Friday, February 11, 2011

DSLR Video - Pros and Cons

Do you use the video functions on your DSLR?

Part of the decision making that went into purchasing my DSLR was the fact it had fantastic video quality, I did plenty of YouTube watching and found one outstanding video after another. After a while it really did start to feel too good to be true.

I have been using the video feature on my DSLR for a little while now and I would like to share some of the pros and cons associated with DSLR video recording.

  • Shallow depth of field (Nice blurry background) - A trait traditionally found on professional grade film cameras, shallow depth of field can now be achieved with ease.
  • Interchangeable lenses - Going from a macro closeup to a telephoto panning shot would normally require multiple video cameras or you would have to choose between the two shots. Now with interchangeable lenses the skies the limit (well your back pockets your limit).
  • Lightweight and portable - Having a camera already dangling around your neck means shooting a video can happen in a matter of seconds without lugging around heavy video equipment.
  • Lightweight and portable - Considered a pro, being lightweight can also result in shaky video. This can be overcome by using rig accessories but these do come at a cost.
  • Autofocus - Although you could technically enable auto focus while in video mode even the instruction manual recommends against it. Apart from the fact the camera tends to be seeking for focus causing blurry video, autofocus can be very noisy and if you are utilising the on camera mic this noise will all be recorded to your soundtrack
  • Recoding time - DSLRs were not primarily designed for video therefore a major limitation is recording time, ranging from less than 10 minutes to over 30 minutes DSLRs get hot. So hot the camera needs to be turned off to cool before using again.
I have outlined 3 points from both sides of the camp, I have only skimmed the surface and there is a laundry list of good and bad when it comes to DSLR video.

At the end of the day, I love the fact that DSLR Cameras have such great quality video. For most who bought their camera for stills, having a fantastic video feature is a really big bonus.

Along my travels of researching video on a DSLR I came across NoFilmSchool and their FREE ebook "The DSLR Cinematography Guide" dedicated to the art of DSLR video. I highly recommend NoFilmSchool's ebook to anyone even remotely interested in using the video function on their DSLR.

Here is a couple of videos I shot using my canon 550D.

Video 1. Making a coffee
I shot this video using kit lens -  EF-S 55mm-250mm.

Video 2. Riding my bike, until I get home.
I shot this video using Canon 50mm f1.4 lens


  1. interesting, the movies look good, I'm not much of a photo buff though.

  2. I maximized the coffe vid, and the detail of the steam and water was amazing. I want this camera.

  3. LOVE these Adam! So amazing! Do one of a teapot and I'll pop it on HighTeaStyle :D


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