Okay heres the story... Ive been photographing for some time now but, I also majored in media communications and learned a lot about final cut pro and video. Ive been working with a wedding photographer for some time now and we are looking to expand into video. Since I have the most experience I will be the one making most of the calls/editing and filming.
Now with all these great new SLRS such as the Cannon D1, 5D, 7D or the Nikon D3S or the new 4D soon to be out. With so many options what is truly better with lighting & sound... Ive read and heard really great things about the SLRS video but is it best to just stick with a professional camcorder? Ive read many descriptions and from what I read I cant see a real difference...
I would like to get some feedback from people with experience with both or knowledge in the field...
If you're doing weddings or other event-type shooting, you need a real camcorder. DSLRs shoot great looking video, but they have severe limitations for the type of work you're doing. First is the file size limitation that limits you to 12 minutes of continuous recording, certainly unacceptable for nearly any wedding ceremony, speech, etc. Of equal importance is the lack of professional audio connections and controls. For documentary work or any type of shooting where you can control the scene length and record double system sound, DSLRs are great. For anything long form and for comprehensive sound connections and control you need a camcorder.
A good way to think about this is that you are buying tools for a toolbox. There is no 'right' answer, and there are people shooting weddings with either or both. Your ability to do depth of field on HDSLR's is fabulous, and the reasons noted above are strengths of the camcorder world. Canon AF100 is a good bridging strategy to get both in one camera, but lens are extra. Which makes it a very pricey tool for weddings, unless you are doing a lot of them. I'm not sure I would want to do weddings, which are more 'run and gun' in nature with an AF100. Maybe someone on this thread that uses one can speak up.
You didn't mention if you are working in a team, which is often common these days. One team I've heard of puts the wife of the team on a stedicam product with a HDSLR while the husband shoots with a second camera, which I believe is a camcorder style.
For between $2 and $3k you can find a bunch of great camcorders, including the xf100 and the newer Panasonic cameras, the 160. Those would be my addition to a HDSLR set of tools. Dual slots IMHO are *critical* in wedding shooting. The last thing you want to have happen is card failure. I'm not aware of any HDSLR's that protect you from that, other than possibly the newest cameras from Canon which I don't believe is out yet. Don't know if the Nikon D4 actually does dual card recording simultaneously.