Movin’ on up…

As a pioneer shooting HD video with a DSLR, I saw the future and liked it. Nikon sensed the trend, and Canon too, which followed closely in their footsteps. But it was the Nikon D90 that was the first digital SLR to incorporate DV into the mix, and was heralded as the breakthrough product. While some called it a marketing gimmick, others saw the potential market—namely among photojournalists. It didn’t take a visionary to spot the trend line dipping downward. It’s been clear for years now:  the photography market is shrinking. A lot of high-paying magazines have folded and stock companies are purchasing images shot by amateurs for next to nothing. Content is moving to the web for keeps and the web thrives on video.

The most significant fact is commercial clients have come to expect more bang for their tight budgets, i.e., they want stills and video. If Joe Shutterbug can’t deliver the  HD goods, well,  they’ll just hire somebody who can.

This is not to imply the end of still photography—far from it—but rather to state the obvious: photographers must grow and expand. Incorporate a few cinema tricks in the kit bag and learn to tell a good story that moves. It’s not that big a leap, just a few small steps in the right direction. (Make that  “stage right.”)

I love my D90 like a cowboy loves his horse, and I’ve managed to capture some nice video with it despite serious limitations. The main one being the limited audio quality; the  camera has no capacity for an external microphone.

That had me looking closely at the Nikon D300s with its external stereo Mic input and AF operation. Other nice features that caught my eye: improved low noise ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200 (I’ve seen some phenomenal sample photos.); dual memory card slots (SD and CF), so you can capture to one card while backing up to the other, or use one card for JPEGs and the other for RAW; and the body build with its rugged magnesium-alloy construction and advanced dust and moisture protection. Oh, yeah, and the picture quality is pretty decent, too, not to mention Nikon’s lenses.

So I’ve ordered a D300s body and will report on the camera in future posts. Will also include some video samples.

I’m not putting the D90 out to pasture,  but will rely on both cameras. I’ll keep a long lens on one and wide angle on the other.

Today some 30+ DSLR models offer video capture, so take your pick. Me, I’m sticking with Nikon since it’s where I began way back when in the dusty days of film.

Hell—did I say “film”?

Guess I’ll end on that nice ironic note.