Disadvantages of DSLR Video

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Although this is a DSLR video site, I wanted to be fair and present some disadvantages that DSLR cameras have over dedicated video cameras. After all, DSLRs were designed to capture still images, but video is all about motion. Below are some of the major disadvantages of DSLR video and ways to overcome them:

 

Ergonomics
DSLRs are relatively small and light which means there’s more camera shake when hand holding the camera. The solution: stabilization equipment – tripods, stabilization rigs, image stabilization lenses, and more.

Secondly, the small LCD screen is not the best for viewing video which needs to be spot on focus. External monitors can be attached or loupe viewfinders can be added to magnify the image on the LCD screen and block out glare from the sun. Another problem with the LCD screen is that some camera bodies don’t come with articulating (swivel) screens. So if you want to shoot shots from a low angle, you might well have to get down low on your belly to view the LCD screen.

 

Movie Size and Time Limits
There’s a whole article on this topic that you can check out here: here. But basically there are some restrictions on the size of the movie files and restrictions on how long a DSLR can continuously record.

 

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Continuous auto focus
Until recently, Canon DSLRs were unable to maintain continuous auto focus during movie mode. Recently, Canon has begun releasing bodies, such as the SL1, with this capability. It still isn’t perfect since it still takes some time for the camera to readjust focus. Furthermore, if you don’t have USM or STM lenses, the noise of the lens adjusting focus can be a hindrance to an otherwise great video.

 

Sound Quality
DSLRs are cameras with video capability. For the price and size, you can’t expect them to be great audio recorders as well can you? Well they are not. Luckily, some camera bodies have a microphone input so that you can capture great audio via a third party external microphone, such as the Rode VideoMic Pro VMP Shotgun Microphone pictured to the right. Further, you can use external audio recording devices, such as the Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder, and sync up the sound in post.

 

Aliasing and Moire
Because of the way DSLRs capture images, you may sometimes get unwanted jagged line artifacts in your movie. Read more about aliasing and moire and how to overcome them.

 

Rolling Shutter/ Jello Effect
Finally, another curious outcome you may see when shooting with DSLRs is the jello effect. When panning rapidly, straight lines may appear to slant and wobble due to the fact that DSLRs use rolling shutters. Again, there’s another article that goes into depth of what rolling shutter/jello effect is, and how to overcome it. In some cases, having a rolling shutter is not necessarily a disadvantage because you can produce some interesting effects, such as capturing smooth waves in a strummed string.