For over 20 years, photography as been a passion of mine. Recently, I indulged myself and bought a Canon T3i DSLR.
I love the thing, and I’ve taken some really great shots in the past year.
The incredible result that I never expected is that I shoot almost zero video footage anymore. I physically can’t do it- because have the gosh darn DSLR in my hands like it was surgically attached.
So I’ve been asking myself often lately- is the camcorder dead?
Not yet. The camcorder is still a very useful tool.
I still use my camcorder for shooting long family events. Things like a play or recital. I can put the camcorder on a tripod, and let it do it’s thing. It’s like a reliable buddy shooting along side me as I fire off hundreds of stills with my still camera.
Camcorders are also still useful because they’re so reliable. Setting up a video shoot with a DSLR is not easy. It takes planning and practice for every shot to get it right. This is because holding a DSLR is more awkward for video shooting, it’s not really designed for that. It’s also because the DSLR (most of them, anyway) don’t provide great focusing ability while video is being recorded.
Here’s the key pros and cons of shooting video with your DSLR vs. your Camcorder.
- More portable and easy to transport
- Provides longer continuous recording durations
- Far better auto focus and automatic exposure capabilities than DSLRs shooting video
- More confortable to use (shooting video)
- Almost always has better Audio Recording capabilities
- Image quality is limited by the built in lens
- Won’t snap satisfying still images (no matter what the manufacturer tells you.)
- Ease of use leads to overzealous video taking (Just ask my kids- they’ll confirm this)
- Creative options may be limited (again, because of built in lens)
- Less Depth of Field because of smaller image sensor (Not a big deal unless you like cinematic looking footage)
- Superior Imaging quality
- More Cinematic feel to resulting footage
- More control over creative effects
- More substantial weight can lend itself to more steady footage
- Ability to change lenses for different situations
- It’s just more cool to have a big camera body and a big, heavy lens! I mean-come on.
- You always have the option to take great stills
- Difficult to lug around
- Not convenient to just reach for and start shooting video
- Fidgety video controls- video is an afterthought on most models, and controls are not easy to figure out
- Requires much more care and knowledge of camera systems (This could be a pro if your goal is to learn how cameras work)
- Smaller continuous running times available
- Audio is often poor to moderate in quality
- Can be very expensive to rig a DSLR for your specific needs
So there it is a nice little nut shell. I love my DSLR, but I’m not ready to get rid of my trusty old Canon HV30, either.
Let me know if you’ve been using your still camera more often or your video camera. If you really want to make me go nuts, you can tell me that you shoot everything with your smart phone.
Go ahead, please let me know what’s up.