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dslr videoIf there’s one thing that I know, it’s that DSLR video production 2.5 Gifts To Make The Perfect Homemade Holiday Film 2.5 Gifts To Make The Perfect Homemade Holiday Film It's time for the holidays, and what better way to celebrate than building a fire, grabbing a blanket, and turning on Netflix for a classic Christmas film? Sure enough, it's a great tradition, but it's... Read More is here to stay. As a DSLR-owner, I’ve finally succumbed to the new wave of production, and I can’t complain too much (though I can complain).

With that being said, I’d like to give you just a quick overview as to what I personally think about DSLRs Learn & Practice Camera Exposure Settings With CameraSim Learn & Practice Camera Exposure Settings With CameraSim Understanding camera exposure can often take the joy out of taking pictures. Cameras like the Canon 50D or the Nikon D80 are fairly affordable, but you may not get your money’s worth if you only... Read More . I have both my pros and cons about them, and although my view of them is generally favorable, there are some minor petty issues to consider. Granted, DSLR video production is a fairly standard thing these days anyway, and there’s simply no escaping it.

A Quick Overview

Basically, what is DSLR video? Well, I’m sure plenty of you know what a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera is. As a matter of fact, we gave away a Nikon D3000 We're Giving Away A Nikon D3000 To A MakeUseOf Reader We're Giving Away A Nikon D3000 To A MakeUseOf Reader How awesome is this? If you've always wanted to get your hands on a decent digital SLR, now's the time to really get excited. We're giving away a Nikon D3000 dSLR to a lucky MakeUseOf... Read More not too long ago. Pretty fresh, right? Anyway, the fact is that these cameras provide superior quality and beautiful images.

Somewhere along the line, filmmakers decided that the video quality of these still-shot cameras was much better than anything else out there, and on top of that, it was cheaper than buying expensive movie cameras (like a RED). In fact, these cameras are even available for much less than the price of a professional handheld video camera (like a Panasonic AC130).

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Generally speaking, all I can say is that they are cool. However, like I said, I have my pros and cons about them, and I’d like to just give a quick overview of that.

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What I Like About It

As a I mentioned earlier, DSLR cameras are relatively cheap. I picked up my Canon 60D with accessories for around $1,500, and I’m still kicking butt with it. The images are better than anything else I’ve ever shot with, and that seems to be the general consensus for quite a few folks like myself. However, I’d like to just look at part of the technical side.

With a professional handheld video camera, you are typically limited by a fixed zoom lens. This only allows for the same type of shooting each time you go out. You can only go as wide as your camera will let you, and you can only zoom in as far as your camera will let you. However, one of the great things about DSLR cameras is that they offer the ability to give you interchangeable lenses. What does this mean?

are dslr cameras better

Basically, with DSLR cameras, I can change my lenses just like the olden days of film production 4 Stock Video Websites To Catch A Glimpse Of History Captured On Film 4 Stock Video Websites To Catch A Glimpse Of History Captured On Film There are quite a few other websites out there which host stock video footage from key moments in history. They playback not only eyewitness accounts, but also give us history lessons in video…as it happened.... Read More . Do I want a super wide angle? I just pop on a wide angle lens. Super close angle from afar? Pop on a telephoto lens. You get to shoot with prime lenses for a fraction of the price.

With that in mind, DSLRs provide beautiful cinematic pictures, and in the case of the Canon 5D, offer a full-frame 35mm sensor like any movie camera. It gets even more cinematic if you shoot everything in 24 frames per second. Furthermore, you have a lot of control with these cameras, and this allows you to get precisely the type of image that you would want without compromise.

are dslr cameras better

Another thing I like about DSLRs is how it’s become a game-changer. With cost and quality in mind, you can cut a budget in half and still come out with a professional level of production. Also, with cameras like the $16,000 Canon C300 coming out, the truth is that DSLR is here to stay even on the professional level.

are dslr cameras better

What I Don’t Like About It

Despite my highly-rated approval of DSLR video, there are a lot of things I don’t like about it. Granted, there are always two sides to every coin, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Is it the faddy shallow depths of field that every user shoots with that bothers me? No, no. That does bother me, but it’s not the main thing.

First off, I want to talk a little bit about practicality, and with that in mind, allow me to make this analogy – DSLR cameras are like toddlers, always needing someone to hold their hand wherever they go. What does that mean? Well, despite the cost of a DSLR, there are a lot of accessories that you typically need to actually go shooting with them. The first and most obvious one is a tripod 10+ Cool Accessories Every Photographer Wants 10+ Cool Accessories Every Photographer Wants Read More , but I believe that this goes without saying, and you can also find one for a pretty cheap price. Since these cameras are so light-weight, you don’t even need the best tripod around.

However, what if you want to go handheld? Or you want to change your focus while on the go? Or you want a dolly shot? Or you want a jib shot? This is where things become a little more costly. Now, granted with any camera, if you want to make moves, rigs are going to cost a lot, but take something like a professional video camera (not a TV camera) – you can cheat a little.

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Since a video camera has some weight to it, you can move it around a little more with it being handheld. But with a DSLR, it’s a little tougher to do anything handheld with it being jittery, and you need to purchase some accessories for it to fully function. Basically, it would be harder to cheat at making a “jib” shot by holding the camera above your head and then moving it downward with a DSLR than a video camera…

Granted, I am merely speaking in terms of low budget production How To Shoot Your Own Promotional Marketing Video From Start To Finish How To Shoot Your Own Promotional Marketing Video From Start To Finish Read More which seems to draw the DSLR crowd, but I am aware that in order to make any camera move on a professional level would require proper equipment. That alone can somewhat nullify my argument, and besides, you would probably look fairly silly doing a jib shot as I just mentioned. However, I would also consider documentary work that sometimes requires a run-and-gun type of shooting with a shotgun mic on the camera and no options for a rig. When it comes to that, I believe a video camera is always your best bet and not a DSLR.

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Furthermore, a standard DSLR shoots 12 minutes at a time – which I believe is just around the same amount of time as a very old canister of celluloid – and this can be slightly problematic for certain types of shooting. Interviews and events are what comes to mind, but once again, there are ways to work around that.

Conclusion

Overall, I like DSLRs as a whole. There are a few things that I don’t particularly care about, but generally speaking, they are pretty great. Personally speaking, I think it’s best to have both a DSLR system and a video camera for different types of production, but that’s just me.

What do you like about DSLRs? What do you not like about them?

Image Credit: B&H Photo Video

  1. Vociferous Carmichael
    August 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Very interesting. I own a Nikon D80 with no video and I am really interested in getting something that shoots HD video.

  2. Vern Hoffman
    July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Videos are an adjunct. Versatile photos are the DSLRs forte.

  3. Sachin Kanchan
    May 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    sony has now released the SLT cameras...are they better than the DSLRs

  4. kosten dsl
    April 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

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    April 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 1, 2012 at 4:02 am

      Glad I could have been of service!

  6. Dom
    March 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Very interesting post!
    I also own a 60D with only the 17-85mm 4-5.6 kit lens.
    I am thinking of investing in a new lens (or two) at some point.
    I have been recommended the:
    Canon 50mm f1.4
    Canon 70-200 f4
    (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-EF-50mm-1-4-Lens/dp/B00009XVCZ/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1332336717&sr=1-2)
    (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-70-200mm-4-0-USM-Lens/dp/B00005QF6T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332336666&sr=8-1)

    I would be interested in what lens(es) you own and what you would recommend
    Thanks
    Dom

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 1, 2012 at 4:02 am

      Dom! For some reason I thought I had responded ages ago. I currently just have the 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and a 50mm f/1.8. I really want a super wide lens and a prime 135mm, though.

      • Jed
        May 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        Only buy lenses that allow you to shoot at 2.8 or higher. f3's and f4's only wont let in enough light in some situations.

        • Joshua Lockhart
          May 15, 2012 at 12:44 am

          I'd agree to that. I bought my lens as part of the kit (I wanted different focal lengths, but I knew it wasn't the best lens). If you can afford it, get the lowest f-stop you can.

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