Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nikon vs. Canon: DSLR Video Quality

We're often asked which hybrid DSLR camera we'd recommend for shooting both stills and video, the frontrunners invariably being Canon and Nikon.
In his Photofocus online magazine, Scott Bourne -- who has been writing authoritatively online about photography since 1998 -- makes the case for Canon.

Here's the gist:

Canon DSLRs have the lead in the fusion space. Comparing the video from a D3s to a Canon 1D MKIV, serious video/filmmaker types (and those who aspire to be serious like me) prefer the Canon.

I’ve spoken with several filmmakers about this as well as some software engineers and other tech types. They’ve all confirmed my findings. The Nikon suffers from several drawbacks.

1) Short HD clip duration (5 minutes) – the Canons shoot 12 minutes.

2) No 1080p video – Yes 720 is fine for most situations, but serious filmmakers are all fixing their sites on 1080p, which will soon be the minimum standard for HD. The Canons shoot at 1080p.

3) Motion JPG – this codec has crippled Nikon’s video. The quality just doesn’t compare to the H.264 wrapper that comes around Canon’s video. Using a program like MPEG Streamclip, you can convert the Canon video to Pro Res. You can’t get true Pro Res out of the Nikon video. Those three letters “JPG” say it all.

4) Manual control over exposure – There are manual controls but they are far from user-friendly and you have to know the secret handshake to make them work. I’ve asked 20 or more D3s/D300s owners if they know how to get the camera to allow manual control over exposure when shooting video and none of them knew how to do it. This is not reason enough to rule the camera out for video, but it does not help. Ergonomics matter.

If you’re shooting video for your kids, or for your high school film project, or something casual, the Nikon footage will work. But for serious filmmakers who want a professional caliber tool, changes have to be made to Nikon’s video. There’s a reason that major motion pictures like the latest Terminator movie are using Canon DSLR’s for video and not Nikons.
Read the full post here.

1 comment:

dion said...

Next time you watch a sports event, check out which cameras the press are using. Mostly Canon. It's where the pros go. Canon is way superior. The EOS system is user friendly, the camera body is simple and logical. Ypu can work it out without having to switch it on. I was looking at my friends' Nikon and counted over 17 butons! I mean by the time you try and figure out the gimics, you've missed the action. Cant beat Canon and their lenses are second to none.