The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.

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? Continue reading “The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.”

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Testing CS-mount lenses on the Panasonic GH2

As a new owner of a Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 camera, I have entered the experimental phase of lens gathering.

The large sensor still cameras that also offer video capability are now plentiful and there’s a resurgence in interest in older lenses from still cameras, film cameras, and even security cameras. My research showed that CS lenses use the same screw thread and size as C-mount lenses, but they were designed to be 5mm closer to the sensor. I wanted to see for myself what exactly that differences meant in terms of usability for the GH2. Continue reading “Testing CS-mount lenses on the Panasonic GH2”

vDSLRs are not smaller & lighter, nor cheaper.

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.”

The Megapixel Myth is finally reaching manufacturer’s ears.

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.”

Sony accepts orders for NEX-VG10: the large sensor camcorder gets REAL!

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Sony is clearly sprinting to the large sensor HD camcorder finish line!

Looks like the race is over. Sony and Panasonic announced large sensor camcorders back at NAB but now Sony is showing off the goods. They are taking pre-orders starting today.

The goods Sony is offering look real good! As with many of the last consumer/prosumer models, you can expect the VG10 to come out in a prosumer model, with XLR inputs, and probably more video settings than the consumer model offers. But probably no different lenses.

The Alpha lenses from the digital still lineup are already designed to resolve far, far beyond the 2 Megapixels of 1080i60 HD video. So you probably won’t see different lenses than will be available in the consumer lineup, but it does open the door to the entire Minolta Maxxum line of SLR lenses, which are the basis for the Sony’s Alpha. Continue reading “Sony accepts orders for NEX-VG10: the large sensor camcorder gets REAL!”

This $22 Sima SL-10HD LED light shines nicely.

I ordered the Sima SL-10HD because it touts “widescreen” LED lighting for HD cameras. I’ve one of the many people who have taken to using the digital still camera as my ONLY camera when travelling, or even around the house. This means I need tit to shoot both stills and video- and without a video light, or a lot of daylight, the video is very dark.

Well, it does the job pretty well, though I’ll probably end up adding a bit of diffusion inside to help spread the beam out a little flatter. Continue reading “This $22 Sima SL-10HD LED light shines nicely.”

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