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DSLR vs camcorder?

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Matt White
DSLR vs camcorder?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:52:18 am

Hey, all. I'm looking into picking up a camera to use for video. I'd be primarily filming footage for my various YouTube videos (I'm contracted with Maker Studios) much in the style of my fellow content creators:











I started looking through various used camcorders on Amazon. However, after taking a moment to look up what cameras these guys used, it turns out they seem to all use DSLR cameras rather than camcorders. So now I'm kind of stuck trying to decide what to pick up. I'm nowhere near the size of those guys so I'm obviously not going to be buying the same several thousand dollar cameras and leses that they're using, but I'm trying to get the best quality bang for my buck.

I've found a cheap, used Canon T1i and Nikkon d31000 that I've been looking at, though I'd still have to buy extras like a tripod, lens, mic, etc.

So my question is, what would you all recommend I pick up? Should I forget the DSLR and just go the camcorder route? Or should I splurge? I've taken tons film and photo classes in my time at college (I'm a 3d animation major) so I've got a good understanding of the manual controls, so I should be okay figuring out using the DSLR cameras. My biggest worries with the camcorder is that I can't seem to find one that doesn't have people complaining about quality, blur, grain, dof, etc I also would like to use the camera with a shotgun mic, though that's not as big of a deal since I've got a Blue Yeti I can use and sync in the meantime.

3d portfolio: http://www.mwhite3d.com
YT Channel: http://www.youtube.com/judgement0s


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Matt White
Re: DSLR vs camcorder?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:30:20 am

It also seems like all of the non-pro camcorders don't have the same quality as the DSLRs that I could get for the same price. Starting to seem like I'd just be better off investing the money into DSLR recording

3d portfolio: http://www.mwhite3d.com
YT Channel: http://www.youtube.com/judgement0s


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Ryan Holmes
Re: DSLR vs camcorder?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:36:06 pm

Well it really depends on your needs. DSLR have pros/cons just like a camcorder.

For instance, the T1i you reference can only shoot 1080p at 20fps. It can do 720p at 30fps. Add to that the fact that the T1i is a nearly 6 year old camera. The sensor technology has changed dramatically since 2008/2009. Also remember that DSLR's have a 12 minute recording maximum on them. To get around this you have to start/stop the camera around that time. So if you plan on recording a 20-minute talking head, I'd steer clear of DSLR's.

With DSLR's the lens on the front of it makes a big, big, BIG difference. You can easily spend far more for lenses than the body of the camera. Keep this in mind as it can also impact your final product. Also, audio on DSLR's is an awful, awful experience (look up Audio Gain Control for DSLR's and you'll get the idea). These cameras are meant as "still" cameras first; movie capabilities were, and to some extent, still are an afterthought.

I'm not saying don't buy a DSLR, but do your homework. Know your product, your delivery method, your shooting times, and your post-produciton pipeline. You may be better served by a "less-sexy" camcorder than by an old DSLR.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Matt White
Re: DSLR vs camcorder?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 7:24:50 pm

I'm not too concerned with the age of the camera as long as it provides good quality.

As for length of shootings, I'll be heavily editing the footage and most footage wouldn't be very long, so recording time isn't an issue.

Audio is probably one of my biggest concerns. I have a Blue Yeti mic, but it's USB meaning I'd be limited to where I can record (which isn't TOO much of an issue since I'd be primarily filming in the same place and near my PC). I could get a camcorder with a mic jack, though I haven't seen many within my price range. I'd like to not spend too much more than $250 on the camera depending on what I get since I'll still also have to pick up a couple lights (not gonna get anything fancy for starters) and possibly a shotgun mic if I get a camcorder with a mic jack.

3d portfolio: http://www.mwhite3d.com
YT Channel: http://www.youtube.com/judgement0s


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Matt White
Re: DSLR vs camcorder?
on Jun 9, 2014 at 7:24:38 pm

I should point out that the camcorder I'm considering is the Canon VIXIA HF R400 which has a mic jack and I can buy used within my price range. Seems to have fairly good video quality, but the footage I'm seeing of the t1i still looks better.

3d portfolio: http://www.mwhite3d.com
YT Channel: http://www.youtube.com/judgement0s


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