What Hybrid DSLR camera to buy?!!

31 05 2009

DSLR

I’m looking to buy a new camera, so I thought I’d put a list together with some pros and cons. Don’t think I’ll be buying for a few months yet, still saving the pennies. A friend has just got a Canon 5D mkII. I’m desperate to get my hands on it for a try, to see if It’ll make my mind up

Over the last 6 months there’s been a stalled revolution which was the release of HD video capable DSLR stills cameras with the potential to blow away more expensive video cameras. First the Nikon D90, which despite being initially impressive, proved to be a bit of a damp squip, with a fair amount of artifacting and problems when panning the camera. This was followed by the Canon 5D mkII which was seriously impressive, full 1080p and a really crisp image with none of the problems associated with the D90.

But the Canon 5D mkII looks like it was a rushed release. Due to Nikon releasing the D90, Canon seem to have brought forward the date on the 5D mkII to steal it’s thunder. It surely did. But when I say it was a rushed release, I don’t mean that they got it all wrong, quite the opposite. The camera actually is now a serious threat to their video camera sales. Apparently they didn’t talk to the video division, just put a great video mode on a DSLR.

However, it was still seriously limited, with no real control over the settings, frame rate etc. This has had many filmmakers gnashing their teeth, seeing something so near, but so far away. My problem is that as I live in the UK, I use the PAL TV system. This operates at 25 frames per second, or 25P. The camera will only shoot in 30P which is (almost) NTSC, the US and  Japan standard.

In the meantime…

Red, famed for its Red one camera has scrapped working on its Scarlett ‘budget’ camera. This looks to be replaced by a DSLR type body. “We have changed everything about Scarlet because the market has changed and we have discovered a lot of things in the process. We have a new vision. Wipe you minds of the past announced Scarlet. Forget the design and forget the price. It is all different now. We think you will be surprised.” The price on this one is probably out of my price range, expect £4000 at a guess, and also Red have previously released their cameras, then had a long wait for people to actually get their hands on one. But if you can handle the wait it will surely be revolutionary.

Panasonic releases the GH1 – Panasonic sort of gets it right. Its new camera is 4 thirds, a newish system which has a lack of lenses available, but due to the smaller size, seems to mount industry lenses easier. Many people think this is a really great camera, but I’m holding out for a while to wait and see.

Recently Canon have released info about a future firmware upgrade which will address many of the problems over the manual controls. but there is still the problem over the framerate.

Here’s the contenders. I’ve decided to put these in order of personal interest.

DSLRnikon

Nikon D300s Approx £1300 without lens- Still a rumor, but a big rumor that there will be an update to the D300. As this would be Nikon’s chance to make a serious fight with Canon for the DSLR/Filmmaker market, lets hope that they go all the way with the video instead of the specs listed here at Nikonrumors.com.

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DSLRcanon

Canon 5D mkII Approx £2100 without lens – Now this just produces superb images, untouched so far by the others available at the time of writing. Checkout canonrumors.com for info on the recent firmware update or the hopeful resolution of the 24/25p problem

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DSLRpana

Panasonic GH1 – £1300 with lens – This looks very interesting – Full 1080p, interchangeable lenses. Full manual controls. Watch this space. I’m really interested to see comparison videos

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I’d prefer Nikon over Canon, as they seem the better buy in the long run. Their cameras seem better, and their lens system is backwards compatible – meaning that you can keep your older lenses when you upgrade the camera.

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