James from powermultisport.com wrote in. “How would the Canon t2i stack up against a dedicated camcorder like the Canon VIXIA HF M30 Camcorder for roughly half the price?”

Even though cameras like the Canon T2i are a great value, they still might not be the right option for everyone. The first thing to really consider is what you plan to use your new camera for. Will this be a camera for the kids basketball game, or are you planning to shoot your next indie master peace? Many times people are so blown away by the footage they see from DSLR cream dream videos that they over look some of the conveniences of having a dedicated video camera.  The camcorder lends itself well to family events, video blogs, and general purpose filming.

The reasons are many, but the most common can be rolled into ease of use. Since a video camera is designed for handheld video, you end up with a nice palm size form factor that sports auto focus, image stabilization, useful zoom range, and a flip out screen. Whether your terrorizing your cat for Youtube or celebrating the kids birthday, do you really want to worry about focusing your shot, changing out your lenses or a 12 minute max clip length?

The other very important thing to consider is cost. If you buy a Camcorder you are pretty much done. Sure you might want to add a Rode VideoMic or a Camera light, maybe even a nice fluid head tripod, but none of these even come close to the money pit that is buying lenses.  To add to that you have audio gear, camera rigs, and all the other costly items you’ll soon feel you can’t live without.

So why is everyone flocking to DSLR cameras for video? Well I could through around vague terms like “cinematic” and “film like” but those really don’t tell you very much. The truth is that these DSLR cameras have very large imaging sensors and interchangeable lenses. The larger image sensor provides better low light performance and dynamic range (you can find out more here). The ability to change your lens gives you control over one of the most important parts of filming, the light entering your camera. (very simplified) Think of the glass in your lens as a road and the light that travels through it as your car. The worse the road you’re traveling on, the slower and more hectic the journey. The smoother and cleaner the road, the faster and more enjoyable the drive. The Lens on most prosumer camcorders falls at the lower end of this car/road analogy, but because the lens is interchangeable on DSLR camera the only thing stopping you is your wallet.

To be frank, the beautiful footage that DSLR cameras are capable of often trumps all or most of the downsides. So if you are willing to put up with the downsides listed above and the cost (now and in the future) for shallow depth of field and great low light performance. Then a DSLR is a great way to go.

If you are sold on a DSLR, I’ve got a few lens recommendations for you to consider. James also sent me this $400 amazon printer rebate program link for the Canon T2i.

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