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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.

Labels: CamerasD-SLRs

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Canon EOS 7D
Canon’s EOS 7D features an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, 8 fps shooting (for up to 15 RAW or 126 Large/Fine JPEGs using a UDMA CompactFlash card), a sensor-dust remover, ISOs from 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800), a 100% SLR viewfinder and a 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot live-view LCD monitor, and more.

The 7D can shoot 1920x1080p full HD video at 30, 25 or 24 fps, and 1280x720p HD and 640x480p SD video at 50 or 60 fps. A live-view/video switch/button control makes it simple to start shooting video. You can set shutter speeds (1⁄30 to 1/4000 sec.) and apertures manually, if desired, or let the camera do it (with video, shutter speeds in the 1⁄30 to 1⁄125 sec. range produce the smoothest motion). You can autofocus before or (via contrast-based AF) during video recording. The 7D can record up to 4 GB of video in a single clip; that works out to about 12 minutes of HD or 24 minutes of SD video. You can shoot one or more still images at anytime during a video; if you do, the video will be disrupted during still shooting, and a one-second still frame will appear at that point in the video.

The built-in microphone records mono sound; an optional 3.5mm stereo mic can be connected for stereo sound. Videos are recorded as MOV files with MPEG-4 AVC compression; audio is recorded in Linear PCM.

Canon EOS Rebel T2i
The new T2i offers the same basic image sensor and image quality as the 7D in a more compact package for about half the cost. The T2i shares the 7D’s metering system, but the 7D has a more advanced AF system.

While it provides the same video features as the 7D, the T2i adds a new Movie Crop mode, which provides 7x magnification by cropping the image directly from the CMOS sensor at full SD resolution—handy when you can’t (or don’t want to) get close enough to shy or dangerous subjects. The T2i is also the first EOS model to accept new high-capacity SDXC memory cards, which can hold more video footage.

High-End Video DSLRs

Currently, there are two all-out pro DSLRs with video capability: Canon’s EOS-1D Mark IV and Nikon’s D3S. Interestingly, their video features are the same as those of their manufacturers’ midrange models (the Canon EOS 7D and Nikon D300S). There’s also the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a full-frame model with similar video capabilities (when upgraded to the recently introduced firmware version 2.0.4). The larger sensors (the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D3S are full-frame models, the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV is APS-H format) produce a more “cinema-like” shallow depth of field than the APS-C cameras and better high-ISO image quality.

These cameras add still-shooting features of interest to high-end photographers. The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV can shoot its 16-megapixel still images at 10 per second (in bursts of up to 28 RAW or 121 JPEG with a UDMA CompactFlash card) and provides a normal ISO range of 200-12,800, expandable to 102,400. The Nikon D3S can shoot its 12.1-megapixel, full-frame images at 9 fps in bursts of up to 42 RAW or 82 JPEG), and when a DX lens is attached, it automatically crops to DX format (5.1 megapixels) and can shoot at 11 fps. It also provides ISOs up to 102,400, and due to the larger pixel size, produces excellent image quality at the highest settings. Both are rugged cameras, designed for hard pro use. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II produces 21.1-megapixel, full-frame images at ISO settings from 100-6400, expandable to 50-25,600. It can shoot at 3.9 fps for up to 14 RAW images or as many JPEGs as its UDMA CompactFlash memory card can hold. All three cameras feature 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitors with live view, built-in sensor-dust removers and compatibility with a wide range of lenses.


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