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Camera Companies Adding Video to dSLRs

For today's entry, I wanted to talk about the newest major feature coming to dSLRs in both the Canon and Nikon lines. If you haven't already heard, new dSLR models from Canon and Nikon are now coming with video capabilities, and HD quality, at that. Now when I first heard this several months back, I thought to myself, "So what! Point-and-shoots already come with video capabilities and they suck so why should I think that dSLRs will be all THAT much better!" So with that attitude, I quickly dismissed this feature as nothing more than a marketing ploy to trick consumers into upgrading to a new camera. I've since learned that I couldn't have been more wrong.

As more photographers have purchased these dSLR/Vid combos and have had time to explore and push their creative potential, the true quality and performance of these tools have been noted by professional videographers worldwide.

Check out this awesome HD video sample taken from a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and see for yourself. So, if you are a skeptic like I once was, hopefully after watching that movie clip you're a bit more intrigued to take a closer look.

Here's a quick Glossary to help you with the details offered below:

1) High-Definition Video (HD) - refers to any video system of higher resolution than Standard-Definition Video (SD), and most commonly involves display resolutions of 1280×720 pixels (720p) or 1920×1080 pixels (1080p).
2) Frames Per Second (fps) - Each frame is a still image; displaying frames in quick succession creates the illusion of motion. The more frames per second, the smoother the motion appears. Television in the U.S., for example, is based on the NTSC format, which displays 30 interlaced frames per second. In general, the minimum fps needed to avoid jerky motion is about 30.
3) 720p and 1080p - these numbers refer to the screen resolution. Typically, the larger the number, the more pleasing the image will be. 720p refers to the display resolution of 1280×720 pixels while 1080p refers to the display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. So everything else equal, a 1080p will be squeezing more data, or details into the same screen.
There are several advantages of using your dSLR for video including the interchangeability of potentially already owned lenses, some models offer the flexibility of taking both video and still images simultaneously, video clips can be up to 12 minutes in length or 4GB in size, and realizing a cost savings by folding two devices into one.

Canon and Nikon are arguably the two most widely popular dSLR consumer and professional grade brands and so I've taken some time to collect data on the their available dSLR models with High Def video capabilities.


EOS 5D Mark II
Record video clips in Full High-Definition with 1080p image quality and a capture frame rate of 30 fps with sound. Users can even attach an external microphone for recording professional-quality audio with the video, and all Live View AF features can be used when the camera is shooting video.
Full HD Video is captured at 1920 x 1080 resolution at 30p (29.97), 24p (23.976) or 25p frames per second, for up to 4GB per clip. Movies are saved as .MOV files and can be viewed in Full HD with HDMI output. Other recording sizes include HD at 1280 x 720 (50p/60p (59.94) fps) or SD/VGA at 640 x 480 (50p/60p (59.94) fps).
EOS Rebel T1i / EOS 500DShooting is at a frame rate of 30 fps when shooting SD or HD quality video (640 x 480 and 1280 x 720 pixels, respectively) and at a frame rate of 20 fps in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording.


D300s24 fps, 720p HD movie clips, enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility—featuring external stereo Mic input and AF operation.
D9024fps movie clips with sound at up to 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels) in Motion JPEG format, enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.
D5000720p HD movie clips enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.
D3s24 fps HD video, leveraging low-noise D3S image quality along with high fidelity stereo sound capability.720p HD

Between the two companies, Nikon was first to introduce video capability in dSLRs but Canon produces higher quality video in it's EOS 7D dSLR. It is anticipated that all future dSLRs from either vendor will come standard with HD Video.
This data was collected from:
Photos are property of Canon U.S.A. and Nikon respectively.

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