Do you own a DSLR?

ItsJustJames

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Hello all,

I'd be very interested to hear your DSLR experiences, tips, tricks and secrets you've picked up along the way. DSLR's are a huge market for Youtube and getting the most out of them can be a tricky process. Perhaps we can share burning questions about these cameras and learn together.

Do you know how to correctly expose your shots? What do all those numbers mean? What do all those buttons do? What lenses do you buy? How does light effect your shots? Sound? Focus? Frame size? Frames per second?

Already own a DSLR- which one? Looking to buy one but unsure?

Do you know all there is to know? Please share your experiences! Perhaps I can update this first post with some really great answers and tips from you all so it's easy for people to find.

Look forward to hearing your stories.
James.



************
CANON 500D

  • Coliwob says the Canon 500D is a bad choice for long takes as it breaks up the footage and can be problematic when stringing it back together.

PANASONIC GH4

  • Axxtro says this camera has that annoying cap of 30 minutes when recording video. It also isn't particularly strong in low light situations.

NIKON D5300
  • XANISA confirms it is not great in low light but recommends it for excellent picture quality. Also the in-built mic picks up focus noise.
 
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coliwob

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I have a canon 700d nda it has its strengths and weaknesses.

I have abandoned it as a primary filming camera because the autofocus feature isn't as good as on video cameras, if you ask me anyway, because it was hunting for focus quite a lot - that being said I move around a lot because I do a cooking show... if I was stationary it would be another story.

Also because the depth of field (i think thats the right term) is much narrower, than on my video camera at least, when you get the focus wrong, its really wrong. Compared to the press record and forget about it attitude I can take with my video camera its really annoying when you forget about the focus.

Saying that the shots look great if you get the light set up nice. If its dim it's going to look pretty grim regardless. But those soft backgrounds and better colours are great.

If you are woried about all those numbers and settings the best thing you can do is take up photography for a month - most everything is comparable to shooting video - you will learn all about exposure. Thats how I learned anyway - it might be smarter to find videography tutorials for DSLR instead.

Its a great tool at anyrate. Less limited than a standard video camera what with choice of lenses and things - but the primary finction of DSLR is photography so it is a weak video camera in other ways.
 

ItsJustJames

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I have a canon 700d nda it has its strengths and weaknesses.

I have abandoned it as a primary filming camera because the autofocus feature isn't as good as on video cameras, if you ask me anyway, because it was hunting for focus quite a lot - that being said I move around a lot because I do a cooking show... if I was stationary it would be another story.

Also because the depth of field (i think thats the right term) is much narrower, than on my video camera at least, when you get the focus wrong, its really wrong. Compared to the press record and forget about it attitude I can take with my video camera its really annoying when you forget about the focus.

Saying that the shots look great if you get the light set up nice. If its dim it's going to look pretty grim regardless. But those soft backgrounds and better colours are great.

If you are woried about all those numbers and settings the best thing you can do is take up photography for a month - most everything is comparable to shooting video - you will learn all about exposure. Thats how I learned anyway - it might be smarter to find videography tutorials for DSLR instead.

Its a great tool at anyrate. Less limited than a standard video camera what with choice of lenses and things - but the primary finction of DSLR is photography so it is a weak video camera in other ways.
Some really interesting points you've raised there!

If you, or your camera is finding it hard to focus perhaps you need a smaller aperture. Depending on the lens, you'll have different choices for f-stop. This is what controls your depth of field. Try a number closer to 5 or 6. This will remove some of that blur but will give you more of a safety net when it comes to focussing.

What would be your arguments for suggesting DSLR's are a weak choice for a video camera?

Thanks for sharing!
James.
 

coliwob

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Yeah, Once I have a better lighting setup I will be able work with a higher fstop, at the moment I need to use my lowest fstop to ge t a decent picture.

Arguments against DSLR, ok.

1) Its really easy to get things wrong. On a video camera it seems you can just press rec and you are fine but on a DSLR there is more to go wrong and everything has its own switch so its more likley that someething will be wrong too. Like manual focus could be left on. I did that a number of times. I guess over time you will train yourself to get it all right but i still think those moments will happen.

2) Price, its more expensive. Lenses too are pricey, I use the kit lens that came with it. 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Which is pretty good but could be better. This is also a plus cos many cheaper video cameras don't have the multi lens option. I believe you are talking £1500 for a video camera with changeable lenses.

3) It splits you files up every 4GB, at least the canons do, maybe not your super expensive ones though - not sure. There was a hiccup if you stitched the footage back together - a loss of a few frames - on the 500d that my brother has. Something to be aware of.

4) Bulk. Its a lot bulkier than your standard sort of video camera is - which will make things harder on the road. Like I couldn't see you vlogging your way up the street with a DSLR on the end of your arm for very long.

Saying that there are some pluses too.

Picture quality can soar above what you can do with a video camera from soft backgrounds to better dynamic range. There is a lot to explore. There is a plus to things being so complicated.

The choice of lenses give you more options when it comes to shooting - I know that wide angle lens is going to cost £500 but wait until you see the shots you can get down at the skate park.

I can't really think of much else to say about it really.
 
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ItsJustJames

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2) Price, its more expensive. Lenses too are pricey, I use the kit lens that came with it. 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Which is pretty good but could be better. This is also a plus cos many cheaper video cameras don't have the multi lens option. I believe you are talking £1500 for a video camera with changeable lenses.
First I'd argue the quality difference between a video camera and an HD DSLR is unrivalled. You mentioned you had the 700D? This is a crop-sensor body. You can get away with buying Canon's EF lenses. Have a look at the 50mm f.8. Possibly the most popular lens on the market. You can pick one up for £90.

You're absolutely right though; it's an expensive hobby for sure.

3) It splits you files up every 4GB, at least the canons do, maybe not your super expensive ones though - not sure. There was a hiccup if you stitched the footage back together - a loss of a few frames - on the 500d that my brother has. Something to be aware of.
I wasn't aware of this on the 500D; I'll remember that.

4) Bulk. Its a lot bulkier than your standard sort of video camera is - which will make things harder on the road. Like I couldn't see you vlogging your way up the street with a DSLR on the end of your arm for very long.
Completely agree. I would never recommend a DSLR to someone roaming the streets. It's a professional piece of equipment so should be used like one.


Picture quality can soar above what you can do with a video camera from soft backgrounds to better dynamic range. There is a lot to explore. There is a plus to things being so complicated.
The dynamic range is better but you've got to invest in a higher end DSLR to make use of it. The range on crop-sensor bodies is nothing to rave about unfortunately.

Thanks again for your comments; interesting read!
James.
 

Axxtro

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I got myself a Panasonic GH4 with a Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 lens not that long ago.

I've been experiencing with both photos and videos and I really enjoy the results. I know the basics and a bit more, but far from everything you can do with it. Feels like every time I use it I learn something new.
I got it because I wanted to have a camera that could record good videos and since I study Digital Image Production I can also use it for school projects, even though we have 5ds and 6ds to borrow.

I haven't done anything special with it yet but I'm planning to use it alot this summer. I'm also really looking forward to use it on my next vacation trip, whenever that's going to be.
Also just ordered a Glidecam HD-2000 the other day and I can't wait to get it and experiment with it.

The first downside I stumbled on so far is that it is not that good in low light. Not a surprise to me because I did my research but if someone is looking to buy one you should be aware of that.
Another thing is that the EU version can only record for 30 min, so if you want to make longer timelapse videos you have to press the record button again after that time.

The reason I got in to video/image production is beacuse of Devin Graham (Devinsupertramp). Really love his videos, a huge inspiration source.

Can't think of any tips and tricks at this moment but if someone is completely new to photography there's some great images that explaines aperture, shutter time and iso, simple and good. Just google "aperture basic" and you should be able to find it under images. (Don't know if I'm allowed to link it)
 
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ItsJustJames

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Also just ordered a Glidecam HD-2000 the other day and I can't wait to get it and experiment with it.
I've got one also, nice bit of kit! You need to persevere with it as it takes A LOT of experimentation to get the balance right. It's a bit of a kerfuffle to set up but all in all, amazing fun.

The first downside I stumbled on so far is that it is not that good in low light. Not a surprise to me because I did my research but if someone is looking to buy one you should be aware of that.
That's really interesting. I haven't tested one myself but it seems like a higher end consumer camera? Would that be right around £1000? Is the the high ISO's it can't handle? What's the dynamic range like?

Another thing is that the EU version can only record for 30 min, so if you want to make longer timelapse videos you have to press the record button again after that time.
This seems to be a common problem across many DSLR's. Perhaps someone can suggest a camera that doesn't do this.

Can't think of any tips and tricks at this moment but if someone is completely new to photography there's some great images that explaines aperture, shutter time and iso, simple and good. Just google "aperture basic" and you should be able to find it under images. (Don't know if I'm allowed to link it)
You're right - it's easy stuff to Google and find out. Always use manual mode I say!!

Thanks for this, an interesting read!
James.
 
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I use a Canon T2i with Magic Lantern software.
Gives you WAY more room for adjusting ISO, WB, Shutter Speed, AP etc... There are are a ton of features with Magic Lantern.
Works on most Canon DSLR's and only Canon.
ML made my life easier, as well as a fast prime lens. :)

-Cole
 

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Interesting thread! Quite honestly, I am terrible with all this tech and gadgets and their terms. And I am faaaaaaaaarrrrr (possibly the distance from pluto to the sun haha) from great. But I thought I'd share my 6 month experience so far with my first DSLR: Nikon D5300 with Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
What a mouthful.

I'd say its a solid and hardy camera because its been dropped a multitude of times (butter fingers). The lens are able to retract in which makes the camera more compact for storage. I LOVE taking photos with this camera. It captures colour and details perfectly. Their focusing and depth of field is not bad.


DSC_1038.JPG
The video quality is superb too! But there are a few downsides. The built-in mic picks up the camera's focusing noise if continuous auto focus is in play. So its not a good camera for recording sports or children. But it works fine for me because I don't move around too much in my videos so I usually use their single-servo autofocus and voila! No focusing noise.

Also, this camera does not do well in low light without flash at all. Pictures and videos come out grainy and orangey. Videos can only be recorded in 20 min intervals as well. And battery gets low after an hour of recording.

Thats my 2 cents worth on Nikon D5300! :)