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I have a camera gig lined up for shooting video for xtreme sport type events and I am looking to get my first DSLR camera. I have experience with other camera types like AF100, P2, and Black magic cameras but never really used a DSLR. So I was wondering what lenses would be good to shoot this type of video and what body I should start out with. I was looking at the 70D but may just start with a t3i and go from there. 

Thanks in advance!


It would be hard to recommend a T3i for shooting video over a 70d, particularly for fast extreme sports. The improved focus in live view/video mode in the 70d makes it the clear choice for the relatively low price differential.

As for lenses, I hope for the sake of your budget your sports take place outdoors in bright sunlight?

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

The majority of the stuff will be outside so I am thankful for that. So if I grab the 70D what would you propose as a good (budget) starter lens for that type of shoot. 

If your main most important goal is video, you don't want a DSLR.  DSLR's are still cameras that happen to do video.

They are not video cameras.

You want a real video camera.  A top-of-the-line Canon is the C300 at $14,000.  A more affordable, not guessing your budget, is the C100.  They are around 5 grand.  Neither comes with a lens.

Video cameras do not suffer from the length or time restrictions that any DSLR you buy will.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Welcome to the internet, where everybody needs to start with top of the line equipment.


Get a T3i, you can get them for quite cheap these days.  I've seen them refurbished, direct from Canon with warranty, for $300+.  The T3i has been a popular camera with videographers for some time, and it's still perfectly capable for someone who is learning to use as their tool.  I'd bet there are still some reasonably advanced videographers that pull theirs out on occasion.


Use your extra money, if you have any, for glass.  You'll want a decent lens, or two.  But don't worry about starting small, you'll just learn to use what you have better.


There's nothing wrong with learning on a beginners setup, despite what the internet says.  Nor is there anything wrong with using a dSLR for video.  You're learning, you don't need a C300.   Hell, there are full-length feature films that have been shot on dSLR.  And they're used all the time in scenes for...  wait for it...  action shots.  Because they're small and cheap and people can attach them to a side of a car for a chase and not worry if it gets destroyed.

ya my budget is no where near 5k, thats why I am choosing something smaller and cheap (DSLR). If I end up with a t3i or 70D what lenses would you recommend for action sports such as motorcross. 

See if you're Price concerned then only you should pick the T3i and i personally don't use it for event or sport video shooting. It is a decent DSLR So it is not that recommended for Video shoot. On the other hand 70 D is much better in all aspects of shooting. So, if money is not the concerned here then you should probably go with 70D
Canon EOS 600D & EOS 5d Mark iii
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Maybe the Canon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder is a better choice for you at $1500.  It is a true video camera and it comes with a 30-300mm equiv. lens.  If video is your main most thing, this camera will not suffer the problems the T3i will. It is ready to go right from the box.  However, it is not a still camera.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


What sets the 70D apart from other DSLRs is the dual-pixel auto-focus system.


A typically DSLR has dedicate AF sensors and these are usually in the floor of the camera... not on the sensor.  When the reflex mirror the down position, it bounces the optical path up into the viewfinder -- but it does have some semi-transparent areas through which some light actually bounces down into the AF sensors which use prism to split light into two phases.  The camera is able to detect focused distance to an object based on the phase.  This is a very fast focus system BUT... it requires that a mirror is bouncing light into the dedicated sensors.


When you shoot video, this is a problem for most cameras because the reflex mirror has to be out of the way so the sensor can capture the video... thus the really fast and accurate focus system cannot be used.  Instead the cameras use "contrast" detect auto-focus.  I always use an anology of a barcode pattern.  Image a white background with black stripes.  If the barcode is focused then every point in the image is either a "black" pixel or a "white" pixel and at the edge of a stripe you've got a black pixel next to a white pixel (very high contrast).  But if it's out of focus, the black stripes in the barcode will have soft fuzzy edges... part white, part black -- and appearing as some shade of gray.  If you were to inspect each pixel in a row, you'd have black pixels next to dark gray pixels which are in turn next to medium gray, then light gray, and ultimately white.  In other words the contrast between each adjacent pixel isn't very much.  When the contrast ix very strong the camera knows the image is focused.  This is a very accurate focus system... but also very slow.  The phase detect system can instantly tell which direction and how far it needs to move focus to snap a subject to tack sharp fcous.  But the contrast system has to "hunt" for focus through trial and error.  It's a terrible system if you need to focus in a hurry (and the reason why people with point & shoot cameras complain that they press a shutter button and there's a long delay before the camera takes the image.)


All this was true... until the 70D came along.


Canon has had a few cameras where they've toyed with improved ways to do on-sensor auto-focus that would be faster than the contrast-detect system.  The 70D has their best system to date and it's actually pretty good.  Their new dual-pixel CMOS AF system is actually pretty fast and accurate.  No other DSLR has anything like it.


The advice of using a real video camera for video is VERY good advice.  Video cameras are designed for this.  But the 70D has a continuous AF system while shooting video that rivals what you can do with a video camera -- and of course you get the ability to change lenses.  Canon's Cinema EOS gear is fantastic... but very expensive.  


If you're buying a DSLR with the primary goal of shooting video and can't afford a $5000 cinema camera then I'd go with the 70D.  The T3i is not going to have the focus performance unless you can pre-plan the focus and focus manually -- not very practical for action sports because you don't get to pre-plan focus.


You'll want fast focusing lenses (fast motors).  The USM focus motors (UltraSonic Motors) are the fastest.  The STM motors (Stepper Motors) are also pretty quick (and very quiet).  The standard motors (neither USM nor STM) are pretty slow -- so avoid those for action sports.


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

Most of these responses are making the decision harder 😛 (which is expected). I am now considering the 60D. Someone has just the body used for 500 on a local ad and I'm curious if that's a possible good deal?