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Old May 22nd, 2012, 11:06 AM   #1
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Ideal still/video camera

I don't know if the powers that be (Chris, etc) will let me get away with this on DVInfo.net, but I'd like to discuss the ideal design of a still camera for sports/action that could also record video. Many of us do still photography as well as video, and I have recently been thinking about a better still camera design using systems that are common in video cameras. For instance, a rocker switch zoom control would be very useful in still cameras with a zoom lens. Most video folks use manual focus because autofocus is a crap shoot with rapidly moving subjects. Since it is nearly impossible to turn a focus ring and a zoom ring simultaneously, the rocker zoom control would be ideal for a still camera used for action shots. Also, most LCDs, unless covered by a hood of some kind, are hard to use in bright sunlight. An adjustable angle electronic viewfinder of reasonably large size would be wonderful for such a camera. A Super 35 or larger sensor would be essential, and 7 MP stills would probably be a minimum size. The camera would also need to be capable of bursts of at least 10 fps (preferably 30 fps). A few of the Sony NEX camera/camcorders come close to this, but all lack a rocker zoom control, which IMO is essential. Other thoughts ?
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 02:31 PM   #2
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Well, how would you drive the zoom...? Mechanically speaking, doesn't seem practical, or even feasible given the current interchangeable lens designs - you'd need another motor and another set of contacts for the drive signal at a minimum.

That said, the NEX and Alphas Sony is currently producing are pretty nice "hybrids". Sony came late to the V-SLR game so that they could get better performance, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job overall. Been pleased so far with both stills and video from an A65, and I'm comfortable shooting video with a SLR format cam.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 09:48 PM   #3
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

I suppose that this would only be practical with a fixed zoom lens, but with a good 12-15x lens, it could be a big hit. By the way, Dave, I lived in Barstow for almost ten years before coming to New Mexico in 1994. I'm an anesthesiologist, and was heavily involved in the hospital there. I also was the volunteer supervisor for the paramedic unit at the Barstow fire department. Days gone by ...
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
...I'd like to discuss the ideal design of a still camera for sports/action that could also record video...Most video folks use manual focus because autofocus is a crap shoot with rapidly moving subjects...An adjustable angle electronic viewfinder of reasonably large size would be wonderful for such a camera...A Super 35 or larger sensor would be essential, and 7 MP stills would probably be a minimum size. The camera would also need to be capable of bursts of at least 10 fps (preferably 30 fps).
The Nikon D4? It does almost everything you need and more.
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Last edited by Sareesh Sudhakaran; May 23rd, 2012 at 11:27 PM. Reason: typo
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Old May 24th, 2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
... For instance, a rocker switch zoom control would be very useful in still cameras with a zoom lens..... Other thoughts ?
You mean this?
Handizoom
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Old May 24th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #6
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Sareesh, the D4 looks like a great camera, but lacks the essential zoom rocker so that you could focus with one hand and zoom with the other. Les, that looks like a wonderful adaptor for the zoom. Is it still only available for the 5D, and did you get one yourself ?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Here is a lens that sounds like what you are describing except that it is for the relatively small sensor Nikon V1:
Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-Zoom Lens for CX 3318
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Old May 27th, 2012, 06:11 AM   #8
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

And, of course, micro 4/3 has a couple of power zooms & pretty good autofocus - and the http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-3-0-Inch-Tilting-Touchscreen/dp/B0074WDDN8 shoots at 9fps, but the sensor is somewhat smaller than Super 35, it doesn't have an adjustable angle EVF, and it's not a serious video camera - with no progressive video output and no standard mic input.

The other camera that comes close to your spec is the
NEX-FS700
- Super 35 sensor, awesome tracking autofocus, multi-angle EVF, 8MP stills (anyone know the maximum still frame rate?) - but again, no power zoom.

I guess that's your point - manufacturers have not given us a hybrid Super 35 camera that can really keep track of fast action in both still and video modes.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 10:56 PM   #9
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

I think you are right, Bill. The NEX-FS700 may come as close as we get. If Sony could produce a reasonably fast 12-15x lens with a zoom switch on the barrel for this camera, we might have a winner.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Any reason the GH2 plus a PZ 14-42 or PZ 45-175 doesn't work for you? The EVF works well or throw a loupe on the rotating viewfinder or add a HDMI monitor/EVF like the DP4. Zoom rocker on the barrel. electro-manual focus and pretty decent AF. OIS. Sensor is slightly smaller than S35, but DOF is shallow enough (yet not too shallow), and it's easier to get exposure with deep focus. Hack it if you like for a huge kick in the IQ pants.

Granted, it's not going to be as nifty as the FS700 with its slow-mo and all, but it's also going to be about $7000 less expensive.

AF100 plus a PZ lens should do the trick as well, and has 1080p60... but doesn't do very convincing stills.
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Old July 21st, 2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Mark,

The FS-700 does have a zoom rocker. They just don't have the lens yet. I can't wait to see what they come up with. I have the FS-100 and a power zoom would complete the camera for me. I know it's probably only for the FS-700, but one can dream.

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Old July 24th, 2012, 04:00 PM   #12
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

One problem I've noticed with every still/video camera I've tried (including the new Canon 4ti) is that the backfocus is off. As you zoom, the focus changes. I don't worry about how akward it is to zoom with my DSLR is because it looks so bad with the focus changing that I wouldn't do it even with a more convenient rocker.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #13
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Laurence,

That has to do with the lens being parfocal and non parfocal. I can't remember but I think parfocal lens don't change the focusing when pulling in and out zooming. Hope that helps.

Dan
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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:56 AM   #14
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Re: Ideal still/video camera

Yes, in general, still lenses are varifocal and cine lenses are parfocal. I assume that any zoom lens Sony releases for the F700 will be parfocal. There are a few parfocal still lenses, however.

Shawn Lam at Vancouver Video Production did a great review of many of them here: Event DV Live - Winter 2011/2012

Cheers,

Bill
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