Are we still taking the DSLR seriously for video ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments

Up until the Sony A99 my answer would be no but Sony have proved that there is life in the old dog yet. It’s taken Sony a while to catch up with the competition but catch up they have with the A99 DSLR, it’s the first camera to sport a professional XLR sound input via an $800 accessory but that,s a significant step over the line for a photographic camera.

Not only professional sound but 1920 x 1080 50p AVCHD recording onto a full frame 35mm sensor with a swivel LCD and headphone jack socket !

Will this be any better than a Canon C100 at two times the cost of the A99, sadly if you want to avoid a certain level of moire and aliasing you still need to buy into the C100 or better still the C300. I have seen the AVCHD 1080 50p picture from an A77 and it was fantastic but I did not put the A77 through it’s paces, like so many of these hybrid DSLRs they give you cracking pictures 90% of the time which is not bad odds, it’s only when you come up against certain conditions like house tiles that the artefacts raise their ugly head.

After further research sadly the A99 suffers from moire and aliasing as reported by Eye North. Eye North is Christoffer Brekne’s informal platform for sharing some of his work as well as experiences from work. He is a Norwegian filmmaker based in Aarhus, Denmark.

Seemingly the new Nikon D600 has similar issues and the new Panasonic GH3 uses the same Sony sensor !!! This was such a positive introduction to the Sony A99 till I discovered the same old issues that have dogged the DSLR for the last two years moire and aliasing, you really think that Sony of all people would get this right after the amount of time they have taken to catch up.

So there we have it the Panasonic GH2 and the Canon 5D Mk111 are still the only DSLRs that have almost overcome moire and aliasing but the Canon and Panasonic has little to commend it for professional XLR sound inputs.

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5 comments on this post

  1. Nicholas says:

    I’m highly anticipating the release of this camera, please produce a review when available! 🙂

  2. Domonic White says:

    I thought the A99/V900 sensor was reported to have horrible moire and aliasing issues?

    Lack of XLR ports you can work around – poor image quality less so.

    I can only assume this article is intended to insight lots of fanboy arguing?

  3. Tim says:

    I think the DSLR, for some but not all serious work is still relevant for two reasons:

    1. The Look –
    One of Europes largest broadcasters- German ZDF television, for various reasons, still use Canon 5DMK2 cameras for their weekly documentary program “Zoom”
    http://www.zdf.de/ZDF/zdfportal/web/ZDF.de/ZDFzoom/2942346/5991578/efafb2/ZDFzoom.html
    I personally think it looks great and wish there was more of it but I also acknowledge that the large sensor, 25p look isn’t everyones taste.

    2. Stealth –
    DSLR’s look like photographic cameras, because they are. It’s simply easier to get away with shooting quality material in restricted locations without a press pass and without being told to move on.

    The BBC and others have used DSLR’s to great effect covering war zones. It doesn’t get more serious than that!
    http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/2012/04/12/bbc-panorama-use-canon-5d-mkii-to-shoot-‘homs-journey-into-hell’-–-an-interview-with-cameraman-fred-scott/

    If anything – despite moire and aliasing, the A99 is especially well suited to take over where the 5DMK2 left off. Why?
    a. high quality EVF (no add-on’s)
    b. flip screen
    c. XLR adapter

    Personally since using the GH2
    (w/out hack), I’m convinced that the DSLR form factor for some, but obviously not all serious shooting situations, is actually irreplacable.

  4. Sensors designed for ultra high resolution stills will never be optimum for significantly lower resolution video. That’s down to the laws of physics. Canon have attempted a workaround with the 5D MkIII by adding a stronger anti-aliase filter. This is still a compromise as can be seen from all the complaints of soft pictures.
    It should be possible to use a 28MP sensor (or whatever) for HD video, but you would need to read out every pixel and then do some heavyweight processing and electronic anti-aliasing. This would use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat, so is probably completely impractical in a DSLR type body. I really don’t think it is a case of the manufacturers not wanting to make a DSLR that really can do video properly, I just don’t think that is technically practical. It wouldn’t really be a DSLR, more a video camera that also stills.

    DSLR’s have their place in the video world, of that there is no doubt. I’ll often take my Canon 550D or Sony NEX5 when I want or need to travel light or inconspicuously. But if I want the best image quality then it has to be a dedicated video camera and I don’t see that situation changing any time soon. The two things, ultra high resolution stills and much lower resolution video just aren’t compatible with each other.

  5. Dave C says:

    It’s all good until you realise it’s a 2800 body & 800 xlr & a few lenses good enough for video is another 1000.
    But after all that amazing stuff you are limited to a pretty poor codec by all accounts. 28mbit at 50/60fps or 24mbit at 25/30fps really are not doing this camera justice.
    Throw in off board recording (will xlr input audio go down hdmi out?) that is good enough for professional use (ie can play back there and then if needed) and its another 1000.

    2800 + 1000 + 1000 + 800, or about $5,500, or £4000!

    Does that xlr kit even include a good mic?

    Blackmagic cinema camera and a few nice lenses (that can be shared with your canon slr!) comes to £3000 and comes with fantastic software, codecs, SSD recording, etc etc.

    Had the A99 had a higher end native video codec ala 5D3, and balanced 3.5mm jack audio in ala 5D3 it’d save you £2000 on extras and itd match most other solutions out there out of the box… and it’d be on my shopping list!

    Finally considering the price and depreciation curve of Sony glass you’d be bonkers to spec up an A99 and extras vs a Canon glass equivalent Dslr or BM on Canon glass for less outlay same or better features and better residuals!

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