Back in January, Chris Davis and I were at YS! Palooza together, and we were talking about shooting video. Chris was lugging around a giant HD camcorder and tripod that he used to shoot this video. We began having a chat about the video function on most new DSLR cameras. Now, my wife is a professional photographer who shoots with a very expensive Nikon D700 (Here is a shameless plug for her business). But, there are plenty of entry level and semi-pro DSLRs available that shoot tremendous video! After that chat with Chris Davis I was sold. Our student ministry has a handful of Flip cameras, but we have been ready to push through that barrier for a while. This past week I broke down and bought the Canon 60D with the 18-135mm kit lens. I have a friend who manages a big box retail store who sold me the camera (regularly $1300) for $1000 flat. Here is my initial observation of the camera. I will follow this up later with a more detailed review and video samples.
Things I love:
1. Articulated Screen– Up until the past year or so most DSLRs had stationary screens for reviewing pictures. Now with the advent of HD video capable cameras the need for articulating screens is very real.
2. LP-E6 Battery– The 60D uses the same large battery that Canon employs in their professional cameras like the 7D and 5D. This battery lasts close to twice as long as the battery in the cheaper T3i. And since batteries cost around $100 apiece, I felt this was a huge plus for the 60D.
3. 1080p at 30, 25, and 24fps– Unlike the Nikon D7000, the 60D supports 1080p at the 3 most popular frame rates. (Not to mention that the D7000 does not have an articulated screen)
4. Body Size– The Canon 60D has a larger, and larger aluminum frame than the cheaper T3i (steel), and this is one case where I believe that heavier is better. The weight and size allow you to grip the camera with confidence, whereas the T3i feels more like a toy. To boot, the 60D is weatherized better.
5. Manual Controls- If you want to produce the highest quality video, you have to control your exposure manually. The exposure controls on the 60D are easy to operate and accessible without going through menus. The white balance can be controlled easily enough without going through tiers of menus.
All in all I feel that the 60D is the way to go for getting into DSLR video. The price point is right for the features you get. If you want some more info on DSLR video here are a few sites I recommend highly:
DSLR Video Shooter– Caleb Pike runs one of the cleanest and most helpful DSLR Video sites around. Great info in his newsletter.
Philip Bloom– Philip is one of the top DSLR videographers around. He actually shot parts of the latest George Lucas film Red Tails. Philip’s site has an interactive community and he regularly reviews DSLR gear.