What are the disadvantages of film cameras

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It's not big news that you can now film with almost any digital camera. First and foremost, digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) are used again and again - even professionally - for video production. If you are a fan of Dr. House, then I recommend you take the walk to your DVD shelf and take a look at the last episode ("Help me!") Of the 6th season. This was shot entirely with the Canon 5D Mark II. Yes, with a camera.

Now you could rightly ask yourself why there are still video cameras when a DSLR shoots great photos and delivers great video material on top of that. Well, as always, the answer is not that simple and needs a few lines of explanation. In my article I will therefore weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions against each other and give you appropriate recommendations. I am referring to cameras with a purchase price of up to around € 1,000.

The feel

Here the video camera is clearly superior to the camera. Regardless of whether it is the small camcorder from the electronics store around the corner or professional equipment - just by itself the construction of a DSLR is rather suboptimal for cinematic purposes. The main focus of the developers of a SLR camera is clearly on photography. Although the well-known manufacturers are integrating more and more functions for cinematic purposes, this does not change the structural shape of a camera.

The handling

The stabilized operation of a SLR camera requires a lot of practice and actually requires additional equipment. It is almost impossible to be able to operate a filming camera by hand. The recommended here Purchase of a tripod or, for mobile use, a so-called shoulder stand or shoulder support set - also Rig called. The latter shifts a large part of the camera's weight to the shoulder and allows you to concentrate on the subject and a calmer camera work. Video cameras usually have one for this purpose Image stabilizer integrated, which unfortunately cannot be found in every camera or lens.

Shoulder tripod for better camera work (Photo: Stefan Thielicke)

The focus

A large Disadvantage of SLR cameras is the comparatively poor automatic focus. Even with a good lens you will experience the so-called “pumping” again and again, in which the camera searches for the focus point, often cannot find it or simply focuses on something else in the field of view during the recording. Tracking a moving subject is almost impossible in automatic mode for a DSLR. It is therefore advisable to regulate the sharpness of an SLR camera manually. But what happens if you grab the lens while taking a picture? Right, the picture is blurred. Consequence: In order to be able to produce optimal images, you unfortunately have to reach into your wallet again. If you already have a shoulder rig, it is now about the at the latest Acquisition of a focus puller ponder. This so-called follow focus is mounted on the rig and the lens. It offers the possibility of using one hand to draw the focus fluently and following the subject. The same applies here: Practice makes perfect.

Camera with follow focus for manual focus control (Photo: Stefan Thielicke)

The image quality

In my opinion the DSLR is the clear winner here. With their large image sensor and the flexible use of lenses, single-lens reflex cameras offer a clear advantage over video cameras from the consumer sector. With the right optics (lens), a photo camera allows you to take very good and almost noise-free pictures in low light. When it comes to sharpness, too, the DSLR is very often superior. If you are even planning to make short short films with your equipment, then the SLR camera has another and important bonus. One likes to fall back on the so-called film look in this genre. This means that the focused subject is sharp, the background disappears in a blur and the video image is given a significantly more valuable appearance. Video cameras are usually not able to do this due to the image sensor being too small and the optics too weak.

The sound

The quality of a camera's sound recording is often neglected - or completely forgotten - when making a purchase decision. However, the sound quality plays a logical role in video recording a crucial role. Normal video cameras usually have the edge here. Often, single-lens reflex cameras in the lower and middle price segment record in mediocre sound quality, sometimes even only in mono. If you should call such a device your own, then the purchase of a clip-on microphone is a good idea. This is mounted on the hot shoe (device for accessories) of the camera and connected to the camera via the necessary audio input, and it ensures a significant improvement in audio recordings. If your camera misses such an input, then you unfortunately only have the option, the Record sound from an external device, for example with a field recorder, and to subsequently synchronize video and sound on the computer.

The post-processing

If a reasonably up-to-date computer adorns your desk, then you don't have to worry about this. Both the video camera and the DSLR record in Full HD these days and require optimal editing some computing power. A mid-range laptop does the normal job. If you like to work with effects and color-correct your image afterwards, you should have a little more power under the computer hood. A small advantage of the DSLR is that it often records at a higher data rate and offers a little more leeway in post-processing, for example when increasing the brightness. Here on Zielbar you will find some tips on free editing software.

The costs

If you have read carefully, you should now realize that simply buying a SLR is not enough. Unfortunately, it is inevitable to buy additional equipment for the desired video result. In addition to purchasing a DSLR for 600 euros, there are often costs for additional lenses, a tripod, the shoulder rig or a decent microphone. The expenses quickly add up to 2,000–2,500 euros. For this price you can of course get a very good video camera with similar specifications. This is where the final decision is made: What do I want to film?

What do I want to film?

In addition to the finances, the question of what I actually want to do with the camera is absolutely decisive for me. My recommendation for this is as follows: Do you want to Live recordings of conferences including a good audio recording as a moving image or for your blog short interviews realize, then you are excellently served with a video camera. But if you want to venture further into the field of video, filming mostly in poor lighting conditions or even try shooting short films and giving your pictures the popular Hollywood look, then my tip would be to opt for a reflex camera.

Advantages & disadvantages of single lens reflex camera (DSLR)

+ Good image quality in low light

+ Flexible use thanks to interchangeable lens

+ Cinema look (depth of field)

Expensive additional equipment required

Handling takes a lot of practice

Advantages & disadvantages video camera

+ Easy handling

+ Good audio recording

+ Usually image stabilizers are installed

Noise in low light

Inflexible due to permanently installed optics

With all this, one thing remains undisputed: If you are dependent on high-quality results for your business, I still recommend you for areas such as classic video production around product or image films not only in case of doubt prefer to turn to a professional.

Which equipment did you choose and are you satisfied with it? Can you even see the first results? Of course, I am also happy to receive comments or questions about the article.
Video camera vs. reflex camera - who is the better cinematic companion?
Rating: 4,412 votes
    1. Thank you very much, Mr. King.

      You are absolutely right that the video functionality of smartphones has undergone significant improvement over the past few years. But this was not the topic of my article. A video camera is still justified in its existence and offers clear advantages over a cell phone.

      best regards

    1. Thank you very much for the flowers. It is always happy when you can help. Have fun and success filming!