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.Read the full post here.
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.