Choosing a DSLR for my needs please help

schwipt

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Feb 6, 2013
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Hey everyone, I have been doing a lot of research and have slowly been narrowing down my options. Any input would help.

I am looking for a video camera within the following budget: under 900 w/lens and a monopod.

What I am planing to do: Tech Reviews, Social Experiments and Cinematic Type Videos.
I would like it to have a flip out screen and preferably even a touch screen if possible.
I have never used a DSLR but I am young and learn quick.
(Still a little confused for social experiments the lenses i would need if say I was about 100 ft away from the shot)
- I have audio already setup with a voice recorder and mic which works good ( i will sync them up in post processing)

some of what I have been looking at
canon t5i, nikon d5500 etc.
Any help would be much appreciated (Not only looking at DSLRs also will consider camcorders etc)
 

rhysiam

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Mar 24, 2013
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I can't speak for camcorders, but when it comes to video-capable SLRs, the Canon 70D is extremely capable. In terms of pure video quality, any half decent dSLR is going to give you a very nice result. If you're an absolute perfectionist, then by all means start reading some reviews and stuff, but unless you're really picky, they'll all be pretty solid when it comes to picture quality.

The biggest issue for using an SLR for video is auto-focus. The normal autofocus systems on SLRs use Phase detection, which is extremely fast and accurate, BUT it only works when the mirror is up. That's fine for still photography because the camera can autofocus in a fraction of a second and then flip the mirror down to expose the sensor to get the actual shot. With video, the sensor has to be exposed the whole time, so the mirror is retracted and the normal SLR autofocus systems can't work.

If you've ever looked at SLR-shot video and paid attention to autofocus you can see the focus systems "hunting". They're using "contrast detection" autofocus, which is slower and basically involves a bit of guess work. Google it if you're interested in finding out a bit more. Basically if you imagine a light face against a dark background (or vice versa), the camera adjusts the focus until the edge of the face is a sharp line rather than blurred (out of focus), but to do that it needs to go through the perfect focus until the image starts blurring again, and then shift back to find the correct focus. That results in hunting. It's not a big deal if you have a static subject, but if your subject is moving, even a person leaning forward or backwards, it can start to look amateurish. Most SLRs will really struggle with any sort of action video - a few review sites use the example of a person on a swing to demonstrate just how difficult most dSLRs find it to produce a good result.

Canon designed a pretty innovate pixel technology which was released with the 70D which does a much, much better job of live autofocus than any other cameras in it's price range or below. It also has a touch screen (flip out too) which you can use to autofocus, it does a really nice job of refocusing with minimal hunting. Grab the kit 18-135mm lens which is nice and quiet and has a good zoom reach, and you're off to a good start for high quality video DSLR. You probably need to go second hand to meet your budget, but I think you're better off getting higher end second hand gear than new lower tier stuff personally.

If you will only ever be using the video function, you may well still be better off with a camcorder, but I don't know much about them, so will have to leave that to others. In the DSLR land, for video, I don't think you can do better than the 70D and the 18-135mm kit lens unless you spend a lot more money.
 

schwipt

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Thanks for all the info! Ill be making my decision in the next few days (have 900 in amazon credit so Ive been looking for a good deal to come up).
 

rhysiam

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Ah I see. If you're locked in with Amazon then getting a 70D with a lens for 900 is going to be tough. There seem to be some body only kits in your budget, but then you'll need a lens. If money is tight the 18-55mm IS STM lens is an okay place to start (make sure it's the "STM" version, because other versions can be noisy when focusing which can be picked up in videos). It doesn't have the reach or the quality of the 18-135mm, but it's a start.

It really might be worth looking at dedicated camcorders too, that's just beyond my area of knowledge I'm afraid.

Good luck.
 

schwipt

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yeah I gotcha I have been looking at camcorders. But from the looks of it most YouTubers doing the types of videos I plan on doing tend to use a dslr and i feel like it will be more versatile for my uses. what are your thoughts between the nikon d5500 and canon t5i and canon t6s i feel like I could work all of them into my budget with a lens.
 

rhysiam

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You are going to have auto-focus issues with any of those. I believe Canon have worked on their system for their latest models, but it's still not approaching the 70D. I'm not super familiar with Nikon models as I'm a Canon shooter myself.

Does your credit allow you to shop on other sellers through Amazon?
$800 for body only 70D: http://www.amazon.com/5AveCamera-70D-Canon-EOS-Body/dp/B013TNQEDQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1443413690&sr=8-3&keywords=canon+70d+body+only
$100 for the 18-55mm IS STM lens: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-EF-S-18-55mm-3-5-5-6-Cameras/dp/B0141EK83Y/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1443413612&sr=8-6&keywords=18-55mm+stm

That's in budget. You'd need to add a decent SD card and probably a second battery, but neither of those need to be big investments.
 

schwipt

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Nah the credit is for only "shipped and sold by amazon" But i can easily buy 2 xbox ones for 400 each and sell for 360 on craigslist unopened (a 10% cut) then buy what I want.

And yeah I have lots of class 10 sd cards for my gopro.

With that strategy thought I could buy from other sites and look at used items.
 
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