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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

Pentax K-7
With a rugged moisture-, dust- and cold-resistant (and very compact) body and a host of features, the K-7 could serve a working pro outdoor photographer very well, but it comes with a near-entry-level price. Among those features are a 14.6-megapixel, APS-C-format CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD live-view monitor, built-in sensor-shift shake reduction that works with all lenses, a built-in sensor-dust remover, three-frame, in-camera HDR, mirror prelock, automatic lens correction (for distortion and chromatic aberration, with DA lenses) and two RAW formats (Pentax’s PEF and Adobe’s “universal” DNG).

The K-7 can shoot 1280x720p HD video, plus 1536x1024p and 640x416p video, all at 30 fps. Operation is simple: Rotate the mode dial to the movie icon, and press the shutter button to start shooting; press again to stop. The camera controls ISO and shutter speed in video mode, but you can lock in a desired aperture before starting to shoot.

A built-in microphone records mono sound, or plug the optional stereo mic into the provided 3.5mm jack. You can’t shoot a still image during video recording. Videos are recorded in AVI format with Motion JPEG compression.

DSLR-Like Cameras With Video Capability

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH1, DMC-G2 and DMC-G10 are Micro Four Thirds System cameras that look like very compact DSLRs, but have eye-level, electronic viewfinders in place of a DSLR’s bulky mirror-box and pentaprism assemblies. All can record HD video; the GH1 can do 1080 full HD video. These Micro Four Thirds System models feature sensors smaller than the video DSLRs (17.3x13.0mm vs. 23.6x15.8mm for APS-C-format models and 36x24mm for full-frame models), which also helps account for their very compact size. But these sensors are still much larger than typical HD camcorder sensors, so the Micro Four Thirds cameras offer depth-of-field and image-quality advantages. There are more compact Micro Four Thirds models without electronic viewfinders (or with detachable ones) from Olympus (E-P1, E-P2 and E-PL1) and Panasonic (DMC-GF1), which also provide HD video and accept a wide range of interchangeable lenses.

Samsung’s NX10 is another interchangeable-lens, SLR-look-alike with an EVF instead of a mirror box and pentaprism, but it’s not a Micro Four Thirds System model, instead containing a 14.6-megapixel, APS-C-format Samsung CMOS image sensor. It features a 3.0-inch AMOLED monitor that uses less battery power and has a faster refresh rate than LCD monitors. The NX10 can do 1280x720p HD, 640x480p SD and 320x240p video, all at 30 fps, with mono sound via its built-in microphone.


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