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Gear & Apps

Still Camera With Video vs. Camcorder – Are Home Use Video Cameras Dead?

By Anthony Thurston on March 3rd 2014

I came across a really interesting video discussion today by the guys over at the Camera Store TV.  In the video, the guys discuss the state of still cameras with video vs. camcorders.

After a bit of discussion and comparison between the Sony RX10 and the Canon HFG30, the guys come to the conclusion that camcorders are redundant. Take a quick look at the video and we will talk more below…

I tend to agree with what they are saying, and I can’t honestly remember the last time that I used a camcorder. My Canon 6D and EOS M are both superb with video, and so I have no use for a camcorder. I know Pye films all of our workshops with DSLRs, no reason to mess with a camcorder.


So, if you ask me, yeah, camcorders are obsolete. Most still cameras and heck – even most phones nowadays offer decent to good video performance. There is simply no reason for home users to use camcorders anymore.

What are your thoughts on this? Has the rise of DSLR video, or still cameras with video capabilities in general, destroyed the camcorder market or do you think that camcorders still have a place in todays market? Share your thoughts in a comment below to join the discussion.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matt

    I know loads of people that love their camcorder because of the infinity focus. they don’t understand DOF or ISO. For me personally, I would opt for the dslr or mirror-less, but I work with this gear regularly and understand the benefit of a cinematic look. I would say that just like point and shoot camera, camcorders will also be replaced by smartphones, not higher end mirror-less or dslr style cameras. one nice thing with camcorders is, set it on a tripod and walk way, as people walk up to it refocuses automatically and doesn’t need watching. I think they make a lot of great points, but I don’t agree that mirror-less will replace camcorders, phones will.

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  2. DigitalCyclops

    I have to go more with the Camera Store guys. We’ve shot with a wide variety of projects, using a wide variety of tools from GoPros, to iPhones, to Broadcast Cams, to Camcorders, to HDSLRs. The form factor of the DSLR, or Mirrorless seems to be becoming much more important. Look at the C100-C500 line from Canon. Probably not a great seller, but a very very steady renter. Sony is also rumoured to be taking their FS100-FS700 lineup and making them more of a DSLR type form factor (at least at last years NAB, we’ll see this year). Now shoulder mount pro cameras, those still have a very good form factor, and great for ENG, and most run and gun situations. Indie film making, guerilla shots, live events (short form), and weddings, the HDSLR/C100 style wins out. For the Camera Store guys, family shoots, I’d say the handycam style days are numbered. Similar to the Point and Shoot segment that has been decimated by smart phones.

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  3. Filip

    It’s hard for professionals to understand regular people’s needs. Even the form factor is very important: while we’re all accustomed to properly holding a camera, most people feel far more comfortable using a camcorder full-palm grip when filming. Then there’s autofocus that works, face detection, cheap high quality IS (especially in Canon’s cameras), in-camera editing (I was surprised how many people I know frequently use this feature), huge drive capacities and the list can go on.

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  4. Heath

    Autofocus, rolling shutter, long record times, built in Hard Drives, there are plenty of reasons the camcorder is far from dead. The DSLR form factor is far from being the best thing for the home movie maker. Documentary film makers & journalists are much more likely to need a camcorder than a DSLR.

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  5. Jeff

    Truthfully, I have a Sony Handicam. I bought it for my sister’s wedding in Jamaca a couple years ago, and truthfully it takes better video than my 60D. I have to mess with the 60D to expose, focus, and hold that camera with a fat L lens on the thing. The handicam is as simple as open the screen, frame and start recording (and probably 1/4 the weight). The Handicam also has an Image Stabilization built in (as does my L lens, but it’s lacking IMO) and has functions built for the purpose of video first. However, at 1080p60 (highest quality) the handicam footage requires post processing to do anything with it, whether that be burn to a blu-ray, share to facebook/youtube, or to just transfer clips to an iDevice. The 60D just needs its files copied to share or combine clips. It should be noted that the DSLR’s don’t do the 60 fps, but they excel in other areas. I think I’m going to sell my handicam and buy a gopro and just go from there hahaha.

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  6. Nick

    I’m agreeing with Rick. There’s still a huge market for camcorders.
    Not everyone has, wants, or needs a DSLR.

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  7. Rick

    I’ll have to disagree. I much prefer using a dedicated camcorder for my video needs. Disclaimer: I’m not doing professional-level video. If I were, I would need something to produce broadcast quality footage. That would be minimum of 12-bit 4:2:2.

    Having said all that, I do see the appeal to having a single piece of equipment work for both stills and video. I for one, just prefer using a dedicated tool for a particular job.

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