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Traditionally, a camcorder is the go-to for a video shoot. Nowadays, there are developments that seem to disprove that a camcorder is the only device that can do the job. Videographers are gradually shifting from camcorders to DSLRs for video shoots. Are DSLRs worth the hype? Yes, they are. They have been proven to have better autofocusing tendencies and also produce better video qualities. However, there’s still an argument if DSLRs can be totally relied upon for video shoots. This piece will weigh the pros over the cons of camcorder versus DSLR, how they function differently, and factors to consider before choosing one over the other for a video shoot.

What is a camcorder?

A camcorder is a device that combines recorder, video camera and player in a single unit.(1) With this device one can record as well as play what is being recorded. Camcorders have large storage spaces and can be used for long video recording. They are also easy to carry and do not strain the hands of the operator.

Pros of a camcorder

Here are the upsides of using a camcorder for video shoot;

  • It has a long recording time. A camcorder can be used for shoots that take up to an hour without having to worry about cuts in the process.
  • Presence of audio jacks and even headphones jacks. These jacks enable video makers to plug in audio into the camcorder directly. Hence, there’s no need to put in extra effort to sync audio into video after the shoot.
  • Macro shot styles – a camcorder captures everything in its way. It does not blur out the subject’s background.
  • Another pro worthy of mention about a camcorder is, it is cost effective. A camcorder is cheaper than other cameras and suitable for a low-budget video shoot.

Cons of a camcorder

Despite the amazing pros of a camcorder, here are the possible drawbacks on using a camcorder;

  • Camcorders have deep depth of field. Hence, they are not suitable for producing blurry backgrounds and soft look effects on subjects.
  • The image quality of a camcorder is poor compared to that of a DSLR camera which produces excellent attributes.
  • Smaller lens angle – the lens angles of camcorders are not wide enough, and there may be difficulties in capturing all of the subjects at once.
  • A camcorder can not work effectively in low-light shoots; an additional light source may be needed for incredible results.

What is a DSLR?

A DSLR camera is short for a Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera. This camera is loved and popularly used by professional video makers because it lasts long and is vast in its digital tendencies. DSLRs pair easily with different kinds of lenses and other camera accessories. 

They are not power-consuming because of their high battery lives. Also, the camera has super autofocusing ability due to its higher shooting speed and produces end results with high quality. 

The overall selling point of DSLR cameras is the viewfinder. Focusing and capturing the subject is effortless and on-point with the viewfinder.

Pros of a DSLR

A DSLR camera has the following advantages in video shoot;

  • A DSLR camera comes with interchangeable lenses. These lenses allow for better artistry and give excellent results. Also, each lens has its own unique vibe and can be explored by videographers to portray their artistic touch and mood.
  • Presence of a big sensor – A big sensor allows the camera to work better in low light and produces top-notch image and video qualities.
  • Narrow depth of field – the narrow depth of field feature of a DSLR makes it possible to produce subjects in nice blurry backgrounds.
  • The photo mode is excellent when compared to a camcorder. Not only do videos come out amazing, but the picture quality is also equally great. Hence, a DSLR can function well as a video camera and a photo camera.

Cons of a DSLR

Here are the setbacks why the use of DSLR cameras may be discouraged for a video shoot;

  • It is expensive. DSLR cameras are relatively costly and may not be affordable by average videographers or those who create videos as hobbies. Some DSLR models go as high as $800.
  • High technical know-how – The technicity in operating a DSLR is increased, an extra effort is required to maneuver the lenses and features for extraordinary results.
  • The length of the recording is short. The record time is limited, and therefore DSLR cameras are only restricted to short video shoots.

Camcorder versus DSLR: Which one is better for video shooting?

When the job is well done, one can’t tell if a camcorder or a DSLR camera is used for the recording.  The comparative analysis of camcorder versus DSLR is better based on the videographer’s opinion and mindset.

However, here are some key points that should be put into consideration before choosing which recording tech to be used for the video shoot;

  • The size of the camera’s sensor

DSLR cameras have larger sensors than camcorders within the same price tag. However, some camcorders have relatively large camera sensors but are way costlier than DSLRs. Rather than go for expensive camcorders with larger sensors, one can easily get the same feature in a DSLR at a cheaper rate.

So what difference does a large camera sensor make in video shooting? Sensor size plays two essential roles in video making: low light and depth of field.

In locations with limited light,(2) a DSLR camera sensor will work just fine in capturing images. A larger sensor can easily take in low light without requiring an additional light source for the video. This is not the case with a camcorder.

In the depth of field, DSLRs’ large sensors have good autofocusing; one can easily focus on the image and blur out the background. The depth of field is one of the significant reasons why videographers use DSLR on a shoot to create scenes with creamy and soft effects. Not only that, cameras with bigger sensors reduce noise to the barest minimum.

  • The duration of recording

There’s only so much any camera’s processors can record at a time. It can be frustrating when the camera stops recording in the middle of a shoot due to insufficient space. In the camcorder versus DSLR analysis, the camcorder won the round regarding recording time.

Camcorders can record videos for as long as an hour without any cut in between. On the other hand, DSLRs have limited storage space and can process information for about 30 minutes. For extended video shoots, one might have to use a camcorder.

  • Focal strength

The focal strength of a camera is another factor to consider in the camcorder vs. DSLR comparison. 

DSLRs have great autofocus and can be manipulated manually as the operator desires. Another advantage of focusing a DSLR manually is that videographers can easily change effects between two subjects during live recordings.

  • Filters

How a videographer can work through camera filters to an extent affects the quality of the work done. In comparing the filters of a camcorder and a DSLR camera, a camcorder is on the winning side in the sense that camcorders are manufactured with neutral density filters. With the accurate shutter speed, this device will give excellent results without any color spill when exposed to bright sunshine.

On the other hand, DSLRs have low shutter speed, making video shooting on bright days problematic. DSLRs do not have inbuilt neutral density filters. However, an external neutral density filter kit can be supplied. That would mean extra expenses and load for the shoot.

  • Camera’s design and build

The build and design of a camera is a factor worthy of consideration before choosing tech for a video shoot. Video shooting can be a stressful task; going to locations with heavy equipment makes it even harder to accomplish.

When comparing the ergonomics of a camcorder and a DSLR, a camcorder is a go-to. Why is that? Camcorders are built to be carried for long without tiring the operator. They can be held in a position for a long time. 

On the other hand, a DSLR is meant for moving around and capturing moments. Maneuvering around with a DSLR could tire out the videographer. However, a tripod may be used to support the DSLR. But carrying a tripod will also mean extra luggage for the trip.

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DSLRs give the videographer full control over the work done. With the interchangeable lenses, a video maker can produce soft look effects, blur the background and also tell different stories in endless possibilities.

  • Audio

Amateur videographers often overlook the audio components of a camera. Camcorders are designed with audio jacks that are way better than DSLRs. Camcorders are not only known for video recording; they also have great audio units. Not only that, one can record a video and play it simultaneously.

However, professionals can work efficiently with a DSLR by simply inputting external microphones.

  • Price 

A typical consumer camcorder is relatively cheap and can be bought as low as a few hundred bucks. However, the lack of a large sensor is a setback for professional videographers who need a larger sensor to tell different stories.

On the other hand, a DSLR camera is not as cheap as a consumer camcorder. It has a large sensor and can function the same way a high-end camcorder would, but high-end camcorders are very costly.

F. A. Q

Both camcorders and DLSRs would deliver a pro-looking video shoot. However, a DSLR is cheaper than an average professional camcorder.

Yes, a camcorder is good for Youtube videos. Camcorders have a good zoom, larger storage space, and great audio jacks. However, DSLRs give better video quality.


The question remains who won the camcorder versus DSLR comparison. In determining which is better than the other, the word better is subjective and solely based on the videographer’s personality and opinion.

Camcorder has easy carriage and a large recording capacity, ideal for lengthy video shoots like seminars. Also, the audio unit is excellent and does not require an external backup. On the other hand, DSLRs have a narrow depth of field essential for creating blurry backgrounds. They also have great photo modes and can be used as video and photo cameras. 

Which of these cameras would you love to carry for your next video shoot? Let us know your answer in the comment section and why you prefer a camera over the other?


  1. Marc Spiwak. (2012). Camcorders: A general overview. Retrieved from
  2. Jon Philips. (2020). Pros and cons of different camera sensor sizes. Retrieved from