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Thursday, 26 March 2009


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I don't want it as it is now, and I certainly don't wanna pay extra for it. As it is now.

However, I may find some use for a type of video in the future---perhaps something I could use in wildlife photography to pick the best "frame" for a still. Otherwise, if I want a regular video, I'll buy a good video camera.

Until camera makers can give us stills photogs the features we want, I don't want them wasting development dollars on stuff we don't. Maybe we should be offered 2 lines of cameras - with and without video (without being a bunch cheaper).

Mike, I think you could use another category, something between "crave it" and "might use it." Seems like a big gap there. I am really surpised to see so many, nearly 50% at this early stage, in the ignore and don't want camp. You just never know when something crazy might is going to happen right in front of your eyes, say, like an Airbus making an impromtu landing in the Hudson River. Hmm, I wonder what 12 minutes of 1080p HD video of that event would fetch. ch

I am slightly concerned that the extra circuitry on the sensor for video could have been used for other things. I don't really know what all the tradeoffs are. Quite possibly LiveView already requires making all those tradeoffs, so video is free in that regard. (For that matter, while LiveView is useful, I could forgo that if it improved image quality usefully.)

I never thought I'd care, but then I used to not buy A/C in my cars.

Having it means that you could avoid having to also buy a separate video cam. OTOH, that means you'd miss out on the fun of shopping for a video cam.

In the last month I've photographed several busy outdoor events for my Alamo web project. Having video capability would have been very useful for that purpose. A series of still images just does not capture the firing of an antique cannon very well. I could also have done some interview clips to go with my portrait shots. I could get by with one of those inexpensive digital HD pocket cameras for web video. That is my only potential use at the moment.

I don't think video capability is very important for my day to day shooting. I don't even own a regular camcorder.

Also, am I the only one who finds it odd that the only cameras with video are ones without integral IS? It seems to me that integral IS would be very useful for video capture. But then, I don't do video so maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about...it's been known to happen. [s]


I don't know what the difference in unit price would be with or without it, but I'm guessing we're paying more for it to be there.

I don't want it, I don't need it, I don't want to pay for it.

Instead of gimmicks such as video recording, I'd rather see improvements in the buffer, viewfinder, and controls. I'd gladly pay 50D-range prices for a body the size and weight of my Rebel XT, with a 15 shot raw buffer, big pentaprism viewfinder and a second control wheel.

If one of Canon's competitors came out with such a body, I'd switch systems in a heartbeat.

The point of video in a SLR is that you already have a camera to you eye pointed at a topic. Now you can take video if you wish. I see overriding reason why it's much better that I should buy a video camera, take it with me everywhere, pull it out and then decide.

I suspect when zooms first came out many said: if I want a different foal length I'll just buy a different lens. Personally I use my standard zoom and standard prime about equally. I'm glad to have both.

Onwards and upwards.

P.S. I think digital imaging is still in it's copycat phase. Like in music where CDs were a simple digital copy of LPs: both are spinning round devices with a collection of a dozen of so songs, costing similar amounts that you played though your HiFi. Then came mp3s, napster, the iPod, 99c songs, and the real digital music revolution began. Note: It was not a music company that made the leap.

Likewise we have SLR's of very similar design to film versions that take oblong pictures that we display in galleries.
What will be the real digital imaging revolution? The real change in form? Hints are there but video may be part of it.
And my bet is it won't be a photography company that makes the leap. My money is on Apple or Panasonic.

I'm not interested in video in DSLR's. But I do find that as I am getting older I tend more to choose single tools over multi-tools. The best gear in the world won't get the shot if you leave it at home, or can't remember how it works. But I expect we'll see more of it...

Some of us remember way back when film ruled. The camera companies came out with program modes and most of us fought them. Then they came out with autofocus and we hated that too. But as time went by most of us accepted these trends and now most of us even embrace them. We as enthusiasts will eventually accept the video mode, but until then it gives us something to complain about. Technology is really amazing!

I don't want to pay extra for it.

I assume all the anti video people are also anti live view? Given that implementing one, means almost all of the work for the other is done.

I have no interest it video. I don't expect to change my camera in the next four years and when that time comes I think there will be few canon cameras without video capability (if any)

In a few years we're going to be reminiscing about traditional Dslrs!

I shoot video, and it's a pretty good bet that I'll be buying a 5DII or similar (if such emerges: D700x with good video implementation, anyone?) within a year or so.

But it's important to note that the current DSLR video solutions are not really usable in place of a general duty camcorder. Nor ought they to be. I hope that the next iteration/generation will incorporate more usable manual controls.

I suspect Canon will drop something in the pro line that really kills it in most regards, and that costs an arm and a leg.

I don't mind it (and would probably play a bit with it), as long as it doesn't increase the camera price significantly.

I've had a chance to play with the D90 and the 5D Mark II a bit, and the video is fun to fool around with. Every now and then you get a cool-looking scene with shallow DOF.

But the implementation is tough to work with. You need a tripod, and forget shooting anything that moves because the focus can't track.

To me, it's an add-on feature, and I don't mind that it's there. It hasn't moved the Rebel's price point by being added on. With a little planning, you can make quite a nice-looking clip. And it'll be more fun in the future when it's easier to use.

For me video capability in a DSLR is the answer to a question nobody asked. Just because we can add a feature like video to a camera doesn't necessarily mean we should.
I would rather have real features in my DSLR. How about (for Canon anyway) more than 3 step auto bracketing? How about instead of low featured video capability put in some effort to create a camera that has much higher dynamic range?
Ah yes, the "I want" feature list goes on... but it definitely doesn't include video.

Now that journalism is shifting quite a bit, with the demise of numerous newspapers and an increasing migration toward the web, photojournalists are going to have to change as well. Having video capabilities is going to be very good as more photojournalists are sent out to capture multimedia projects along with their usual stills.

I really welcome the addition of video to DSLRs and the next one I purchase will have this capability.

I am totally enchanted with video capability in a device that I already know where the buttons are and how to use. I can use lenses that I already have a mental map for how they see. I am totally captivated by the storytelling capacity of video, and the 5D is making that professional transformation smoother.

I am profoundly against it. I don't want any time wasted by the Canon research and development team on video. I think video capabilities in a still camera are absurd. What's next....a built in Ipod or cell phone. Gimme a Break.

I'm all for it and would happily use it, but there are a few technical to-dos I'd like to see the manufacturers tackle concurrent to their hasty attempt to get marketable video functionality into their SLRs. As pure video capture devices, I think the current generation of Still/Video DSLRs are quite good and capable of fulfilling many needs. As video/audio capture devices, they have some distance to cover before they are acceptable. As with most compact video cams, the built-in mics (stereo or - humbug - mono) do a poor job of capturing audio of acceptable quality and the options for external mic connectivity leave much to be desired. An external stereo mic connection as a standard is a step in the right direction, but that connection will ultimately be a great spot for failure/breakage. Using that connection as a link to an external XLR mic adaptor might work, but the current generation of those devices are too large and cumbersome to be appealing to the everyday photog who wants good audio. Enter the XLR battery grip.

Re-engineer the optional battery grips such that one is available which includes a built-in XLR Mic adaptor and, quite possibly, as Canon [I think] has already done, the wireless and GPS unit. One accessory grip - lots of functionality. It need not have multiple XLR mic connections - one will do just fine.

Or - just engineer functionality into the hot shoe to enable a mic to be mounted there. If this could be done, there would be limitless possibilities for 3rd party accessory mics (lens-mountable like a ring flash, shotgun mounted on top of the camera, etc).

I'm one of those guys who make his living with his camera. I shoot for a university in NJ, which is not a bad gig. We have a web site, which is a monster that needs to be fed content on a regular basis. Video is great content for the web.

Before the release of the 5D2, I resisted video, finding the transition from one machine to the other daunting and counter-intuitive. The tape workflow was also a very slow and tedious process. I hated the thought of shooting video, although was intrigued by the idea of telling stories with moving images.

For some reason, the 5D2 lit a spark in me. Being able to shoot with an instrument that makes senses in my hands, with lenses that I know and understand makes a huge difference for me. The quality is also a quantum leap above small sensor video cameras. I think that having the technology available is great, if you want it. And if you don't, then buy something else, or buy it for what it can do with stills and ignore the video features. There's no arm twisting going on from Canon.

With regards to in-camera or in-lens image stabilization, I think lens based is where it's at. With lens IS, you can see the image in the viewfinder as being stable and therefore easier to compose and focus. It's much more gyro-like than what I've seen through the viewfinder of sensor IS cameras. My 2¢ on that issue.

I learned right off the bat that video is exponentially more time consuming than still and requires a very different mind set when thinking about how to approach the job. You need a lot of different elements to make a successful video, good sound is as important as good visuals. And then there is editing!

My first real project is here: http://vimeo.com/3563975. I would have to say that doing this has put a few new wrinkles in my brain. I love new challenges and learning new stuff. What I did was completely on my own without any training, just knocking around in iMovie HD and Soundtrack Pro. Video is just a different way of telling stories, and each process, stills and video, inform the other and will make me better at both. Double upside as far as I'm concerned. Even at the ripe old age of 50, what can be wrong with learning a new skill? I do realize that I have much to learn before I am truly good at video, but I will persist.

Now, does this mean that I will abandon still photography? No way, my personal work will always be stills, shot with film for as long as I can find it. But as working pro, the more I can do, and do well, the longer I will be viable to those who pay me so I can live and shoot my own work.

I have no doubt that convergence of video and still is where digital photography is headed. We are only seeing the beginning of it. In the years to come, we will see video integrated more thoughtfully in our cameras. Power zoom, auxillary microphone support, image stabilization, swiveling LCD, etc. are all coming. Of course, there will still be cameras that are optimized for still photography while offering video for occassional use. However, I suspect that most consumers will opt for cameras that strike a balance and offer the best of both worlds. Companies will offer new zoom lenses in their lineup that meet the demands of a video professional. We will still take millions of more photos than video clips but we will be smitten by the video quality of big sensors and SLR lenses. We will want to record our lives in stills as well as HD video and share them with the world. I also think that a statement like "As a still photography site, we officially don't care about that...but you might." (Your previous post about the new Canon Rebel) will come to haunt you :-)

It may mean more to people who don't have a compact camera with video mode as well. I only have an SLR and I really wish it did video. But if I were to pick up one of the latest compacts that does impressive 720p h.264, it wouldn't be so compelling to have in the SLR.

Which is all beside the point though as I expect video to be a feature of every SLR released from here on out from the top to the bottom end. It's here to stay.

In their current form, I don't need or want the video feature included in any DSLR I'd consider, and would urge that any time and effort devoted to video would go into improving the camera for still imaging. Current video features are, at best, limiting for the equipment required and for the user experience. Audio is terrible, and controls are a return to cave-era.

I agree with the importance of IS, and when my wife asked me to get her a video camera last year, I settled on a small HD model with built-in IS. She's happy, and her results are good.

The question of what innovation we are missing out on to get video is quite interesting... The engineering resources to do video, which is now becoming a requirement in many DSLR segments, had to come from somewhere. There is certainly development on the software side of photography that we still crave (eg dynamic range). Also, the implementation is flawed mostly at this point. For me it ends up being a nice to have, but in no way a deciding factor in selection nor a reason to upgrade. Then again, I never felt a huge draw to video, stills do it for me.

Has anybody actually tried using a still camera with video capability? Video cameras haven't been this poorly equipped ever.

Even the low-end Sonys blow away these hybrid cameras in usabity and have been part of a much larger "system" for almost 20 years now with accessories and remote controls...

For the ability to shoot video like you shoot stills, these hybrid cameras are fine. But if you are trying to shoot video like a professional, get a video camera. Just the ability to zoom, pan and focus simultaneously is worth the price of admission. Not to mention the ability to adjust exposure without shaking the camera.

I don't want it in my camera. It's just more needless stuff on my camera menus. Also, I don't want to waste my time wading through a sea of related information in camera manuals, magazines, or in on-line reviews. I've been a still photographer for a long time. Don't burden me with things I don't care about and will never use.

Can you tell I drive a car with a manual transmission?

I prefer a different device. Don't think a DSLR has the right ergonomics for moving picture.

I have always wanted a video cam but never got round to buying one. I now have a Blackberry phone thingy that has a camera and have used it quite a bit for stills ( more than my camera in the past couple months) and a couple videos. I agree about in body IS but what the phone has really proven is that I want Live view.

Feature rich is fine by me. I will use what I want and forget the rest.

Now understand that I'm a Linhof (still) user that lost patience with Leica. I bought a Canon 5D MkII not for the video capability, but I must say it has found its place in my heart. I shoot some equestrian competitions and the occasional use of the video is very useful and sellable -good results even in low light indoor arenas! Haven't shot a wedding yet, but for those cutesy sequences -the kiss, the cake cutting, etc, I can't wait to try out the video. I sold all my Nikon for the Canon when I found out Zeiss would have their lenses available for the EOS mount and have bought an adapter to use my favorite Leica R lenses. So far I'm impressed and very satisfied with the camera and its features. As for paying for it, its probably like cars -less expensive to manufacture when all the options are standard.

My ignorant speculation is that DSLRs borrowed a few tricks from camcorders to make live view practical, and after that it wasn't too much of a stretch to record that live view. Which is to say that buyers were paying for video before it was video.

I agree with you, Mike, about the IS thing, especially since IS became a common and popular feature in camcorders long ago. However I think it was generally optics-based. Anyone know how IS lenses are performing for video-on-DSLR?

Frankly, the main curiosity (and so far that's all it is) for me is cheap and easy video with high quality, fast lenses. There is already a device available to attach 35mm still camera optics to some camcorders, so presumably there are those out there for whom this is more than a curiosity (mostly I think low budget indie artists looking for DOF control and a better quality look). Those serious enough to be really interested in this are serious enough to set up scenes and put their cameras on supports, but I'm sure they would also welcome the options IS might provide.

@Martin Doonan:

You're making two big, unwarranted assumptions.

First, that there are no associated costs with maintaining two separate product lines. This is not true, of course; being able to sell 100,000 units of type A at $1000 or 100,000 units of type B at $500 does not imply that one come make and market 50,000 of each at those same price points.

Secondly, "without being a bunch cheaper" - saying it doesn't make it so. Why would it be a 'bunch' cheaper? I don't know a ton about it, but it seems like most of the technology to do this would be in the firmware. There's no reason to think the per-unit price is particularly high.

Personally I don't use video and I don't predict that I'd suddenly become a filmmaker if I had a DSLR that allowed it; however the current state of consumer-level video quality is pathetic and there's billions of dollar worth of high-quality glass that's currently unusable for video - why not fix that?

To me this all reads like the classic fear-of-change that comes with any new technology... I'm sure people griped about the advent of exposure meters or IS or... whatever. I would argue that the more high-quality creative tools available to normal people, the better.

I'm still waiting for a sensor smart enough to tell me I'm breaking the rule of thirds. Combine that with face recognition and Art Filters and I will be UNSTOPPABLE!

Mike you seem to anticipate everything I'm about to say. Yes, if the new Rebel (500D for me) would have integral IS, I'll buy it as soon as available. And the presence of HD video would factor a lot in that decision. Indeed, I'm ready to change platform if something appealing with both features (and the same price target) would appear. So if some expert will tell us that there is an incompatiblity (which I don't see), please let me know, I'll not wait forever!

At this point I'm ambivalent. Most people on these sites are "still" photographers. However, in the future I can see that the combination of still and video clips could become a common place way to generate a story. So instead of a picture of something we will have a set of images that tell a story of what was happening at that moment.

I would be suprised if this combination was not the way of the future for photography.

Give me a big, bright viewfinder for well under a grand! I don't care about live view, I don't care about video, I don't even care about frames/second. I'm a photographer! I want a viewfinder that's on par with what I had in the eighties! Is this too much to ask!?!?!? ARRGGGHHHHH...

All those in favor of no video in DSLR's - but are in favor of improved still-image capabilities and features say AYE!

As I've avoided any sort of faint desire to own a camcorder all my adult life, it would be curious if I now drooled over an inferior implementation because it was fitted to a DSLR. I'd prefer something useful, like a cup-holder.

P.S. Nice low-light capability on the cheap may also be a big incentive for using old still camera lenses on camcorders, or putting video in DSLRs, but I don't really know how much of an issue that is for camcorders these days.

Funny how the percentage dropped for those of us who absolutely don't want it.

I've read a couple of explanations why LV is not the video to record. Don't remember the details, though, as I'm really not interested in itty bitty by-the-way videos.

If I were to do something like that, I'd like parfocal lenses and a camera you can actually hold steady with a degree of normalcy.

I think it's great, as I do video now and then and having the possibility to do wide-angle and shallow depth of field without paying for a huge, expensive camera is wonderful. I do want manual controls, though.

My general feeling: "I don't need it right now but I'm fine with it being available as long as it doesn't compromise the camera's still imaging."

I returned to still photography after a stint with filmmaking. (I still have six figures worth of gear from that excursion!) I very much enjoyed filmmaking and editing. But it's a real slog that requires teams of people. It was during one particular project that I realized that I really didn't need the stress (in my post-business life). When I reduced the whole filmmaking thing to its essentials I realized that imaging was one of them. So in 2004 I shelved all my audio and video gear and picked up a still camera.

Still, it was inevitable that video would creep into my camera again. The confluence of newspapers struggling for survival and attention spans shriveling with each successive generation was bound to produce the group-think move of adding "multimedia" presentations to news sites. Sending a shrinking force of photographers into the field with yet one more thing hanging around their necks was a problem that needed a solution.

Hence, we have video in dslrs. I'm sure that Canon's video camera division is just thrilled that the 5DII can produce better imagery than Canon's HD lineup, for less money.

But I digress. I've yet to use my 5DII's video capture facility. I don't even know how to activate it. But I'm glad it's there.

Side story: My wife, however, has begun using the video features of her G7 to great advantage each day. She loves it.

I've been a bit perplexed by this 'I don't want to pay for it' thing that keeps getting brought up wrt video in SLRs.

Many people are already paying quite a bit for features they don't use, this is just another one. Given that live view and other features are already there, video is probably mostly free. Perhaps if development costs are shared with the real video camcorder development, the cost is actually negative to the consumer, across both product lines.

I just replaced a tripod mount on one of my cameras, for about $80 for the part - some people don't use tripods at all - yet I don't hear them complaining about the costs of putting that part in the camera.

Some people never use Depth of Field previews. Most of my cameras have a whole host of modes that I never use, presets, 'creative settings' and other junk that I've got no use for.

Yet here's yet another new feature, but suddenly everyone wants some lego-ised, pick and choose the feature set option for this one capability.

If you don't want it, don't use it. The memory buffers and data path is already being used to give you really fast still image capture and fast shooting modes (I know, some people never use the multi-shot modes either - again I don't hear so much complaining about wanting to remove that)

I don't personally much care for video in my still SLR camera, but that is all an issue about the physical form of a still camera, vs the more pistol grip still of a camcorder. I don't see that one getting resolved any time soon.

I just don't "see" in video. The still photographic image and video strike me as completely contradictory ways of seeing, and I just seem unable to wrap my head around the video side. Back in the day my wife persuaded me to get a video camera for the usual stuff (the kids' school concerts etc.), and I totally sucked at using it. Seriously, the clips I shot were digital Ambien. And the thought of editing those video clips? Just shoot me. I love my Photoshop; working to optimize a good capture into an excellent print is a true "flow" experience, the most fun you can have with your clothes on. But video? I'll choose the root canal.

Being a photo and video inclined kind a guy while not having the money to buy both a decent photo and decent video camera and not having a particular wish to carry around both I'd quite like to see 1080p in all cameras.

What nonsense! Next they integrate a toaster on the ground of convenience.

Actually, still photography and video capture need different way of seeing, different way of thinking.

I'd prefer I have camera for still and camcorder for video. When I change the equipment, I change the way of thinking; and vise versa. Changing different cameras is a hint of changing styles of working.

"Can you tell I drive a car with a manual transmission?"

Me too. It's getting to be something of a headache when shopping. "Don't you want iDrive? Don't you want paddle shifters? Don't you want Manumatic?" No I don't. Just a clutch and a gearshift.


"To me this all reads like the classic fear-of-change that comes with any new technology..."

Not for me it's not. It's that I don't do video. That's like saying to an oil painter that he's afraid of fabric art. It's just not what he does. I'm a printmaker, I make still pictures, I don't do video. Has nothing to do with fear--if video were what I wanted to do, I would have learned long ago.


I, for one, lay awake at night dreaming of good video capability in my Nikon. I'd pay extra for it, big time.

Stills-only photographers might not realize it but almost all camcorders--even the $3000 ones, use tiny chips to record images. The size of point and shoot chips. You know what that means in terms of depth of field. You know what that means in terms of focal length multiplier (if you buy one of the really expensive ones ($5000+) that take interchangeable lenses).

To have a camera that shoots HD video, uses my regular Nikon-mount lenses at the regular FX/DX focal length--that's huge. To be able to get shallow depth of field--that's huge.

To be able to do this without buying two separate, incompatible systems...well, sign me up.

What is happening here is revolutionary.


I use the video on my cameras peridically, and in fact it's a feature I look for. I don't want to have another videocam, and I don't take long, involved shots -- I just want to capture a minute or two of the kids doing something interesting. Cameras with video fit that bill nicely.

As a Multimedia Producer and Writer in my day job, I capture both still images with a DSLR and video with a dedicated video camera. The idea of convergence is exciting to me, but half-baked in its implementation so far.

Honestly, forgetting the audio, AF and frame-rate issues (30 fps on the 5D Mk. II is not equivalent to the 29.97 my XL2 or other cams pop out), to me, it's a simple matter of ergonomics. The 5D Mk. II, for example, would be a bear to keep steady. I would leave it on a tripod. Beautiful video, and I'd love to be able to capture 1080p b-roll while I'm out shooting stills, but I just don't think DSLRs will ever replace (or come close to replacing) dedicated video cameras for me.

In other words, it's a nice distraction, but it wouldn't make my life or workflow any easier.

How about such answer: "DSLRs are dead, I want full-frame EVIL camera and don't mind video!" :-)

Now that video is available in SLR-type cameras, I shall never get one that doesn't have it.

Gordon wrote "Many people are already paying quite a bit for features they don't use, this is just another one." Yep, and that rankles, too. I also think Live View is pointless nonsense.

I don't think video and stills will converge, or video take over, not while paper is still made. I can print a still in a form that is technologically future-proof. Try that with video.

Still photography and video are not even that closely related except that they're visual mediums. It's like creating a trombone with a built-in keyboard.

I suspect that @Alistair Williamson is right to think that video's next generation will be Apple or Panasonic.

I'd put my money on Panasonic.

Because video requires contrast detection auto-focus (CDAF), and Panasonic currently have the fastest, most accurate system for that. And they (and Olympus) are retro-fitting a decent selection of lenses with CDAF capabilities anyway.

They're not unique in this regard, but they have a head start. They're much better placed to make a true still/video hybrid than Canon or Nikon are.

That having been said, I don't care for video. It's not my medium.

I like photography. It's the capturing of a moment. That moment can be truth. It can be fantasy. It can have action or serenity. Or it can have all of those.

Captured moments make me think. They get reactions. As though the mere act of having captured that moment were somehow magical.

Video can do all of that too. But it needs lots more props, lots of care and attention, and lots more talent in front of and behind the lens.

Video is shiny, tawdry, obstinate and difficult. Life's too short for video, especially when you can fill it with stills...

I agree with Gordon completely - why is this feature any more controversial than all the other features most people don't use?

Related analogy : Someone I know once lamented that he wished Subway would only make white bread for their subs, because he didn't like paying for their production of other varieties that he wouldn't buy.

(What he missed was that by adding different bread, Subway stayed competitive so that they could keep making the things he DID like. True story, although he MAY have been joking.)

Just what I DON'T want or need. More complexity, more menus to deal with, more gadgets that don't do anything for my photography.

Meanwhile I continue to wait for what I really want. A relativly small, lightweight, weather sealed pro digital camera body, and a small lightweight wide prime lens to go with it.

I'm not holding my breath. Photography seems to be going a different direction than where I am at or want to be.

Jim Couch

Video and still cameras are different, and have different capabilities. You can use a still camera to shoot some video, but the resulting videos (that I've seen, and there are quite a few of them around the web) are more like "moving stills."

You don't really get extended pro-level video from a still camera. And if ever you did, I suspect that it would require such wide-ranging changes in the cameras that you *would* be paying for it, and that the cameras would be even heavier than they are now. (Look at a pro-level video camera some time.) I have nothing against the idea of stills shooting video, as long as it has no impact on the camera (on usability and cost, including cost of lenses) - but I suspect it does, and the impact may grow.

Actually, I think a better solution for people who want both is to give video cameras a better still capability.

Honest to God, all I *really* want is an Nikon FM-sized camera with a D3/D3x chip and maybe some pro-level f4 zooms. Is that too much to ask?


Menu-driven cameras suck. More features=more menus and such, because you can't festoon a camera body with three dozen physical controls. Even my lowly, wonderful D40 is a pain in this respect when compared to any decent film camera.

Less is more. Less is MORE! Give me an extremely simple, shallow setup menu, a D40 body with a D90 sensor, a really, really smart matrix meter (D90 will be fine here, too), no live view, no video and get out of my way!

Obviously we're talking about a more advanced system of video than on the D90 and 5D MkII. I'm looking forward to the GH1 Panasonic for it's supposed implementation of full manual control, 24p and working autofocus and through the lens viewing in movie mode. Of course Panasonic is a well established maker of Prosumer video cameras like the legendary DVX so they better understand what's wanted and needed. The one missing thing on the GH1 may be an audio input to bypass the built-in mics.

Of course Red is poised to move into this corner of the market big-time over the next year or two.

The big sensor IS big news for videomakers, although those who work primarily in still photography may not be so moved by these new capabilities.

Screw video.

Just give me more dynamic range.

Doesn't bother me really. I shoot little videos of my kids with my digicam. I'm not into video and don't want a cam corder, so having this function in an SLR would be fine. I wouldn't pay extra for it mind you. The one thing that worries me, as a part time wedding photographer, would be if my clients started asking for video as well as stills. That would be a definate no no. It's a completely different skill when someone is paying for it.


Here's my take: I'd love to have good, capable video in my camera, but i don't want that camera to be an SLR, because the baggage from the SLR world (eg, mirror) really gets in the way. Literally. If instead we're talking about an EVIL (eg μ4/3's) then you're talking about something interesting, and something that I could actually use. But so far video in SLR's has been very much less than impressive.

The other question is for theonlinevideographer.com - how many low budget videographers are salavating at the chance to film in HD with great lenses, beautiful DOF and great sensors for prices that are way below a prosumer Mini DV camera from 5 years ago?

I think I ride the line between the two camps and I can't wait to get something that does video. I don't know about seeing this or that...I have recording equipment too. I like making stuff. Photographs, videos, music. More options is nice. Sometimes more options can make you nuts, but in general, I really enjoy light, portable, relatively affordable equipment that does a lot of things.

I guess to me it's like, if someone asked, 10 years ago, how many of you would like your computers to play music? I might have said at the time, wha? I like CDs! I use computer for typing papers. Now it's your darkroom and your record player. Is that a good thing? I have mixed feelings about it but there are definite advantages.

I just read an article in American Cinematographer's magazine about a music video shot with some fancy new Nikon. The imagery that the DP was able to obtain at 25,600 ISO was truly ground breaking, beyond what could have been done with any 100K$+ digital cinema camera, all with a unit significantly smaller than a professional video camera.

Will these chimeric new cameras replace Panavision's Genesis, Dalsa's Origin or Red's lineup of rebellious little game-changers? Probably not. Nor will they be, without compromising the essential, time-tested design of an SLR, a replacement for a consumer home movie camera. But as a new, powerful, cheap category of device, there are a number of uses for these things that haven't even been thought of yet. One idea would be to use them as crash cameras, the same way as Eyemo 35mms have been used.

What's needed from the camera manufacturers is more flexibility, especially in terms of frame rate. The hardware of the latest DSLRs is already there, but the firmware that controls it is going to be the bottleneck for a brave new world of high definition moving picture madness.

It's simple: the megapixels war is over for the mass consumer end of the market so they need other selling points.

The fear is that now they've started down the path of adding features like video, future models will compromise on the still aspects to support these new features. I can see this happening for the x00D series but x0D series and above are for pro-sumers and professionals, so are less likely to be compromised. Plus it opens a new market for simply 'just takes stills'...

Video standards don't change every 6 months - there's 720 and 1080. It doesn't require constant quantitative improvement like the sensor race does so I don't think the video processing is going to suck up a lot of the R&D resources going forward. People are acting like a large part of the purchase cost is funding something they don't use and they could have had some other cool thing instead (smile detection!). I seriously doubt that's the case - video is a freebie.

Ian, I think it's not as simple as that. Take a look at mobile phones - there are cameras and music players everywhere. Yes, there are simple phones that are just phones, but they are (AFAIK) very basic, without high speed, Bluetooth or whatever.

So if it comes to "just takes stills," it might come to the choice between a simple entry-level camera against D700 or even 1Ds MkIII with video and other needless stuff. No simple "just takes stills" high-end cameras.

In professional video cameras, image stabilization occurs in the lenses, and it does one thing: dampen high-frequency vertical vibrations.

It only does it in the vertical direction because that's where most shaking occurs, and while tilting is rare, panning is a common movement that you don't want the camera trying to compensate.

Second, it only dampens high-frequency vibrations. Every still camera stabilization I've seen dampens even low frequency vibrations, creating a noticeable "floating" effect in the viewfinder. It makes some people sea-sick when looking through their camera or binoculars... imagine putting that on a big-screen TV!

While I am not overly impressed by the video capability for video's sake, being able to capture a critical moment in a resolution useable for web work does interest me.

Also, hopefully this is the precursor to better HDR capability, maybe being able to take multiple bracketed exposures at one time instead of having to wait for the mirror to flip for each exposure.

(count me as another who would prefer more control over bracketing over video)

The Panasonic GH1, from all accounts should have a mic input for an external mic if you wish. Its also supposed to have continuous AF while shooting video, full manual control of aperture and shutter speed while shooting video, changing aperture without discrete steps and also 1080 and 720.
All with a EVF and pivot LCD like you would see on a camcorder.

I have high hopes for this one.

I can't comment on what market Canon, etc. are aiming at, but I think many of the comments here are missing the point. It's a multimedia world and there are two markets that are changing drastically - both are traditionally major drivers for the 35mm style SLR market.

One is the general mom and dad amateur, one step above the point&shoot crowd. They don't care about different ways of seeing, etc. They just want high-quality images or video that they can share with their friends.

That's the biggest group. The other is my profession, photojournalism. The requirement for shooting video as well as stills is spreading through the industry. a development predicted years ago by Dirck Halstead.

Presently, I still use a separate video camera and will for some time, until Canon extends the recording time significantly on the 5D.

I love still photography and wish I could shoot everything with my camera mounted on a tripod, spending an entire day producing a single image.

But the reality is that times are changing fast and the market demands more of me. There is no doubt in my mind that integrated video is the way of the future.

I will never again purchase any still camera that does not have at least HD video, and I will not ever purchase a video camera that cannot take at least P&S quality stills. I doubt there will be any video or still products that won't offer both in the future.

There is no downside to these capabilities. I doubt they add much to the cost, and you don't have to use them.

I do both stills and video and the short clips I get when otherwise shooting stills are priceless.

For some reason Flash on this site is broken with Flashblock: when I click on it, it just goes away. Another one recently brought me to a different site when I loaded it.

I have no interest in video on still cameras. I'd rather they put their development efforts into other features. I don't want to spend money, and worse yet have buttons dedicated to video tasks, on the video feature.

The larger Red cameras are used to shoot feature motion pictures, but, when shot a frame at a time, they are high quality still cameras. Folks doing TV commercials with them, often on location, are also using them to shoot the stills for print ads. And, remember, they are shooting raw files, not the motion picture equivalent of a jpeg.

Once you are in that league, it's just a camera. Movie folks will want it to have a vertical shape; still folks will want it horizontal (or maybe square). The movie folks will probably want bellows lens shades and the still folks probably won't use their shades at all.

Ergonomics may decide whether a camera is preferred for motion or stills. But it will be very easy to make a camera which does a very good job with either depending on how long you hold the button down.

Personally I'm excited. The D90, for its half-baked implementation of video, can give very nice film-like quality that would otherwise cost 10x the amount in gear to achieve.

I can't see what's not to like.

People who moan about it adding extra cost should understand product development is rarely a linear endeavour. There will be costs of many kinds, including costs on development that don't make it into the final product.

People who moan about not being videographers; well, don't use it. So far the designs on the cameras seen so far don't really let video get in the way. Maybe there'd be cause to complain if the shutter button acts as the video record button as well, for example.

The resistence to new technology can be so baffling. It's like the FF-or-bust gang; people clinging to old beliefs and not looking forward.

I'm wondering how protester numbers (currently fewer than 1 in 5) compare with the figures for those who opposed auto-focus SLRs back when the camera manufacturers were doing the research. I've been told that the lack of interest in (or scorn for) AF back in the day caught at least one camera manufacturer on the hop after the absence of AF became quickly a deal-breaker, contrary to what photographers had said about it in surveys.

Video is certainly not the new AF—that's not my point—but photographers are just as unreliable as everyone else when asked about what they want. Sometimes, 'not interested' can just mean that the current implementations of a feature are too poor to be of interest.

One other thing: to get the best resolution out of 15MP and 24MP and who-knows-what-tomorrow sensors, you need live view or something like it if you're shooting a certain type of landscape or commercial studio work. Phase detect AF system in current DSLRs won't consistently deliver at that level, particularly if you seek a shallow depth of field and outstanding focus. (Even if you hate it, live view's digital zoom makes AF micro-adjustment for individual lenses much, much easier.) And once you have live view, you basically have most of what's needed for video. I'm in category two: never say never.

The more complex the equipment, the greater the chance of something failing, doesn't matter if it's cars, cameras or toaster ovens. I prefer high quality, reliable, task specific equipment (i.e. 35mm cameras dedicated to still shots), not general purpose "walk down and get 'em all" creations (35mm plus video). If I want to get into video, I'll go out and get a good quality video camera. I can see why the average family photographer would like to have a better still camera with video capability, but it's not my cup of tea. Hopefully more than one OEM will retain a high end 35mm still only camera in their product line.

I see this as somewhat akin to the camera in my cell phone. It's not a good camera, and the images it takes are crappy, but on occasion, it's nice to have.

For dedicated video, I'd rather have an actual video camera. But for those odd occasions where I want to capture serendipitous motion when I'm out taking still images, I can't see the harm in it.

Video does not add to the photograph. All the other tools do. It all comes down to getting the photograph. IS, zooms, primes, VF, EVF, etc all are tools for the purpuse of the getting the photo. Video is going off in a different direction.

At times it would be nice, but Nikon's and Canon's implementation of it sucks. I could care less if it's there. Panasonic seems to have the only decent implementation now. In addition it's in a compact form factor. Great for travel which is when I'd probably want video capability. Your survey needs a 'Yes, if it's well implemented' choice.

I love it. I want it. But then, I'm also very interested in learning video. Specifically, cinematography. Narrative videos, not documentary.

For documentary video DSLR video is next to useless, as they are. No auto focus. Combine this with the seriously shallow depth of field we so much love in our photography and half the time, nothing is in focus. Take 2!

Because of their even-shallower-than-cinema depth-of-field, DSLRs will likely prove difficult to adapt to video for consumers.

A lot will have to change in them before they get even half as usable as a 500 dollar dedicated video camera for documentary video, which is what most people use video for. People use their digi-stills-cam video function for this too, and it behaves like this, with zoom, image stabilization and autofocus enabled. Consumers will be seriously underwhelmed by the performance of the new 500d in this regard.

Combining two electronic devices is better for the environment. It means a user who is happy with the hybrid can spend less, produce less electronics, chemicals, plastics and glass. Less waste is good. Many people can do without mp3 players now, they use their phone (maybe they do without compact cameras too). I see this as just a positive way to reduce our impact on the planet, providing we decide not to constantly rush out and buy every upgrade and next best thing.

I'm dead against it as a matter of principle - use the right tool for the job. I have never enountered a multi-function device (mechanical or electronical) which, at its best, matches the best device dedicated to the task. Hi fi is a case in point.

Someone mentioned zooms - yes they have become very good, but, best compared to best, primes are better. But more to the point, no one is forcing me to buy a zoom.

I want Canon to refine the DSLR as close to perfection as is possible. Adding extras is not necessarily improving the camera. Perhaps all that effort into adding video could have been channelled into simple mirror lock up? Or in body IS? Or an articulated LCD? All these would potentially improve life for the still photographer. Video adds nothing ... it may not compromise the camera (though I'm not sure of that), but surely it draws on Canon's R&D resources.



Unless one has a need or use for taking video, to me it's a waste. It is just one more bell and whistle (and one more thing to break down) that adds to my cost of the camera - money that could be spent on better quality features in a still camera.


Has anybody actually tried using a still camera with video capability? Video cameras haven't been this poorly equipped ever.

Yes, I've used a still camera with video capability (Fuji F11 and Panasonic LX3). They seemed pretty good to me. Then again, in my life I've used 1/2" reel-to-reel B&W video tape captured with a vidicon-tube camera, too. And an Arri SR3 16mm camera. And a couple of studio TV cameras (at public-access cable places).

What I *haven't* used is a post-1980 video camera.


Video standards don't change every 6 months - there's 720 and 1080.

Well, not quite. In my life I've used 1/2" reel-to-reel B&W, 2" reel-to-reel color, and 3/4" Umatic video. I've used super-8 and 16mm motion picture film. And then I've used some video capture in modern P&S cameras, and various formats downloaded from the net. Seems to me the video format situation is immensely more complicated than for still pictures, and it's been much more dynamic over the last 40 years (not surprising, it's a lot newer).

How 'bout a "cheap," stripped down FF DSLR?

Dear folks,

There seems to be a general assumption that adding this feature to a camera increases its cost, with most of the argument being over whether the increase is insignificantly small or not. This is not obviously true; it may actually DECREASE the cost of the camera.

It's an example of the Free Lunch Fallacy. Apocryphal story goes that Heinlein came up with the phrase, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" upon seeing a bar that was advertising free lunches and observing that they wouldn't be free because the barkeep would have to roll the cost of the lunches into the price of drinks.

The analysis is flawed because you don't know what the barkeep's fixed prices are and how much drink sales increase when there are free lunches. For example, if it costs the barkeep $1,000 to have the bar open during lunch time, and there is an additional $100 expense to feed people, then if the free lunch increases drinks sales by more than 10%, the cost per drink actually goes down! Those free lunches would result in lower drink prices, assuming the barkeep doesn't just pocket the increased per-drink profit.

Same analysis applies to features in digital cameras. A new camera feature that you don't use may still make the selling price of the camera lower than it would be if that feature were left out, because increased sales mean that the fixed costs get amortized over more units.

Personally, I don't care about video at all. But for that matter, I don't care about three quarters of the other bells and whistles in my Fuji S100fs. I think it likely, though, that if those three quarters of features were removed from the camera, the reduced manufacturing cost of the camera wouldn't come anywhere close to compensating for the reduced sales and I would actually end up having to pay more for the camera.

The same may very well be true of video. I have no idea what the direct cost of adding video to a camera is, nor what the fixed/upfront costs are on introducing and manufacturing a new camera. Does anyone here have some factual information about these costs? Without those numbers, it's impossible to say whether video ends up being a financial gain or loss for buyers who don't care about it.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Good points, but then what about people like me, who would pay more for a camera with fewer features?


I've been surprised by many things in this conversation, but I think your comments - especially your reply to Ctein - surprise me the most, since you've been connected with the industry side of this business as a writer and editor for so long.

When have the needs and desires of purists ever been the driving concern for camera manufacturers? Maybe back when all cameras were handmade, but not since George Eastman got in the game.

Cameras are complex things to manufacture, even the simplest of them, electronic or mechanical. To keep prices down and profits up, you need to sell a lot of them and that means appealing to as many buyers as possible. Consequently, even cameras aimed at the pro market have features that make them appealing to the mass market as well.

And even were a manufacturer to try what you suggest, there would never be agreement on what those features should be. Your DMD might have a fixed 28mm, but I would prefer to be able to flip between a 35 and a 105. The differences even the two of us would come up with would be endless.

The best thing you can say about integrated video is that like built in light meters, autoexposure or autofocus, it adds an option for those who want it.

As to the cost of adding it, I'm sure Ctein is right. The additional cost per camera is negligible compared to the increased sales. It would also seem logical that any camera with a live view feature has the basic capability for video - you would only have to add the technology to record the video stream.

BTW, the TANSTAAFL conversation was part of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I not sure it ever occurred in real life, Heinlein was fond of philosophizing in his novels.

Frank this IS the point... I love video and I play with it... I am a pro still shooter and that is my true passion, and much of my inspiration... is movies, I love sitting in a cinema and watching the DoP at work, the way they manage the lighting, the composition etc... often scenes are shot 'still' sometimes everything is moving like crazy, but there are plenty of moments that are... photographic... in a movie.... watching a movie from a photographers perspective really brings those different ways of seeing home...

At the same time, I revel in beginners mind.. I want to play with new things..

I also take my craft and my art extremely seriously and I want to get better at what I do, and I want my tools to get better. I am frustrated as a 35mm shooter with the current state of 35mm format DSLRs. The D3x while brilliant by the standards of what is out there is STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!! are you LISTENING NIKON!!! we dont necessarily need more MP at this stage, but we do want better dynamic range, and we want better tonal resolution in shadow areas - the solution to this is so simple I dont understand why they havent done it yet - just invert the a/d conversion algos...

There are so many improvements from a fundamental image quality perspective that remain to be made - they have nothing to do with the very real difference you point out between what a still image and a movie provide...

If video was going to kill still - film would have killed photography decades ago....

pip pip!

Dear Steve,

JWC asserted in one of his editorials that the Free Lunch thing came out of a real incident (more or less as I described it). But Campbell was known to, on occasion, ummmm, 'misstate reality' if he thought it would get a rise out of the readership. Which is why I labeled the story apocryphal.

Editors... they're SUCH an untrustworthy bunch! Not at all like us authors! [g,d,&r]

pax / Ctein

@Ctein and Steve Kidd - I agree about features reducing cost if sales increase. But I don't think the survey bears that out. Q1 represents those who would increase sales, Q2&3 are sales you'll make anyway, Q4 are sales you're likely to lose. In this case, it seems adding features is likely to reduce sales, not increase them, as far more actively don't want this feature than do.

I'm with Mike, I'd pay more for a camera with less but better features. My most expensive camera body (Zeiss Ikon) is also the lowest in features and the nicest to use, overall.

Dear Martin,

First, the survey tells us nothing about the real world market. The readership of TOP is not reflective of the market demographics.

Second, 47% of the readers thought favorably of such a feature. 34% truly didn't care. 19% considered it a disadvantage.

That doesn't support your position, even if the survey meant something.

Which it doesn't.

Bottom line still is, we don't know! All we have is uninformed opinions on the matter.

pax / Ctein

"Bottom line still is, we don't know! All we have is uninformed opinions on the matter."

I might gently point out that NOBODY knows, not even the manufacturers. A product constitutes an educated guess about what's going to appeal to its market. The company makes its guess and then evaluates its fortunes; they can figure out pretty well what did well and what didn't, but only after the fact. And they can never tell with precision that one mix of features might have done better than another, because they can never do strict controlled tests under identical conditions.

If you want an example of an industry that really doesn't have a clue about what's going to be a hit and what's not, read up on publishing....


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