Camcorder or Canon 550D DSLR?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by blueharvester, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. blueharvester macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2007
    We have our first baby due in November and we really want to get a camcorder. I was considering the Panasonic SD60.

    I already have a DSLR, a Nikon D40, but am considering selling it and using the money I would've spent on the camcorder and buy a Canon 550D instead.

    Reasons For Canon 550D:
    • The video footage, from what I've seen, looks absolutely stunning.
    • My brother has a Canon DSLR and so I could use one of his many lenses.
    • It would meld two devices into one i.e. video and stills.

    Reasons Against Canon 550D:
    • It might not be point and shoot friendly i.e. when my wife wants to use it.
    • I only have a MacBook (Core Duo 2GHz 4GB RAM), so I'm not sure if it could handle the video editing? This is a pretty important one so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    What do you think? Go with the camcorder or the 550D??
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    You MB can handle editing those files easily once they are transcoded to an editing friendly format. If you use iMovie and Final Cut Express, the Apple Intermediate Codec is there for you. It will take approx. 42GB to 49GB for one hour of 1080p/i footage. link

    But consider a camcorder if you like the easier handling of it, as you only have to use one hand with a camcorder, but the D550 requires two hands at most times, even though one-hand operation is possible, but more cumbersome than with a camcorder.
  3. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007

    I am using the Canon 550D currently for high definition video with a Macbook 2.16Ghz Core2Duo and 3 gigs of ram with iMovie and it's ok. I'd say the camera is absolutely worth it and if you want your wife to use it just simply teach her how to use the 'P' mode which is what I set it to when I give the camera to anyone else. It also has an auto mode if need be. As for the computer handling it, it can but honestly the fans end up blasting and it takes a really long time to convert the footage from h.264 to a usable format. I'd say get the camera but editing might require something a little faster. The 4 gigs will definitely help you as far as rendering and exporting but the processor is just slow.
  4. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Editing these files isn't a problem.

    I would be more hesitant to use a DSLR based on your first reason. They don't make for very good point and shoot video cameras. Since you have SLR experience, it shouldn't take you much to get used to it, but it could be difficult for your wife. What's her photography experience like?

    The biggest issue will be pulling focus. Most SLR lenses don't have long focus throws, making it quite a chore to keep focus.
  5. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003
    #1 - the mic and lack of gain control on the t2i makes it worthless when trying to capture things with good audio. If you want to get good audio with a run and gun setup you will want a stick mic and a field recorder.

    #2 - IMHO, DSLRs need a viewfinder or an external monitor to be GREAT video cameras. Trying to pull focus, especially in bright light using the screen on the back is a PITA.

    Here is my current t2i set up for video without my audio gear. This is $3000 before tax (the lens is 1000+ though). Might want to rethink if you want out of this cheaply and my setup is EXTREMELY CHEAP and still needs a good couple more thousand to make it an awesome rig.
  6. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    From the sound of it though, the OP's use is as a camcorder for home movies. No need to build a rig for that.

    I think he could get away with the bare minimum (viewfinder) as far as accessories go. The audio is pretty awful for professional use, but for home movies it could be adequate. Maybe get a Rode mic.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I think his biggest concern would be the wife's ability to use it as a video camera.

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