Camcorder or DLSR?
I am confused whether to buy a DSLR that shoots video, or to simply go in for a camcorder. I want to shoot both still images and video. Is it better to buy a HD camcorder having good still photo resolution (10MP), or to buy a pro DSLR having HD video option?
Shailesh Anant Phule, via email
If still image quality is of importance, a DSLR that shoots HD video will be a much better choice. Camcorders may offer a good still photo resolution, but the sensor in camcorders is much smaller than that of a DSLR. Due to this, the image quality is not up to the mark, especially in low light. A DSLR will allow you to shoot high-quality still images and video, but you have to be aware of the differences between shooting video with a DSLR and a camcorder.
Since video in DSLRs is a relatively young technology, the ease of use is not very well developed. Most video DSLRs (with the exception of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH1) are not optimised for using autofocus while shooting video. Shooting video in a DSLR is not so simple, as compared to a compact camera that shoots HD video, or a dedicated camcorder. Of course, if you are willing to go through a steep learning curve, the advantages are many. A DSLR gives you more creative freedom than a camcorder since you can use different kinds of lenses while shooting video. Also, the video quality in low light is often superior to consumer HD camcorders, due to the difference in sensor size.