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Tuesday, 07 October 2008


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The problem with voting against convergence is that you are immediately branded a Luddite. So be it, but as far as I'm concerned, convergence = compromise. Put video in a low-mid price digicam, and fine - at this level I am paying for convenience, not quality. Put it in a top end DSLR, and I'm thinking "what was sacrificed to make the video possible" - either something has been left out to keep the price point, or this is an overpriced still camera.

From the other side, the 5Dii has got some film makers excited. I'd bet they'd be even more excited if that imaging capability were put in a body designed for the purpose, perhaps with better audio capability etc.

And what happens next? Now the film makers have got a taste of it, they'll be insisting that the 5D3 be upgraded to suit their needs, while the stills photographer will being looking for features to make their lives better. The result will be a product which ultimately satisfies no one.

For me, both the D90 and 5Dii are technology one-up-man-ship - just because you can do something doesn't mean you should!



anywhere between "don't care" and "why not, might as well"

I am in the "don`t want to pay for that" camp. AFAICT, video does not add size or weight to the equipment, so I really "don`t care", but it seems to me that R&D investments are being spent on the video feature when we could have improvements in still capture tech (better face detection)? OTOH, video requires a different set of ergonomics, so if convergence materializes in a significant way, still photographers might become uncomfortable with the way new cameras operate, putting me in the "wish they would`t" camp. Any which way, I vote Nay.

What does it mean "convergence" in relation to photography?

I'm a little behind on camera upgrades, but I expect my next cameras will have the video feature. At this point I have no idea what I would do with video, but I'm leaning toward agreement with Mr. Laforet and Mr. Reichmann that it's something I need to learn how to use if I'm going to be employed in the future.

Time to figure out iMovie, for starters. In any case, it helps keep those neurons firing in my old age.

Sure - why not? As soon as Live View became standard, video was inevitable. I may not use it often but having the *option* of shooting a few minutes hi-def video in addition to stills is a real bonus.

I'm seriously considering buying my first P&S camera for travel and sports (skiing) just to get the video mode that my current SLR lacks.

Weird. I just don't get that. It seems as though you're not paying any extra for it.

I voted nay as video is simply not a medium I like to express myself through. Hence, no biggie to me if it doesn't filter down.

Ultimately putting too much capability in one device always runs the risk of making something a Jack of all trades but master of none. Personally I'm happy having a dedicated camera (SLR), a phone that primarily makes calls, a standalone GPS etc. There is going to be an issue of pocket space to carry it all, but I don't need everything on hand 100% of the time. Take what you need, helps people focus.


The week the D90 came out I had my local camera store put one into rentals so I could use it for an event that I was covering. Though the video isn't fantastic quality it is more than enough for most clients who are not looking for broadcast quality. And when the client received video as well as stills the next day, well that was just icing that got me the next gig.

Years ago I tried to play with video. Maybe with more practice something would have come of it, but I don't "see" in terms of motion. It is similar to shooting B&W. Some artists do great work in monochrome, but fail when working in colour, and of course the inverse it true as well.
I guess I am saying it is a completely different art form, and personally, I don't really have any desire to pursue it.

You might want to include the link to the Luminous Landscapes new review of the D90's video capabilities:

(He also links to his ruminations on convergence.)

I have no real interest in having video capability in my digital camera, digicam or dSLR. I think I've used the video capability in my digicams a grand total of 3 times.
However, I voted "why not" because if it isn't included at the expense of the photographic features of the camera, why not.

I voted for the why not to excited continuum, but am sort of surprised that it looks like a lot of others did as well. I always thought that you could sell "I'd rather be shooting 8x10 double-x" bumper stickers here.

I would like to point out that it probably costs a lot less for adding high def video than it does to add a popup flash. It's mostly software , and once you figure out how to do it , it is essentially free in terms of incremental costs.

It would be even more interesting if you could trade resolution for frames per second , for both ultra high speed low res , and say 15 FPS at full rez , or do high speed exposure bracketing.

This capability will open up a lot of post processing possibilities, for instance software motion blur removal by faking a flutter shutter

I'm sure that will come in the next round of products since it's just a software change.

It's a lot cheaper than a Hulcher.

Interesting poll. I hovered towards 'no' on the principle that I don't want video to add more weight / button / cost / or reduce other things I would like to see more of.

Then I thought of the small band of traveling minstrels playing on market day up on the altiplano and how I would have liked a video of that. Actually even a shot of that, as I didn't have a camera with me.

My personal vote was "nay" even though I returned to still photography 4+ years ago after a long stint with video/filmmaking.

But this "convergence" was long predictable if you noted two influences.

First, professional photojournalists are finding that their employers are increasingly asking for video. Newspapers, increasingly reliant on their Web site ad revenues rather than paper ads, are finding that turning their Web sites into sound-bite television clips helps to boost traffic particularly to that young, malleable age group that advertisers crave. Even stock photo shooters are beginning to shoot stock video to expand their income range. (Stock video often requires no sound, which buyers will add to suit their needs.) Wedding photographers might also welcome video in the camera. So adding video to prosumer still cameras is probably welcomed by these folks, although that's still a relatively small market.

Second, just where did you think digital photography could go next? Yes, there are tweaks and bumps still possible. But resolution's basically tapped-out within each product category. Canon only has one remaining feature it could add to its cameras: a dedicated mirror lock-up button. But they're not about to play that last feature card before 2020. So Canon and Nikon needed something new to sell to their market. Video was the ONLY place to go, regardless of who wants it.

No, I do not agree that video and still photography are genuinely "converging" anywhere other than in manufacturers' marketing and development plans. Video recording facilities have been incorporated into p&s cameras for years to a largely "Eh" reaction. Incorporating video into higher-spec cameras will be handy for some but largely ignored by most buyers. Still, once it become a feature checkbox it must now be incorporated in-perpetuity, like it or not.

I don't understand the angst over video. As soon as digital cameras were released, cameras ceased to be seen as single function devices. You could see in realtime your framing, exposure, etc, you can change the look of the image through white balance, compression, resolution, etc. In other words, it had ceased to be just a capture device. You can see a video readout on the back of the camera, why not be able to capture it? It will never be a "real" video camera without the ability to use external mics and whatnot, but it could certainly be handy to have and there's no reason to think that it would interfere with normal still shooting...


I sympathize with those who are strongly against this "convergence". However, I`m afraid this poll belongs to the same category as voting yea or nay to computers or flat screen TVs. Our efforts should be focused on the implications of this revolution. They are huge.

After several years with point and shoots i have about three minutes of video that I like. However, I like it a lot, so if I don't have to pay a substantial premium for video on my next camera, I would just as soon have it.

"What does it mean "convergence" in relation to photography?"

It means providing video capabilities in serious still digital cameras.

Not my term, BTW.

Mike J.

It does seem the camera vendors are missing a market segmentation opportunity here by dumping video capability into their mid-range cameras rather than introducing "SLR Video Cameras" with more professional video features. In a live view SLR I'd like basic video, same as in my P&S, for the occasional family moment or two. But what they've put into both the D90 and the 5Dii is way beyond basic, yet not up to pro usability standards. Weird choices.

As someone alluded to above, the "danger" of the early period of convergence is cameras that will do both, but not as well as they could do one.

For a given price point, there are always compromises made, etc. etc.

This cuts both ways, into both video and still fans.

Eventually, the quality of stills from video capture streams will probably be quiet high. And that will be of interest to folks who do weddings/ photojournalism/documentary/sports/war/kids/puppies/wildlife etc., but eh, probably not me.

It will not be too long, until on the amateur/consumer forums, people will be telling still digital users they are dinosaurs and worse, just like they do now, re film.

I'm a Canon user and *after playing* with the Nikon D700 I cannot help thinking the inclusion of video on the 5Dll is akin to Lipstick on the proverbial pig.

That D700 though, she's a pitt bull and would and I'd love to see HD on her ;-)


There is more to it than having one camera that can do both. Convergence implies doing both stills and motion at the same time. After all my Sony Handicam can shoot stills to a memory stik. Not exactly high quality. So what are the technical/aesthetic issues with extracting stills from a motion stream. I'm vaguely familiar with Red which I gather is leading the way(at least in hype). By now we've all heard the arguments involving journalism, sports, weddings (although I haven't really heard much from wedding photogs). Seems to me you're making stills or movies. Consequently apart from business reasons associated with the above mentioned genres, I have no interest in a combo stills/movie cam.

We've been talking about video's uses in photojournalism as everything migrates to the web for a good 5 years, and this puts the tools back in the hands of the proles the local papers send out to cover silly little events, same tools for stills, minimal learning curve, zero extra cost. The small weekly papers will love it, because they can extract frames they can use on the front page.

I mean, come on! Artistry will still be artistry. Why the heck not blow the shutter down and shoot some vid? Why not make this part of your tool, instead of requiring a whole shed of tools to meet your client's desires?

Not at the high end DSLR. I agree with Colin, I don’t want to pay for features so clearly divorced from the principal purpose of the camera. Especially if it comes at the expense of a more functionally optimized still camera. (if nothing else, more unwanted menu layers) A still camera looks different than a video camera. There are lots of good ergonomic and design reasons for the difference.

For most people it's not the same "know how" between still images and "moving" ones... An average photographer can be a lousy videographer and vice-versa!

I like taking still pictures, and look at my surroundings in such fashion, one of my daughter who is now in the movie business, always surprised me with her videos which was her media when in teen years, as she has a moving environment look (regard in french).

While a camera is just a tool, I wonder about the ergonomics of "convergence" (not to speak of technique, post processing and post production)?
Most of us, seeing after some time a not so good very short video, conveying not much, might regret not having shot a unique still picture of the same "event" with some depth!

I'm a bit wary that the "convergence" part, ends into some facility that will "blend" all sort of pictures in the same heap, a bit like the cell phone shots with more pixels or technical quality.
Like some of our fathers who dropped their camera for the 8mm film, with those dreadful family shows (screen and all), ending with leaving the two medias althogether...

Photojournalist might have a use for a high quality video camera, extracting some stills from it for some specific uses. Artists will always manage with mixing stills and videos (and we do it already via our computers), but in a medium level camera, it's like saying that "one unique" picture isn't enough and thus, conveying the thought to future generations of images guzzlers...

OK, maybe I'm getting old...

I voted Nay, because I doubt I'll ever use. Long ago, I had a video camera, but virtually never edited or even watched the results. Now for PJs, which I am not, this trend is going to be irreversible.

Even more video capability will mean even more bad video - just look at how the quality of moving image productions on TV has plunged since the cost of the tools to make it (and the training required) has dropped.
Spare a thought for the millions of families around the world who have dutifully suffered through yet another wedding video - and still there are people who applaud the technology that will make even more of this rubbish inevitable!


Cheers, Robin

I want to vote somewhere in between the two options. I'm not overly fussed about video, but at least it should encourage the development of more useable live view functions, which would be useful.

Jeez, I can't win! You're the second person to say that, and I would have thought there was hardly any space between "Why not" and "Don't care."

Mike J.

I voted Nay. Just would prefer to have a separate device. I also think to have a video camera one require different ergonomics and positioning than with a still camera.

I voted for 'why not, might as well' as I can envisage it coming in handy sometimes to be able to switch from stills to video.

The one thing that bothers me about this trend is that it gives the prognosticators & blowhards a new platform from which to lecture the rest of us. They will tie their flag to the mast of convergence & encourage us all to salute. Those who don't will be told that we "just don't get it".

Seriously - how many of the people buying the 5Dii are photojournalists or wedding photographers? It's on OK development but it's not that exciting and it's going to get really tiresome in the future having to read reviews of new cameras that go into excrutiating detail about technical aspects of their video capture.

Video is not just an add-on to the machinery. It's a major add-on to the workflow. Adding video to a camera is trivial compared to adding video to your workflow.

I tried to get into video and still photography simultaneously and quickly realized that there is WAY more pre and post production effort going into video and also a larger skill set. You have lighting, direction, camera work, sound recording, sound editing, sound mixing, video editing, etc.

Not to mention that there are seriously different visions involved in still and video work.

So I think video can be one of three things: video snapshots, video as underground cinema, and professional video. You can do the first two on your own. The last one is almost inherently a team effort.

On the other hand I really can be a professional grade fine art photographer in the free time that is afforded my as I work at other things to make a living.

The most prolific underground film-maker of all time was Stan Brackage who turned out over 400 films in a life time. He went at it full steam for 50 years to get to 400 films. That's 8 films a year. How many still photographs could you create per year working full steam for 50 years?

Carl D.,
Great point, and it speaks to an issue few people have brought up.

There's a big negative in all this too, which is that once *some* photographers are offering video then we'll have to, just to keep up. And if it's bad educating clients *now*, just imagine the disjunct between actuality and expectations with video in the mix....

All of which begs a further question, which is that often, technological features are not actually made to be used. That might sound strange, but many features are added to many different products to help them be salable, not necessarily so that the buyer will use them. Anti-lock brakes, for example--a big selling point on cars, but many drivers even in a "panic" stop will not stomp on the brakes hard enough for the anti-lock to kick in...and some drivers don't even sit *close enough* to the brake pedal to push it hard enough to engage the anti-lock system! I'm not criticizing the car makers, but if a feature helps a product sell then it's not necessarily important if only 10% (or 2%) of buyers actually ever use the feature.

So I'm sure one question the camera makers are asking is, will people want video capability? Which is related to, but not the same as, the question, "will people actually shoot video on any kind of regular basis?"

Mike J.

Geez-oh-Petes MJ! Over 2045 votes so far! I've had a poll up for two plus weeks and have 28 votes! Funny thing is I was asking the same question, but gave options for features people wanted to see in cameras - video had no tallys. The largest response came for sensor size, noise handling, and price.

The voting buttons are a bit tricky. The flash version has Yea/Ney, but when you are sure what you want to choose and use the html (vizu) version they are reversed. Be aware!

I don't like any features in device whihc are not related to its purpose and video is a good example of something useless for taking pictures, yet taking some buttons.

Having a DSLR, a quite new HD video-camera, and a Canon G9, I find myself enjoying the video capabilities of the camera I tend to carry along, the G9. The quality is decent, and the mic sound level can be set beforehand. It is fine for the occasional family 'snapshot' videos, which are fun to have around.

These days I'm excited by the Panasonic G1 and the prototype for next year that will do HD video properly (with autofocus and autoexposure); I think it could become my 'carry anywhere device without much compromise'.

I've already got clients asking for this, so for me its a no-brainer. Whether the 5Dii is the right tool for the job is another question and the answer to that will be known after I've rented one for a while. It would be great if it was as it would cut down the amount of gear I have to carry.

As a Welsh comedian over here says -
"No - I don't want a camera on my phone for the same reasons as I don't want to take a p1ss in my dishwasher..."

I've done high value, high technology manufacturing and the sales and marketing thereof. A feature added in one place means compromise elsewhere. I'm not totally hard-over on this: this probably is one of those features that does add "a lot" for the expenditure of not very much effort. Indeed, I was happy to use the video feature on my digicam to get a record of a VAST avalanche as I was trotting up a glacier in Galen Rowell's footprints. So I'm content to tolerate the presence of the feature: for "record shots" only.

But still and moving photography remain different arts, aren't they ? (Spare me having to support that argument on this of all sites !) I think the burden of proof is with the proponents of "convergence." I've seen nothing compelling, nothing even thought provoking, to suggest that the term is even meaningful from the point of view of art.


Definitely not. At 36 shots/frames a roll, maximum, how is any one going to make a reasonable film. All those jump cuts would drive anyone crazy.....

(sarcasm alert, well kind of)

I'm interested in a still camera that can shoot video.

One of the few things I do with 35mm these days (as opposed to medium and large formats) is bird photography, and this is one area where I'm thinking I may eventually go digital. So after photographing birds for some years, I started thinking that while I was getting some nice shots and I enjoy the activity of being in the field and watching the birds, how many "bird on a stick" portraits does the world need? Once in a while, you can get some interesting behavior shots or a good flight shot, but often those would really be more interesting as motion pictures.

So I got a Beaulieu and some lenses and C-mount adapters for my big bird lenses, and started shooting some Super-8, because I like projection, and I like working with film. This has been interesting, but it sure would be handy to be able to push a button at any time and switch between high quality still and video, and to be able to add a high quality shotgun or parabolic microphone and get synchronized sound.

I have FINALLY worked out how to get polls on this site: I have Adblock Plus running as an add-on to Firefox 3.0.3, and that appears to have been the problem. Disabling it for this site brought up the poll perfectly. Doh! That info may help some people who are as dumb as I am...

I can readily understand that news (and possibly some sport) photographers would want video capture on their cameras, especially as news organisations continue to try and streamline their operations and to embrace the web.

As a keen amateur doing the occasional paid job, I don't want video, any more than I want the "scene" modes that come with most prosumer cameras. In fact, I don't even want "Program" or "Auto". ASM is fine for me. But then , when I first started taking photographs seriously, "Aperture Priority" was considered revolutionary...

Well, put me in the lukewarm "why not" category. I've used video from time to time in my P&S camera so why not. As long as they don't compromise the quality of the stills or the handling of the camera or the price in any significant manner I can't see why I'd be affected by it. BTW I'd like to be able to make phone calls and file my income tax on my DSLR too. And it would be nice if it could make some coffee. That would be very useful in the field...

I still think that there will always be cameras that are optimised for stills and cameras that will be optimised for video. Even if it's just for ergonomic reasons. They're just different beasts, technology notwithstanding.

Absolutely yes. Why? Because I hate shooting video, but need to from time-to-time. Having the ability to take decent video clips built into a dSLR means that I can take the required family-event documenting clips while still keeping the dSLR in my hands to do what I love.

It's going to be great to have one tool for the two purposes. When I do visual effects for the director François Vogel, I sometimes need stills and plates, so in my case it's a no-brainer.

Please have a look at an example : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=EhKqTeCIfHk

Do you remember how the term "multimedia" used to be hype in the 90s ? It was about the technical convergence of audio, stills, graphics, movies and programming. It took a lot of time for artists to make a good use of this convergence. For some examples of the progresses, take a look at http://www.thefwa.com/

The same happened to cinematography at the beginnings. Sure there was the genius Lumière brothers and Georges Meliès. But it took years to create a cinematographic language, with the work of artists like Griffith, Eisenstein, Vertov, Murnau. And this was even before the advent of sound cinematography.

The convergence of photo and video might allow some artists to develop a new language, someday.

Interesting results and comments!
It seems to me though there is too much concern in the comments about tsunami of crappy videos that's coming toward us. As if it's going to make any difference :). We're living in the sea of crappy photographs right now and we're alive, don't we?

I voted YEA. I'm not interested in making videos with story, lightning and such. For years I'm trying to do what I call "living photos": static picture with some subtle movement inside and it's own "no comment" sound. I'm pretty excited about this "convergence".


Whenever I see all this "convergence" nonsense, I'm always reminded of the "all-in-one" hi-fi systems of the mid and late 70s.

You know the ones: amp, turntable, cassette player and radio, two covers that split into speakers.

Yeah: they are still around and folks had to "learn them or face extinction as music listeners"...

Those who forget history are forever condemned to repeat it!

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