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I bought a Canon Rebel T3 a while back before doing my homework on the features. The video quality looks very good to me. However, I have to hold down the shutter button to keep focus. The auto-focus is quite slow and loud though, and ruins the video.

Are there consumer-level cameras that have QUIET full-time auto focus? I have no brand loyalty, and will trade mine in for anything that has this feature, even used or refurbished. (Current market value for mine is around $400) I am hoping to spend no or very little money and would like 720p @ 24fps if possible. Or since my camera is decent, would it make sense to get a dedicated handheld video camera? I see a lot of inexpensive ones.

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closed as off-topic by mattdm, MikeW, Itai, AJ Henderson, Dan Wolfgang Aug 18 '13 at 1:17

  • This question does not appear to be about photography within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about video capabilities with little relevance to still photography. – mattdm Aug 17 '13 at 23:10
A reasonably quiet fulltime PDAF for video is found in Sony A58 with its kit lens Sony DT 3.5-5.6/18-55mm SAM II. The phase detect autofocus is the same as for focusing still images, no workarounds or tricks there. The new version of Sony's kit lens is quieter than the old one. – Esa Paulasto Aug 18 '13 at 10:38
This would be an ideal candidate to migrate to AVP as it would fit well there. – AJ Henderson Aug 19 '13 at 3:24
I think it is relative as DSLRs/Mirrorless have video recording as a standard. The best answer would be to get a mirrorless. With PD focusing, the mirror needs to be down but it video mode, the mirror needs to be up which then leads to on sensor PD or a combination of both PD and CD. As for being loud, that's dependent of the driving mechanism. What's unique about the Olympus 12-50mm is that it uses magnets to drive the AF resulting in no sound at all. If this is opened up, I could answer it better. – BBking Aug 20 '13 at 2:39

For Canon, your best best is probably getting either a T4i or T5i (they're virtually identical, so get whichever is cheaper) and a STM (step-train motor) lens. The cameras contain a special hybrid autofocus system better suited for video, and the special lenses feature smoother, silent autofocus. There are only a few STM lenses currently available, but from what I've seen they work pretty well.

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Is that T really for train? – mattdm Aug 17 '13 at 23:56
I've seen a number of different words used, "train" being only one of them, but the first time I ever encountered the phrase was with the word "train" so that's what I tend to default to. – Tortilla Aug 18 '13 at 3:41
I'm pretty sure it's just the first two letters of "stepper", if it means anything at all. – mattdm Aug 18 '13 at 3:45

Most DSLRs don't have the best on-board audio hardware anyway, so the best bet is generally to use an off-camera audio setup like a Zoom H4n or put something in through the external mic port.

That said, newer DSLRs that have the hybrid phase detect autofocus (PDAF) are capable of doing non-contrast based AF (no focus hunting) while shooting video. You then need a stepper motor based focus (STM) for reduced noise. There aren't a lot of STM lenses available, but they are the best option if you want to use the on-camera mic.

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