Which Canon DSLR?

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    • #51025


         I'm still wondering whether or not to get a better video camera (I currently use a Panasonic TM900), or got a Canon DSLR.  


         If I go with a Canon DSLR, which would you suggest?  I'd like to stay with Canon as I have a t1i, and a few lenses.  The t4i looks really good (better processor, higher iso settings, longer record times).  But does it make sense to invest in something more, like a Mark III, or if I'm doing that, should I just put it all into an actual video camera like Panasonic AG-HMC150?


         I do this work on the side from my regular job.  I shoot everything from short web commercials, to recitals, to lectures, to chamber music.  Just to give you an idea of what I'm doing.  


          I don't have a huge budget, but I'd rather buy once and buy right.  Whatever I get is going on a 0% card for 12 months anyway… πŸ™‚  My top limit that I'd be comfortable with spending is about $4000, if I can spend less and manage with whatever I get until I'm making more money doing this.. I'm fine wiht that as well.


         This forum has helped me make my first step into this work a while ago… looking for help now that I'm ready to take the next step.  Thanks in advance!

    • #204370

      DSLR's aren't the best option for long-form productions (recitals, lectures). Good lenses aren't cheap either. Then there is the support gear you need to make it 'behave' like a decent videocamera. For the type of work you're doing, the Panny might be the better option. If you must have the low-light performance and shallow DOF look, then DSLRs are the easy choice. 

      A hybrid (Panasonic GH2) might solve your problems, as it has the DSLR look, but with some more videocam-centric features and benefits.

    • #204374

      I would agree with the comment above. Based on what seems to be the majority of your work, an actual video camera seems like it would be the best option for you. In my opinion, the DSLRs, because of their shallow DoF, are best for control productions.

    • #204385

      That's good feedback.. yea, I guess it really depends on what my company will need me to do at this point then… and that's still being figured out on their end.  I do a lot of side work too, but my primary income from this work come from my current employer.


      I'd like to stay with Canon so I can use the lenses I do own, but the GH2 does look pretty amazing.  It's affordable and it seems like it can shoot for longer time frames than the others, though I have to confirm that…


      Seems that for $2000 I could build a basic (but decent) GH2 kit with warranty, additional lens, and focus follow.   


      Hadn't even heard of this camera… it's looking better and better… maybe I should sell my canon set up and invest in panasonic for my photos too instead of just my videos… hmmmm.  Thanks!

    • #204394

      Nice thing about Panasonic is that it's cheap and has an EVF, so you can get by without buying a Zacuto, or other, EVF. The downside is that the sensor is a micro 4/3, which means a 2X crop factor. So a 50mm lens is going to look like a 100mm in area. Getting a fast wide angle could be problematic. 

    • #204397

      hmmm, that sensor size is concerning then…  as I deal with low light quite a bit…  and I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the 2X crop factor..could you explain that more.

    • #204819

      I love shooting with DSLR's; and when you need longer recording times, I find that changing the bit rate to something lower (which may mar your quality if too low) will allow for longer recording times. 


      However, a large mind set is that DSLR's record for small amounts of time; they actually record to amounts of data.


      For example, my t3i would record for about 12 minutes in full 1080P at 24 FPS. This gave me a file size of 4GB every time, no ifs ands or buts, regardless of what size my card was.


      My 5D Mark 3 is recording at 45 minutes with its full 1080P 24 FPS settings and is making 16GB files.


      and my C500 is specifically designed for cinema, and I haven't seen how long it records for. 


      But all of this is based on settings which are the absolute key. 



      However, if you're looking to get up and go right out of the box without any settings work;




      That from Panasonic is great, and works fine in low light conditions as long as you remember to white balance. 

    • #205256

      Only problem with that Pana is the depth of field, due to its 1/3" CCDs.


      If a budget allows, going for a 1/2" CCD camera or larger might be a lot better looking, which is where the DSLRs shine.


      But Sony has released some new affordable, larger CCD video cameras, inspired on the FS100, that might do a very good job.

    • #205261

      I would suggest either going all-out with a 5d or save some money and get a t3i the t4i just in my opinion not worth it.

    • #205265

      Shaun – I have the TM900, the GH2 and, now, the GH3.  A few thoughts if you haven't made your decision yet.


      First – Canon DSLRs (other than the $3000 5D Mark III) are limited to 12-22 minute video clips.  Not good for event shooters.  The GH2 and GH3 have no clip length limit.


      Second – Canon DSLRs (again, except for the 5D Mark III) are subject to moire.  See these side-by-sides between the Canon 60D and the GH2.  Canon DSLR cameras have a terrible time with brickwork, shingled roofs, patterned clothing, etc:


      Canon 60D vs Panasonic GH2 evil moire test


      60D vs GH2 Moire Test


      Third – the GH2 will intercut very well with your TM900.  I didn't shoot this, but wish I did:


      YouTube – Mixed footage TM900 GH2


      Fourth – there is some amazing work being done with the GH2: http://www.indietalk.com/showpost.php?p=273231&postcount=8


      The GH2 (body only) is $499 at Amazon right now – a great value for money.


      And, if you can wait a couple of more months, the $1298 GH3 is an even better still/video camera, with all of the advantages of the GH2, plus a headphone jack, 1080/60p, a high bit rate intraframe codec, water and dust resistance – again, features no Canon has at this price level.


      Hope this is helpful,



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

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