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Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?

alphaod

Shanghai, CN
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alphaod Registered since 23rd Nov 2008
Tue 14-Feb-12 01:27 AM

I like the D800. The specs looks nice and all.

I currently have the D700, which I have owned since October 2008.

The only reason I see to upgrade is the video recording capabilities on the D800. Otherwise, I'm satisfied with my current camera.

I do however need a good video camcorder. Would it be wise to upgrade to the D800 or spend that $2000 on a good camcorder?

(I say $2000 since I would sell my D700 and pay the difference to a D800)

PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#1. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Tue 14-Feb-12 01:13 AM

Buy a camcorder. You'll probably be MUCH happier.

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avigar

Northern IL, US
523 posts

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#2. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder" | In response to Reply # 1

avigar Registered since 29th Nov 2006
Tue 14-Feb-12 01:41 AM

Agreed. Get a dedicated camcorder for video.

--Ben

mwhals

Winfield, US
1664 posts

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#3. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 0

mwhals Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Apr 2004
Tue 14-Feb-12 01:42 AM

If you are only considering the D800 for video, then get a Camcorder. A decent priced camcorder would be better than a video recorder in a camera. I do not see how a video recorder that in a camera devoted to photography would beat a camcorder. For my point, consider using a camcorder for photography and you would quickly see that a camera is the better tool.

Shoot nature with respect and don't trample it or startle its inhabitants. :)

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3571 posts

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#4. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 3

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Tue 14-Feb-12 04:35 AM | edited Tue 14-Feb-12 04:36 AM by km6xz

That is overstating the situation won't you agree. A Camcorder is good for casual vacation, family and opportunity clips. They are better than most people using them.
The D800 or 5DII on the other hand, for video production where the proper support hardware and staff are present(pro video ancillary gear is very expensive because it not for hobbyists and is intended for pro client productions)and there is a shooting script to work from can do wonders. The technical results can be spectacular and is the reason DSLRs are so sought after. For casual vacation shooting, however, they are too inconvenient and work intensive but so is anything at the upper levels of quality and creativity.
The D800 could shoot video that would fit in on the big screen if used by people with a story to tell and a budget to do it right. A camcorder however is not capable of more than it is intended to do, be convenient, and enough quality for TV display and easy of use by non-professionals.
The exact analogy to a point and shoot versus a MF still camera. For 99% of users, good enough results can be had with little effort or skill with the point and shoot. The MF camera needs a full support system, and usually a crew, for a shoot but the results can be spectacular.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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Robman3

West of Santa Monica, US
1842 posts

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#5. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 4

Robman3 Registered since 12th Apr 2010
Tue 14-Feb-12 06:40 AM | edited Tue 14-Feb-12 06:44 AM by Robman3

Hi Stan,

How were those takes from Desolation last year BTW?

I agree, the creative aspects for commercial release would in theory have to include up-scaling for broadcast and filmic release, not merely DVD/BRD.

If I am wrong, please let me know but, a video camera that shoots in low light, as I recall is part of the reason that HD on DSLR's has become a market share, correct?

Not that one cannot do video to be sure, but that type of machine is well beyond the under $10k (US) price point floating about for Nikon, Canon, Panasonic and so on.

My friend a DP who travels on a set-crew shooting RED Epic of a single speaker, in many lands, has recently bought the FS100 for client/personal use.

We attended a Sony seminar in Burbank last fall for the three big dog Sony cameras, right about the time Canon and RED did their roll out.

Bang for the buck, the Sony FS100 seems a good start however, for low light, it's still not as robust as one would assume without very expensive glass and he's used to renting for the RED, those $90k movie studio lenses. He is welcome to borrow my Nikon glass, should he need it. Oh, the RED crew chief has bought Nikon pro glass of late.

My point is that playing in low light is an improving realm for DSLR's with HD at least for the time being, and yes with work arounds as you allude them, crew, set format, shooting scripts etc.

The DSLR bane, moire/rolling shutter, which, according to the read, Nikon says is improved in the new formats, we shall see.

I watched a YT video last week, of the existing DSLR's and motion of a hand held pan, and they all, including the GH2, share the anomaly none too much better than the next.

So, if one is shooting to a script, and well versed in the technology, cinema grade work can be done.

The new Rah Rah bad ass Navy Seal catch the bad guy movie, Act of Valor, has a ton of work in it done with Canon's, multiple rigs, so your point is again, correct.

Thanks!

Rob

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#6. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 5

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Tue 14-Feb-12 10:46 AM

I've shot two films on the 5D (check my IMDB page) and our third will likely be shot on the D800 if it's up to the task. But the support system needed to shoot DSLR properly for that kind of use often outstrips the price of the camera. Unlike a camcorder, DSLRs don't do video well if you simply hold them in your hands.

Editing DSLR video is no picnic either. All the people here complaining about how big the NEFs are from the D800... Start playing with the video and see what happens to your hard drive space. There's a reason I have 10TB available for my film projects.

For anyone who is NOT trying to make a film, a camcorder is probably the right answer 99% of the time. Shooting video in low light is a bad proposition no matter WHAT gear you have. VERY few people serious about it will push beyond 800 ISO.

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johno

St. Louis, US
525 posts

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#7. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 6

johno Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd May 2006
Tue 14-Feb-12 02:18 PM

I have an ok camcorder...a great one when I bought it 13 years ago. I would much rather have the d800 for my video needs, which are limited.

When I want to shoot video it is a few seconds at the beach or at a waterfall, or panning a landscape, etc. a bunch of 10 seconds or 15 second clips. Maybe a 4 minute song my daughter sings at a concert. Never a professional video. If I were a pro video shooter I would get a nice pro quality video camera.

For me that is much better to have one camera for.photos and limited video.


Btw, that $2000 3-ccd Sony dv camera I bought 13 years ago... I have shot about 20 dv tapes with it and spent about 1/2 hour looking at the videos.

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#8. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 7

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Tue 14-Feb-12 02:32 PM

Ok,

Enjoy the D800.

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mdonovan

Mahwah, US
321 posts

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#9. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 8

mdonovan Gold Member Charter Member
Wed 15-Feb-12 12:34 PM | edited Wed 15-Feb-12 12:38 PM by mdonovan

I sort of disagree with the sentiment here.

I shoot video all the time for my job. What I am most looking forward to about the D800 (aside from finally moving to FX for my stills) is the ability to use Nikon glass for my video.

I am also hoping that the stated UNCOMPRESSED video through HDMI is accurate and that the supporting gear for this doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

I am not a video 'expert', but I have shot/or been exposed to quite a few video platforms (a video camera under $5Gs I believe might get you substandard results compared to a really nice lens on the D800) .. of course this is all purely speculation.
The RED Scarlett or the Canon XF305 for example ends up surpassing the 15G range immediately once you add all the components they require.

I think this may be an all in one answer for my needs and stay under 5 grand ... time will tell.

I agree that you need to support the camera with some pricey gear though if shooting serious video. I also agree that handheld wont work as the stabilization surely cant compare to a good camcorder.

I also think the ergonomics of shooting video with a nice camcorder feel better than shooting video with a DSLR.

Anyway ... here's to hoping =)
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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#10. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 9

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Wed 15-Feb-12 01:23 PM

>I sort of disagree with the sentiment here.
>
>I shoot video all the time for my job.

What kind of video, and what kind of camera are you using now?

>What I am most looking
>forward to about the D800 (aside from finally moving to FX
>for my stills) is the ability to use Nikon glass for my video.

The Canon SLRs happily take Nikon glass with a $15 adapter and I've been doing that for years.

>I am also hoping that the stated UNCOMPRESSED video through
>HDMI is accurate and that the supporting gear for this doesn't
>cost an arm and a leg.

You will likely NOT be recording uncompressed video into a portable recorder. The cheapest of these that I am aware of is the Codex at about $80k. There are numerous options to record compressed video via the HDMI output of any camera. These generally range from $2k - $6k. There are some units slightly cheaper, but they record video in about the same quality as recording in camera, so they are rather pointless for this application. They were useful when people were recording to tape in camera.


>I am not a video 'expert', but I have shot/or been exposed to
>quite a few video platforms (a video camera under $5Gs I
>believe might get you substandard results compared to a really
>nice lens on the D800) .. of course this is all purely
>speculation.

There are a few options in the $3500-$5k range that will give results similar to the Canon DSLRs, and presumably the Nikon D800/D4 since they are all using about the same recording scheme, and the same frame size.

>The RED Scarlett or the Canon XF305 for example ends up
>surpassing the 15G range immediately once you add all the
>components they require.

I came within a breath of buying a Scarlet, but the ISO performance did not meet my needs. I had money in hand on release day. I was quite disappointed with that to be honest. And a ready to shoot Scarlet or C300 is closer to $20k, not $15k.

>I think this may be an all in one answer for my needs and stay
>under 5 grand ... time will tell.

Good luck with that. I've found building a truly shootable DSLR rig costs about $3500 starting with the T2i...a $900 DSLR.


>I agree that you need to support the camera with some pricey
>gear though if shooting serious video. I also agree that
>handheld wont work as the stabilization surely cant compare to
>a good camcorder.

A common set of rails, shoulder pad, viewing monitor, and recorder puts in you the $3-4k range. And that's without the camera.

> I also think the ergonomics of shooting video with a nice camcorder feel better than shooting video with a DSLR.

I'd take my EX1 all day, every day over shooting a DSLR if it had the look. I am about to shoot another film in a few months and am really debating about what to shoot it on. I have 4 video capable DSLRs, and really don't want to use any of them.

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mdonovan

Mahwah, US
321 posts

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#11. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 10

mdonovan Gold Member Charter Member
Wed 15-Feb-12 01:51 PM | edited Wed 15-Feb-12 01:55 PM by mdonovan

We usually shoot with the Sony PMW-EX1R XDCAM EX. Its usually as a 'B' Camera to the main camera (ARI ALEXA etc).

I don't disagree with anything you've posted ... but I do hope that a DSLR on a tripod, or steadycam rig will shoot nice video that surpasses the consumer $1500 - $3000 video camera.

As a VFX supervisor we shoot HDR environmental reference and it'd be great to be able to shoot some nice plates in HD as well.

Any chance you could list out some specific stuff for me to consider when shooting video with this camera ? These sites are interesting http://www.rigwheels.com/ and http://cinetics.com/.

___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#12. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 11

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Wed 15-Feb-12 02:08 PM

>We usually shoot with the Sony PMW-EX1R XDCAM EX. Its usually
>as a 'B' Camera to the main camera (ARI ALEXA etc).
>
>I don't disagree with anything you've posted ... but I do hope
>that a DSLR on a tripod, or steadycam rig will shoot nice
>video that surpasses the consumer $1500 - $3000 video camera.

Well, I'd suspect it would if for no other reason than the glass. Putting something like a Nanoflash on it should get you reasonably clean plates.

>As a VFX supervisor we shoot HDR environmental reference and
>it'd be great to be able to shoot some nice plates in HD as
>well.

If you've shot DSLR video, your undoubtedly aware at how poor the video has been. The resolution is terrible compared to even a mid-priced camcorder. Is there no way you could be looking at something like a Sony FS100 or something of that ilk?


>Any chance you could list out some specific stuff for me to
>consider when shooting video with this camera ? These sites
>are interesting http://www.rigwheels.com/ and
>http://cinetics.com/.

To be honest, we've mostly shot the 5D on rails (RedRock Micro), on my Fig Rig, or on dolly. We have used a steadicam but the rig was so light, the steadicam springs couldn't cope. It needed another 10 pounds of weight!

Those rigwheels look Fantastic! I jumped out of filmmaking about 18 months ago to get this photography business going. The producer of the last two films just called for a meeting with me this month to plan the next film, so I know I've got something coming up. I need to catch up on all the stuff I've missed. I let my American Cinematographer go during this time period as well so I've been WAY out of the loop.

>
>___________________________________________________________
>
>Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. -
> A. Einstein

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.


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mdonovan

Mahwah, US
321 posts

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#13. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 12

mdonovan Gold Member Charter Member
Wed 15-Feb-12 03:54 PM

Its not all about $$ for this decision .. its partially about the amount of kit I can take to a shoot.

I am usually travelling solo and am on my own for transporting everything. My dream is to have one camera ... one set of support gear that is fairly light but can act like a chameleon and do everything I need it to do ... and then I woke up .

cheers

M
___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#14. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 13

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Wed 15-Feb-12 04:44 PM

Well, to be honest, this is EXACTLY why I was about to pull the trigger on a Scarlet. The ONLY thing that killed the deal for me was the ISO performance. If that's not an issue for you, that's what I'd be looking at.

I need ISO 6400 for my night time and indoor sports shoots sometimes, so that nixed the Scarlet for me.

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Trav1

US
1 posts

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#15. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 10

Trav1 Registered since 20th Feb 2012
Tue 21-Feb-12 09:44 AM

There's definitely a lot of moves people are making shooting with DSLRs and shooting uncompressed HDMI doesn't have to cost too much. An atomos ninja will do the job for $1000 and there are definitely decent rigs for DSLs you can buy for $1000 and even less. I wouldnt rule it out as having to cost SO much. If you have the right tools and the creative mind its possible on a small budget and many people are doing it

Gromit44

UK
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#16. "RE: Upgrade to the D800 or pick up dedicated video camcorder?" | In response to Reply # 0

Gromit44 Registered since 04th Jan 2012
Tue 21-Feb-12 12:55 PM

>I do however need a good video camcorder. Would it be wise to
>upgrade to the D800 or spend that $2000 on a good camcorder?
>
I'd say go for a camcorder - if nothing else it will have a proper viewfinder.

G