View Poll Results: SLR, Bridge Cam, Camcorder or other?

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Thread: Is a DSLR the Best Option for Our Budget?

  1. #1

    Question Is a DSLR the Best Option for Our Budget?

    Hello,

    I'm writing on behalf of my filming partner who has a bit more experience with filming, editing and camcorders than I do but I have been placed in charge of research whilst she is away in Italy.

    Basically we have both been wanting to do something creative together for a long time btu never quite known what and never gotten round to it until now. We feel like this is the year to make something beautiful. We want to create quite a professional and arty looking short-film, where we will have lots of different clips and scenes edited together but all following some sort of theme or story line, perhaps narrated by words on the screen or shown on typewriter clips, and maybe a bit of stop-frame animation.

    We were first advised that DSLRs where the best thing for film-making within our budget, then we were recommended bridge cameras, which we have since ruled out.

    We then went into a couple of camera shops to grill the sales assistants.. this is what we got out of that -

    The first guy ended up recommending a small video camera (400) because apparently sound quality would not be good on bridge and SLR's, they would pick up the wind etc.. and also the zoom would be further on a camcorder.. He did mention you could get a better lens and a mic for an SLR but he assumed we weren't willing to pay and continued to push the camcorder. Said that although some of these camcorders go up to 800 the main differences are just storage and zoom, which we weren't too bothered about paying extra for and that the actual visual quality doesn'tget better until you pay around about 3000 for a video camera. He said still's would obviously be much better on an SLR or bridge cam though but jess (my friend) only wants photos as an added extra, she's not that bothered about stills, mainly filming..

    THEN in the second shop the guy highly recommended getting the canon 600d and getting a better lens with it, which would be suited to filming (90) and also buying a mic (around 80) although it's a lot more money apparently the quality of the movies would be a LOT better than a 400 ish video camera and we would also have a lot more creative control of what was in focus and what wasnt etc.. it wouldn't look as flat.. he said it was the camera a lot of film students buy and that to get better you have to buy a professional video camera into the thousands..

    I would love to get everyones opinion here too to help us make up our minds. It will be jess's camera in the end so she doesn't want to regret spending all that money on something that doesn't even do what we want it to. The budget is about 600 preferably with added extras but then if the 600 was just for the camera itself and we paid extra and got a better quality film at the end of the day she wouldn't mind payiing extra for the accesories.

    Thanks in advance and excuse my newness to filming. I am used to SLR's for stills, but my old one doesn't have a filming option so it's all new to me!

    Dawn
    Last edited by DawnUnicorn; 03-01-2012 at 09:26 PM.

  2. #2

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    With that budget get a DSLR with a good lens and an external mic. No question. Even if you got a good camcorder you would still have to use an external mic to get good sound.

  3. #3
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    Those sales assistants weren't very helpful. To be honest, on that budget, you're going to have to make compromises somewhere along the lines. However, no matter what route you take, the greatest impact on film is technique and know how.

    If you go down the DSLR route, you need to become a but if a whizz to acheive great results. It isn't a magic pull to beautiful shots, which will require both technical knowledge (of the camera and setting), use of camera techniques, composition, lighting and, of course editing.

    In terms of the DSLR, I would get a second hand 550d fro eBay. You can pick them up for about 300. Then get yourself a few decent lenses. I tend to use a 50mm prime and wide angle lens for the types of video I shoot, which is basically home movies. I find I rarely use anything above 50mm (on my crop sensor).

    You'll be spending more on lenses than the camera, but as a stills person, you'll probably understand this.

    If you went the video camera route, you'd get much easier controls, a more ergonomic design and something that's less liable to produce unexpected results.

  4. #4

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    Thank you both for your input.. I'd still love to hear from as many people as possible..

    Marc - I do have some experience of SLRS and their controls and settings having owned one for four years and Jess and I have both studied photgraphy as part of our art courses at uni and college. So we do have basic knowledge but we're quite technology savvy and creative so we dont mind spending time figuring out how to gte just the right settings/lighting/angle/compositions etc etc.. it's all part of the fun as far as we're concerned! We have dsome experience between us with editing but have several friends who have added quite a few of our previous group filming project so we'll be fine for editing.

    Thanks for the advice, we'll definately take that into consideration about buying second hand if the differences aren't that great.. I remember there was one thing that soldus on the new one though rather than the old..

  5. #5
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    Perhaps the angled screen was the difference? I would also consider installing magic lantern. This gives you a bit more control.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    Perhaps the angled screen was the difference? I would also consider installing magic lantern. This gives you a bit more control.
    Ah, yes, I think it was the angled screen that Jess was sold on. hmm.. I am confused now as we were almost settled on DSLR..

    I think we still are BUT I would really like a few more opinions, input and advice! Anyone else?

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    It's difficult to give considered advice. DSLR shooters will recommend a DSLR, others won't. My recommendation is not to get carried away with "film like" shooting on the cheap. It isn't cheap (lenses are expensive) and you do make compromises. I'm happy with the compromises as I use mine for photography as much as for video. If I didn't, I'd get a camcorder: cheaper, more practical and built for purpose.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    It's difficult to give considered advice. DSLR shooters will recommend a DSLR, others won't. My recommendation is not to get carried away with "film like" shooting on the cheap. It isn't cheap (lenses are expensive) and you do make compromises. I'm happy with the compromises as I use mine for photography as much as for video. If I didn't, I'd get a camcorder: cheaper, more practical and built for purpose.
    Thanks again for the good advice. I think Jess is pretty concerned about stills, but then again I don't know how much.. I think if we could get better effects, and not just a flat image it would be worth paying out for lenses etc. As that's the only way to have more control over shooting videos without paying out into the thousands.

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    It would be good if a non-DSLR shooter pitched in here. To start to get the best out of a DSLR, you're looking at around the 1200 price range. If would be interesting to see what you could get camcorder wise for that price.

  10. #10
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    I still think a camcorder would suit you best, particularly after re-reading your first post. You're not going ti get a fab lens for 90, and the only demonstrable will be the ability ti achieve shallow DOF. Which ain't all it's cracked up to be. If I had 600, I'd spend 400 on a camcorder. If you get good use out if it, you can sell it on eBay and starg to invest in a DSLR etc. I just can't recommend a DSLR for someone just starting out, abc on a budget.

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