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T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?

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Ben Handler
T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Sep 30, 2011 at 6:04:05 pm

Hi all,


I'm sure this question has been asked a million times and I apologize, but my situation is somewhat unique and could use some advice. I'm looking to buy a DSLR primarily for video production. My price range is 500-1000 so the 2 cameras that seem the most fitting are Canon's T2i/T3i and Nikon's D5100. After a few days of research reading reviews/blogs/comparing video I was almost deadset on the Canon T3i as, from what I can gather, it caters more to filming than the Nikon for a variety of reasons.

That said, my brother owns a Nikon along with several prime lenses, a macro lens and an OK zoom lens. He's partial to Nikon as he says Canon changes their lens mounts more often than Nikon; as well as Canon is somewhat overpriced (his words).

my problem is thus: I could shell out about 850 for a Canon T3i with a 55mm F1.8 which may be more suited to my needs but I will be paying more (the D5100 is around 750) AND I won't have access to his lenses and will be stuck with the stock lens until I can afford others. I see that you can get adapters for Nikon to Canon... Will these work or end up costing me more?

Does anyone have any first hand experience with these cameras? Is the Canon objectively better for filming? I'm gaining experience with Adobe after effects and Sony Vegas, so I'd like the camera that allows for best intrigation with these software as well.


Thanks!


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Jason Jenkins
Re: T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Sep 30, 2011 at 7:45:04 pm

Grab a Panasonic GH2 and a Nikon lens adapter and you are good to go. You won't be sorry!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Joe Shapiro
Re: T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:58:58 pm

I've been making this choice myself over the last few months. Right now I'm going with the
T2i
Got one at Costco with an extra kit lens - 55-200 - for $850.

I'm generally a Nikon guy and got the 5100 first but discovered that there's currently no manual mode for movie recording. The best you can do is hit Exposure Lock. The 5100 felt great as a still camera but lesser for video and at $300 more it didn't compute.

I agree that, as a video camera, the GH2 is the best choice. However, it's spendy. And the slow kit lenses plus the lesser iso performance makes non-u43 lenses almost required. At which point you lose the lens-related auto features of the camera. I also didn't find the EVF quite bright/crisp enough. I didn't try to adjust this though so it may be just a setting.

So for me, I chose the less-expensive T2i and am keeping my eye out for the GH3 to see what develops. Heard a global shutter rumor. Real? Dunno. Better ISO and EVF plus better encoding are almost certain to be there.

--
Joe Shapiro
Director / Freelance FCP Editor
206-420-6411

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1497731/
http://JoeShapiro.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_(film)
http://NWFilmForum.org/PoliceBeat


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Steve Crow
Re: T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Oct 1, 2011 at 2:12:12 am

I'm very happy with the T2i but don't buy the kit lens, get just the body and then purchase separately the 50mm 1.8 prime ($100) or ideally the 1.4 prime (aprox $300)

You'll want to be filming in full manual mode and the 50mm is a great lens to start off with that gives you that beautiful bokeh/shallow depth of field look. Next you will want to buy a wider prime lens - something in the 24mm area. And yes you can use Nikon adapters in the meantime.

That's my advice...but it is an opinion.

Steve


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Joe Shapiro
Re: T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Oct 1, 2011 at 2:34:19 am

I agree that the T2i is a fine videography choice. I don't really agree about the kit lens though.

With large sensor cameras like these you get very shallow depth-of-field. Often shallower than you might expect - or want.
Check out a DoF calculator like http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Let's say you're 10ft away from your subject and shooting with that 50mm 1.8 prime wide open. How much DoF do you have?
The DoF calculator tells me I have 10" in focus - about 5" in front and behind my subject. That'll give you pretty bokeh but it'll
also require you to do a decent job pulling focus and gives your actors very little room to move before losing focus.

If I go to f/4 I get about 2 feet in focus. Still throwing the background (and foreground) plenty out-of-focus but now you've got
more leeway for both the focus puller and your actors. Yes, a faster lens means less lighting, but I've seen so much DSLR-shot
footage with hunting focus that actually distracts from the performances that I think folks have gone way overboard with our
new-found ability to shoot shallow-DoF.

--
Joe Shapiro
Director / Freelance FCP Editor
206-420-6411

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1497731/
http://JoeShapiro.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_(film)
http://NWFilmForum.org/PoliceBeat


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Ben Handler
Re: T3i vs D5100: strictly for videography?
on Oct 2, 2011 at 11:10:56 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. Really is helping. A few questions thought:

Joe: I was considering the T2i as well but was somewhat turned off by the lack of omni-angle LCD screen. Do you find that you can record fine without it? It does seem like quite a costly price bump for only marginal upgrades and a pivot LCD screen...

Also Steve. In regards to using Nikon lenses on a Canon you said, "yes you can use Nikon adapters in the meantime." Is there any downside to using an adapter for lenses? Do you miss out on features? The Lenses my brother has are much better than anything I'm going to be able to afford for some time so I would like to be able to utilize them and not have to buy a bunch more stuff.

Also am researching and considering the panasonic. It does look like a nice one; perhaps a bit pricey though.

Thanks again guys!


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