Wednesday, June 10, 2009


They are all doing it... the masses have spoken... the people want it! And the big hitters are doing it, and all the others will be following for sure shortly, they have no choice.

At first I said I didn't want it, and that I would never do it... but after some thinking, I changed my mind, I do want it... I would totally do it!

I'm talking about High-Definition Video from a D-SLR! It's the way of the future... or is it!?!

Nikon was the first on the block, with the D90 with a 780p (24fps) mode built in, and Canon with the 5D mk II with 1080p (30fps) mode, a few days later; Panasonic and Pentax have both announced their bodies with High-Def video after that.

RedrockMicro has even come up with some accessories that the pro-vid crowd use for these bodies. I mean how cool is that, a custom Fig-Rig or a focus puller for a D-SLR.

Hell, Vincent LaForet showed us the quality of video that the Canon is capable of; and I have to admit... it blew me away.

So why would we, the average consumer want a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, to have High-Definition video built into our cameras?!? Wouldn't a proper video camera do us much better, and leave the still picture taking to the D-SLR's? Let me explain. 

When I first heard that Nikon had the D90 coming out, with the HD Video built in... I really thought that Nikon had lost their rocker and that they were way out in the nuts right next to Charlie Manson. And then a few days later, Canon leaked out that the 5D mk II was on the horizon, and I started to think that it was Armageddon coming. (and no... not the movie with that horrible Areosmith song)

But then I started to think about my business, as you all know, I am a Wedding photographer; and I have had some requests for Video during the Weddings I shoot. I already have an assistant... so would it not make sense for me to have her take some Video of the Vows, the First Dance... anywhere else that there is a cute moment. I have the lenses already, and most of them with a nice wide aperture, to give that shallow DoF that we all love.

How sweet of a short clip would it be, to use the 80-200mm F2.8 or the 300mm F4, wide open just as the couple kisses, that creamy dreamy background blur that I know and love from many of my lenses. I get goosebumps just thinking of a video taken with my 105mm F2 DC. *Sigh*

Anyway... so after I admitted that I would use the video for my business, I asked myself, if I would use it for other things other than a wedding. And I came up with tons of little things that I wouldn't mind having a short video of, my daughters band concerts, behind the scenes of photo shoots... etc; and I am more than certain that if you started to think about it... that you could come up with some too.

So instead of having 2 devices to carry around, on a vacation, at a paid gig… whatever the case might be, having it all into a single device is some kind of genius. You have 1 less device to carry, 1 less charger to carry, which equals out to more space in the bag and also no different type of battery to carry with you. If your D-SLR is your video camera at the same time, you only have to carry spares of its battery, and not any other type.

With the sensor size of the 5D mk II or the D90, being much bigger than those used in even the high end High-Def camcorders, you can get much more shallow depth of field, especially when used with a nice bright prime or zoom. 

Now... one question does come to mind, with the sensor being charged more often, and for longer times... would it be more prone to sensor dust? It might, but all the manufactures have worked hard on finding ways to get their sensors less attractive to dust. Some even have sensor cleaners built in. So overall, I do not think that it is that much of an issue... and if it is, then the good ol'friend the AcrticButterfly comes out to play. 

Now going back the whole 24p or 30p thing, what difference does it make to you and why would you want one over the other. 24p (24 frames per second) is more like what the big movie cameras use, and give you that movie theater feel to the final clip, 30p (30 frames per second) is what most of the small cameras have set as their default video capture, and for many years.... even what most news broadcast cameras were set at. This is why for years I have looked at TV, and wondered why they have a much different look to their video feeds, versus a movie.... its rougher, and has a contrasty look to them (IMHO). 

So for the most part, the 24p is the way to go if you want to make that Lord of the Rings film feel and look to your videos. 

Do you need to learn a whole new set of programs?!? YUP! You'll need to learn iMovie HD or Adobe Premier, or their high end equivalents. 
Is it going to be easy? More than likely not. While the basics of video are not all that different from still capture, there is a bit of an art to it it seems. The biggest thing I have found, is how fast your movie clip can go from good to bad, by just hand holding it. My advice, put it on a tripod! 
In the end of it all, is it going to be fun? Hell'z Ya!

I will be investing in a D-SLR camera sometime in the near future, that has video capture build in.... I'll tell you more about it then. But from my short time that I used a Nikon D90 that was lent to me by Nikon, I loved it, and plan to use it a whole lot more when I do get one. 

Until next time... good shooting, and see you all on Saturday. 


Brennan the Vyper said...

There was no way to avoid adding video to D-SLR cameras. Once Live view was added it was only a matter of a couple of lines of code to record what was happening onto the memory card. A proper video camera is still hands down more practical for serious videography.

Tri-City Photography Club said...

Perhaps... but I think as we see the second and third generations of the D-SLR's with video, we will see fewer camcorders, and more slowly to just one and the same.

Brennan the Vyper said...

The biggest drawback for video on dlsr is the focus ability. Yes, I realise that the contrast detection systems currently in use will be improved, and we may see some serious adaptation of the phase detection systems to increase speed and accuracy. The handicap that may take the longest to overcome is that most DSLR lenses focus rather loudly, even HSM, AF-S, and USM lenses make a whine.

I do not foresee any reduction in video cameras but rather a migration to 2k or even 4k recording from camcorders. Plus the introduction of DSMC cameras may gice DSLRs a run for their money.