Resolved Which Canon camera/camcorder to shoot family video?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rhp2424, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. rhp2424, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013

    rhp2424 macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2008
    My apologies if this exact question has been asked, but all I've seen are piecemeal discussions of one camera or another, but never as a comparison the way my situation exists.

    I want to take videos, just small videos of family, achievements of my son, etc, but videos no less. I currently have a t5i and I've been happy with the stills, but I haven't had much chance to experiment with its video capabilities. I know some lenses create a very loud sound that distracts from the video, especially for quieter videos like baby coos, etc. What I have researched are two options: Canon VIXIA HF G10 (refurbished) and Canon HF R400.

    My question: Should I stick with the t5i and put my money into lenses that are quiet and not buy a dedicated camcorder or should I invest in one of the dedicated camcorders? If so, which one? I realize they are pretty different beasts, but perhaps the r400 really is a great camcorder that does fantastic video quality.

    I'm not doing music videos or anything professional, but I want good looking videos. I don't want low quality and I don't want to have to buy another camcorder next year. I'd love to watch these on my big screen in the living room and now feel like the cheap camcorder didn't serve its purpose. Maybe only $2000 cameras are capable of this. I'm not sure, hence why I am here. Another point, yes, I know there are newer versions of the HF G series, but I don't have the money for those, thus the refurbished consideration of the G10.

    If I've left out something that needs to be considered, just let me know.

    Thanks for any and all advice!
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Use what you have and focus manually. Or prefocus before shooting. You don't need to spend a dime.
  3. rhp2424, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    rhp2424 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2008
    While I appreciate the quick advice, this will not work in my case. I simply do not have the time or patience to keep up with cats, kids or other action. Even if it is "easy enough" for others, this is not something I am willing to consider "dealing with" as it were.
  4. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I just purchased a Canon EOS 70D to replace my previous T4i.
    Absolutely superb. The autofocus is super quick due to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. I have no more issues with focus whatsoever.
    I have a first look video on my YouTube channel (link in sig) if you wanted to take a look, and have some sample video coming pretty soon, where I test the autofocus speed etc. ;)
    Highly recommended - it makes recording video on a DSLR, just like recording on a camcorder ;)
  5. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    I purchased a Canon HF R400 after doing a lot of research and the selling point for me was that the camcorder was the only one in its price category that had an external audio input. The other camcorders in its price tier only had built-in microphones.

    The video is good for the cost and if you are only shooting kids sports outside etc. , it should be adequate. All of the low price tier camcorders have noise, like the gear noise while recording due to the cheap plastic casing and will be picked up while recording with the internal mic, but it is very low so not a big issue with the R400. I first had a cheap Sony and returned it, though it had a great HD picture, the audio killed me with the loud gear noise on my recordings.

    The external audio input is good if your recordings need cleaner audio because you can add an external mic and position it away from the camcorder. Again, this is the main reason I went with the Canon HF R400.
  6. salacious macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2011
    without sounding rude, but get an iphone and stick with that, you think high end camcorders have great autofocus? lol please why do they employ focus pullers on the worlds biggest movies, because you will never get great autofocus results, therefore get an iphone, video quality is good enough for family purposes, heck an iphone film won an award once.. so there you go.
  7. sigamy, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013

    sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    Terrible advice. Hollywood movies use focus pullers to achieve a dramatic effect by racking focus from one subject to another. Of course they manually focus. How many focus pullers have you seen on news crews shooting with ENG cameras?

    An iPhone is not enough to capture important family memories and milestones.

    To OP:
    You can achieve very good results with your DSLR but it will take more time on your end. DSLR's are best for narrative video where you have time to set up your shots. My son won his homerun derby this year and I shot video on my GH2...I was so excited that I started doing quick pans and the footage is full of rolling shutter.

    Camcorders still have a place...typically event video, news gathering and running after small kids at a soccer game. You get a good AF zoom lens in a very small package.

    It's more of a question of do you want to get to one camera to cut down on bulk or would you rather have the best tool for the job...
  8. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Will you be using any video editing software to edit your little videos??????. What computer are you using?.
    What you buy today is old hat next year. If you got no money then there is not much point upgrading. Saying that there are plenty of cheap good quality camcorders on the market which could help you. Have a look on the internet.
    Also what you capture now will be gold dust in years to come in your family circle.:)
  9. rhp2424 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2008
    Thank you for this input. I hadn't fully considered the mechanical noise issue much before I had a little baby making just the faintest of noise and having it overtaken with the noise of the camera. Considering the external audio input is something good to remember to solve this issue.

    Thank you for posing your question this way. I am really just wanting the best tool for the job. Incidentally, I do have an iPhone and that is what I will use for the "I need a camera now!!" moments, but would prefer something of quality, lasting quality ideally, for everything else. Family vacations, etc.

    I hadn't considered what software I'd use, but yes, down the road video software will come into play. I have Adobe Premiere and I am not against buying FCP if the value is there. I have a past life as a video editor but I haven't been in the game and kept up with the nuance of the options. In regards to looking on the internet, I have and thus the selection of Canons I posed in my question. I started with research and have narrowed it down.

    Quite frankly I have even started considering long-term investment and just going with the HF G30 since it has 2x the zoom, various other upgrades relative to the HF G10 and appears to have longer term appeal for those and other small reasons. We'll see though as this isn't a pressing purchase, just one I'm starting to wrap my head around.

    Thanks for all the useful feedback so far!
  10. ChrisA, Sep 16, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The DSLR is really the best for those who want to make serious cinematic videos. You will find you need a bunch of add-ons to use a SLR for video, tripods, microphones, follow focus and rail mount system and so on. The camcorder is only 1/2 the cost of a decent SLR lens and has automatic features that work well or video.

    I have a Canon HF400. Is is the lowest of that line and the best deal. Do NOT spend anything extra for buillt-in memory or WiFi, you will never need it. Just buy a few 32GB cards.

    Audio is ALWAYS a problem with any camcorder or SLR. Not only are the built-in microphones never that good but they are (duh) mounted on the camera. On the camera is about the WORST place to put any mic. You would like to have the mic as close as you can to the subject. Just saying this as a warning, never expect much from any built-in mic.

    My daughter has been making Youtube videos about makeup. I have NOT been helping in any way except to load her my camra and microphones and let her use FinalCut Pro X on the iMac. You can get an idea of the video quality here

    Notice how the camera does fine in controlled lighting but her shots taken outdoors in bright sun have over exposed highlights on her hand. I tried to explain about "dynamic range" and "color grading" but that will have to wait for later. The camera does well if the lighting is good (low ratio) and you are using a tripod. I think this video used the Tram TR50 mic for voice over. The internal mic is not even close to what you hear on this sample.

    An SLR would have been able to better cover the dynamic range and would allow MUCH better control over depth of field (the slr's DOF can be very narrow if you have a fast prime lens.) The SLR will also have less video noise but you can address that problem by adding a lot of light. The video below was done 100% with a $254 Canon FH400. and edited in FCP X (My daughter uses an alias, not her real name.)

    The HF400 had my minimum feature set, an external mic jack and OPTICAL image stabilization. It also records in 34Kbps MP4 format. This is directly usable in FCPX.
  11. rhp2424 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2008
    I appreciate your thorough review of your personal experience with the HF400. I am curious though, having the experience with the HF400, do you think the issues that you are experiencing and describing (over exposure, DOF issues) would be less of an issue on something like the HF G10 or the HF G30? I'm willing to spend a little more $ if it really is a stronger camera especially in regards to the issues you speak of.

    Anybody have any thoughts to this?

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