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DSLR Video: What to Buy

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Kevin Allmond
DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:30:10 pm

Ok, I need help. I've been going nuts with this issue, and finally decided to take it to a forum.
I am currently looking to buy a DSLR, specifically for video, and I cannot nail down which is the way to go. I originally wanted to go with the Nikon D5100, but I am finding out some "lack luster" things about it.
Here is my criteria for the camera, and maybe this community can help to make my decision.

Will mainly be used for weddings, and event video. Maybe the occasional YouTube clip.

Currently own a Canon Vixia HF M40 that will serve as A roll. This DSLR will serve as B roll.

MUST have at least a 20 minute of greater clip record time. (this is due to editing times)

Must have decent battery life when recording.

Must shoot at least 30fps at 1920x1080 H.264 or greater format.

Would like it to have articulating screen (optional).

The least overheating issues as possible.

Must have manual controls over video. Would prefer it to be able to change while recording.

Would like to have mic input. Optional though because I externally record audio. Still nice to have.

The best low light performance as possible.

All of this wrapped in a $1,500 budget.

The reason I am not buying a dedicated camcorder is because I want the low light capabilities, the interchangeable lenses, the DOF, and the much cheaper price compared
to a video camcorder that has DSLR options.

Any help and opinions are greatly appreciated. If there are any other options out there that you know of that may help me out, please post those as well.

Thanks!


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Phil Balsdon
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 12:18:59 am

Canon 60D has flip out LCD finder and manual control of audio.

If you want full manual control of iris get Nikon lenses and an EOS to Nikon adaptor and get the lenses "de-clicked". You can't modify the Canon iris it's all internal electronics.

Rode VideoMic Pro or Sennheisser MKE 400, they're compact and fit to the camera hot shoe.

Only downside with Canon is shot record duration of about 12mins, you just need to button off and on at a suitable moment losing about 1 sec of media.

Perhaps someone with first hand experience of Panasonic options can chime in with a suggestion.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 12:37:10 am

You're basically describing a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 body with a fast Lumix or 3rd party Micro Four Thirds or adapted lens:
http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/gh2/index.html
http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/index.html
http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/connect/gh2.html

The current official Panasonic firmware v1.1 for the GH2 supports 1080p30, 1080p24, and 720p60 AVCHD (h.264) @ up to 24 megabits/sec. plus a few other modes, too.

"Never" overheats, NTSC record times only limited by card capacity (PAL up to 30-min.), stereo mic. input, full manual control, articulated LCD & hi-res EVF, full-HD HDMI output, good battery life, etc. I've been using a GH2 since 12-2011; it's a very good cam.

FWIW, I've also some good things about some of the new Sony HD-capable DSLRs, too.

Cheers.

---

http://www.peterdv.com


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 9:29:39 am

Thanks for that. I have been recommended this camera before, but I think I am going to look at it a bit harder.

I looked onto the Sony's as well. I keep hearing of overheating problems with them. Speaking of which, you said "Never" overheats. Is that to say you are not sure, or you, yourself have never had any issue with it?

Thanks


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Jason Jenkins
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 4:24:01 pm

[Kevin Allmond] "you said "Never" overheats. Is that to say you are not sure, or you, yourself have never had any issue with it?"

I'm not Peter, but I've been shooting with the GH2 for well over a year and have never had a heat issue. I did a room temperature test record once that lasted for seven hours and the camera was only slightly warm.

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

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 5:47:49 pm

Wow, that's awesome. In the short time I've have been looking at the Lumix, Ive noticed that the lens options are few, and expensive. i did see however that there are various adapters for Canon and Nikon lens. Any experience with these? What dovyou lose when using them? Auto focus, aperture?

Thanks


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Jorden Mosley
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 11:52:16 pm

For the adapters question, I use my GH2 with some old Minolta lenses (50mm 1.7, 28mm 2.8, and 70-210mm 4.0) with an adapter that allows me to adjust the aperture from an aperture ring on the adapter itself. When you use an adapter you lose auto focus. But when I shoot video I prefer manual focus anyway. The only case I can think of where you can't adjust the aperture is with canon ef lenses. But recently there's been a few manufacturers that have made some that can do that to some extent. For me I've saved a ton of money on lenses by picking a GH2.


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 5, 2012 at 3:26:42 am

Thanks. Now I'm curious, in looking at the adapters on Amazon, I have seen several "flavors", ranging from $20-$250. Is there a right, or wrong one? If I am right, the $20ish ones do not have aperture control. Can I live without that?

Which one is working for you?

I am interested in the Nikon adapters specifically, just for the fact that I have access to Nikon lens. If I do this, and it works out, I will likely start trying other lens makes.

Thanks again for entertaining my question.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 7, 2012 at 5:41:47 am

[Kevin Allmond] "Thanks. Now I'm curious, in looking at the adapters on Amazon, I have seen several "flavors", ranging from $20-$250. Is there a right, or wrong one? If I am right, the $20ish ones do not have aperture control. Can I live without that?

Which one is working for you?

I am interested in the Nikon adapters specifically, just for the fact that I have access to Nikon lens. If I do this, and it works out, I will likely start trying other lens makes."


Kevin, I got this one from Voigtlander and it has been flawless: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001RTEGYE/ref=oh_o01_s00_i00_details
If you are going to use manual Nikon lenses, then you don't need an adapter with an aperture, because the lens will have it's own manually controlled aperture.

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

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 3:59:23 pm

+1 on the GH2! :)

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

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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John Frey
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 4, 2012 at 6:21:49 pm

I recently purchased a Sony SLT-A65. It has several advantages over my Panasonic GH2's. It is a little larger and feels better in-hand (at least to me).It uses a 24 megapixel sensor that delivers a stellar picture, and can produce exceptional 1920 x 1080 24p and 60p video in the AVCHD format. It can use the excellent line of Minolta A-Mount lenses that are a real bargain out there on EBay and Craigslist - I purchased(4)of them ranging from a 1.7 50mm prime to a 75-300 zoom. All with AF and all for under $225.00 total. In addition, the A65 has in-body stabilization if you want to use the older manual primes. It came with a very crisp 18-55mm kit lens. What really sold me is the OLED Viewfinder - big, bright, crisp and very usable. The LCD is one of the better ones that I have experienced, and is articulated. It does have a mic input. Battery life is better than my GH2. You can adjust aperture, shutter-speed and iso while recording or can use it's very fast AF if you are in aperture priority mode. It records up to 30 minute max times and I have not gotten it to overheat yet, and users out there are not reporting that as a problem, although certain older Sony models did have that issue. Low-light performance is very good, although I rarely go beyond 1600. The A65 is the most bang-for-the-buck, for video, between the Sony NEX 7 and the A77. I bought mine at B&H just before Christmas for $899.00 including kit lens. In addition, this is an exceptional still photo camera.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Brent Dunn
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:46:40 pm

no dslr will record for 20 minutes. Typcically you'll get around 12 minutes before it stops (4 Gig), then you'll need to press record again. So for long ceremonies, you have to be on top of things.

60 D will fit your needs, but the lenses will eat up your budget. I'd start with the L-Series 24-70 2.8 as your starter lens.

Personally, I'd buck up and get the Panasonic AF-100. Then you don't have the DSLR issues to deal with and get the DSLR look that you are looking for.

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 Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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John Frey
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 9, 2012 at 8:07:55 pm

My Panasonic GH-2 will record until the card is full and I have had no overheating problems in desert summer heat situations during long recordings. My Sony A65 will record up to 30 minutes at a time and has had no overheating issues. Sony tech specs for this camera and it's NEX 7 and A77 siblings states exactly how they overcame the occasional overheating issues with this new large sensor compared to earlier models.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Andrew Somers
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 15, 2012 at 7:05:00 am

I use a Nikon D7000, and love it - excellent low light performance, great image quality, etc etc.

If you want manual aperture while shooting you need a D series (not G series) lens. But other than that, it works splendidly. What follow is a comparison to the oft mentioned (in this thread) Lumix GH2, and also to your Canon Vixia, and your specific requirements.


I have yet to play with the Nikon D4 (out of your stated price range at $6000) but from the specs it blows anything Canon makes, and indeed most dedicated camcorders - out of the water.


One nice thing about a Nikon D7000 - the lenses you get will work on not only the D4 should you upgrade, but also on F-mount RED cameras.

The D7000 DX format is essentially the same size as "Super 35" motion-picture imaging area, and so you also get the same relative depth of field, and same focal lengths for a given angel of view.



The Micro 4/3rd systems are smaller, though not as small as super16 (Super 16 is a 12.5mm x 7.4mm image area, and Micro 4/3 is a 17mm X 13mm image area). So the 4/3 system is somewhere between Super35 and Super 16.

The biggest problem I have with the Micro 4/3 such as the GH2 is the lack of really top quality glass. The line has no fast zoom lenses, and only a handful of fast primes. While there are some good lenses from Olympus, they are as expensive as good pro Nikkors.

Since the single most important part of a camera system is the lens, I'd suggest going where the good glass is - Nikon or Canon.

Since the second most important aspect is the image sensor size (size in terms of height and width, NOT in terms of pixel density), then I'd suggest a camera with at least an APS-C or DX format sensor.

The larger the sensor, the less you have to worry about diffraction limited f stops - while it may be true that a smaller sensor give you greater depth of field (important for documentarians), the small sensor also limits small f stops. such as f11 and f16. (A DX format sensor will let you stop down about one full stop more than a Micro 4/3rd camera before diffraction limiting comes into play).

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm


A 75mm lens on Micro 4/3rd is roughly equivalent to a 100mm lens on a DX nikon. With each focused at 10', if the Micro 4/3rd's 75mm lens is at f8 (diffraction limiting starts to come into play) and the DX's 100mm lens is set to f 11 (where ITS diffraction starts to come into play), then they both have about the same depth of field.

The thing is, the Nikon has such amazing low light performance, you can seriously stop down and get greater depth of field before diffraction comes into play.


Compared to the GH2, the D7000 has better color depth, two and a half stops better dynamic range, and nearly a full stop better ISO performance.


http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cam...



And one other thing worth considering - even though the Nikon does have full time autofocus in video mode, in most situations manual focus is preferred during a take.

As such, you can get very high quality used pro lenses for Nikons that are not auto-focus - many excellent lenses for fairly low dollars (Nikons can use any Nikon lens built since 1976).. Even the older, non-VR AF lenses are very reasonable, and excellent bargains.


Summary:


As such, the Nikon D7000 is in your price range, and beats the pants off everything else in that range in terms of image quality and low light performance.


Just for laughs, here's a shot taken in a dark bar at night, ISO 6400. No flash. It was so dark I had to focus on the profile of the guy's head because I could not see his face.




To answer your questions, the D7000:

ISO: The only cameras with better low light performance are the Nikon full frame D3S, D4, D800.

BATTERY: I've shot full HD 1920x1080 video ALL DAY on a SINGLE BATTERY.

No overheating issues, 20 minutes per shot no problem.

Stereo mic input.

Dual UHS SD cards can make auto backups, or use an EyeFie for auto transfers to your laptop/iPad.

Full manual control of video (to adjust aperture while shooting requires a D lens or a manual AI-S lens, but shutter and ISO are fully adjustable while shooting regardless.)




LAST THING:

I saved your "biggest" issue for last.


You stated that you need a camera that does 30P at 1920 x 1080. the D7000 does 24P at that size, but does 24, 25 and 30P at 1280 x 720.

Okay, you stated that you need 1920x1080 at 30P, and I assume to match your Canon Vixia HF M40. However, your Canon does NOT shoot at a true 1920 x 1080 resolution. Yes, I know you can "shoot" 1920 x 1080, but the *actual camera resolution is only 900 x 800. This is due to the very small (1/3") single-chip design. It is not a "true" 1920x1080 as the sensor must be "debayered", resulting in a lower true resolution.

The Nikon D7000 has a 16 MP sensor, so it over-samples by a factor of 8 to 1, and when you are shooting at 1920x1080, you are getting *"true" 1920x1080 resolution. When you shoot at 1280x720, you are *still* exceeding the resolution of the Canon Vixia.

For the record, I worked on a film some years ago, released on 3000 screens nation-wide by FOX, that was shot *entirely* on a Panasonic DVC-PRO HD, and that is only 1280x720P.


In all honesty, once you see the images from a D7000 with a good lens, I'll wager it will become your "A" camera, and the Canon Vixia will be your new "B' cam.


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 15, 2012 at 7:15:33 pm

Wow, thanks for the informative response.

The D7000 has been on my list since I started looking, and the more that I read about it, the more I like it. The thing that keeps me from leaping on it is the lack of 1080p at 30fps, but if what you say is true, that should not be an issue anyway.

Let me ask this though. Since the D5100 has the same sensor as the D7000, should it not produce the same image/video quality? And with the 5100, now I have the option of 1080p 30fps. Now I know the body is not the same in build and options, but that should get me what I need right? What do you think I would lose if I went 5100?

Another thing that keeps me from the 7000 is the fact that I can't find it new anywhere. This tells me two things: either it's about to be updated, or Nikon is behind on production. If they are behind, for how long? Im not on a timeframe, but there are some things coming that I would like to use it for. If there is an update coming, I would prefer to see what it offers, but again, there are some things coming that I would like to use it for.


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Andrew Somers
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 17, 2012 at 3:45:12 am

The D5100 and D7000 are very similar in terms of image performance.

What he D5100 does not have (and these things may not matter to you):


1) 5100 is mainly plastic, the D7000 has a magnesium alloy frame (though to be fair, the mirror box is still engineering plastic on the D7000).

2) The D7000 is weather sealed.

3) The D7000 has a built in autofocus motor, so it can autofocus many Nikkor lenses that the D5100 cannot. The 105mm DC and 135mm DC are two I use and need the AF motor for, along with my 80-200 f2.8 AF-D.

4) The D7000 has dual UHX SD card slots - a UHS card transfers data much faster than a regular SD card.

5) For stills, the D7000 has a faster shutter (1/8000 vs 1/4000), better bracketing options (important for HDR), and a far better AF system (39 points vs 11).

6) The D5100 uses a different battery, the EL14 which holds about HALF the power of the EL15 that the D7000 uses. Since you mentioned long periods on a charge, this may be important to you.


You can compare nikon cameras here:

http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Digital-SLR-Cameras/index.page


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:42:21 pm

Thanks again for that.

A couple of more questions on the D7000 that I haven't been able find:

1 With the dual SD card slots, will it relay record in video mode (I. E. when one card fills up, automatically flip to the second card)?

2. Can you use an external monitor with the D7000?

I am still having a problem finding a new D7000......

Thanks again.


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Andrew Somers
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 18, 2012 at 10:35:15 am

I *believe* that a recording must stop before switching cards.

As for new D7000s, It is availabel new with the kit lens here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042X9LCO/sr=1-2/qid=1329560853/ref=olp_p...


And Amazon says the body only will be in stock in two days here:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D7000-DX-Format-3-0-Inch-Body/dp/B0042X9LC4/ref...


Photozone has the body only for $200 MORE than list price, LOL:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D7000-DX-Format-3-0-Inch-Body/dp/B0042X9LC4/ref...


IMO order the Amazon one and wait a couple more days.


WhenI originally bought mine I waited over 6 weeks... :)


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Kevin Allmond
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 18, 2012 at 1:45:24 pm

Well, I did it. With a lot to do from Mr. Somers input, and my own research, I just early this morning (and I mean 0200 EST I stayed up making my decision) I purchased a D7000. Best Buy got them in stock just early yesterday. They had the option of the 18-105 kit, or body only. I wound up purchasing the body ($1199) and the 35mm AF-s 1.8 prime ($199), and that kept me right inside my budget, even after tax. I felt like if I were to get a 7000, I better do it while they were in stock, because there is no telling how long until another batch comes through. The reason I didn't go with the kit lens is because, how I don't own any Nikon glass, I do have access to it as my father is a wedding photographer that uses Nikon DSLRs. I feel confident that I made the right decision, and I am sure this camera is going to live up to what's have been told about (no pressure Mr. Somers LOL).

I appreciate everyone's input


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Andrew Somers
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 18, 2012 at 10:27:40 pm

Welcome to the Nikon family :)


Yes I agree with not getting the 18-105 kit lens, it's not one I recommend.

Lenses are something I usually buy used.

The 18-70mm f 3.5-4.5 DX AF-S is surprisingly good, and available used for $150. It's better than typical "kit" lenses, but surprisingly sharp with decent bokeh.

But to really take full advantage of the D7000, get the good glass, which generally means zooms with a constant f2.8, and primes that are f 1.4 (for 85mm and wider, or f2 to f2.8 forlonger primes).

The 85mm f 1.8 AF-D is also pretty good, and relatively inexpensive used compared to the 85mm 1.4.

The 50mm 1.8 AF-D is sharp and cheap, BUT the bokeh is terrible, the 1.4 is better. Allegedly the newer 50mm 1.8 AF-S has better bokeh but I have not tried it.

I have the Sigma 10-20mm ultra wide zoom, and I do like it, though it's a bit slow - you might prefer the Tokina (at twice the price).

The *excellent* tele-zoom of course is the 70-200mm 2.8 VR II (at $2500). But you will be surprised at the images from the 70-300mm f 4-5.6 VR. While not as fast as the 70-200, it is also far lighter and easier to carry/handle. The VR version of the 70-300 takes good images with good bokeh- but do note that the NON-VR 70-300 versions are pretty terrible with awful bokeh, so only this version of the 70-300mm is acceptable IMO:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-70-300mm-4-5-5-6G-Digital-Cameras/dp/B000HJPK2C

You can also get the older 80-200mm 2.8 AF-D used for around $500, though as with the more modern 70-200 2.8 VRII, it is a huge heavy beast. I find I use the 70-300 f4 more often.

If you want a lens that will make you hate almost every other lens you've ever used try the nikkor DC series - the 105mm and the 135mm DC are so unbelievable that you'll never want to use a kit level lens again:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-105mm-DC-Nikkor-Digital-Cameras/dp/B00005LEOK/r...


The 85mm 1.4 is also in this class of "amazing" (and you pay for it, LOL).


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Errol Lazare
Re: DSLR Video: What to Buy
on Feb 27, 2012 at 6:39:58 am

Looks like you received good responses to this. But just a question, how many people on the cow have the Milk Man dude as their profile icon. They are multiplying!

Errol X. Lazare
EXL Films
http://www.exlfilms.com


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