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Best Camera for video?

Discussion in 'DSLR Video' started by Jadis, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Jadis


    Apr 30, 2009

    I'm trying to decide if the D3s (or possibly the D7000) would be good video cameras for my purposes. I currently have a D700 and a Panasonic LX3 (that I use primarily for its video function) and while the D700 is a great still camera I would like to either consolidate my still+video camera (ie buy a D3s) or upgrade my LX3 to some other small camera with better video capabilities.

    My first question is: is the 720p video from a D3s (with nice glass) significantly better than the video from a point and shoot like the LX3? Like, as in the same amount of difference between a still shot from a full frame DSLR vs a P&S?

    I would prefer clearer, less noisy and muddy colored videos (during low light scenes) as on my LX3 if possible. Would the D3s give that?

    I also wonder about the AF issue - a P&S camera has pretty good AF during video as well as great DOF due to its smaller sensor size. I would be using video exclusively for candid footage of family sorts of things (kids) - is the AF on the D3s (or any DSLR with video) ill-suited for this purpose?

    I'd also welcome any suggestions for other small-ish cameras that could give me a jump in video quality over the LX3.
  2. Pupator


    Jan 29, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I can't speak to the 3Ds, but D7000 video is very good - even in low light. The colors are rich and the movement is smooth. However, two things:

    1) a microphone attachment is essential. The internal mic just doesn't cut it.
    2) AF is (nearly) useless. It's too slow to focus, hunts too much, and the microphone picks up the audio.
  3. RayLarson


    Mar 27, 2007
    Pawtucket, RI
    My advice use a video camera for video and a still camera for stills.
  4. Nik-onRules


    Jul 31, 2007
    Well I'm no expert but but the D700 is a full fame camera therefore the you will get better quality picture than the D7000 because of the sensor.

    Now I just bought the D7000, traded my D200, and the picture are excellent including the video quality.

    But my D700 pictures a way nicer, but again its a full frame camera.
  5. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    DSLR's are capable of very good video...however dedicated video cameras are still better at getting good video for most people. You will easily spend $1k to 10K to get a DSLR setup to take professional video. A good prosumer video camera (arouind $1k) or a bottom line pro (3 to 4K) will get you much better family images at this time.

    Video is a whole different animal. I have both types of cameras. You will also have to learn to use a good video post processing program to really get videos that are worth watching (although there are some very good consumer video processing programs for less than $200). Additionally, you will need a need a quad core and lots of ram to process ACHD movies.

    These are just my opinions, but a google search on DSLR video might be worth while before a major expenditure on getting a DSLR for video to show you what is going on. Here's a link with lots of HDSLR links:

  6. Nik-onRules


    Jul 31, 2007
    I don't agree with you TheFantasticG. I have a friend of mine that has a Canon 5DMKII and his videos are no better than mine I just created.

    Pictures will probably better since that Canon is a full frame but as far as video I think it will be the same quality.
  7. Nik-onRules


    Jul 31, 2007
    Yep looks pretty good. I don't disagree that Canon is really good. I'm just saying that the D7000 video is probably at the same level or you would not even see the difference.

    Here is a test video with Chase jarvis.

  8. aesop


    Oct 2, 2008
    ^^ without a doubt.
  9. I can only imagine that video performance from the D7000 would exceed that of the D3s since it's a considerably newer design. That said, the D3s is still Nikon's standard bearer for stills (excepting the strengths offered by the D3x).

    My bet is that in the next few months, whatever body replaces the D700 will emerge and will offer some significant video technology. If you're not in a rush, I'd wait it out a little longer - and I almost NEVER recommend waiting! In this case, though, if you need pro level dual purpose body, and you're already shooting full frame, I think Nikon's next offer will be the budonkadonk! I'm jonsing for it and I don't even shoot video. I plan to learn it one that one...
  10. TetonTom


    Aug 28, 2008
    Colorado, USA
    I agree with Vinman... I think that they almost nailed it with the D7000, but were a bit rushed. I think that we're mostly waiting for frame-rate at this point. Nevermind the DX/FX thing, whatever comes out next will be the shizzle.
    If you have to buy right now, and are already invested in Nikon glass, get a D7000 and I'll bet you're not disappointed.
    I'm shooting with a D90, DIY follow-focus rig, $25 shoulder support, and recording sound with a decent stereo shotgun mic to a cheap external MP3 recorder. Still not the video quality I was getting with a consumer 3CCD camcorder, but a heck of a lot of fun!
  11. 1D MKIV. The sensor isn't quite as large, but it still has incredible high ISO ability, but it also gives you the ability to shoot 1080p at 60FPS, which the 5D MKII is lacking.
  12. mnp13


    Jul 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    I have to agree with the other poster - a video camera.

    Yes, it's a separate item to haul around, but there's a reason for that.
  13. A DSLR is the way to go for someone like an indie film maker. That would be someone that wants the professional quality without the professional price and someone that understands the limitations and how to work with them. I agree that DSLRs aren't a good video camera for your typical mom/dad that wants to record their kids, but it's not a bad feature to include on a DSLR.

    You can get a good full frame VDSLR rig with lenses for <$5000. Try finding a professional video camera that can match the quality of a 5D MKII and have interchangable lenses with the ability to film cleanly at high ISOs and have such shallow DOF for that price.
  14. Garzilly


    Nov 4, 2008
    Houston, TX
    If you can wait awhile, I'd wait till the news breaks of the D700 replacement (D800?). The rumor mill has been churning out some impressive video specs for the next entry FX camera. Of course, who knows how much of it will come true.

    I use the video features on my D300s quite often and find it to be very capable, with the exception of the built in microphone. Even the Rode Stereomic I picked up has been troubling. I get a very noticeable hissing noise in all my clips. It almost sounds like a faint lawnmower in the distance. I'm able to eliminate a good portion of it using Sony's Soundforge software, but it's annoying regardless.

    I say wait it out for the D800 :biggrin:
  15. This question (and many resulting comments) represent a very wide-open topic with lots of room for interpretation. Best for what kind of video? In what environment? Under what conditions? That alone will help the "video camera/dslr" part of the discussion.

    As for which DSLR is better for video - again, better for what? Go look at the Zacuto shootout and you'll see different brands and models perform better or worse depending on the type of filming being done.

  16. mnp13


    Jul 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    I actually know an idie file maker (a quite well known one actually), he does not use a DSLR for his movies. He does shorts and has a "medium" length as well (not feature length, not a short, an in-between.) He's won a lot of awards at a number of film festivals, and was in the running for the million dollar prize at Canne a few years ago.

    A DSLR is not the "camera of choice" for film by any film makers that I know of. And admittedly that's a small circle, but a few big names.
  17. Established folks will likely be hesitant to leave a system that they are already invested in and already familiar with. They don't have a reason to mess with what works and what's paid for, which may or may not describe your friend. If you look at the rental houses, they still rent Sony, Panasonic, JVC or upwards to Arri and Panavision - no Nikon or Canon dslr stuff - so even finding DSLR rentals in rental houses isn't common enough for them to try if they're curious.

    As a new generation of filmmakers WILL appreciate the lower entry price and grow up with a dslr workflow and the cameras will improve as well.

  18. Jadis


    Apr 30, 2009
    Thanks for all the replies. Since I originally posted my question I have discovered the existence of a prodduct called the Kodak Playsport - basically a small compact HD video recorder - and it's waterproof/shockproof too - all for a very cheap price.

    I think I will just go with something like that for now and wait until a D700 replacement comes instead of spending larger sums of money on things like the D3s or D7000, or even a compact P&S. The Playsport is so ridiculously cheap compared to all these options...
  19. If you are considering using the latest DSLR for video:


    Hehe, usually it's good to wait til the OP chimes back in before making recommendations. See if this feature is something handy for you then a DSLR simply won't take the rigors of the elements as well as the Kodak....unless of course you're willing to spend an equal amount of money on watertight housings etc.
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