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Andrew Reid

Nikon D5300 Review and why DSLRs are dead for video

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Loosely related to this topic, Dave Etchells of Imaging Resource had an interview with Yamamoto-san of Nikon. 

 

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2014/02/14/nikon-qa-head-of-development-sees-interchangeable-lens-slowdown-as-an-aberr

 

Partially rather usual and predictable, but there were a couple of interesting little tidbits in there, too. It's a long-ish interview, and the video talks are in the middle part. They talk about the 5300, the 1 series and a little bit of 4K, too.

 

It seemed like the interviewer was steering the conversation when the subject of 4K came up.  Both parties reinforced each other that 4K will be too expensive for consumers.  Neither apparently have been keeping up with 4K TV prices.  4K TVs are just out of the blocks, and the prices are dropping like a rock.  Vizio just announced their 70" 4K TV at CES for under $2700 (not much more than the HD unit was selling for a year ago), and a 4K 50" for under $1000.  The slowest piece of the 4K puzzle will be broadcast.  Online distribution is already here, though.

 

They are also missing the fact that HD content is usually below HD standards for resolution, unless you are viewing Blu-ray.  Most HD cameras don't even put out full HD.  4K content may not end up being 4K either, but it will be far and above HD, so even viewers with HD TV will finally get what they paid for.

 

The camera companies have not transitioned into technology companies.  That's what killed Kodak.

 

Michael

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Good article, Andrew. There sure seems to be a few annoyed/scared Nikon/Canon people on the forum.  You may want to cater a bit more to them, even if *we* know they are wrong ;) haha

 

Seriously though, there is no denying that the picture/video quality can be very good on a D5300, but it is about more than that (and it's built-in codecs falls flat against GH3, GH4, BMPCC as well..). Ergonomics, Audio features (esp. GH3/GH4) is in a different league, and with the speedbooster, they can compete with FF on DoF and low light performance.

 

If you primarily want to take pictures, and some occasional home movies, the D5300 is great, but this is a FILMMAKING website.

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Am I wrong to assume that actual working cinematographers would have something to say here? Not saying that I'm one of these endangered species, but I'm specifically thinking of Bradford Lipson (Wilfred) and Jeff Jur (Dexter). Jeff Jur said in an interview, that most of the time the post production team had a hard time telling the difference between their A and B can and the Nikon D800, which is fair enough if it wasn't for the fact that the A camera was an Alexa.
Again, not claiming to be a cinematographer equally skilled to the above mentioned I think their on to something. Why else would two very successful cinematographers use them? If Blackmagic and GH2/GH3/GH4 are such amazing cameras why is that only amateurs and small businesses uses them and not big studios with budgets large enough to use whatever camera they like?

Nothing bad about mr. Reid, but I think people are focussing to much on what, in my opinion, are facts, numbers and presumptions.
Blackmagic might very well have packed 13 stops of dynamic range into their cameras but if that's what you're relaying on as a cinematographer, you're not really doing you're job. It does indeed challenges your knowledge of light and the way you (or rather the camera) sees it, but if you can't adjust to that you should probably find another line of work or admit that you don't have what it takes.

And yes, some people are probably going to argue that the GH2 was "voted" the winner of the Zacuto shoutout and that it was only because of the expensive light gear they had access to, but you'll be surprised how much you can achieve with work lights, fluorescent tubes, gels, baking paper, reflectors, foam core and flags (all of which are very cheap) At least that is my personal experience.

...and hey, then you don't have to worry about carrying tons of batteries and spend thousands on storage.

Coming from a photographic background that makes me think of the most famous (and annoying) quote amongst photographers: "the camera doesn't make the creative decisions" also sometimes heard as "the camera doesn't create the photographer"

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For homevideos that's perfectly fine if not better than 24p. Any television plays 30p and you certainly won't broadcast over PAL TV your fathers golden wedding or your sisters birthday -homevideos-


Sure, but with so many good cameras to choose from nowadays, I'm not going to limit myself to shooting with a camera from a manufacturer that can't be bothered to offer more than one shitty frame rate. Olympus have been building m4/3rds cameras for 5 years. Surely, by now, they can do better than just 30P.

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I don't think this site is aimed too much at producers of content to big budget productions. Correct, you won't find GH2/GH3/Blackmagic, or D800 or Canon 5d mk3 there for that matter. (maybe any of these as funny experiments or very limited scenes where they don't want to risk more expensive equipment).

 

 

The nice thing about a camera like the Blackmagic, is that it affords filmmakers who can't afford a big crew of lighting people etc to still end up with good footage.

 

So:

 

Nikon 5300 - soccermoms

Blackmagic/GH2/GH3/GH3 - indie, smaller productions

Arri (mostly) - large budget digital

 

Am I wrong to assume that actual working cinematographers would have something to say here? Not saying that I'm one of these endangered species, but I'm specifically thinking of Bradford Lipson (Wilfred) and Jeff Jur (Dexter). Jeff Jur said in an interview, that most of the time the post production team had a hard time telling the difference between their A and B can and the Nikon D800, which is fair enough if it wasn't for the fact that the A camera was an Alexa.
Again, not claiming to be a cinematographer equally skilled to the above mentioned I think their on to something. Why else would two very successful cinematographers use them? If Blackmagic and GH2/GH3/GH4 are such amazing cameras why is that only amateurs and small businesses uses them and not big studios with budgets large enough to use whatever camera they like?

Nothing bad about mr. Reid, but I think people are focussing to much on what, in my opinion, are facts, numbers and presumptions.
Blackmagic might very well have packed 13 stops of dynamic range into their cameras but if that's what you're relaying on as a cinematographer, you're not really doing you're job. It does indeed challenges your knowledge of light and the way you (or rather the camera) sees it, but if you can't adjust to that you should probably find another line of work or admit that you don't have what it takes.

And yes, some people are probably going to argue that the GH2 was "voted" the winner of the Zacuto shoutout and that it was only because of the expensive light gear they had access to, but you'll be surprised how much you can achieve with work lights, fluorescent tubes, gels, baking paper, reflectors, foam core and flags (all of which are very cheap) At least that is my personal experience.

...and hey, then you don't have to worry about carrying tons of batteries and spend thousands on storage.

Coming from a photographic background that makes me think of the most famous (and annoying) quote amongst photographers: "the camera doesn't make the creative decisions" also sometimes heard as "the camera doesn't create the photographer"

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I don't think this site is aimed too much at producers of content to big budget productions. Correct, you won't find GH2/GH3/Blackmagic, or D800 or Canon 5d mk3 there for that matter. (maybe any of these as funny experiments or very limited scenes where they don't want to risk more expensive equipment).


The nice thing about a camera like the Blackmagic, is that it affords filmmakers who can't afford a big crew of lighting people etc to still end up with good footage.

So:

Nikon 5300 - soccermoms
Blackmagic/GH2/GH3/GH3 - indie, smaller productions
Arri (mostly) - large budget digital


I don't think you got my point? The point was not that people should use Alexas. My point was that people seem to say that the D800 is a bad camera even though it is the most celebrated DSLR by real cinematographers.
My whole point was that people should worry less about the camera, but more about the lighting (and camera for that matter) Ask any cinematographer and in sure they'll say, that light, movement and lenses are more important than the actual camera, hence why you could use a D800 and cut it seamlessly with an Alexa.

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I just don't get Nikon...they could do much better on video shooting features, especially Nikon does not need to worry about high-end camera product lines as Sony and Canon.

 

Look at Panasonic, they did very well even they are selling high-end cameras too.

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most celebrated is a mighty strong word for very limited anecdotal "evidence", no offense.

 

I agree on lighting, but if you think along the lines of adding a bunch of trained crew for that, those productions would probably rent that arri.

 

 

I don't see any reason to ever use D800 compared to the Panasonics, blackmagics or hacked 5dmk3 for smaller budget stuff, and most certainly not the D5300 which is what the topic is about..

I don't think you got my point? The point was not that people should use Alexas. My point was that people seem to say that the D800 is a bad camera even though it is the most celebrated DSLR by real cinematographers.
My whole point was that people should worry less about the camera, but more about the lighting (and camera for that matter) Ask any cinematographer and in sure they'll say, that light, movement and lenses are more important than the actual camera, hence why you could use a D800 and cut it seamlessly with an Alexa.

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I just don't get Nikon...they could do much better on video shooting features, especially Nikon does not need to worry about high-end camera product lines as Sony and Canon.
 
Look at Panasonic, they did very well even they are selling high-end cameras too.


I completely agree. They could. They are too lazy and too comfortable, which was the main problem Canon had after launching the 5D (and probably still have)

Still doesn't change the fact that people should stop whining and make use of what they have and stop dreaming about what they don't.
Nikon and Canon doesn't make film cameras with such specs just because a few bloggers and people commenting think they should. These companies have a lot of money and uses a very big part of that money on R&D otherwise they simply wouldn't exist.
People fail to remember that they earn most of their money on photographers.
Why change something that works perfectly for what it's designed to?
It's the same as saying the Alexa is shit because it doesn't do 4K, 5K and 6K and can't take 36MP stills.

Why should Nikon change the best DSLR on the market because some video people says so? And why should (and why haven't) Arri changed or updated the Alexa? It's very simple - seen from their (business) point of view; there's simply no need.

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I've re-written the review based on ScreensPro's suggestion:
 
***
 
The undoubted highlight of the camera is the Baby Photo Mode which produces optimised, colourful JPEGs of your children for uploading to Facebook, though one major downside of the camera is the inability to make calls on it and upload directly to Facebook, it does include WiFi. Of less interest is 1080/60p, which is good for that 'smooth home movie look' but is really designed for slow-mo. Unfortunately slow-mo requires very expensive and complicated editing software like Adobe Premiere. The D5300 benefits from not having 10bit 4:2:2 or ProRes because you can store a year's worth of heavily compressed footage on mum's iMac from 2008 with a 120GB hard disk.
 
*12 pages of in-depth scene mode coverage*
 
Conclusion...
 
The D5300 is perfectly suited to making shitty home movies with because it lacks any kind of innovation whatsoever.
 
The Super 35mm Toshiba sensor is completely wasted on a low-end camera, but it shouldn't bother THE FAMILY MARKET, the main target of this camera, and therefore top marks 10/10.


According to Chipworks, the D5300 deploys a Sony sensor:

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=NIK-D5300_Pri-Camera

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Great article Andrew! You put some emotion to it. Could you send this critique to Nikon to light a fire in their collective behinds? I feel your frustration. They could be giving us wonderful camera's if they would use common sense, and talk to filmmakers and pro camera operators for their input. Thanks, you gave me good stats and capabilities/comparisons of these cameras.

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I'm not so sure about there not being need for this. When I'm invited to a wedding the videographer hired to shoot it is usually running around with a Canon or Nikon DSLR. Other events too, it's always a DSLR. I guess because that allows them to use the same gear for stills and for video, and because of the quality. The job offerings for in-house photographers I'm currently looking at also often mention video... the companies want their photographers to also shoot product videos, image videos etc. Clearly then there is a need for cameras that do both.

 

I think that Olympus, Pentax and Nikon seem to NOT ask videographers what they need. I mean, how hard would it be for Nikon to implement aperture selection in live view, or having a dedicated video mode where the frame is cropped? How hard would it be for Olympus to allow different frame rates and higher bitrates? Probably just a switch in the firmware... How hard would it be for Pentax to allow higher bitrates and activate IBIS... which is already there and works when the camera is in live view mode! There is not much R&D needed to activate features that are already there!

 

Though it is appropriate that the consumer camera (D5300) does not need to cater to professional videographers. But those DSLRs that cater to semi-pro/pro photographers should go all the way. I think the D7200 will show if Nikon has understood it. Probably the same sensor and processor as the D5300, but an orientation towards more professional usage.

 

Sony, Panasonic and Canon do know what is wanted and needed, but they can't fully commit cause that would canibalize their higher end sales. And the other companies just don't get it. Or if they are scared that the advanced video functions might confuse their customers, they can make it an option in the menu. Flip a switch, and it unlocks all the more professional video functionality.

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Andrew,

 

I appreciate your reviews very much.  But I do feel that your (understandable) frustration with Nikon was the tail wagging the dog a bit in this one.

 

There are two main issues with the D5200's video image quality. First is fixed pattern noise that accentuates itself when shooting low light and bringing up the shadows in post and/or using a FLAAT profile. The other is greenish color bias that Canon doesn't seem to exhibit, esp. in portraits.

 

I've read from 5300 owners that these two issues become non-issues in the 5300. If that is the case, then the video of this camera is not essentially the same as that of the 5200; it would be significantly better.

 

I own a 5200 and I have to say that the banding issue can be a real pain the ass. And many times there is no good fix in post, even when applying tools like NeatVideo.

 

I don't know if you still have access to a 5300, but if you can do a fixed pattern noise test, that would be much appreciated. If I can help in any way with my 5200, I'm of course willing to shoot some test video for you, etc. (I'm in the States.)

 

Thanks much for all your work!

 

 

P.S. BTW, you can use non-AI lenses on the 5300's body style, but you won't get metering. However, this is NOT the case with all Nikon bodies. http://www.aiconversions.com/compatibilitytable.htm

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Good article, Andrew. There sure seems to be a few annoyed/scared Nikon/Canon people on the forum.  You may want to cater a bit more to them, even if *we* know they are wrong ;) haha

 

Seriously though, there is no denying that the picture/video quality can be very good on a D5300, but it is about more than that (and it's built-in codecs falls flat against GH3, GH4, BMPCC as well..). Ergonomics, Audio features (esp. GH3/GH4) is in a different league, and with the speedbooster, they can compete with FF on DoF and low light performance.

 

If you primarily want to take pictures, and some occasional home movies, the D5300 is great, but this is a FILMMAKING website.

 

For my part at least there is no brand loyalty. I have a G6 and love it. I wouldn't use any of the other Nikons in a million years, but the D5300 is a very good FILMMAKING camera. It gives a BEAUTIFUL image. It's just a pain in the neck to use.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

If you primarily want to take pictures, and some occasional home movies, the D5300 is great, but this is a FILMMAKING website.

 

So:

 

Nikon 5300 - soccermoms

Blackmagic/GH2/GH3/GH3 - indie, smaller productions

Arri (mostly) - large budget digital

 

This is crazy. Did you read the article? The whole thing was talking about how the D5300 gives a very nice filmic image but is an absolute nightmare to use. I wouldn't recommend the 5300 to a "soccermum" in a million years! It IS a nightmare to shoot video with! It would make much more sense for an amateur to use a Panasonic for home movies - EVF, decent AF, decent onboard audio, focus peaking, small size, great but not pro-level stills. I have a G6 and a 5300 and I know which one I'd give to someone who wasn't a filmmaker to shoot video with.

 

The 5200/7100 have been used by FILMMAKERS loads to make very good-looking movies:

 

 

 

and erm:

 

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

According to Chipworks, the D5300 deploys a Sony sensor:

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=NIK-D5300_Pri-Camera

 

 

"the Toshiba sensor in the D5300"

 

Yep its a sony sensor, not toshiba ;)

 

 

Keep in mind that Sony and Toshiba have joint developed chips and have sold fab plants to each other, so it's entirely possible that only the name has changed.

 

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/28/sony_toshiba_ps3_chip_plant_sale/

 

Andrew stating it's a Toshiba sensor is entirely in line with the laziness of the rest of the article. The D5300 is very similar, but in important ways rather different to the 5200. I'm inclined to think it is a mutation of the Toshiba sensor in the D5200/7100 though. The image is very similar to the 5200, and there aren't many Sony chips with so little moire/aliasing.

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You've got to be joking, right? You want to give them two years to catch up to what Panasonic is doing right now?

Two years is an impossibly vast amount amount of leeway. Think about how much has changed since February of 2012! Blackmagic hadn't even announced a camera yet, 5D Mark iii was a month away, no GH3, no E-M5, no D800, no X-Pro 1; most of these cameras wouldn't even be announced until well into spring! Two years would be an incomprehensibly long time to have to wait for Nikon to implement these features.

Surely you were kidding, right?
 

 

 

Im not saying Nikon is not behind, Im saying they are going forward. The canon crop-sensors have been the same for 5 years. Nikon is improving with every iteration. They are really slow on giving features that seem easy to implement though. So yes, what I think is that Nikon who is not focusing on video will be behind in terms of functionality and may not be the best choice for pure filmmakers, but I think they will stay moderatly relevant to the hybrid shooter.

 

I don't want to give Nikon anything.

Im just making a prediction of what I think is going to happen. A more precise guess would be this: Nikon announce a 4k Nikon 1 in 2014. In 2015 they announce D900 (or something like that) with 4K (probably UHD) to FF sensor. In terms of functionality its harder to say, if they decide to keep video as a bonus they might just go with the same style as of now for quite a long time. As long as they offer large sensor and good image people will probably still use it if they own it for photo.

 

Personally, I like DR, low-light and large sensor better than sharpness in m43-size. Thats why I like the Nikons better than the GH3 right now. If the GH4 will improve on DR and low-light it might be a really great camera and will also be great for dragging along the competition, but its not out yet and we should not embrace it before we know. What I can say right now: The Nikon D5300 gives the best image I have seen in such a cheap camera, and is clearly not the camera that proclaims the death of DSLR, that one would be 550D number 25.

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