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Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?

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Max Baker
Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:21:32 pm

OK, I've been enticed by claims of improved picture quality enjoyed with the DSLR cameras over prosumer HDV camcorders, but in researching the DSLR issue I don't quite understand where the improved performance comes from. Perhaps an avid DSLR user can enlighten me. In reading through the literature and reviews about the DSLR cameras, it seems the video modes are pretty much the same as on a camcorder. I understand the clear benefit of single frame shots in RAW format, but it appears that in video mode the cameras resort to the typical codecs like AVCHD. Is that correct? (I personally consider AVCHD overly compressed and prefer HDV MPEG2.) I also understand the benefit of being able to change lenses, but my Sony Z7U camcorder has interchangeable lenses as well (I use a Nikon adapter for Nikon lenses). Does the higher pixel density translate into significantly better video? I'm tempted to pull out my plastic for a 7D, but want to know that I'll end up with a significant benefit over my current kit. Thanks! Max.

Max


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Ryan Orr
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:09:06 pm

Max,

In my opinion, the very LARGE sensors used in these HD-DSLRs are the top reason I like them so much. Higher Dynamic Range, the ability to have a very shallow DOF, interchangeable lenses...all that can make me drool just a bit if I don't watch myself.

However, ANYONE who is buying ANYTHING (especially video/film) needs to know the downfalls/shortcomings of their gear, so that they 1) are not surprised or caught off guard with the problems, 2) know what adjustments they need to make to their workflow to get their project finished in the least amount of time and effort.

I refer to the Canon line of these HD-DSLR cameras. Yes, the codec isn't very lovely. Everyone (who is sane) has to transcode the footage to something more cpu friendly when it comes to editing (ProRes 422 for FCP users). The rolling shutter can be nasty, but those who know better, know how to avoid the "jello" effect. The form factor was designed for PHOTOS! Handheld isn't nice...at all. You would have to get support like the Zacuto rigs to do handheld right.

You've come to the right place Max. This new forum has already been chucked full of great info and insight with these cameras. Look around, do MORE research until you know all of the benefits and downfalls of these cameras, and use that knowledge to see if it would be a good thing for you to buy.

As long as you are happy with the workarounds that ppl before you have created, then I would say you will be happy with the results too.

Good Luck,
Ryan~


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Norman Pogson
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:59:23 pm

The larger sensor of the HD DSLR along with interchangeable lenses can give very shallow depth of field, the Canon 5DMKll is a little bit better at the shallow dof compared to the 7D because of sensor size. The 5D also has better lowlight reduced noise over the 7D. That said the 7D has better fps choice and is cheaper.

One noticeable difference over a camcorder, I find the DSLR's longer to set up a shot, not quite as good for run and gun stuff. Also that lovely shallow depth of field makes it very difficult to follow focus.

I have the Canon 7D and have zero regrets getting it.

My Canon 7D Blog


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Ed Cilley
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 5:38:14 pm

Max,

I'm sure you have thought about the audio aspect. If you are used to using HDV with a good camera you would have good audio recordings. The audio with DSLR is very low quality, but enough for some. If you're shooting interviews or concerned with audio, look into other sound recording solutions to supplement your video.

Ed

Avid and FCP Preditor
_________________________________________________
Anything worth doing at all, is worth doing well.
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield


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Adrian Pagus
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 6:03:38 pm

Max, as previous posts mentioned, the main benefit of HDSLRs is picture quality (wide dynamic range and shallow depth of field) due to their large sensors. In the right hands, results can be quite stunning. If you need convincing, check out vimeo.com for endless streams of eye candy, especially the work of people like Phillip Bloom, Vincent Laforet or (for something different) Robert Chiu. Depending on your needs, please be aware that purchasing an HDSLR (such as Canon 7D) is only the beginning. You'll need to invest in decent lenses, audio gear and handheld solutions, data storage and backup. Costs can add up pretty quickly. I, per example, own a 7D. It has a smaller sensor than its famed predecessor (5DmkII), however it has some dedicated video features which make it more flexible (and faster) to work with, such as dedicated video / photo switch, frame rates (24fps and 25fps in 1080p, and 60fps in 720p). I invested in Canon's L glass (35mm f/1.4 and 24-105mm f/4) with the idea that some day I will use it on a full frame camera (keep in mind that camera bodies come and go, glass is forever :-) Audio on Canon HDSLRs is currently plagued by problems tied to Canon's internal Auto Gain Control (AGC). There are hardware solutions (such as JuicedLink's DN101 used in conjunction with their CX pre-amps) or Magic Lantern firmware upgrades (for 5DmkII only, at this time), but this will add roughly another $300 to the cost of the camera. Hope these tips help. Good luck.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 7:10:09 pm

Everyone has covered most of what I would say but there is one more thing. Canon has spent years and massive R&D to make digital SLR's good enough that pro still photographers would use them and stop using film. So you have this digital camera that shoots stills that rival 35mm film in all ways from color to dynamic range, skin tones, detail etc etc - so good in fact that pro's use them everyday and rarely shoot film anymore.

Now take the video side - we have have a different evolution born from interlaced video and based more on resolution trying to get film DP's to use HD. Many film diehards still don't like digital because of the look.

So Canon ads motion capture to a still camera that pro's have already bought off on as "filmic" and you get the images we are seeing - STUNNING! And like nothing that has EVER come from a HD video camera.

On our last feature, our cast couldn't wait to get to the hotel every night so they could watch dailies - they were blown away at the image every single time! The footage, when shot right, looks and feels like a movie should - not some HD thing that's gonna have to be tweaked in post to look like film.

But there are problems! Rolling shutter - just have to know going in - DSLR's may not be right for certain shoots or scenes. The form factor - not great for handheld shots without some sort of rig to give it some weight. The codec - the weakest link thus far. While it's decent it needs to be better (more bandwidth) or Canon/Nikon needs to give us a live full rez output so we can use our own capture device like a KiPro or whatever.

Sorry for the book - I think these DSLR's are still in their infancy and can only get better.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Stuart Nimmo
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 11:04:24 pm

What a wise thread!
I would add that there's been a very good reason why broadcast quality video cameras (and this includes HDV ProDV and so on evolved ergonomically as they did and continue to do, it's not because we are luddites but because cameramen have found that shape and heft practical. I'm talking there about the shape of "the box", not the contents. It's worth noting that this general form has been broken away from and returned to for very many format generations. I'm not of course saying that this is a valid reason to feel stuck with that ergonomic shape, I'm very ready to adapt, providing the replacement is actually better. I really don't want to shoot what I shoot on a stills camera.

As to format, these larger chips (can) produce fabulous images, nevertheless for me the rolling shutter is a non-starter, it's faults are so well known and limiting that (for me at least) until a solution is found there's no point in going into that further.

Sound? Vital I see little point in going back to the early days of mute cameras. In this economically and environmentally tough time it's vital that all existing top quality broadcast audio kit is 100%(not 99.99%) compatible with any new video camera, right down to switching and XLR plugs.

Switching and plugs: while we are at it, for at least a couple of camera generations (say six weeks?) these should remain the same.

DSLR looks really great, Now put that technology together with a shutter that works and into a box that works for moving pictures and you'll have a winner (for a few weeks).

http://www.GluedTo.Tv


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 4, 2010 at 11:51:06 pm

Yeah I forgot audio Stuart - pain - but we did dual system and I'm glad - we were able to capture pristine 48k/24bit dialog and use the Canon audio as a scratch track for syncing purposes only. Pain but the quality far exceeds anything we could have captured to a camcorder. It all comes back to form factor and I'll take the dream camera you mentioned too - 'til the next great thing comes out!

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Norman Pogson
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:28:13 am

For the average user a good mic and the Samson zoom H4n is a great low cost solution to recording stereo sound with a DSLR

My Canon 7D Blog


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 5, 2010 at 8:23:56 am

We have one of the Zoom H4N's - really great for run and gun audio! We did a lot of in-car pick-ups after we cut our sound crew loose and we're pleasantly surprised! Great buy for DSLR users!

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Uli Plank
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 6, 2010 at 9:07:36 pm

IMHO the biggest problem besides RS and audio is aliasing. Beware of fine regular patterns in focus!

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Max Baker
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 7, 2010 at 9:16:40 am

I appreciate all the great responses to my query. This really does highlight a path to follow. I'm gathering that the DSLR is better in a controlled set-up, with external audio. That's actually where I was thinking of using this camera. I don't care for the audio quality on my camcorders either, and mostly use a Zoom H4N with either wired mic or wireless lapel mic, so that's not much of an issue for me. The rolling shutter/skewing problem also occurs with the CMOS HDV camcorders as well. Consequently I avoid pan shots and flashes as much as possible. Thanks everyone for all the data. I may just have to take the plunge. Worst case scenario, I have a great DSLR camera for my stills!

Max


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Stuart Nimmo
Re: Benefit of DSLR Over Prosumer HDV?
on Feb 7, 2010 at 9:53:09 am

Good luck with this Max and enjoy! Let us know how it goes.

http://www.GluedTo.Tv


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