macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 26, 2012
Minnesota, US
Hey, I've been getting deeper and deeper into making short films, documentaries, ect. The camera that I have is beginning to fail me. I want a new camera that I'll be able to afford. So about a 300 to 500$ price range. And for me, a slider for manual focus would be good. HD quality. All that good stuff :)

Thanks in advance.


macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2003
At that price I'd suggest a lightly used Canon HV30. Good to great pic quality and manual control.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2008
London, UK
Lot of things you need to ask yourself:

  • are you particularly bothered about audio?
  • do you use a certain type of mic?
  • are you looking for something more arty/creative or just point and shoot?
  • something that is robust, e.g. water resistant?
  • manual control over zoom/white balance/etc.?
  • something lightweight and inconspicuous?

I doubt you'll ever be able to find a camera that ticks all the boxes up there, but when working on a budget, figure out the main thing you need it for and work from there.

e.g. if you want good audio, always find one with a decent internal mic or an audio jack input.
e.g. for full manual control, great quality and something more arty looking, you'd probably want an DSLR or some description - though this may be over your price range and you may sacrifice other features like good audio.

Good luck with your search!


macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2008
Below sea level
At that price I'd suggest a lightly used Canon HV30. Good to great pic quality and manual control.

Yeah, the canon is a great little camera. HDV is also good compression compared to AVCHD (most cameras). The only downside (at least for me) is that you need to play back the tapes to import the footage on your computer.

I bought the Canon 600D (or rebel t3i). It has an input for microhpones and I think (but I never actually tested it) it performs better in low-light then camcorders because of the lenses you can use and the bigger sensor.

Also, doing interviews with the cheap portrait lens gives great bokeh.

The only (big) downside to it, is that it's not designed to do video. So you can't really hold it nice (without rig) like a normal camcorder, it won't focus normal (it can autofocus, but it does this in an extreme distracting way) and settings are less easy then on a camcorder.

But when you (like me) make short films, most scenes are set-up and you have the time to do all the settings, focusing etc.

There are also other DSLR camer's that do video. The rebel t3i has a screen you can flip though.
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macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2012
T2i or T3i

For the price range, you won't do better video quality wise than a DSLR as long as you are comfortable doing manual focus, because the AF does not work for video at all.

I picked up a T3i as a 3rd camera and it won me over and I use it almost as much as my XH-A1 now. Also, the t4i is coming out at the end of June so you should keep an eye out for some good deals happening on the t2i and the t3i.
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