Recommendation for DSLR?

Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 1:00 PM

Not specifically Vegas related, but was hoping to get some recommendations on moving up to a DSLR camera from a camcorder. I've never been happy with the quality of my videos using a 12-year-old Canon Vixia. And I've seen some crazy good quality video from folks using DSLRs. So since my wife has given me the go-ahead for a new video camera (;-)), I'm looking for guidance.

1 recommendation I got was to get a Panasonic G7. Despite the fact that I have a budget of up to $1,500. I was told that moving to a G9 or GS5 would not yield any improvement in the quality of the footage/image.

So I'm wondering what folks here with much more experience than I have to say about that?



JN- wrote on 3/11/2021, 1:44 PM

@Ken-Theriot Strictly speaking, its not a DSLR, its a “mirrorless” camera. I wouldn’t claim to have more experience, but the Panasonic GH5 is a good “video camera”, kinda. The Sony A7III is discounted quite a bit but has very good IQ, is full frame. There are so many good possibilities really. The achilles heel of panasonic is the less than stellar AF, plus not as good in really low light as say the Sony. Image stabilisation is a key factor also. What video resolutions do you want out of the camera.

Usability, ergonomics won't be as good as your camcorder, for video.

Some cameras have a 30 minute recording limitation. You have to factor in the lens price also. You can reach higher by purchasing used. Then there are the bridge type cameras, with built in lens, but smaller sensor again than four thirds, i.e. so called 1 inch.

Important to think long term, choose a manufacturer, say Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pana. Olympus, Fuji etc that appeals to you in the broader sense, your system may grow, better not having to switch systems later, is more expensive if you do. Try to get it right first time.

Then there is the “Pocket Cinema Cameras”, Blackmagic. Great codecs, rubbish AF, within your budget.

It depends on what you want to achieve, most modern Mirrorless cameras produce really good video quality which seems to be your focus. So I would think long and carefully about it, because, at the end of the day, you may not be really buying a camera at all, but getting, buying into a system. Best of luck, have fun.


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Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 1:47 PM

Thanks JN!

john_dennis wrote on 3/11/2021, 2:47 PM

"... a budget of up to $1,500."

You may not be in DSLR territory with that budget.

Two options slightly over your budget:

Sony RX10IV


Sony FDR-AX700 4K Camcorder


Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 2:57 PM

Really? Holy crap and sigh. It's all so confusing. Some people said I should have been able to get great quality out of my little Vixia (which I have never been able to do), while others say I need to spend $2K to get professional looking quality.

wwaag wrote on 3/11/2021, 3:13 PM


Another consideration (perhaps the most important IMHO) is to have a clear understanding of its intended use. If you're a professional using your camera as a tool to make $, that may lead to one set of choices. OTOH, if you're a non-professional (sounds better than "hobbyist") and mostly do filming of family and holidays, that leads to another set of choices. Since you've been using a 12 year old Canon Vixia, I suspect that you fall into this category. You should also consider whether your primary interest is taking photographs or shooting video as this may steer you into your choice of hardware. And also whether you want to carry multiple lenses (a real pain IMHO) or be content a super-zoom type of camera with its drawbacks. If you're used to filming with a "video camera", you may not like the "feel" of using one of the newer "mirrorless" cameras. You'll just have to try it.

And finally, perhaps the most important consideration is to purchase your camera from an establishment that has an easy return policy in the event you're not happy. Good luck.

Edit: Here's what I use that satisfies my modest needs which has come down in price considerably.

and a comparison against the Sony mentioned by John.



Last changed by wwaag on 3/11/2021, 3:22 PM, changed a total of 1 times.

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Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 3:19 PM

Thanks. Good insight. I'm using video primarily for internet/content marketing - almost entirely talking-head type videos where I sometimes also show bits of audio gear. Ironically, I teach people how to get the best audio from their audio recording setups for even quite cheap gear.

john_dennis wrote on 3/11/2021, 3:46 PM

"I'm using video primarily for internet/content marketing..."

Canon 80D fits your use and budget:

Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 5:36 PM

Thanks John!

Chief24 wrote on 3/11/2021, 7:12 PM

I have the Canon 80D, and it is a great DSLR. Use it with the "Kit" 18-135mm lens. Also have the "infamous" Nifty-Fifty, an EF-S 10-18 (great for those close-ups of siblings and family!), 17-50mm Sigma (noisy motor for video auto-focus, but great for Stills), Tamron 18-270mm Variable Aperture (don't use it much), Canon 70-300mm EF Variable Aperture which used primarily for stills at yearly NASCAR Pocono Race, Canon EF-S 24mm pancake.

Video wise, has capability of ALL-I (.mov) in 1080p for 23.976, 25, and 29.970 OR IPB (.mp4) 1080p for 50 & 59.940. The 80D's newer Brother, the 90D, has the 4K options, including a "Clean" HDMI output should sending signal to external recorder.

Note: Canon is still being "Stingy" with us on that newly relaxed EU Video Tax of over 29 Minutes, 59 Seconds (yeah, that 30 Minute recording limit), hence the customer complaints about using say a ATOMOS Ninja V external recorder on the 80D and that nasty "overlay" in the recording.

Uses one UHS-1 SDXC card, of which I have used either SanDisk or PNY versions of their "Extreme" editions cards with no issue (knock on wood!). Plus, any of the aforementioned recording file formats for video open fine in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 14 through 17 and Vegas Pro 14, 15, & 17 (missed 16 and have not updated/upgraded to 18 yet). They also open and edit fine in the current HitFilm Express 16, and DaVinci Resolve 17.1 free version.

I use the downloadable Canon DPP4 (Digital Photo Professional) for editing stills, but when I did have Lightroom, they opened fine, and I shoot all my stills in RAW, which use the (.CR2) file extension.

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Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 8:09 PM


Rainer wrote on 3/11/2021, 9:35 PM

Yes, you should be able to get sufficient quality out of your Vixia. From what you've described it's just YouTube, and any camera is good enough, you're not doing cinema. Spoiled for choices, I'd just recommend go mirrorless, (i.e avoid 80/90D) don't look at full-frame (lenses too expensive for no gain in your situation), G7/G8 are good recommendations.

RogerS wrote on 3/11/2021, 9:39 PM

As a former Canon user I'd recommend anything else if video is the main focus (for photos they are great). The softness of the 1080p with aliasing and moire, lack of faster frame rates, noisy audio pre-amps and lack of video-specific features (without using Magic Lantern) limits their usefuless in my opinion. I used a T3i with Magic Lantern as my main photo and video camera for 5 years and also a 70D and 5DmkII on occasion.

At work we had Panasonic GH4 and G85 cameras which were compact, with a great lens selection and much cleaner image than older Canons (good 4K and 1080p). The GH series offers lots of good video features Canons are lacking (better focus, white balance, and exposure tools, for example.) Audio preamps are pretty good.

Ultimately for static headshots and product shots, any camera that can shoot a clean 4K image should be good enough for a long time.

Myself, I went the Sony route and would recommend the a6400 or a6600. The RX10 mentioned above is another good option if you want an all-in-one camera with fixed lens and smaller sensor (I've filmed interviews with the diminuative RX100 series). If you want to be able to blur backgrounds, or need to shoot in somewhat lower light, an interchangeable lens camera with APS-C sensor is a plus.

Sony mirrorless are very compact compared to DSLRs and are fully featured. I use cheap adapted Canon EF lenses for the most part and the kit lens for when I need video autofocus. The a6600 has very good eye autofocus in video mode for when you want it (with native lenses like the kit lens), and large batteries which last for a long time. a6600 also has unlimited record times and slow motion up to 120fps. For photographs, the tracking autofocus can be handy- you can have it follow someone automatically as they approach the camera or otherwise wander around the frame.

I find the Sony, Canon and Panasonic h.264 videos all work well with Vegas Pro.

Before I bought I did a rental with as for me a camera is something I keep for years and want to choose one that will work for me!

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Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/11/2021, 9:39 PM

Thanks Rainer! Not just YouTube. But for internet (Wistia/Thinkific) for training purposes. Gonna go for the G7.

Reyfox wrote on 3/12/2021, 6:51 AM

A Panasonic G9 user. With the latest firmware update (2.0), it was like getting a new camera. I also have the G7 since it was released years ago so am quite familiar with it's use in video.

First, with the G7, tripod is really a must unless you know how to make yourself the tripod. The G9's IBIS is amazing. I'll bring a tripod for long stationary shoots (remember, time limited to 30 minutes). But other than that, no tripod.

As for image quality, in photos there is a difference. I needed a hybrid camera, stills and video. The first thing I noticed was how much better the images were with the G9, even using the kit 12-60mm lens. Surely, this combo falls under your limit.

The only "hit" Panasonic takes is with their DFD focusing system. But knowing how to use the camera, that isn't the issue.

But if you are strictly going video, don't mind manual focus/single point focus and want unlimited recording, a GH5 is the way to go. As I said, I needed to be able to also shoot stills. The G9 is way better doing that than the GH5. It was designed as a stills camera first with great video features.

RogerS wrote on 3/12/2021, 7:44 AM

To add onto that the G8/G85 which I tested extensively also has very good IBIS- I did a number of handheld tests while walking and it performed quite well. The kit lens (12-60) was also very good for photo and video. I'm sure the G9 is even better.

But if this is just on a tripod in a studio, IBIS, and even autofocus, doesn't really matter.

Custom PC (2022) Intel i5-13600K with UHD 770 iGPU with latest driver, MSI z690 Tomahawk motherboard, 64GB Corsair DDR5 5200 ram, NVIDIA 2080 Super (8GB) with latest studio driver, 2TB Hynix P41 SSD, Windows 11 Pro 64 bit

Dell XPS 15 laptop (2017) 32GB ram, NVIDIA 1050 (4GB) with latest studio driver, Intel i7-7700HQ with Intel 630 iGPU (latest available driver), dual internal SSD (1TB; 1TB), Windows 10 64 bit

VEGAS Pro 19.651
VEGAS Pro 20.411
VEGAS Pro 21.208

Try the
VEGAS 4K "sample project" benchmark:
VEGAS Pro 20 "Ad" benchmark:

frankp wrote on 3/12/2021, 10:41 AM

I’d recommend the Sony ZV-1 for your purposes. It’s pretty compact with a built in 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. Pretty good and solid AF with the highly touted “product showcase” feature that makes it easy to shoot product reviews and similar content by allowing for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject's face and the object placed in front of the lens. It has most of the Sony picture profiles that can be found on most of their higher end APS-C and mirrorless systems. It can record 4K 24/30p and 1080p at 24/30/60/120fps with no recording time limitations. It does not overheat and has built in stabilization. It’s within your budget at around $800 and you have enough to spare for a fast SD card (it actually comes with one), some spare batteries and other accessories. Oh and you can use it as a webcam now with the new 2.0 firmware. Just connect it via usb to you computer without any hassle. Great for Zoom.

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Ken-Theriot wrote on 3/12/2021, 11:59 AM

Thanks Frank! Very interesting.

Reyfox wrote on 3/12/2021, 1:35 PM

I personally don't record for more than 30 minutes. But if you need to record 24,25,30,50,60P 4K, you can with the G9. You can also record 10bit. 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording is supported. Also, interchangeable lenses. If you need more recording time, the GH5.

FR (Variable Frame Rate) shooting is supported (FHD 2-180 fps/4K 2-60 fps). HDR video recording is supported.


Teagan wrote on 3/12/2021, 5:02 PM

I started out with a Sony AX53 and it can do good 4k up to 30p. No HDR stuff but it's done me some good work.

It's a camcorder and the only thing bad about it is that it loses face tracking auto focus if you try to use manual white balance.

It's extremely easy to use for a beginner and it's just one lens (with great zoom and stabilization, by the way) and it has phantom power for something like a rode video micro. There are some cheap aftermarket batteries for it on amazon that last a long time.


Ideally you would probably want a GH5, but that is a big leap to something that advanced. You would probably like everything to be automatic with a camcorder, but you can do that with a GH5. I don't have one because I'm waiting for a possible newer GH6 but looking back, I would have probably liked a GH5 way better than the big AG-CX350 I got, but that zoom has been extremely helpful with that broadcast camera.