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Old July 26th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #1
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DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

No matter how many raves I read about using DSLRs for weddings, I'm just not seeing enough advantages over traditional video cameras. Am I just being an old fogey? Here's what worries me:
- no servo zoom, resulting in stiff on-camera zooming
- dismal audio capabilities. No XLRs, no headphone jack on many models, use of wireless audio recorders means you can't monitor audio
- simultaneous manual focus and zooming a real bitch

Are these legitimate concerns? The audio part alone makes me want to never go near a DSLR.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

It's a problem, I admit that. Audio and DSLRs are not good bedpartners. That is the reason most DSLR-shooters choose to record their audio on a dedicated audio-recorder, preferably one with XLR-inputs. This also solves the headphones/audio-monitoring issue, but creates another: your audio and video are recorded on two seperate devices, and thus you'll need to sync in post. It's a hassle, but for most of 'us' it's very much worth it!

Are those all the problems that come with 'm ... nope ... the trouble keeps heaping up. There's (with most DSLRs) a time limit. You can only record for approx. 12 minutes in one take. After reaching the 12-minutes-line the camera will stop recording, without a warning. Also, that 12-minutes limit is not even a guarantee, I've had it record up to 20 minutes before it kicked. The problem is the way these camera's handle their files, they've got a 4GB/file limit. This means: 12 minutes of video per take, at least, but longer is possible. This is a very dangerous thing to 'play' with in case of event shooting. Then there's also moire and anti-aliasing to take into account. But still, for many of 'us', it's still worth it!

Were that all the downsides? Most certainly ... not. There's the matter of zooming and focusing manually. There is no automatic mode (unless you're ready to shelf out big buck for third party equipment). Zooming is done exclusively by manually turning the zoom-ring of the lens, the same goes for focusing. That's why the use of a follow focus is generally very popular amongst DSLR-shooters. Zooming and focussing at the same time is not only hard, it nearly impossible. And of course there's the matter of ergonomics when using this type of camera for video-shooting... but I won't even get into that.

And still people, including myself, prefer the use of a DSLR over the regular videocamera -- in the sub $6000 price range. I love the flexibility of being abled to switch between lenses, especially primes (with a fixed focus lens). I love having the capability (at times, don't over-do it) of achieving the befamed shallow-depth-of-field, because of the very large sensor (in comparison to most video-camera's). The low-light performance and the fact that I have to be extremely conscious of every setting I'm shooting at.

And in the end for a lot of folks it's simply the low entry-level price point. One can get into the video-DSLRs for less than $700 - not including lenses, which is a ridiculous low pricepoint for a camera which will -if in the right hands- deliver a image quality that surpasses many much-pricier videocameras.

One man (in case of weddings) who I'd call 'the right hands' would be for example JJ Kim (Orange Wedding Films) - 'cause everyone will admit: these visuals look just gorgeous!
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #3
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
I'm just not seeing enough advantages over traditional video cameras. ...The audio part alone makes me want to never go near a DSLR.
Bill, you don't have to, and we all know limitations of video recorded with photo camera, but I just wonder, have you tried to shoot DSLR with some decent lens? I'm asking cuz I was really sceptical about DSLR video myself, but as soon as I borrowed one from my friend, and tried to shoot some clips on my next wedding job, right after that I was buying my first 5DmkII
it's a tool, try it, if you'll like it - you use it in your production, and if you don't - you don't
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

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Originally Posted by Ruben Kremer View Post
I love the flexibility of being abled to switch between lenses, especially primes (with a fixed focus lens)
that would be a pain to use;)
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Bill, I'm well-known enough as a "video" man here but I can see that DSLRs will have a following.

They're well suited to the "arty-farty" type of programme;
They're good for people who don't mind lots of disparate equipment on a job and have the time to fit all the different recordings together before they start editing;
They're trendy (and there'll always be some people for whom that's important);
They're cheap - at least at the entry level there's generally a price differential in favour of the DSLR;
If you're using multiple cameras then AFAIK there's no way of putting all the camera settings into all the cameras in seconds as some serious video camera users (eg EX1/3) can.

I'm sure the DSLR afficionados could add another 20 benefits (which I could easily counter with an equal number of disadvantages) but if none of those five appeal to you then I think you'll find a "proper" video camera better suited to your work.

The important thing is that provided we're talking weddings and events there'll be room here for their users' opinions and views.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Wow, Philip, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder regarding DSLR's. You made each of the 'benefits' you listed sound like negatives.

Look, DSLR's aren't for everyone. They DO have disadvantages. They also have pretty amazing advantages too.

The primary reasons we started using DSLR's were much better image quality, much better low light performance, much better DOF control, the ability to use different lenses, and the much smaller form factor (ease of travel). If none of that appeals to you, then I wouldn't bother with DSLR's. Otherwise you'll just have to gauge whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for your shooting needs.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Sorry Travis, only the last of my five points was intended to be negative at all.

As I wrote, in my view the DSLR negatives are legion (as the similar thread on this topic indicates) but I do recognise that some people a) like them and b) find them useful for their type of programmes. With the precursor that I am a "proper" video camera man, I don't think one can say fairer than that.

Perhaps one other comment is apposite and that it that there are very successful and regarded people in this business who still work with PD170s and I'd be the last to gainsay them.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

I love the GH1. And I'm not trendy. It's absolutely amazing -- the single best piece of video equipment I've happened upon in a very long time. Small light body, manual or auto focusing with the right lenses, no recording time limit, awesome low-light capability and nice shallow DOF in a lot of instances. I don't zoom much at all, so I don't care about manual zooming. They don't take any more time to set up and shoot with than traditional video cameras.

But I also use HMC40's, because they also come in very useful.

They're all tools in the toolbox. They all are great in some situations, and suck in other situations. If you don't like using DSLR's or something like the GH1/GH2, that's great. But I like having a nice array of tools at my disposal.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #9
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

I bought a DSLR as a b cam at first to my larger JVCHD 200U (which I loved at the time). The very first wedding a photog let me use his 1.2 85mm during the reception. I was BLOWN AWAY! It was like shooting with night vision goggles attached to my camera (only without the shades of green and noise).
The wedding I shot last week had such great uplighting that I didn't have to use any external lights at all...

Steve
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Old July 26th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #10
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

I'm in the same paranoia boat...

That's why i'm holding off for an AF100 for next year(fingers crossed) or something similar...
Until then, i'm starting to incorporate a lot of the techniques I enjoy viewing from the DSLR side of things...
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Old July 26th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Bill,

The DSLR or the "proper camera" are tools. Seeing how this theory applies to human nature, let's talk about a different tool, lawn mowers.

If it is time to go get a new lawn mower, of course you do your research before heading to the store. During the course of that research, let's say you decide you really like the traditional riding lawn tractor. You looked at and investigated those new fangled zero turn riding mowers, but in your gut, they just aren't "you".

When you go to the lawn mower store, you already know you like the John Deere green traditional lawn tractors. Once inside the store, let's say you end up with a very persuasive salesman who pitches all the benefits of the zero turn, even though you keep eying up that shiny John Deere next to it.

Somehow after all the pitch of all the benefits, the salesman then convinces you to buy the zero turn.

The zero turn gets to your house, you try it out and you see it is just too weird and complicated to operate. You try your best to figure it out but deep inside you are kicking yourself because you KNEW you really wanted that John Deere.

IN YOUR MIND and in no time at all, that zero turn is going to be the biggest piece of crap you have ever bought in your entire life. With each passing use of it you are going to hate it more and more and more !!!

You eventually go back to the lawn mower store and trade in that worthless piece of crap for that John Deere you really wanted. Forever after, that John Deere is going to be the absolute best tool you ever owned !!!

Don't fight your gut Bill....regardless of what others say, your gut is telling you what is right for you.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

i need to jump in here. I was shooting my Ex1 AND 7D side by side this past weekend.
yes,the DSLR has a "sharper" image, however, despite me using a f1.4 lens in a very dark
room, the equivalent ISO on the DSLR and the gain on the EX1 gave the EX1 the advantage of
a cleaner picture. Both were using LED lights. Maybe its the 7D, but even in the church, i saw
no discernable advantage to the 7D in that particular instance, it had a tad more reach with
the 70-200 due to the 1.6x crop, but not by much. I don't know man. I tell you, it gets tiresome
rolling around with two bags of crap on a wedding day. I am about to abandon the DSLR all together
and stick with the traditional video cameras. After all, content is king, and sometimes i HATE not
having a fast servo zoom at my finger tips.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #13
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

Hey Guys

There seems to bit a hint of bitterness between DSLR users and video camera users which to me sounds rather silly. Both have their advantages and also their disadvantages but if we start to squabble over which is better we might as well start fighting over 7D verus GH2 and Canon versus Sony!!!

Seriously, does it REALLY matter what gear you use?? I use Panasonic HMC cameras..does that make me a bad or incompenent videographer???

IMO use whatever suits you and gets the job done..I personally prefer shooting with normal cams as their AF is very good and it's one less think to worry about BUT that doesn't mean that everyone should follow me!!!

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Old July 26th, 2011, 10:23 PM   #14
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

I can say right now that I will not use DSLRs for my work. Why? Not because I necessarily dislike them (I have tried them out and they do produce very nice footage and have some definate advantages over the traditional vidcam) but because I'm too damn old and too near retirement to worry about learning new gear now. Like Chris said just because I'm still shooting tape, SD, 4:3 BTW, on... wait for it, an 11 year old PD150 and an 7 year old PD170, doesn't make me a bad guy either. I still do 55 to 60 per year, make a very decent living, fill my clients needs and since most of my clients are referrals or have seen me at one of their friends weddings, they know what they're getting. Plus some of my corporate clients like the idea of giving them the tapes at the end of the day so their people can do the edit.
The point is this. You use what you're comfortable with and while I'm comfortable with a DSLR for stills...not so much for video. Will I upgrade my cams? Yeah it appears so. Will I get DSLRs? I would say no. Would I try to talk someone out of them? Naw, not my business. You want 'em, get 'em. Don't like 'em, sell 'em. Move on.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 11:38 PM   #15
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Re: DSLRs: am I just being paranoid?

And things will change again.. today, it's DSLR.. tomorrow, it could be an iPhone 5 :P

I agree, use what suits you best and fits your clients needs best.
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