Video Capability of DSLR’s
A lot of technology has come together to make DSLR’s fully compete to be the best DSLR for video in the consumer market. In particular image capturing speed and storage capacity made it possible. But DSLR’s also had to learn to deal with:
- Fast and accurate autofocus in Movie mode
- Sound capturing while auto-focusing
- Taking care of the barely noticeable sound of the auto-focus motor on the DSLR lenses.
These issues are of minor importance in still photography but are crucial in video capturing. I will cut to the chase and say that Canon’s T4i has brought all the technology together to produce the best DSLR video Camera by far.
The details are listed further down in the article but the highlights of the package advertised on the right are as follows:
The Canon T4i DSLR as a video Camera:
- 18 MP APS-C sensor
- 5 Frames per second continuous
- Advanced HD Movie.Video
- Stereo Sound Recording
- External Jack
- Vari-angle Touch Screen
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens
- High-speed autofocus
- Refined Image Stabilizationeven while walking with a dynamic IS feature in movie mode
- Supports the Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR’s Movie Servo AF feature
- Smooth and quiet continuous AF during movie shooting.
- It is even light and compact which means it is a go anywhere lens.
For the first time in any review am I excited about a kit lens. The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is a necessary addendum to the package to make the T4i a great DSLR Video Camera that covers all the requirements of speed, noise level or lack of it and improved image stabilization. The image quality is also improved vastly over earlier equivalents with greatly reduced chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range.
This lens comes close to my ideal of that elusive all purpose lens that we are all looking for but does not really exist. The following no-frils photos show the capability from macro to full zoom. It is amazing to know that they were taken with the same lens.
The downside is that it is and EF-S lens and if you ever need to upgrade to a full frame camera body it will not fit. I would also have liked a lower F-stop for a bit better low light photography, but that would at least double the price.
The history of Canon’s DSLR Video Capable Cameras
DSLR Camera Movie mode (video) technology parallels the development of HD movie technology and to the credit of Canon, Nikon, Sony and all the other leading brands they were all quick to keep up with HD video developments.
Canon released the Canon T1i in 2009 with HD movie capability but it had some limitations. It did not have an external Jack and even the ISM lenses gave off detectable noise while auto-focusing.
In 2010 the Canon T2i (550d )was voted the best DSLR by many mainly because it was the best DSLR for video then. The essential feature that made the Canon T2i different from the T1i and other DSLR’s that were targeting the video market was the jack for external microphones.
The external jack was a neat innovation in theory but meant that you had to manipulate remote microphones as well. This is impractical without a lot of extra harnessing gear or a team of trained assistants who know not to let their clothes rustle in the microphone. It was only really viable in a stationary shooting position and ideal for recording conferences etc.
Such video work hardly needs auto refocusing anyway, so the Canon T2i’s differentiator was nor really all that necessary. So while the T2i was perhaps the best DLSR for video in 2010, it was still not the best Video camera overall. The specialist Video cameras still had the edge.
Do DSLR compete fully in the Video Market in 2012?
Two years is a long time in the Digital Camera technology field and just when we think that we have seen it all the manufacturers come out with new features that we never even thought we needed. The Canon T4i (650D) is a prime example of this and in my view the best DSLR for Video yet. What would we want a touch screen on the back of a camera for and does it really work? Just one simple feature that makes this exciting is that you can touch an area of the screen, telling the camera to “focus here!” and the 9 point all-cross type focusing system responds remarkably fast and accurately. This is a major leap from spinning dials and pressing buttons and a huge advantage when taking videos.
With the release of the Canon T4i, the popular Canon T2i has been withdrawn just two years after its release in favor of the Canon T3i which has everything the T2i had to offer plus upgraded hardware and software as well as a vari-angle screen, a feature that video photographers have become used to and expect.
Canon T4i (650D) Main Features
- 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
- High performance Digic 5 processor
- ISO 100-12800; expandable to 25600 (H) f
- 5.0 fps continuous shooting
- Improved autofocus performance
- 9-point all cross-type AF system (including a high-precision dual-cross f/2.8 center point),
- Hybrid CMOS AF increases autofocus speed when shooting photos and video in Live View
- Enhanced EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF
- Continuous focus tracking of moving subjects
- Manual exposure control and multiple frame rates (1080: 30p (29.97) / 24p (23.976) / 25p, 720: 60p (59.94) / 50p, 480: 30p (29.97) / 25p)
- New 3.0-inch Vari-angle Touch Screen Clear View LCD monitor II (approximately 1,040,000 dots) with smudge-resistant coating features multi-touch operation and Touch AF for flexible positioning, and clear viewing even when outdoors
Canon 18-135 STM Lens
The outstanding features of the Canon 18-135 STM lens are:
- Effective zoom range is 28-200 mm given the 1,6 APS-C factor
- The images are truly Super-sharp
- Fast auto-focus
- Superior build quality
- Totally silent auto-focusing
- Compact and lightweight
Together the Canon T4i with the 18-135 STM zoom lens is the best Video DSLR by far and it appears to be the complete package.