When it comes to managing your media on location shoots, the tool of choice is typically a laptop. However, laptops can get very expensive quickly, require big external power supplies and bags, and, for simple media management (copying files to a client’s drive) they are overkill. Today’s laptops are also powerful enough do basic grading, editing, and even media conversion and uploading while in the field. But what if you don’t need all of that capability? What if you just need to copy your camera files to an external hard drive for the client to take with them?
Video DSLRS have revolutionized the way we shoot video at all levels of production. But can the same thoughts now be applied to smaller internal-zoom cameras? They can all shoot full HD now. Add a microphone input, a built-in hot shoe & image stabilization, and lots of external controls, and it becomes a capable production tool.
The advantages are obvious. You don’t have to carry around several different lenses, or bother with lens changes because something is too close or too far. Another key advantage in this particular camera is the f2 – f4 28-200mm, image stabilized, Nikkor lens you get in a $399 (street) camera. A DSLR lens alone with that capability would cost you considerably more than the Nikon P7700, before you even add a camera body.
But what are the caveats?
I have been following the Nikon P7000 series cameras since they launched several years ago. The first generation was lauded for the quality of the stills, but overall it was very slow. The P7100 was a noted improvement, but it was still slow in comparison to other similar cameras. Now the P7700 is here with even more capability- especially with the video. Nikon added numerous video formats, and a microphone input. They also added a tilt-swivel display and several under-the-hood improvements. Does it finally perform as expected? Continue reading “The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.”
When I started in the video biz, I had a 3-chip Sony M7 cabled to a separate VO8800 3/4 SP deck with 20-minute tapes and two batteries. It produced very pretty images. Today I carry a phone that shoots HD. My phone is smaller and lighter than the camcorders I started with.
But I am so very tired of vDSLR (HDSLR, EVIL, whatever) fanatics touting that one of the greatest features of the format is that they are so “run & gun” so “small & light” and yet offer so much capability. You mean like full HD output on a big screen, built in stereo audio, XLR inputs, audio metering, waveform, headphone outputs, multiple HD video outputs, on-shoulder balance, easy to toggle and adjust manual settings for focus, zoom, iris, shutter, gain and white balance while shooting? Able to shoot for hours at a time for live events? You know, those features, aside from “it looks pretty” that professionals need all the time?
Well, it turns out that the smaller & lighter vDSLRs can indeed offer many of those features, by throwing away the notion of smaller & lighter. So I wish people would stop touting it as a “you get smaller & lighter AND you get real pro camcorder features.” Continue reading “vDSLRs are not smaller & lighter, nor cheaper.”
Nikon’s P7000 increased the model number from the previous model’s P6000, but actually decreases the pixel count on the chip, while increasing the size of the chip. Both factors serve to allow more light into the camera, let the camera record images with less noise, and require less noise reduction, which can obliterate fine detail.
Why the change?
Because Manufacturers are finally hearing the siren call from consumer and pundits who have proved, time and again, that increasing megapixels does not mean better pictures. After a certain point, the optics aren’t even good enough to focus all three colors onto the same pixel, and you get awful chromatic aberration.
But more importantly than that, a faster chip, and faster glass, means you can take great photos in more lighting conditions– like indoors, like at night, and it means that those photos will look better, with less blurred motion, or noise from gain. Moreover, it has the side effect of making the tiny built-n flash seem more powerful. Continue reading “The Megapixel Myth is finally reaching manufacturer’s ears.”
With all the rage about the Canon 5DmII for video, and everyone all gaga over the shallow depth of field video for a pretty inexpensive price, you have to remember that with every silver lining, there is a cloud… or something like that.
A nice new music video demonstrates that it’s not just camera motion that CMOS chips distort from reality, even motion within the frame, like a drummer drumming (something drummers in bands simply insist on doing constantly, throughout the whole darn song.)
If you want to have your wet noodle video featured on America’s Funniest Home Videos, then shoot it with a DSLR. Giggle-inducing images after the break. Continue reading “Wet noodles for drumsticks? NO! it’s CMOS video!”
There’s been a bit of discussion about the image distortion caused by the scanning (rolling) shutter used by CMOS chips which are starting to proliferate in the prosumer and professional video camera world. The key problem, as I have mentioned previously, is that the scanning imaging device is no longer sending the image solely to scanning displays- i.e. tube televisions. Today’s displays include plasma, LCD, DLP, OLED, etc. Most are progressive, but some include circuitry to display the image as if it were a scanning device.
Mike Curtis, of HD For Indies, is very heavy into RED usage and promotion on his web site. RED is the video camera that I will agree is changing, or will change, the hardware business in the video industry. I checked in with Mike about the “rolling shutter” issue…