I am upgrading my DSLR for video.
A pleasant situation occurred that put me in possession of a Nikon D300. I LOVE this camera, but it’s making me a bit of a snob when it comes to image quality. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a professional photographer, but I can recognise washed out colors and artifacting when I see it. This camera has neither.

So that brings me to the point of this little post. I currently have a JVC Everio HD camcorder and a Sony MiniDV. I love my Sony because it is feature rich (i.e. time lapse video & night vision) and has been very reliable till recently. Since I’m working with tape, it sometimes gives me some digital artifacts. Also, due to the mechanical moving parts, it’s not as light as my JVC and the battery life is about 1/5th that of modern camcorders.

I’m seriously thinking about purchasing a DSLR that takes digital video. Some key things that I am focusing on is the quality of video taken in low lighting conditions, weight, price and the severity of rolling shutter.

Big questions I’m asking myself is do I want to consolidate? Can I find a single camera that would replace my Nikon D300 camera, my JVC and Sony camcorders? Something that takes pictures as good as my D300 (“good enough”), yet can record video and be relatively light weight.

The D5000 has video capabilities and seems very comparable to the D300, though is about half the price ($700). This article compares the ISO quality of the Nikon cameras. From what I can see, the D5000 is approaching “good enough”.

This article
compares the the latest offerings from Canon, including video examples of the rolling shutter. They recommend the Canon 7d ($1500 USD) for those on a budget. Gizmodo also has a good articles showing the 7d’s capabilities.

The Canon 7d and the Nikon D300 are both around 2 lbs. The D5000 is about 1.25 pounds.

This forum thread seems to be doing a great job of doing a comparison breakdown of the Canon 7d vs the Nikon D300.

A perfect example of rolling shutter. Notice the vertical lines bending as the camera moves side to side?

What about video on the cameras vs the camcorders? Do the camcorders also suffer from rolling shutter? Most do not. Most camcorders use CCD sensors (Charge-Coupled Devices), while digital cameras, including the famous Red cam, use CMOS sensors. According to Wikipedia, “CCDs use what is referred to as global shutters which take a single snapshot representing a point of time and do not suffer from these motion artifacts.” Therefore, camcorders using CCDs don’t suffer from this bendy rolling shutter effect.

I’m going to hang onto my D300 and look into purchasing a better camcorder that will be a good substitute for my JVC and Sony. This article discusses how I can record video from my D300 using an attached PC.

I decided to purchase a Canon 60D for video and have sold my D300. I have manual lenses for my Canon for video and everything is looking great. The manual focus is helping train my imperfect eyes as well as building respect for nice “glass”. The rolling shutter effect has not caused me any issues with my 3D tracking using Syntheyes, so far. A review of my Canon D60 is overdue.