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DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: December 31st, 2016, 5:32 pm
by technoendo
Most people in here seem to be photographers with just a handful of videographers that I've noticed so maybe there won't be much interest.

I've been enchanted by the development of the DSLM camera like the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and with the GH5 taking pre-orders next week (release in april/may) likely would be the camera purchased if I can convince myself that DSLM cameras are appropriate for run and gun wildlife videography. DSLM's offer a bigger sensors at a lower cost than camcorders and the manufacturers seem to be improving them rapidly. You can get that "cinema look" with the large sensor in some cases (shallow DOF), and inter-changable lenses grant a lot of flexibility though I'm not really eager to carry a pile of lenses around. DSLM's evolved from DSLR's which were designed for photography and not videography originally. Their specs on paper are astounding and I think I'd have to pay an extra few thousand dollars to get technical equivalency with a camcorder (I am looking to do specialized HDR videography).

Camcorders usually are slightly behind DSLM's in terms of image quality, but they have extras not always built into all of the DSLM cameras (a good mic, built in ND filters, lots of external buttons so you aren't digging through menus, better ergonomics, smaller learning curve, and generally optimized for videography). Nice camcorders often have zoom ranges of 15x+ are fast, fully parfocal, and have smooth zoom-demand compatabile powerzooms. These have long been the workhorses for video professionals.

My biggest concern is things like having an unexpected wildlife encounter -- I would have to attach my best lense for that situation if its not already attached, hook up the external microphone if audio is important, start shooting, possibly fiddle with camera settings and the lense before I can start taking decent video. With a camcorder, you more or less just turn it on and shoot. I have heard that DSLM is the way to go when you have a studio and time to setup shots, camcorders favor run and gun a bit, but maybe this isn't as bad as I assume it might be?

Is there anybody here using a DSLM for wildlife videos in the field and what are your thoughts? Does this fall apart as I describe, or is it manageable? Do you wish you had gone with a camcorder? Do you miss shots because you need to spend more time fiddling with your gear? I want to hear from you.

I have already asked these questions to a few DSLM/Camcorder professionals and got a 50/50 mix of answers. I want to hear from non-studio people that are out in the rain and mud chasing fast moving terrestrial animals.

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 8th, 2017, 7:40 am
by chrish
I have a friend who uses the Panasonic GH3 (I think?) for video work having come from a DSLR background. He also had a dedicated video camera for a while as well but moved up to the GH3 when it came out.
I can't speak for him other than to say he seems very happy with his current setup. It only takes his an extra second to pull out his shotgun mic or video light and snap it into place before shooting. To be honest, you are probably going to be shooting with a tripod to get good results anyway so the time to grab your mic, etc., isn't really going to add anything to the setup.

He has a few example videos on YouTube as arkherps. I don't know if seeing them would answer any of your questions?

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 9th, 2017, 3:53 pm
by technoendo
Thank you Chrish, thats one DSLM user. I might go poke arkherps a bit on youtube. Since this post I've been getting more support elsewhere for professional camcorders than DSLM from people that have used both for video.

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 10th, 2017, 8:31 pm
by chrish
I talked to him the other night actually and mentioned this conversation. We'll see if he logs in here. He doesn't very often.

He did say he would wait for the G5 since its specs are supposed to be much improved over the G4 or other options. I don't remember what the particulars were but apparently it is going to be quite the camera.

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 10th, 2017, 8:57 pm
by technoendo
He responded and I'm following up!

Yes, the GH5 is a spicy meatball. Regardless of what camera type I may land on the GH5 impossible to ignore. The specs are now out and we're just waiting for more people to get their hands on them and test them in the field. ... fps-18104/ ... driftwood/

Pre-orders are being taken now, the general public will start getting them in April/May, however there are a bunch of features that are being held back at release which will become available with a free firmware update in July.

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 11th, 2017, 12:16 am
by technoendo
Currently the top recommended camcorder suggested thats competitive with the GH5 was the Panasonic AG-DVX200 Professional Camcorder + Blackmagic Video Assist 4K external recorder (required to record 10-bit 4:2:2). The GH5 can record 10-bit 4:2:2 internally without an external recorder. ... 0_spec.pdf ... dvx200.pdf

Costs a bit, but then again once you outfit a GH5 with a cage, an external shotgun mic, filters (polarization/ND), and at least 2 or 3 lenses (currently have none) it starts approaching the cost of the DVX200. Thing that bothers me about the DVX200 is its 14lbs + another 2lbs for the external recorder. GH5 is 2.2lbs + accessories, easier to travel and hike canyons. The old DVX100 was a legendary video production workhorse for its run & gun capabilities and the DVX200 continues this legacy. Faster autofocus and power zoom on the DVX200 is suggested to be better than the GH5. Built in ND filters and a good mic. Both cameras have 5-axis IBIS for stabilization. I suspect the GH5 has better low light performance although its unclear to me if the DVX200 will suck with a an on-camera LED light attached (ugh, more weight).

In any case I'll probably rent the DVX200/GH5 before making any firm decisions.

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 11th, 2017, 12:27 am
by technoendo

Re: DSLM or Camcorder for herping videos?

Posted: January 14th, 2017, 11:37 am
by chrish
Don't forget the GH5 takes oustanding stills as well. I'm not sure how the DVX200 does at stills.
And the SLR type body allows you to get a much longer lens should you want to go that route.

As for pricing, you don't have to buy everything all at once with the GH5 system. You can add as you go.

And when the GH6, GH7, or GH12 comes out and introduces a spectacular new "must have" feature, you simply buy a new body, not a whole new setup.

And if your camera body breaks or fails (they all do eventually), you only have to replace the $2K part, not the whole $4K thing.

I'm not into videography, but it seems a clear difference in overall value to me?

I'm not sure why I'm even advocating one or the other. :lol: I really don't care, but I guess I'm suggesting what I would do. The fact that any of these capabilities are available in these price ranges now is amazing.