FORUMS: list search recent posts

HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?

COW Forums : DSLR Video

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Trent Slabaugh
HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 30, 2013 at 1:52:22 am

I'm a Specs Howard graduate and I've been doing freelance videography for almost a year now. I'm currently saving for my own equipment, and I've been debating over what kind of camera I should get as my first. I know that an HD camcorder would provide me with a great foundation with all of its features (steady zoom and auto-focus, XLR ports and audio controls, zebras, etc.). However, I'm quickly finding that a DSLR may be a cheaper alternative, with different but very effective trade-offs (image quality, interchangeable lenses, ease with focusing, and shallow depth of field). I want to be able to get to work as soon as possible, but I want to make sure I'm giving myself a good standard to start with for a lower budget ($2000-$3000, once you add in a tripod, case, and accessories). Is purchasing a DSLR an appropriate way to go, or should I be more patient and wait for a camcorder?


Return to posts index

Steve Crow
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 30, 2013 at 5:08:45 am

Much depends upon what type of work you will be doing or going after with your new camera and on how willing you are to deal with the extra technical challenges of HD DSLRs. I elected to leave traditional videocameras for a DSLR however there are some jobs that now are too difficult or not possible to do with my current equipment so those are not assignments I can't get, luckily most of those jobs I am not so interested in anyways! :-)

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


Return to posts index

Trent Slabaugh
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 30, 2013 at 12:15:15 pm

Thanks for responding, Steve! In the past, I've done projects such as promotional videos, plays and dance recitals, sports shoots, and music videos (albeit as a PA, though I'd love to get behind the camera in the future). As for what I plan on doing next, I'd like to continue freelancing and take on any sort of project that can come my way. I know that I'll need a camcorder at some point, and I do plan on having both that and a DSLR. But right now, my budget is of the essence and I'm just looking for something to give me a good start. Once I do have a camera and can get to work, any money I earn from it will be going right into purchasing more equipment. So it wouldn't take as long for me to save up for another camera as it is for me right now.


Return to posts index


Steve Crow
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 30, 2013 at 3:21:30 pm

Well doing live events with a DSLR isn't going to be the easiest when you are filming by yourself with only one camera. Long speeches and presentations (anything over 10-12 minutes) are not suited for DSLRs. However things like promotional videos, dramatic and non-fiction films and music videos, are a much better fit for a DSLR.

DSLR's teach you how, in my opinion, to become a much more skilled filmmaker than a traditional videocamera because it allows you to shoot in full manual which means you will be learning more about light and how to control it with aperture, ISO and shutter speed plus all the other light manipulation tools you have at your disposal.

You will also be pretty much forced to learn a great deal more about sound too which is such an important aspect of any project. I say this because inexperienced traditional videocamera shooters are often lulled into using just the built in microphone because it's so easy, that's not a viable option with a DSLR. A major part of your budget has to go into sound gear if you elect the DSLRs - sound is SOOOOOOO important.

It's been a few years ago for me since I made the switch but I still use a very basic DSLR, the Canon T2i. It gives me full manual control and the video quality is very similar to Canon's more modern crop sensor cameras. Today, if I could afford it, I would go with the Canon 7D but for me the price made it a non-option. Perhaps you can pick one up used from a reputable source. Just buy the body, whatever camera you get - that should save you a few pennies. The kit lenses are too "slow" - from Canon you can get a VERY nice 50mm 1.4 for around $300 or a 1.8 50mm for closer to $120 but I found the focus ring hard to manipulate because it is so thin on that lens - the 1.4 has a nice wide focus ring.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


Return to posts index

Trent Slabaugh
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 30, 2013 at 10:09:46 pm

I guess this brings me back to the costs and benefits of it all. I understand that live events will be MUCH trickier with a DSLR alone (exactly why I want to have both a camcorder and DSLR at my disposal). And I'll admit straight up that I'm getting really antzy to get back out there. But I also know that choosing the DSLR will force me to compensate for what I don't have. And you know what? A good part of me wants to put myself through those hurtles. You said it yourself, forcing yourself to make up for those necessities will give you a much better understanding of why those aspects are so important. It will teach you to be a more skilled filmmaker than traditional videographer, which is exactly what I want to be.

With that said, let's talk equipment. I've taken a good look at Canon's DSLR's, and I'm considering either the 60D or the 7D for my budget. I love the articulate LCD screen on the 60D and that it offers more frame rates (makes editing a bit easier). It's also less expensive and would allow for me to buy more equipment with my budget. However, the 7D has a more professional look to it (similar to the 5D, which I'd like to work up to) and it will force me to adapt to Compact Flash, which I know many high end DSLR's and camcorders record on. I'm sure I'll be doing tons of more research as I continue to save, but I'd like to get your opinion if I may.

As for audio, I'm contemplating either a Rode VideoMic Pro or a good shotgun mic (probably from Rode as well). I've heard demos of the Rode VideoMic, and I like what I hear. However, I know it may only be limited to being mounted on a camera. A standard shotgun mic could give me better sound and definitely more versatile use. But I know that will require me to purchase more equipment, which would kind of clutter the camera. If you have an opinion on this matter as well, I'd like to hear it.

Thanks again Steve for your advice!, And by the way, if anyone else comes across this thread, please feel welcome to offer your two cents on the matter. I want to make sure I get as much right as I can before I buy, so I'll accept any help that I can.


Return to posts index

Steve Crow
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 31, 2013 at 1:29:27 am

If it's a real option for you I have to recommend the 7D, many Hollywood level shooters have remarked how despite it still being a cropped sensor camera that something that it is doing video wise makes it stack up VERY well even compared to the 5D Mark II.

The Rode VideoMic Pro is a good choice BUT don't think that it alone will give you clean audio. It's job is simply to IMPROVE the quality of the sound being captured by the camera over the native built-in mic which is terrible. It gives you a cleaner audio track that you can sync your REAL audio to. In an emergency, and if the conditions are just right, yes you COULD use the Rode Video Mic as your sole audio source but I think you'll find that's it's only so so audio wise...and remember too that you still can't monitor your audio which is very important. Magic Lantern can improve the sound performance and with the addition of a special splitter cable from Sescom with extra goodies inside so that you can even monitor the sound level and see your levels. You know what, just try it and see for yourself that's the best way.

As you grow into the profession you are going to be "cluttering up" the camera quite a bit in order to add the bits and pieces that help turn a still camera into a feature film movie camera - that's where all those rigs you see online come in - to hold and stabilize the extra hardware. Just learn to live with it is my advice, some DSLR rigs end up being bigger than a traditional videocamera but offer a cinematic image that those traditional videocameras only can rival if you spend tens and tens of thousands of dollars.

Don't forget that a lot of gear can be rented or even borrowed from good friends! Start slow, don't rush into turning this into a business, that's not all it's cracked up to be meaning when you turn a passion into your sole source of income....that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish best left for some other time.

Dig into the older threads here on this forum and you will see lots of discussions about sound, gear etc that will help guide you onward.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


Return to posts index


Bill Bruner
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Mar 31, 2013 at 5:05:54 pm

Trent - there is one camera that combines the strengths of camcorders and DSLRs and that is the Panasonic GH3 (available at Adorama, Amazon or eBay for $1298 or $1299 list).

It has the large sensor and interchangeable lenses of a DSLR, and the fast video autofocus, silent lenses and hour+ long continuous recording of a camcorder - capabilities that the 60D or 7D won't give you.

With this camera, you can shoot "run and gun" events, narrative or music video.

Here is what it can do:

Narrative:


VFX heavy Music Video:


Live Event using autofocus (NSFW - please watch in 1080p)


















This camera also has a headphone jack, shoots at 1080/60p, records at much higher bit rates and is far less susceptible to shot-ruining moire than Canon DSLRs (unless you want to pay $2950 for a 5D Mark III or $12,000 for a Cinema EOS 1D C).

In my view, the GH3 is the best value-for-money large sensor, interchangeable lens video-capable camera you can buy.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


Return to posts index

Mike Hinkel
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:15:30 am

What is the best lens choice for overall shooting the Panasonic GH3 having to buy them one at a time?


Return to posts index

Bill Bruner
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:10:54 pm

Mike - I like my general purpose Panasonic 14-140 f/4.0-5.8, but it's not splash proof. Although serviceable indoors (see NSFW video in my earlier post), it is not really the best lens for low light.

If you need a good indoor lens, and budget allows, get the 12-35 f2.8. I have rented this lens and it is made for this camera - fast, quiet and splashproof.

For the long end, you would want the 35-100 f/2.8 for similar reasons.

Hope that's helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


Return to posts index


Kannan Raghavan
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:30:11 pm

I agree with Bill. The 12-35 and 35 -100 are probably the only 2 lenses you'd need for the GH3. Great camera and really good lenses.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


Return to posts index

Mike Hinkel
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:46:58 pm

Thanks guys! Important to know before I pull the trigger for the setup. Expensive enough without something I don't need or have a use for.


Return to posts index

Phillip Todd
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:21:06 am

Hi Mike,

+1 to what Bill Bruner said.

I sold my 7D due to moire issues and bought a hackable GH1 many moons ago. I progressed on the the GH2 and have been very happy. I don't have plans for the GH3 until I can get one side-by-side (and the time) and can check out if the lack of moire is as good as the GH2 (the GH3 has a Sony sensor, different than the multi aspect ratio GH2 sensor). There are a lot of desirable features on the GH3. the 12-35 f2.8 looks good too.

I will add that the shorter flange focal distance of the MFT format (and the NEX format) allow you to use a multitude of 3rd party manual focus glass via cheap adapters (inf. is usually off, but, you'll focus off the display, so it's less of an issue). This opens up many creative opportunities as older glass achieves different looks out-of-the-box in a way filters in post cannot (easily).

A final note: DSLRs have CMOS sensors and have a rolling shutter. This makes handheld telephoto shots look like you were shooting off a boat, or any shot with a little vibration, and there's not much in post that can fix it. CCD based video cameras have a global shutter and you don't have this problem (nor the advantage of the CMOS sensor).

Phillip Todd
Cinematographer

http://vimeo.com/philliptodd


Return to posts index


Mike Hinkel
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:39:10 am

Thanks Phillip, I'll keep your advice in mind when I come to a decision. I'm sure all of us, including the OP, have gained a better understanding of the concepts to suit our needs.


Return to posts index

Spyros Skandalos
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:46:34 pm

My friend,

I'm exactly in the same timing with a similar budget.

And I want to be sure that I will buy a versatile and quality tool.

Firstly I wanted to purchase Nikon D800 cause my partner own plenty of lenses for Nikon but...

My dilemmas are growing since I checked out those:

http://www.digitalbolex.com/products/
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/

Check out the specs

Digital Bolex is going to produce a full frame model and a series of cheap crystal lenses.(150$ more or less)

And also this free software for canon dslr's that is driving them to next level.
http://www.magiclantern.fm/

Hope i helped you
Spyros

Spyros
MacBook Pro intel core i7
4GB Ram 1333mhz DDR3
Macosx 10.6.8


Return to posts index

Brent Dunn
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on May 2, 2013 at 2:43:00 pm

It kind of depends what sort of work you are doing. If filming sports, you need a traditional video camera with a zoom control on your tripod handle.

If you are filming corporate, commercial, wedding, & events; Then a DSLR would work.

I don't really think DSLR's are cheaper after you add the Lenses. I would recommend a 24-70 L-Series Lens to start and build from there.

You can also buy DSLR's on Ebay and probably save money. Some people have upgraded to the MkIII and are selling their older MkII.

There are many traditional video cameras around 2 grand that would work great. The advantage is being able to monitor and record your sound directly to the camera.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production






Return to posts index


Trent Slabaugh
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on May 2, 2013 at 9:06:27 pm

Do you have any recommendations of those camcorders under 2K?


Return to posts index

Carlos E. Martinez
Re: HD camcorder or DSLR for a first professional camera?
on Aug 10, 2014 at 11:24:08 am

Does anyone know the size of DSLR cameras being used for video, from amateur, to semi-pro and full pro?

Are we talking of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions?

I can't figure where to look for such numbers? Any available market surveys around?



Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]