DSLR vs Camcorder for Videos

Be aware that most (all?) DSLRs will automatically shut off video after 29 min, 59 sec. If they can record 30 min continuously, they get classified as video cameras by certain governments making them subject to higher taxes. So the DSLR (and other photo camera) manufacturers are pretty careful to program in a video recording limit just under 30 min.

Not an issue if you're recording clips to edit together later. But can be a serious problem if you're trying to continuously record events like sports.


Mar 19, 2017

I kinda want some timelapse shots too, but thanks for the help! I thought you'd say, "google it", but thanks for not doing that.
Which has higher quality shots?
I'm looking at some Panosonic, Sony, and JVC ones. Budget is 500$, but a lot of the 600$ cameras are on sale for 500$.


Mar 16, 2016
I own Nikon, Sony and Panasonic. I've owned Canon (DSLR) and Canon and JVC cam-corders. So I am not much of a "brand-loyalist".

For time lapse, an DSLR will do the best. Which one depends in part how much you want to spend on lenses.

If you want to take continuous video (a single take) of over 29 minutes you will have to either use a Panasonic GH series (the gh3 is very capable and has come down a lot in price (see amazon)).

If you need fast video focus and a DSLR type camera, you will have to use Panasonic or Sony or Olympus.

If you don't need fast video focus (for example time lapse would be manual focus and still images, not video) or you are otherwise focusing on a particular distance (like a podcast/webcast/youtube) then you don't need autofocus in video. In which case I prefer Nikon because of its lens selection and superior high ISO performance (low light, sports, etc). Canon is also a good choice for video as they have a similar lens selection to Nikon and while their still images are little noisier and have slightly less dynamic range (see dxomark.com for comparision of the sensors), their video quality is very good.

I record football games on a Sony rx10 (bridge camera that looks like a SLR but is not). I record events with a Panasonic GH3 with a fast prime (f/1.4). I shoot stills with a Nikon d750 and d700. I sometimes shoot low light videos with my Nikon, but rarely. The Nikon has the best quality but I hate the video AF speed and don't much enjoy manual focus.

The Panasonic can record any length video. It is limited only by the memory card. I have recorded nearly 6 hour events with it.
It is weather sealed, but most lenses for it are not sealed. And those that are, are very very costly.
So the Sony rx10 is weather sealed. Has a reasonably good lens (24mm to 200mm at f/2.8). It has a mid-sized sensor (1" sensor is far larger than most cam-corders, but smaller than DSLRs); the larger sensor helps with image quality such as ISO noise and dynamic range compared to smaller sensors. It also gives some better subject isolation, though not as good as the same sort of lens on a DSLR. For football, wrestling, track, soccer and baseball there are plenty of stops in the action and so hitting the STOP button and starting a new recording session every so often is not a big deal. The RX10 is also lighter and so does not need as beefy a tripod and since I am also bringing a full-frame DSLR and a couple of large lenses for it, saving a few pounds on the video gear is nice.
The rx10 and Gh series cameras are among the few weather sealed, larger sensor options for video. The rx10 cameras are a single sealed unit. The gh3/4/5 have sealed lenses available. For the GH cameras these are the expensive f/2.8 lenses.
The GH series has a lot of options for higher end video (XLR audio, and so on). The rx10 is simpler, more basic and does pretty good results.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
B Digital Cameras 1
D Digital Cameras 12
J Digital Cameras 1
H Digital Cameras 1
K Digital Cameras 2
P Digital Cameras 4
H Digital Cameras 6
B Digital Cameras 1
K Digital Cameras 4
P Digital Cameras 15
L Digital Cameras 4
spellbinder2050 Digital Cameras 2
D Digital Cameras 1
B Digital Cameras 1
K Digital Cameras 1
M Digital Cameras 2
J Digital Cameras 2
X Digital Cameras 8
R Digital Cameras 1
H Digital Cameras 1

Similar threads