Video in Digital Cameras

Do we really want HD video in our DSLRs and compact cameras?  Do we want whatever added cost these capabilities add to the retail price?  Taking up the extra room inside the camera for the necessary electronics?  Perhaps the manufacturers deleted a more useful feature in order to give us video capabilities?

HD video is the latest “must have feature” being pushed on all the latest DSLRs and even the higher end compacts.  You’re buying a still camera, yet the manufacturers are telling you that you NEED HD video in your still camera and that you must pay for it!  This is nothing new.  Manufacturers have been adding new features we don’t actually need to our cameras for a long time and then charging us extra for it

They even have the gall to tell us we must have this feature.  And we must, you can’t get the camera without it.  This would be like going through the McDonalds drive-thru and being told that the baht 60 Big Mac we ordered requires that we must buy an order of French fries and a hot pineapple pie, and that our baht 60 Big Mac now costs baht 90.  Oh, and it’s healthy and better for us too!  Thank you very much..

Since video cameras became available to the consumer public I’ve bought exactly three of them.  Each time the wife envisioned documenting our lives and the life of the newest son.  Each time we ended up making the obligatory private video (which is a heck of a lot of fun) before sticking the expensive video camera in the drawer to be forgotten about forever.  The only good thing I can say about these video cameras is that they keep getting less expensive (always a good thing) and smaller, thereby taking up less room in the drawer.

You’ve probably had video capabilities on your compact point and shoots for the last ten years.  Did you know you had it?  Did you care?  Have you ever used it?  If you’re like me you’ll test the feature, remark “that’s nice”, and then never use it again.  Why?  Because you purchased the camera for still pictures and the cameras video capabilities are lackluster at best.

Has anything changed?  With true HD video on high-end DSLRs we can now make truly high quality video, and being able to use our expensive lenses is a plus over all but the most expensive dedicated video cameras.  Yet, shooting video from our DSLRs eats up the batteries in record time, fills up the biggest flash memory card in just minutes, and a little known fact is that they heat up (and thereby reduce the life) the sensor.  The more hot a sensor becomes, the more noise it produces.  Now you know why Canon dropped the maximum length you can record a movie using their new 5d Mark II almost in half!

The truth is, even considering the high quality possible with DSLRs, DSLRs lack many of the most basic features that make a video camera both easy and convenient to use.  An example would be an articulating LCD screen.  Proper grip handles.  Variable aperture during shooting.  And much more.

I don’t know about you guys, but if I want a video camera I’ll look in the drawer and use one of the ones already there.  I don’t want my DSLR to be bigger, more costly, or have less USABLE features because the manufacturers marketing department decided they could sell more DSLRs if they pushed the heck out of their HD video capabilities.  What, do they want their DSLRs to end up forgotten about in a drawer somewhere?

Until next time...