A blog of my digital camera exploits

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why I love DSLR's

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When I was in high school, I decided to get into photography and videography, so I saved up my money and bought a Nikon D90 DSLR and a Canon GL2. For the longest time I shot photos on the D90 and video on the GL2, and never thought of mixing it up.
Anyone who has ever used the "Photo Mode" on a video camera knows that the images that come out of it are completely useless, so when I read in the manual (yes, I read the manuals...) that the D90, a DSLR designed for taking photos, could take video, I assumed that the same would hold true as video camera stills, i.e. the video would be useless.
I don't think I've ever been more wrong.
Once I started playing with the video mode of the D90, I was amazed. Not only was it HD, but it was beautiful! albeit grainy and over compressed. After I saw the power of the HDSLR (HD video recording DSLR) I packed away my GL2 and haven't touched it since (which was getting outdated anyways).

There are three main reasons why I shoot exclusively on HDSLRs: Price, depth of field, and versatility.
First off price. A new professional/prosumer video camera costs run into the thousands, not to mention another few thousand for a depth of field adapter and lenses if you want the cinema look. A new T2i, which is what I currently shoot on, is under $800, and comes with a lens, although its about the bottom of the bucket when it comes to lenses.
The next reason why HDSLRs are so powerful are because of the depth of field that is created with their larger sensors. Depth of field is when the background and foreground of an image can be thrown out of focus, or blurry, and the subject can remain sharp and in focus. This allows for more artistic options and a more cinematic look. With a standard video camera, a depth of field adapter is needed to get the same shallow depth of field, which can get pricey and degrades the image.
The final and biggest reason that I love HDSLRs is their versatility. It succeeds in both worlds, as a high quality video camera and as an amazing stills camera too. This morning when I was shooting the promotional video for Frontline Church Planting Center, Alan asked me if I could snag a few head shots of him. If I were shooting on a standard video camera, he would have been out of luck, but since I had my T2i, I simply unplugged the microphone, slapped on a speed light, and I had them done in no time at all. This could be a fantastic way to up sell to clients. No longer do I have two separate setups, one for video and another for stills, I'm always ready for whichever one they want. When I went on the winter retreat back in January, I shot an entire videos worth and a photo albums worth without having to bring more than a shoulder bag.
No one knows what type of cameras we will be using in the future, but I can see myself using a HDSLR for a long time to come.

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