Camcorder vs. DSLR
Throughout my interest in videography, I always ask myself whether I should invest in an expensive, high quality, professional camera. However I don’t believe I am in that stage of my life where I need to drop upwards of five grand on something when I could get about the same result from other cameras. Currently I own a sony HD handycam and a gopro. I have been seriously debating whether or not I want or even need a DSLR camera. I have compiled a pros and cons list of each. Keep in mind I am discussing the more amateur style camcorders not the semi pro or pro camcorders.
- Price – Many camcorders like my sony HD handycam don’t run more than about five-hundred dollars for a decent one. As long as it has a decent lens it can capture some pretty good shots. I wouldn’t suggest investing in a camcorder that doesn’t record HD for the sole purpose that images come out far clearer. Unless you just want a camera to capture some home movies. An HD camcorder is a good option for consumers on a tight budget.
- User Friendly – The consumer camcorders on the market today are generally small and easy to get used to. It won’t take awhile for someone to pick one up and learn all the settings on the device.
- Phones! – This has to be one of my favorites. Could a phone be considered a camcorder? Anyways it is amazing how far cameras in cell phones have come since just a few years ago. Nowadays anybody can just whip out their smartphone and be recording on at least 720P. This is a convenience for any film maker.
- Lighting – Although it is possible to obtain a great image from HD camcorders, it requires some work. A lot of consumer camcorders don’t accommodate for poor lighting. By this I mean excess light will create a washed out image that can be hard to fix while not enough light can cause the image to come out grainy. This is something to keep in mind.
- Stills – There is an option to take still images on camcorders but they are nowhere as clear as an image a DSLR would give. This is because the lens on a camcorder is more designed for video.
- Lenses – There are a vast variety of lenses for a DSLR. I’d rather put this as a pro than a con because lenses really do come in handy when shooting different shots. Its easy to create the dynamic shots you are looking for. However each lens has its purpose and requires practice. Plenty of experimenting is always a good thing to try with each lens.
- Modes/filters – There are various setting on DSLR you can use depending on the kind of image you want. They are mostly for taking picture but filters can also be added to create warmer or cooler images. This is especially helpful when lighting is an issue.
- Sensors – The reason that DSLRs can produce such high quality images is because their sensor is usually larger than those of camcorders. This goes along with lenses because the bigger the sensor the more light is able to be let in and to be capture.
- Price – DSLRs generally run from upwards of five-hundred dollars. This isn’t even including the necessary lenses, flashes, and microphones you would have to add to create something the way you wanted.
- Accessories – Like I just mentioned accessories can be expensive. And sometimes they are even necessary. So if you are willing to throw down the extra cash to get some top-notch lights, mics, and lenses then you could easily give any shot you take a cinematic view.
- Convenience – DSLRs are slightly inconvenient because they weigh more than a camcorder. This normally isn’t a big deal for most people however. It can also be inconvenient because of all the accessories mentioned above.
So those are some of my person opinions and know how of each device. Here is a quick video explaining some difference and is more on the Pro DSLR side of the argument.
After watching the video it makes a compelling argument as to why I should invest in a DSLR over some camcorder. So many options and ways I could use it. Those images don’t lie. It could definitely be worth the money for project I’m looking to work on in the future.