Digital SLR, or Camcorder?

Associate
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More and more bceoming media focused. I want to get into photography and would like to enter the realm of Digital SLRs for stills, however i also require something to capture HD Videos on.

I know Digital SLR's are capable of HD video recording, but are they really upto scratch? enough to not bother with a camcorder?

The only real thing I require the camcorder to do is record in full HD, have a decent zoom - anything at least 10x optical is ample (more the better - always a bonus) and the possibility of adding an external mic for recording live music events, or maybe even plugging direct into a sound deck (not essential as I can record the audio separately.

Any advice greatly appreciated, I don't have a massive budget (approx £500) but I don't mind buying second hand.
 
Soldato
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What will you be filming?

We shoot weddings and we've now switched to shooting 50/50 on camcorders/DSLRs, and we shoot 100% of our corporate work on DSLRs.

They're great, but expensive (but then so are decent dedicated camcorders) because a body alone isn't enough, and lenses don't offer as much flexibility as camcorder lenses/zooms which means you need more than one; we've just ordered £1,500 worth of DSLR lenses.
 
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What will you be filming?

We shoot weddings and we've now switched to shooting 50/50 on camcorders/DSLRs, and we shoot 100% of our corporate work on DSLRs.

They're great, but expensive (but then so are decent dedicated camcorders) because a body alone isn't enough, and lenses don't offer as much flexibility as camcorder lenses/zooms which means you need more than one; we've just ordered £1,500 worth of DSLR lenses.

Thanks for your reply:)

Mainly filming Bands in venues and rehearsal / practice rooms. whilst I realize the quality is never gonna be spectacular in these environments I don't want to just buy something inferior.

I'm using my iphone 4 at the moment, with some fostex mic's - which works surprising well but as the band/bands need photos I was seriously considering a Digital SLR and a perhaps a few local photography courses to get me on the right track.

I know lenses and add on's such and flash units can be expensive for DSLR's but It too similar to when I built my PC, buy a bare unit and build up as a when you can to suit you needs.

Any DSLR's you could recommend to me please?
 
Soldato
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If your primary use is filming bands in venues then I'd recommend a DSLR as their low light capabilities money for money will be much better than a dedicated camcorder. Plus if you want the ability to take stills then it's a no brainer.

We use the Canon 60D for video work as it's got a flip-out screen; it won't take you long to realise how useful this is, and it's no surprise that you won't find a camcorder that doesn't have a flip-out/adjustable screen. It shoots in full 1080p and although it's got a crop sensor this suits our work (lenses will be slightly more telephoto) and isn't a massive issue.

It retails at about £780 at the moment so out of your budget but you may be able to find one that's within second hand.

Lens-wise you'd want to look at the Canon 50mm f1.8 (~£80) or Canon 35mm f2 (~£250). Obviously there's a big difference in price there but the 50mm prime is a great lens for the money. If you've got the cash then you'll also want a wide angle lens for band shoots, and we use/I recommend the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5, but that comes in at about £500. Personally I'd be confident shooting a band with a 50mm and 10-20mm.

The other thing to consider is DSLR files. Video takes up a lot of room in the first place (so you need big and fast (class 10) cards) and due to their higher bitrate it puts an immense strain on even a top-notch spec computer. Just something to consider if you don't already have one.

Hope that helps! Nobody said this would be cheap ;)
 
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Marvelous. just found a brand new Canon 60D for £539! :) which I would be very happy to pay for seen as its going to be able act as a camcorder and Camera.

I don't mind paying for the lenses, but might have to wait a month for those until the funds allow me to do so :)I like the idea of this camera giving me the flexibility and functionality over a camcorder - all for a better price too.

I will get the biggest memory card I can afford and take into account the class as I read somewhere this can cause HD Video to distort or stutter.
My iphone shooting a mere 720 eats through the MB, I can just imagine the image sizes being colossal in size, let alone full HD video on this Cannon.

shouldn't be a problem with my comp - only thing I need to add is a GPU and maybe a couple more SSD's but I can encode video at a stonking rate.

thanks for your help. Had a quick ganders at you gallery and wedding portfolio. Very impressive. keep up the good work :)
 
Soldato
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If you don't mind the sacrifice in build/handling quality then the 600D could be one to look at. Bit cheaper than the 60D and then you could use the money to buy a new/better lens.
 
Soldato
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Where have you found it for £539? We bought a new one 2 weeks ago and the best price we could find was £778 at the high street photo shop. If it's that cheap I'd be concerned it's not a UK/EU model/won't have warranty/is a fraudulent website.

As for cards we use and I'd recommend Transcend 32GB Class 10s. They can be had for £25 and will get you about 1hr 45m of real-world shooting time.

The other thing I forgot to mention is DSLRs major downfall is their clip time limit. For the 60D this is 12 minutes. Assuming none of the bands you'll be filming will have songs that are longer than 12 minutes this won't be a problem, but something that's worth bearing in mind.
 
Soldato
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All DSLRs have recording caps. The highest I know of is 30 minutes which is the 5DMKIII I believe.

It's basically to do with legalities, not technical ability, ie patents, tax (cameras and camcorders are taxed differently), rights etc.

Someone here will be able to say for sure but at that price I'm 99% sure it'll be a HK/grey market import which means the manufacturer warranty won't be valid in the UK.
 
Soldato
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I thought it caps because of the format of SD cards. With it being FAT32, it cannot store files with a greater size than 4GB.

Never used that store myself but it does show an image of the 600D rather than T3i/Kiss X5 so :confused:
You would still have the year warranty with the retailer though, even if you can't go to Canon?
 
Caporegime
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from a place called SLR Hut. Seems to reputable with 479 google shopping ratings
http://www.google.co.uk/products/ca...zbBMjh8AOz3d2wCw&ved=0CIEBEPMCMAA#scoring=tps

Slightly concerned about the filming cap you mentioned. Why is such a high level camera capped at what I believe is such a meager time?

Thanks for the heads on the Memory Cards :) I'm loving the fact memory is becoming cheaper and cheaper


The recording limit is mostly due to taxes and duty. Besides, which in Hollywood they rarely film for more than 30-60s. The longest video takes/shots in history are around the 5-8 minute mark:
http://listverse.com/2007/10/05/top-15-amazing-long-takes/
 
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Someone here will be able to say for sure but at that price I'm 99% sure it'll be a HK/grey market import which means the manufacturer warranty won't be valid in the UK.

Not true. If the camera is bought from a UK supplier (ie, a UK address and VAT receipt) then Canon will honour the warranty. SLRHut, however, import from the US direct to consumer, which means you're liable if customs decide to whack a charge on it.

I bought my 7D from hdew cameras a few months back for £899 (cheapest 'official' UK supplier was £1150) and that comes with 1 year warranty with Canon, then a further 2 years with hdew themselves. Delivery was next day, and as the cameras are already in the UK VAT is charged and there's no extra tax nastiness!

£623 right now from them for the 60D
 
Soldato
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You're right, my bad. That's correct for the ~12 minute ones (ie 60D), but most manufactures place a hardware limitation due to EU rules where video devices recording beyond the 29 minute mark are classed in a separate, higher VAT banding.
 
Soldato
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Digitalrev can be good so I've heard. Although an import, they have a uk repair shop or something like that iirc.

How much would customs + VAT be on something which is £350?
Edit: Dw worked it out, it's about £430 total.
 
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