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In need of professional advice: dSLR HD or HD cam?


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#1 Liam Howlett

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:01 AM

I am at a point where I want to get myself an HD camera. Recently I've had the opportunity to shoot with a Nikon dSLR that had an HD option. We shot a short film with it. Now I don't remember the exact model, but it was NOT the 5D Mark II, I assure you.

I was very pleased with the quality of the picture the dSLR was able to capture and the small size of the body.

Now I have been eyeing a Canon XH A1S for quite a while, a test footage video I keep rewatching is this one here

Where I come to a crossroads with all this is that I really like the fact that the Nikon dSLR has the HD capabilities not to mention it operates as a digital camera for photography in general. I possess a telephoto and a wide angle lens from my D60 and any Nikon lens works with any of the Nikon dSLR's... so I can use a telephoto when I shoot HD movies, and wide angle lenses.

with HD camera like Canon XH A1S... I'm not too familiar with at all and I'd like someone to fill me in. One thing I remember from just shooting a standard definition Panasonic camera is that their body lenses could actually go far, so with HD cameras the same kind of applies as they are similar ?

Would I be better off spending 3 grand on an HD camera plus extra lenses, or I could just go with a good HD dSLR. Is there noticeable difference in video quality / framerate between the two? Or either one would be safe to go with?

Help?
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 10:00 AM

I think it really depends if shallow depth of field is important to the films you're going to make. Also if you're going to be working at low light levels.

You could check out the link in this thread:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=44945
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#3 Liam Howlett

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 03:39 PM

I think it really depends if shallow depth of field is important to the films you're going to make. Also if you're going to be working at low light levels.

You could check out the link in this thread:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=44945


That link is convincing enough to get a dSLR with HD mode. You're spot on. One of the things that has greatly attracted me to the dSLR we shot with was the shallow depth of field. Our film came out to be very "cinematic" and we didn't even need to use telephoto lenses.

Does that mean that with a dSLR, when you're shooting HD movie mode, you don't have a lot of control for greater depth of field? I kind of skimmed through the aforementioned site, so I don't know if it answers that question.

In essence are there any huge differences in video quality? between HD vs HDSLR
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:39 PM

You can have moire patterning and other artefacts with the DSLR, the shallow depth of field is commonly used to minimise these. It also depends on which HD camera you're talking about, the resolution is perhaps more HDV than higher end HD. You don't have much lee way for grading in post.

http://ninofilm.net/...2010/04/17/536/
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#5 Liam Howlett

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:30 PM

You can have moire patterning and other artefacts with the DSLR, the shallow depth of field is commonly used to minimise these. It also depends on which HD camera you're talking about, the resolution is perhaps more HDV than higher end HD. You don't have much lee way for grading in post.

http://ninofilm.net/...2010/04/17/536/



Very good article, especially the rolling shutter is obvious. I noticed this with our Nikon.

However, I think I'm just going to get the Nikon D90 for the time being. I just looked at some vids on Vimeo, from that same article you posted up earlier..and was impressed with the image and how "cinematic" it looked. I guess it's cause of the shallow depth of field.

I'm eyeing the Canon XH A1S like mentioned above, as an HD Camera, but seeing the videos from your link I'm pretty convinced that I can do some good shooting with HDSLR, despite the shortcomings, as listed in the article above.

Here's the D90 video footage - so cinematic!


and here's a Canon 7D


both have that 35mm look, which is amazing. The D90 is under 1K

Edited by Liam Howlett, 10 May 2010 - 06:33 PM.

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#6 jacob thomas

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:47 PM

I wouldn't get the Nikon D90 it was the first DSLR with HD and only shoots 720 24p.
Plus it has one of the worst rolling shutters (jello cam) of the HD enabled DSLRs.

Check out the canon 550D/T2i and get a nikon to canon adapter if you prefer the nikon lenses.
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#7 Liam Howlett

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 09:20 PM

I wouldn't get the Nikon D90 it was the first DSLR with HD and only shoots 720 24p.
Plus it has one of the worst rolling shutters (jello cam) of the HD enabled DSLRs.

Check out the canon 550D/T2i and get a nikon to canon adapter if you prefer the nikon lenses.


Oh THANKS for the timely advice! and it's only under 1K as well + 18 megapixel instead of the 10/12 on Nikon!

and this video has me convinced as well!

what are your thoughts on Canon 7D ?

and was wondering, is there a Nikon equivalent to the T2i?

Edited by Liam Howlett, 10 May 2010 - 09:23 PM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:10 PM

No Nikons currently come close to the Canons performance, which saddens me, but hey, those are the breaks. Biggest Nikon issue seems to be Rolling Shutter, at least for me. This isn't to say the Canon's don't have this issue, it's just not nearly as pronounced.
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#9 jacob thomas

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:05 AM

Oh THANKS for the timely advice! and it's only under 1K as well + 18 megapixel instead of the 10/12 on Nikon!

and this video has me convinced as well!

what are your thoughts on Canon 7D ?

and was wondering, is there a Nikon equivalent to the T2i?


I was waiting and waiting for a Nikon with a decent movie mode... in the end I bought a 7D.
It definitely would not be my camera of choice if I could afford to shoot on 35mm or even 16mm.
Compared to the Red One it stacks up pretty well if you consider the price ahead of all else.
It still has rolling shutter issues and is obviously designed for taking stills not video.
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#10 Liam Howlett

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 03:26 AM

I was waiting and waiting for a Nikon with a decent movie mode... in the end I bought a 7D.
It definitely would not be my camera of choice if I could afford to shoot on 35mm or even 16mm.
Compared to the Red One it stacks up pretty well if you consider the price ahead of all else.
It still has rolling shutter issues and is obviously designed for taking stills not video.


You know I was checking up on T2i vs 7D and they both seem to be 18 megapixel with same CMOS sensor...what, then are the differences in quality? less options on the T2i, lesser quality video? (how if 7D and T2i are essentially the same?)
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