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If you were to develop a short film, which one of these two cameras would you use? In a recent discussion with a friend he was claiming that a camera like the Canon 600d can produce videos of much better quality compared to a Sony PD170. Is he correct? Can somebody show me some evidence to support this (or the opposite)?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's a little bit subjective. DSLR footage, straight off the camera, is very crisp and clean. Whereas a PD170 has a bit more of a 'video' look. So first off you'd have to decide what kind of look you wanted to go for.

In most cases you would choose to shoot on a DSLR, simply because the image is more visually appealing.

Pros of DSLR:

  • better looking footage (subjective, although a common view)
  • can attach a variety of lenses (i.e. fish-eye)
  • smaller body, more mobility
  • no need to import footage off a tape, just copy and paste off SD card onto computer
  • it's cheaper

Pros of PD170:

  • don't have to worry about the camera overheating (can shoot as long as the tape and/or batter allow. DSLRs tend to overheat after 10minutes of straight shooting)
  • larger body. Easier to do handheld with just the body alone
  • can plug in a microphone directly into the camera. This avoids having to use a clapper before each take and avoids the need of syncing audio and video

For me, those are the main points. If you're looking to make a film cheaply, DSLR is the way to go. But don't forget about sound; good sound is integral to a film.

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