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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 11th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #16
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Lau View Post
it seems as though no one is buying the traditional video cameras anymore

I do :) I use a traditional videocamera and a dslr with weddings, when you use a dslr under the right conditions you can have very nice looking footage, mainly because of the shallow dof and the fact that you don't have to use extra light when using a fast lens. But especially the canons can give you awefull footage and ruin your shots completely caused by ugly moire or aliasing.

For me their just a tool, mainly for creative shallow dof shots, to fly on my blackbird steadicam (because their so light) and to shoot with when it gets too dark. Their just a big pain in the *** to operate, focus can be extremely tricky and to me they still are a photocamera with a videofunction and very limited functionality.

With my "real" videocamera you can just trow me into any unpredictable situation and I will get the shot, without even worrying, with a dslr I only would be sure if I was a 2 or 3 man crew.

Dslr's are great to have but they don't make great video, it's the guy behind the camera that does.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 07:01 PM   #17
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

True words from a wise man...it's the guy behind the camera that counts in ALL cases!!

I think saying that people don't buy video cameras any more is a little over the top. If that was hapenning or going to happen then manuafacturers like Sony, Pansonic, JVC and Canon would have stopped production a lot time ago...despite their success, Canon STILL make the new 5D III as a STILL camera that can take video too!!

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Old April 11th, 2012, 08:09 PM   #18
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

That was a helluva list from David C., and I must say I agree almost categorically. I do use my 7D (yes, in a rig to make it more like a camcorder) for the 'glamour' shots, slider shots of the bride, etc. Usually use a Canon 28mm prime for that. Otherwise, I am using my Panny AC 130's and DOF is really not a concern. Well, yes it is - I want the infinite DOF of the 'true' camcorder. I will also quite often lock down my AC 130's and run-n-gun with the 7D. They mix well in post, and I have the creative option of adding in the fancy-schmancy DSLR shallow DOF shots where appropriate.

The debate will go on, endlessly I'm sure, about camcorder vs. DSLR. There are arguments for both - and I love using both. Standing in the back of the church with my 7D and a 70-200mm lens is very unobtrusive, and I get some great footage. (Of course, the 22x zoom on the AC-130 gives that flexibility too.) But, an AC-130 locked down in the balcony, zoomed in on the B&G, another one locked down from behind the altar and me roaming with the 7D has become by favorite mode for shooting the ceremony. (Lav mic on the groom and an H4n somewhere up front.)

I usually use the 7D at the reception and snag audio from the DJ via the H4n plugged into his board.


Take all that into post with FCP and "make the magic happen!" :)
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Old April 11th, 2012, 09:43 PM   #19
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Here's excerpts from a relavent post by Thomas Wong in an earlier thread ...

"Here are some reasons that made me move back to a camcorder from a DSLR (beside the quality and features)

I lost a line of jobs from an advertising company after the first job. Why? because I was using a (Canon) 5D, they expect their TV commercials need a video camera to shoot. They have a 5D, and even more selection of lens too.

And then they noticed the 5D has the capability to shoot great video, and I have never been called back for their video productions. And I ask them after some months and they said, 'oh yes, we can shoot the video ourselves now'

DSLR is just all too common. When I did wedding videos, there were 5-10 people using a 5D, and they are the guests! It also happened to me many times when shooting video with my 5D at weddings and events, people kept asking me to take a photo for them.

Even tho I carefully explain I am just the videographer, they will insist I take a picture for them. If I did they'll want a copy, so I don't and they get might get drunk and pull faces in my video at the reception.

If your clients are more corporate side, it is better use a professional camcorder, because it's not something too common that everyone could get one. If your jobs are mainly non-commercial such as wedding, DSLR is enough, even though you will be asked to take pictures."

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Old April 11th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #20
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

My self definitely not going to get a new DSLR or additional one.
I have the 7D from the moment it was introduced.
I started shooting with it only pre ceremony and when I felt more comfortable i shot some of the reception dancing.
I got to the point that the entire wedding was captured by a 7D.T2I and a Nikon.
But I did missed the great audio quality and audio controls that even with a zoom on a camera and a rode microphone I still liked much better the audio from a video camera.
Not that i use much of the audio from the camera, but sometimes during the pre ceremony the bride will say something that will be nice to add to the movie and sound that came from the DSLR is really not that nice.
More then that, not having focus assist and picking which makes me strop recording and zoom in and refocus.
short time battery that DSLR has and short time recording.
At this point I am shopping for a DSLR replacement and it looks like it is going to be the fs100.
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Old April 12th, 2012, 02:18 AM   #21
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I knew I forgot Something in my long list =D

Zebra bars and focus peaking.

Can't say how many times lighting was so-so and the Zebra bars saved the brides face from horrible under/over exposure. I pretty much have it on throughout a wedding to make sure things don't clip. Outdoors, usually 100% zebras because I don't want the dress to blow out into a pure white. Otherwise, 70% or whatever the camcorder handles at this level so her face doesn't look like blah.

Naturally, you'll want manual exposure compensation or something to adjust quickly - my camcorder has EV comp to get it there fast.

Focus peaking is useful in the limited situations where I'm trying to get some coverage shots in between the main events, usually just before reception, of the table settings, flowers, etc. without everyone present. (Makes for nice photo inserts in the DVD - yeah, crazy how some brides will go over their selection of food and tableware forever and ever, not to mention their flowers...) Usually works well because indoors, the f/stop is wide open due to lower lighting levels.

--

You can get a decent background blur simply zooming in and taping scenes from a little distance away if you've got manual f/stop control and enough ND filters/exposure latitude to work with.

--

And typically, no jello video either from a camcorder =D Can't say that about DSLRs.

-------------

My target market doesn't have the money to go for mutiple videographers, so forget the DSLR + camcorder here.

I won't leave the camcorder unattended period to get shots with the DSLR - the camcoder's more reliable and the keeper no matter what, and if that dies, the DSLR isn't going to cover what I need. I'd have to hire someone to man the DSLR. And if I had the money for another DSLR, I'd actually get another Canon M4x/5x series and use it for 2nd camera coverage by itself on a tripod from another angle (or a handful of T-series Cybershots for multicam coverage - see below).

Audio? Olympus DS-30 digital recorder up close if I'm way, way in back. Cheap and CD quality audio is good enough for the speeches/ceremony. Small enough to stick almost anywhere near the bride - podium, floor, pocket.

Photos? I always include a photo slideshow of the day in my DVDs. How?
Simple. Sony Cybershots - T-series (those sliding cover models) Simple flash bracket under the camcoder to hold the Cybershot with the camcorder. Both together are light enough for me to hold with one hand if need be, and I can snap photos throughout in addition to on-board camcorder photos. The quality of the external camera is higher, and I can zoom in on camera shots independently.

I use a DSC-T9 - don't need more because HDTV is only 2MP. So I'm always getting crisp photos downsizing for DVD or even DVD cover use. Plus of these older models is their fixed focus mode - I set it to 3m or infinity depending on the scene and the camera takes photos with no delay even with no light (flash fires of course)! Yep. Dancing at the reception and nothing can focus fast enough for a camera? No problem - fixed focus solves it all. Just aim and shoot! Sharp dancing photos with all the room lights off no matter what with no delay. Can't say that about DSLRs (yes, you can set F/stop for hyperfocal, but if you're moving about, bouncing around, etc. that focus ring can move - my T9 won't ever move out of the preset focus range).

Nobody notices because everyone expects cameras to be firing at weddings =D And photographer doesn't even notice because it's too small next to my camcorder.

Newer T-series don't have fixed focus, so you'll have to deal with either a red focus light in low light situations, or turning the red AF aid off and losing a shot here and there. But they do have 1080i video recording mode, which means voila! cheap (get one refurb'd at tech4less.net or sonystyle.com clearance) HD video backup should your primary camcorder fail.

And we're not talking about cheap video either - it's seriously HQ enough to substitute. Naturally, battery life is short, so either more battery packs, keep it to photo taking only, or take fewer videos/photos. Usually, one pack on the T9 is enough for all the photos after a 6 hour day. (Think, if it can take 240 photos on one charge, that's 40 photos an hour, and there really aren't more than 1 photo per 1 minute in a 6 hour day worth taking.)

Usually, I toss out 1/2 to 2/3rds of the photos for the usual reasons - bad compostion, blinking, not interesting, etc.

I do take photos on my camcorder, too, but I try not to interfere with its primary job of taping since pushing buttons can interfere and the flash isn't as good as on the camera.

---

Tape vs SD card vs Bluray
I'm sure everyone's thought about this one.
I'd pick HDV if your camcorder supports that as the raw delivery format - nothing else but tape has been proven to sit in cold storage for decade+ w/o falling apart.
(Downsides of tape are 1 hour record limit before a break in the video & glitches due to dirty video heads in HDV camcorders. Not present in MPEG-2.)

SD cards have electron migration issues, so forget about it after 10 years!

Bluray - Panasonic is tooting in japan their 25/50 year archival pro discs, so worth looking into. But any 'bonded' plastic disc format is subject to falling apart from over flexing, light exposure, etc. Still, better than flash.

HDs - don't bother. HD makers won't even warranty past 5 years.

DVD - Made in Japan discs only for single layer; Singapore for DVD+R/DL since Verbatim only makes them there. But don't expect these to last forever - the organic dye they use doesn't last as long, even in cold storage, vs. the inorganic layer used in Bluray discs.

---

HDV camcorders do have the easier to encode/decode MPEG-2 format. Heck, even Canon is supporting only MPEG-2 with their latest C300 monsters, and MPEG-4 H.264/AVCHD is just a pain when it comes to hogging the CPU during editing.

Even on camcorderinfo.com, it took a few versions of Canon's consumer level AVCHD camcorders to finally catch up to their first HDV camcorder, the HV10! Just shows how 'solid' the HDV format is.

Nowadays, it'll have to be AVCHD at the 17+Mbps rate. And H.264 does have the advantage, at higher bitrates, to be smoother and less blocky than MPEG-2 when pixel peeping.

---

Finally, Sony Vegas Video for editing, IMO. Reliable, drag & drop any format into the timeline for editing w/o transcoding, easy to learn in minutes (far faster than other NLE's - yes, tried them all), reliable, fast for cuts/trims/slips/etc, etc.
For the low end weddings that I'm doing, it's pretty much the Swiss Army Knife that'll do all the basics short of After Effects I need for the final video output. Even years and years after my first wedding shoot, I still haven't found anything more intuitive, quick and useful.

===============

Oh, and dumbest thing I've ever witnessed at a wedding?

The Photographer's assistant brings out a bright spotlight, like one of those 10 million candle things, and during the 1st dance where the light is turned way down, points it at the bride's face While the photographer is taking Flash photos?!?!?!??!? =o

Yeah. Great. Washed out faces. Oh, well. They can blame their photographer for that one. Must have been a newbie assistant....
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Old April 12th, 2012, 09:31 AM   #22
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I personally love challenges.

Many people seem to criticize dSLR's for how hard it is to accomplish something good with them. But I make it my goal. There are many people and companies who have done great things with dSLR's and I always tell myself that if others can do it, I can't give myself any excuses for failing and will definitely never blame it on the tool, but on myself for not being skillful enough to use the tool properly.
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Old April 12th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #23
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Long Truong View Post
I personally love challenges.

Many people seem to criticize dSLR's for how hard it is to accomplish something good with them. But I make it my goal. There are many people and companies who have done great things with dSLR's and I always tell myself that if others can do it, I can't give myself any excuses for failing and will definitely never blame it on the tool, but on myself for not being skillful enough to use the tool properly.
Guess it just goes back to the old saying of how it's not the camera that makes the video, but the operator =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Chien View Post
I knew I forgot Something in my long list =D

Zebra bars and focus peaking.

Can't say how many times lighting was so-so and the Zebra bars saved the brides face from horrible under/over exposure. I pretty much have it on throughout a wedding to make sure things don't clip. Outdoors, usually 100% zebras because I don't want the dress to blow out into a pure white. Otherwise, 70% or whatever the camcorder handles at this level so her face doesn't look like blah.

Naturally, you'll want manual exposure compensation or something to adjust quickly - my camcorder has EV comp to get it there fast.

Focus peaking is useful in the limited situations where I'm trying to get some coverage shots in between the main events, usually just before reception, of the table settings, flowers, etc. without everyone present. (Makes for nice photo inserts in the DVD - yeah, crazy how some brides will go over their selection of food and tableware forever and ever, not to mention their flowers...) Usually works well because indoors, the f/stop is wide open due to lower lighting levels.

--

You can get a decent background blur simply zooming in and taping scenes from a little distance away if you've got manual f/stop control and enough ND filters/exposure latitude to work with.

--

And typically, no jello video either from a camcorder =D Can't say that about DSLRs.

-------------

My target market doesn't have the money to go for mutiple videographers, so forget the DSLR + camcorder here.

I won't leave the camcorder unattended period to get shots with the DSLR - the camcoder's more reliable and the keeper no matter what, and if that dies, the DSLR isn't going to cover what I need. I'd have to hire someone to man the DSLR. And if I had the money for another DSLR, I'd actually get another Canon M4x/5x series and use it for 2nd camera coverage by itself on a tripod from another angle (or a handful of T-series Cybershots for multicam coverage - see below).

Audio? Olympus DS-30 digital recorder up close if I'm way, way in back. Cheap and CD quality audio is good enough for the speeches/ceremony. Small enough to stick almost anywhere near the bride - podium, floor, pocket.

Photos? I always include a photo slideshow of the day in my DVDs. How?
Simple. Sony Cybershots - T-series (those sliding cover models) Simple flash bracket under the camcoder to hold the Cybershot with the camcorder. Both together are light enough for me to hold with one hand if need be, and I can snap photos throughout in addition to on-board camcorder photos. The quality of the external camera is higher, and I can zoom in on camera shots independently.

I use a DSC-T9 - don't need more because HDTV is only 2MP. So I'm always getting crisp photos downsizing for DVD or even DVD cover use. Plus of these older models is their fixed focus mode - I set it to 3m or infinity depending on the scene and the camera takes photos with no delay even with no light (flash fires of course)! Yep. Dancing at the reception and nothing can focus fast enough for a camera? No problem - fixed focus solves it all. Just aim and shoot! Sharp dancing photos with all the room lights off no matter what with no delay. Can't say that about DSLRs (yes, you can set F/stop for hyperfocal, but if you're moving about, bouncing around, etc. that focus ring can move - my T9 won't ever move out of the preset focus range).

Nobody notices because everyone expects cameras to be firing at weddings =D And photographer doesn't even notice because it's too small next to my camcorder.

Newer T-series don't have fixed focus, so you'll have to deal with either a red focus light in low light situations, or turning the red AF aid off and losing a shot here and there. But they do have 1080i video recording mode, which means voila! cheap (get one refurb'd at tech4less.net or sonystyle.com clearance) HD video backup should your primary camcorder fail.

And we're not talking about cheap video either - it's seriously HQ enough to substitute. Naturally, battery life is short, so either more battery packs, keep it to photo taking only, or take fewer videos/photos. Usually, one pack on the T9 is enough for all the photos after a 6 hour day. (Think, if it can take 240 photos on one charge, that's 40 photos an hour, and there really aren't more than 1 photo per 1 minute in a 6 hour day worth taking.)

Usually, I toss out 1/2 to 2/3rds of the photos for the usual reasons - bad compostion, blinking, not interesting, etc.

I do take photos on my camcorder, too, but I try not to interfere with its primary job of taping since pushing buttons can interfere and the flash isn't as good as on the camera.

---

Tape vs SD card vs Bluray
I'm sure everyone's thought about this one.
I'd pick HDV if your camcorder supports that as the raw delivery format - nothing else but tape has been proven to sit in cold storage for decade+ w/o falling apart.
(Downsides of tape are 1 hour record limit before a break in the video & glitches due to dirty video heads in HDV camcorders. Not present in MPEG-2.)

SD cards have electron migration issues, so forget about it after 10 years!

Bluray - Panasonic is tooting in japan their 25/50 year archival pro discs, so worth looking into. But any 'bonded' plastic disc format is subject to falling apart from over flexing, light exposure, etc. Still, better than flash.

HDs - don't bother. HD makers won't even warranty past 5 years.

DVD - Made in Japan discs only for single layer; Singapore for DVD+R/DL since Verbatim only makes them there. But don't expect these to last forever - the organic dye they use doesn't last as long, even in cold storage, vs. the inorganic layer used in Bluray discs.

---

HDV camcorders do have the easier to encode/decode MPEG-2 format. Heck, even Canon is supporting only MPEG-2 with their latest C300 monsters, and MPEG-4 H.264/AVCHD is just a pain when it comes to hogging the CPU during editing.

Even on camcorderinfo.com, it took a few versions of Canon's consumer level AVCHD camcorders to finally catch up to their first HDV camcorder, the HV10! Just shows how 'solid' the HDV format is.

Nowadays, it'll have to be AVCHD at the 17+Mbps rate. And H.264 does have the advantage, at higher bitrates, to be smoother and less blocky than MPEG-2 when pixel peeping.

---

Finally, Sony Vegas Video for editing, IMO. Reliable, drag & drop any format into the timeline for editing w/o transcoding, easy to learn in minutes (far faster than other NLE's - yes, tried them all), reliable, fast for cuts/trims/slips/etc, etc.
For the low end weddings that I'm doing, it's pretty much the Swiss Army Knife that'll do all the basics short of After Effects I need for the final video output. Even years and years after my first wedding shoot, I still haven't found anything more intuitive, quick and useful.

===============

Oh, and dumbest thing I've ever witnessed at a wedding?

The Photographer's assistant brings out a bright spotlight, like one of those 10 million candle things, and during the 1st dance where the light is turned way down, points it at the bride's face While the photographer is taking Flash photos?!?!?!??!? =o

Yeah. Great. Washed out faces. Oh, well. They can blame their photographer for that one. Must have been a newbie assistant....
Wow that's a very thorough list of things you've got there!
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Old April 15th, 2012, 03:52 AM   #24
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Ok. Sure, one can argue it is the operator and not the tool, but would anyone bother with 16mm film for a wedding nowadays?
There are always better tools out there, and no point using the harder to use tool for no good reason.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 04:58 AM   #25
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

One point that I haven't seen properly addressed with dslrs is what do you do when you fail to capture important parts of a wedding when your dslr 1) Reaches its short record limit (even 5D mk iii has 30min max per clip) 2)Stops working mysteriously due to sensor overheating (even sony's A77 brochure lists max times by ambient temperature, 7D's issues, etc)
all simply because you failed to use a camcorder, which can record hours non-stop.

I'd love comments on how people recreate missing footage. Or do you all say Stop in the middle of a ceremony while you restart recording on a dslr?
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:13 PM   #26
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

David, many top wedding pros, and many award winning ones, use DSLRs for weddings, as we all know. So the issue as to how to capture a wedding without missing a shot is all about knowing your equipment, not whether it can be done. It is being done every week across the world.

There are blogs aplenty with tutorials on how to do this very thing.

I personally shot a fair number of weddings last year using nothing but GH2s, which are limited only by card size and battery life. Technically they are not DSLRs, by virtue of their inner workings, but they are for all intents and purposes the same as DSLRs.

DSLR shooters often utilize video cameras to catch uninterrupted footage to use in conjunction with their DSLR, so that is not an issue for any sensible shooter.

Most people who knock DSRS most vehemently have never tried it. It is not for the faint of heart. It is challenging and is maddening at times for me, but I have grown so much from the experience I would never go back to not having tried it.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:22 PM   #27
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Long Truong View Post
I can't give myself any excuses for failing and will definitely never blame it on the tool, but on myself for not being skillful enough to use the tool properly.
I think a DSLR has several reasons why it will let you fail in a run and gun situation, that has nothing to do with skill but only with the functional limitation the tool has. A professional ENG videocamera has all it's important functions laid out on the outside for a reason, a DSLR is ok for controlled situations if you are alone or in uncontrolled situations if you are a 2-3 man crew.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #28
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

That's quite a list from David and I can see where his recommendations lie. Interestingly - even with 19 bullet points he doesn't talk about moiré and aliasing even once. Strange, because that's the bug-bear with my 60D. It's fine if you can defocus the church bricks and the tiled roof, but if you zoom to wide and forget that dof has brought them sharp, then you've ruined the shot.

But the main thing is that a wedding day is a rapidly unfolding, unpredictable collection of lighting conditions, audio headaches and focal length requirements. In my view it's fine to shoot with DSLRs if you have backup - then by all means selectively play with your dof and big-chip low-light ISOs. But if you're a lone worker delighting in the photographic nuances that selective focus can give you I'd say you're going to very quickly miss things.

Even with my NX5 (30mm to 600mm equiv) I still find I need a wide-converter, and the precious seconds it takes to attach this are seconds of her day that I haven't recorded. I know the camera will run for hour after hour (some speeches seem like that), but with that huge zoom I can isolate the speaker and in the next second grab tens of laughing guests.

The DSLR works well in the bride's preps, where you have time to play, experiment, change lenses and fiddle with audio recorders. But it comes down to this - if my daughter was getting married and wanted a video of her day shot by a loner, who would I choose to pay - the DSLR or the three-chip shooter? I've shot with both, so I know my answer. Yours may well be different.

tom.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #29
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I think Jeff Harper hit the nail on its head.

Quote:
David, many top wedding pros, and many award winning ones, use DSLRs for weddings, as we all know. So the issue as to how to capture a wedding without missing a shot is all about knowing your equipment, not whether it can be done. It is being done every week across the world.
Every tool has its advantages and limitations.
Every tool requires different techniques and workflow.
It is our own responsibility to know our gear and what to do with it.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 05:18 PM   #30
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Chien View Post
Ok. Sure, one can argue it is the operator and not the tool, but would anyone bother with 16mm film for a wedding nowadays?
There are always better tools out there, and no point using the harder to use tool for no good reason.
Why so much hate for dslrs? Losing business to Dslr shooter.. Personally I shoot with 2 t3is and 2 sigma lens that I got all for $2,000.. What semi pro camera will give me the great image quality and the low light performance for $2000? ok $2500 including audio gear..
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