The Worlds First?
Apart from the Casio EX-F1 that was launched a year ago and I've had for the last four months.
Life can be a confusing business. You’ve got mobile phones that double up as cameras, and cameras that record video. Well, prepare to be even more confused as cameras begin to capture HD video. Nikon’s D90 proudly claims to be the world’s first DSLR to record HD video. So does this mean the end of the camcorder as we know it …
The Casio is not strictly an SLR - it looks like a far more sensible hybrid of camcorder and still camera. There are a handful of other non-SLR digital cameras with HD video - I looked very briefly at the fuji finepix [some number]. I think the only other true SLR with HD video is the Canon 5Dii which was released a few months ago.
My HD camcorder is smaller, lighter and cheaper than all but the noddy-est of Canon or Nikon SLR lenses. I'm guessing there's a pretty good reason why, in the century or so since the invention of moving image cameras, nobody has ever built one that looks and handles like an SLR.
As the purpose of this is that it's a DSLR and camcorder, I was expecting some example video footage, even if it was compressed down just to show how bad the wobbles are.
Also, I'd argue that 5mins max video means it isn't a camcorder - just a DSLR that happens to have a tiny video mode. Most cheap compact cameras will do short, shaky, bad clips of video...nothing to get excited about.
The EX-F1 is a lovely camera, but unless it's hiding it *really* well, it's not a D-SLR, it's a bridge camera. An SLR has flapping mirrors in it, the F1 only has the digital viewfinder, no optical one (please correct me if I am wrong!)
If it has interchangeable lenses, then it's EVIL(!) (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens camera) but still not a D-SLR.
"An example of the close-up performance offered by the D90"
Surely this is dependent on the lens used, which isn't mentioned here; presumably all of the images in the review used the kit lens.
That Casio Pat mentioned seems very interesting but isn't a DSLR and, perhaps more importantly, doesn't have interchangeable lenses. I'd like to be able to use fast prime lenses to shoot video and I look forward to future camera bodies hopefully doing a better job at this. It's pretty inevitable that the earliest models will leave much to be desired.
@Pat: "Single Lens Reflex" means there's a mirror for composition that moves out of the way when you shoot. The Casio doesn't have one of those. Doesn't make it a good or bad camera, it just means it's not an SLR. It's marketed as an "SLR style" camera, but that's really more about the size and shape of the thing.
Mind you, the situation's even more complicated than that, since the live view and video modes on modern Nikons and Canons keep the mirror out of the way and just use the LCD for composition, in exactly the same way as the Casio.
"Nikon’s D90 proudly claims to be the world’s first DSLR to record HD video."
The Casio EX-F1 may be a fine camera but it looks to me more like a Bridge camera than a DSLR.
dpreview.com categorises it as "SLR-like" with an electronic viewfinder (not Reflex) and with no ability to swap lenses.
You don't know what a DSLR is, Pat; it's an interchangeable-lens camera with an optical viewfinder illuminated by a mirror which flips out of the way when the image is being captured. That's the R bit - it stands for Reflex.
The EX-F1 is a very impressive camera for its frame rate alone, but it isn't a DSLR, and it won't approach the high-ISO performance of a DSLR because its image sensor is too small.
I'm quite surprised at the lack of exposure-adjustment-while-shooting-video on this camera - I'm not sure if 5Dii supports it either - as with a couple of fast lenses, you could make a pretty good job of shooting an HD movie with these things, provided you had enough SD/CF cards.
I like the idea of slotting my 28-70 F2.8 onto a 5Dii and taking some arty farty shots of crows and stuff. Shame I don't have £1000 to burn :-(
PS: Yes, we know the Casio isn't an SLR everyone - can we let that drop now please?
I am due a new camera (overdue actually!) but I am still undecided on what to get. I have been looking at Nikon D80/90 (or possibly the 300) and the Canon 40/50Ds. How do fellow Reg readers rate the Nikons to the Canon cameras? What are the Nikon lenses like?
If you were going to get a DSLR under a grand, which would you get and why?
Cheers for any comments :)
Nikon makes a nice camera. It's not perfect, but it does a solid job as a camera.
And then, something happens. Under the original 1 year warranty terms, or under the optional time-of-purchase two-year add-on warranty from Nikon, you have to send it in for service.
Once service gets it, they will examine it with a microscope, and look for the slightest exterior damage (such as a scratch). If they find it, then your warranty is VOID. Just like that. And now you're paying full price for repairs.
Except that their service techs are apparently about as well trained as a room full of monkeys. I sent a D-80 back for repair three times, and they never fixed it properly. They keep saying they will just replace the camera, but they haven't done that, either.
God help you if you actually try to call and talk to the customer service reps. You'll get all kinds of promises for updates, emails, return calls, return calls from a supervisor, you name it. But absolutely jack will come of it -- you're still left in a black hole with a vintage 1995 web site "tracking" the lack of progress of your repairs.
Due to their customer service, warranty "honoring" terms, and inability to actually repair a broken camera, I'll never buy another Nikon product. It's that simple.
Under a grand? I'd try and find a Canon EOS 5D, mk I. There are some available new for around that, obviously you can pick a used one for less.
Why? Excellent per pixel sharpness, over and above the cameras you listed. Full frame, so no FOV crop, which makes wideangle easier. Of course that's only a major advantage if you tend to shoot wideangle; the 1.6x FOV Canon 40D/50D (1.5x Nikon D80/D90) crop factor is an advantage if you tend to prefer telephoto; as it effectively gives you a free 1.6x teleconverter built-in ;)
The only thing missing from the mk1 is live view. If you're into tripod based macro, or astrophotography then that's a pain. Of course the mk2 has it, but it's way over a grand.
Incidentally the noise levels on the D90 are low because it appears to be applying some pretty aggressive noise reduction.
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