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What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700

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Arron Smith
What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700
on Jun 20, 2016 at 11:21:22 pm


I’m looking at buying a DSLR camera primarily for video use to become a freelance videographer during my final year at university. I would like to keep the camera for a few years, so I understand that I will have to shell a fair bit out.

I’m new to DSLR cameras, but I have experience with a point and shoot camera, and a video camera from my university which I borrow out.

I’m looking to spend about £400-500/$580-$730 on the camera body itself (with a lens), with another £100/$150 or so going towards a tripod and microphone.

I don’t mind stretching my budget to get a better camera.

I will be filming news reports and PR material with the camera, and would like to shoot 1080p content, 4K would be a great plus. I would also like to film YouTube style vlogs in my spare time too. I may also be using the camera to film wrestling.

I need something with a great stabiliser for handheld/rig filming, and preferably a quiet auto focus feature for the YouTube 'selfie' style of filming.

From my research, I heard that Nikon is best for journalism, and Canon is best for sport.

I was also told that the Panasonic GH4 is a good option, but that’s just out of my budget, and the Canon 750 I have been told is really great too.

Which camera would you suggest would suit my needs the best?

If you want to know anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you so much for your time.

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Blaise Douros
Re: What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:39:36 pm

Forget Nikon for video; your research is talking about the Canon and Nikon of the 90's, when everyone was shooting stills. If you were shooting stills, there's no effective difference these days, but Nikon is lagging in the video department; their lenses focus the wrong way, and their video support is a little lame in general. Canon has been in the video game a lot longer. Look at the Canon t3i, t4i, t5i, or t6i; go with whatever fits your budget; I'd say get a cheaper body and better lens if you can. No 4K on any of those, but that's usually not a problem for web.

Forget about autofocus. It's noisy, inaccurate, and not very useful on DSLRs, you're just going to have to learn to pull focus manually. If you need good autofocus, forget about DSLRs entirely, and look at camcorders like the older Canon XA10/XA20; they have integrated XLR for audio, and their small sensors are perfect for autofocus.

Don't forget about audio; a lav mike will be necessary if you're doing any talking to the camera; otherwise a shotgun will do.

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Benjamin Wu
Re: What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700
on Jul 14, 2016 at 12:59:43 pm

I second everything that Blaise said.
I shoot Nikon because I already own the lenses, but I would definitely go with Canon or maybe Sony if I were just starting out.

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Ryan Schultz
Re: What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700
on Jun 26, 2016 at 11:43:06 am

If you cant afford the GH4 Id suggest getting a GH3 or even a GH2

I currently have a GH2, that I patched to run at 150gbs instead of the in box 60gbs. At the patched rate in pulls 1G of data a minute. Crazy fast! I bought it about 5yrs ago and its still going strong.

I paid $150 US for a Rode Run and gun shotgun mic at B&H

As far as inexpensive and tested monitors, rigs, mics and tips to make your productions look professional check out the Flim Riot youtube channel

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Matt Minnotte
Re: What should I get? DSLR for video, want to spend £500/$700
on Aug 18, 2016 at 11:28:53 pm

Personally, I would go Canon with a used 7D or 5D mark II. Sure they're not the latest DSLRs, but by going the used route you can get much higher quality for your budget. I've seen used 7D bodies going on ebay lately for $450-$500. A used 7D will smoke anything in the Rebel line (T3i, T4i, whatever). I know because I had a T3i before I upgraded to a 5D2, which is still rocking just fine for my needs. I'd also recommend the Tamron 24-70 2.8 for a lens (again, used). The lens has stabilization built in (or vibration control, as Tamron calls it), which you will really need if you're doing handheld work. Also, there are a lot of videos on youtube for making pretty darn good DIY shoulder rigs on the cheap. Grab a rode mic to mount to your camera and you're pretty much good to go for any run and gun situation. And you may already know this, but in run and gun shooting with a DSLR you're going to wanna keep your aperture stopped down as much as you can without cranking the ISO too high. You want a good amount of depth of field to work with, else you'll wanna kill yourself trying to pull focus all day. Good luck.

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