Which camera is right for me? What's the difference between the two? Since when did DSLRs become a video camera anyway?

If you have asked your self any of the above questions, take a nice deep breath and relax. You're in the right place.

For sometime now, videographers have started choosing a DSLR over the traditional video camera for several reasons. I am going to list the main pros and cons here.

PROS

  1. DSLRs have a a larger sensor. This translates to a higher picture quality in low-light and incredible depth of field. The buzz word in videography is "cinematic." Everyone wants a cinematic look. DSLRs allow for a more "cinematic" look to your videos.
  2. DSLRs have interchangeable lenses. This means you have the flexibility to create wide, panoramic shots or shots that are zoomed in from a great distance all with the same camera.

CONS

  1. DSLRs don't typically have great stabilization. It's getting better - but typically you will need a tripod or monopod when using your camera to help stabilize your video.
  2. DSLRs have great auto focus for stills, but not for following. Remember, the DSLR was originally created for still shots - not video. Often, the camera will drift in and out of focus when the subject is moving. This can be a real nuisance, as you can imagine, when shooting a video. 
  3. DSLRs don't record audio very well. You will need to purchase an external digital recorder and sync the audio and video in post-production. High-end video cameras record excellent audio right to the video. You can plug an XLR (three-pronged microphone cable) right in to the camera and go.
  4. DSLRs are big and bulky. Again, this issue is getting better, but placing a camcorder in the palm of your hand or on your shoulder is just more ergonomic than the bulky DSLR rigs.

BOTTOM LINE

At the end of the day, it depends on what you're doing. If you are recording a sporting event or a live church service, a camcorder/video camera is likely your best bet. However, if you are looking for those artsy "cinematic" shots used for meaningful interviews and story telling - you will want to begin the hunt for a DSLR.

I hope this helps. As always, leave any comments to bring clarification or just share your own experience. Look for product reviews in the near future!