View Full Version : Best Camera for Documentary

01-06-2013, 12:25 PM
Hey everyone,
Today an idea sparked in my head for a great documentary. I would be filming about half indoors/half outdoors. I currently don't own a camera to use for filming which is why I am wondering which one to get. I am under a pretty tight budget but thinking about attempting to get some donations. I am 18 so it will be tough.

The first thing I am debating is whether to get a camcorder vs. DSLR. I have heard great things about DSLRs and I used a school camcorder for 3 years. I am very familiar with camcorders, but if the industry is moving towards DSLR, then I will go that route. I am familiar with white balancing so I can use a camcorder, but also a documentary might require something more automatic. I honestly have no idea.

A DSLR that has caught my attention is the T2i. I know it's not the best, but for the price it seems great! I am just looking on any input from you guys on which would be better. Also, if you have any specific camera model suggestions that would be great!


01-06-2013, 12:26 PM
Also I am wondering what audio set-ups would be good to use for either a camcorder or a DSLR...or both.

Nick Soares
01-06-2013, 01:39 PM
Well "camcorder" leave open so many options, so the question is - Can you give us an example of what you want your Doc to look like? - Like do you want it 24fps, or more of a video look with 30 fps?

01-06-2013, 01:48 PM
Well I really like the film look. I've been watching a ton of videos of the T2i with different lenses and I really like the look of it. I don't know a lot about lenses, but I am wanting something that has a wide view, but not too wide.

Nick Soares
01-06-2013, 02:01 PM
Well I really like the film look. I've been watching a ton of videos of the T2i with different lenses and I really like the look of it. I don't know a lot about lenses, but I am wanting something that has a wide view, but not too wide.

Ok, after hearing your thoughts, I truly believe that you will be very happen if your doc is shot on the T2i - I wish I could tell you if they have the lenses you want, but im not sure. Other then that, go for it. I have seen lots of doc shot on that and they look great

01-06-2013, 02:54 PM
Get the T3i. I'm not kidding. The improvements that were made between the T2 and the T3 are incredible, and they are at a great price right now.

01-08-2013, 08:12 AM
What are some of the improvements between the two?

01-09-2013, 03:03 PM
I do enjoy the quality of the Panasonic HVX -

Nick Soares
01-09-2013, 03:53 PM
How much is the DSLR t3i?

01-30-2013, 01:52 AM
I can definitely say that a DSLR that shoots HD video such as the Canon Rebel series are very decent cameras. I've used a T2i for both narrative pieces and documentaries. I would say that if you have the budget for a little more, a Canon 60D does some really high quality video and doesn't have the random shut-off problem that the T2i has. I have yet to use a T3i, but if it's fixed that random shut-off that the T2i seems to suffer at times, go for that, then.

As far as your lenses, definitely do not just stick with the stock lens that comes with the camera when you buy it off the rack. Get yourself a wide-angle lens and also a decent zoom lens, nothing too drastic just something that gives you more than the stock lens can offer. Truthfully, the lenses are where most of your money is going to go, so if you have the budget for them, don't skimp out with them.

01-30-2013, 01:55 AM
Ill have to agree with UrenaFilm for sure.

01-30-2013, 02:41 PM
As far as the T3i, I have a friend who has one. If I'm not mistaken, one can only record 10 or 15 minutes worth of video at a time, but are you really going to have continuous shots that extend longer than that? I do know the T3i will record in RAW format which, from what I've read, makes editing easier. As UrenaFilm stated, there are much better lenses than the basic ones that come with the camera. However, some of these lenses can be quite expensive, even pricier than the camera itself. There are quite a number of places that rent cameras, lenses and other equipment, so if you just plan to shoot for a few days or even a week or so, renting a lens might be a much better option. That way you can see how different ones work for you before investing a large chunk of capital that might be hard to recover.

01-30-2013, 08:03 PM
If the T3i only records for that long, then it has the same issue as the T2i. Good to know, now I know not to bother trading in my T2i for one

01-31-2013, 06:35 AM
Im still a fan of hvx 200 with our cinevate brevis film adaptor with lomo cinema lens. http://www.filmmakerforum.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=561

Nick Soares
01-31-2013, 10:46 AM
[at]havey - See, someone else recommends the HVX 200 too! :)

01-31-2013, 02:07 PM
If you don't have the budget for the HVX, I would suggest you getting a T3i. One thing a T3i has an advantage in over the T2i
is: the swivel out LCD screen. I cannot imagine what I would do without it, it has been SOO useful. I believe the sensor is
a tad better too. For me, the Kit lens is good for a zoom lens and I'm planning on getting a Sigma 30mm 1.4. (Getting more
in depth in cameras a bit here) Since the focal length of the human eye is about 50mm, the Canon 50mm 1.8 would be ideal...
IF you had a full sensor camera like the 5D Mark II or so on. Since the T2i, T3i, 60D have smaller sensors, the 50mm is more like
80mm. So the closest to 50mm is 30mm. The sensor is 1.6 times smaller on a T2i, T3i than a 5D Mark II. The "__mm" is for full
sensor cameras, so if you want the focal length for a smaller sensor, you take the "__mm" x 1.6 and that'll equal the focal length
for your T2i, T3i with a specific lens.

Nick Soares
03-13-2013, 04:58 PM
Did you end up picking one out?

03-14-2013, 03:43 PM
Well I will be attending a film school later this year and my girlfriend owns a Nikon D3100 so I figured for now I don't need to buy one because I will have hers and the school equipment to use.

Anonymous Filmmaker
04-20-2013, 08:29 AM
I noticed someone asked about audio set ups; I would say to start, get either a cheap Tascam recorder or the Zoom H1. Then, you can by a lav mic to attach to the recorder.