Why should I buy a video camera instead of using my cell phone?

It’s true, not everyone needs a dedicated video camera, our phones have great cameras that are good enough most of the time. Although, there are a few key reasons why you might want a standalone camera.

Your cell phone may have two (or five) built-in lenses, but if you need the versatility or long zoom range, your best option is a camcorder. Not only does this give you the ability to shoot targets that are farther away, but the camcorders also use powered lens motors that provide very smooth zooming action.

Plus, interchangeable lens cameras will give you additional creative control, even if your lenses don’t zoom as far or smoothly.

Battery life and recording time
If you need to film a long event, from a little league game to a wedding ceremony, you probably don’t want to risk running out of battery power. Particularly with mid- and high-end camcorders, video cameras often offer multiple different battery sizes, with high-capacity options designed for such situations.

Mirrorless cameras like the GH5 have optional battery sockets that plug in to extend battery life, while cinema cameras can be powered by large external batteries.

Image quality

If you want to achieve a cinematic look, you can do it relatively affordably with any DSLR or mirrorless camera. The combination of a large image sensor and interchangeable lenses gives you much more creative control over the appearance of your video, allowing you to shoot with a shallow depth of field and vastly improve low-light performance on your phone.

Audio quality

Let’s face it: your cell phone is a bit bad at recording audio, especially in a noisy environment. A dedicated video camera will not only have better built-in microphones, but it will also allow you to connect an external microphone for excellent results in any situation, from a lavalier wireless to record dialogue, to a shotgun one avoiding ambient noise, or a stereo recording music.

What are the key features of video cameras?

Video cameras can be divided into four categories, each of which has unique advantages.

Action cameras

These are small, lightweight, mountable cameras designed for “set it and forget it” applications. Wear it on your chest, stick it on your helmet, or mount it on your bike frame and just hit record. They are generally waterproof, tough, and can survive a beating.


Although they aren’t as popular as they once were (you can thank cell phones for that), camcorders are still useful when you need a compact, all-in-one solution for recording video.

They are characterized by having a zoom lens built into the body of the camera. Entry-level models are generally quite compact and can be used with one hand, while higher-end models are larger and often include professional audio inputs and more controls.

DSLR and mirrorless cameras

These are still cameras that can record video, and some models are very good at that. The benefits are a large sensor and interchangeable lenses, which improve video quality and creative versatility against camcorders and action cameras.

Due to the larger sensors, you won’t find extremely long zoom lenses like those on camcorders, but you can choose from a wide selection of lenses that give you a very different look.

Movie cameras

These cameras, like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera that ranked first on this list, share a lot in common with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. They have relatively large sensors and interchangeable lenses. The difference between these two classes is the user interface, video-specific features, and higher-quality file types.

Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras shoot highly compressed video, cinema cameras often offer uncompressed RAW files or slightly compressed file types like Apple ProRes. The higher quality file type means more flexibility in post-production.

Can video cameras take photos, or vice versa?

Yes. Today, most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are “hybrid”, which means that they work well for both still images and videos, even if they are more geared towards still photography.

Camcorders and film cameras can generally take photos, but they lack the resolution of a dedicated fixed camera. A mirrorless camera will easily be 20 or more megapixels, a camcorder or film camera tends to have just the amount you need for 4K resolution video, that’s around 8 MP.

What is a professional video camera?

While professional cameras tend to have better sensors and better image quality as well, what really sets them apart from consumer models are the user interfaces and connectivity features.

A professional video camera will have more direct access control (physical buttons and dials on the main body), as well as a host of input and output options for audio and video.

In the case of film cameras, they actually have fewer convenience features than consumer cameras – auto focus and exposure can be limited or non-existent, for example.

camera shopping

Should I buy a 4K video camera?

The answer is probably yes, for no other reason than 4K is fast becoming the default. Even mid-range mirrorless cameras now come equipped with 4K video.

If you don’t have a 4K TV or monitor, you won’t fully realize the benefits of a 4K video camera, and many people can’t see the difference anyway.

That said, taking 4K shots allows you some flexibility to crop and stake a shot in your post, which can be a really cool feature when you need it. Also, it does a much better job of rendering fine patterns, such as threads in clothing, which can otherwise cause defects known as Moire at lower resolutions.

The best photography apps for iPhone

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that the iPhone boasts one of the best cameras a phone can have today. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are clear proof of this, two devices that quickly ranked among the cell phones with the best cameras on the market. However, powerful hardware is nothing without software that is up to the task to take advantage of it. We have selected the best photography apps for iPhone that you can currently download.

Camera + 2

The Camera + 2 app offers a wider range of exposure controls and advanced tools such as continuous flash, front flash, touch focus adjustment, 6x digital zoom, a timer, and preset filters. Its well-organized interface also makes it very easy to use, be it taking photos or sharing photos on social media. The app was redesigned and now also includes dual lens iPhone depth tools, RAW photography, new shooting modes, and faster performance.


The iPhone is more than just still images, and ProCamera is an application that has high-end tools for photos and videos. ProCamera includes a host of advanced features in one application, including shooting tools like manual mode and editing options including access to histogram and EXIF ​​data and tools like perspective correction. In addition, the application presents a minimalist interface, with sophisticated features to set the exposure time, ISO sensitivity and more. It even features a night camera and full-resolution previews, plus robust exposure control and over 70 filters and effects.

Dark 2

Obscura 2, developed by Ben McCarthy, manages to condense all the more intricate photo features than iOS into a single, minimal package. It supports a specialized RAW capture mode, as well as HEIC, JPEG, Live Photo, and Depth capture modes. It also offers a grid overlay, flash control, and every conceivable manual control.


Its name might be misleading, considering the lack of any analog aesthetic, but Darkroom takes a literal approach with a darkened interface designed to make your photos shine. The experience is similar to Lightroom in that you can control everything from hue, saturation, lightness (HSL) to curves, although it also has some other applications like VSCO with its built-in filters. Its rating, 4.9 out of 5, on the iOS App Store is a very good reference.


Halide is the perfect app for beginners who want to start with automatic and gradually work their way up to manual mode. Auto makes it easy to capture great photos on the fly, but tools like focus peaking, RAW shooting and more give you maximum creative control in one easy-to-use app. Halide even includes portrait effects, like those touted on the latest iPhones.

ProCam 7

With unmatched control and DSLR-like functionality, ProCam lives up to its name. The app has seven different shooting modes, including a time-lapse setting and one that slows down the shutter speed, giving you the ability to choose the best for your particular environment. Focusing on the subject also allows you to capture sharp photos, even if the subject is moving, while the built-in audio meter ensures audio levels when recording video. The long list of features and the quality of the features make ProCam worthwhile.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Although many of Lightroom’s tools require a newer model of iPhone, it is still one of the most feature-rich apps, particularly for those photographers who want to edit their work on the go. The app automatically syncs images with your desktop counterpart, whether you’re using images shot with your phone or a DSLR, allowing you to quickly edit, enhance, and share your photos, using a variety of familiar tools. . Additionally, with iOS 10, Lightroom supports RAW image capture and editing