500D/T1i Video: Manly Beach, Sydney (Why DSLR Video isn't just a gimmick)

Started Jun 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
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auswy
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500D/T1i Video: Manly Beach, Sydney (Why DSLR Video isn't just a gimmick)
Jun 8, 2009

I had the chance to shoot some more video over the weekend with my 500D/T1i and before I get into why I don't think DSLR video is just a gimmick, here is the link to the video in 720p HD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep5hTwjc3OE&fmt=22

The video was shot during Manly's 2009 Food and Wine Festival which is on during the first weekend of June every year. Manly is a popular beach suburb located in Sydney's northern suburbs and can be accessed via road or ferry.

Youtube notes that the video is blocked in some countries due to its audio track. For people in those countries (and others), I'll be uploading a downloadable HQ HD version to Vimeo on Thursday.

Back to the topic at hand, I think DSLR video is in its infancy and still has far to go, but even at this early stage, I don't think that it is a gimmick. Having used the 500D, here are what I've found to be the pros and cons for those considering using a DSLR for video:

Pros:

  • High quality image with good colours, sharpness, etc.

  • High definition output

  • Shallow/controllable depth of field compared with compacts

  • Good high ISO/low light performance

  • Manual controls (only for the 5D II at this stage, however)

  • The ability to manually bring things into focus

  • Removes the need to bring a video camera in addition to the DSLR

  • No need to use chunky recording media like DVDs, HDDs or tapes

  • Wide/versatile range of lenses which can be used

  • Can take advantage of lenses' image stabilisation

Cons:

  • Stabilisation not as good dedicated video cameras (a tripod is a must IMO)

  • Rolling shutter

  • Mono sound with no external mic. jack (not an issue on the 5D II)

  • Slow/unusable/noisy auto focus (though I'd always use manual anyway—with the shallow depth of fields, the camera wouldn't know which subject you'd want to focus on)

  • Difficult to zoom in/out smoothly

  • Jagged edges in 720p mode (500D only)

  • Unusual/low 20fps for 1080p mode (500D only)

  • Inability to use viewfinder to frame shots

  • Awkward holding position for hand-holding

  • Extremely big file sizes/limited recording time

  • Inability to use remote to trigger start of recording

Things I'd like to see:

  • Better auto-focus

  • Smoother zooming (though that one may be a bit hard to accomplish)

  • Manual control of shutter, ISO and aperture (500D only)

  • External mic jack/stereo sound

  • Better in-camera resampling to 720p

  • 24p/25p/30p/50p/60p frame rates for all resolutions

  • Time-lapse feature

  • Ability to use the 5x or 10x centre-crop zoom to get much higher magnifications from existing lens (it's possible, as the Russian live view recording program previously released could do this)

So those are my thoughts, I hope they help out those who are deciding whether DSLR video is for them. Enjoy the video =).

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