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Digi still cameras v Hi-End Camcorders

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    filmforever
    28 Feb 2011 - 2:08 PM

    I felt prompted to ask the following question upon reading another string on this site, re. a guy using 16g. flash cards because he "shot a lot of video" on his digi still camera.
    This prompted the question would he be better off with a high end camcorder, using the single frame facility for the odd still picture?

    This poses a further question: Is the video shot on digi cameras up to the standard of that obtained by top quality camcorders or even broadcast quality video cameras?

    Similarly, is the quality of still frames obtained from a video sequence, up to that obtained by a top quality digi SLR.? I suspect the answer to this one is "no"......but I know from experience that it is perfectly adequate for the website of a national newspaper (where short video clips are favoured).
    A still from video is also acceptable qualitywise for the printed version of newspapers.

    Given that most of the investment in the news industry is now aimed at web operations, with the printed versions being something of an afterthought, will we soon see news photographers ditching their Nikon & Canon digi SLR's and moving over to Sony or Panasonic video machines?

    With more emphasis on video than stills, will this be the beginning of the end for digi SLR's as they converge with high end camcorders to form a single product catering for both video and stills?

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    dafteric
    dafteric  5 United Kingdom
    1 Mar 2011 - 4:40 PM

    I agree that if you want to take high quality still pictures a DSLR is the best option and a high quality HD camcorder is best for video. A DSLR can take passable HD Video but when compared to a purpose made mid priced camcorder there is no competition the camcorder wins hands down. And the stills from a HD camcorder look poor even against the cheapest still compact.

    But I do not think that the DSLR is dead. High quality still cameras have had competition from film/video for years. It just depends on what you want. If you want to take high quality still pictures there will always be a place for the DSLR. Remember there are probably more photographers making a living outside journalism, working in the advertising and other commercial sectors. There demand will fuel both the professional and amateur markets. I get the feeling that HD video is appearing on DSLRs because it is technically possible to do it, not because there is a demand for it. I have never heard anyone say they purchased a still camera because it can also take video, its just an added extra.

    I do see the demise of the low to middle end of the compact camera market as mobile phones get better and better at taking pictures. There is a huge part of the public who are not really interested in picture quality as they look at pictures and videos on the very small screens of smart phones and I Pods. Convenience is much more important to this section of the population.

    Carabosse
    Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
    1 Mar 2011 - 5:31 PM


    Quote: I agree that if you want to take high quality still pictures a DSLR is the best option and a high quality HD camcorder is best for video.

    This mere demonstrates the poster's lack of knowledge of video. To match, for example, the video quality of a Canon 5D Mk II you would have to pay 10k+ for a 'proper' camcorder - rather than the 1600 (+ lens) for the aforementioned DSLR.

    I suggest DaftEric (appropriate name?Grin) takes a look at a site such as this. He may learn a lot! Smile

    The camcorder market is in decline, because of the emergence of video-capable stills cameras.

    filmforever
    1 Mar 2011 - 6:32 PM

    [quote]
    I suggest DaftEric (appropriate name?Grin) takes a look at a site such as this. He may learn a lot! Smile

    The video quality of the 5D certainly looks impressive, thought I detected a bit of jerky movement on one of the videos. Apparently some sports photographers now use the video facility for fast goalmouth action, leaving it to the picture desk to capture the peak moment of action.

    Interesting comment that phone/camera quality might be hitting sales of compact digis, because "part of the public are not interested in picture quality". Perhaps this is the reason why, for instance, newspapers are prepared to use stills from video/mobile phone sourced pictures, because they have this same belief, that their readers can't tell the difference anyway?

    filmforever
    2 Mar 2011 - 10:21 PM

    [quoteThat may be your PC struggling with HD video. Mine does sometimes especially on fast pans.
    [/quote]

    That's quite likely, my PC's getting to the veteren stage!

    User_Removed
    2 Mar 2011 - 11:22 PM

    The 5DmII's video is down-sampled off the sensor. e.g. its stills quality will be far better than single frames from video mode.

    The video looks great because of:

    1. The lenses
    2. The size of the sensor used for 16:9 is still larger than a Super 35 frame! (AKA REDONE)- and all the video-graphic benefits this entails.

    But this does make the camera subject to moire patterns...

    So no, still frames will never match the DSLR stills and the high end camcorder wont match the SLR's video because of the sensor size. (But obviously will trump it on handy features).

    But those handy features are needed for a professional set-up. As similar quality traditional "camcorders" are more expensive than an SLR + the gear you need.

    Last Modified By User_Removed at 2 Mar 2011 - 11:23 PM
    Carabosse
    Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
    3 Mar 2011 - 12:54 AM

    2Mp stills taken off 1080HD video are never going to be of fantastically high quality. But they may be 'good enough' in some situations - and may be better than missing the shot altogether.

    The quickest stills cameras, in stills mode, are only a sluggardly 9 or 10fps. This may not be quite quick enough in certain limited circumstances, and that is where taking frames from video may be preferable.

    filmforever
    3 Mar 2011 - 1:47 PM


    Quote:
    The quickest stills cameras, in stills mode, are only a sluggardly 9 or 10fps. This may not be quite quick enough in certain limited circumstances, and that is where taking frames from video may be preferable.

    Sadly this transfers yet another hard learnt skill from the photographer to the camera, that of anticipating the crucial moment to press the shutter. It's what Cartier-Bresson referred to as "the decisive moment".

    Carabosse
    Carabosse e2 Member 1139392 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
    3 Mar 2011 - 2:05 PM

    The ability to take stills from moving imaging is nothing new - we've had that ability since the late 19th century.

    The issue now is the same as it was then - quality.

    filmforever
    3 Mar 2011 - 2:26 PM


    Quote: The ability to take stills from moving imaging is nothing new - we've had that ability since the late 19th century.
    The issue now is the same as it was then - quality.

    But now the "quality" is deemed "good enough" for news purposes, so we have action photographers (i.e sports) using the onboard video on their SLR's, instead of higher quality stills capture, as the "easy way" out, eventually dulling their own sense of timing.

    The more we become enslaved by the computer chip, the more we lose our ability to take our own decisions.

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