Should I Get a DSLR for Home Videos? Will My Compact Do Just Fine?

Over the past few years, there has been a video revolution in photography. Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras (DSLR) were previously designed as photography tools only - they did not feature a video function. With the release of the Nikon D90 in 2008, all that changed. Now, video capability is one of the most important features of new DSLR cameras.

Compact “point and shoot” cameras have a longer tradition in offering video, but they historically have not offered high quality video. Compact cameras utilize a much smaller image sensor (the digital equivalent to film) than DSLR cameras, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to image quality. The desire for high video quality in a camera that can simultaneously produce still images is the main reason why a demand grew for DSLRs to offer video. One question that many are now facing is whether it is worth it to purchase a DSLR for home videos.

For normal home videos that are simply designed to capture the moment, purchasing a DSLR is overkill. Many compact cameras now offer high definition video capture and have somewhat narrowed the gap when it comes to video quality. If you are not going to purchase a dedicated camcorder (which is probably the best option for home videos), then a compact camera will be sufficient. It is more frugal to purchase a camera that can do both stills and video; for many, it is too expensive to purchase a dedicated video camera along with their still camera.

But... what if you already own a DSLR and are wondering if your DSLR can handle home videos? The answer to this question is more complicated than it may seem. Despite the video quality advantage DSLR cameras possess, they have historically had a hard time autofocusing during video capture. They also make noise as they focus, which can ruin the video's audio quality. Recent DSLR camera releases, like Sony's SLT line, promise to dramatically improve the autofocus and overall experience of capturing video on a DSLR.

So, it really depends on which DSLR you are using; some are definitely better than others. If you are interested in doing artistic video capture, the DSLR is highly preferred for its ability to select different lenses. If you haven't purchased a camera yet and are just interested in basic home video capture, skip the hype of the DSLR and grab a compact camera or a camcorder.

At Gearshift TV, we use a range of photographic and video equipment, from DSLR cameras to professional video camera rigs to green screen studios. We always ensure our equipment is modern and able to produce content that impresses the viewer. If you are ready to get started with your web video campaign, call the DC video production firm Gearshift TV at 1.877.477.STUDIO.
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