Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Video DSLRs For Nature Shooters
The excitement of having HD video in a DSLR has taken the photography world by storm. We help you wind your way through the technology and the range of camera models that have HD video built in.
While the ability to record video has been built into compact digital cameras for years, as recently as two years ago there were no digital SLRs with video capability. That all changed in the last quarter of 2008, when Nikon introduced the D90 with the ability to record 720p HD video, and Canon soon followed with the EOS 5D Mark II and its ability to record 1080p full HD video.
Today (as of this writing), we have 11 digital SLRs that can also record HD video with more on the way. And along with the video-capable DSLRs, we’ve also seen the recent arrival of SLR-like digital cameras featuring DSLR-sized image sensors, interchangeable lenses and video capability, but with simple electronic viewfinders replacing the SLR’s bulky and complex mirror box and pentaprism viewfinder (see the sidebar “DSLR-Like Cameras With Video Capability”).
What all this means to you as a nature and wildlife photographer is a new dimension to the way you can record the outdoor scene: with motion—and sound. This opens up great creative opportunities, from showing wildlife behavior to the power of waterfalls. Video-capable DSLRs let you produce top-quality still photos and HD video, all with a single, compact unit.
HD Video Primer
Digital still images are recorded one at a time, each consisting of pixels. For example, a 12.1-megapixel Nikon D3S produces still images measuring 4256x2832 pixels (you can select lower resolutions when desired).
Digital video images consist of a series of horizontal lines scanned across the screen, commonly at rates of 24 or 30 image fps. For standard-definition (SD) digital video, each image frame consists of 480 horizontal lines, each 640 pixels wide. High-definition (HD) digital video frames have 720 lines, each line 1280 pixels wide. Full HD digital video frames have 1080 lines, each 1920 pixels wide.
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