dSLR for shooting video: The great verdict of 2012
By David HAGUE
“Well”, I hear you all saying,” the lucky devil is back from his jaunt from The Land of the Rising Sun so how did his foray into the Land of the dSLR for video go?”
Well you can stop this lucky devil lark right here and now for starters. Within an hour of getting off Flight JL771 from Tokyo, I was in a doctor’s surgery being diagnosed with mild pneumonia. And trust me folks, that is not pretty I can tell you. Only thing worse I can remember is glandular fever. Even a week later after a course of “aggressive” anti-biotics, I still have a cough I could photograph, but at least the fevers, chills and weakness have mostly gone. (Still sleeping 12 hour nights though!)
But back to the task in hand.Yes I had ample opportunity to shoot video on a dSLR. As mentioned, the nice people at Nikon allowed me to dabble with a D7000 and a 28~300mm Nikon lens which for me was a perfect combination (as long as I remembered to set the white balance that is!)
During the course of the tour, there was ample opportunity to use it too, with lots of restaurants, train rides (including the Bullet Train or “Shinkansen” from Tokyo to Sendai), a three hour Tokyo sightseeing trip by bus, any number of nightspots, enormous camera shops, banks and banks of neon signs and not least, the annual camera show in Yokohama.
And use it I did. But here’s the rub. I also had with me a Sony NEX VG20 and despite trying very hard, and even leaving it behind in the hotel room on many occasions, I still preferred it. Looking at video shot side by side, there is little discernible difference between the two and even night shots of some weirdo Japanese monster that frequented the plaza by the hotel every night for 30 minutes came out quite well – annoyed security guard besides. (if anyone can tell me what this little feller is and what he is doing, you can have a free subscription to Auscam magazine!)
But frankly, ergonomics always won out; as a colleague said, video cameras have had this shape for donkey’s yonks for a reason so there is no need to change. And yes, although I can understand that you can buy rigs and other paraphernalia to make a dSLR “act” like a camcorder ergonomically, why not just spend the money on a camcorder?
With the likes of the NEX etc now having adaptor mounts coming on the market, the old chestnut of legacy lenses no longer applies either.
So, my final verdict is that if I really have to, I am happy to shoot video on a dSLR, but I’ll CHOOSE a dedicated camcorder any day. And vice versa for stills. The best tool for the job you see.
But I DO reserve my right to substitute a hammer for any other known implement to undo screws, fix windows, make square things fit in round holes, silence noisy parts and any other handyman job that may occur. Except bashing in nails. Of course. That is why God invented meat mallets ….
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