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Future of DSLR vs category killer

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Carl Filoreto
Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 15, 2010 at 9:11:32 pm

As a regular freelance DP and owner of a production company, I've been seriously considering the purchase of a Canon 5D Mark II, and fortifying it with a cage, matte box and monitor. I'm conversant with most of the advantages and pitfalls of these units.

I already own seven different camera packages in a range of sizes, formats and expense. The 5D would be another tool in the belt. However, just as I'm about to make the jump, I see Panasonic jumping into the fray with their video based unit, and I'm beginning to question jumping into the DSLR scene.

I realize no one has the answer, but I'm looking for opinions on the subject. Will Sony, et al jump in and kill the DSLR craze, or will the sheer volume of Canon 5D and 7D units keep them in the front of the pack for awhile.

Of course, if I'd chosen Canon for my still photography needs and not Canon, then I'd be a lot happier a this point.

Thanks in advance!

Carl

Carl Filoreto
Golden, CO.
Elk Run Productions, Inc.
http://www.elkruntv.com


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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 15, 2010 at 11:16:28 pm

I think "all of the above".

It's not as if DSLR cams will stop having HD video recording features, and that they won't be improved with every new model (and sometimes in-between with firmware updates). Among other things, continual improvements in their audio & video I/O, and higher-quality compression, would be nice to see.

So, DSLRs will become more & more like good video cameras which are primarily intended to shoot very hi-res stills.

Meanwhile, video cameras will continue to have traits formerly reserved for DSLRs (big sensors, ability to capture hi-res stills, hi-res electronic VF/LCD, etc.). Thus video cameras become more & more like OK DSLRs which are primarily intended to shoot high quality video and pro audio.

There will always be too many models & brands to choose from. And many many price points. And no "one" perfect cam which serves every purpose equally.

Oh, and when you add the continually evolving spectrum of "HD standards" and production requirements -- interlaced? progressive? 24/25/30/50/60 or other fps? 24/35/50/100/more megabits per sec? 2K? 4K? yikes! -- I'd expect this process to go on forever.

My hope is that the current DSLR phenom signals a trend toward "componentizing" of the hardware (like RED's new stuff, if/when it ever ships), allowing folks to mix & match modules to configure solutions appropriate for different projects & budgets.

The DSLR phenom has also opened a vast universe of lens choices for video producers. Another example of things getting more modular, if you think of the lenses as being one of the components.

Just one recent example: Panasonic's new AF100 strips down to a pretty small & lightweight package when you remove its top & side handles. If they decide to give it 10-bit (instead of 8-bit) live HD-SDI output in the final shipping version, that will make it even more attractive as part of a "modular" system including a portable external recorder (such as the new KiPro MINI). We'll see.
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/280/2893

Sorry I probably didn't answer your question. ;-)


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Noah Kadner
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 15, 2010 at 11:24:31 pm

Canon's had a very lucky run with the 5D for video shooters, but it's not hard to see they'll cede a good deal of market share over to Panasonic and Sony now that they've thrown their hats into the same ring. Most folks coming from the camcorder world will jump quickly to a camera incorporating the ergonomics of a camcorder with the interchangeable lenses of a DSLR. But competition is a good thing for all of us. Or did you forget how hard we had to push Canon just to implement 24p in the 5D?

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Carl Filoreto
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 15, 2010 at 11:48:07 pm

Certainly the larger sensor and the ability to use a variety of lenses makes a great deal of sense. The components needed to make DSLR video truly functional in the field, though, makes it a bit cumbersome. You're just adding all the things to it that make a camera a video camera.

If Panasonic, Sony, etc. remember to keep their larger sensor DSLR-based cameras small and light, then they'll be on the right track. And they have to be able to maintain the wonderful light sensitivity that the 5D and 7D manage effortlessly. Panasonic's idea of placing a near universal lens mount on the camera is terrific. I do love, though, the idea that I can take a DSLR, use it in its most basic configuration, and be able to take it almost anywhere and have the ability to produce stunning high def images. So in Colorado I can take it with me on a hike up a 14er or on a tough ski run, and be able to capture great images without hauling a ton of gear.

The small business guy has to be incredibly careful making fixed asset decisions these days. Although, even with seven cameras, I've never lost money on one. Cameras do seem to produce revenue, though there are a few I'm glad I never considered purchasing.

Maybe I'll just sell all my Nikon gear, switch to Canon, buy a few extras, and be good to go for now. Then I can wait to see who emerges in the next battle as the video focused companies move into the territory.

Carl Filoreto
Golden, CO.
Elk Run Productions, Inc.
http://www.elkruntv.com


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Michael Sacci
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 16, 2010 at 4:37:03 am

I don't see the AF100 being released sooner than NAB of 2011.


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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 16, 2010 at 5:50:55 am

[Michael Sacci] "I don't see the AF100 being released sooner than NAB of 2011."

Huh? Panasonic says the AF100 will ship no later than 12/31/10.

I suspect it won't be available in huge quantities, but they say it'll begin shipping no later than that. And they usually ship their products on time.

See:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=2104843&postcount=587


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Norman Pogson
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 16, 2010 at 11:53:36 am

I think the more relevant question isn't "Will the Panasonic new cam kill the HD-DSLR", but as business people should we sit on the side lines for nearly two years as new technologies become available.

The canon 5D2 has been available to make profits with for nearly two years, in that time lots of filmmakers have made a lot of money using it.

Also when there is a sea change such as the HD-DSLR revolution, it eventually filters down to clients and they then start requesting this new technology or hiring people who own it, so there is an in built marketing buzz also. I don't think you will see this with the Pano.

My Canon 7D Blog


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Noah Kadner
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 16, 2010 at 3:44:52 pm

It won't kill the HD-DSLR altogether, especially for folks that like to shoot stills and video simultaneously. But for those folks who a- aren't married 100% to Canon products/glass b- are greatly frustrated by the non-video friendly ergonomics of still cameras- this would be a very attractive alternative. And yeah, every indication I have is Panasonic intends this to ship by end of 2010 and they have never been big on announcing ship dates that they don't intend to hit with their cameras. So Merry X-Mas! :)

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Kris Merkel
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 18, 2010 at 12:38:22 am

I see Panasonic releasing the AF100 as soon as they can because their guess is as good as anybody's to when RED with release the Scarlet. I think this camera is within the same price corridor as the Scarlet and Panasonic would like to take advantage of RED's timing.

The AF100 looks like a great addition to any production package and if you are sold on not waiting for the Scarlet or need more video functionality than what the DSLR affords, it is probably a good buy. When it ships.







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Bill Davis
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 20, 2010 at 8:55:40 pm

This is personal but...

I think Panasonic is mis-judging the market place. They're trying to shoehorn yet ANOTHER sensor standard (micro 4/3) into a market that simply doesn't need another sensor range.

People flocked to the 5d, because it had a BIG sensor and all the capabilities that that represented (listening depth of field junkies?) PLUS it had something that video shooters had seldom encountered. Incredible image quality at a LOWBALL price.

It was WAAY better than any camcorder in image quality. At a price far closer to a camcorder than a professional video camera. It also succeeded, because of the 2-million FCP seats out there who could EDIT the footage without much pain (and other quality NLE system options a few months later)

Every video shooter making money in the business looked at the 5d and said, "I can get this quality still camera AND stunning high def video in one unit for $3k? Sign me up."

Nothing I've seen from Panasonic OR from Sony OR from RED comes close to this "choice driving" value proposition. Nothing.

If RED had kept even 1/50th of their promises over the past decade, they would be a threat. But sorry, they haven't. Panasonic is trying the old, nearly always marginal strategy of re-inventing something that does NOT need re-inventing. (You want me to go back into the world of lens Adaptors or own a bag of LUMIX lenses? Please!)

And wherever Sony has gone, I'm sad to say it but - yes they're gone. They had a lock on my purchasing decisions for the majority of my career - but today, I see them with a history of so many HORRIBLE business decisions (Like their original NLE editing solutions that each died a horrible death until they wised up and bought something from someone who knew about what the young editors wanted (Vegas)
that they've lost any "good will" they ever had.

Right now, the market could belong to Canon - if they'd just move all the camcorder designers and their still camera designers into the same freekin building and come out with something that's the best of worlds between an XL-1 and a 5dMkii.

Other than that. All these companies need a Steve Jobs. Someone who will push teams to come up with GREAT solutions rather than incrementally re-making what everyone else already does.

Cest la vie.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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John Frey
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 21, 2010 at 12:57:48 am

I could have gone with the Canon 5d, but didn't because of the requirements of the wide variety of video projects that my company takes on. As far as Panasonic, their current GH1 (with 3rd party firmware), produces excellent results and the choices in alternative lenses is great. My Canon, Nikon and Olympus lenses adapt just fine to the Micro 4/3 standard, and the folks over at Adobe provide my PC based edit stations with all of the latest, integrated tools (now in CS5) to handle post requirements. No transcoding drama - everyone plays together nicley.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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John Frey
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 21, 2010 at 5:43:10 pm

Here is the link to the new and improved Panasonic GH2 replacement for the GH1 (just released today at Photokina)- big improvements.







John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Bill Davis
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:57:30 am

Not sure I'm buying this.

I can walk into a choice of pro photo stores in my city and pick from an array of 20-30 lens choices in EITHER Nikon or Canon glass. This includes special purpose glass I'm likely never to need to own, like fisheye and tilt-shift.

In each, I can put them on a camera and ALL the photometric and lens performance information on the web is gold. No "conversion factors" no focal length shifting, no compromises.

I don't know of ANY shops that rent Lumix lenses. I don't know how the geometry of 4/3rds relates to the single gold 35mm standard that's existed for nearly 100 years worldwide.

This alone makes a Panasonic investment seem more than squirely - it seems like something for the part timer.

Admittedly, I could be TOTALLY wrong about this.

But I haven't seen a working professional still photographer in the field carrying a Panasonice still camera EVER. And I haven't seen a working videographer - even an INDUSTRIAL practitioner with one since the days of the AG-456.

Maybe theres something I don't know. But that's how I see it.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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John Frey
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:13:40 pm

Most of the people who share information on this forum are here for DSLR video, not still photography. Also, if you take the time to read some of the threads here, many members are long-time Panasonic video camera users - from lower end DV to Broadcast level HD. I have been in this business at all levels for 30 years, and have owned Hitachi, Ikegami, Sony, Canon, JVC and Panasonic cameras. And for the record, we do not use the Panasonic GH1 for still photography. Lighten up!

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Bill Davis
Re: Future of DSLR vs category killer
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:18:22 am

John,

I don't understand the "lighten up" comment.

I'm not arguing any kind of emotional point of view. Simply factual information as it appears to me.

Just as it's insignificant whether a great piano player plays a Steinway, Bosendorfer, a Yamaha or a Baldwin - it's in the same sense somewhat insignificant what tool a videographer chooses to use to make their content. Individuals are free to choose whatever suite THEIR production style.

And equally important, if the reader here is a novice and building a personal list of elements to consider BEFORE making their selection, it's pretty hard to argue that the stuff I mentioned, like rental lens availability is NOT worthy of consideration for that class of user.

Micro 4/3rds is out there. It will compete on it's own merits. As did the Canon approach to both still AND video capability. So far, It's pretty inarguable that Canon is currently the safest choice since it's DSLR for video ecosystem is so much larger than it's competitors. And that's all I'm saying.

Man, John Stewert is SO right. Too much "one of us must be RIGHT and all others are to be SHUNNED!" thinking going on.

In the SANE world he's proposing, we CAN hold differing views without getting upset about it. OK?

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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