It’s an exciting time for consumers to purchase a camera, and now professionals have many choices of tools they can use for the job. One very welcoming trend is the new generation of smaller cameras that pack nearly as much punch as their full size brethren.

As a camera operator I have been using a DSLR platform for several years and many of my generation of shooters have shot their first projects with a smaller camera.  Adding HD video to a digital still camera was a novelty at first, but now it has taken the market by storm. The smaller DSLR camera has given amateurs the ability to shoot professional-looking video, and anyone with a couple grand can dabble in the world of making films and videos.

Small and (relatively) inexpensive cameras are now hitting the professional market too, effectively allowing more independent video/filmmakers the ability to produce quality content. The fact that many of us need to understand is that over the last two years, some of these smaller cameras have begun to pack an image that compares favorably to the bigger cameras.  Size does not matter when it comes to image quality. More companies will be using the smaller cameras for reasons of portability, handling, and discreteness. A smaller camera can get into tighter spaces and create less of a scene, making it an ideal choice when filming events and interviews. It’s just a much less distracting choice than the larger alternative.  On my own shoots I can’t tell you how many times people have posed in front of my camera thinking I was at the event taking still pictures.

So what are the downsides to these pint sized powerhouses?

  • The smaller cameras generally don’t look as serious as the larger ones and clients may think they are not getting their money’s worth.
  • The larger cameras usually come standard with all the bells and whistles that most professionals desire, although this is beginning to change.
  •  In order for most of these cameras to have an ergonomic feel and the necessary flexibility, you have to “rig” it up in a almost erector set look.

I think for most of us, all that really matters is how it looks when the video is finished. Cameras getting smaller is not just a trend. Its a new standard. Easier access to pro-level equipment means that there will be much more competition for video professionals, which is not a bad thing. I would rather be judged for the quality of the work than the amount we spent on a camera.