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Video with DSLR or Mirrorless Bodies


nikonstills

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I have extensive experience with stills (my username ;)), but am beginning to venture into video, too.  My current Nikon DSLR (D3x) and backup (D2Xs) do not have video, and I am considering purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless system which has video.  For DSLR, I'm looking at the Nikon D810 -- for mirrorless, the Panasonic GH4 (although, I really like the Sony a7ii, but have read reviews that say its video is not so hot).

I have a few basic questions to start.....

Autofocus -- Can the autofocus systems on the DSLR's/mirrorless effectively track moving subjects??  Such as at a brisk walk, 15mph, and/or about 25mph??  My subjects will be moving, and while I think I would be fine with a walking speed and the focus peaking with the GH4, I don't think my manual focusing would keep up with faster movements.

Zooming in/out -- Is zooming in/out while recording video with DSLR/mirrorless systems now standard??  Or are there limitations?? 

Image Stabilization -- I have a consumer level camcorder (Canon Vixia HF S100) which has IS and I can do passable hand-held clips using it.  My main Nikon lenses I use for stills are the 70-200 2.8 VRII and 24-70 2.8.  Does the VR on the 70-200 (let's say on the short end, 70mm) offer good stabilization results for hand held video??  Are the IS Panasonic lenses better or worse the the VR Nikon lenses??

I appreciate any and all help -- thank you very much!!!!

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Not 100%. PDAF systems might do better, but the only one of note I'd say is the NX1. Don't really like the A6000 as much.

Zooming is based on the lens, it's never been a problem. You must be thinking of compact cameras with their motorised zooms.

VR at long focal lengths is a bit of a crap shoot, especially for one optimised for stills. At 70mm it might be doable, but I still recommend a tripod or at the very least a rig, because that is a stupid combination of weight for hand-holding.

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Panasonic stabilization is notoriously bad for video (though some lenses may perform better than others). I can't speak on Nikon VR, but if it's anything like Canon's IS, then it should definitely be helpful. I use the 24-105 and 70-200 with IS on fairly frequently and am usually happy with the performance, though the 70-200 can sometimes get weird, jerking movements. I don't like going full-handheld with those lenses, but shoulder rig is fine. Shooting at 200mm takes some practice, but it can be done. BTW, if you end up getting a GH4 or other mirrorless system, you can adapt your current lenses with a Metabones Speedbooster or smart adapter - I believe that some of the Nikon adapters allow the use of VR, but I'm not 100%.

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AF- Nikon's DSLR's won't cut it. Mirrorless will be closer but still not as good as a true camcorder. I doubt they'd handle such fast-moving subjects well enough for you. Canon's Dual-Pixel AF is the most serviceable large-sensor AF, but that wouldn't work with your Nikkors obviously.

Zooming- not really realistic. It's very difficult to get a smooth, not-jerky zoom by hand on a stills lens, and few stills lenses are parfocal (focus point doesn't change wity focal length), so your subject would drift out of focus as you zoom. You would want a powered/servo zoom. Sony makes a couple for their E-mount (28-135 f4 and 18-200 f3.5-?). You can finagle old B4 broadcast lenses onto m4/3 with an adapter and a battery to power the zoom motor. Optical quality isn't stellar unless you drop new-car money on a newer HD lens.

IS- usually works well enough at shortish focal lengths (wide through portrait). For tele length, depends. I have a buddy who can hand-hold his 7D/70-200 f4 IS and get very smooth shots with no other rigging. When I try that it looks like an earthquake, so I stay on sticks or at least a monopod at tele lengths.

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I did the same thing i was a Nikon shooter for years and what i ended up buying was the Samsung NX1 and i am glad i did over the GH4.

I use a adptor and i can use my Nikon lens i shoot a lot with the Nikon 24x120 F4 and a Tokina 100x300 F4 but also use the Samsung 16x50 2.8 that is a very nice lens. For auto focus speed and use for Video the NX1 seem to beat them all and the16x50 has image stabilization and it works very good when shooting video. Also the image quality from the NX1 is a bit better then the GH4 and more so in low light. The down side is you need to convert all the footage to be able to edit it but this lets you shoot more on your cards VS other cameras. Also with the last Samsung firmware update giving us HD Pro and more slomo the HD quality looks to be much better then the HG4 as is the slowMo now to.

On the photo side of things it also taks very good photos and you can do timelaps as well all built in the camera.

Here is my vimeo area of video i shot with the NX1 in 4k and edited down to HD.

I have new video that is uploading right now that i uses a new custom color setting i made i think look good. I use Edius for editing as it has some advantage when converting the files you can use a special HQX format that takes up less HD space.

https://vimeo.com/goactivemedia/videos

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Everyone, thank you VERY, VERY much for the posts and information!!!   I had hoped the technology had progressed faster, making the video built in to the stills equipment more usable for my applications, but, doesn't look that good...

Also- haven't seen any Speedboosters that power/communicate with Nikkors.

And I would go with the D750 over the D810 for video.

​I seriously consider the D750, but I work outdoors in very nasty conditions (sand, dust, rain), and was concerned the weather seals were not as good as the D810 level.  I know Nikon's official word is "weather seals are weather seals, they are all the same," but I trust those in the industry who say the D3/4 line have the best protection.  I have been waiting for the D4x to come out, and guess I will be waiting for quite a bit longer LOL!!!

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The EM5ii seems like it might be better then the NX1 for stabilization for what they have in it but it has no 4K video for me that's just not going to work I would never buy a non 4k camera at this point in time. I like being able to when editing zoom in on the image up to 100% with no image loss when outputting to HD it had become part of my workflow now.

Watching some the EM5ii video one of the main videos they used a Gimble for most all the moving shots not the EM5ii on board stabilization.

Also watching other videos showing it compared to other no name cameras on stabilization it seems to be way over done i know for sure i can hand hold the NX1 with the 16x50 stabilization lens just as stable as they show in the video for the EM5ii i have been doing it from the day i got my NX1. The EM5ii seems to have a lot of hype out on it but no real testing VS other real cameras. I have not seen much at all on its auto focus the NX1 is very good at it i am now shooting with it a lot now and trust it.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

From what I can see you'd be better served with a small-sensor camcorder rather than a DSLR (You're filming fast moving objects, need AF, stabilization, and zooming while recording, etc), as DSLRs are more suitable for controlled ''beauty'' shots, things like short films and music videos, you have time to focus manually, never change zoom during takes, have shallow depth of field so your subject is fairly stationary, you know what I mean.

 

You've given three requirements, accurate AF, Stabilization and easy fast Zooming. DSLRs don't have two of them, you can't zoom during recording (not with your nikon zooms, they are not parfocal, in fact most DSLR lenses are not parfocal, they can't keep focus while zooming, plus they don't zoom smoothly) and DSLRs don't have a working AF system (well Canons 70D and 7D mk II are the only large-sensor cameras on the market with usable AF for video, but unfortunately, they are both no good for video in everything else anyway!) DSLRs do however have good stabilization if you use a Nikon body with your specific lenses (VR on the 24-70 and 70-200 nikors is excellent) Small-chip camcorders have the three requirements, great AF, fast smooth zooming with a versatile lens, and good stabilization. 

 

My advice, buy a small D5300 for beauty shots on controlled shooting (It will give you experience on working with DSLRs for video, because it works for video identically to a d810, and as a plus a great B cam for stills) and buy a small-chip Camcorder from Sony or Canon (Canon makes a great XF205) for that type of work. Other benefits to camcorders missing from DSLRs are very long battery life, long continuous recording to cheap media, record good audio without need to an external audio recorder, have a wide zoom range, have exposure/focus assist tools, working AF, stabilization and smooth zoom changing, 

While the benefit of using a DSLR is large sensor, so better lowlight performance usually, shallow depth of field, they deliver more film-like images in general, small size and weight, and of course they take stills. 

 

If you're lusting over the 36mp stills of the d810 then it's another matter (I know I am!), otherwise for video a d5300 is not that different at all

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Ebrahim, I think you summed up my situation quite well -- the right tool for the job!  Unfortunately, DSLR/mirrorless aren't going to get me there.....
  I have been looking through camcorders, but having a hard time settling on one -- need more time searching.  I really want to have easier to access manual controls -- I despise going through digital menus to change manual settings. 

Lusting after the D810???  Sure, who wouldn't be?!?!?  LOL!!!   For my use, the D4s would be a downgrade, and the D810 is really the only body Nikon has right now that would suit my still photography needs, and I may buy one later this year anyway -- I would put it to work as a stills camera, I just won't be relying on it for video, thanks to the very helpful people in this forum! 

IronFilm, the D750 is looking a bit better with some of its features.  Maybe someday Nikon will catch up with other manufactures in the video department. 

Thanks again to all the helpful people on this forum!!!

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The Sony A6000 and a5100 have very nice AF for video (I have the A6000). You need a system lens of course. You can set how long the camera holds the subject for, how quickly it changes focus, and you can assign custom buttons to lock focus with. It's the only hybrid system I'd consider using AF in video. The video image itself is pretty nice for close ups or shallow depth-of-field, but can be disappointing with detailed wide angle landscapes, where you start to see aliasing. I would say it's an issue with the way the sensor is sampled rather than a codec problem (though the codec could be better on the A6000, and is better on the A5100).

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The Sony A6000 and a5100 have very nice AF for video (I have the A6000). You need a system lens of course. You can set how long the camera holds the subject for, how quickly it changes focus, and you can assign custom buttons to lock focus with. It's the only hybrid system I'd consider using AF in video. The video image itself is pretty nice for close ups or shallow depth-of-field, but can be disappointing with detailed wide angle landscapes, where you start to see aliasing. I would say it's an issue with the way the sensor is sampled rather than a codec problem (though the codec could be better on the A6000, and is better on the A5100).

​Well, the price is easier to look at than the other choices I've been seeing.....I'll check it out, thanks!!

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The EM5ii seems like it might be better then the NX1 for stabilization for what they have in it but it has no 4K video for me that's just not going to work I would never buy a non 4k camera at this point in time. I like being able to when editing zoom in on the image up to 100% with no image loss when outputting to HD it had become part of my workflow now.

Watching some the EM5ii video one of the main videos they used a Gimble for most all the moving shots not the EM5ii on board stabilization.

Also watching other videos showing it compared to other no name cameras on stabilization it seems to be way over done i know for sure i can hand hold the NX1 with the 16x50 stabilization lens just as stable as they show in the video for the EM5ii i have been doing it from the day i got my NX1. The EM5ii seems to have a lot of hype out on it but no real testing VS other real cameras. I have not seen much at all on its auto focus the NX1 is very good at it i am now shooting with it a lot now and trust it.

​Ed, I've heard the Samsung stabilization is one of the best. How much better do you think it is that Panasonics? Check out this comparison between the EM5ii and the GH4 with the 12-35, especially the second half of the test. The Olympus really is incredible. I'm blown away. And this will be usable with any lens- even vintage lenses will suddenly be stabilized. I think the autofocus will be a big letdown though, at least compared to the NX1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q75B8GNdUMk&feature=youtu.be

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That video makes the E-M5 II look very good for stabilization i would guess it is better then the NX1 but that video the GH4 looks so much better.

I was shooting today thinking about this wishing i had the E-M5 II just to try out the stabilization i felt like i was getting shaky after some time so i went back to using a tripod.

I tryed to drive and shoot holding the camer up into the froint window today - that did not work out i almost ran off the road into the water..lol I was the only on on the road.

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