The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.

The Nikon P7700.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.”

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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.”

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