Buying a video camera can be difficult. What, with all the different models, brands, types, and accessories to pick from, how do you even make a decision?
As many companies look to begin their journey with video or upgrade their existing setup, we at IMPACT have been feeling the heat. As we've been assisting our clients and community make these decisions, the first decision, of many, is whether to purchase a DSLR camera or a "Prosumer" camera.
DSLR cameras are becoming the choice of many video creators because these cameras are lightweight, produce a very high-quality image, and are versatile, meaning you can do multiple types of shooting with them. These cameras have the ability to be upgraded over time, and as you improve your DSLR skills it is easy to switch to the next level without losing all the accessories and gear you have purchased for your previous camera, i.e lenses and batteries.
However, amongst the reasons you may love a DSLR, there are also reasons you shouldn't buy one. While I prefer to use one, I will be the first to say DSLR cameras are not for everyone and these are the reasons why.
#1. You are someone who just wants to set-up and forget about it
If you want to do video but you are not a camera nerd like I am, then DSLR cameras are not for you. DSLR cameras require hands-on control, you have to be actively monitoring the camera settings and for some, that's a daunting task.
Let's be honest everyone should be doing video, but not everyone has the ability to hire a videographer or someone who is going to own this. In these cases, something like a Prosumer camera is a much more ideal purchase. With DSLR cameras it can become a two person job and there are a handful of technical items that can become a bit overwhelming.
As a side note, DSLR camera autofocus features are becoming increasingly better and there are options out there that would allow you to just set-up and forget about.
As nice as that is, those cameras can get pricey.
#2. You want something affordable and ready to shoot
DSLR cameras range in price but you get what you pay for. The higher the quality of the camera, the higher the price. You could be looking at somewhere around $1000 to $4000 depending on the camera setup.
The main reason these cameras become expensive is because they require multiple attachments, including special lenses. Accessories like this will add up and drive the overall cost of the camera up.
Whether or not you actually purchase these is up to you but it is important to know that the stock lens, or “kit lens”, that comes with the camera is garbage. They will get you started but you will notice a drastic difference once you upgrade the lens.
Lenses or glass are important, they can change the entire feel and look on the shot taken. It's important to note that the better the glass the more expensive it can become, but also realize that you are getting what you pay for. These items are expensive but they do provide value, and in my opinion, worth every penny.
#3. You don't want too many options
With DSLR cameras there is quite the variety of options. This includes numerous brands and plenty of lenses to choose from.
This can get confusing and that is what usually deters people from buying a DSLR camera. They may have the budget but get inundated with options and accessories.
For DSLR cameras it will require research and, as with most of the items you buy nowadays, you want to know that you are getting the best option available for your money.
One resource I use when it comes to buying cameras is BHphotovideo.com, which has great customers reviews and product comparisons. Click here to see B&H DSLR cameras and look through the review tab and comparisons provided.
Another resource I often use is the photo and video expert, Jared Polin. His YouTube channel is all about camera tech and gear and happens to be my go-to review channel. Visit his channel for unbiased and hands on reviews from the most basic up to the professional level DSLR cameras.
#4. You don't want to a learn a bunch of geeky camera stuff
DSLR cameras are technical. You have to know the ins and outs to make sure that you get the best image possible.
For example, you'll need to know about white balance, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. You’ll also need to know the difference between a full-frame camera and APS-C camera. When it comes to lenses you will need to know about lens mounts and focal length. Additionally, you will need to know what an F-stop is and how that works with aperture and how that controls your depth of field.
I think you get the point. It's a lot to be familiar with.
DSLR cameras are robust but can be confusing. They take the time to learn and going out and failing and trying it again.
That being said, learning these techniques allow you to grow as a filmmaker, photographer and creative. You start to think about the shot in the technical aspect and what you need to do to produce the best shot possible.
Once you grasp these concepts with the DSLR, creating becomes fun and becomes a challenge you want to tackle.
DSLR cameras have cons, they are not for everyone. I use a DSLR camera here at IMPACT because it allows me to have full control of the image I want and that I am imagining.
These potential downsides and reasons why they might not be for you are solely based on the experience you wish to have with your camera. From a technical standpoint, DSLR's and "Prosumers" are very similar, and both will allow you to shoot high-quality videos.
I push those who are interested in DSLR cameras to test one out. Rent the camera for a few days and really dive into the settings. Use resources like YouTube, Lynda.com, and others to learn what these cameras can do. I assure you that if you take that time, you will fall in love with the result.
Lastly, thank you so much for reading this article. We appreciate it here at IMPACT. Also if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.