Buying My First Video Camera

Newer members often state that they think their question is too basic, or stupid, or whatever, to be posted. Nothing could be further further from the truth in any section at, but especially here. Don't feel intimidated. The only stupid question is the one that remains unasked. We were all beginners at one stage, and even the most experienced amongst us will admit to learning new stuff on a daily basis. Ask away! Please also refer to the forum rules and the portal page

Moderators: Greg B, Nnnnsic, Geoff, Glen, gstark, Moderators

Forum rules
Please ensure that you have a meaningful location included in your profile. Please refer to the FAQ for details of what "meaningful" is. Please also check the portal page for more information on this.

Buying My First Video Camera

Postby coolhandluke on Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:24 am

Hi Everyone!

I'm buying my first video camera to pursue a career in filmmaking. I am a student on a limited budget- ($1000-1500 at most). I have been told that full frame cameras with interchangeable lens capabilities (prime lenses) are the best way to start off because they will give me the opportunity to learn professional skills and give me the option to upgrade lenses. I also have been told that DSLRs have the latest affordable professional technology, and have been specifically looking at Canons. I originally gravitated toward the 6D body because it is within my price range and seemed to have all the qualities I was looking for, but I want to make sure I'm getting the most out of my money. The 6D is also dated, so that was a concern. Another concern was the audio capabilities- it has the option to hook up a microphone but has no headphone jack to monitor the audio-which is a problem. A friend suggested that there are separate audio recording devices- how much do these run? He also brought to my attention that I will most likely meed a rig for stability and visual monitoring- the screen on the back is not flexible but fixed. So I'm looking for advice on what to buy (i.e.- A body, a prime lens, separate audio equipment, and a rig) and was looking to spend ($1000-1500 at most). I would like to reiterate that price is an important factor, but I would like advice on what to compromise on for the sake of quality. This has been my dream for a long time and I'd like to get my eye behind the camera as quickly as possible.
I almost forgot-I will also need video editing software, and will it run on my computer or will I need to upgrade? I'm currently running on a macbook pro that is about 5-6 years old and due for an upgrade as it runs OS 10.5.8 and cannot upgrade software any further (so it cannot download mavericks).
Thanks in advance for reading all this, I appreciate your time and advice.
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:40 am
Location: Washington, D.C.

Re: Buying My First Video Camera

Postby aim54x on Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:38 am

If your total budget is 1000-1500 then the 6D is out of the question, you simply will not be able to get everything you want out of that camera for the money you have allocated. Have a look at the Black Magic Pocket Cinema (Super 16 format), then have a look at one good prime (I would recommend the Olympus 17mm f/1.8, or the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5). That should give you change from $1.5k (buying local australian stock) as for software, external recorders, rig etc...well those will have to come with time.

Have a look at a tripod as your first support, thankfully the BM + M43 lenses is small and lightweight so you wont need a huge tripod, have a look at the Manfrotto range, I would recommend the 190 or 055 series legs with a 701HDV head. Shop for combos etc.

For external sound...that is a huge can of worms, thankfully the black magic will take anything with a standard 3.5mm stereo input, so have a look for a mic that suits your needs (ie shotgun for directional sound vs stereo for ambient) you may also want to look at something like the Zoom H4 if you want to externally record sound.

Software, is something that is personal, I do not edit video so I dont have many recommendations, the hardware is easy for me. You will probably have to upgrade your computer as modern software is threaded for multi CPU and will take advantage of the newer processors etc. Have a look at Premiere, Pinnacale and Vegas (just names that get thrown around a lot), I do know that you will be able to do some basic editing with iMovie, but that is most often more pain than it is worth as it often has silly requirements.

IN SHORT - I dont think you have the budget to get as much as you desire, start small and work up towards it. DO NOT write off the Panasonic M43 cameras (GH2, GH3) as they may be other options. DSLR Video is not the way forward, there are too many large sensor video cameras hitting the market with better ergonomics and purpose designed features, so if you want to stay in video and dont care about still then make sure you do a b it of research and try not to buy into a decaying system.

Black Magic Pocket Cinema

Manfrotto 190 series

Manfrotto 055 series

Manfrotto 701HDV

Zoom H4N

EDIT: Please place a meaningful location into your profile as this may help members recommend places to shop etc. It is a REQUIREMENT (see the pink box)
Nikon F/Nikon 1 | Hasselblad V/XPAN| Leica M/LTM |Sony α/FE/E/Maxxum/M42
Wishlist Nikkor 24/85 f/1.4| Fuji Natura Black
Scout-Images | Flickr | 365Project
User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 7305
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:13 pm
Location: Penshurst, Sydney

Re: Buying My First Video Camera

Postby coolhandluke on Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:36 pm

Thanks man! I appreciate the advice and support! Thanks also for bringing it to my attention that I did not include a location in my profile (updated: Washington, D.C.) I've been looking at the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera, and honestly I'm not sure what to make of it. I just had a few questions about sensor size and how that relates to format. It says that the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera is Super 16mm format, 2K. I have read though that the most common cinema sensor/ format is 35mm, 4k, or for large productions even 70mm, 8k. Is it a disadvantage to have a camera that shoots in 16? I just heard that Panasonic is releasing the DMC-gh4 soon that will be 35mm, would it be worth it to hold out for something like that? Is 16mm the best choice for my price range? Also is there an adapter I can get to convert to 35mm?
I also read in some reviews that this camera was not able to get a good shallow depth of field, and has very short shooting time with short battery life. on the other end of the spectrum, I heard that an advantage to shooting with this camera would be its access to shooting RAW for this price range.
I was also interested as to your thoughts on the advantages of a Mirrorless camera.
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:40 am
Location: Washington, D.C.

Return to Absolute Beginners Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests