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DSLR or HD video camera quickly?
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-25, 20:35

Okay, any feedback on this? I'm looking for something that has an APS-C sensor and can do good 1080P video. At the moment, the Canon Rebel T2i seems to fit this perfectly. It's under 1k too.

I was going to wait until Christmas. But at the moment I'm just not sure. This upcoming weekend is the end of the season for two stage shows I need to shoot, both photos and video. I've taken video on both my Canon SX100 (SD, good video but no optical zoom, poor mic) and Sony MiniDV camera (SD, good audio, decent video) but would like to get some HD. I had hoped the new Touch would take care of my desire to get HD video but it's just not cutting it. At the same time, as much as I'd like to, I don't know if I can pull off getting an expensive new camera by Friday night, figuring it out, and likely getting an external mic for video as well. The kit lens also wouldn't cut it.

I've looked at the Flips. 720P only, no external mic jack. Also looked at rental prices for stuff but the cost is insane.

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PB PM
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2010-10-25, 22:52

Right now the 550D/T2i is the best 1080p video capturing device under $1000, hands down. That being said, if I was going to use a DSLR for video capture more than anything else, I'd stretch the budget for the 60D, thanks to the swivel screen and control over sound recording levels.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-25, 23:18

Nah, it wouldn't be primarily for video, though I would use it for that a lot. I've been wanting an SLR for photos for quite a while now, and having really good video in the same unit instead of having to buy a separate high-def camcorder would be great. The external mic jack would be a major selling point of that, while the audio from the built-in mic is actually really good in a sample I saw on dpreview, external would obvious be better and they don't even cost all that much.

60D... Looks awesome, but it's over 1k just the for body. Doubt I could do that. Swivel screen is cool but I've done pretty well without it on my SX100, after previously having an A610 with a swivel screen.

This was the result of the iPod Touch test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDya5jCveHo

Mediocre at best. This is from my SX100: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysg1OMELQAA

Audio isn't the worst ever but it still kind of sucks. Video is actually quite good other than Youtube's killing of it. Honestly if it had an external mic jack and could optical zoom while recording I'd just stick to it.

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Last edited by PKIDelirium : 2010-10-25 at 23:30.
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PB PM
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2010-10-26, 00:32

In that case go for the T2i. I got to use one for a week, and I can tell you right now that it is a nice DSLR, for what it sounds like you want. The kit lens is okay, but not great, as you suspected.
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turtle
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2010-10-26, 04:37

Yeah, I've played with the T2i and liked it too but am personally holding out for a 5D Mk II. I need a full frame now.
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Dorian Gray
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2010-10-26, 12:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
Yeah, I've played with the T2i and liked it too but am personally holding out for a 5D Mk II. I need a full frame now.
Why? With the picture quality possible with the best crop-sensor SLRs right now (e.g. D7000, K-5, 7D/60D/T2i, some Sony cams) I would not purchase any full-frame SLR currently on the market. The 5D Mark II is too noisy for its sensor size, the D700 is too noisy and too low res, the D3X is too noisy, the D3S is too low res (though the only full-frame camera with noise performance as good as the best crops, on a per-area basis).

Of course all that will change when the <$2.5k full-framers get new sensors. Then they'll be something special. At the moment their biggest advantage over the good crop-sensor cameras is lens availability.

I don't know much about video, PKIDelirium, but you might like to look into the Sony NEX-5. It does 1080i for a good price, and has many other appealing features.
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PB PM
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2010-10-26, 14:04

The problem with the NEX series is they do not have a microphone input, which makes them inferior to the T2i for video, which is why I didn't recommend the much more affordable D3100 either. Not to mention the Sony's lens selection is poor at best compared to the Canon and Nikon offerings.

As for full frame cameras, there are far more reasons to buy them than high ISO sensitivity, especially if you shoot with wide angel lenses. As for 12MP of the D700 or D3s not being high enough, that is marketing rubbish at best. For the average person who prints no larger than 8x10, if they print at all, 12MP is more than enough.
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Dorian Gray
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2010-10-26, 14:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
The problem with the NEX series is they do not have a microphone input, which makes them inferior to the T2i for video, which is why I didn't recommend the much more affordable D3100. Not to mention the Sony's lens selection is poor at best compared to the Canon and Nikon offerings.
Right you are.

PKIDelirium: the Zoom H1 looks like a decent way to record audio for cameras without a good mic or mic input. You'd need to sync later though. All a lot of work.

The Canon T2i is unlikely to be beaten for sheer quality of output, but it's pricey and will require a major investment of effort to get great results.

PB PM: by "lens availability" I meant things like wide-angle lenses.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-26, 23:26

Zoom H1 looks pretty good. It can connect to an SLR with a mic input like the T2i as well. I'm thinking I'm going to buy it and have it here by Friday. Even if I don't get the T2i right now, I could use it in conjunction with my SX100's video mode, and with a SLR later. Could use CHDK to activate optical zoom for video since I wouldn't have to worry about zoom motor noise on the camera's internal mic anymore.

I'm curious about something though...

http://movies.dpreview.com.s3.amazon...s550d/Bike.MOV

This is a sample from the T2i's video. The light level seems jumpy. Is it just the environment they're shooting in? Someone doing a poor job of manual exposure?

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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-28, 14:15

Okay, it's decision day. Gotta do something today for this weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
Right you are.

PKIDelirium: the Zoom H1 looks like a decent way to record audio for cameras without a good mic or mic input. You'd need to sync later though. All a lot of work.

The Canon T2i is unlikely to be beaten for sheer quality of output, but it's pricey and will require a major investment of effort to get great results.
I bought a Zoom H1 and it got here today. I can use it with my SX100 and sync later if all else fails.

By major investment of effort, do you mean to do pro shots on it, like shooting movie scenes or such with it? I don't do that.

T2i looks awesome because its a solid camera all around it looks like. I take video a lot but I take photos a lot more than I take video, and not having to get a dedicated camcorder would be nice. That said, I don't want to get it if it wouldn't be a great photo camera as well. How does it compare to the 60D in those regards? From what I've seen on dpreview, they're both extremely similar...

I'm not sure if I should consider Nikon at all. I'm familiar with Canons so that's what I look at. The other two people shooting what I shoot are using Nikons.

I just want to get something solid that will last me a long time and be a great camera. Mic jack is critical though.

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PB PM
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2010-10-28, 14:30

If microphone input is important, and your budget it limited, don't even look at Nikon. The Nikon D7000 is the only affordable DSLR with a mic input and it costs $1200 body only, if you can even find one in stock. As for the 60D, the biggest difference between the two cameras is the swivel screen and better AF performance, because on the 60D all 9 AF points are of the cross type (better AF sensors). The 60D has more external buttons, for faster changing of a number of settings but those appeal more to people who are really into photography. Also, the 60D has gain control over audio. Many Canon users are calling the 60D the "Super" T2i, because they are so similar.

I had mixed feeling about the T2i from my use of it. My first piece of advice is take the camera out of evaluative metering mode, use center weighted instead. The T2i does take practice, because the resolution is so high the margin for error is small. Low end crop sensor lenses will give poor performance and images will look a little soft unless you reduce the size of the images. That seems to be common among all the 14+ MP crop sensor cameras though.

Last edited by PB PM : 2010-10-28 at 15:13.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-28, 14:59

Is the evaluative metering on the T2i crap or something? I don't know much about those technical details yet. Just looked at dpreview's side by side comparison with the T2i and the 60D and the spec differences are extremely minor.

I wish I'd thought to start this process a bit sooner, hate feeling rushed. Rumor is the T3i/600D might be out in February too but I REALLY wouldn't want to wait that long.

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PB PM
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2010-10-28, 15:12

To me the evaluative metering on Canon's cameras is poor outdoors, but fine indoors. It just seems inferior to Nikon's matrix metering system from my experience with both.

Honestly though, you cannot go wrong with the T2i, there are no major flaws with the camera. I think a good starter lens would be the 18-135mm IS rather than the standard 18-55mm IS kit lens, unless you have any specific lenses in mind.

As for future cameras, there will always be something better, it's just like buying a new computer. Get the camera when you need it and don't worry about the rest, with SLR cameras lenses are where your money should go rather than bodies. Unless you have specific needs that require a higher end camera body.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-28, 15:19

I was looking at this in addition to the 18-55 kit. Unfortunately I'll probably have to get this at Best Buy where I don't think I can buy it body-only, so I'd have to get the kit. I'll check into it though.

Oh, the reviews on this one are pretty good.

So you think the T2i is a good call? 60D body only costs more than the T2i with kit plus that 55-250 combined. Sensors are identical. I'm not a pro, but I've been getting consistently better and would like to get more serious about it. Just can't do that with my SX100. Full manual and good zoom but the sensor is tiny. High ISO performance is all kinds of crap. I would be dubious about trying Nikon considering I've literally never used one.

I'm glad to see SLR's are seemingly all (except maybe the highest end ones) using SD cards now. Used to all use CF cards, so I'm glad to see that's changed.

Edit: I guess my remaining concern is that I'll end up not liking the video mode in place of a dedicated camcorder, and my insistence on getting one with a mic line-in boxed me into something that's not as good for photos as it could be. I have a friend that's pretty happy with his new D3100. I'm just not sure. That and the T2i might be replaced by a T3i or something else over the winter, since it was announced in Feb of this year.

*sigh* I hate making purchasing decisions for stuff like this... lol.

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Last edited by PKIDelirium : 2010-10-28 at 16:09.
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PB PM
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2010-10-28, 16:15

The only real advantage of the Nikon D3100 and D7000 offerings is full time auto focus while in movie mode. Of course once you throw that in having the external mic is even more important to get rid of the focusing noise.

The T2i is an easier for beginners , but if you are wanting to take your photography more seriously the 60D isn't a bad choice either. With such a small price difference, personally I'd spring for the 60D, simply for the better ergonomics and external controls. It all comes down the budget. As for a possible T3i/600D, I doubt it will add much to the table that the T2i doesn't do already, unless Canon has a 20+ MP crop sensor, in which case you'd need pro lenses to notice the difference in resolution anyway. As it is you need high end lenses to notice the difference in resolution between the T1i and T2i, but the T2i is much better for video.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-28, 16:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKIDelirium View Post
http://movies.dpreview.com.s3.amazon...s550d/Bike.MOV

This is a sample from the T2i's video. The light level seems jumpy. Is it just the environment they're shooting in? Someone doing a poor job of manual exposure?
Just remembered this.. I'm not seeing it in the other samples here though.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-28, 23:29

Went by Best Buy for a while earlier. T2i is now mine. They had a great combo deal. Camera with the 18-55 kit lens, Canon IS 55-250 zoom lens, 8GB Sandisk Ultra 2 SDHC card, and a nice Canon bag for $1049. Picked up a spare battery pack too.

The 60D's flipping screen honestly felt flimsy. The display had some lightened-color plastic fatigue around the hinge. Also a lot more expensive because they didn't have it body-only, it was $1399 including an 18-135 kit lens. Would have been a LOT more expensive once I got the 55-250 ($299), 8GB card and bag.

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PB PM
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2010-10-29, 01:35

Yeah that happens when you go to best buy, which often has the worst prices on cameras (MSRP), vs camera shops. Congrats though!
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-29, 02:14

I considered a camera shop but honestly the local chain around here kind of sucks now that it got bought out. Wasn't impressed at all. Can't complain though, that combo deal for the T2i was really good. Could have done maybe a little better on Amazon but didn't have time. Plus I got a metric shitload of points on my reward zone card from it.

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PB PM
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2010-10-29, 02:43

Haha yeah, if you don't have a good shop, and you need it in a hurry not much you can do.
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PKIDelirium
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2010-10-30, 01:25

Okay, so neither my current 4GB cards or the 8GB Sandisk Ultra are cutting it for video. Had to record in standard def tonight, buffer overran when I tried 1080/30 and 720/60.

Do I need those Sandisk Extreme cards? Need to get set up with them early tomorrow.

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PB PM
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2010-10-30, 01:37

Those Sandisk Ultra cards are only 15MB/s, not fast enough for 1080p video, you want something with at least 25MB/s. Cards that meet the class 6 standard should be good enough for 1080p at any shutter speed. I used cheap A-DATA class 10 cards (most likely class 6 speed performance)in the T2i and had no trouble recording at any speed.
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turtle
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2010-10-30, 09:47

The A-DATA one is a good card. I use one in my MacBook Mini (Dell Mini 9) and haven't had any issues with it at all. Well worth the money and at only about $25 for a 16GB online it's had to not just get a class 10.

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PKIDelirium
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2010-11-02, 00:43

Couple unedited (other than resizing when uploaded to ImageShack) samples from the show I shot this weekend.




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PKIDelirium
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2010-11-11, 03:55

Okay, so tomorrow (technically today) is the return deadline for the T2i. I'm considering swapping it for a 60D. Conveniently, dpreview just put up their in-depth. Oddly though, despite everyone else calling the 60D a "Super T2i" everywhere I go, the conclusion pros and cons between the two of them are different, and I'm a little bit concerned, especially the mention about the 60D's white balance...

T2i: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos550d/page29.asp

60D: http://dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos60d/page20.asp

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PB PM
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2010-11-11, 05:51

Regarding the white balance, that is the normal. I've yet to use a digital camera from any manufacturer that has good auto white balance indoors, so whenever I see that in a review I just ignore it. If you are worried, just dial in the right white balance for the shooting conditions and move on, either that or shoot RAW and fix it later.

At this point, I think the best advice anyone can give is, only swap cameras if you find the controls of the T2i are slowing you down too much when shooting.
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Dorian Gray
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2010-11-11, 08:11

If you're thinking of moving up to a 60D, then you'd have to seriously consider the D7000, which to my mind is a much better camera (metal body for a start) for only slightly more money.

The Canon T2i offers the excellent 18-megapixel Canon sensor for a great price, but if you're paying more then you have to consider the cameras with the new Sony 16-megapixel CMOS sensor (Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5), since it looks like it will set a new quality standard in the crop-sensor segment.

Agree with PB PM that white-balance performance isn't important (but I always shoot raw and don't do video).
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PKIDelirium
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2010-11-11, 17:16

Here's what dpreview, including the 60D's reviewer, had to say about my question: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...hread=36888251

Still a little confused about the one guy that called the 60D's WB worse than the T2i's but that was just one random guy on the forums. Seems to me (and the dpreview reviewer) they'd be identical. Same sensor and processor, also found in the 7D.

As for reasons to switch. there's a couple minor build quality issues on the T2i. Flash hinge and control dial are both a little "squeaky". Display models did it too so it's not just mine. 60D didn't do that. Minor yeah but that kind of thing bugs me on expensive stuff.

Looks like the D7000 only does 24FPS for 1080 video, not 30. Bit of a downer there and I literally know nothing about Nikons. I may just go ahead and return the T2i today while I can, and take a bit more time to assess and try other models. I can always go back to the T2i at the same price if all else failed. I will look into the D7000 a bit though.

I did really like the feel of the 60D when I used it in the store last weekend, more pro-level ergonomics compared to the Rebel, which does feel fine to me but is a little small by comparison. 60D has several other advantages as well, pentaprism viewfinder, manual audio gain levels for video, and a higher burst rate which would all be nice.

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Dorian Gray
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2010-11-11, 17:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKIDelirium View Post
As for reasons to switch. there's a couple minor build quality issues on the T2i. Flash hinge and control dial are both a little "squeaky". Display models did it too so it's not just mine. 60D didn't do that. Minor yeah but that kind of thing bugs me on expensive stuff.
This kind of thing bugs me too, but apparently it doesn't bother most people. Build quality on cameras at a given price point has dropped alarmingly over the last decade and continues to deteriorate with no end in sight. If you're fussy about this kind of thing you'll never be perfectly happy in today's world. Personally, I blame Americans and their obsessive interest in saving a buck rather than rewarding quality. But they probably blame under-consuming beggars like me.

I find I'm happiest with inexpensive stuff for which I have low expectations, or truly exotic stuff that is practically flawless. The middle ground (e.g. a Canon 60D) spells disappointment. It might feel okay-ish in a shop, but you'll soon find flaws and cost-cutting measures that you'll scarcely believe. My Nikon D300S β€” a camera with an initial RRP of $1799! β€” has a dinky battery door that wouldn't look out of place on a twenty-five-dollar toy, plastic where anyone sensible would demand metal (e.g. card door, parts of prism housing), a seriously cheap pop-up flash, sub-par viewfinder optics, and much else wrong with it. Ten years ago the price would have fetched you a new Leica M6 with absolutely impeccable materials and build quality, practically handmade by a fanatical German with no life outside the factory. Progress!

(Of course Nikon did lots of things right with the D300S too, which is why I have it.)

Mind you, I haven't so much as touched a 60D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKIDelirium View Post
60D has several other advantages as well, pentaprism viewfinder, manual audio gain levels for video, and a higher burst rate which would all be nice.
Yup.
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PB PM
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2010-11-12, 02:37

I agree about the T2i, it feels cheap. The copy I had didn't have the issues you mentioned, but it isn't a camera that I'd want to do much serious shooting with. Of course that is just based on how I shoot. Nikon's entry level DSLRs feel better made than the T2i, but that has been the case since the Rebel line of cameras was first introduced.

As for the 60D, if it feels as nice as the 50D, which is the only Canon I've spent much time with other than the T2i, then the grip is really nice. Honestly I find the feel of the grip on those cameras fits my hands a little bit better than the D300, which I already really like.

The viewfinder is a biggy, when you look into the T2i or other entry level models it is like looking through a tunnel. Heck, I want to upgrade to full frame simply for the bigger finder (the crop sensor ones cause eye strain). I can shoot with my F90X (film camera) all day and have no eye strain, but with a crop body, it can be an issue. The bigger and brighter the better!
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