If you are a photographer you may get this a lot…

By Travis S. Pratt

Friday at 5 p.m. the mass exodus begins, actually it’s more like 4:57p.m., the marketing department first, followed by accounting, then comes advertising. One after the other. “Good night,” “have a good evening,” “see ya Monday,” and the one I’ve grown to hate so much “have a good weekend.” I’d like to think that most of these people know when they leave, reporters, editors and photographers are still putting together the next day’s paper.

This Friday was no different, Frederick News-Post staff photographer, Graham Cullen, was in the newsroom finishing up a five-assignment day. He was pounding out cutlines, fielding weekend photo assignment requests and taking it all in stride. Then out of nowhere…

“Do you have any suggestions on what kinda video camera to buy,” asked a newly hired member of X dept.( I’m not protecting her anonymity, literally I have know idea who or where she came from. No introductions, no chit chat. Straight to the chase.)

“I’m buying it for a gift, for someone who …,” she continued.


Cullen stopped typing, looked up and said “whats your budget?”

A few people in class have asked for suggestions on what kinda camera to purchase for the upcoming class, Digital Storytelling, so this blog post is partly my response to that question.

Disclaimer: First, wait and see what Professor Laura Pohl recommends. Secondly, Iā€™m not a gear head or an expert on technology.

As you know recent trends in journalism dictate that you need to do it all yourself. Camera manufacturers are catching on and adding new features to make this possible. Recently, still camera manufacturers have added video and near professional audio to their digital single lens reflex cameras, or DSLRs, as us camera dorks refer to them.

These features are “fill in synonym for game changers here.” If you’ve ever tried to shoot video, collect audio, and manage to make a still photo on the same assignment you either have a back ache or know what I’m getting at.

The most recent series finale of the television show House was shot with a DSLR. Specifically, the Canon 5DmkII, you can read more about that over at Peta Pixel. This article comes complete with a Twitter style interview from House director Greg Yaitanes.

These types of cameras are valued by journalists and movie makers alike because of their small size and low cost. Obviously, the camera kit that a feature film maker would use is slightly different than that of what a multimedia journalist would need to make a three-minute Arts & Living piece, like The Washington Post’s Scene In. The same rules apply, high quality picture and high quality sound.

The Suggestions

Since we are all students here I’m going to assume that no one wants spend more than a thousand dollars (FREE) on a camera system, so that rules out a whole bunch of choices.

These suggestions are aimed at meeting the need of a mulitmedia journalist who wants to bring a high level of quality to their production.

Canon T2i – Hit the link for a full review from dpreview.com

Street Price: $799

Your going to need to add an external microphone to this camera if your looking for quality audio.

Olympus EPL-1s Hit the link for a full review from dpreview.com

Street Price $499

For high quality audio you’ll need to add Olympus’ SEMA-1 Microphone Adapter Set

Street Price $75

Nikon P7000 – Hit the link for a full review from dpreview.com

Street Price $419

Built in mic only