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Wednesday, 30 June 2021


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I'd be interested in knowing how many online videos are not watched past the 30 second mark. The intros to most videos are too long and what's even worse is that you have to endure a few ads along the way, which was the reason I gave up on "traditional" commercial TV. Another problem I see is that too many "vloggers" think that they are themselves interesting. Some are, of course, but most aren't. Why does it take 8 minutes to get to the point? In a written article, it's easy to skip past the parts you already know and understand, skim through the rest. It's also easy to stop, go back and re-read something.

Video is fine for some stuff, but it does't work for everything.

As for saddling cameras with video features, I use Olympus MFT bodies and one of the first things I did with both of mine is to redefine the meaning of the red button to something else. Video gone.

Mike, I must confess to watching YT's way more than I should. I tend to watch a lot of the folks from the UK and their videos which seem to concentrate on still/landscape photography. I am particularly fond of two, which I will not name here, but are regularly on the channels weekly. They do provide some good insight into composition and design of photos. The main difference I find between videos; the Brits are out in the field walking, and sharing their ideas, thoughts on framing and composition of the images. They are not just talking heads sitting behind a desk saying "whats up" Those videos are really bad. Also I shy away from the gear videos unless it is something on my wish list which is much smaller today than in the past. I do agree with you with the dearth of good written blogs. For some reason I would rather read something than watch something so I will stick with you for the near future. Keep up the good work. Eric

I agree with Crabby Umbo. Video and photography are radically different forms. I was a video producer/director for about 10 years. High-quality video production is a team effort with a director, writer, videographer, on-screen talent, audio engineer, lighting designer, and video editor. You also need a producer who can oversee and find funds for the production. All this ultimately requires specialized equipment that you can't just attach to your digital camera. I am not saying that today's cameras can't capture excellent video but that alone does not ensure a good final product.

Oh! How I echo the thoughts of Crabby Umbo. Perfect, Just perfect!

“The tyranny of video features” . . . Love it.


I'm sure you are correct that at least some added emphasis is placed on video features when cameras are reviewed by video centric photographers, but the fact remains that video capability is a native feature of modern digital sensors. This forces the manufacturer to essentially cripple an otherwise 'free' feature of the camera which many people like. That is tough for them to do.
I think the realities are (and bolstered by the idea of your post) , that if they left video out, there would be far more folks ready to complain about the 'willful omission", than there would be people applauding it.

Personally,I do not shoot any video other than iPhone Video, so I don't use the video capabilities of my 'real' cameras.
My take is that I am happy to ignore video features as long as they do not 'get in the way' of its ability to be a good still camera.
I will grant that in a RETRO styled camera, Nikon's Marketing creates an oddly mixed message. In fact it is why RETRO in a modern camera has inherent conflicts.-- to use one of Thom Hogan's examples -the shutter speed dial being forced to 'lie to you sometimes' because they neglected to put an "A" setting on it. That is a serious omission in my view. Similarly, marketing couldn't be stopped from offering it in a rainbow of different colors -which makes it seem less serious, and frankly takes focus away from weather or not it is a good camera.

As you point out , there may well be a market for this camera in Japan so that's fine, and I wish them well with that.
My guess is that it will be a capable little camera with some short term appeal. It is clearly not what its ancestor was.
I can't stop myself from thinking 'This is NOT what Nikon Needed"

You have opened the door for me to enter and go on a bit about what I see as a major flaw in the whole vlogging business. I have an albatross hung around my neck in that I have spent most of my adult life as a photographer, shooting for advertising and publications. I have written and photographed for the same magazine you once worked for. And, since I live in a community where we are tied to several things that make our economy rather variable, have always had something to fall back on when times were slow, working in broadcasting. So I see this business from two sides.

I see the flaw in all these video reviews, and have chosen to ignore most of them. The written word is my friend, and I generally confine myself to you, Kirk Tuck and Thom Hogan, and the guys at LensRentals, all of you write well and can not only yammer on about things, but to sift wheat from chaff. And all of you are good at editing out all the unnecessary uhs and umms and other verbal crutches that simply drive me nuts.

And don't get me started on the fact that there is no licensing authority that regulates this business so it is practiced by people who don't just assume and make up things. But I have often said that the internet is a megaphone for stupidity.

Ah well, back to the usual stuff...

Bill Pearce

i like your point regarding the emphasis of video, by folks looking to hit the big time producing talking pictures.
surely, though, this is also a couple generations that have been consuming talking pictures from birth, and prefer the medium out of not knowing anything else?
Youtube is such a waste of time for me, after years of practical experience scanning technical documentation for the "nuts and bolts" and skipping the dead space in between. video has so much dead space, and skipping through is a pain. if i never see another youtube "how to" with no materials list, no tools list, no sequencing of tasks, focused entirely on the hero of the story the whole time it will be way too soon.

Just to be clear, Photoshop wasn't designed. It has accreted from the original rudimentary tools developed for MacDraw prior to Photoshop 2.
Stops? what are those? Grades for number of grays? 0 to 255 is 256 levels, let's call it that.
That a design is seen doesn't require a designer,

I know that I am in the minority, but I am not a fan of the trend to video for the transfer of information of most kinds. Having a video to augment and improve upon what can be shared via the written word is great, but using exclusively video is clunky for almost everything. I can quickly and easily scan a page/screen of text and extract the information I deem valuable - potentially jumping around within the text. I can also decide to re-read and deeply consider sections of text that are interesting or confusing. Video has its own flow and I have to consume the information at the pace and in the order deemed appropriate by the producer. I find it slow and frustrating.

That said, watching a volcano explode is not the same as reading about it, or even looking at a still picture. There are things that are definitely better conveyed via video.

As for whether video as the popular medium for reviews is biasing the reviews themselves... I am not convinced. I tend to get my information from well established sources though and not "RandomYouTuber001". Even in video reviews I tend to see more time spent on non-video-specific features than on the video-specific ones.

Crabby Umbo's recollection reminded me of when the newspaper at which I worked began to print more color. With infinite wisdom, the lab was set up for E6 film so we photographers had to shoot slides and B&W on all assignments. When the editors chose pictures to run in B&W, more often than not it was one of the color slides. So we had to copy slides to B&W on an old Honeywell Repronar held together with duct tape. Then someone suggested we use color negative film and print it B&W if no color was needed. But we had to print it in color first for editors to decide. I don't remember how all this worked out because I quit before a solution came about. This was before digital, of course. It's no wonder newspapers are dead. They've been suicidal for a long time.

Videos? I avoid them as much as possible. They take up too much time for the information reward. And I've never shot a video in my life. The video option is wasted in all my cameras.

Hey "Crabby Mike"...😂

"Video Conspiracy Theory", eh? No, not really...or at least not directly. Since the Canon 5D integrated high-quality video into still camera products, video has been the leading developmental sales feature for a great many new camera products. Let's face it; still photography advancements ain't gonna sell many cameras any more. It's been largely perfected across all major manufacturers.

Yes, YouTubers are all, by definition, videographers of sorts. But more to the point they make their money by attracting viewers, and those viewers are likely to be at least as interested in a camera's video features. DPreview has hired a terrific Mutt-and-Jeff team of Chris Nichols and Jordan Drake to review stills and video separately in their best-in-genre video reviews. Perfect organization. You can skip what you don't need.

And as to Umbo's comments, well, he might want to re-check with his pals. Today's top-line combined photo/video cameras rival, and even exceed, the capabilities of dedicated video cameras with very high rental rates. Just last week, for example, an enormous film crew was camped literally outside our door with a 2-block caravan of support trailers to film a TV show scene. And they were using what appeared to be a Sony A rig on a SteadiCam for much of it. (It was tricked-out with full-size cine lens, grips, etc. so it -looked- like a Panavision or Arri... but t'wern't.)

So I don't think it's a "conspiracy" that video may seem to have overtaken photo as a primary camera review topic. If they were still talking "Try-X" they wouldn't be talking at all.

I can read faster than listen to or view audio/video blogs. And I only read carefully edited written blogs like TOP and Hogan's, for example. Most audio/video blogs are full of small talk, wasted conversation time, hemming, hawing, and long-windedness in eventually getting to the point. I have not tried this, but I'll bet most audio/video blog transcripts could be edited such that their important points could be read in 10% of the time (and without gritting of teeth).

Including video when there's no additional cost is fine - honestly, for this camera it's part of the market. A lot of folks who like the style also shoot video - and a lot will shoot their review of the camera...on this camera. The video isn't in the way - so if I'm buying my One Big Camera, having something that can grab video on that rare occasion my phone won't do better is frankly expected, and means that the ZFc can be that one cameras as opposed to the DF's role as a second body only.

I'm sure i don't represent the target market the makers need to survive; yet i have been taking pictures for almost 40 years and owned several cameras, lenses and accessories in that time.
Well, i'm loosing interest in the current products for photographers especially for the reasons you mention.
As a jack of all trades my phone wins hands down; i rarely take videos and in those occasions i don't even think about my camera. In the last 10 or so years i took ONE video with my 'photocamera'.
Might it be that to chase the current fad, reinforced by the resonating feedback loop of social media and youtube, the makers are loosing sight of a sizeable market?
I don't buy the reasoning that those video features are so easy to implement on a photo camera that they might as well include them: they do force compromises on the final product, confusion in the marketing of it and overcomplication in using it for photo work.
Who knows, maybe one day it will finally become a feature for a camera to be 'only' photo. It would for sure start to warm up my credit card.

"Hmm, maybe I should start calling myself Crabby Mike."

I, for one, would enjoy reading "The Online Photocrabber". Maybe I already do?

IMO, video is a plague on the web, but nothing new to cameras. I recall that many early digicams were based on video camera technology and basically saved frame-grabs to storage. Often the results looked it, but that subterfuge also gave us nifty features like "pre-capture".

Admittedly, DSLRs took a slightly different path but IMO (in hindsight, of course!) the road to video was inevitable, and mostly a matter of enough on-board processing power and getting the mirror out of the way.

The extra clutter on the camera bothers me more than the feature itself, which I can otherwise ignore, do use occasionally, and, I suggest, is baked into the nature of digital cameras.

That's easy for me to say, though--I still shoot film when I want to make "real" photographs. I guess I haven't yet graduated from luddite to crab?

Well...a speech is not unrelated to an essay, and in that sense a vlog entry is not unrelated to a blog entry.

If you could get completely honest answers out of all of them, I suspect that some are producing videos because they perceive it to be where the viewers are. I remember Kirk Tuck flirting with professional video, and you talking about doing trying some for the blog maybe, back a while.

I am a little surprised that the millennials, who largely hate phone calls and love text messages, are so committed to video, since it has the same problems as phone calls (being in realtime; at least it's not synchronous). I do think that's the age range that's driving the video boom, though.

I appreciate the digital cameras emulating the functions of still photography only, but there’s one (among probably more) technique that I really appreciate the video and still combination. That’s when I’m doing portraits or group shots where I take a video while I’m setting up the shot and finally ending (or in the middle of two videos) with a static still photo of the people “fixed” in time. I’ve only been successful at pulling this off to my liking a few times, but when I can remember to do it, and do it right, it’s a great sequence to remember people by. I also recall seeing a example of a photographer (can’t remember who) that shot video portraits of people with waist-up framing with their subjects as still as they could be, but breathing and blinking, etc. There are many possibilities that video can expand on the “still” image and creative purpose. It’s there when you need it.

Passing Thought for passing thought (trade?). You have written in the past about the “digital dark age” and the problems of being able to read digital files of still pictures. At least digital still can be printed on paper and be saved for longer period of times. What about digital video? Is there any options??

Along the same line, you could print at least a selection of your posts from this website and perhaps make it into a book, but what options does a vlogger have to preserve their work?

"Hmm, maybe I should start calling myself Crabby Mike"

Why not? Everyone else does!

(Only kidding ;-) }

To me, although I have zero interest in video, all this anti video vitriol seems a bit hysterical. It is easy to make an image sensor and it's associated electronics do video,so why shouldn't it be made possible? I can't think of any reason why it should affect stills negatively. Equally I doubt it adds much to the price of the camera either. You don't have to hit that video button so what is the problem?

For some years I grumbled on forums that I wanted a dedicated stills digital camera and please could we have a version of the latest and greatest release that was just that. The replies I received were always the same. In this electronic age, the cost of adding video to an advanced digital camera, especially a mirrorless camera (which I prefer) is negligible. Therefore no manufacturer would do it and miss some of the sales. I might as well accept the video features even if I didn't intend using them.
I'm still not convinced. I'd like less clogged up menus for a start.

Photography is a solitary profession. (Good) video requires a team of people working together. A movie requires a large team of people. There is no way around that. In forty years, I have never seen a good ‘home movie’ whether shot on double 8, Super 8 or later on the various video formats. Some of them might have a single good clip lasting a few seconds. Of course, many of them can be good and valuable memories for the participants and their relatives. Maybe that gives them justification.

Very old school. Still photography was well matched to the mass produced paper technology that simultaneously emerged in the mid 1800s. Today’s electronic media wants images that move. In the third decade of the 21st century cameras need video. Accept change, don’t let it make you grumpy. Maybe even embrace it. David Thorpe did. Mike, now that David Thorpe is gone, have you considered doing some video reviews? I think his style could work for you.

p.s. Personally I am old school, having developed my first roll of film more than 50 years ago. Perhaps I should try video.

Kirk's comment further confirms to me that stills and videos are two disciplines! It's the clients that's being cheap that they ask for the two jobs to be combined as one (and pay for one only), and in order to survive, one has to be able to perform both tasks! From Kirk's comment, that job consists of two sessions, one stills and one video, and that he was able to do the two tasks, one AFTER the other. The fact that he was doing two tasks with the same line of equipment is simply because it was more practical. But when it comes to REAL (sorry for the implication) video production, there would need to be another crew -- sound recording, lighting, make-up artist, director..... "a 2-block caravan of support trailers" (in Mr. Tanaka's comment).
I'm glad that Kirk can survive as a professional, he's my hero!

If the question is why (for the love of all that is good, why) — then I think the root answer is in media consumption and the business models that follow it.

The explosion in web video (YouTube) has been soaking up more and more attention every year for almost a decade. Because video is linear and consumed at a fixed rate it's easier and more valuable to sell ads against. The ads are more promenent, unstoppable for most and therefore more effective — and therefore higher value. Because of both those trends, it's easier to build an audience and to get paid if you produce in video, whether you're a publisher or a solo producer / vlogger.

You can forget SEO and let the algorithms (YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram) take care of you, and it's easy to pay for more.

The drive towards video content, and the fact that there is money in it creates the demand for video equipment. Even without the business model, more people are shooting and sharing video than ever before. You can see it in the rise of the "Stories" format that first appeared on Snapchat before being copied by Instagram and then everyone else. YouTube's new product mimics TikTok's format almost exactly, as the complex falls over itself in the race to soak up ever more attention.

But I'm with you on camera preference, Mike. I like the ones without video crammed into them much better.

P.S. Your dismissal of "vlogger" as an illegitimate conjunction make me smile. "Blog" itself is a conjunction of "web" and "log" (y'know, like a Captain's Log)! Surely if a serial of text posts on the web can claim to be a log, a series of videos can claim to vlog.

I'd much rather read a camera/lens/gear review than watch a YouTube video. Why? Because I detest fluff, inane comments and pitches for SquareSpace and the like.

Just an addition to my comment after reading so many others:

Traditional video production and programming mostly for television isn't necessarily what is driving photographers to work more often with video. There seems to be a current of thought among people who were professionally active in the last century that we are somehow using the hybrid cameras to copy the kinds of production that were common in the pre-digital era. In many cases (most?) that's not the case. There is a tremendous demand for six to fifteen second clips that are run as banners or inserted almost like photographs in websites. These don't require the traditional crews or the deep plunge into film making that many here presume. One only has to look beyond YouTube to TikTok, Instagram and other social media to see that shorter, less produced snippets of video are driving a majority of online social media engagements. We are mostly using the video capabilities of our cameras to grab moments from the flow of a shoot. We are also cross referencing in each medium.

There was a reference to my "dabbling" in "professional" video but in reality I've been involved in video since working at an advertising agency and producing television commercials (on movie film) since 1985.

I "dabbled" my way to several Addy Awards and even had a snippet of a BookStop Bookstores TV commercial I produced picked up for David Byrne's movie, "True Stories."

I think the crowd responding here has remained somewhat mired in a 20th century construct of what video is all about. But like iPhone photography, and much other work, what is acceptable has changed and the new cameras have indeed ushered in a time of "one man crew" video making and production for outlets such as social media. We're not using our cross discipline cameras to try and make "a movie" instead we're helping clients create a brand presence on their websites and in social media. It's different. And it can be done solo and done well...

As to why people on Youtube talk a lot about the video capabilities of cameras I have to look no further than my millennial son who, at 25, works in marketing for an A.I. software company and whose research shows that something like 70% of all advertising and marketing engagement is in the form of short videos. His generation is totally acculturated to look for information in a moving, talking format.

Hard to stop the future from coming, no matter how hard we might want to try.

Here's a model for when you go vid, and a thought. And a mentor, since he quit a while back. Proby has free time now for tutoring. And the hole he left is still sucking air, waiting to be refilled, maybe even with camera stuff.

BillyBobNeck: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRi77a0ITcLLs-FJ8BI8qAA

Rule Number One: Always be opinionated, especially when wrong. And keep it rolling. (Rule #2.)

I think the fc stands for Fuji Camera

Aw don’t be crabby, it’s not hurting anyone it their camera can take a video but they never bother to turn it on. Probably not the only function they don’t use.
The only time video hurt me was when I wanted to buy a 5D markII. I was waiting for the price to drop like it usually does. However it wasn’t going down and I was told that it was because it was being used as a disposable second in film production. It was so inexpensive it was no loss if a stampede destroyed it, so there was a constant demand, I eventually bit the bullet and paid retail and still enjoy the camera although I only ever made a couple of videos, none of which ever made it to you tube.

Actually dpreview has bought in from cameraStoreTv the two stars who one did the video and the other camera. They talked different things in fact. https://youtu.be/Tbq4wHG9ntc

For talking head, I saw a guy who has in-depth knowledge and hence just read through his paper as video … https://youtu.be/-DcnVNyqqyM

Actually the Hasselblad video is good to catch their camera features https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmr0eC7LEQGVDUBfqI1Ju67Xm-Ah1Fmzt (as the camera is niot good in video hence no such issues of cross over).

These are the exceptions I guess.

In general I think video is good for some aspects of learning (tensor in qm and relativity … even with blackboard as mit lecture). But text plus picture is a better media for understanding, not just appreciating.

Meanwhile: "Instagram no longer 'a photo sharing app', plans to focus on video"

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