It is great to find other people’s take on how lousy DSLR default features can be for video shooting. After finding some mention of Canon being not at all good at it, which is very illustrating because — using a Nikon DSLR which is equally not good at it — I thought it might ‘just be me’ or it’s just Nikons performing so badly.
But, as I can now gather from other people’s remarks on the subject, that is apparently not so.
I have also been wondering as to the reasons for some time now. I first came to the conclusion that Nikon — whose products I love and who I used to respect for many reasons as a manufacturer of excellent equipment — appear to have been ‘resting on their fame’ of inventing the first good bayonet back in the 50s, have enjoyed their resulting popularity with still photographers all these decades, had tremendous success with the famous nikon F3 and similar stuff, but have not don much innovation ever since?
Then again, when that very same thing is reported with Canon, it does not seem to be a Nikon-specific problem. It’s rather a DSLR problem in general, it seems, as these still are geared mainly towards the still photography market. Myself having done stills from early high school, I don’t have any problem with that generally — but, come on, isn’t it about time to move ahead and adapt to real life demands some time?! How innovation-phobic can an enterprise be if they miss out on a good part of their markets for decades…
Mirrorless is an exciting solution to many of those problems! However, if they lack external audio inputs of hoy shoes, then they’re pretty much useless for video production. Larger-than-NEX models from Sony are fine though, that is the alpha series. From the Sony Alpha 6000 upward, hot shoes and inputs are there, the a6300 and a6500 even boast 4K capability, if that is required at all (customers usually don’t even know what it is and don’t insist on it — but it’s nice having for ‘future compatibility’ or for ‘ranking better’ on Youtube thanks to that little 4K extra icon you can get on there — but generally a ‘smaller’ one will be more than just fine. At any rate, mirrorless is great for ‘traveling light’ and not carry too much gear around, which often matters. Also not drawing a huge crowd, just like you said, is a big plus!
I also agree with those other reviewers on the pros and cons of camcorders. If one finds oneself a sufficient one with a decent viewfinder, hot shoe, inputs, twin cards — in short something clearly above common ‘handicam’ specs, then tey are an excellent tool. One caveat against camcorders is sensor size though: they often have baby-fingernail-sized ones which are usually inferior to mirrorless, let alone DSLR, sensors and resulting low-light and DOF performance.
So when all is said and done, I would opt for mirrorless or (carefully selected) camcorders fulfilling those ‘advanced’ needs…
As it is a matter of knowing what to look for, all these insights into equipment experience are particularly helpful to everyone starting out or thinking of upgrading their equipment.