Which camera type to use for vlogging and YouTube videos, Camcorder or DSLR? This detailed comparison guide is perfect for you.
We looked at the difference between a camcorder vs. DSLR and have all the required answers listed.
Here’s the deal:
B oth camcorders and DSLRs are popularly used by YouTubers, vloggers and are also suitable for video-making enthusiasts. Both of these cameras play a crucial role in recording high-quality videos and making movie segments.
Table of Contents
Camcorder vs. DSLR Comparison for Vlogging
1. Compatibility for YouTube Videos and Vlogging (Weight, Size)
The first element you should look at before choosing a camcorder or DSLR is its size and weight.Camcorders: Going hand in hand, the weight of the biggest camcorder is over 4.5 lb kgs (2 kg) with the smaller camcorders weighing much less which is 2.3 lb (1 kg) to 3.5 lb (1.5 kg).
As for size, there are different types of Camcorders, such as full-sized as well as pocket-sized camcorders. Obviously, the full-sized camcorder weighs more than the pocket-sized one.
DSLR: The average weight is usually between 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) to 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg). However, while considering the maximum weight of the camera, you should remember the weight of the lens. That’s because lenses vary even more than DSLR camera bodies in terms of size and weight.
For example, you may buy a digital camera that weighs 1.7 pounds (0.77 kg) without the lens attached, while the lens is 10-18 mm. Therefore the actual weight of the DSLR will be 2.2 pounds (1kg).
Note that size does play a big role in which one you choose for both the camcorder and DSLR. If you are always traveling, it is good to consider how much weight this device will add to your luggage or backpack.
- How hard is it to carry and use if you are hiking?
- Is it light enough to use on a drone?
- Furthermore, what about when you are recording? Is it comfortable to use?
2. Sensor Size
Camcorders: It is unfortunate that the majority of camcorders have smaller sensors than the DSLR camera.
Nonetheless, there are higher-end camcorders that offer larger sensors but will surely cost you an arm and a leg.
Sensor size matters in camcorders since it determines the quality of the image. That‘s why you should choose the camcorder with the largest video sensor to get the best picture quality.
So, if you are new to camcorders and wondering what a camera sensor is, it is the part of the camcorder‘s hardware that captures the light and converts it into an image using either an LCD or viewfinder monitor.
Therefore, the larger the video sensor, the better the quality of the image. Note that not all camcorders with large image sensors have bigger pixels, so if you find a camcorder with a large image sensor but with fewer pixels, you are better off buying it too.
DSLR: They have much larger sensors compared to camcorders at least at the same price point.
With larger sensors, the DSLR is able to not only get better image quality but also have improved low light performance and provide higher resolution. That’s not all.
It will also lead to an increase in dynamic range for your digital camera as well as enable you to create more background blur, among other benefits.
Most noteworthy, in limited light, a larger sensor will make it easier for you to get low-light images without needing a video light.
3. Battery Life Time (Recording Time)Camcorders: When we look at the comparison between the DSLR vs camcorder battery lifetime since they are specifically made for video, camcorders can record for over an hour at a time until the battery runs out.
In addition, the video recorder also allows you to exchange the stock battery for a higher capacity version to extend the operation time further.
What‘s more, if the extended battery does run out, camcorders usually have another backup that allows you to power it straight from the wall pocket.
Note that this gives YouTubers a chance to conduct a full interview without any interruption.
DSLR: However, when it comes to a DSLR camera, it has a shorter battery life which is 29 minutes 59 seconds (approximate numbers).
The reason for this fixed time is that if a camera records more than 30 minutes of video is usually classified as a video camera.
Therefore, to avoid higher import fees, DSLR camera manufacturers have reduced battery life to less than 30 minutes.
Keep in mind, while shooting a 4K video, the recording time will be even shorter than the 29 minutes, but again, every model varies a bit. So, before purchasing the DSLR, it’s important to look at the tech specs more keenly.
Off-course, don’t forget to take an additional battery pack for vlogging in public.
4. Screen Size
Camcorders: The screen size of camcorders usually varies from 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) to 3.5 inches (9 cm).
Nonetheless, like any other flat-panel display, the LCD screen on a camcorder has a specific size and resolution. That means the larger the screen size, the easier you view videos as well as still images.
The great news is that some LCD screens have touch-panel functionality that has various controls visibly shown on the screen that you can access. Note that full-size camcorders mostly have an electronic viewfinder in addition to the LCD.
Moreover, the electronic viewfinders allow a glare-free video image through an eyepiece that fits the camera operator’s eye. This will enable you to shoot videos during bright situations. Alternatively, the LCD viewscreen flips out to monitor the video.
DSLR: On the other hand, most DSLR cameras are with a flip screen feature that easily allows you to shoot around corners at angles usually not possible with a regular screen camera.
Aside from the flip screen, it’s possible to attach external monitors to the hot shoe of DSLR cameras. Note that most monitors are relatively small and basically range between 5 inches (13 cm) to 9 inches (23 cm).
5. Video Quality
When it comes down to professional camcorders vs. DSLR, video quality is a super important factor to consider, right?Camcorders: are specifically designed for shooting videos, they tend to produce exceptional video quality.
The camcorders focus better than cameras with more defined autofocus systems from their great features such as built-in zoom lenses, tilt, and swivel screens.
DSLR: are known to produce better video quality than a camcorder in a lower light because it has a larger sensor.
This enables it to capture footage with a shallow depth of field and lower noise levels, which leads to a clearer picture.
Nonetheless, you should not forget that video quality is also determined by how you handle your device. Since DSLR weight is less than a camcorder, shaky footage might happen if you don’t own a stabilizer or a tripod.
6. Audio Quality
Audio quality is another super important factor for YouTubers to consider.Camcorders: Have a built-in microphone that collects audio. Nonetheless, not all microphones are made equally, with some made only of mono, stereo multi-channel, or Zoom microphones.
- Mono microphone: Being the basic microphone, a mono microphone is basically found on the low-end of camcorders, especially pocket-sized ones. These types of microphones are known just to collect a single channel of sound coming from the direction it is pointed at.
- Stereo microphone: Unlike a mono microphone, the stereo microphone records two channels of sound. Also available on pocket-sized models as well as full-sized camcorders, stereo microphones are the most common types of mics used in high definition camcorders.
- Multi-channel microphone: Usually found on some high-end camcorders, the multi-channel microphone or surround sound recordings play a sound across five different channels.
- Zoom Microphone: Generally found on higher-end camcorders, zoom microphones only allow sound from where the camcorder is pointing. This ensures no other sound is recorded from the sides or rear of the camcorder.
Note that if you can’t afford a higher-end camcorder with a zoom microphone, then it is better you settle for a camcorder with a stereo microphone.
Besides, if you are unsure of the camcorder‘s audio when shooting video, you can purchase it with a hot shoe, which will enable you to add an extra microphone.
DSLR: Most of them have an inbuilt mini-jack which is the same size found on a laptop, MP3 player among other consumer devices.
You can find a DSLR video camera with a stereo microphone input jack where you can use a shotgun mic or a DSLR audio recorder to get a clear sound. Although it works fine in most cases, the audio quality isn’t ideal for any professional job. However, there is a solution for this and it lies with an adapter that connects the camera to an external microphone.
Focus is another element to look at when it comes to DSLR vs camcorder for filmmaking and vlogging.Camcorders: They are equipped with an autofocus feature that determines when a subject is in focus or not.
However, many camcorders allow the user to override this feature and focus on the camcorder manually. This is possible with just a press of a button located somewhere near the camcorder‘s lens, a switch, or a menu setting.
DSLR: There are two types of autofocus, phase detection, and contrast detection. Generally considered the superior method, phase detection is great at continuous autofocus and subject tracking.
On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus usually produces in and out focus before locking on the subject.
Camcorders: Have built-in neutral density filters that expose video on a bright sunny day while still using the correct shutter speed.
Known to reduce overexposure in video shots, the filter decreases the amount of light entering the lens.
This means the darker grey the lens filter is, the more light they filter out, which makes the image in the film to be dark. Keep this in mind, you can also use other types of filters over the lens of camcorders, such as:
- Protective filters: These types of filters protect the lens of the camcorders from dirt, fingerprints, and other debris. Additionally, they also prevent any scratches or damage to the lens.
- Polarizing filters: Mostly used when filming outdoors or through a window, the polarizing filter is meant to reduce glare caused by reflected light that bounces off the surface, such as glass, water, and snow.
- Color correction filters: To be able to create different effects, you can use a variety of color correction filters. For example, you can use these filters to make an ocean look bluer or a sunset redder.
- Diffusion filters: If you are filming up-close shots of people, you can use a diffusion filter to either softening any lines on their faces or any imperfections on the skin.
DSLR: They are a different case since they don’t have the built-in filter, therefore, requiring you to purchase a Neutral Density (ND) filter kit.
Just like it’s used in a camcorder, this filter reduces overexposure in shots on bright days.
On top of that, there are other filters you can purchase for your DSLR video camera. They include:
- Ultraviolet filter (UV): Just like other cameras, DSLRs are sensitive to not only visible light but also ultraviolet light. Although UV is invisible to the human eye, it can create a blue tinge or washed-out effect on video, especially when filming outside. Therefore, by using this filter, you remove the UV light while leaving the visible light intact. Most noteworthy, the filter can also be used as a protective filter for the DSRL lens too.
- Sepia filter: It creates a sepia-tone effect, especially when dealing with flashbacks or historical images.
- Fog filter: Known to create a fog effect.
Notably, other filters are polarizing, diffusion, color correction as well as star effect.
9. PriceCamcorders: Although you can buy a simple camcorder for a few hundred dollars. To get the larger sensors and advanced features camcorder, you need to spend at least a few thousand dollars.
Therefore, if you go for an ultra-compact camcorder that records and stores video to flash memory or built-in memory, you will spend from $50 to $800.
For a standard MiniDV camcorder, you will spend from $125 to $400. In addition, the high-definition camcorder will cost you from $400 to $1500.
DSLR: When we look at the DSLR video camera, the prices differ with the type of DSLR you are buying.
For instance, if you are going for the entry DSLR camera, a new one ranges from $350 to $800 while a used one is from $200 to $400.
For any prosumer, a new one costs from $900 to $3500 while a used one goes from $400 to $1600.
What about the pro DSLR camera?
A new one is more expensive than a camcorder since it goes from $3500 to $6000 but a used one costs from $900 to $3400.
All in all, we have listed the best camcorders and DSLR cameras for vlogging on our website – please check it if you are interested.
Unbiased review of top 10 camcorders for YouTube and vlogging.
Unbiased review of 8 best DSLR cameras for vlogging.
What To Choose? Which Is Better Camcorder or DSLR?
You might be thinking:
That’s okay, but which device should I buy, a camcorder or a DSLR?
Though camcorders are easy to use since they are made to shoot videos, DSLR cameras offer great picture + video quality at the same time.
However, by the end of the day, it all comes down to your: preference, budget, comfortability and purpose of using it.
Nonetheless, many videographers prefer to work with DSLRs because of the larger sensors, while YouTubers and vloggers can work with DSLRs or camcorders. All they have to do is consider the features and how long they work with the device.
- Therefore, if you are spending a long time recording YouTube videos or podcasts, you should go for a camcorder.
- Nevertheless, if you are shooting small videos in small spaces, purchase a DSLR camera, which is also great for time-lapse.