (as with many camcorders too) the mic on the unit is not good at all. You are going to want to get an better mic for it, the stereo mic attachment for the sony a65 would do the trick. Second, you are going to want a lens (probably telephoto since your a distance away) that has a SSM. The reason you need the SSM is because it runs silently. The less expensive lenses make a creaking noise when auto focusing and the mic picks up on that. It is awful listening to it during play back. I hope this helps! Like I said, I can give you much more details later. PM me if you have specific lens or mic attachment questions and I can recommend some.



#4 of 25 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 11 2014 - 08:57 AM

The mirrorless guys all have silent focus lenses too, I still don't think they make a viable alternative to a real camcorder for the average person. I'm getting my first one next month (Sony NEX 6000) so we'll see if I stick to that.Lens noisestabilizationconvenience (small compact package)usability drivenfilters / aperture managementThere are a LOT of factors that make DSLRs not so great for consumer video which the pros deal with and overcome.Do you know the inverse rule for video frame rates? You don't even think about that with a camcorder, with a DSLR if you mess it up your frames look choppy as hell.

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#5 of 25 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted March 11 2014 - 08:58 AM

I recommend a Red Epic Dragon, great for stills and live video.


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#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Chuck Anstey

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Posted March 11 2014 - 10:01 AM

Sam,

The Sony NEX 6000 looks like a standard mirrorless camera or has the line between consumer level camera and camcorder gotten so blurred that mirrorless = camcorder for all intents and purposes whether the form-factor is more like a traditional camera or a traditional camcorder?



#7 of 25 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 11 2014 - 10:12 AM

Sam,

The Sony NEX 6000 looks like a standard mirrorless camera or has the line between consumer level camera and camcorder gotten so blurred that mirrorless = camcorder for all intents and purposes whether the form-factor is more like a traditional camera or a traditional camcorder?

 

We aren't where the lines have totally blurred yet...but I see the consumer end getting there in a couple more product cycles.

 

Nokia started it with the Lumia phone. The only thing holding it "back" is the sheer lack of internal storage. I've seen what it can do...and it is better than it deserves to be. (there are camcorders and cameras worse than what the Lumia comes up with)



#8 of 25 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 11 2014 - 12:03 PM

No, you misunderstand. The NEX line is a standard mirrorless camera system, think DSLR minus the whole mirror thing. I'm saying I'm getting my first NEX with silent focusing lens. My NEX-5n is waaay long in the tooth now but will be used by my nephews, and I wanted to refresh. The thing that makes NEX different from M4/3 is they use a much bigger sensor, 1.5x crop factor vice 2x. Helps going wider.Sony makes a NEX compatible Camcorder system too:http://store.sony.co...-NEX-Camcordershttp://nofilmschool....eo-camera-dslr/If you REALLY want to have one system that does it all, you might wanna look into that.Foxy was (I hope) kidding about the Red Epic Dragon system but that could reasonably be used for both if you are made of a lot more money than me.

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#9 of 25 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 11 2014 - 12:05 PM

Should also mention Sony is now removing the NEX branding, which I think is a mistake. The 6000 will be called the Alpha 6000, very confusing since most people think of their DSLRs where Alpha is concerned.

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#10 of 25 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted March 11 2014 - 12:06 PM

Foxy was (I hope) kidding about the Red Epic Dragon system but that could reasonably be used for both if you are made of a lot more money than me.

 

Yeah i was joking, i have read reviews stating it is very good at both tasks though.


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

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#11 of 25 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted March 11 2014 - 03:18 PM

The Canon 70D addresses one issue with using a DSLR for video, the autofocus, but it doesn't change other factors like zooming and the stability of the DSLR shooting posture for moving images. I don't think the advice to use two separate devices applies just at the $1000+ price bracket. Keep your DSLR and get a $300-$400 HD camcorder that does well in low light. I think you'll wind up with more usable material that way.



#12 of 25 OFFLINE   Chuck Anstey

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Posted March 12 2014 - 05:38 AM

I need to upgrade my DSLR at a minimum.  It is over 10 years old and was the first consumer level 6MP camera Canon came out with, to replace the D30.  Low light is poor, focus is terrible, resolution is low, and it doesn't allow EF-S lenses.  It seems the general consensus is that DSLR video works but isn't really what you want in general from a usability POV.



#13 of 25 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted March 12 2014 - 05:56 AM

I need to upgrade my DSLR at a minimum.  It is over 10 years old and was the first consumer level 6MP camera Canon came out with, to replace the D30.  Low light is poor, focus is terrible, resolution is low, and it doesn't allow EF-S lenses.  It seems the general consensus is that DSLR video works but isn't really what you want in general from a usability POV.

 

I like the site below for checking low light performance, the Nikon's usually beat the competition, i think Canon have advanced video on their cameras but they really need to update their sensor and improve the photography side of their cameras, still they have their fans, i think you need a camcorder and a camera, all in one doesn't cut it, perhaps buy a cheapish HD camcorder and a Nikon D5300.

 

http://www.dxomark.c...5___895_865_735

 

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     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 


#14 of 25 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 13 2014 - 04:53 AM

I agree with the general consensus here -- a separate dSLR and camcorder will probably be your best solution. As Cameron said, the Canon 70D would be about your best dSLR option for video, but it will still have issues to overcome that you will not have to deal with using a dedicated camcorder, if you plan on shooting a lot of video. You can get extraordinary video quality with a dSLR, but it requires a lot of work to get that quality.

 

Both my dSLRs (Canon 5D Mark III and 7D) have video capabilities, but I rarely use the feature.



#15 of 25 OFFLINE   Northgun

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:05 AM

I'm glad to see so many people have pointed out that mirrorless dslr are much better at focusing for video than standard dslrs. I will point out you are not limited to the Sony Nex (which is a good option if you need the compact size) in order to obtain this benefit. The sony I mentioned is a standard size dslr that is mirrorless as well and will give you a much wider selection in lenses and features. I will also point out that Canon does make mirrorless dslrs as well, but when you compare the Sony mirrorless dslrs to the Canons you realize really quick how much you pay for the Canon name due to the fact that the Sonys at lower prices have more features (and get the same great reviews). 

 

One of the factors you have to consider is image stabilization, which many above have pointed out. The reason I bring it up again is becuase image stabilization is built into the body of the Sony I recommended. Why is this a big deal? Its because you no longer have to pay extra for EVERY lens to get this feature. Some argue that having the image stabilization in the lens works slightly better, but through experience of many of my photographer friends and employees of mine have shown the extra costs doesn't give you enough to argue for it. 

 

So why just get a mirrorless dslr and not get a camcorder too? I asked my cousin in video production: he said the mirrorless dslrs out preform much of the camcorders out there until you get to the pro level camcorders and even then the pros use tripods and tracks to get the utmost quality. So in order to out preform the dslr you'd have to spend quite a bit on a camcorder, when you could have just got a nice lens for your dslr (which would expand your picture taking options along with video instead of just gaining video by buying a really nice camcorder). It is of note that the company Revision  3 uses a dslr for all thier video and Northwood University uses dslrs for recording their lecture series both have a mic attachment for their dslr. Both my cousin and I use dslrs with a mic attachment as well for video. My cousin directs short films as a hobby too. Anyway, I think the money would be much better spent on a nice lens for your dslr and a mic attachment than on a camcorder. Maybe I'm just picky, but I have yet to hear a camcorder under a grand that sounds as nice a dslr or camcorder that has an external mic.

 

The best argument I could give in favor of getting two separate devices would be if you want to be able to take pictures and video at the same time. So if thats really important than sacrificing a bit of video and sound quality may be worth it to you.

 

Don't forget when looking at lenses to make sure they run silently. Some lenses have that feature without SSM, otherwise just get a lens with SSM (you'll love the focus speed anyway).

 

If you want to see some sample of pics from a Sony mirrorless camera, let me know and I'll send you some.

 

I almost forgot to mention, if your looking for a great place for lens reviews and more check out dpreview.com. They are awesome.



#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:18 AM

Any camcorder I consider will need to have a mic jack and headphone jack. A cold shoe is a nice plus, but not necessary.

 

Any thoughts on how the device is held? Personally, I think in the palm as with most camcorders is preferable over a longer period of time. The quasi pistol grip used for most cameras seems to get uncomfortable much more quickly and harder to execute zooms. Of course, if the OP is shooting concerts he's going to be using a tripod.



#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Northgun

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:24 AM

Any camcorder I consider will need to have a mic jack and headphone jack. A cold shoe is a nice plus, but not necessary.

 

Any thoughts on how the device is held? Personally, I think in the palm as with most camcorders is preferable over a longer period of time. The quasi pistol grip used for most cameras seems to get uncomfortable much more quickly and harder to execute zooms. Of course, if the OP is shooting concerts he's going to be using a tripod.

When using a camcorder I have almost always used a tripod or a monopod (I do the same with a dslr). I tend to shake too much and I hate shake in a video, it makes me feel sick. When I did hold a camera I would try to lean it on a fence, seat in front of me or something to lower shake, but if I really had to handle it I griped it from the side and made sure the strap was firmly around my hand, I found this helped a bit with shake.



#18 of 25 OFFLINE   Northgun

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:33 AM

Any camcorder I consider will need to have a mic jack and headphone jack. A cold shoe is a nice plus, but not necessary.

 

Any thoughts on how the device is held? Personally, I think in the palm as with most camcorders is preferable over a longer period of time. The quasi pistol grip used for most cameras seems to get uncomfortable much more quickly and harder to execute zooms. Of course, if the OP is shooting concerts he's going to be using a tripod.

This is the camcorder I got my wife since she doesn't feel comfortable using one of dslrs because of how big they are: http://www.amazon.co...words=camcorder. It does a decent job and the zoom is a nice feature, but doesn't quite get the quality of sound and video I like, but the convenience factor is nice I must say and it is easier to hold with a tripod or monopod. I always find a place for at least a monopod no matter where I am though ;)



#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:35 AM

Heh, I got the R400 back in December. Great minds...



#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Northgun

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Posted March 14 2014 - 08:39 AM

Heh, I got the R400 back in December. Great minds...

For a camcorder in that price range it does a great job and my wife loves it. What do you think of it? 






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