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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: DSLR budget now. Go Canon T2i or wait to go prosumer hd?
on Aug 6, 2010 at 4:37:25 pm

1) if it's your ONLY video camera and you expect to shoot a broad range of things, a DSLR won't cut it. I have the T2i and I love it, but I use it for very specific things (stock video shooting, lowlight, indie film, etc.). It sucks for anything where you have a really long shot (even though most of my shots never hit the 3 min mark - who wants to watch something running continuously for 12 min? Boring!). You can't do zooms with the default lens while shooting video which isn't completely worthless and the ones you can zoom with are not cheap - the aperture will close down in 1/3 stop increments as you zoom in.

2) The Canon HD-DSLRs shoot to quicktime movies using h.264. AVCHD is actually more compressed than what's coming out of these DSLRs - AVCHD is basically MPEG-4 with H.264 compression. I like MP4 a lot better than MPEG-2, but it's still heavily compressed. Also, I get around 50mb/s with my DSLR and AVCHD is around 25mb/s. Still kind of an apples to other apples thing. Basically, AVCHD is the consumer electronic format to replace miniDV, hard drive camcorders, etc. Panasonic has included it on the AG-HMC150 (the successor to the DVX100) whereas Canon has put it on mostly consumer cameras (like the Vixias) and now they are putting it on their new prosumer camcorders. I like AVCHD better than HDV because it's a native 1920x1080 whereas HDV has to stretch and HDV is still using MPEG-2 and tape, BUT AVCHD is still a CONSUMER format. Oh and I would still Transcode to a better format from AVCHD - I wouldn't edit AVCHD native. Convert to ProRes or AVI or Cineform or whatever first. AVCHD doesn't edit well natively.

3) SDHC cards - get class 10s - since I switched from class 6 to class 10 for any manufacturer, I've never had an issue. Not all class 4s or 6s are created equal. Like anything else, you can spend a lot of money or a little. I don't have oodles of cash so I'm using ADATA and PQI class 10s. They work fine. On a 16GB card, I get just shy of an hour. For an 8GB, just under 30 min.

4) Lenses - none of the above. Pick up prime lenses if you are going the DSLR route. They are generally faster and less expensive. No, you don't get a zoom, but how much zooming are you planning? Check this site: http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/ - all you wanna know about DSLRs and then some.

5) Obviously, this is your call. You will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself. If you are going to be making indie films, I can heartily recommend the T2i - I've shot 2 features and a couple shorts now on both the 7D and the T2i. I've shot greenscreen, slo-motion, stop-motion, etc. I love the camera. The T2i very much reminds me of shooting 16mm - setting shutter, aperture, measuring the distance, even doing push/pull focus. The narrow DOF is gorgeous - especially at longer focal lengths. There is a little focus helper that works great on the T2i, too.

If you want to do anything where you are shooting for long periods at a time or when you need your camera to be instantly ready to go at the drop of a hat with no fiddling with settings or lens changes, stick with a pro camera. Better for handheld, too - easier to use, much more convenient.

Most of my stuff involves planning the shots and a stationary or otherwise mounted camera. I don't like doing handheld with the T2i - the rolling shutter issues and the jelly frame make handheld look sloppy and psychedelic. I love this camera for tons of other things, though.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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