Digital SLR or not a Digital SLR that is the question ?

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lumix-gh1-with-mic-v5Personally I think photographic manufacturers are becoming a bit over obsessive with adding HD video recording to almost every new digital camera that hits our high streets. Having a recording media in a small compact camera is fun and comes in useful filming the kids or grandchild but there seems to be a race out there to see who can produce the ultimate CamRecorder.

I played around with my Nikon D90 yesterday as it also has the facility to record video, now lets see what you get…Nikon manual “Movie files can be up to 2GB in size. The maxium length is 5min for movies with a frame size of 1280 x 720, 20 min for other movies.” So I ask you why did Nikon even bother to mess up this camera adding a video facility when at full resolution you will only get 5 mins worth of footage !

I also found it almost impossible to use as a video camera having various buttons at the wrong place and no external mic socket leaves my D90 back in the bag as second camera to my D3.

lumix-gh1-lcd-v2Now strangely I also have a Lumix G1, I was buying 2 Canon camcorders for video diary usage and I was shown the G1. I had to buy one, the size was so appealing, when you turn up to childrens birthdays with a D3/SB900 flash you look a bit OTT.  The best feature for me about the Lumix G1 is the flip out viewfinder, this allows you to get pictures from ground level in my case …the two dogs.

So why the obsession to turn SLRs into video cameras…I think this stems from the newspaper industry. Newspapers have a misconception that if they looses customers who no longer buy their papers, maybe they will get them on the web, so the newspaper web industry has steadily grown and with it comes video. Newspapers now add video clips to enhance their web pages,… back to my original theory, SLR manufacturers got wind of this and that’s why we now see the “video plugin” with most SLRs. Note. I payed £565 last November (Today £469) for my Lumix G1 and now with the new HD version you can look to pay £900 so if you don’t need the HD facility look around for the G1 at less than 50% less ! 


EOS 5D Mk2 21mp with full HD video recording and mic input

EOS 500D 15mp with full HD video recording


D90 12mp with HD video recording albeit 5mins and no mic input

D5000 12mp with HD video recording and flip out LCD


Lumix GH1 12mp full HD video recording with flip out LCD and mic input

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony HVR-Z5 conclusion…

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If you can’t be bothered to watch the video review then my conclusions are as follows…

The Z5 performs exceptionally well in fact equal to the Sony EX-3 as long as it is set to 0dB and your lens is not wide open. The 20x “G” lens is good but does loose about 1.5 stops from wide to tight so be aware of this as you are zooming in on a subject. You also have -3dB available via the menu.

sony-hvr-mrc1kThe HVR-MRC1K memory recorder is optional costing around £578. The compact flash card minimum speed is 133x but Sony recommend a 300x card. I have noted that the biggest cards available in the UK at 300x speed are 16gig CF cards. There is a bracket supplied allowing you mount the recorder else where freeing up the battery compartment which was one of my concerns on the review and runs off a separate Lion battery.

Having 1/3″ chips has only compromised this camera when you start adding gain and it holds it’s own along side the EX-3 a camera twice it’s price. Going down to 25% direct light was more than a surprise to me and only the next stage 25% reflected light did we start to see a slightly blurry picture due to the lens being wide open. This phenomenon is common to most lenses even broadcast lenses they are just not sharp when wide open and is only curable by spending £6000 or more on a full spec HD lens but as we know the Z5 has a fixed lens. 

Conclusions…This is a cracking piece of kit, if you treat it with respect, keeping it to -3dB/0dB and the lens around f5.6-f8 it will produce superb pictures via the inbuilt HDV mini tape recorder. Adding a CF recorder gives you piece of mind that you are recording onto card but you can use the mini HDV tape as an archive. Also remembering the CF card is taken into your computer at 4x normal speed saving you a load of time transferring your material.

The camera costs £3737 UK price including 15% vat at

The video review link is

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DroboPro a must for HD…Archive

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DroboPro By Philip Johnston
View in HD  Download 720p Version  Visit Philip Johnston’s ExposureRoom Videos Page

Please note. I had nothing to do with the filming or editing of this but was so impressed by the DroboPro that it had to feature on my blog.

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The all new Canon CF35 full frame SDOF concept camcorder…

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It can’t be difficult to make it happen…the all new Canon 21MP full frame CMOS sensor CF35…

I am not a big fan of cross pollination yet Canon have decided that almost all DSLRs are going to have the facility to record in HD. Why not go the whole hog and produce a full frame film look camera that would satisfy the hunger for a growing band of video/film makers who need the Shalow Depth Of Field (SDOF) that the 35mm sensor gives along with 35mm Canon lenses with the need for more professional facilities like XLR sound inputs etc.

This is my photoshop prototype of the Canon CF35…A 21MP full frame CMOS sensor camcorder from Canon, with dual compact flash slots, takes all Canon 35mm lenses, full 1920 HD and 720P, takes 15MP photographs while filming, dual XLR connectors, HD-SDI output, new LCOS hi-rez viewfinder and optional EHDZ-9P hi-rez camera/field monitor with built in CF recorder.

Canon would like a better hold of the marketplace over the likes of Sony, JVC and Panasonic. So far we have seen full 1920 HD camcorders or 35mm still cameras with HD recording and 3.5mm jack mic inputs (EOS 5D Mk11). Canon you have the top hand you know all about video and 35mm digital, now more than ever is the time to produce a proper solid state film look (SDOF) camera at a reasonable cost say £6000.

“You saw it here first”

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Grays of Westminster for Nikon users

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grays-bannergray-levettIs this not just like Olivanders shop from Harry Potter…everything in the shop that fits a Nikon is here. Why am I highlighting it well I know we have some American buddies who look at my site and this shop is a must if you ever visit London, also most professional video camera operators use Nikon and Canon digital stills cameras.

It helps to be a Nikon user as you won’t find any other camera manufacturer displayed in this wonderful shop. You will even meet Mr Gray Levett the Olivander of Nikon himself.

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CVP showing new JVC GY-HM700 in stock…

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JVC GY-HM700Our friends at CVP are showing the new JVC GY-HM700 now in stock for next day delivery at £5620.63 inc 15% vat.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Petrol inflatable camera bag…

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The Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag is uniquely designed to safeguard a camera against accidental damage from other cargo or jostling during a flight. There’s no longer need to pad and cover valuable equipment with airline blankets or extra pillows. The top of the bag unzips smoothly and opens wide to offer enough room for a full-size broadcast camera without disturbing the viewfinder and lens. An exterior side pocket holds a coiled tube that connects to an exterior inflation valve. The user simply blows into the tube to fill the bag’s internal inflation system. Inside, the contents are surrounded by soft fabric backed by a firm, protective cushion of air. The inflation system is removable and can be easily replaced. When inflated, the bag can be safely stored in the airplane’s overhead compartment, or inside a hard case or standard camera bag. Additional features include Petrol’s nylon shoulder strap and easy-glide dual-directional zippers. The exterior is constructed of water-resistant blue Cordura and heavy-duty black ballistic nylon.

U.S. list price for Inflatable Airline Bag (PIAB) is $259. For further information,  go to

Editor “Now that’s what I call a great idea…how it’s not been thought of in the past beats me. Sadly by the time we see this bag in the UK it will cost upwards of £259”. 

Sourced from

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NAB 2009 preview

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tascam-audio-rec-v2NAB comes but once a year…If there is anything that NAB is good for it’s presenting us with new toys. NAB 20-23 April 2009 is where all the broadcasters head once a year to see the new kit from various exhibitors.

Right : Tascam are showing off their new hand held stereo audio recorder the DR-07. It records to SD cards in WAV or MP3 formats. Features include pitch and looping functions. The dual mics are electret condensers. You can download recorder files via a USB 2.0 port. The DR-07 ships with a 2GB card and windscreen. No price yet.



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Sony XVR-Z5 v EX-3 video review Wednesday

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sony-z5-v2Tomorrow (Tuesday) will see the editing done then some tweeks and some interesting findings…low light issues against the EX-3. Only here will you be able to make your mind up wether to add this camera as a good second partner to your EX-3.  Come back on Wednesday afternoon (8th April 09) to find out.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Ripple Training “Training for FC Studio 2”

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free-tutorialIf you want to learn some of the more inner secrets of Final Cut Studio 2 then look no further than Ripple Training. My early days plodding around Motion was a nightmare. Motion 3 with 3D elements is a bigger nightmare but the chaps at Ripple Training take your hand and walk you through the various steps and protocols. I have to dip into my Ripple DVDs now and again for a refresher course but I can tell you I am so glad I have my DVDs for reference. Ripple also do various free tutorials on their web site, why not give them a look.

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