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Hi, need beginner camera recomendations?

theplasticbag's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 09/03/2012 - 4:04am

Hi, i'm new to all these and i've always loved making short videos for myself.
But, being pushed towards making a career choice near the end of highschool i'd like to look into
film making.
and if not for a career then, as a hobby.
but, right now i have no where to start.
what types of cameras are good for beginners?
should i start off with a dslr or a dedicated camcorder?
which ones?
anything under $1000 please. (:
thank you!


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Virtually any of the Canon Vixia series: HF R300 at under $300; HF M500 at $525 (Amazon prices as of today) are good starter cameras and well under your max budget. You would do well to look into a number of others in the Vixia line, running from $300 or so to about $1,200 street prices. A good number of folks on these forums have expressed satisfaction with the Canon Vixia line.

I'm sure JVC, Sony and Panasonic all have something similar in options/pricing but Canon glass (the lens) quality remains a deal maker IMHO.


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 4 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

" should i start off with a dslr or a dedicated camcorder? "

A DSLR rigrequires too many doo-dads to be able to do video. If you're serious about learning to make films, you don't need to be bogged down with cumbersome hardware. I might be wrong ( frequently am ), but I believe the mostbang for your buckwould be a quality camcorder between $ 500 and $ 1000

Rick Crampton



Moab Man's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/02/2010 - 3:35am
Plus Member

My post seems to have ended up on the cutting room floor as its no longer here but I see the others still.


theplasticbag's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 09/03/2012 - 4:04am

i'm not sure what happened to it but i would love to hear what recommendations you have to say.
would you mind posting it once more?



Moab Man's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/02/2010 - 3:35am
Plus Member

I too recommend the Canon Vixia line. They are the only line that I have found offering an external mic jack from the lowest level on up. You want an external mic as the camera sound will not satisfy you.


dellwovideo's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 05/20/2011 - 6:35pm

I own a Canon Vixia HF-S200 and it's a great little camera. I use it as my master shot for wedding production since it doesn't suffer from the file size limitations of my DSLR. It's perfect for a beginner. It's no longer in production so look at some of the newer ones in the Vixia line. Sony and Panasonic also make some good cameras in this price range. But in all honesty if you don't already own a camera just go buy one in the $300-$400 range and start shooting. The HR R300 is a good place to start looking. It will allow you to get your feet wet and get some practice shooting. And be careful of some cameras that say they're fullHD but don't even have a fullHD chip. ALways check the specs before you purchase and read reviews from real users. I don't know how some companies get away with some of their marketing...

And remember, to make videos you still need a computer and editing software or your camera doesn't do you a whole lot of good. I suggest at least a core-i3 processor with 8 gbs of RAM and Adobe Premiere Elements.

And as a note of caution - I also own a DSLR and I would absolutely NOT recommend it for a beginner. DSLRs are complicated and require a strong knowledge of still photography principals in addition to your video skills. Learn to walk before you run. :-)


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 11 hours 36 sec ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

Andy - I'm going to offer slightly different advice. If you want a career in filmmaking, it would be useful start out with a camera with a large sensor for control of depth of field - and I also recommend interchangeable lenses - so you can make artistic choices about focal length and explore the 'character' of different types of lenses.

I am not a fan of traditional DSLRs for some of the reasons outlined above - but my mirrorless Panasonic GH2, a DSLM or "mirrorless" camera in the "DSLR form factor" has unlimited video clip length, an external mic jack, power zooms (if you want them), autofocus - and extraordinary video resolution - in a $1190 camera (used price at Amazon).

Here is what can be done with a handheld GH2 with the right lens - no shoulder rigs or contraptions:

https://vimeo.com/43297844

https://vimeo.com/30350710

If you must have the camcorder form factor, I still recommend interchangeable lenses. You can get a used Sony NEX-VG10 with 18-20mm zoom for $1000 at Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003WQMSOU/ref=sr_1_1_olp?tag=battleforthew-20

Here is what can be done with the VG10:

https://vimeo.com/13344064

(Warning: NSFW)https://vimeo.com/26825214

The Vixias are fine cameras, but the "cinematic" control of depth of field that film audiences are accustomed to can only be produced with larger sensors as found in micro 4/3 (GH2), APS-C (VG10), or (much more expensive) Super 35 or full frame sensor cameras.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 4 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

Okay . . . . . . so let's say you're doing a remake of " Gone With The Wind ", and a " cinematic " look is essential to your creative sensibilities . . . . . no, scratch that . . ..

The question of " dpeth of field " seems to be all the rage, so let's examine. If one can afford a qualityDSLRand a bag full of prime lenses, cool. And let's assume that depth of field is the only consideration ( tossing out shot time issues and audio hassles, and in some cases monitor viewing, etc ) A quality camcorder with a good zoomlenseCAN achieve a modest shallow depth offield effect by zooming in as far as you can, while still framing your subject,and by reducing the light level ( reducing the f-stop )as much as you can.

I'll trade the convenience ofa quality camcorder for the expense and hassle of an unweildy DSLR any day. I don't plan on becomming involved in a dramatic production which might dictate advanced cinematic effects; butif I did, I'm confident that my camcorder could capture images pleasing to all but the most severe film critic, viewing on the " big screen ".

Rick Crampton



theplasticbag's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 09/03/2012 - 4:04am

thanks for all the input guys!
i am currently using a olympus point and shoot my dad got from the shopping channel with a chunky lens. it's not too bad in my opinion but i feel it's too limited.
i am now conflicted between the vixia series and the sony interchangeble lens camcorder.
i had been looking at the sony one before but it was quite expensive so i'm not sure anymore.
i was also recommended the canon rebel t3i any thoughts?
thanks guys!


theplasticbag's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 09/03/2012 - 4:04am

thanks for all the input guys!
i am currently using a olympus point and shoot my dad got from the shopping channel with a chunky lens. it's not too bad in my opinion but i feel it's too limited.
i am now conflicted between the vixia series and the sony interchangeble lens camcorder.
i had been looking at the sony one before but it was quite expensive so i'm not sure anymore.
i was also recommended the canon rebel t3i any thoughts?
thanks guys!