Make Your Next Camera One That Shoots Video

February 15, 2012 by  
Filed under FREE Photography Tips, What's New

Joe Luter
If you are debating about whether your next camera should be one with video capability, we vote yes.

In fact, the way the trend is heading, we expect just about every SLRs introduced from now on will have video capability. The cost is not much more, you will find some uses for it now and you may get into the fast-rising photo fusion productions soon, which requires video. Photo fusion blends video and stills, as if a Powerpoint in which some parts are in motion.

Photo fusion productions have already been adopted by a number of wedding specialists and will grow your way before long, whatever specialty you are in. Some fusion presentations we have seen were excellent.

Although there is reluctance on the part of amateurs to adopt the combining of still and video imaging into one camera, many pros have embraced video as a means of generating additional revenue and adding creative expression.

The SLR has remarkable advantages over a dedicated video camera in its high resolution, affordable and excellent lenses, f-stop control, color control, storing massive images on a small memory card (up to 32 GB), deleting images to free storage space and all of other functions on your camera body. Most SLRs can record with sound and some can crop and stitch images, perform other light editing and some even have a GPS receiver built in to produce Geotagged photographs.

Together, these features enable the SLR to adapt for almost any job.

The larger sensor yields quality that has put it to use in some of video’s most rarified air, such as filming spots for Super Bowl commercials. Image quality is beautiful.

So what’s not to love?

For starters, the SLR was built for still shots and thus is less efficient in video use. The relatively awkward handling of the camera is often mentioned first, although all have tripod mount screws on the bottom. Shoulder supports and other add ons are available but the extras bump the price upward to the point where you start wondering about purchasing a dedicated video camera instead. Detractors of the multi-purpose cameras will add that the large sensors give a more narrow depth of field, lack power zooms, can be noisy to operate and audio is typically deficient.

There also may be a dread of the learning curve for some photography purists. One answered with a flat “no” when asked about his willingness to shoot video. He explained that it is a completely different art form that he has not mastered.

But where will he be left if photo fusion takes over much of the traditional photography world?

Others predict that manufacturers will eventually release a proper video cameras with a form factor for video, quality audio capability, better file formats, a better viewfinders and one with controls more finely tuned to the video task, while still retaining the SLR features. Or better yet, say some cinematographers, Canon, Nikon and others might produce dedicated HD video camera bodies that which are compatible with the SLR lenses and include most of its other features.

Most video specialists, however, see the advent of video in a traditional still-shot body as a promising but unfinished technology, and they most add the prediction that this will change very soon.

One of the video people noting imperfections from SLR video ended his rant with “Looks pretty good but it’s not going to last.” That reminds me of what my great grandfather said the first time he walked into an air conditioned super market. He said a/c wouldn’t last because we would all catch colds walking in and out of such cold buildings.

Since our SLRs obviously were not built for cinematography and especially not for heavy duty use in that arena, we can’t argue with the video purists about these being only our first steps into their playground.

But the cameras can do deliver great work in both modes and lead to more creative work for the photographer. So why not?

When baby takes his first steps, you want video.

The camera makers built this big new feature in somewhat as an added extra at very low extra cost. And the fast dropping cost of flash cards makes them more and more practical.

SLR video is coming on strong and, although changes will be ongoing forever, we say, as we did with the first pro level digital camera introduced. . . this is the way of the future. Hop on.

As for infringing on the video world, it’s too late to worry about that. The digital camera concept is already growing off in all directions such as into phones and PDAs and even the Hubel telescope and similar astronomical devices are actually digital cameras.