Video Camera or DSLR for Videography?

Video & Stills Cameras

Here at Outdoor Video & Photographic and OV&P Studio we use Nikon professional photographic gear and Canon video cameras plus all the additional gear required to produce world-class photography and videography. For comparison purposes in this article we compare Canon’s sub $6000 video cameras – used mainly for ENG (Electronic News Gathering) and documentary type video work – and professional DSLR stills/video cameras.

Canon are leaders in the professional video camera market, but Canon and Nikon have also cemented leading positions in DSLR videography which has exploded onto the market because of the full frame, 35mm type sensor, which provides incredible image quality and amazingly shallow depth of field (DOF) if required, to create true film-like imagery.

So what should you invest in?

The simple answer is that you should invest in the latest technology that your budget allows according to the type (genre) of video you shoot.

We are waiting with bated breath for Nikon and Canon to perfect the AF functionality on their DSLR’s. They are improving but do not come close to the smooth, accurate AF of true video cameras YET, and for fast action, long-range shooting that is impractical for “pulling” focus, this is a deal breaker.

First prize for videographers would be for 35mm sensors to become the norm in sub $6000 video cameras, which already have fast, accurate AF, but would then be able to shoot shallow DOF, true 2k video and better, with improved low-light performance – a game changing event.

Factors to Consider

So for us, doing a lot of fast action shoots, true video cameras are still our choice, mainly because of the fast, accurate AF and the user-friendly design and functionality, but we do sacrifice some low light performance and shallow DOF capability. For controlled environment, slow action commercial work, the DSLR’s perform wonders.

Which will come first, the chicken or the egg? 🙂 We don’t know. For us, we hope the full-size sensors on video cameras, but I suspect the DSLR AF technology will win this race and continue to create an even bigger demand for stills cameras playing a dual role for the foreseeable future.

If you have the budget, full size video cameras with 35mm sensors are available, such as RED and the Canon EOS C300, but be prepared to pay big bucks ($25000 plus) for the privilege. The other nice thing for pro’s is that they can hire this high-end equipment as part of their budget.

Canon XF300 & XF100

In the meantime our Canon XF300 ($5000 plus all the bits and pieces) and XF100 ($2500 plus all the bits and pieces) full HD video cameras are doing a great job, with the 3CCD, 18x optical zoom XF300 doing the really high-end work, and its little brother, the single CCD, 10x optical zoom XF100 doing amazing quality work which is difficult to discern in most areas when compared with the XF300.

We hope you find this article interesting and useful, and would love any constructive feedback from you that we can share to make this site even more popular. In the meantime, Shoot Sharp.

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