Long story short: I'm a young filmmaker who's been using a Sony camcorder and a GoPro to make videos. The camcorder is pretty crappy, so time for an upgrade. I have a budget of about $650 (not including tax). I plan on using the money to buy a new camera, a microphone, and an SD card. For the microphone, I want a Rode VideoMic ($130) and for storage, a Sandisk 32GB Extreme ($16ish). That leaves me with about $500 for the camera itself.
I'm trying to decide between a Canon SL1 and a Panasonic DMC FZ300.
Reasons to buy the SL1:
-Will last longer
-Wider range of accessories
Price: $500 with default 18-55mm lens
Reasons to buy the FZ300:
-Slow motion videos
-Newer camera (2015)
Which should I choose? The cameras seem equally good.
I wouldn't get either one. I would also ignore the advice to just get a cam-corder because those who posted seemed to be making a reflex advice rather than thinking it through.
The issue with that DSLR is that it is not a very good one. And it is particularly ill-suited to video. It is 3 years old, the most basic DSLR Canon has made in that time. The sensor performance is poor. ISO noise, dynamic range, and color data are all WELL below what is normal for DSLRs. See here: http/www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Canon/EOS-100D
(note the SL1 is also known as the 100d). Not factored in was that the SL1 was also very slow to auto-focus in video. And, when panning it is prone to rolling-shutter (that weird jello effect). It is limited to 30minutes of video at a time (press the button again and you get another 30minutes and so on until the card is full). The SL1 is simply an out-dated camera. Similar prices for much newer cameras makes this one an odd one to start with. However the biggest hurdle to a DSLR for your use is budget. Good lenses cost money. Some of them cost ALOT. The results are the best over all, but the total price needs to be considered not just the body.
The main issues with the fz300 are the poor sensor and the poor lens. Bridge cameras typically are a lot of fun because they have a DSLR form-factor and crazy amounts of "zoom". And the 25-600 range of the fz300 is huge, particularly given the constant f/2.8 lens. But with the tiny sensor you have no abilty to get any kind of subject-isolation. And your results in anything less than perfect light will be poor. Creative control and options with a camera so limited won't be good. It is fine for recording trips to the zoo and not much more.
Your budget might be fractionally larger as a Røde mic starts at around 80 on amazon.com and knock-offs start much lower.
If you don't need auto-focus in video and plan to manual focus like "the big boys" do, then a DSLR is an option. The Nikon 5xxx series can be had used for modest prices. For example the Nikon d5200 (see dxomark.com and dpreview.com for reviews and details) can be had used for around 250 in good shape and around 300 with a basic lens. This will allow you to get something like the excellent Nikon 35mm f/1.8 used for around 140, and a stert on saving towards your next lens because there will always be a next lens. The creative control from a f/1.8 lens and a large sensor like in an aps-c camera are unlike anything you can do with a cam-corder or a bridge camera. There is no perfect focal length as it depends on the perspective you want. I found I needed a 20mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 and if I could have afforded it at the time, I would have added a 135 f/2, but instead I used 70-200 f/2.8 which didn't always give me the light I needed (an f/1.8 lets in around 2.67x times as much light as a f2/.8 https/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number
If you DO need auto-focus in video you and you want a DSLR like control along with interchangable lenses and all the advantages they bring, your best option is a Panasonic GH series camera. I prefer the GH3, but even used that is 550 for just the body. The older gh2 is very capable, especially if hacked (google it and the difference between the gh2 and gh3). A gh2 can be had in very good condition for around 350, but can be hard to find. You might have to go to ebay to get one. Get an olympus 25mm f/1.8 for 250-300. If you don't mind a rather long lens, the 45mm f/1.8g is optically amazing and while it will have some issues with framing (due to the effective field of view of a 90mm on a full-frame camera), it will also give you decent DOF control despite the smaller m4/3 sensor in the Panasonic. The GH series (unlike every other camera mentioned in this message) does not have the 30minute video limit. I have recorded entire 6 hour events with a gh3 using a very high bitrate and line-in audio. The main downside here is it will cost a bit to get a decent lens collection. Additionally a m4/3 sensor is smaller than a APS-C camera and so does not do as well in low light, and also has lower dynamic range. Not as bad as a bridge camera, but not ideal either. The m4/3 sensor and a decent lens collection is the entry level to pro-level results. To get better, you need to use manual focus or VERY high end gear costing a lot more.
If you prefer the all-in-one approach of the fz300, you should instead consider the Sony rx10 or Panasonic FZ1000. They both have a 1" sensor and so are much larger than the fz300 or any similarly priced cam-corder. They perform fairly similarly. The Sony rx10 has a higher bit-rate (better quality video) and a better lens (wider, better optically and a constant f/2.8 which lets in twice the light of an f/4 lens). It is also weather sealed, The fz1000 has more "zoom", so more compromises on the optical quality of the lens; it also has a lower bit rate and is not weather sealed, but it is slightly faster to focus in video and has 4k video). The 1" sensor more or less splits the difference between an fz300 and a gh2 in capability and artistic control (a little closer to the m4/3 than the fz300). But both take you back to a max recording length of 30 mminutes. Both of these cameras are around 570 used in excellent shape, so it is just to pick the feature set you prefer. This is a good platform for "decent" non-pro results.
I use a rx10 to record football games, a gh3 to record events and a collection of other cameras (mostly Nikon) to photograph other things. I tried to use a DSLR to record video. And while the video quality was better, especially indoors, I just prefer to have video AF. I know the serious videographers all use MF, but I found that with MF in video that my abilty to keep things focused (especially when I used a narrow DOF) was "not good".
I tried cam-corders costing up to twice the amount of the other cameras and the results were not good enough for me.