Camcorder VS DSLR – Which is Best For Video?


We know that cameras have been traditionally designed for either still images or videos, but not for both. Earlier, DSLRs allowed you to capture videos, but they missed out on features like autofocus. So when we compare Camcorder VS DSLR with user interface, we can conclude the best. Still, comparing these two devices according to specifications and features, then there is no definitive choice as to which one is better.

In most cases, people choose a DSLR camera for part time video recording, but pros always choose camcorder for professional videography which has latest recording features. You will not be able to tell the difference if the video is shoot with a camcorder or DSLR. But, there are still a few major differences between them that you need to consider.

In this article, I’ll be comparing Camcorder VS DSLR, so that you can decide which one you want to use.


Sensor size

Camcorder VS DSLR

Sensor size is one of the most significant differences between DSLRs and camcorders. DSLRs have much larger sensors when compared to camcorders at the same price. You can get camcorders with larger sensors, but those camcorders will cost you a few thousand dollars.

Now, why is sensor size so important? There are two significant advantages of shooting with a larger sensor: -

  • DEPTH OF FIELD:  This represents how much of the image is in focus. Have you seen portraits with blurred backgrounds? Those blurs are easier to achieve with DSLRs because they have a larger sensor. And that is the primary reason some videographers choose DLSR. 
  • LOW LIGHT:  When you are shooting in dim conditions with very low light, a larger sensor will collect more light compared to a smaller one. So, it is better to use a DSLR in such cases to get low light images without needing a video light. Also, when shooting in limited light, cameras with larger sensors tend to produce lesser noise.

Recording Time

Camcorder VS DSLR

A camera’s processor can process a limited amount of data at a time. And when the camera cannot process any more information, it stops recording. But camcorder specially designed for videography, they are capable of recording for over an hour at a time. DSLRs, on the other hand, have shorter recording times.

However, shorter recording times are not an issue. This is because most professional videographers stitch several recordings together to create the final video. But if you want to record an entire game, for example, from start to finish, a camcorder will be a better option for you.


Camcorder VS DSLR

When it comes to focusing, there is not much of Camcorder VS DSLR. Professional videographers often use manual focus, regardless of whether they use a DSLR or a camcorder. It enables them to have total control over the focus, and they can choose when and how fast to focus.


Camcorder VS DSLR

Camcorders have built-in neutral density filters to capture videos on a bright day, while still using appropriate shutter speed. DSLRs don’t have this feature, so you will have to purchase an ND filter kit if you are having trouble with overly bright videos. This becomes one more thing to carry, and incurs additional expenses, making it a little inconvenient.


DSLRs are designed for capturing photos. You take a picture, then move around and take another one. In contrast, camcorders are explicitly intended to be held up for long periods.

When you hold a DSLR for an extended period while capturing videos, it becomes tiring after some time. Camcorders are more comfortable to hold. However, if you want to use a tripod to maintain stability, then ergonomics are not an issue.


Camcorder VS DSLR

A mic inside a camcorder is much better than the ones inside DSLRs. However, a mic placed closer to the subject always works better than a built-in mic, regardless of which gear you use.


You can get a consumer camcorder for a few hundred dollars. However, you won’t get the larger sensors and advanced features in a dedicated camcorder for the same price as a DSLR. DSLRs are much more affordable.

You might need a few more accessories with a DSLR than a camcorder, like a neutral density filter set and manual focus assist rig. But overall, DSLRs are going to cost you less, along with all the advanced features.


So which one is better? Camcorder VS DSLR? That depends on you. Many videographers choose to work with DSLRs because of the larger sensors at a lower price. DSLRs are great for getting high-quality short clips to stitch together with a video editing program.

Camcorders, however, tend to be simpler to use, more comfortable to shoot handheld and offer long recording times.

In the end, it depends on the situation. It is a matter of personal preference. However, you will have to check the specifications and reviews for the model that you are considering. Make sure that it matches your requirements. 

Nicolas Gilli

Hi, I'm Nicholas Gilli, I'm a blogger who is very much interested in blogging about film-making gadgets. I have experience as a cinematographer in the film industry for more than 15 years. My blogs would comprise of articles about film making gadgets and guides on how to use them. Even if you are a beginner you will learn a lot about cinematography here. Happy reading.

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