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.

Pros Camcorder

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Cons Camcorders

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Pros DSLR

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Cons DSLR

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Posted on September 26, 2013, in Equipment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. 1. Voice: Very informative and relatable for those who are involved with the same thing, ” 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”.

    2. Clarity: Very clear and informative, no complaints

  2. 1.”3.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.”

    What I like is how informative this is and how you went in to tell the pros and cons.

    2.”Many camcorders like my sony HD handycam don’t run more than about five-hundred dollars for a decent one.”

    Sony should be uppercased since its a products name.

  3. Awesome, simply Awesome……”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.”

    i like how you let yourself be open to the readers of the posting. you seem to be in touch with what you your needs and wants and your opinion of whats good for you.
    Clarity: of the posting was clear and precise . had no issues with bullets or punctuation.

    Story: like it . this seemed to be written from experience. broken down into segments made it easy yo read . good points and great subject for students with like interest.

  4. This is a great post! I love that you said what you needed to say and gave the facts in such a way that was really simple to read and understand. “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.” I have a photography class not and my professor keeps talking about the DSLR so it was cool to see the pros and cons in comparison. I think you did a great job of being informative for not only yourself but your readers!

  5. Michelle Bourget

    Awesome job! This is so true too. All of it. The voice was that of a struggling, dilemma-d artist– I can totally relate. Myself being biased, I would go towards a DSLR since the lenses will be interchangeable for years to come and have the option of much higher f-stops and gives you so many options. Also, like you said, that’s not what they were designed for and so accessories can be a bit of a hassle. I know that Canon recently released a cinema-line model that’s wicked pricey but a step in the right direction for people in situations such as yours.

  6. With voice very informative and sounded like you really knew about cameras and lenses. With clarity didn’t see anything wrong.

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