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New Baby: DSLR vs Camcorder

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2012 8:56:11 AM PST
LF Kuykendal says:
My husband and I are having our first child in February and have been going around and around about whether to buy a DSLR or a camcorder for taking photographs of the baby, shooting some video, etc. We've had point-and-shoots for years and I'm ready to upgrade though he's not quite convinced. In case it's not already clear, neither of us are professional photographers and have no plans to become ones. I am interested in photography and would like to make it a hobby. I think I'm more interested in photos than video so I'm leaning toward the Nikon d3100 and using it mostly for photos but still having the option for video. (We also have a Coby Snapp camcorder we received as a gift.) Any thoughts? Additionally, if we go with the d3100 I've been going back and forth about buying the kit or just the body and a 35mm lens. Any thoughts here? Thanks!!

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 9:48:29 AM PST
Q. Trinh says:
Not sure if you can buy the D3100 without the kit lens unless you are buying it used. I had the D3100 for 2 years and just sold it this month to get the D7000. It takes very good pics and decent video quality. Easy menu options and overall a very good DSLR to start with.

With video, there is no exteranl mic input so you might hear the auto-focus when you record video. I recommend the D5100 with the articulated screen if your budget can handle it. You can shoot video at "baby-level" and it has an external mic input. It can also records 1080p at 30 FPS, not just 24 FPS.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 9:59:59 AM PST
i just had a baby and i'm so glad i have a dslr (nikon d3100 and d7000). for me, photos are more important than video. video is cool, but i'll look at photos much more often than videos. and i can print out my photos and hang them at work, home, and give to family for presents. that's just my opinion, just sharing my thoughts. so given that i'd suggest the dslr route over a camcorder. we also bought a budget hd camcorder and have used it exactly 1 time, and the video is sitting on the memory card unwatched. during the same time period i've taken hundreds of baby photos, printed tons of them, and given tons out to family to much fanfare. shows which we're using more. again, my opinion only, take it for what it's worth.
the d3100 is a great starter camera and can take decent video as well. the nikon 35mm 1.8g lens is also a great choice for a starter lens, and is vastly superior to the 18-55mm kit lens. it excels in low light shooting (large f1.8 aperture) and depth of field control. another really good lens is the nikon 50mm 1.8g, though its a bit long at 50mm if it's your only lens. i'd suggest the 50mm 1.8g over the 35mm 1.8g ONLY if you get the 18-55mm kit lens with the camera body. that way you can use the kit lens for wider shots (large group photos). the 50mm 1.8g has a superior bokeh to the 35mm 1.8g, so if bokeh is important to you, go with the 50mm. google image search bokeh if you're unfamiliar with the term, it's the quality of the out of focus area of a shot, and is usually attained when shooting large aperture lenses (f1.4 - 2.8). the kit lens will not produce good bokeh as it's not a large aperture lens. anyhow hope that wasnt too opinionated or overwhelming, come back with any questions.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 2:01:18 PM PST has the d3100 for $409, the d5100 for $499, both with the 18-55mm kit lens. great prices!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 5:06:02 PM PST
Here it is in a nutshell. It all depends on the $$$ you want to shell out. Most DSLR do not have auto focus or a good autofocus. The newest Canon Rebel has it, I believe. My recommendation would be to go with both a decent DSLR and a decent video camera which you can get for less than $500. Of course, quality is always an issue and some of the cheaper video cameras may not do well in low light.

I can only tell you from experience that I am glad I had a video camera when my kids were young. Trying to capture it with my Canon 7d, while possible, would never have worked out well for those spontaneous moments.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 5:18:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 5:19:53 PM PST
® says:
All Nikon dslr ( most of the recent one out there) does autofocus in movie mode, canon not until the t4i.

Good point, video camera does a better job of focusing and stabilization. But for dslr some getting use to most be learned. Most camcorder has a small sensor so some scene are in focus because of the sensor. When I record at f5.6 on a dslr most things are in focus as the Dof is larger then at f2.8. Yes you have to get to use it. Sony dslr AF is the most active and it will try to focusing everything really faster then the Nikon. But it has a shorter overall time length. You can get up to 20min on Nikon video. Sometime the AF is slow so I just focus it myself.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 3:29:52 PM PST
Congratulations on the baby. Get a DSLR that has a swingout LCD monitor so that you can put the camera angle down low easily. As your child learns to crawl you'll be able to photograph him/her on their own level easily. Good models with the swingout LCD include the Nikon D5100, and the Canon T3i, T4i and 60D. All of these take HD video as well as spectacular still pictures.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 3:38:07 PM PST
Regarding DSLR lenses: If you get a Nikon, the 35mm f/1.8 is an excellent choice. The focal length is useful for indoors and the large aperture is good for handheld shots. You can get a relatively shallow depth of field at f/1.8, which is ideal for portraits. I'd also get the 18-55mm VR lens since it's versatile and very good quality for very little extra $$$ over the body alone. If you go with Canon get the 40mm f/2.8 to go with the T4i. The advantage of this lens is that it allows continuous autofocus and has a stepper motor to autofocus silently when shooting video. As with Nikon, adding an 18-55mm kit lens adds little or nothing to the cost over the body alone and is a great value.
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Discussion in:  Nikon forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  8
Initial post:  Nov 26, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 5, 2013

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