Sam Sams
The consumer Ultra HD camcorder should all but kill off the stills camera. If not the 4K version then 8K for sure. I currently use an HD camcorder in preference to a DSLR. I only get 2 megapixel images if I convert a frame to a jpeg but capturing "the moment" at 50 frames a second is a doddle compared to using a still camera.
A sharp 2 megapixels is fine for the screen or a small print. 50 fps at 8.3 or 33.2 megapixels... who would use a DSLR?
Megapixel count and ISO range are not the main issues for me, as a non-professional photographer. What I am waiting for is a larger dynamic range in the sensor so that I can take a picture of something like a room interior where the view out of the window is not overexposed (or the interior underexposed). In a studio where you can control the light it is no problem but in real life it is. I never se any tests of that, or am I missing something? If so, please tell me.
Robert Newman
Nice basic review of these cameras. I noted Sam Sams' comment above and was amused. Thanks to Magic Lantern's new software, you can use a Canon 5D3 to shoot full resolution video at 30 fps. Those frames blow away 2 Mpixel images shot at 50 fps with an HD camcorder. If you can solve the storage problem with a docking add-on, it sounds like DSLRs like the 5D3 can pose a real challenge to a pro level HD camcorder such as Red's, Sony's or even Canon's own line of HD recorders. The Canon 70D split pixel approach to phase contrast focusing would seem to be the answer to most video focus problems in Live View. I am sure the serious video shooter that makes movies and documentaries will prefer the other features of the high-end HD cameras like T-stop lenses but for $3,500 a DSLR solution would be a great tool for many that want a tool that will shoot stills and video and don't want to spend an additional $20K on an HD camcorder.
Tord Eriksson
Even the little Nikon V1 can take 4K movie snips, and rumor tells us that the next iteration will be fully 4K compatible :-)!
I choose the D600 as it was the best combination of weight and price when I bought it, and i did already have a V1, thus a good camera for video! Most of the time I use the same, proven, lenses on both, and the V1 will handle video and the D600 most stills.
Matt Stone
It's also worth bearing in mind that some of these cameras will work very well with older lenses from the film era. Nikon Full Frame DSLRs in particular can comfortably use many Nikkor lenses going back to the 1960s. This makes owning one of these cameras quite economical, because you can buy older lenses at relatively affordable prices.
I feel like Nikon's got the edge in stills photography - it's not just the higher resolution of the D800 sensor, in my experience the Nikon performs better at low light than the Canon despite the Canon's higher ISO capabilities - and the Nikon handles certain colours better as well.
Canon, however, has the Magic Lantern team working in its favour if you shoot video - a bunch of hackers working to unlock magical capabilities like focus peaking, audio monitoring and RAW video capture that have been stripped out of the cameras for marketing reasons. That's more or less why I've stuck with the brand.
Sam Sams
Robert Newman - you seem to be missing my point. There certainly are better quality video producers than what I have. And a DSLR image should be *massively* better than one of my still frames - *if* you successfully manage to capture that moment.
My point is, when taking stills there's a high chance it was a fraction of a second before, or after what you took. With video its 50 frames a second to choose from, and no gaps in shooting. You don't miss anything.
I video wildlife and prefer video to stills. Living animals are moving subjects, not still subjects. So many birds for example, often look like stuffed toys as a still image. If I want a still I can choose one of the frames - or several for a montage.
I have 30x zoom, 45x with my teleconverter, both at f3.4 with my consumer camcorder. If there's a DSLR that can give me that (and also be carried around in the palm of my hand - I almost forget I'm holding it) then I'd be interested...
A *sharp* 2 megapixel still - even printed A4 (as per the ones framed on my wall) looks passable. But 4K would be fab... and at 8K - why would anyone want a still camera...?
Martin Rayner
Very good balanced review Simon. I changed My Canon EOS 1 for the EOS 5D Mk3. It's fantastic. Low light capability is it's strongest asset, I hardly use flash any more except for illuminating backlit objects. I also find the video to be excellent quality. You mention weight, although the 5 is heavier it is a lot lighter and smaller than the EOS 1. Ideal for work in the mountains of the Lake District of England.
As Soundracer mentions, dynamic range is an important factor in choosing a camera, in my opinion more than MP or ISO.
Here are the DR's: Nikon D800: 14.4 Nikon D600: 14.2 Sony A99: 14 Canon 6D: 12.1 Canon 5D mkIII: 11.7
I currently shoot (studio/fashion/catwalk/art/design/dance/news) with a D4, two D3s's and a D3x, but I am looking for something lighter to carry around everyday and the D600 is the winner for me. Of course staying with Nikon will allow me to use all my current lenses, but if something revolutionary came along I would consider it even if it meant buying new lenses.
Phil Kipnis
I have been using the Sony A-55 since it was introduced. I purchased a NEX-5 with both of the lenses and have been disappointed with the kit lens Sony provides. The 16mm prime is OK but on an APS sensor it becomes a 24mm semi wide lens. Oh for the day that wide angle lenses are available for the NEX series.
HOWEVER the reason I bought the A-55 was the availability of the Zeiss lenses that have not disappointed! My Film cameras were Contax RTS's and Hasselblad so I'm quite familiar with the quality of Zeiss optics and am spoiled by them. Now that Sony has a serious full frame professional camera that will accept my prime and zoom lenses I need to generate an extra $2600 for the body.