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DSLR vs Camcorder : Which to Choose for Shooting HD Video?

DSLR vs Camcorder for HD video

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:33 am

In the days of analog/digital tape-based video days, you didn’t have a problem when it came choosing the equipment to shoot video with.

If you wanted to shoot video, you chose a camcorder. If you want to shoot images, you chose a camera.

In these days of HD digital video, you have options to choose from, options that may confuse and leave you none the wiser.

These days you have the smartphone, DSLR and camcorder when it comes to shooting HD video.

This article will look at DSLR vs Camcorder and find out which is better for shooting HD video.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Which option you choose, will in the end, be determined by your needs and preferences.

Sensor Size

The advantage of sensor size becomes evident when shooting in low light conditions and when depth of field is a concern.

DSLR wins the battle here. For the same price point, DSLRs have a bigger sensor size than a computer.

The larger the sensor size, the lower the video noise when you set a high ISO when shooting in low light conditions.

Recording Duration

What kind of video would you be recording? Would it be shoot-stop-shoot kind of events (weddings, parties) or events that require continuous shooting (sports, speeches, presentations).

If you need it for continuous shooting, then a camcorder would do the job better compared to a DSLR.

A DSLR can record a maximum duration of about 30 minutes. This will be shorter if you shoot 4K video.

So, if you want uninterrupted recording, you should go for a camcorder. Anyway, if you don’t have a problem with joining shorter clips, then stick with DSLR.

Use of Filters

When shooting in bright light on a sunny day, camcorders have built-in neutral density filters to provide the necessary exposure while maintaining shutter speed.

DSLRs don’t come with this facility.

Additional filters needed for DSLR

So, with a DSLR, you would have to purchase a Neutral Density filter kit. That’s additional expense and additional weight to carry.

Shooting Comfort

DSLRs are meant for ”intermittent’ shooting. This is the case with still photography. You take a few shots and you move on and take another shot.

With video it’s continous, especially when there’s movement. A camcorder is designed to provide comfortable shooting by its palm-fitting design.

Shoot comfortably with a camcorder.

Holding a DSLR for a long period of time to record video can get tiring. Of course you can use a tripod, if that option is what you foresee using. It would somewhat ease the strain of continuous video shooting with a DSLR.

Audio Capability

If audio is a concern, and you plan to record sound with your equipment’s built-in microphone, then a camcorder would do a better job than a DSLR.

But then if attaching an external microphone to your DSLR would not be a problem, then you can overlook its built-in sound capability.

Price Factor

When it comes to matching price with features, DSLR has the edge.

Based on sensor size, DSLR is much cheaper. Of course, you’ll need more accessories with DSLR for a complete video shooting experience.

But then you may not really need these add-ons if your just starting out and want to produce simple HD videos.

DSLR vs Camcorder : Which to Choose

Based on the aspects mentioned above, make a decision according to needs. If you don;t mind stitching several video clips together during editing, opt for DSLR.

If you think about comfort and are not a regular shooter except when you’re on a holiday, opt for a camcorder, which would fit nicely on your palm.

If low-light shooting is what you’ll be undertaking, then sensor size would play a role and DSLR should be considered seriously.

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