Filming with a reflex camera: “pros” and “cons”

12 October 2018

Filming with a reflex camera: "pros" and "cons"

Previously dedicated to classic photography, Reflex cameras now offer almost all video options. However, it is not enough to trigger the camera to let it film quietly, because full control of the Reflex requires strong photo and video skills. Our Lakeprod photo/video studio helps you see more clearly.


First of all, what is a Reflex?

A SLR camera is characterized by a sighting system including a mirror that redirects light to a piece of frosted glass. It can traditionally have one or two objectives. Initially used with a photographic film of variable size, Reflex is now essentially digital.

The main model

There are of course Reflex models and ranges for all budgets. For small studios and freelance videographers, however, it is unthinkable to get equipment at a disproportionately high price. Fortunately, there are quality SLR models available at relatively affordable prices.

The Canon 5D, this camera emblematic of SLR photography, is the best example of this. Used by many professionals, this model has quickly become a reference in this field for professionals. It includes a “full-frame” sensor as well as a wide choice of optics and a plethora of accessories. Count at least CHF 2000.- to get it.


If they do not have the necessary funds, freelance or freelance videographers can invest in smaller hybrid devices or smaller sensors – but always adapted to video. Accessible from CHF 1’000.-, the Panasonic PH range perfectly illustrates this type of alternative solution to premium Reflex.



Although originally designed for photography, Reflexes have initiated a small revolution with the democratization of their video tools.

Thanks to its lens aperture, a SLR camera allows the videographer to film his shots in mixed or even uncomfortable lighting conditions: it is indeed possible to take high-quality shots in very low light. In the same price range, it is difficult to obtain this result with a simple camera. Not to mention that images shot with a SLR camera naturally show a high degree of brightness.

Another advantage of this type of box is its almost photographic management of moving images. This feature allows the user to largely play on the depth of field and style of his videos. However, it requires some precautions, which will be detailed in the next section.

The depth of field, moreover, is quite free with a SLR camera. It can be very wide, especially if you focus on short focal lengths and skillfully play on the aperture, or very short with a large aperture if you are looking for a bokeh effect.



As with any video tool, the choice of parameters is of paramount importance in rendering. This is particularly true for the shutter speed and the number of frames per second. The image must be carefully calibrated, and the color and white balance settings strategically adjusted.

In addition, it is essential not to neglect diaphragm management: even if the SLR allows you to work relatively well in low light conditions, the risk of overexposure is high in normal light conditions. However, it is possible to purchase corrective filters to remedy this problem: count between 50 and 80 euros for the purchase of a filter of optimal quality, such as ND type.


Without the know-how of a professional video maker, the handling of moving shots can be extremely complicated. Many cameras do not offer autofocus: on these cameras, it is a small focusing wheel that allows the adjustment. This results in a potentially poor rendering in case of too abrupt or unprepared movement.

Reflex is not a condemnation to fixed planes. However, it is better to avoid hazardous or “freestyle” shots, such as a camera placed on the shoulder. Note: many extensions marketed in stores make it possible, for a variable budget, to correct this imperfection.


Most SLRs have mini jack jacks where a microphone can be plugged in. Be careful, however, not to place too much trust in this facility: the sound rendering of this function is more like a reporting sound than a moviesound. For a short film or video of very high quality, a separate sound recording is much more appropriate.


A very practical solution in contemporary photography and video, the SLR camera still has video gaps. It remains highly prized for its originality, not to mention that a host of accessories – rather expensive ones – have been designed to remedy these few defects.

If you would like to use the services of professional videographers, please do not hesitate to contact us.