I'm a still photographer looking for advice on buying a digital video camera in the $5,000 price range. I shoot surfing stills and I would like to mount a video camera on the same tripod head as my still camera. Ideally, I'd like to find a quality video camera that focuses easily. I'm wondering if there's any way to use both the still and video cameras simultaneously, meaning I would only be looking through my still camera while also recording on the video camera without looking through it. Both cameras would obviously be pointing in the same direction following the surfer, but the challenge would be getting the surfer in focus on the video camera. I realize getting a clear focus without looking through the camera might not be possible. Since I know very little about video cameras, I just want to find out whether or not this is realistic. I'm shooting stills with a Canon 800mm lens. I would like a video camera with a lens in the range of 600mm to 800mm. Thank you.
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Posted 21 November 2016 - 05:39 AM
it might be easier to follow action and focus with the video camera and let the stills camera to take images automatically if you have to choose between the two. Focusing and autofocus is much more difficult to do with video... one possibility would be to use a good enough quality raw video camera to be able to capture the stills from the video frames. the shutter speed would be a problem of course (video generally requires longer exposure time for smooth motion which is not optimal for stills capture.
it might be possible for you to use a onboard video monitor or separate (hdmi, sdi) viewfinder to use your left eye for video camera's feed and right eye for the stills camera finder. it would require lots of learning to be able to concentrate on both when shooting but that way you would be able to see the focus on both and be able to use the stills camera as your main camera.
OR you could use a side-by-side 3D arrangement with two cameras (video capable stills cameras would be ideal for this I think) with two similar lenses with linked manual focus.
You will lose autofocus functions which is bad for stills shooting but otherwise would work quite well and you would only need to concentrate on one viewfinder because of the linked focus and similar field of view