Convergence

At the moment, it seems inevitable that still photography and video photography will merge, or at least get closer together. In an essay on the Luminous Landscape site, Chris Sanderson talks about his experience using the Canon 5Dii in video mode.

In the article he makes this statement “I am a videographer first and a stills photographer second.” And to me this is a vital point in the discussion about the convergence of still photography and videography.

I am still photographer first and a videographer never.

Still photography and videography require different skills sets and, I think, different ways of viewing the world. I see in still images, I want to interpret the world with still images. I am not interested in moving pictures nor am I interested in learning the skills needed to take and edit watchable video.

Sanderson also says “…the video portion of the 5Dii’s functionality appears to be an afterthought, video handling and implementation are rudimentary.” Well, at least that is a plus. Video hasn’t taken over the camera. I want a still camera to feel, be held and operate like a still camera. I don’t want to have to work around video controls. I can live with a still camera that has a video function as long as I never have to see it.

But I would prefer that Canon spent the extra cost of the video functions on something important, like getting the autofocus to work properly every time or providing weather proofing and a solution to the condensation problem.

At the moment the 5Dii is a viable replacement for my 5D when it eventually needs replacing. But if Canon keeps going down this path, the model after the 5Dii might not be.

This entry was posted in Canon, equipment.

2 Comments

  1. Stuart February 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi Rob

    I seem to remember us having this conversation not too long ago. I agree whole-heartedly with your points around the form-factors for the two cameras (video and still) being very different. So it’s not only about the addition financial cost of having functionality you won’t use in the camera but also, if the video in dSLRs can’t rise above that of consumer level video, then I feel that it dilutes and detracts from the excellence of many higher level SLRs.

    If the form factor of an SLR is not suited to video and vice versa, would the birth of an additional camera type be in order where that marriage of functionality is more suitable: I am thinking along these lines http://www.red.com/

  2. Interface February 24, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    I hope the industry goes down the Red path and leaves the SLR form alone. maybe someone who likes to do video can enlighten me, but I can’t see the point, as you mentioned, of having a reasonable quality video in a camera that really isn’t designed for video shooting. And if any attempt is made to compromise the feel and function of the SLR form, I will be very disappointed.

    In the article, Sanderson also said “…The failure of this particular camera is in its build and operation for video and general lack of reliability in normal field conditions.” I don’t see that as a failure, I see it as a result of it being a hand-held, SLR for stills shooting. It works exceptionally well for that. If Canon really wanted to make me happy (obviously something very high on their “important things to do” list), I would much prefer they spent the time and money solving the weather-proofing and condensation problems the trip to the Antarctic high-lighted.

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