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Recently, someone asked me if I thought a HDSLR was right for him. He was surprised because the answer coming from me, a huge fan of HDSLR and ILML (interchangeable-lens— mirror-less) cameras, was a resounding no. In the case of the guy who asked the question, he had so many requirements about what the camera had to do and what he did not want to do post capture, that it was blatantly obvious that a dedicated handheld camcorder with a built- in lens, that generated files that could easily be uploaded to the Web was the best solution for him. He effectively wanted to be able to point, shoot, and share.
For the gentleman described above, the answer was clear, but for others, the answer may not be so easy to discern. You have to take the passion out of the discussion and that cameras –whether for stills and/or movies, are tools. Your decision point should be based on selecting the right tool to help you achieve your objective: For some users, a HDSLR will be the right camera for motion capture, while for others it may not be, or may not be at least some of the time-.
Periodically, I will be sharing questions that I have been asked and the answers. If you have questions, feel free to send them to In the meantime, here are a few more.

Q: Which HDSLR(s) do you recommend?

I shoot with different brands of cameras and as a result I consider myself camera brand-neutral. You can shoot motion with any of the HDSLR and Interchangeable-lens— Mirror-less camera models available. Each brand and model has different features and capabilities for still and motion capture, which should factor into your decision. Additionally, do not underestimate the importance of ergonomics: If the camera model does not seem to fit comfortably in your hand and/or the control layout is problematic, you are not going to enjoy your camera regardless of how well the model is regarded.

Q: I’m just starting out with an HDSLR, how much gear do I need to make it usable?

The type of gear you buy to use in conjunction with your HDSLR should be determined by what you are shooting as well as by your shooting style. The choice of equipment needed to shoot a movie with dialogue and to shoot your kids running in the yard will differ.
The most fundamental piece of equipment for anyone beginning to shoot motion with an HDSLR is a stabilizer. A good tripod and a fluid head are good starting points for most people. If you need to move while filming, you may want to consider a shoulder or handheld stabilizer. I always recommend that, if at all possible, people add accessories gradually.

Q: How much money do I need to spend on accessories?

You can spend as much or as little as you want on HDSLR accessories because not surprisingly, there is no shortage of companies with products already available and new items coming out monthly. The key to purchasing equipment is to understand what you need and to avoid impulse buying— you know, someone says this is a “must have,” and you run to your favorite retailer’s site and order it. One person’s must have can become another person’s dust collector. It is important that you understand why you are buying the accessory, how it will assist you, and whether it will actually work for you.

As always I invite you to check out my e-Book, Beyond Stills!

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