Home General Discussion

Camera or Camcorder?

Anyone have any advice on either a camera or camcorder for recording movement for animation study? Like what brands are good and what features should I look for?

Replies

  • Tenchi
    Both: 5Dmrk2 or if you have more money mrk3 ^^
  • EarthQuake
    Tenchi wrote: »
    Both: 5Dmrk2 or if you have more money mrk3 ^^

    A bit excessive, no? Why not go balls-out and get a Canon 1DC or hell, a Red system?

    I don't think he needs a $2-3000 DSLR to record some motion reference. Especially when said cameras need expensive IS lenses and or expensive stabilization systems just to get the steadyshot type effect of even a basic consumer camcorder.

    So yeah, wanna be an indie-film-maker? Get a 5D II plus a few thousand in glass and other gear, otherwise pick up a $1-300 digital camcorder that shoots 1080P and offers good stabilization. I don't know a massive amount about camcorders, but Canon and Sony are some brands to look at.

    An entry level DSLR might offer better manual video controls, so you can get the sort of shutter speeds and exposure controls you want - if this is even a requirement. There are a lot of $500-1000 DSLR camera bodies that do decent video. Canon, Nikon and Sony all make capable models. Sony has in-body IS, which is a huge plus for video. Something like a Canon T2i/T3i, Nikon D3100/D5100 or Sony A35/A55 would be in that price range. The Sony A35/A55 are SLT's and have electronic viewfinders, which means you can actually shoot video through the VF, on Canon/Nikon you have to use the screen.

    What is it that you're looking to record exactly? On tripod, or shot from the hip? Need auto-focus during video or is manual focus OK?(Most DSLR's aren't very good with AF during video).
  • Silver105
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    A bit excessive, no? Why not go balls-out and get a Canon 1DC or hell, a Red system?

    I don't think he needs a $2-3000 DSLR to record some motion reference. Especially when said cameras need expensive IS lenses and or expensive stabilization systems just to get the steadyshot type effect of even a basic consumer camcorder.

    So yeah, wanna be an indie-film-maker? Get a 5D II plus a few thousand in glass and other gear, otherwise pick up a $1-300 digital camcorder that shoots 1080P and offers good stabilization. I don't know a massive amount about camcorders, but Canon and Sony are some brands to look at.

    An entry level DSLR might offer better manual video controls, so you can get the sort of shutter speeds and exposure controls you want - if this is even a requirement. There are a lot of $500-1000 DSLR camera bodies that do decent video. Canon, Nikon and Sony all make capable models. Sony has in-body IS, which is a huge plus for video. Something like a Canon T2i/T3i, Nikon D3100/D5100 or Sony A35/A55 would be in that price range. The Sony A35/A55 are SLT's and have electronic viewfinders, which means you can actually shoot video through the VF, on Canon/Nikon you have to use the screen.

    What is it that you're looking to record exactly? On tripod, or shot from the hip? Need auto-focus during video or is manual focus OK?(Most DSLR's aren't very good with AF during video).


    Probably tripod and out in my back yard, I need to record myself swinging something sword like, also runs and jumps things of that nature.
  • Ark
    Offline / Send Message
    Ark polycounter lvl 11
    I can vouch for the A55, excellent for video aswell as stills. Like EQ says in-build IS and the EVF screen make these ideal cameras for video.
  • EarthQuake
    Silver105 wrote: »
    Probably tripod and out in my back yard, I need to record myself swinging something sword like, also runs and jumps things of that nature.

    Ok so, the first thing to sort of understand is sensor size. The larger the sensor, the more narrow the depth of field, for artsy photgraphy and "filmic" video work this is great, and APS-C and full frame(5D etc) DSLRs are really cool. Narrow depth of field means you can use the focus to isolate your subject, but it also means less is in focus, and keeping focus is harder.

    But for reference type shooting, you probably want a smaller sensor, so that more is infocus. You can "stop down" a APS-C/Full Frame DSLR to get more in focus, but at the point you're really paying a lot of money and not taking advantage of what the camera is "good at".

    So, basic point and shoot cameras and consumer camcorders have small sensors. a basic point&shoot probably has a pretty poor video mode, and might not do any focus tracking once you start shooting. Again a camcorder is probably ideal here, because it has a small sensor and its really built to shoot video and not much else.

    One thing that certain DSLRs do well is 3d tracking though, so if you're coming at/going away from the camera a lot, the auto-focus system on a DSLR might be more capable/faster than a camcorder. Ideally you want to be moving parallel to the camera, so you're staying in the "focus zone" all the time.

    Here's a video showing how a Canon T2i(550D) and a Sony A55 track focus in video(both DSLRS: [ame=" 550D vs Sony A55 Video AF Comparison - YouTube[/ame] You can see the A55 handles it a bit better. I couldn't find a focus tracking comparison video between a DSLR and a camcorder, probably best just to pop down to best buy/your local camera shop with a friend and try some cameras out.

    Here you can see the difference in depth of field between an A55 and a Canon hv30 camcorder: [ame=" hv30 vs Sony a55 - YouTube[/ame] Cool for artsy stuff, for reference?

    Now, with a stationary position on a tripod and enough light, you could simply use a wide lens on a DSLR and stop in down a bit, make sure you're a moderate distance away from the camera and pre-focus, and everything will pretty much be in focus as well, so....

    What sort of size/weight camera do you want?
    What sort of budget do you have?
    Do you want it to use it for stills/photography as well?
  • Silver105
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    Ok so, the first thing to sort of understand is sensor size. The larger the sensor, the more narrow the depth of field, for artsy photgraphy and "filmic" video work this is great, and APS-C and full frame(5D etc) DSLRs are really cool. Narrow depth of field means you can use the focus to isolate your subject, but it also means less is in focus, and keeping focus is harder.

    But for reference type shooting, you probably want a smaller sensor, so that more is infocus. You can "stop down" a APS-C/Full Frame DSLR to get more in focus, but at the point you're really paying a lot of money and not taking advantage of what the camera is "good at".

    So, basic point and shoot cameras and consumer camcorders have small sensors. a basic point&shoot probably has a pretty poor video mode, and might not do any focus tracking once you start shooting. Again a camcorder is probably ideal here, because it has a small sensor and its really built to shoot video and not much else.

    One thing that certain DSLRs do well is 3d tracking though, so if you're coming at/going away from the camera a lot, the auto-focus system on a DSLR might be more capable/faster than a camcorder. Ideally you want to be moving parallel to the camera, so you're staying in the "focus zone" all the time.

    Here's a video showing how a Canon T2i(550D) and a Sony A55 track focus in video(both DSLRS: canon 550D vs Sony A55 Video AF Comparison - YouTube You can see the A55 handles it a bit better. I couldn't find a focus tracking comparison video between a DSLR and a camcorder, probably best just to pop down to best buy/your local camera shop with a friend and try some cameras out.

    Here you can see the difference in depth of field between an A55 and a Canon hv30 camcorder: Canon hv30 vs Sony a55 - YouTube Cool for artsy stuff, for reference?

    Now, with a stationary position on a tripod and enough light, you could simply use a wide lens on a DSLR and stop in down a bit, make sure you're a moderate distance away from the camera and pre-focus, and everything will pretty much be in focus as well, so....

    What sort of size/weight camera do you want?
    What sort of budget do you have?
    Do you want it to use it for stills/photography as well?

    Not really concerned with size and weight.
    I was thinking between 300-500 dollars, I am actually a part time employee st bestbuy so I can probably get a discount.
    I am not an avid photo taker most of my photos have been taken on the iPhone, but it's not like I won't want something nice in the future, my grandfather took tons of pictures and who knows if I have a nice camera I may start taking more.
  • EarthQuake
    Silver105 wrote: »
    Not really concerned with size and weight.
    I was thinking between 300-500 dollars, I am actually a part time employee st bestbuy so I can probably get a discount.
    I am not an avid photo taker most of my photos have been taken on the iPhone, but it's not like I won't want something nice in the future, my grandfather took tons of pictures and who knows if I have a nice camera I may start taking more.

    If you want to spend $300 or less I would say go with a camcorder, or even a nice point&shoot like a Canon S95 or S100. If you're spending around $500, I find i really hard to suggest anything other than a DSLR. I'm a huge DSLR nerd though so take that with a grain of salt. I just think there is so much you can do with a DSLR, whereas a camcorder is fairly limited.

    Around $500 You're looking at the Canon T2i, Canon T2, Sony A33 and Nikon D3100. These should all be somewhere around that after your discount. A Sony A55 you would have to buy a used one for it to be around $500.

    I would say really, take your next lunch break and try out all of these DSLRs(bestbuy should have them all) and then compare them to some of the $200-300 camcorders. Get a friend to spaz out and see how well the autofocus works in video mode, how easy the camera is to use, how comfortable it is etc etc.

    Once you have a better idea of how these cameras handle, and how that applies to your needs I think you can start looking at individual features and whatnot. For instance the T2i can shoot at 60 FPS which would be great slow-mo reference, but I dont think it has auto focus in video mode. The A33/A55 only shoot 30 FPS, but have good AF in video.


    Oh also, take your current digital camera, whatever cheap point&shoot you have(or borrow a friends if you don't have one), get a cheap tripod and try to do what you want to do! You might be surprised that even a crappy camera can give you good enough results. Worst case you'll have a better idea what you really need out of a camera in terms of quality and features.
  • claydough
    Offline / Send Message
    claydough polycounter lvl 10
    As fierce as competition is for advanced phone technology, I have my fingers crossed that my best HD camera will do over 120 fps and will always be in my shirt pocket ( unless that will gimme cancer. ) Since I upgraded my zx3 with class 10 memory I have noticed smoother captures with it's 720p @60fps. ( I would not recommend that Kodak tho. There is an issue with it's fixed optics at 720p that requires a hack ) The zx5 is out but I have not heard that it is better.
    When you can still go under 10feet of water ( lucky so far ) or just stick it in yer aquarium or shoot out in the rain with front shirt pocket form factor. "Always ready at a moments notice"
    Get dem Kodak 1080p HD fer $42 bucks while they last.
    http://www.eastcoastphoto.com/accessory_kit/kodak_playsport_zx3_camcorder_21798-fgleak.html

    at 720p 60fps that Bike shot might work but this camera better have fast memory and locked down to a tripod cus the EIS is shit.
    1SaleADay-Kodak-Zx3-Waterproof_grid_6.jpg
    cheaper that last nights bar tab.
    Like iphone there are a lot of custom fun macro and wideangle lenses.
    !BSyMrq!!2k~$(KGrHgoH-CMEjlLl0rDjBKE9C)qD2w~~_35.JPG
    Kodak's website are selling a macro and wide angle for the zx3 real cheap.
    ( they r selling all their cameras cheap too.. Bankrupt camera division? )

    Newest toy here is the GoPro HD HERO2! Haven't had much time to play with it as I am trying to get my nephew up to speed on the Avid. But so far the Quality of pictures seem alot nicer. ( but 3X the price! No zoom like the Kodak and no viewfinder... but it's not important straped to a helmet or car hood )


    As cheap as the Natural Points motion capture camera's are...
    A Motion Capture system for under $3000 still sounds to good to be true!
    http://www.naturalpoint.com/
    OptiTrack Flex 13 Mocap Camera - Guided Tour: ( flex13 under a grand and are available as bundles )
    [ame=" Flex 13 Mocap Camera - Guided Tour - YouTube[/ame]
    the flex13's tracking fidelity:
    [ame=" Flex 13 Mocap Camera - Resolution Test - YouTube[/ame]


    Even Cheaper! ( V100:R2 $599.0 ):
    v100r2OverviewMainGraphic.png

    Even tho thats still your max price just for one camera...
    The technology is at least in reach. ( not sure how much success I would have taping ping pong balls to cats and other animals, But if I get a bundle over the summer I sure as hell am going to try :) )

    [ame=" Highlight Reel - GDC 2012 - YouTube[/ame]

    Anyone give this ( naturalpoint ) a shot yet?
  • Rwolf
    Bought a Nikon V1 as a entry level mirrorless DSLR. Good video mode at 1080p @ 30fps, and 400fps mode at 640x480.

    Although I can only recommend it if it's on sale. There is the J1 which is the cheaper version, but pretty much the same features.
  • EarthQuake
    There are a lot of good compact and cheap mirrorless systems out there today. Some of the Micro Four Thirds bodies are getting ridiculously cheap, you can pick up a EP-2 body for $230, EPL-1 body for $149!!!

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/OLYMPUS-262855-Megapixel-Camera-camera/dp/B0037VVWBK/?tag=rumors04-20"]Amazon.com: OLYMPUS 262855 12.3 Megapixel E-PL1 Pen Camera (Black camera body): Camera & Photo[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Micro-Digital-Camera-Black/dp/B003E47XR2/?tag=rumors04-20"]Amazon.com: Olympus Pen E-P2 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera Body (Black): Camera & Photo[/ame]

    Both of these have in-body IS too.

    Panasonic makes some absolutely fabulous M43 mirrorless cameras for shooting video, like the GH2, which can be hacked to unlock some really cool video features. No in-body IS though, and these are more like 5D type features, stuff the average user doesn't likely need.

    The Nikon 1 system has a sensor that is halfway between most DSLRs and your average point and shoot, in most cases this would be a bad thing but for the type of reference shooting you want to do it might actually be a benefit. It also has a pretty crazy good AF system and that 400 FPS mode sounds cool.

    As a overall mirrorless system though I would say it is one of the worst though, Olympus/Panasonic have better bodies, sensors and a much much better lens lineup. Sony Nex has better sensors than everyone and even the few Nex lenses are better than Nikons, and Samsung has better sensors and lenses as well. All that and the Nikon 1 system is priced way too high for what it offers.
  • Rwolf
    It's about what your needs are and the V1 fits my needs well, regardless of pretty much everybody looking down on it.

    Also be wary of entry level dslr video modes, they don't like fast moving objects too much that pan left or right as the tend to distort. they call it rolling shutter/jitter/jello effect.

    So if your planning on taking action reference, you would want to look up rolling shutter camera examples once you narrowed down your camera selections.
  • EarthQuake
    Rwolf wrote: »
    It's about what your needs are and the V1 fits my needs well, regardless of pretty much everybody looking down on it.

    Certainly, and in the OP's case it might even be a good choice for him considering the small sensor, wide dof and on-sensor phase detect focus which should be able to track better than most other mirrorless cameras in good light. I think it reverts back to pretty slow CDAF in low light though? Likely out of his budget though.

    Out of curiosity, what about the Nikon 1 system appeals to you? To me the biggest thing Nikon has done is actually get the camera into major stores and have it available for sale, unlike the Nex 7 which is perpetually out of stock lolol, or Samsung's NX cameras which are almost impossible to find in stores. A big win for Nikon's marketing/distribution network. I will be very curious when Canon comes out with their system, you would think they will have similar success because of their quality supply chain.
    Also be wary of entry level dslr video modes, they don't like fast moving objects too much that pan left or right as the tend to distort. they call it rolling shutter/jitter/jello effect.

    So if your planning on taking action reference, you would want to look up rolling shutter camera examples once you narrowed down your camera selections.

    This is mostly a problem will fast pans/camera movement, on a tripod rolling shutter shouldn't be too much of an issue, but yeah, a camera/camcorder with a CCD sensor instead of a CMOS sensor should help. The latest after effects is actually pretty awesome for removing the rolling shutter effect.
  • EarthQuake
    claydough wrote: »
    I have my fingers crossed that my best HD camera will do over 120 fps and will always be in my shirt pocket ( unless that will gimme cancer. )

    Well, due to basic size limitations, a cell phone is always going to be pretty crap at taking video. It could do 4K at 400fps, but you're still better off with a dedicated camcorder/dslr because of:
    Basic ergonomics, holding a cellphone stead enough for video is a pain the ass, no tripod mount either
    Size constraints;
    No room for hardware stabilization
    Crappy tiny sensors that give poor low light performance and no subject isolation
    No room for anything but software zoom, which means degraded image quality as you zoom in.

    Really looking at "specs" on a cellphone camera as if it compares to a proper camera is silly, there's so much more to it than that.

    If you're looking for a tech boner, there's actually a Nokia phone with a slightly larger than normal 41mp sensor that down-sizes to get pretty excellent 5 and 8mp images. And I think Samsung? is going to come out with a cell phone camera that records a depth map, allowing DOF post processing(hopefully it can export depth as alpha so we can use the lens blur plugin and customize the effect).

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/03/07/Nokia-808-Pure-View-Windows-for-US

    Can't find the article for the "depth" thing, maybe it wasn't samsung...
  • Ace-Angel
    Offline / Send Message
    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    I would say go with Canada, it's the best choice.
  • slipsius
    Honestly... It doesnt really matter. I do all my filming with my quickshot camera. It does record in HD, but its a camera. If you bring your video into quicktime, you can scrub it, so it really doesnt matter man.

    You could do it with a web cam if you want. No need to blow a crap ton of money.

    I bought this for my trip to new zealand a few years ago for its durability, and waterproof. Great pics. good video. Never had a problem, and do all my video recording for all my animations with it

    http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=4259&review=panasonic+lumix+ts2

    Its not like you are doing mocap. so it doesnt have to be perfect. As long as you can make out the twists and turns in the body, and where your limbs are. its fine
  • Silver105
    I went with the Sony HDR-CX190

    http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&partNumber=HDRCX190/B

    I got the open item, and used my discount. The whole sale including the tripod and 8gb memory card was 293.99 which was just about what my tax return was so it worked out good!

    So far I'm really liking what i'm seeing out of it. I'm going to do a lot of recording tomorrow and get the next step for my character started.
Sign In or Register to comment.