10 Reasons to Buy an HDSLR Camera

by dfilm

Photo Credit: Esther Gibbons

It seems only fitting that the inaugural blog post for dFilmSchool cover the main reasons to buy a HDSLR (or DSLR that shoots HD video). I’ve been shooting for over 20 years and love what I can do with an HDSLR camera. It have plenty of advantages and a few significant limitations. For every limitation there are plethora solutions and workarounds.

So here are the top 10 reasons to buy an HDSLR camera.

10. Stills & Video – A still camera and an film camera all in one easy to carry form.

9. It’s new! – There’s a lot to be said about a new approach or new technology breathing life into a marketplace. Film style shooting, HD video, DSLR cameras, interchangeable lenses, have been around for a while now, but HDSLR cameras COMBINE all of this into a neat package.

8. Accessories – There are enough accessories to enhances your HDSLR that you can build a camera that will rival anything Steven Spielberg shoots with. All this from a body only price of around $600. The accessory market for HDSLR cameras is a multi-million dollar industry with new players popping up every week.

7. Large(er) Sensor – HDSLR cameras typically have either an APS “C” (22.3×14.9mm) or a Full Frame (36 x 24mm) sensor. This is substantially larger than even a top of the line Sony EX1 video camera (6.97×3.92mm). A RED ONE professional digital movie camera is only slightly larger than APS “C” at 24.4×13.7mm. All this means better quality (bigger sensor = better quality).

6. Interchangeable Lenses – The ability to select a “prime” that’s right for the shot is one of the biggest advantages of HDSLRs over traditional video cameras.

5. Shallow Depth of Field – Large sensor coupled with fast lens means you can get amazing bokeh or the “Blur” of the background behind an “in focus” foreground. This allows the film maker to direct where our eyes go. It also allows for some stunning imagery by pulling the foreground (sharp)  away from the background (blurry).

4. True 1920x1080p HD – with a frame size of 1920 x 1080 displayed in progressive (not interlaces like video) the quality is outstanding and a true High Definition. This is a full eight times more resolution than Standard Definition.

3. 24fps – Most HDSLR cameras allow you to film in 24 fps or frames per second. This is the standard “movie” frame rate and our brains perceive it differently than 30 fps (video frame rate). This slight difference gives HDSLR cameras a look and feel that approaches “Film” like nothing before.

2. Ease of Use – Turn the dial to the film icon and point and shoot. Instant HD! OK, OK, I know it takes a bit more than that to get GREAT video, but compare that workflow to a RED EPIC or other 24p HD camera out there. The simplicity is beautiful and allows folks to “Just Shoot Something”.

1. Cost to Performance – No matter how you slice it, an HDSLR camera is affordable and the quality amazing. There are a number of significant limitations but these haven’t stopped independent film makers, broadcast networks, and pro-sumers from creating some of the most beautiful “film-like” video anywhere.

I’d love to hear why YOU are in the market for a HDSLR camera or what pushed you to buy one. Leave me a comment below and tell me your HDSLR story.

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