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Nikon D90 Digital SLR as an HD Video Camcorder

There never have been so many options for shooting images, stills or in motion -- with digital cameras that shoot video, camcorders that shoot photos, and ubiquitous camera phones that shoot both.

Yes, today's consumer digital cameras can capture video sequences, but these are typically of limited length and quality. But there's also a developing category of "HD DSLR" cameras clearly in evidence at PhotoPlus -- Traditional Digital SLR cameras that also now shoot high-definition video that's suitable for serious video editing (see previous post).

The Nikon D90, introduced in August 2008, was a trailblazer in integrating HD movies and sound into an advanced, full-featured Digital SLR camera. The D90 is a 12.3 MP digital SLR with full-up Nikon optics and processing. Plus it adds D-Movie mode with 720p HD video (1,280 x 720) shot at cinematic 24 fps frame rate. It's priced around $899.

Of course there are trade-offs with retrofitting video into DSLR cameras, including limited shooting times (around 5 minutes for HD video), lack of full autofocus (the D90 offers three AF options in Live View mode), and some visual artifacts in the D90 from horizontal pans, fast movement, or bright lights.

But the advantages of shooting video with a photo camera come from the flexibility control provided by using DSLR optics: interchangeable lenses, the range of control over focus and exposure, i.e., for shooting in low light, and the precise control over depth of field, to pull out the subject in a shot with shallow depth of field for a more emotional and cinematic look.

So if you're a hands-on photographer used to working with Digital SLRs, this kind of hybrid camera adds short HD video clips to your repertoire. And if you're a videographer who may have been hankering to shoot photos, a HD DSLR offers a whole new array of interesting creative options to explore.

See full article: Nikon D90: Digital SLR Cameras as HD Video Camcorders

See my Digital Cameras Gallery for more on the D90 and other cameras.

    Find Nikon D90 on Amazon.com

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