Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

Started Jan 23, 2013 | Discussions
snph83 Regular Member • Posts: 120
Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

For video, should I use a digital camera with a larger sensor or a camcorder with a smaller sensor?

Digital camera (Canon SX260): 1/2.3" sensor

Camcorder (Canon Vixia R400): 1/4.85" sensor

Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,470
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

snph83 wrote:

For video, should I use a digital camera with a larger sensor or a camcorder with a smaller sensor?

Digital camera (Canon SX260): 1/2.3" sensor

Camcorder (Canon Vixia R400): 1/4.85" sensor

You have selected not very good cameras for video in both categories. If you want really good video from a "larger sensor" camera you should consider the Panasonic LX7 and the Sony RX100 or the Sony Hx20, at lower cost. Or, for extended zoom, the Panasonic FZ200 and maybe the Sony HX200.

If you want a good smaller-sensor camcorder, you should consider the middle-range Panasonic camcorders and the Sony GW77.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +6 more
OP snph83 Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

Markr041 wrote:

You have selected not very good cameras for video in both categories.

I'm on a budget so I don't have much choice.  I'm not shooting anything professional.  I just want good quality.  My limit is $250-$299.

I'm interested in the Canon R400 camcorder because, at the price, it does 60p, not 60i, and it 35Mbps MP4, which is something I can't find in cameras at this price.

I have considered the HX20V but it also has a 1/2.3" sensor like the Canon SX260.  But it doesn't do 60p.

Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

snph83 wrote:

For video, should I use a digital camera with a larger sensor or a camcorder with a smaller sensor?

Digital camera (Canon SX260): 1/2.3" sensor

Camcorder (Canon Vixia R400): 1/4.85" sensor

If it's any consolation, I seriously looked at mirrorless and DSLR options for video vs camcorders. I own an a77 and a33 for starters. Wasn't happy with video, so I was planning another purchase. Looked at GH2, 60D, NEX7, and various bridge cameras. I ended up getting the Panasonic X900m as it was just better overall for what I needed.

UPS delivered today, played around a bit with it, totally amazing IQ. There are a few quarks that bother me, but overall it is amazing. After holding heavy DSLRs for years, it feels almost flimsy and cheap because it's so light, but it is still well made. In direct comparison with my DSLRs, the camcorder is by far better IQ, AF is great, and the image stab. is hard to believe. Long story short, camcorders nowadays are nice.

As for what YOU need, well that depends on what you need. If you want shallow DOF, you have to get a large sensor camera, DSLR or whatnot. If shallow DOF is not a must, camcorders are best IMO. There are other issues you may care about, but DOF is the main issue that is totally different because of sensor size. So, what kind of needs do you have?

EDIT: I wanted to add one more point, cost. Some people would compare the $700 X900 with a camera like the A57 w/kit lens, for example ($650). For video, even putting aside the IQ differences, the cost of the a57 doesn't end there. That kit lens is F3.5 at the wide end, vs F1.5 on the camcorder. a57 has a reach of 27mm-82mm, vs 30mm-690mm. So if you were going to shell out for some better glass in hopes of better video, it is no longer fair to compare it to a $700 counterpart. There is a definite advantage to having a good built in lens, power zoom, AF, ect. Just my 2c.

Johnish Regular Member • Posts: 493
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

I have considered the HX20V but it also has a 1/2.3" sensor like the Canon SX260. But it doesn't do 60p.

It does 60p, at least the one I purchased the other day from B&H does. Lovely video, and the photographs are not too shabby also.

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

Why does anyone need 60p lately? Are you shooting at 60p and editing it at 60p and only playing the stuff back at 60p, or what?

If most people hated "The Hobbit" that was shot at 48p and played back at the same refresh rate, why is 60p going to be a more pleasant experience? Or is it only for the compulsory slow-mo shots of the dog jumping up to catch the Frisbee or shaking off water in glorious slow-mo?

Regarding the sensor sizes.... DOF has got nothing to do with sensor sizes, or perhaps I should re-phrase by saying that one should not pick a sensor size merely for a particular DOF attainable. I dislike shallow DOF tremendously, but I would be very had pressed today to spend any money on any camera that does not have a sensor that is at least 1-inch diagonal. You would need that for image quality, you would need that for low light capability, you would need that for quality matching size optics on the camera, and so on.

Now, in the PROFESSIONAL camcorder realm, we still have 1/3-inch sensor and even 2/3-inch sensor shoulder-mountable Goliaths, but this breed is dying out fast. Seems like most everybody wants to shoot video with larger sensor cameras -- 1-inch, Micro 4/3rd, APS-C, Super 35, full-frame 135. I believe I am one of them.

Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,470
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

"Why does anyone need 60p lately? Are you shooting at 60p and editing it at 60p and only playing the stuff back at 60p, or what?"

Because the alternative is:

1. 108060i - interlaced . Are you going to argue interlaced video is superior to progressive? That is what Canons offer.

2. 108024p. Are you going to argue that 24p is the superior frame rate, based on your uninformed assumption about the Hobbitt? You do know about the limitations of 24p for panning and subject action?

3. 108030p. Not a standard.

The fact is that on consumer equipment 108060p provides the best quality video. And it can be easily converted to 108030p for web use with little degradation.

And, yes, those of us with modern equipment and who care about video that conveys real life shoot and play 108060p.

Your insistence on big sensors is equaly biased and uninformed. I am tired of arguing about it.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +6 more
Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

Francis Carver wrote:

Why does anyone need 60p lately? Are you shooting at 60p and editing it at 60p and only playing the stuff back at 60p, or what?

If most people hated "The Hobbit" that was shot at 48p and played back at the same refresh rate, why is 60p going to be a more pleasant experience? Or is it only for the compulsory slow-mo shots of the dog jumping up to catch the Frisbee or shaking off water in glorious slow-mo?

Regarding the sensor sizes.... DOF has got nothing to do with sensor sizes, or perhaps I should re-phrase by saying that one should not pick a sensor size merely for a particular DOF attainable. I dislike shallow DOF tremendously, but I would be very had pressed today to spend any money on any camera that does not have a sensor that is at least 1-inch diagonal. You would need that for image quality, you would need that for low light capability, you would need that for quality matching size optics on the camera, and so on.

Now, in the PROFESSIONAL camcorder realm, we still have 1/3-inch sensor and even 2/3-inch sensor shoulder-mountable Goliaths, but this breed is dying out fast. Seems like most everybody wants to shoot video with larger sensor cameras -- 1-inch, Micro 4/3rd, APS-C, Super 35, full-frame 135. I believe I am one of them.

Cant speak for others, but I thought the hobbit looked great, so did avatar. For one, more frames equals smoother motion. I like smooth movement because that is the way I see things in real life. Perhaps the issue is that our minds are used to associating choppy 24p with professional, so when we see a smooth 60p, we think amateur home video. It suited hollywood in the past, because it was less data. We have supercomputers in our palms now though, 24p will become extinct. I have said before, I like my photos and video to reflect what I see IRL, and my eyes don't see 24fps.

I'm not sure we can say people don't buy based on DOF needs. The Walking Dead series used a Canon 7D for specific shots, namely the "gun view", where you look down the barrel while the zombie has it's head filled with a bullet. I watched the producers explain the reason for the 7D use was it's larger sensor, for the shallow DOF. They wanted to isolate the zombie head. I have also read constantly in forums about DOF this and that. We are in the video threads, but if you go read the sony forum, or canon, where there are a lot of video users, they mostly detest camcorders because of the huge DOF. Many people shun the GH2 because it is "only" MFT sensor size. Noise can be less on larger sensors, yes, but only if you have the glass to match (fast zooms are $pendy though). IQ is not dependent on sensor size, my tiny 1/4.1 3mos system proves that, it absolutely crushes any FF DSLR, if nothing else, in sharpness.

I don't have a Pro cam yet, but I am going from APSC video to small sensor camcorder, not the other way around. I could have easily invested in a FF, my apsc was $1200, my camcorder was $750, I could have picked up a 6D or D600 for that. I chose to buy a 1/4" camcorder. 2 months ago I would have agreed larger is better, I consider myself more educated now. Fast glass is easy to make when it's small, and 1/4" sensors are small. So all in all, I think DOF is a good way to choose your medium, that is likely the biggest difference. It will cost you though, heavy, big, expensive. And thin DOF is very unforgiving, try manually focusing a 6D @F1.4, not a fun experience.

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Techno Mumbo
1

Markr041 wrote:

"Why does anyone need 60p lately? Are you shooting at 60p and editing it at 60p and only playing the stuff back at 60p, or what?"

Because the alternative is:

1. 108060i - interlaced . Are you going to argue interlaced video is superior to progressive? That is what Canons offer.

Okay, but my question had nothing to do with interlaced or progressive, it had to do with FRAME RATE or REFRESH RATE. 60p = 60 frames [per second, so I had merely wanted to know why you particularly needed that.

NOBODY has to shoot in interlaced any more, of course if you shoot video that goes straight to television, you could I suppose still justify why you would shoot it n interlaced, particularly if the transmission of it will be interlaced. For the rest, there is 24p = 24 fps "cinematic" frame rate, 25p = 25 fps "European television frame rate," and even 30p = 30 fps "North & Central American and Japanese television frame rate."

Compared to 24 fps, even 30 fps can be considered "high frame rate" or at least, higher frame rate video acquisition.

There are certainly benefits to higher rate acquisition AND playout, my own thought on the matter is that perhaps 48 fps will be sufficient, one does not have to go all the way out to 60. Unfortunately, only a very small segment of digital film cameras and professional camcorders are able to shoot at 48p = 48fps.

2. 108024p. Are you going to argue that 24p is the superior frame rate, based on your uninformed assumption about the Hobbitt? You do know about the limitations of 24p for panning and subject action?

24 fps is neither "superior" nor "inferior," but the fact is that it is a FRAME RATE. And one that has been used globally for about 90 years, so chances are it is not going to go away at any time soon.

For instance, all digital cinema presentations so far in the world's movie theaters have been shown at 24 fps. Certain copies of "The Hobbit" on certain types of screens have been shown at 48 fps, but that is about it. So, I guess if someone is shooting "The Hobbit II," these discourses about the pros and cons of frame rates may make more sense than for the rest of us, who have no such lofty aims.

3. 108030p. Not a standard.

Of course it is a standard. It is the "1080p30 standard." Duuuuh....

The fact is that on consumer equipment 108060p provides the best quality video. And it can be easily converted to 108030p for web use with little degradation.

Not getting you -- why would 1080p60 be any better quality or even "best quality" than 1080p30? Solely because the higher frame rate, or why else?

Some of the new D-film cameras can shoot also at 1080p120, so according to your argument wouldn't a 1080p120 video be "best quality" over a mere 1080p60 video?

Also, why would a simple frame rate "downconversion" (simply skipping every 2nd frame acquired) result in ANY "degradation?" I guess I just don't know where you are coming from or going with this. Anywhere?

And, yes, those of us with modern equipment and who care about video that conveys real life shoot and play 108060p.

Oh wow, now this tops the cake. You must belong to the same inner circle of videographers as Messrs. Jackson and Cameron, if for no reason other than you are shooting at 1080p60, huh? Wow, you had indeed made my day, Mark. Can't imagine those poor losers who are shooting stuff in other than 1080p60, huh?

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Techno Jumbo 4 the digital age

Jezebel Masterson wrote:

Cant speak for others, but I thought the hobbit looked great, so did avatar.

Saw "The Hobbit" theatrically, it was shown in 2D and at 24 fps frame rate. Looked great. Also saw "Avatar" a few years earlier, that was shot in 24 fps and shown at 24 fps. Also looked great. Of course, there is double-flashing and triple-flashing because of the 3D, but still, there are only 24 original frames of information per second with "Avatar."

For one, more frames equals smoother motion.

Right, thus the "Latino television soap opera" effect most have mentioned of it in their criticism. I saw nothing wrong with 'The Hobbit" myself, of course I saw it in 2D and that was projected in normal 24 fps.  I cannot comment how it looked at 48 fps, I just don't bother to watch anything in 3D. They should have shown it at 48 fps refresh rate in 2D as well, in my opinion.

I like smooth movement because that is the way I see things in real life. Perhaps the issue is that our minds are used to associating choppy 24p with professional, so when we see a smooth 60p, we think amateur home video. It suited hollywood in the past, because it was less data. We have supercomputers in our palms now though, 24p will become extinct. I have said before, I like my photos and video to reflect what I see IRL, and my eyes don't see 24fps.

24 fps will become "extinct" maybe in a few more decades -- maybe right about the same time that film will become "extinct." Until then, I suppose we can shoot higher than 24 fps frame rates by shooting at 25 fps, 30 fps, 48 fps, etc. Some new D-film cameras (and the Panasonic Varicam camcorders and the GoPro Cineform) can readily shoot at 48 fps, the new Sonys even at 1080p120 120 fps.

Wouldn't 120 fps frame rate acquisition and playback be clearly 2x times as superior than mere 60 fps?

I'm not sure we can say people don't buy based on DOF needs.

Nobody "needs" shallow DOF, that's for sure, it is probably more hustle than what it is worth. The reason TV shows and motion picture films were shot on 35mm film format for decades really had nothing to do with DOF, one way or the other. If you knew what you were doing, you could shoot the same material with narrow DOF, normal DOF, or in "Citizen Kane" type of deep focus.

Hardcore photographer folks, on the other hand, are clearly enamored by shallow DOF and subject isolation.

I watched the producers explain the reason for the 7D use was it's larger sensor, for the shallow DOF.

Never heard of that, as I had always thought that the APS-C sensor was rather small, at least compared to full-frame 135 digital sensor and film frame, 4-perf 35mm film frame, and even 3-perf Super 35 film frame and digital sensor.

But if they had shot the rest of the show with 1/2.33-inch or 1/3-inch sensor camcorders, then of course I can see how an APS-C sized sensor camera was considered large sensor on that particular set.

With film shooting, it is much simpler: Super 16 is "small," and Super 35 is "normal." Only Imax and 65/70mm is considered "large."

my tiny 1/4.1 3mos system proves that, it absolutely crushes any FF DSLR, if nothing else, in sharpness.

Well, you seem to be convinced of that, so all is well as far as I can tell. Plus, 1/4-inch and 1/4.7-inch and 1/6-inch sensor gear is usually quite a bit less expensive than huge sensor digital alternatives, anyhow. Heck, there are some pretty decent semi-pro camcorders in the $6,000 to $9,000 price range (Canon, Panasonic, Sony) that have nothing but 1/3-inch diagonal MOS/CMOS sensors, right?

I don't have a Pro cam yet, but I am going from APSC video to small sensor camcorder, not the other way around. I could have easily invested in a FF, my apsc was $1200, my camcorder was $750, I could have picked up a 6D or D600 for that. I chose to buy a 1/4" camcorder. 2 months ago I would have agreed larger is better, I consider myself more educated now. Fast glass is easy to make when it's small, and 1/4" sensors are small. So all in all, I think DOF is a good way to choose your medium, that is likely the biggest difference. It will cost you though, heavy, big, expensive. And thin DOF is very unforgiving, try manually focusing a 6D @F1.4, not a fun experience.

These days, manual focusing with digital cameras is so easy, even a legally blind person can do it with 45 minutes of practice.

In the motion picture film camera era, it was decidedly harder for a number of technical reason I don't want to dwell into now. But with these fancy digital jobs, what's the problem? You can optically zoom in closer to your subject to set critical focus -- or else use the instant 2x, 5x, 10x digital zoom in/out focus confirmation function button for this.

There are all sorts of focus peaking methods, with many cameras and monitors you can even pick the color of your focus peaking outline. Other algorithms, and of course the use of high-rez external EVFs and connected LCD/OLED monitors.

Anybody having trouble focusing these days with a digital camera indeed has problems.

But I agree, with a 1/4-inch or smaller sensor camcorder, there are no focus issue at all. In fact unless you are shooting with wide open iris and/or in full telephoto setting, you probably do not have to adjust focal distance at all. Just set it at 3 meters and shoot. All will be in focus, almost guaranteed.

That is why I loved my old Canon 1018 Electronic Super 8 film camera -- focusing was really a non-issue compared to the 16mm film-cams, let alone the pro 35mm cameras and lenses on them.

Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Techno Mumbo

Francis Carver wrote:

24 fps is neither "superior" nor "inferior," but the fact is that it is a FRAME RATE. And one that has been used globally for about 90 years, so chances are it is not going to go away at any time soon.

It really depends on what "look" you want, but many are starting to prefer to see a movie the way it looks to our eyes, which may even be faster than 60fps. I personally would like to test my own vision and see what fps I max out at, if there is such a test. If it was 120fps, I would like my videos to be shot at 120fps.

For instance, all digital cinema presentations so far in the world's movie theaters have been shown at 24 fps. Certain copies of "The Hobbit" on certain types of screens have been shown at 48 fps, but that is about it. So, I guess if someone is shooting "The Hobbit II," these discourses about the pros and cons of frame rates may make more sense than for the rest of us, who have no such lofty aims.

The official story, as I understand it, is that the industry once shot movies at 16fps, back when they had no sound. This was fast enough to convey motion, yet slow enough to be economical. When sound was introduced, higher frequencies did not translate well at 16fps, they eventually settled on 24fps to solve this. 24 was the slowest viable solution that would still fix sound issues. FPS has always been about cost. Less was always cheaper, it was never about "advantages" with 24fps. The reason it hasn't changed is because of standards, it can be expensive to buck the trend. I think as our technology has now advanced so far, it is not such a risk financially, and we will see more and more of it.

The fact is that on consumer equipment 108060p provides the best quality video. And it can be easily converted to 108030p for web use with little degradation.

Not getting you -- why would 1080p60 be any better quality or even "best quality" than 1080p30? Solely because the higher frame rate, or why else?

The answer to which frame is "superior" from a technical point of view, is easily answered if you look at the extremes. Play a movie at 5fps, and play one at 120fps. Tell me which one is more enjoyable. 24 vs 60 is a lesser version of this comparison. Smooth vs choppy. There is an asthetic aspect to this, which is why I refuse to claim one "looks" better, I know that some people actually like the choppyness of 24p. I simply insist that higher fps means closer to reality, which is what I prefer.

Some of the new D-film cameras can shoot also at 1080p120, so according to your argument wouldn't a 1080p120 video be "best quality" over a mere 1080p60 video?

In line with my preference, it all depends on what our eyes are capable of. I have heard we max out between 60-120fps, but not every person is identical. Technology increases exponentially, and our vision's limits are not the only reason to advance the tech. Slow motion will also benefit from increased FPS, one of the reasons I like my 60fps. I can play anything at 2/5 speed and still match the 24p cinema standard.

Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Techno Jumbo 4 the digital age

Francis Carver wrote:

For one, more frames equals smoother motion.

Right, thus the "Latino television soap opera" effect most have mentioned of it in their criticism. I saw nothing wrong with 'The Hobbit" myself, of course I saw it in 2D and that was projected in normal 24 fps. I cannot comment how it looked at 48 fps, I just don't bother to watch anything in 3D. They should have shown it at 48 fps refresh rate in 2D as well, in my opinion.

LOL yea the latino stuff. See that's what I mean, I think we all have memories of the super smooth video being very amateurish. It somehow doesn't feel professional because of it's past uses. It took me a while to accept the "look" of 60fps, but once I got used to it I liked it more. Viewing a higher end 60p camcorder's footage on a nice plasma is a thing to behold. Of course if you like 24p instead, it would melt your eyes!

Never heard of that, as I had always thought that the APS-C sensor was rather small, at least compared to full-frame 135 digital sensor and film frame, 4-perf 35mm film frame, and even 3-perf Super 35 film frame and digital sensor.

I didn't get the impression they were using those kinds of cameras. It isn't avatar or titanic, I think their budget is a bit smaller so they are trying to be economical. The 7D does take decent video by DSLR standards, and is far cheaper than most of the FF options. Throw an F1.2 lens on it and I see why they used it.

I offer a disclaimer with all this. I am a techy nut. A super freak fan of electronics. I love to see the limits of this pushed. I would like to film a fire cracker exploding at 5000fps just to watch it happen in slow mo. I have no historic bias, no preference for tradition. To me, 60fps is indeed better, because I can always trim it to 24 if I want. Cant really go the other way though.

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
The frame rate dilemma
1

Jezebel Masterson wrote:

It really depends on what "look" you want, but many are starting to prefer to see a movie the way it looks to our eyes, which may even be faster than 60fps.

Agreed with you on that, Jezebel. It could in fact be as "slow" as 36 fps, or else maybe 48 fps (the Jackson frame rate), 60 fps (the Cameron frame rate), 72 fps, 96 fps, 120 fps, and so on.

Unfortunately, some of the cheaper digital cameras of today must jump from 30p to 60p -- in other words, they cannot do anything in-between 30 and 60 frames per second, nor can they record at higher than 60 fps in Full-HD. Well, if they can do 25p than usually they can also do 50p.

Others, like the Panasonic Varicams, the Sony FS700, Sony F5, Sony F55, and even the GoPro Cineform Hero3 Black Ed. can do all sorts of nifty frame rates at resolution of Full-HD and beyond 1080p Full-HD.

I personally would like to test my own vision and see what fps I max out at, if there is such a test. If it was 120fps, I would like my videos to be shot at 120fps.

No problem there, some of the Panasonic Varicams let you dial up frame rates in single frames even or by jumping 2-3 frame at a time from 1 fps to 60 fps. The new Sonys and even the GoPro Hero3 can accommodate 120 fps in high-def, no problem.

Now, at 120 fps = 120p acquisition, you will be burning though a 32GB or 64GB flash card in record time (mere minutes), you will be taxing the cooling capabilities of the sensor and camera's processor to the limit, and furthermore, at 1/240th or 1/25th of a second shutter speed, will be needing a whole lot more artificial light sources to light your subject properly illuminated, or alternatively, will have to dial your ISO settings up... way up.

So, there certainly are some downsides to high frame rate videography.

Also, you need to make sure that the frame rate stays intact throughout the post process, and of course that your projector and display is fully well capable of 240 Hertz refresh playback, which is what you need if you shoot at 120p = 120 fps.

So obviously, this is clearly not for everyone, not yet, anyhow.

The official story, as I understand it, is that the industry once shot movies at 16fps, back when they had no sound.

Indeed. Well, back in the pioneering days they had shot (I mean, hand cranked the camera, which was also the projector to be used later) at anywhere from 16 fps to 30 fps.

Sound film speed was then standardized at 24 fps in the 1920s.

After that, 8mm amateur film speed was standardized at 16 fps.

In 1965, standard Super 8 film frame rate was standardized at 18 fps.

Meanwhile, with the Todd-AO 70mm early musicals in the mid-1950s and at special presentations at Worlds Fairs and whatnot, high frame rate acquisition and projection ranging anywhere from 30 fps to 96 fps were used.

So, the latest trend in digital to use 48 fps, 60 fps, etc. is nothing new, it's just before they were doing this with analog film equipment and media.

This was fast enough to convey motion, yet slow enough to be economical. When sound was introduced, higher frequencies did not translate well at 16fps, they eventually settled on 24fps to solve this. 24 was the slowest viable solution that would still fix sound issues. FPS has always been about cost. Less was always cheaper, it was never about "advantages" with 24fps. The reason it hasn't changed is because of standards, it can be expensive to buck the trend. I think as our technology has now advanced so far, it is not such a risk financially, and we will see more and more of it.

Like I said, there has been instances of film-based shooting and projecting at speeds faster than 24 fps, in fact anywhere from 30 fps to 96 fps. They just never took off and stuck, since there was precious little reason for it. And like you said, it costs MORE MONEY, so there you have it in a nutshell.

It would still cost more money today, of course -- higher media costs, higher storage costs, more lights needed to illuminate sets with cameras running at much faster shutter speeds, special high refresh equipment needed for playback, and so on.

One might even say that high frame rate is a rich man' and woman's playground for the present.

Play a movie at 5fps, and play one at 120fps. Tell me which one is more enjoyable.Smooth vs choppy.  I know that some people actually like the choppyness of 24p. I simply insist that higher fps means closer to reality, which is what I prefer.

Can't do it, because I cannot shoot anything at 5 fps with my camera (well, perhaps I could with an external intervalometer), and I definitely cannot shoot anything remotely approaching 120 fps. Nor would I want to, quite frankly.

So, off the bat I would say neither of these acquisition and playout frame rates would be particularly pleasant for the eye, although for totally different reasons, of course.

Also, 24 fps or even 18 fps does not have to be "choppy." If you shoot a few idling ducks comatose on a still pond, or a pot of flower, or a peaceful landscape, I can almost guarantee you that 24 fps and 18 fps will NOT BE CHOPPY.

If, on the other hand, you handle the camera to an operator with Parkinson's Disease, who will then jerk and shake the camera and run with it like an ostrich and pan 90 degrees with it in 0.5 seconds -- well, then even 60 fps will be choppy and jerky and flickery, and maybe even so at 120 fps.

In line with my preference, it all depends on what our eyes are capable of. I have heard we max out between 60-120fps, but not every person is identical. Technology increases exponentially, and our vision's limits are not the only reason to advance the tech. Slow motion will also benefit from increased FPS, one of the reasons I like my 60fps. I can play anything at 2/5 speed and still match the 24p cinema standard.

Well, if you shoot at 60 fps and play that out at 24 fps, you will have indeed created a slow motion effect. These clever effects have been around for almost 100 years now.

On the other hand, shooting at higher frame rates and then playing that out at lower frame rates, or the reverse of this practice, makes little practical sense and generates no benefit that I can see.

Personally, before I would start shooting wildly at 60 fps, I would start shooting carefully at 48 fps and play back the material at 48 fps, to see where that gets me. And others who might ant to watch what I happen to shoot.

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Techno follow-up

Jezebel Masterson wrote:

I think we all have memories of the super smooth video being very amateurish. It somehow doesn't feel professional because of it's past uses. It took me a while to accept the "look" of 60fps, but once I got used to it I liked it more. Viewing a higher end 60p camcorder's footage on a nice plasma is a thing to behold. Of course if you like 24p instead, it would melt your eyes!

Personally, I do not have any memories of super-smooth video being amateurish. In PAL countries, for instances, television frame rate was 25 fps (now it is 50p), so that was not all that much "smoother" than 24 fps, correct?

I guess I am still not sure whether you had picked 60p = 60 fps as your "magic number" simply because that is what your camera and plasma screen lets you do.... or did you first carefully experiment with other frame rates for acquisition and playback, such as 36 fps, 48 fps, 72 fps, 96 fps, and 120 fps, and then you had picked 60p = 60 fps because that is what you had felt suited your own eyes the best?

Never heard of that, as I had always thought that the APS-C sensor was rather small, at least compared to full-frame 135 digital sensor and film frame, 4-perf 35mm film frame, and even 3-perf Super 35 film frame and digital sensor.

I didn't get the impression they were using those kinds of cameras. It isn't avatar or titanic, I think their budget is a bit smaller so they are trying to be economical. The 7D does take decent video by DSLR standards, and is far cheaper than most of the FF options. Throw an F1.2 lens on it and I see why they used it.

I am not sure I follow you with this one, Jezebel. Since "Avatar" was shot using 2/3-inch sensor cameras, compared to a 2/3-inch diagonal sized digital sensor, a DSLR's APS-C sensor is indeed considered large. Maybe the TV show guys had more money at their disposal then they let us know, huh?

Not sure what an F1.2 lens has got to do with things, either -- there are F0.7 movie lenses, F0.8 C-mount surveillance lenses, and F0.95 Micro 4/3 lenses. The better Super 8 film cameras in the 1970s had constant F1.2 or F1.4 zoom lenses on them. The worse ones had constant F1.7, F1.8, or F1.9. And Canon had an F0.95 lens for 35mm SLRs back in the 1960s.

Regarding the videos that the DSLRs, particularly Canon DSLRs take -- I had always thought that they were pretty awful when it comes to the dreaded moire pattern and some other imperfections resulting from pixel downscaling (or line-skipping), no?

Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,947
Re: Techno follow-up

Francis Carver wrote:

Personally, I do not have any memories of super-smooth video being amateurish. In PAL countries, for instances, television frame rate was 25 fps (now it is 50p), so that was not all that much "smoother" than 24 fps, correct?

25fps (and 30fps) television use interlaced video which smooths the action because you're actually viewing fields (even or odd scan lines) at a rate of 50Hz (or 60Hz).   This makes motion a lot more fluid than 24p or even 30p, although it does lead to "combing" and "buzzing" artifacts under certain circumstances.

60p video gives a much smoother playback of anything that has rapid motion in it, period.   You may prefer 24p for that "cinematic" look, but that doesn't mean it displays rapid motion faithfully.  In fact it's the poor reproduction of rapid motion which gives it that "look".

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
60 fps frame rate pros and cons

Sean Nelson wrote:

25fps (and 30fps) television use interlaced video which smooths the action because you're actually viewing fields (even or odd scan lines) at a rate of 50Hz (or 60Hz). This makes motion a lot more fluid than 24p or even 30p, although it does lead to "combing" and "buzzing" artifacts under certain circumstances.

60p video gives a much smoother playback of anything that has rapid motion in it, period. You may prefer 24p for that "cinematic" look, but that doesn't mean it displays rapid motion faithfully. In fact it's the poor reproduction of rapid motion which gives it that "look".

I am not at all sure why everyone claims that I prefer 24 fps for anything. In fact, I had shot stuff at 16 fps and 18 fps, because back then, that was the frame rate for that particular format camera. Like today it is 24, 25, and 30. We are getting into higher frame rates, now moving up from what we have now got, logic would dictate plenty of experimentation to see whether 36 fps and 48 fps would be sufficient for whatever one would use "high frame rate" workflow in the first place, or would we really need 72 fps, 96 fps, or 120 fps, or maybe even higher?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why some people claim that 60p = 60 fps is now the new "high frame rate standard." Why is it? Are 36, 48, 72, 96, 120, etc. frame rates so much worse in comparison to it, or why then?

BTW, for decades in all PAL television countries everything was shot at 25 fps, which is of course only 1 fps faster of a frame rate than 24 fps is. But you would not really call 25p a "cinematic look" frame rate, would you now?

Regarding displaying "rapid motion" -- if you really want to stress out your camera, I am sure you can shoot with it rapid motion at 60p that will look pretty bad. Is that why you have switched to 60p = 60 fps shooting -- you tried them all, and nothing below that particular frame rate will satisfy your personal needs for "smoothness?"

I sure as heck would not switch frame rates just for that. Maybe for some special applications, but for all the time?

Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: 60 fps frame rate pros and cons

Francis Carver wrote:

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why some people claim that 60p = 60 fps is now the new "high frame rate standard." Why is it? Are 36, 48, 72, 96, 120, etc. frame rates so much worse in comparison to it, or why then?

60 isn't the new thang, it just happens to be what most of our newer cameras shoot at. If mine was capable of 1080/120p, trust me I would be talking about that. Higher is better, that is all we are saying. It just so happens that current technology can do 60p and for very affordable prices. There is no reason then, that we should be shooting at 24fps. Try not to freeze frame this topic, the numbers you are hearing will keep changing. In 5 years it may be 520fps you are arguing about. The bottom line is, we can easily shoot far over 24fps, so why not do it?

BTW, for decades in all PAL television countries everything was shot at 25 fps, which is of course only 1 fps faster of a frame rate than 24 fps is. But you would not really call 25p a "cinematic look" frame rate, would you now?

I think the interlaced issue prevents it from looking that way. AFAIK, tele doesn't play 25p, it is 480/25i, or higher rez 25i, here in the states it is 480/30i. I have high def channels, even 3D, but they have traditionally been interlaced. I think that's why none of it looks cinematic.

Regarding displaying "rapid motion" -- if you really want to stress out your camera, I am sure you can shoot with it rapid motion at 60p that will look pretty bad. Is that why you have switched to 60p = 60 fps shooting -- you tried them all, and nothing below that particular frame rate will satisfy your personal needs for "smoothness?"

For me, it was the highest I could get for my budget. If my panasonic would shoot at 120fps without any IQ degredation, I would do it. External HDD are cheap, 120fps may appear exactly the same as 60, or it could be even smoother. Either way, it allows me to employ slow mo to an even greater affect, and the only downside is larger files. And your point of shooting 60p motion that could look bad, yes, if motion was fast enough even that could show "chop", all the more reason to push even further. Ever see a bullet in a 5000fps slow mo? Played back at 60fps it is butter smooth, same concept for normal video just not as extreme.

Francis Carver Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
60 fps frame rate pros and cons

Jezebel Masterson wrote:

60 isn't the new thang, it just happens to be what most of our newer cameras shoot at.

I see. Of course, the camera may not be just so smart that it would know what your eyes/brain really like to see, and at what particular frame rate, right?

60 fps makes little sense to me, thus my asking, BTW.

Higher is better, that is all we are saying.

Crack me up, that is all I'm saying, too.

There is no reason then, that we should be shooting at 24fps.

And probably not much reason not to shoot at 24, 25, or 30 fps, either.

In 5 years it may be 520fps you are arguing about.

You would like that very much, correct? 

The bottom line is, we can easily shoot far over 24fps, so why not do it?

Why do it if you are not forced to do it, might actually be the better question?

tele doesn't play 25p, it is 480/25i, or higher rez 25i, here in the states it is 480/30i.

Never. It is not 480 lines, anyhow, but 525, and not 25i but 50i. But otherwise, you've nailed it.

For NTSC, you are talking about 50 fields per second interlaced, or what?

If my panasonic would shoot at 120fps without any IQ degredation, I would do it.

If you don't mind me asking.... why aren't you look at the GoPro Hero3 is you love high frame rates but have an equipment budget?

http://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero3-black-edition#features

Professional 4K Cinema 15 fps / 2.7K cinema 30 fps / 1440p 48 fps / 1080p 60 fps / 960p 100 fps /720p 120 fps and more video capture.

As you can see, with some cameras makers you are NOT LIMITED TO 60 fps, not by a long shot. This one from GoPro, for example, shoots at 15 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps, 100 fps, and 120 fps frame rates. Not sure why I would be struggling with a Panny Lumix if I wanted high resolution and high frame rates capabilities in a single digital camera, quite frankly.

Of course, at close to $400, the Hero3 may not be in your budget range, but something to keep in mind for future reference, right?

120fps may appear exactly the same as 60, or it could be even smoother.

How could 120 fps possibly APPEAR THE SAME as 60 fps?  Surely, you had made a joke here, right? I mean, if that was true, than 60 fps would appear the same as 30 fps, and I believe you had stated before that it does not, right?

Fastfwd01
Fastfwd01 Regular Member • Posts: 441
Re: Digital camera with large sensor or camcorder with small sensor?

Wow, this thread went off into some detail didn’t it!  I enjoyed that, but not sure it really covered what the op was asking about.  Not that I can answer either, but I would say from my comparatively limited experience that it really depends on what you are looking for in your video camera.

I have a Canon HF S20 video camera that is actually one of their fairly recent higher end prosumer models.  The newer Canons have fewer pixels and better low light performance than my more expensive model.  They still have the relatively small sensor though.  I purchased a Canon G1X last year that is the ‘big sensor’ evolution of their G Series lineup.  It does 1080p at 24p and the quality is very good, but it’s limited to 24p and there is limited control over the settings for even that. I didn’t buy it for video obviously, but it did become something I tinkered with after getting it.

There are probably options out there like the Panasonic Lumix GH2/3 that get closer to an ‘all around’ video/stills camera, but from my experience you give up a lot trying to use your still camera for video in terms of convenience, etc. depending on what you consider convenience I suppose.  I will definitely be using my G1X for more video when I can whip it out of my belt pouch instead of having to drag out the HF S20 from its bag buried wherever it might be if I’m carrying both.

I enjoy that my HF S20 lets me plug in a cheap Lanc controller for instance – something that’s missing on even the latest higher end HF G20.  It’s nice to be able to have my camcorder mounted on a tripod and control the zoom, on/off record, etc. remotely.  It’s certainly got far more ‘manual’ control not that I use a lot of it myself, but it’s there if I care to tinker and experiment with it.

If I weren’t a Canon ‘Fanboy’ – I would be seriously looking at one of those Lumix GH models most likely from what little I have seen on them.  You might check them out and see if it fills the bill for you.  I think maybe the GH2 even has a leg up in some regards if I recall?  Anyone know about that?

 Fastfwd01's gear list:Fastfwd01's gear list
Canon PowerShot G6 Canon EOS M Nikon D750 Samsung Galaxy S5
Jezebel Masterson Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: 60 fps frame rate pros and cons

Francis Carver wrote:

There is no reason then, that we should be shooting at 24fps.

And probably not much reason not to shoot at 24, 25, or 30 fps, either.

True. If I had 120fps on my camera, I wouldn't be shooting 60p either.

The bottom line is, we can easily shoot far over 24fps, so why not do it?

Why do it if you are not forced to do it, might actually be the better question?

We could ask that about any number. I am simply using the highest FPS I have available. So I ask you, would you rather shoot/watch video at 60fps or 24?

If my panasonic would shoot at 120fps without any IQ degredation, I would do it.

If you don't mind me asking.... why aren't you look at the GoPro Hero3 is you love high frame rates but have an equipment budget?

If you can find a go pro with the same lens specs, I'm all for it. I would also prefer to see what I am shooting at, right now I have a 1.1m dot LCD to compose on. Matter of fact, lets just find a camcorder that shoots at higher fps, that seems much simpler.

Professional 4K Cinema 15 fps / 2.7K cinema 30 fps / 1440p 48 fps / 1080p 60 fps / 960p 100 fps /720p 120 fps and more video capture.

As you can see, with some cameras makers you are NOT LIMITED TO 60 fps, not by a long shot. This one from GoPro, for example, shoots at 15 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps, 100 fps, and 120 fps frame rates. Not sure why I would be struggling with a Panny Lumix if I wanted high resolution and high frame rates capabilities in a single digital camera, quite frankly.

Read the above. I want 1080p first and foremost, which means the go pro is limited to 60fps, just like mine. If rez was of no concern I could get a bridge camera with almost 1kfps, but it would be sub 480p. 1440/48p would probably be nice, but again, no zoom, no LCD/VF, focus peaking, ect, not to mention my plasma is only 1080p. I don't consider myself to be struggling lol, not sure what you have been shooting with to skew your opinion of these. You obviously have a bias against "panny lumix" if you think a X900m is struggling.

Of course, at close to $400, the Hero3 may not be in your budget range, but something to keep in mind for future reference, right?

Are you trolling lol? My Panny was $750, my DSLR was $1200, lenses another grand, my budget is not a hard ceiling. I limited myself on my first camcorder in case I buy something I don't end up being crazy about. If I decide this isn't for me, I only spent $750. If it reaffirms my ideas, my next will be higher end. I can tell you that so far I am looking forward to learning more with my X900m, and my next upgrade will be the AC-90 or higher. If you think I should ditch an AC-90 for a gopro hero you have a screw loose.

120fps may appear exactly the same as 60, or it could be even smoother.

How could 120 fps possibly APPEAR THE SAME as 60 fps? Surely, you had made a joke here, right? I mean, if that was true, than 60 fps would appear the same as 30 fps, and I believe you had stated before that it does not, right?

When you show clinical evidence of exactly what the FPS limit is of our vision, I can tell you exactly what the difference would be. If my vision cannot see individual frames past 60fps, then yea, to my eyes it would look identical to 120fps. What part of that did you not understand?

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