Digital Camera For Action Shots – With the development of mirrorless camera technology, the distinction between photographic devices and video cameras has become more blurred. Today, there are plenty of mirrorless photo/video cameras available that can produce footage comparable to the quality of professional video tools, but at a fraction of the cost.
In this guide we’ll explain the technologies and key features of today’s hybrid photo/video cameras, to help you make the right buying decision. To help you navigate the jargon-heavy world of video, we’ve created a glossary of terms that you’ll find at the end of this article.
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The most commonly quoted video specification you’ll see for your camera is the output resolution, usually 1080p/Full HD, 4K or even 8K on the latest cameras. The latest TVs can display 1080p/Full HD, and the ability to display 4K video, which is twice the resolution, is becoming more common. Shooting 4K footage offers some flexibility during the editing process, even if your final output is 1080, but the files tend to be much larger and require more storage and a more powerful machine. editorial.
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The same is true to an even greater extent with 8K capture: it gives you creative flexibility (in terms of cropping or stabilizing your footage) if you’re outputting 4K video, but the storage and processing requirements are even higher. Most people will find high-quality 4K more useful than 8K footage, most of the time.
UHD 4K is four times the resolution of 1080/Full HD. UHD 8K is four times the resolution again.
These are the most common resolutions used in video. Full HD (High Definition), also known as ‘1080’, is 1920 x 1080 pixels. 4K can refer to DCI (4096 x 2160 pixels) or the more common UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 8K also has DCI and UHD versions, which double the resolution in all aspects to 8192 x 4320 pixels and 7680 × 4320 pixels respectively.
An important consideration beyond the stated output resolution is how the footage is captured: the best cameras capture resolutions greater than 4K and downscale to give highly detailed 4K output, but other models must be downsampled (they only to catch some lines of his sensor). , or lumping pixels together) which gives a less detailed result that is more prone to glitches. Finally, some cameras have to go in and use a small area of their sensor, which lowers quality (especially in low light conditions), and means your footage is more ‘zoomed in’ than in your camera’s photo mode. , which makes it harder to do. get a wide-angle view. This is a detail that most manufacturers don’t publish, so you’ll have to learn the language and read reviews to be sure.
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The final factor to consider is rolling shutter: the wobbly, Jello-like distortion of objects moving quickly past the camera. This happens because cameras capture their video one line at a time, scanning down the sensor: on a camera where this is slow, there is a greater risk of your subject moving and being in a different position by the time the camera is attached to the. bottom of each frame. In general, cameras with smaller sensors are faster to read out, so they are less likely to have this problem.
Most videos are recorded at around 24 frames per second or 30 frames per second (with 25 fps being the standard for broadcast television outside of North America). But many cameras offer faster frame rates, which can be used in a number of ways. 60p footage can do a better job of depicting movement, so it’s a good way to capture bursts of action. Another option is to capture at 60p or faster and then slow it down to 24 or 30p, to give a slow motion effect. Most cameras can’t offer fast frame rates at the highest resolution, but it’s not uncommon to capture 1080 at 120 fps or faster, which can be great if your project doesn’t need to be 4K.
Another detail to check is whether there are any camera recording restrictions. Some models can only record for 29 minutes and 59 seconds (an age restriction related to import duty), but most are limited up to the end simply because high-resolution video capture generates a lot of heat.
The processing required to capture video generates heat and most photo/video cameras are not very efficient at dissipating this heat, requiring them to stop cooling. Pro video cameras have cooling fans but most photo/video hybrids only try to transfer this heat to the camera body panels, where they can escape into the environment. The best of these designs can continue to shoot for long periods, while other models allow you to disable their overheating limits (or, at least, make them more severe). This is rarely a problem if you plan to shoot lots of short clips to edit together but it will prevent you from leaving the camera running at something like a school recital, especially if you try to shoot in 4K or higher. Fast frame rates can cause similar headaches in terms of heat and storage.
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Once you’ve found a camera that shoots good footage at the resolution you want, sound is an important consideration. Most viewers want bad-looking footage over bad-sounding video, and it’s a factor you don’t see easily if most of your experience is photography.
A microphone input socket is essential: the internal microphones in cameras are usually simple affairs that will always pick up the movement of the operator’s hands or clothing moving nearby, so you’ll want to be able to attach an external microphone. The next most valuable feature is a headphone socket so you can check the volume level and monitor for distracting background sounds: the human brain is great at filtering out the sound of a car passing by or planes flying by overhead but you will not. able to remove it from your audio recording, when you watch the movie back.
One of the biggest differences in modern cameras is how reliably their focus works when capturing video. Unlike still photos, video captures all the camera’s efforts to focus, as well as the moments it is in focus, so you need a reliable and reliable camera if you expect to be able to trust autofocus when recording .
The best performers are able to reliably track your chosen subjects (especially human subjects), and let you decide whether to quickly refocus (to maintain focus on a moving subject), or slow and smooth, for when you want. draw attention from one subject to another. Autofocus depends on the camera and lens design you use, so it’s worth doing some research (and, possibly, testing) before you decide to rely heavily on autofocus.
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That little AF/MF switch in the center of the image represents the classic video dilemma: put faith in autofocus or be in charge. The most modern cameras have made autofocus much more reliable.
The alternative to autofocus is, as you’d expect, manual focus. This is the way many of the professional videos are still shot. Most modern cameras allow you to use autofocus to set your initial focus position, before you start recording, then provide a ‘focus peak’ function which highlights the edges of the focus points in your scene. When used with an appropriate lens (ideally one with a linear focus response, where the focus always changes by the same amount as you turn the focus ring) and a little practice, manual focus is quite workable, but can many things to fix. so you don’t have to refocus very often.
Focus peaking added a red highlight to the highest-contrast (focussed) parts of this image, making it easy to see what you’re doing if you focus a shot manually.
In addition to peak focus, most cameras allow you to pinch the video: giving a magnified view of part of the scene to check critical focus. While almost all cameras will zoom in before you start recording, some cameras will let you zoom in to double-check your focus while recording, which is a useful feature to have.
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Another useful video tool worth checking out, when researching a video camera is the option to overlay a zebra pattern on the screen, displaying a specified brightness. It’s a useful tool for evaluating exposure, and can be adjusted to check for overexposed regions or to check that you’re exposing skin tones correctly (getting the exposure right is much more important in video than in stills, where you can shoot Raw to preserve some latitude for adjustment).
One specification that won’t be mentioned on a camera manufacturer’s website is whether exposure and other settings carry over from stills to video. The ideal photo settings are often very different from the ideal video settings, so we prefer when exposure, white balance and focus modes are kept separate.
Even with separate (or separable) settings for stills and video, it’s not uncommon to need to add dark (neutral density) filters to your lens when jumping from stills to video capture, but if you don’t need to adjust your settings consistently, can help change back and forth a lot
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