Interview with the D700's Desingers

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  2. It's interesting that they speak and think more like industrial designers than geeky mechanical engineers; I kept expecting them to say Nuremberg track tested and European tuned.
    The furtherance of video capability is welcome news. Camcorder users are spending upwards of $500 for DIY solutions or over $1,000 for commercial products on 35mm lens adapters just to get that shallow DoF cinema look. These are really exciting times. Reflecting on how far they've come over the last 10 years, I can't wait to see how camera technologies will evolve over the next decade. Wish I was 20 years old again.
  3. The line between digital photography and camcorders is becoming even more blurred!
    Note: I also wish that I was 20 years old again, but not for that reason.
  4. They'd be wise then to keep the D700 in the lineup for the numerous photographers who absolutely don't want video in a still camera.
  5. Dear Nikon,
    Please stop wasting your R&D that your customers eventually pay for on gimmicks-for-geeks like video recording and, instead, put it towards more useful features that real photographers actually use.
    PS. at the very least, make an alternative version of each camera with video recording (say D90v, D700v, D300v). Everybody's happy.
  6. Could I make a plea for a plain simple camera? I need a lighttight box to hold a sensor, aperture and shutter controls.
    I do not need video, live view, scene mode, night mode, backlight mode, stupid pop up flashes, auto this and that.
    Use Nikon F2 or Hasselblad CM as a basis. BUT IT HAS TO BE A WELL MADE PRO LEVEL QUALITY CAMERA.
  7. They'd be wise then to keep the D700 in the lineup for the numerous photographers who absolutely don't want video in a still camera.

    Who would those be? 90% of the functions in the menus of my DSLRs are for features I never use. I am not asking these menu options to be removed just to please me. I understand that other people have different needs and preferences for features and customization and having these options available in the camera makes it appeal to a larger market, reducing R&D and tool-making costs and finally resulting in a cheaper camera all the while being more flexible. Same is true for video: it doesn't diminish the still imaging characterstics of the camera in any way, but it makes it attractive to filmmakers who need to get shallow DOF and low noise at low price, or to use special purpose optics unavailable for consumer or low- to mid-priced professional video cameras. I'm excited in the future possibilities of DSLR video, as I've said many times. I think it'd be foolish for any still photographer to avoid a camera merely because it has video or some other feature that they do not use, since features help sell more cameras to other people and the volume of production and sales has a big impact on the final price.
    I can't wait to get to do macro videos of stuff going on in nature - it's stuff that you see on TV, yes, but at the consumer level it has not been possible. I also want to be able to capture video of wedding ceremonies in extremly low light (just this friday I had to use 1/60s, f/2, ISO 3200 in the church) and blur backgrounds with lenses that I've already paid for. I have a HD camcorder but it's impossible to get good results with it in low light and in bright sunlight you get pitch black shadows and overexposed highlights because of the tiny sensors in these devices. This has put me off using and learning video for now. I look forward to a D300s or D700s with video and while I am a still photographer I understand that some things are better said in moving picture and want to expand to that field. The ability to share lenses between still and video cameras is just great.
    Epp B, I just ask what it is so offensive about a DSLR which behaves as any DSLR for still shooting but has a video feature which you activate or turn off from the live view button? Let's say if a D300s (or D700s or whatever) would cost $1500 when new without video and $1400 with video, which would you rather buy? The cost of making separate versions with and without video would increase the cost of both cameras, unless it's just a firmware distinction.
  8. ..It probably will make me wait longer for the next version to come out! (and: no 5DII for me, then..). Gives me more time to save too..
    Video in a camera with the control of a DSLR, great!! I don't use most of the features in my (D200) camera anyway (see Ilka's post above..). I came from using mostly F3 in the last years, and my photography style has hardly changed since digital (immediate feedback + more images being the most remarkable changes. O-yeah : and more use of AF, because the viewfinder is crap..).
    And yes, I do want video. And I absolutely hate my HD Sony camcorder.. The quality isn't there, the interface is terrible, there's no control over focusing, the output is yet another Sony-owned inexchangable format that is... ggrrrrrrr .. Who got me started here? Sorry for the rant.
    I will wait. Impatiently.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    20 years ago when AF first appeared on the scene, people also used to say: don't give me this AF junk (or some other 4-letter description). Early on, AF was indeed primitive and it took like a decade to improve to a point that it was reliable.
    Video on DSLRs may also seem primitive now, but give it a few more years and a couple more generations, who is to say that is not a feature a lot of us will want?
    And finally, as people say, most of us probably only use 10% of the features on a DSLR, but each person uses a different 10%. (Don't take 10% literally; it is just a convenient number). Perhaps you don't need certain features, just like me never use Shutter Priroity, there are other people who need it.
    BTW, I was a bit surprised that they started designing the D700 after the D3 had come out. The D3 was announced in August 2007. If they started designing the D700 around that time, it look Nikon less than a year to introduce the D700 in July 2008. That was really fast although they reused a lot of designs from the D3 and D300 on the D700.
  10. I have to confess: First I thought: Hold this video c**p away from my dSLR. I have a video camcorder, and if I want to shoot video I'll use that.
    But, after seeing my videos, and how they deliver (or rather don't deliver) in lowlight settings, I have found that I could really need a video opportunity on my dSLR. But I really want it to be auto-focus and in 1080-format.
  11. I suspect that the autofocus systems in DSLRs are not going to be useable for video. If you focus in a video camera, the movement should be smooth, whereas in a still camera you want it to go as fast as possible then stop for the taking of the picture. A focusing system that is able to maintain focus on a moving subject with the narrow DOF of DSLRs is probably quite challenging to create. I don't think autofocus is used in the making of big screen movies at all. IMO, DSLR autofocus shouldn't be a necessity. Camcorder autofocus works simply because the depth of field is so great and resolution is so low compared to still image capture so it's less demanding. Of course, as technology develops I'm sure there will at some point be DSLR video with autofocus; but I wouldn't expect it in the next 10 years or so. Could be I'm mistaken but I don't see the makings of it in the current still camera autofocus systems.
  12. To get an idea of how well/badly the current Nikon AF system works for video, put the camera in live view (tripod) mode and autofocus on something (it uses the sensor data for this). It's slow and doesn't always seem to know which way to go. Phase detect AF (which works well) can't be used since all the light is going to the sensor during capture. Using pellicle mirrors I suppose an implementation would be possible. And here I thought that the cameras were moving towards no mirror at all... ;-)
  13. Oh no, not pellicle mirrors! Would rather switch to Canon than use a Nikon with pellicle mirrors.
  14. Video isn't just a gimmick to appeal to duffers who are upgrading from cell phone cams. It's a necessity for professional photojournalists who need to travel light and don't want to tote the extra equipment for a separate video camera system. Nikon is doing the smart thing by incorporating video into their dSLRs.
  15. I think there is a market for video in the independant film makers, but I don't think it will be the driving force for the average buyer of a $3,000 camera. It's a nice feature for a camera like the D5000 which appeals to the entry level market. Chances are if your using a high end SLR your more interested in still photography. However, I would imagine the paparazzi would like the feature.
    It was interesting reading why they made things a certain way on the D700. I just got my battery grip and it feels like it was made for the D700.
  16. When the D90 came out with video, I didn't think there was much chance I'd use it. I didn't buy a D90, but the more I think about, the more I think I might play with video. The main attraction is I can mix in video & stills together to make slideshows. I now have a computer up to the task. Having to upgrade my computer was an obstacle for me in the past.
    Kent in SD
  17. Photogaphy is a hobby for me. I just want a basic shooters DSLR camera of fine quality. I would like to see ISO 50 and a wide dynamic range. Since camera's are very expensive I am not going to buy one that does not suit my needs or personality.
  18. The D700 was designed? I always assumed they just plugged together the relevant components from the D300 and D3 parts bins!
    If video really takes off, I imagine we'll see some rapid developments in contrast-based AF systems. This is obviously something the Micro Four Thirds guys are tackling, since they don't have a mirror for phase detection. There's some interesting relevant discussion here:
    If these comments on Micro Four Thirds AF performance are accurate, might we even see a change in the design of AFS lenses to support the (apparently rather different) demands of contrast-based AF..?
  19. I find it curious why some photographers are so against video. If there is a market for it, that will justify the R&D and the costs of any extra chips, etc. needed for taking videos. The photographic feature of a camera will *not* be adversely affected, and if you don't use the video, just don't touch it. Some even suggest making two different cameras, one with video, one without - what a ridiculous idea! Both cameras will become more expensive, due to factories having to supply two different designs, and everybody loses out.
  20. My concern with this sort of thing is you get feature bloat and the constant need to shove more an more into the same size box means the quality of the end result drops. People want more and more at the same or even LESS price. At some point I worry that we'll read something like, " We wanted to incorporate the xyz feature that many people have asked for, but we just didn't have room because we had already committed to adding the deluxe widget in that body. " Will the quest for more features take over for the desire to make things simply better at what they do ? Hopefully, gadgetry will not surpass quality.
  21. Responding to Ilkka and Shun, you both make strong arguments for video except for comparing it to AF and other features we take for granted today. Where the analogy fails is the simple truth that video is NOT still photography; it's a different field and a different medium. AF, for example, is a feature that was supposed to enhance one's still photography, not the incorporation of a different medium. Huge difference there.
    But the bottom line for me, FWIW, is that I don't want video capability in my cameras, and many photographers feel the same. Regardless of whatever arguments that can be concocted for the implementation of video I simply don't need it and don't want it. For those that do, great.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jeffrey, by no means I am making any "strong" arguments for video on DSLRs. I am merely suggesting to keep an open mind.
  23. The best way to assess a piece of gear is to look at results:
    Many will ask "what camera did he use?" and the answer will be the same as for still photography, but suffice to say any current dSLR based video camera will be capable. More importantly, though, making such a short clip takes everything the best photographer knows and then some. It's an interdisciplinary effort where no artistic nor technical shortcut exist, and if you have what it takes, cameras such as the D90 will make the goal more accessible.
    Of course it's moot for those uninterested in film making, in which case the option exists to ignore trands as long as there is no price or functional penalty to pay.
  24. My question is, how much will this "video" feature increase the cost of the camera.

    If the cost increase is substantial, then I am against it. If the cost increase is minimal or none, I don't really have a problem with it. I just don't want to have no other choice than to shell out way more cash for a camera because of the "video" feature that I really don't want anyways.
  25. "They'd be wise then to keep the D700 in the lineup for the numerous photographers who absolutely don't want video in a still camera."
    Why exactly? Should Nikon think the folks that buy their cameras are such simpletons that they won't be able to handle not using the video mode if they don't want video? Just like the current owners manage to figure out how to set the camera to manual if they want to take of all the settings themselves or on single exposure if they don't need the 4-6 frames/sec feature. Come on folks, most of us have IQ's a little higher than a rock. Our cameras are a lot cheaper than they would be if Nikon made several models of the D-XXX with each model removing a function that some segment of the purchaser's didn't use. If you don't need a feature then you have my full permission not to use it.
  26. "But the bottom line for me, FWIW, is that I don't want video capability in my cameras, and many photographers feel the same. Regardless of whatever arguments that can be concocted for the implementation of video I simply don't need it and don't want it. For those that do, great."
    Why should it bother you if video is there and it's buried in the menu system? If you don't want video, then don't use it. Better yet, maybe Nikon will sell a firmware 'upgrade' that removes the menu item for you. Would you be willing to pay and extra $500 for the reduced feature set software?
    You can do an awful lot with most Nikon cameras with the external controls.
  27. Per the interview: "Since SLR cameras can take pictures with a shallower depth of field than compact cameras, if well executed, it should be possible for SLRs to take beautiful videos of professional quality"
    This statement is100% correct. Video from Canon's 5D Mark II is absolutely spectacular. I wish the D3 had video. Don't want to shoot video with your DSLR that has the feature? Don't push the video button. Like it or not, video is a feature that will likely soon be on every DSLR.
  28. Basically if I am going to buy an expensive item I want to purchase an item that fits my personality and needs. Pop up flash, vidio, live view and that type thing is not what I am interested in. I figure that basically Nikon is moving into an area that I am not interested in. I may find myself moving to a medium format with digital back. I want ISO 50, a wide dynamic range in a high quality camera. I do not want vidio. I do not shoot movies. I have a camcorder already and do not use it. Why buy another one.
  29. Video on a DSLR is just another creative tool available to us. I don't think people purchase camaras like the D90 for their video capabilities (or lack of them). I certainly didn't. But after two months with this excellent camera, I can certainly see the potential its video offers--that is if you're up to the challenge and utilize all it has to offer.
    For those of you who complain about complicated menus and features you never use, why don't you just go back to film? There are so many options available to us these days.
  30. It is interesting to see how many do NOT want video capability in their cameras. It reminds me of the similar debate/ devide between "home theater = multi channel" camp and "2 channel PURE audio" camp among serious audio hobbyists :) I am in the 2 channel Pure camp.
    Seriously, I personally do not think it is really practical to put video capability in those serious dSLRs because it is already too heavy to use like a camcorder, no? I have no idea who really use video capability frequently. Sure, it may be convenient, but can be achieved with COOLPIX line. Well, it may be just me - who still don't understand why there has to be camera in the cell phone :)
    Bottom line for me - As long as the video capability does not compromise the still photo capability, I don't complain. Companies make/sell what the majority of the consumers want. Neither Nikon or I can fight that trend. At least Nikon today makes wonderful products and I am happy with my Nikon equipment.
  31. For those of you who think that video in a DSCR is a waste of resources should read this that I posted a few days ago:
    When DSLR first showed up with video capacity, many viewed this as a big waste of feature/money. In the "Lens" section of the New York Times, many PJs started to use these video-capable DSLRs to put together wonderful stories with a combination of still photos and videos. So if you still wonder why such a feature could be useful, go take a look at some of the projects there. For example:
  32. For those of you who complain about complicated menus and features you never use, why don't you just go back to film?​
    That is an option to be considered. Since I have film in the fridge already I would not have to go far. But basically I am not complaining about vidio at all. I am just saying I do not want to purchase it. That type of camera has many features I do not wish to have and it lacks features that I do wish to have. Basically I do not want one.
  33. I do not use all features i have, and some I probably never will even notice. However, there are features, e.g. such as life view, that turend out to come in quite handy after a while. So even if today, I am not at all interested in video, once I have it I might as well enjoy it.
    And for the time being, Nikon can put whatever they want in their cameras, they will certainly not put anything new in my current D700 anyway...
  34. Since we have many years of experience with mechanism design, when we listen to the prototype of a new camera, we generally know what spring is being used by the sound it makes and whether there is still too much vibration.​
    anyone else think that is just plain out cool?
    also, really, you people need to stop hating the video feature in DSLRs. I went to the HD EXPO @ Navy Pier in Chicago just this week and HALF of the Canon display was 5DII cameras and a single T1i. There was only 1 XL-H1 and XH-G1, and one of their top end consumer camcorders ... but they had 3, yes count them 3 5DIIs with little Sennehiser shotgun mic's mounted on the hot shoe(s) and a whole set of lenses from the 14mm f/2.8L to the 800mm f/5.6. The simple fact of the matter is that for the price, getting a 35mm digital video camera with the ability to use lenses as good as the Canons (not to mention use other mounts like Leica R lenses or even Nikkors) makes cameras like the 5dII some of the greatest all around workhorse cameras of all time.That said, they do need to be refined more, but I think everyone realizes that. Example - you need the ability to record to an external hard drive; dual card slots would be nice in leiu of no external storage, but whatever.Also the autofocus issue - I have ideas about his myself like small "off axis" side mounted mirrors that are used in guiding for astrophotography, but i doubt mechanisims likt ehat would prove very effevtive int he field. ... Anyway, the point is that SLR with video is the future (and this is coming from someone with absolutely zero interest in video).
  35. Homer, to call video a "feature" seems pretty shallow thinking to me. Video is a different medium altogether, and has its own set of features. I don't mind having features that I won't use on my camera, but where I draw the line is when a still camera becomes a half-baked video camera, a medium I have no interest in. At least still camera features have the possibility of being utilized at some point, but video, to me, is completely worthless, and I simply don't want it on my camera. If it gets to the point where I have no choice, and all cameras have video capability, I don't think it would stop me from purchasing a camera I need, but I just won't like the camera as much. The video capability would always annoy me. This is just my opinion and how I honestly feel, and I don't see that I need to apologize or be attacked for it.
  36. I just picked one up. It's a great camera. WOW!The exposure meter is phenominal.
  37. In the UK a second hand F100 costs more than a second hand F5 - by a long way. I think that in years to come the D700 will go the same way and be more desirable than a D3. Sure, lots of pros buy D3's but when these cameras come on to the second hand market, the D700 will command more.
    If the next generation have video capability - People who only want a stills camera will keep the price of second hand D700's high. Thats a good thing as it means when I want to sell up, I'll get a good price...!
    I picked up a camrea for the first time 18 months ago and shot with manual EM's and FM2's for 12 months and then jumped to a D700. I cant wait for video capability - Photojournalism and social documantary will jump on board straight away. You cant ignore short web based movies for promoting stills projects. Magnum in motion has given us insight into how stills and video will merge closer together over the next couple of years.
    News is switching from paper for web based media. Video is coming - like it or not.
  38. I don't own an expensive DSLR, I'd lke to but at the moment it's just not an option, so I don't have a bias toward a certain set of features that I really must have on a camera. That said; in the future if there was a video/stills hybrid camera that allowed me to shoot action sequences in high quality, and then allowed the extraction of single frames for use as still images (due to a more advanced read/ write system) I'd buy one.

    Just a thought, but if they keep developing the features along these lines it will eventually happen.
  39. I haven't read the whole thread.
    But, as someone who used to make a living in professional video in the 80's, using broadcast standard ENG cameras for the most part, but directing and editing too, the one factor that is ALWAYS overlooked by amateurs, and seems to be here, is the fact that we've been in the era of talkies for quite a while...
    Getting decent sound quality in video shooting is no small difficulty - assuming we're talking about recording "wild" sound of useable quality. A minimal kit of mics to cover even the average newsy shoot involves three or four types and recording at least two channels. And of course you need to monitor and adjust levels, fiddle with placement etc which means wearing cans if you don't have a recordist. There's quite a bit of discussion of af etc in the posts I read but not a mention of SOUND! How exactly is the average DSLR-video production going to deal with this? A Sennheiser 816 zeppelin on top of the D700v?
  40. Whilst, I personally would enjoy the option of video in my DSLR, it could be a different story for events journalists. Many events license the video rights separately. I shot at something that the BBC had exclusive video rights for. The marshalls were running around and stopping all of the people trying to video it on their phones!
    If DSLR's had video capability, I don't know whether they would have allowed me to use it in the venue despite being the official photographer. The BBC rights were just to valuable for them.
  41. People who only want a stills camera will keep the price of second hand D700's high.
    That's extremely unlikely. The successor to the D700 will likely have superior autofocus, superior image quality, better ergonomics etc. Although the D700 is such a nice camera that its price in the 2nd hand market is unlikely to sink like the early DSLRs, there will be better still cameras that come with video and that's what people who can afford a new one will buy. The video doesn't subtract from the camera in any way. Look at the D90: it has one additional control which activates live view (highly useful for precision still photography and especially macro) and also video. The "penalty" in the user interface in this case actually makes it easier to use it as a still camera.
  42. "Homer, to call video a "feature" seems pretty shallow thinking to me. Video is a different medium altogether,"
    Ever hear of convergence?
    You must really hate cell phones!
  43. Robert, I love my BlackBerry Curve 8330, but to me a serious still photography camera is not analogous to a cell phone. Convergence works for me in a cell phone, but it's simply not something I want in my cameras. If I was seriously interested in videography, I would do it the best I could with the best tools available. A serious professional still camera with casual amateur video? Not for me, and I don't want it. For those that do, not to worry, Nikon seems to be fully in your camp.
  44. We live in an age where people are happy to watch video on their phones or on the internet.
    Are most people really interested in the quality of a video if they are prepared to watch it on their phone or on the internet...? How can they be.
    Of course video capability in a DSLR wont match the quality that you get from a dedacated system. My point is that it doesn't need to match the quality. The way people view images is changing. 100 dpi images look fine on the internet. So will video from a DSLR.
  45. You are absolutely correct Jeffrey. I probably shouldn't have replied to the exact words you used and I'm sorry if you feel that I attacked you personally. I wanted to point out that there are a lot of features on each of the cameras Nikon markets that won't be used by everyone that buys each camera. I will probably never use the video feature except by accident. I didn't expect to use the LiveView feature but now I find it is much easier to use it than to dig out my right-angle finder. I've never used long-exposure noise reduction - I just don't take the kind of images it would benefit. That said, I would rather have a feature available, even though I might never want to use it, than have a camera model fragmented into several subsets with each having various features ''turned off" in the firmware and each costing more because of sales charges and stocking fees, etc. Nikon can stick in as much as they want for me. If I choose not to use it I won't. If I ever do need it I will have it available.
  46. Not a problem Homer, I'm just uncomfortable hearing you call video a "feature" when in fact it's an entirely different medium with its own set of features. LiveView is a feature; video is a medium, just as still photography is a medium. And let's get real, if you're going to do some serious video with sound you're not going to use a DSLR with built-in video, so you end up with a serious professional still photography camera/ tool with amateur/ casual video capability. I can see having amateur video available on an amateur consumer camera like the D5000, that makes sense to me. JMO.
  47. "How exactly is the average DSLR-video production going to deal with this? A Sennheiser 816 zeppelin on top of the D700v?"​
    I don't think a dSLR-video camera will ever replace an ENG camera, at least not in its current form factor, but I have seen examples of creative users jury-rigging dSLR on rails with follow-focus used more like a motion picture camera. There are creative ways to sync separately captured audio in post production.
    There's a lot you can do with dSLR video even in its current incarnation and limitations.
  48. I can see having amateur video available on an amateur consumer camera like the D5000, that makes sense to me. JMO.​
    Again, take a look at this:
    and see if that looks amateurish to you. A camera or a camcorder is just a tool that allows us to document our visual experience, and a tool evolves. In this case, once a camera can do live view, the video capacity is already there so implementing it is a natural expansion of feature sets. It seems "unnatural" to me to separate video and still images as two "media," that are not allowed to mingled, and I do not understand what purpose that serves. Up to a few years ago, camcorder and dSLR are separate machines b/c limitation in technology to make a machine that can easily do both. As humans, we capture events both in motion and in still images. Apparently some people quickly see the video feature in their dSLR (in this case it is a Canon 5D Mark II) as a poweful tool for their artistic expression.
  49. I think the shutter release will eventually be a thing of the past, like the bow and arrow to the machine gun.
    With the ability to isolate the single frames of the video capture, the best image will never be missed...ever.
    The frame-per-second rate can only hope to catch up to video. And if it does, what's the point? The improvements in detail and cheap digital storage are increasing together exponentially
    Ditto on the 20 yo. wish. If I could do the things I did with digital video...
  50. CC/ Edmund, to me, being interested in still images and not video, and a photographer from way back in the film era, I suppose I have difficulty embracing all this change. I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture a decisive moment, or waiting for the light to be just right before releasing the shutter. It's true that you can envision video as a long series of still images, but to me, so what! If still photography evolves into just turning on the video and later selecting still images, it's just not something I'm interested in. I'm not dense or stupid, I can see the possibilities that video represents, and maybe, just maybe, if DSLR video was up to a standard that would render a shutter release obsolete, I might feel differently, but today, I just don't want to be a guinea pig for Nikon's video experimentations, and I'm happy with taking a picture one click at-a-time. JMO.
  51. Why the video evolution is not embraced by still photographers (when packaged in still cameras) is perhaps not puzzling; it's a completely different domain with certain artistic similarities as still photography, but the technical aspect is a complex new ball of wax that many still photographers might find difficult to transition. Some might even feel diminished by video's intrusion into the 'purity' of the art of photography. It is the future, though, as multimedia increasingly dominate through the Internet.
    Had the evolution occurred the other way around - with professional video cameras capable of capturing dSLR-quality Megapixel images, I'm convinced it would be embraced by every videographer/film maker - the camera will probably never be used in a still-only mode but this capability will certainly expand creative possibilities.
  52. Why the video evolution is not embraced by still photographers (when packaged in still cameras) is perhaps not puzzling; it's a completely different domain with certain artistic similarities as still photography, but the technical aspect is a complex new ball of wax that many still photographers might find difficult to transition. Some might even feel diminished by video's intrusion into the 'purity' of the art of photography. It is the future, though, as multimedia increasingly dominate through the Internet.​
    Well, Michael, you've pretty much said it all here. It is the purity effect. At some point, still photographers forgot that a moving series of frames are still photographs. I have always found the term videographer subtly disparaging, rather like a term still photographers would have liked to invent to differentiate themselves from the guys with the camcorders.
    A very short time ago, there were these things called newspapers, organizations that Warren Buffet now says his company will never invest in, due to their seemingly inevitable trend to lose money. (By the way, I wonder if Buffet would invest in a company that made a DSLR sans video? ) Think of what all this could mean to photojournalism: Why should the NY Times confine their online paper to still images? Will they tell the story better than a video? How many people will think that's true 5 years from now, or 10?
    Do you think that staff photographers at the NY Times will continue to confine their work to still images or do you think that they'll turn to video more and more as their outlets demand it?
    I also find it amusing that many of the same folks who do see video as an intrusion into the purity of their art are the same folks who think that heavy handed HDR is art.
    Sorry, just had to add that.
  53. Before we get too carried with video, a still image, by freezing a moment in time, can tell a story in way that hours of video footage never could. I don't think that anyone can just assume that video is superior because of having so many still images linked together, or by having sound, or even appearing more life-like. The power of the still image is unique, and all the video footage in the world will not and cannot impart the same message, whether for better or for worse. I don't believe that video ever could, or should, render the still image obsolete. The still image is uniquely powerful and evocative, but this isn't exactly a revelation, or it shouldn't be to anyone who calls himself a photographer.
  54. feel diminished by video's intrusion into the 'purity' of the art of photography.​
    Other examples of the perceived intrusion into the purity of photography may include: black & white vs color, MF vs AF, M mode vs P mode, and films vs digital ...
  55. I don't really understand this "intrusion into the 'purity' of the art of photography" thinking. And who would feel "diminished" by video? That's like saying that a poet feels diminished by a novelist. Video and still photography are different, not better or worse, just different, and the stories they tell, and how they tell the stories is different. And I don't think that if someone is a good photographer he will naturally be a good videographer, and vice versa, just like a good poet is not necesarily a good novelist.
  56. Somebody said AF is reliable. Hardly. Sometimes it doesn't work at all and sometimes it is just wrong. On the other hand, it is useful and has a purpose. I have only a minor complaint with it. I have never gotten over the fact that they changed the fucusing screens when it came out.
    Another vote here against video. If it is for pros as Lex suggests, limit it to expensive cameras like the D3. People seem pretty divided on this issue. It would not be the first time that consumers have turned up their nose at superfluous innovations.
    It seems like these designers get pretty excited over new things, whether anyone needs them or not. There are rumors that video makes dslr's less reliable.
  57. Paul C - your post was insightful, thanks! Who knows how important video will be in the next few years? This isn't the world of Life Magazine and The New York Times, anymore. This is the world of YouTube and Twitter and podcasts, and that's only today. I couldn't have imagined YouTube or Twitter five years ago. Who knows what we'll be dealing with five years hence?
    My cameras have lots of feautres that I never use - Intervalometers, bracketing, Auto ISO, and a whole host of complicated autofocus features - but I'm not upset that these features exist. I take the time to understand them, and one day I might find myself in a position where I can benefit from them. Give me more tools - not to mention more resolution - and let ME figure out what I need.
  58. Hey Jeffrey, don't want video capability in your camera.....go buy a Canon 5D markII instead....wait a second, it has video too...hmmm.
    Maybe you could just NOT USE the video feature...hey there's an idea.
    Seriously people, get over the whole, " I don't want video in my camera' thing. Like it or not this is the way the camera manufacturers are going. No one said you had to use Every feature found on a camera. I have NEVER used any of the dummy modes on my 5D, but I don't begrudge those who do.
  59. No thanks Clint, I'm all set, I have a D700.
    And silly me, I thought that Nikon might be interested in what photographers thought.
    Sorry for the digression, but does anyone know where I can buy an electric guitar with a built-in 61-key synthesizer?
  60. Camera are going the way of computer software. Early software -- like a word processor--was used for writing. Then they started adding layer upon layer of new features, most of which no one will ever use. But you still have to wade through the menus just to ajust basic functions.
    People say what's wrong with having more features (like video) on DSLR since you don't have to use them? That may be so but you still have to pay for those features and they make the camera and its menus, more complicated.
    Back in the 1960s the Soviets had a camera called the Zorki 4. They also had a model called the Mir based on the same body and viewfinder. The main difference between the Mir and the Z4 was the Mir shutter speeds went to 1/500 sec. rather than 1/1000 and it didn't have the low speed gear train or self timer. So if ydidn't need those additional features you didn't have to pay for them. Plus the Mir was less complicated so it was more reliable.
  61. I don't see anything wrong with having a multifunction camera. I just don't want one. It seems a lot of people want vidio in their camera and I say more power to you. Get creative and have fun with it. I have a D200 and it's a fine hobby camera. I plan on just shooting that one. If anyone ever makes a camera I like and can afford then I might buy one in a couple years, if not then there is always golf. I do love golf.
  62. bmm


    I've come back to read this thread as I have a schitzophrenic view towards it - on the one hand it is philosophically interesting, and on the other is is frustratingly irrelevent.
    The bottom line to me is an economic one. Whether I use particular features or not, I'll always be happy with their inclusion if the end effect is to sell more cameras, thus hopefully making the one I want more affordable due to economies of scale, and in the process also ensuring my favourite yellow-branded manufacturer stays in business.
    Until such time as one of these added features detrimentally interfere with the outcome I get when I set my camera to M, choose an aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and press the shutter, then I say bring them on.
  63. And silly me, I thought that Nikon might be interested in what photographers thought.
    I suspect that Nikon does care what photographers think. They've seen that video is a very-popular feature with working photojournalists, and they want those guys to buy the next D700 rather than the 5DMk2 (or Mk3). Face it, the "guys on the internet who insist that real cameras don't do video" market is relatively small.
  64. Imagine the camera, which only has a mode called Vi-Pi, shoots SuperDuperHD and you can use every single frame as FX picture, because it has, say 24+ mpix. Impossible? Refresh your memory - in 1996 there were Very Expensive Modems with unbelievable 48kb-96kb speed. What we do have now? Having one of the first D1 (its Nikon for Canonians) I bought goldpriced IBM micro harddrives wich had (and have until now) 340MB for abot 700DM.
  65. Great interview. I really want a D700, Im graduating next month, ut dont have a job...If i get a full time position, first purchase will be a d700 :)
    I have a D90, and it has video. Ive never used it, except for when my nephew started walking and i had my camera handy. For that reason alone it was worth it. I didnt care about the video when I bought it, and I still dont but imagine how useful it could be?
    All those people who say they dont video, get over it. It is here to stay, and will help Nikon sell more cameras, thus lowering the cost to you. If you dont want the feature dont use it. I honestly dont see what th fuss is over.
  66. First and foremost, Nikon has to sell cameras. I get that.
    FF digital has pretty much satisfied most photographers. In fact I even hear some saying that they plan on holding onto their D700s for a long time. That has to be the last thing Nikon wants to hear. Ironic, isn't it? But wait, just add subpar video that we can slowly improve over the next ten years. That will keep 'em unhappy with their cameras, and most importantly, keep 'em buying cameras. Brilliant!
  67. Michael Chang wrote
    "There are creative ways to sync separately captured audio in post production."
    Obviously I have been out of video production for a long time but some things remain (I imagine) the same. Post-syncing audio, to me, implies a common timecode reference for pix and sound. This is all unquestionably much easier than it once was, but please give me a clue (or provide a reference) how this is done when using a DSLR? I imagine there's discrete frame reference data embedded in the digital video signal (my own experience is limited to linear timecode recorded as audio on analogue systems) but how do you supply this to the audio recording? Am I missing something?
    I find it interesting, with all the detailed discussion of video functionality, yours is the only comment in response to my observation. Which seems to confirm my experience that non-professional video always treats audio as the poor relation and that nothing has changed in this respect.
  68. Hi Roy, I currently work in video production and photography here. For some projects, I need to run externally captured audio. Because I'm sorta forced to "work with what I have"... here's what I do: I run whatever audio source (be it microphones or outputs from something) into a firewire audio interface connected to my laptop. In post (Final Cut Pro) I can fairly easy line up the audio track with the video track just by eyeballing it. If the track is slightly off, I slip it back or foward a frame until it visually looks "right" to me. The whole process takes a couple of minutes, maximum. Sure, with timecode generated on everything, it would be faster, but I don't have the equipment.
    This is how I see (in the beginning anyways) quality audio being implemented with DSLR video. With today's audio interfaces, you can record 24/196k audio without any issue, and just sync it after the fact with the video captured from the camera. Any non-linear editor these days will allow audio and video to be slipped back and forth on the timeline with frame accuracy, so accurate sync isn't all that difficult to achieve.
    I agree with your point though, that audio tends to be overlooked, which is unfortunate, because it's one of the most important parts of the equation.
  69. Just because a car has a convertible roof, does it mean you
    have to use the convertible roof?
    Video is an option either you use it or you don't.
    Purchased a D90 because itwas available at a
    good price; I doubt
    if I'll ever use the video option.
  70. There are creative ways to sync separately captured audio in post production.​
    Yeah - like timecode which the dSLR doesn't generate...believe me without timecode - nobody doing professional work has the time to use "creative ways" to sync the sound. Unless you put a clapboard at the beginning of a scene shoot - manually syncing the sound is a PITA waste of time.

    As someone who owned a suite of EFP cameras and rented them regularly to major sporting event productions and video production companies, everything Roy has said about sound and video is 100% correct.
  71. I haven't done this but taking two audio signals using different clocks, it should not be too difficult to syncronize them based on the cross-correlation of the two signals. I would be surprised if this can't be done using a click of a button.
  72. I've never owned a camera that also records video clips, but it strikew me that it could be a great tool for making notations about the location and the lighting conditions. It might also be valuable for catching humorous moments that you can't fully capture with still images. "Here's Jim attempting to get a closer shot of the snapping turtle. Oooh, Jim, too close, buddy! He just took a big chunk out of your macro lens!"
  73. I used to ride motorcycles, both on the street and in the dirt. Lots of my friends had "dual purpose" bikes, able to do both. I had a pure motocrosser for dirt, and a pure street bike for the street. I found that a "dual purpose" bike was not really very good in either environment....too many compromises. I feel the same way about cameras....if I want to shoot video I'll buy a camcorder, and if I want to shoot still pictures I'll buy a DSLR - without video. I realize that DSLRs with video are the "coming thing", but when I'm ready for a new camera I won't pay extra for a feature I won't use.
  74. I think the lack of audio sync is one of these "version 1.0" features that camera makers will need to work on to make video into a mature feature. Panasonic already made a lens for video with a special aperture mechanism -- if video catches on then I expect to see more of those kinds of features. And what about doing handheld video with a DSLR? The position is awkward to say the least; current DSLR design are really made for having the eye at the viewfinder.
    Essentially I think there's a "glass half empty, glass half full" -way of looking at video. On one hand, adding it as it is now means little extra hardware and many people can play around with the feature as an added bonus, some will actually find it to be the killer feature in a DSLR. On the other hand, those people who don't need video end up paying for the R&D and the R&D focus is essentially on features useless for them. For example, I would much more prefer if they would figure out ways of changing IR-filters in front of the sensor without disassembling the camera or if they came out with a bayer-patternless BW camera. Another thing is that only few people will have the skill and patience producing videos that people actually care to watch; video is a big undertaking and doesn't work in the same way as stills as an expressive medium.
    As for the article, I think the designers did a great job on the D700, but there is of course room for future projects to improve :)
  75. The convertable car analogy may be an accurate example. When you chop off the top, you hurt the handling of the car. Most often extra supports and varius strengthening has to be done, which makes the car heavier and less ridgid. If they start baising the sensor to work better with video and it harms the still picture ability, then it won't be a popular "addition" to the camera.
  76. Could I make a plea for a plain simple camera? I need a lighttight box to hold a sensor, aperture and shutter controls.
    I do not need video, live view, scene mode, night mode, backlight mode, stupid pop up flashes, auto this and that.
    Use Nikon F2 or Hasselblad CM as a basis. BUT IT HAS TO BE A WELL MADE PRO LEVEL QUALITY CAMERA.
    You got it, tobey, but it makes too much sense. Too bad that "digital" film never materialized for existing photo-mechanical cameras.
  77. To David F. Stein
    Its like looking for a mobile phone without a lens. Try to find one... Marketing ideas push the customers to unthinkable and not always necessarily things.
  78. The convertable car analogy may be an accurate example.
    Except that the only thing that's being added is some additional software, a few menu options, a mic jack, and a small button or dial setting. None of these things adds significantly to the cost/size/weight of the camera or interferes with its other functions.
  79. I think Jeffrey has a point. First, still and video photography are about as similar as apples and hubcaps.
    There's a demonstrated tendency on the part of the Japanese engineers to go a little wild in junking up their cameras with needless stuff -- perhaps this is all driven by the marketing department, as usual. There's a place for that an a market for those features -- no doubt. Anyone remember the Canon "hexa-cybernetic A-1"? But that was not a pro camera; you bought the F-1 for that.
    Do I like the fact that my D-3 has "live view"? Well, maybe. I have never used it. But I do NOT like the fact that Nikon developed a seperate AF system with a bunch of doo-dads that hang out under the mirror and anyone of which could break on my next time I am in some combat zone in South Central Asia.
  80. I think what those of you saying "don't like it; don't use it" are failing to realize, is that as video goes into more and more dslrs, places that do not allow video i.e. concert venues, sporting arenas, and others will ban these cameras. This is why you will never see video on a pro dslr.

    I'm fine with video on d90s and lesser cameras, but I definitely do not want video on my d700. I want the flagship nikon (d3, but d700 is pretty close) to be focused (no pun intended) 100% on still photography. Bloat the entry level cameras all you want with miscellaneous features like video and touchscreens but don't waste R+D on something that is merely a sideline to the actual function of the camera.
  81. I think what those of you saying "don't like it; don't use it" are failing to realize, is that as video goes into more and more dslrs, places that do not allow video i.e. concert venues, sporting arenas, and others will ban these cameras. This is why you will never see video on a pro dslr.
    You're much more likely to get into a concert or sports arena with a cell phone or point'n'shoot camera (which both feature video recording) than with a pro DSLR (which doesn't).
  82. Does anyone remember the saying "less is more." The problem with cramming ever more stuff into a camera is that there's that much more to go wrong, even if you don't use particular features. Someone mentioned a simple straight forward camera design as being the best, and I agree. The cameras today have become so complex that when you need to get them repaired the chances are better than even that you'll get your camera back with the same problem it had, as well as a new one it didn't. I realize that things aren't going to change though, because most people these days want to carry one thing, that does everything for them, but scratch their back. It reminds me a bit of the old HIFI debate, of separates vs a reciever. The difference there though was that most people realized that separates were better. pith
  83. Thanks for the responses to my observations (Blair, Oskar) about audio. It really is quite amazing to see such a detailed discussion about the usefulness of a tool in a secondary role that largely ignores such a vital component as audio in a film/video context. As far as I can see, the inability to record sync sound to a standard comparable or equivalent to the pix practically nullifies the use of the camera for programme making - unless we're talking about programmes that are dubbed and require little or no sync sound. The discussion so far is conspicuously, and unsurprisingly, from the pov of (primarily) still photographers.
    Blair's approach to post-production, manually syncing periodically to visual cues, may well work for short sections or contexts where sync is not critical - I haven't used digital technology in this way: there may well be less "drift", but it wouldn't have worked for long with non-timecode analogue tracks! Anyone who has done any serious post production will know how how visible even a single frame mis-sync is on speech.
    Ilkka said:
    "I haven't done this but taking two audio signals using different clocks, it should not be too difficult to syncronize them based on the cross-correlation of the two signals. I would be surprised if this can't be done using a click of a button."
    Eh? If this means what I think it means, try doing it and prepare to be surprised, Ilkka!
    If Nikon or whoever are serious about making DSLRs useable for professional video production they need to address the audio sync problem. It can't be too expensive to generate timecode to an output that can be fed elsewhere by wire or rf. Of course the problem of standards then arises. But as someone once said "the great thing about standards is that there are so many to chose from..."
    A lot of the discussion on the subject of DSLRs in video applications is entirely secondary to this. Personally what interests me is the hardware that's available for making it possible to use DSLR lenses on real video cameras. If I could afford to buy a system it might tempt me back into the medium, which I miss. But you haven't lived until you've had to manually line up (tweak the registration on) an analogue ENG/EFP camera on a cold morning...

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