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T3i, T5i or SL1 for video


My girlfriend and I are shopping for a DSLR which can be used for high quality video recordings of her acting auditions.   She will be setting up a studio in her home for the shots and will edit the video on her Mac.  We've been steered towards the three cameras T3i, T5i or SL1 as all having similar video capability.  But considering budget and the need for accessory items like a remote microphone and soft box lighting, which of these cameras wins out for this application.  I apologize if this post duplicates previous questions that have been answered.  I haven't had time to scour this forum for the answeres we need.



Hello Beef1337,


I also am an actor and the person I tape with uses a T3i. The video quality is great, but you might also want some extra lighting.


One thing to remember, DSLR's are still cmaeras that do video.  They are not video cameras that  do stills!

If you need a true video camera, you probably need to look a at real video camea.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

There's a growing list of movies and prime time TV shows that have been shot in part or in whole with dSLRs.  They’re largely used where small form factors or “disposability” is needed, but still…  if the footage can be blended in with traditional film and put up on the big screen, then I’d say they’re working pretty well.  Certainly well enough for someone aspiring to learn videography.

The attraction of using a DSLR for video (instead of a video camera) is largely due to the ability to get low-focal-ratio lenses which can can provide a shallow depth of field for a sharp subject with a beautifully de-focused background.  You have to spend a LOT of money on a cinema camera to get that.  If you're using a basic kit lens (e.g. an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 or 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6) then you wont get that "look" they can provide.  You'd need to pick up a lower focal ratio lens to get that look.


One thing to note, however, is that a DSLR will typically NOT provide continuous auto-focus when in video mode.  You have to manually handle the focus otherwise you get focus-hunt (which is noticable in the video you create and very distracting.)  When you're shooting a planned scene, you can pre-focus the camera to avoid the whole problem... e.g. wrap a piece of masking tape around the focus ring and put little marks on it to indicate each of your pre-planned focus points.  


If you need continuous auto-focus then look at the 70D -- hands down the best for video.


You will probably want to disable auto-gain control and switch to manual gain... otherwise the gain automatically boosts during quiet moments of the recording and you get that loud hiss from an over-gained mic.  


You may also want to look at the Magic Lantern firmware for the camera.  This doesn't actually replace the factory firmware... it's a supplement.  It installs only on the memory card (not in camera) and adds a lot of features most of which are especially useful for video.  Magic Lantern is free and open-source.  


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thank you for your helpful comments. We picked up a Sony A57 to play with until we decide on a model.
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