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10.05.2009

Why the DSLR Video Camera Now?

Last Friday I was chatting with Nathan Rigaud about the latest in Digital Still Cameras that now all seem to have high definition video capabilities as well. I was not aware that these cameras now offer audio in, which makes them pretty ideal for young filmmakers.

It's been pretty crazy to watch the explosion in this area of technology. When I entered college, DVD burning was not yet an option. Three years later and you could burn as many DVDs as you wanted on a reasonably priced laptop. Video web compression went from a 120x240 Ream Media file to today's common video sites streaming HD Flash footage for free. And back in my day, you had two options for video: Stand Definition and Uncompressed SD.

Now, my pocket camera shoots HD footage and lets me drag it into YouTube with pretty good results.

But why, someone asked me, are digital still cameras all the rage these days? Why are they shooting HD and surpassing many of the video cameras of just two years ago?

Why indeed.

I think there are three reasons:

  1. Larger sensors: Digital cameras have long had larger sensors than their video counterparts. Larger sensors give you bigger/better images.
  2. History of flash media: Granted, the first digital cameras captured to floppy disk, but rather quickly switched to solid-state memory. This long preceded Panasonic's P2 hype, and now that flash memory is so cheap and wicked-fast, the Digital SLR is the inexpensive, proven, open option.
  3. Do it all: I have a $10,000 HD video camera that rocks. But it's stills are hardly even a megapixel in size and not very good. For a couple grand, on the other hand, I could have a camera that shoots at a higher resolution in video and takes gorgeous stills.

I'm sure there are other reasons that have to do with lenses, accessibility, price-point and all that. But the three outlined above, I think, made the rest possible.

So will I get myself one of these beauties?

Not yet. But they sure look like a great option.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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