DSLR vs Camcorder

Froi
Froi Posts: 966
edited January 2012 in General
Heloo, I am going to buy a camera, and I'm pretty set on getting a dslr, but I'm not 1000000% sure if I should definatley so can you help me find pros and cons for camcorders and DSLRs and compare them to help me and many others looking to buy a camera.
Thanks
Also, what is the difference between translucent mirror cameras and DSLRs? Thanks
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Comments

  • If there NO ONE BEHINE THE CAMERA I whould go with a camcorder. If there is someone befine the camera go with DSLRs. DSLRs are also safer for the fact if the video thing dosen't work out you still have a grate photo camera. DSLR you can add on things like cool camera and stutt. I'm sure someone will post more on this topic.
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012
    Also, what is the difference between translucent mirror cameras and DSLRs? Thanks
    Froi, that's some "Sony Style" marketing buzzword crap. Sony hasn't had a breakthrough product in ages. Look what happened to MiniDisc. Go Canon and you can't go wrong.
    When you see stuff like this:
    Has I.A.P.F. Intelligent Auto Performance Feature to "Get you the best shot every time".
    That's a red flag.
    Google "Magic Lantern" and check out the features you can get free for Canon EOS. I use it myself, and it's awesome.
  • I bought a Canon 600D (T3i) yesterday and tried it out today and I have to say it was a very good investment
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast
    edited February 2012
    Froi: There's no simple answer to that question. First you need to answer two questions so we can advise appropriately:
    1. What is your budget?
    2. What are you going to be using it for?
    Also: Glad to see that monthly camera topics are still going strong. ;)
  • Fox
    Fox Posts: 91 Enthusiast
    edited February 2012
    A RED camera . . . . . 8-|
    RED
  • TGamel
    TGamel Posts: 81
    [quote name='@VfxRoad'; timestamp='1328478917' post='12315']
    I bought a Canon 600D (T3i) yesterday and tried it out today and I have to say it was a very good investment
    [/quote]
    Yea, you cannot go wrong with a T2i or T3i from Cannon. I started out with a Canon Vixia HFS200 (still have it), but found out later for short film projects I needed a camera with interchangeable lenses. After saving up for another year I bought the T3i over the T2i primarily for the flip screen. Other than that the two are virtually the same.
    You can get good quality HD camcorders for a bit cheaper than DSLR's but they are not as flexible. I payed more for my camcorder because I wanted an external mic jack. Two years later, I no longer not use the external mic jack now as I record my audio on an external recording device (Zoom HN1) using a boom pole and a shotgun mic. So if you did not need an external mic input you can get a good quality HD camcorder for less than 200 (US Dollars).
    If you are serious about making amateur films I think something like the T2i or T3i is a better long term investment. At least it has been for me.
    Todd
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Yeas I have seen the 600D (t3i) it seems amazing!! I will get that along with a rode video mic.
    I would by a red (@fox) but I ain't that rich! Haha!
    Thanks for the help Todd, I really appreciate it
    And Simon my budget is £500 odd . And I will use it for proper films with people and still like freddiew vids, which will hopefully be wünderully awesome lol.
    Also how would u recommend me to film with the 600d whilst keeping it in focus, eg. I am running along filming someone, should I use manual or auto focus? And what is the auto focus like, how good is it and what are the downsides?
    I am also getting canon 600D as I found out I already have a lot of accessories from my old 350d,

    Thanks
  • TGamel
    TGamel Posts: 81

    Also how would u recommend me to film with the 600d whilst keeping it in focus, eg. I am running along filming someone, should I use manual or auto focus? And what is the auto focus like, how good is it and what are the downsides?
    I am also getting canon 600D as I found out I already have a lot of accessories from my old 350d,
    Thanks
    I will try and make this as short and concise as possible. Camcorders and DSLR's use auto focus differently. In general, camcorders have a fixed lens, and the auto focus feature of these cameras allows the camera's lens to follow the subject (automatically adjust for focus, kind of a built in "follow focus") and it will attempt to keep the subject in focus at all times as long as the auto focus is turned on. Many of the newer cameras have a feature they call face recognition which when turned on automatically looks for the face of your subject and focuses on them automatically. These cameras usually have a set lens aperture of about f5.6 giving them a very deep depth of field. Because of the size of their aperture almost every shot or scene on a camcorder appears in focus (i.e. the actor is in focus and the house 70ft away is also in focus). This makes a camcorder nice for shooting family outings and such, but limits it's creativity as it is difficult to get that nice strong focus on your subject while the background is blurred out.
    DLSR's were designed to take picture and therefore have interchangeable lenses which they use to give you a varied depth of field. The stock or "kit" lens that comes on the T2i and T3i has an aperture of f5.6, the same as most camcorders. However with DSLR's the aperture as well as your distance from your subject determines the depth of field (the amount of the area around your subject that is in focus) of your shot.
    So why does this all matter? Well with a camcorder it attempts to maintain focus continuously therefore the lens motor may move the focus point back and forth (zoom in and out) to maintain focus. With the T2i and T3i, you press the auto focus button and it takes a still image to obtain focus. Unlike a camcorder however, the camera lens will not follow your subject in an attempt to maintain focus. Rather only those elements or subjects within a certain range or depth will be in focus and everything else will be blurred out depending on the f-stop of the lens and your distance from the subject.
    The advantage of HD camcorders for people new to making films is ease of use, many have stabilization and the auto focus feature pretty much makes it point and shoot camera. The downside is that they are limited in their use for the independent film maker as you will quickly find that your skill set will out grow the use of the camera quickly over time. The DSLR has a slightly higher learning curve but it is loads more flexible and will serve you for years to come. It's ability to change lenses gives you are wide range of creative possibilities as evidenced by it's popularity.
    I use both cameras, the T3i as my primary, and the Vixia HF200S as a backup (primarily to shot b-roll footage, and behind the scenes stuff on a shoot) and for those shots in which I want everything in focus such as wide landscapes or establishing shots. However anymore it's use in my kit is pretty limited.
    As for following someone and maintaining focus the camcorder is easier because of it's inherent deep depth of field. If your subject gets a little ahead of you the camera will maintain it's focus rather well. With a DSLR, thing work differently, here is a quick example to try and wrap up my point.
    [color="#4169E1"]Using my T3i with 50mm lens with the aperture set at f8 and being 10ft away from my subject the near focus limit is 8.4ft and the far focus limit is 12.23ft. The difference between the two focus points is called the depth of field (DOF). So everything between 8.4 and 12.23ft (the depth of field is just under 4 ft) of the camera will be in sharp focus anything closer than 8ft from the camera will be out of focus and anything farther away from the camera with be out of focus.
    [/color]
    It all sounds more complicated than it is, using the camera a few times and you quickly get the hang of using DOF and interchangeable lenses. IMHO, you will be a lot more happy with a DSLR, but if your budget does not allow such. Start out with a good HD camcorder. There are ways to get loads of creative shots with one and I have seen many a nice indie film shot on one. I know this was rather long winded and I hope I did not confuse the issue for you.
    Todd
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    Also how would u recommend me to film with the 600d whilst keeping it in focus, eg. I am running along filming someone, should I use manual or auto focus?
    You run along and keep the same distance from the subject.
    You need to play with the focus ring shooting birds to practice so it becomes second nature. It's not easy, but eventually you'll get the hang of it.
    I'm no good at it, so I just use the visual follow focus that comes in Magic Lantern. Check out ML, it's free, and awesome.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Oh okay, I get it now, coz when I do photography on me Legos, I can see the DOF and the in focus bits, and all that information is very good, but a lot to take in lol, but I get the point :) thanks.
    I shall practise with my old dslr (no videoing mode) so I can't record it, but that doesn't matter for the time being. Anyway when I get the 600D/ t3i I shall do many tests before I make my "skyrim film" which I am working towards and that will hopefully be awesome, and hopefully by then I would have mastered the 600D/t3i
    Thanks again!
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    No Pain, No Gain!
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast
    Also how would u recommend me to film with the 600d whilst keeping it in focus, eg. I am running along filming someone, should I use manual or auto focus? And what is the auto focus like, how good is it and what are the downsides?
    I'm pretty sure it doesn't have auto-focus during filming, so you'd have to focus manually.
    However, with a shot like that you'd be better off shooting with a deep depth of field, so that everything is more-or-less in focus anyway. For a handheld shot like that you don't want to be shooting with shallow DoF, generally speaking.
  • ZedFable
    ZedFable Posts: 134 Just Starting Out*
    There is an option you can turn on that enables autofocus during filming on the 550d, which as most people point out is basically identical to the 600d except for the flip screen. However, that autofocus functions like a still photography autofocus, not like a camcorder- meaning that you pull halfway down on the shutter button and it hunts focus for whatever is in the little focus box on the camera screen. This is useful in some regards, but in most cases is less then ideal and its obvious when used a lot.
    I'd agree with Simon on this- for this situation, you should just shoot with a deep depth of field. In daylight, this isn't hard at all.
    Also, to reaffirm what everyone else has been saying, practice is the biggest component to get your shot looking good. All the stuff I shot on the t2i that is on my channel is pretty flat (very deep DoF) and alot of it is messed up in some other way (exposure is off, etc). Compare for example any of my vfx shorts with many t2i footage out on youtube (such as this one: and you'd swear they came from different cameras. Since I was inexperienced with the camera and rushed due to time constraints and nervousness, I got very lackluster shots. The exception would be my little ad for the clam shack- though that piece has problems, a lot of the shots look richer, use a shallow depth of field and just look higher quality in general. That's because I got to the location early and figured out what settings were needed and then practiced my shots beforehand. It's amazing how much of a difference that makes, so don't be discouraged if you're first few tests come out looking poorly! The t3i is an amazing camera and the biggest investment in the quality of your footage you can make right now. I'm looking forward to seeing the videos you make with it!
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Okay that's all good stuff, is there a DoF setting on the camera? If so where and how do I change it?
    And if I film a tree in focus, then zoom in, the tree will still be in focus yes?
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited March 2012

    Okay that's all good stuff, is there a DoF setting on the camera?
    Yeah, it's called the aperture. And it's a function of the lens, not the camera.
    Oh, and you're gonna wanna get some prime lenses, especially for that lego stuff, hahahaha.
  • RossTrowbridge
    RossTrowbridge Posts: 399 Enthusiast
    You may want to experiment with hyperfocal distances for your camera/lens combination. The hyperfocal distance value is based on your focal length (mm) and f-stop setting. Once you know this value, you can manually set the focus to it and get an acceptably sharp picture from half the hyperfocal value to infinity.
    For example, if I set the kit zoom lens of my T3i to 28mm and my f-stop to f/16, my hyperfocal length is about 5.5 feet. If I manually focus on something at that distance, I should have a decent focus on anything from 2.25 feet to infinity. If I decide to change my f-stop to f/3.5, that distance jumps to 25 feet. Anything closer than about 12 feet will be too blurry to use.
    DOFMaster is a free program that will calculate hyperfocal distances and print out a chart to reference. I keep a print-out in my camera bag.
    It's not a perfect science, and requires a little experimentation, but it may help you.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966

    Yeah, it's called the aperture. And it's a function of the lens, not the camera.
    Oh, and you're gonna wanna get some prime lenses, especially for that lego stuff, hahahaha.
    people
    Yeah but how u change apature on dslr? (I don't use them much, just sometimes for my Lego photography on my Flickr)
    And I shall not make Lego videos with it lol, coz I am going to make proper videos (people ones) interacting with things like making things move (flying mac book air by finalcutking)
    Seems complicated rtrowbridge lol
  • ZedFable
    ZedFable Posts: 134 Just Starting Out*
    edited March 2012
    Don't worry Froid- It's actually not that hard once you get the camera to play around with!
    On the Canons, there are several different modes. Aperture priority mode (just one of the clicks on the big dial up top) lets you set the aperture and the camera set the rest of the settings. In this case, you'd just use the little jog-wheel at the top and it will adjust the aperture for you. In full manual mode, the jog-wheel can control several things so its just a matter of holding down another button while using the jog-wheel.
    The camera is designed very well though, and once you know how to do the things you want its all very easy to get to and 99 percent of the time is simple enough to operate with one hand. :)
    Also, in case it confused you, f-stop is what they measure the aperture size in- saying you're adjusting the aperture to 3.5 or changing the f-stop to f/3.5 is the exact same thing. This used to throw me when I was first getting started, so I figured I'd mention it.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966

    Don't worry Froid- It's actually not that hard once you get the camera to play around with!
    On the Canons, there are several different modes. Aperture priority mode (just one of the clicks on the big dial up top) lets you set the aperture and the camera set the rest of the settings. In this case, you'd just use the little jog-wheel at the top and it will adjust the aperture for you. In full manual mode, the jog-wheel can control several things so its just a matter of holding down another button while using the jog-wheel.
    The camera is designed very well though, and once you know how to do the things you want its all very easy to get to and 99 percent of the time is simple enough to operate with one hand. :)
    Also, in case it confused you, f-stop is what they measure the aperture size in- saying you're adjusting the aperture to 3.5 or changing the f-stop to f/3.5 is the exact same thing. This used to throw me when I was first getting started, so I figured I'd mention it.
    Bingo! That helps a lot Zed, I am glad you expanded on the f point, and apature stuff, I am kind of in the know now.
    But her be another question, what stabilizers do you know that are good, (so you can have ine hand free for focusing but the other for using the Stabilizer.
    Thank ya!
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Also, how long can I film with the canon 600D?
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    A continuous 11 minutes of 1080p, 20 something minutes of 720p and I don't remember how many 480p.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966

    A continuous 11 minutes of 1080p, 20 something minutes of 720p and I don't remember how many 480p.
    Oh good, but how long can it store in total?
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2012
    It depends on your card. Here is a chart that I found online. Not sure how accurate this is as I've never tested it myself.
    [img]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/electronics/networking/flashmemorycards/capacity-table-video._V194381757_.gif[/img]
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Integral-SDHC-Class-Memory-Card/dp/B0047T6XN8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328131432&sr=8-1
    So this card should hold about 5 hours at the best quality possible?
    And thanks for the help Matthias
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I would assume so.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Also, how good is the battery that comes with the canon 600d? How long can it last with full HD video being recorded?
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Omg! Just ordered canon 600D :) can't officially use it though until my birthday, but I don't mind! :D
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    Those stabilizers work, to a degree, but don't really work well enough to avoid using a software stabilizer, IMO.
    The jam you'll find yourself in is that in order to software stabilize, you need some pan, tilt, zoom space, and the trick is you can get this by shooting in 1080, but using a mental crop of 720 on what you're shooting.
    IOW, leave some space around the edges.
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    [img]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/electronics/networking/flashmemorycards/capacity-table-video._V194381757_.gif[/img]
    OK, this chart is technically correct, but the Canon T3i shoots at 50Mbps, and that cannot be changed unless you're running Magic Lantern.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    [quote name='budwzr' timestamp='1332184407' post='14803']
    :) lol... And okay thanks for the stabilising help, I shall try it out when I get it :)