You heard me… what kind of camera should I buy, YouTube Boy?

Joke Tax

Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato.
Baby tomato starts lagging behind and Poppa tomato gets really angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smooshes him… and says, 'ketchup!

You Talkin' to Me?

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Kayode Olorunfemi

Make a list of the top 5 things important to you… (low light, run and gun, long recording etc). Then set a budget you can afford. Then shortlist cameras that fulfill the most important items on your list coupled with gear you already have. In my case I just got a used C100Mkii as I have quite a bit of Canon glass and I needed long recording, light camera, long battery life and I love the Canon image.


And just my 2 cents.

If you are doing things like an interview, the truth is that it is more important a good sound that an outstanding image, so investigates a bit about a good mic. If it can be connected to the camera could save you some time in the edition, but this is not always the case.

Regarding the DSLR, to shoot faces and medium shots, you probably want to take a look at a wide aperture lens. A typical cheap but not “cheap” lens is a 50mm f/1.8.

The two main differences between using an average camcorder and a DSLR is the bokeh of this wide aperture lenses and that a DSLR can be set to fully manual mode (including setting up the white balance), so the camera do not change the brightness of the scene if you do not want to.

The disadvantage could be that the sensor heats a bit when making long shots, so the footage is limited to some 15-30 mins.

John P. Hess

Unfortunately it’s not the sensor heat that limits the DSLR record time – it’s a legal thing. These cameras would then be classified as video cameras and be subject to different import fees – so they set the record limit to keep them out of that classification:

From 2012

Though things are changing

GH4 kills the 30 minute limit from 2015

John P. Hess

Dennis has asked one of the three big ol’ question that has been plagued man since time immemorial: When should I sow my crops? What camera should I buy? Should I take the lump sum payout or the annuity?

There’s actually a very simple way to answer to this question – what do you intend to do with the camera?

-Make films

Well, okay, we’re all on a filmmaking site to learn how to make films – but let’s get more specific. Is this your very first film? If you’ve never ever made anything before – I mean not even a video you threw up on Facebook – then the answer is really simple: Use whatever camera you have that can shoot video (even a smart phone) and make a small short film. Even if it’s only :30 seconds long. Some of our Labs like the Color in Digital Filmmaking can be done on any camera at all.

Now that you’ve made a few short films with a camera (any camera), we can get more specific:

What kind of films do you want to make? Do you want to make documentaries with lots of interviews? Do you want to make documentaries of your travels or sports videos? Do you want to focus on cinematography and make more traditional Hollywood style films? Each of these scenarios would call for a different camera to start with – keep in mind that none of them are mutually exclusive either.

If you are making documentaries with talking heads – a camcorder style camera would be in your best interest. Many of these will have professional microphone hookups and a lot of features that are handy in long form shooting for interviews (such as not having a file length limitation). Achieving focus and exposure is generally easier on camcorder style bodies and they are built for field work. These cameras are also great for documenting live events such as weddings and performances.

If you are interested in sports and lifestyle filmming for vlogs – an action camera might be a good “next step” camera. These are pretty much no frills sensors with a lens – but they can be put anywhere and everywhere without being conspicuous. If you are vlogging, the sound is “ok” when you are close to the camera but you shouldn’t rely on the onboard microphone for any of these cameras if sound is really crucial.

Finally let’s talk about focusing on cinematography. If you want to travel down this road, a good starter camera would be a used DSLR with video features starting from Micro 4/3rds sensor and above (APS-C or Full Frame). This will also require you to invest in a lens or two. The benefit of going with a DSLR is now you can also experiment with photography in addition to cinematography but be forewarned – there are a lot of “accessories” that you may want with DSLR (though frankly most of them you won’t need). The key accessories is really the sound department.

For DSLRs, I really recommend buying used. There is no point in chasing the “latest” new DSLRs – unless you want to be a pro-photographer, most of the new hot features are on the stills side, not the motion picture side. I’m not in love with DSLRs as something I would take to a pro set but you can learn A LOT about cinematography/photography from one. Make sure the camera you’re looking at shoots 1080, if you want to pay extra and your editing computer can handle it, then go ahead and spring for the 4K.

So that’s it for the what camera to buy as you graduate up from shooting quick little tests to something a bit more involved. But that is not the end of the journey. Once you learn your camera’s strengths and weaknesses in the kind of films you are trying to make, you will understand better what kind of camera you are looking for in the next step up. And the next step beyond that. And the one after that.

Just remember that no matter how good your camera, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have talent behind it and something worth looking at in front of it.


Ask Questions

Login To Ask Questions.

Fresh Questions