Monday, August 24, 2009

Cameras: Rough Time to Buy

Cameras: Rough Time to Buy

I am constantly getting asked what camera people should buy. The simple answer is… “I don’t know!” And really, I never tell anyone what camera they should get—I just point things out and ask questions.

That said, unless you want to get a Canon 5D MarkII or a Nikon D90, it is a bad time to get a new camera. We have finally reached a tipping point in DSLR technology development that futurists have been predicting for years—the merging of video and still photography. Without looking up dates, I think the D90 was the first DSLR to offer HD video, but it was really the Canon 5D MkII that made the big splash with it’s full frame sensor, outstanding noise levels, and full 1080 HD video. I’ve shot it. It’s awesome…

Here are two key points in this discussion that you should know about…
1. Depth of Field. This is where DSLRs rock. There are no consumer digital video cameras that do a good job of controlling the depth of field. However, start shooting video on a DSLR and you get the exact same control over the focus range as you have with your still images. There are tons of tricks and gadgets to do this in the video camera world, but now the DSLR does it out of the box.
2. Multi-media. We see it most clearly in the world of photojournalism, but the realms of photography and videography are merging. The photojournalist of today must be able to shoot both. Even newspaper photographers are doing stories with stills for the printed paper and in video for the website. Who wants to carry two cameras? Today a few, and tomorrow all, DSLRs will give you the ability to shoot video.

Right now my camera purchasing advice is usually to wait… unless you’re getting the 5D MkII or the D90, or now the Rebel T1i. Even if you don’t think you want/need video… trust me, you do. The potential to capture a video clip or two in a portrait session, a special moment between bride and groom at a wedding, or record an interview with a missionary on the field is so appealing to out ability as photographers to step beyond the traditional bounds of the profession and engage culture with new tools and new potential.

Me? I’m waiting for the Canon EOS 1D-MkIV. Waiting and saving…

This quick interview was shot on a 5D MkII with a 17-40mm f/4.0 lens using the camera’s built in microphone.

If you’re interested in doing more with multi-media you should check out the folks at Revolutionary Media at:

Check out dpreview’s in depth review of the Canon EOS 5D MkII:

Ready to buy? Bhphotovideo is the best:



kikiclawson said...

Coming soon to a multimedia fanatic near you, the Nikon D800. Full Frame HD, and as Nikon as ever.

Carl said...

You said "multimedia." I haven't heard that since the 90's. :)