Simultaneous acquisition of stills and video - what are the options?

Started Apr 5, 2013 | Questions thread
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EcoPix
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Simultaneous acquisition of stills and video - what are the options?
Apr 5, 2013

I've just read many threads on this digital video forum, with the wonderfully informative posts. An amazing forum. But the answer to my question eludes me.

I'm a staff photographer shooting field ecology research, wilderness land management activities, and wildlife. The org now wants video as well as stills, but the problem is, nothing can be staged.

I need to capture top quality stills and compelling video of the same decisive moments, cinema veritae of the field workers when something exciting happens, and in fleeting wildlife opportunities. No mucking about switching back and forth between stills and video - both at once.

What is the best way to do this? I supply the gear, and currently have a Sony NEX-7, Nikon 1V1, Panasonic GH1, Sony ActionCam, GoPro 3 black, Canon 5D2 and Nikon D3200. If I have to, I'll throw more money at the problem, but I'd rather not!

So far I've come closest with the V1 - in movie mode it can make 8mp stills silently without interrupting video, but with limitations - 1080i60 only, and the stills are 16:9 (only 6.5mp when cropped), and softer and grainier than in stills mode, which is not brilliant compared  to most cameras anyway.

In stills mode, video is only 3:2 720p and a still exposure stops the video. I see that the GH3 can shoot silent stills while videoing, too, but are they full resolution? What about camcorders?

The Nex-7 has high image quality in both (moire is not such an issue in the bush), but I haven't found a way of doing both simultaneously with it, and the shutter is LOUD!

The GH-1 doesn't cut it for stills, and the DSLRs don't cut it for video (no viewfinders, loud shutters). The rough field conditions preclude niceties like monitors and steadicams.

I've sorted a flash bracket rig to mount two cameras - the V1 in stills mode for 10mp stills (silent shutter, but not the best IQ), and either the NEX or a wide-angle action cam for video.

You can only operate one camera at a time, though, and the second one has to be a set-and-forget hope-for-the-best. I'd rather work within one instrument, plus one of the action cams as a B.

Is there a better option for capturing simultaneous stills and vid that allows uncompromised image quality and creativity in both, under my difficult field conditions? Any thoughts or suggestions gratefully received, with many thanks.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D3200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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