Simple guide to buying a DSLR for film!

Tylerb

New member
So you want to get started? Lets go.

First off, take your budget. Anything under $1000 will not be enough for a decent DSLR kit, so you might want to consider that. If you do have the money, then continue reading. If there are any terms you don't understand Google them!

Differences between DSLR and Camcorders:

Lets take a middle range DSLR (say a 550D) and compare it with a equivalent priced camcorder:

DSLR:
-Big sensor
-Records HD
-Progressive scanning (takes a whole frame)
-Rubbish on-board sound
-MIC input
-More sexy images (bokeh (blur that makes your film look like it's pro)
-Rolling shutter (Bad - google it)
-Overheating
-Max recording time
-Cool options of color grading and making your video more sexy
-Manual exposure, color settings and MAGIC LANTERN
-Can not 'pick up and shoot' straight away

CAMCORDER
-Smaller sensor
-Records HD
-Interlaced scanning (not all the time, but quite frequently)
-Semi-rubbish on-board sound
-no mic input (when compared to a DSLR of the same price)
-Less sexy images (barely any blur, most of the time not controllable)
-Rubbish color settings, hard to color grade/correct
-Automatic exposure, hard to get the right image
-Pick up and shoot

So basically you are trading the ability for manual settings with the ability to just make a fun, easy movie.

LENS:
DSLRS (unlike camcorders) have to have lens attached to them for them to work. Lenses aren't cheap, and there are only a few under the $400 mark. If you are starting, I suggest you go with the kit lens, (18-55 and 55-200(It should be that)) and then just save up another $200 and buy a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. Prime lenses are super clear and sharp and because you don't have the temptation to zoom your images looks much better, and they also let in a lot of light which can save your films quality with noise in the image. When using my friends kit lens in a dark room, it really pissed me off and I juts wished I had my 50mm.
One more thing, if you are using a DSLR (Cannon only) it might have a crop factor. The 550/600d have a crop factor of x1.6 so to find the REAL focal length then you must times the number by 1.6 - for example, my 550D has a 1.6 crop factor, so that would be 50mm X 1.6 = 80mm focal legnth in reality. Just watch that, as a 100mm lens will end up a 160mm lens in reality.

Most of the time, I use both. I have a 24p HD camcorder and a 550D. I use the 550d for everything apart from fast action scenes, where I use the camcorder (rolling shutter).

So really, the decision is up to you - if you really want to get serious about it, buy a DSLR.
When you come across your first RED EPIC (the best digital camera for film) you will know how to use all the fancy things like exposure, color settings and such because in reality, the RED EPIC is just a DSLR on speed.
 
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