Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ok, so I lied a bit

Originally this was just going to be a photo blog, but as my wife got me the D300s for Christmas I've been wanting to try a few video projects with it to see how well it handles compared to something like the Sony PMW-EX1 (now replaced in Sony's line-up by the PMW-EX1R) or HVR-Z7E.  Over the coming weeks and months, I'll be using the D300s in certain situations where I might normally use the EX1 or Z7 cameras.

There are a few obvious differences.  The Sony EX1 is a dedicated Full HD (1920x1080) video camera that just about meets broadcast requirements, the D300s is not, it records "HD Ready" at 24fps 720p only (the Z7 is not full HD either, it's HDV, 1440x1080, but it does provide 720p @ 50fps just like the EX1).  The EX1 requires I spend a fortune on an adapter to mount my Nikon lenses, the D300s obviously does not.  While both cameras use CMOS sensors, the EX1 has three of them, whereas the D300s has one. While they both suffer from rolling shutter issues to some degree (a simple fact of CMOS sensors), the effect is much less obvious on the EX1 than it is on the D300s.  The EX1 has full manual control when shooting video, and the D300s does not (although there are some slight workarounds, as you can set the aperture manually in tripod mode and lock exposure).  There are other differences, but I'll address each one as they come up in future blog posts.

One of the biggest issues for me is the length of time the D300s can capture in a single clip. As the EX1 is a camera specifically designed for video, it does not have a maximum length of a single shot (handy for events and other live recordings that can't be repeated) and with dual card slots, there's no interruption for endless shooting as long as the camera has power.  The D300s has a limit of 5 minutes per clip when shooting HD video, so it's not really all that good for events, except as a support camera when using the EX1 as the main camera.

For something like a corporate promo or a short film where you're shooting clips rarely lasting more than a couple of minutes, it's not really an issue.  In that situation, even on the EX1, you're still shooting clips only lasting a minute or two and then editing them all together in post.

I'll wrap it up here, before I ramble on too much more, as this post was really just to let you know what I was planning for the future.  As projects come up that allow me to experiment a bit with the D300s video abilities, I'll pop up posts with techniques, observations, any problems that may arise and how to overcome them (if even possible).

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