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Thread: I want to buy a camera - What should I consider?

  1. #1

    Default I want to buy a camera - What should I consider?

    I'm looking to shoot some documentaries using a good quality camera. I'm only at the start of my research for buying a good quality camera and just wondering what technical considerations I should make. For example 'FPS' what should I be looking for in relation to this and what are the other key technical aspects. I haven't decided what my spend is gonna be but I would consider buying one which you can add some type of wide angle lens to. What is imperative is that it has good picture quality, resolution and be easy to use as a hand held device and do decent tracking shots.

    Can anyone make recommendations for me to get started.

  2. #2



    There is no point for us to suggest anything to you without knowing what your budget is.
    That's like going to a car dealership and asking "please suggest me a nice car" without telling the sales person what you can afford in the first place.

    You can think about technical specs once you know your budget range and what other things you will need.

    When it comes to figuring out a budget, start with the simple things.
    - how much money can you invest (1000, 2000, 3000 5000, 10000? USD, GBP or EUR?)
    - do you need only a camera body or a kit? You won't get far in the Doc world without a kit. So... a camera body, 1-2 lenses, a shotgun mic, maybe a lav mic? What about lights? A small on camera light or maybe a 2 or 3 light kit for interview stuff?
    - do you plan to travel with the gear or stay mostly locally? If you need a kit for travel doc filming, then you would need something light and portable. If that's not an issue, then you can go with different items.

    Once you figure that out - that's when you can start thinking about what camera body you can afford and what would suit your need within that budget!
    Because if you need a kit and you are on a low budged, then it's more important to invest in better lenses, audio and lights, then a camera body.

    As I said - tell us your budget range and then if you only need a camera body or if you need a kit.
    Your answers would drastically change what we would suggest to you!

  3. #3


    Thanks mate for your reply and the valid points you made. You're right it's not easy to recommend without knowing the budget. So as a starting point I'd be looking at around 1500 give or take just for the camera body. Yes, I'd also be looking at a kit too so I could easily source a pair of Redheads for under 100 which I'd be happy with. But I would also need a uni-directional sound boom and tie-mic to plug into the camera body, sound is non-negotiable for me so it must be broadcast quality. Any recommendations on this?
    I'll be filming mainly local to begin with and would likely need a lense or a camera with a wide field of view. Lastly, I'd be looking at getting a cost effective tripod and something to bear in mind with a lot of documentaries is the ability to use the camera effectively hand held or for tracking shots.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Another question you need to answer is whether you will be in control of all aspects of your documetaries or whether there will be times you need to pick up a camera and shoot on the hoof. If the latter, a decent camcorder will be much more useful as everything is ready to go. It is also more ergonomic if you want to shoot handheld. Other formats (DSLR, Micro 4/3, Cinema cameras) give you much more control over the image quality, but require setting up. Camcorders (exclusing the most basic ones) also come with better on board sound facilities (ie connectors for external microphones, usually better preamps and headphone monitoring sockets).

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