Okay, this is it. VDSLR is dead. It was cool, it was fun, it was great but it was also a major pain in the ass. It´s over. Panasonic came out with the AF100 at IBC and then there is Sony and the Scarlet soon. We finally come back to real camcorders, without moire and all the other problems to deal with. Sorry Zacuto.

VDSLR, we loved you and we hated you. You gave us unparalleled lowlight ability, better DOF than 35 millimeter film and you caused some artifacts that our brain thought it was sharpness. We loved that look but we hated that moire. We hated your audio abilities and we hated the fiddling wit ND filters andwhatnot.

You did a good job, and so did Shane Hurlbut, Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner, Vincent Laforet and all those other VDSLR evangelists. But as I always said, this was only the beginning. VDSLR is about to extinct – let it go gracefully.

We soon will see more camcorders with real audio connectors, phantom power, optical HD filters, real view finders, uncompressed outputs (even while shooting) and all the other goodies that make a camcorder professional. It´s about time.

Frank Glencairn


32 thoughts on “VDSLR – R.I.P.

  1. Perhaps. But not yet. That camera costs like $10k and I can buy one with better performances at 1-2k. And add to that some extra money for sound recording, rig, etc. Perhaps 2 additional K. So we’ll see… Okay I’ll probably miss HDMI output, but yeah.
    Those XLR outputs and the extra buttons cost a lot. But if you have a budget and can live with pure goodness image quality, then I think most people will be alright 🙂
    Also remember that lowlight performance is really a good selling point too and the AF100 shouldn’t be too strong on that point compared to the eos1d markiv or 5d markii or nikon d3s.
    No worries… yet

    • According to a Panasonic rep. it will be around $6000 – no moire and all the other problems you face with a DSLR. Also you can turn the ISO up to 1300.

      Well worth the money in my book.


  2. You know, there will always be the next big thing and the next professional to claim it’s the bee’s knees. However, where can I buy one of these, or the Red, or the Sony? You are talking about stuff that is yet to be released, yet to be tested and yet to be used in the field. Yet for $2k I can get that look, shoot to the advantages (let’s face it every camera has it’s problems) and produce the images I want now. Sure when these units finally ship and people get to use them, I am sure there will be a shift back towards prosumer and pro rigs. But what I will always love about my 7D over my old HVX200 and no doubt these new models, is the form factor.
    I can get the shots I need without anyone twigging I am shooting video, I don’t get hassled, I melt into the background. With the traditional camcorder you just attract attention from all sorts, that, with a DSLR you just don’t get, and the shots can be so much better for it.
    I think calling time on HDSLR is a little premature, I actually think we could see two distinct groups emerge and the current DSLR’s upgraded to provide the short fall at the same time that these new pro cameras also progress and develop. Why should it be one or the other.

  3. This is just plain silly. vDSLR is still in its infant stage. As you mentioned, it does have some problems but who are you to think it’s already the end of improvement?

  4. I cannot disagree more and I am someone who will most likely buy the new Panny.

    I have written a long blog about this called Future of DSLRs

    There will always be a market. The price point won’t compare. He Canon most likely won’t be cheap either. There is room for both. I guarantee it.

  5. Like Philip I also disagree. There are obvious disadvantages to the DSLRs but They can be over come and people are doing it. And doing it well.

    I use my 7D for corporate, promotional and even event coverage. Syncing audio in post is now second nature and it actually gives me more options.

    The advantages of these cameras (low price, low light capabilities, and the fact that it is disguised as a still camera) really appeal to so many people. I am only 2 years out of school and couldn’t have gotten to where I am today with out this camera. Like most, I have college loans for 10+ years and don’t have the money for a ‘real’ camera.

    • I agree with most of the replies that VDSLR is not dyeing, it hasn’t even been fully implemented. The only other comment I have is to robruscher, a 7d is one hell of a real camera. I use a 450d still. I am not a pro, obviously, but if you ever want to give away your 7, look me up man; I am a poor blogger that would cherish a hand me down.

  6. Sorry, Frank, but I disagree. I think the VDSLR delivers on a lot of what pros have been wishing for. There are certainly limitations, but at the same time, the form-factor offers capabilities that simply blow away traditional video cameras.

    I think the old pros view the VDSLRs as toys or curiosities compared with the tools that they’ve used for years. Part of that, I’m sure, is the frustration of having to work around the shortcomings of the cameras. Just keep in mind that for professionals and freelancers just entering the market, these cameras open up a new world of possibility that was kept out our reach for years.

    The form-factor is very attractive for a lot of reasons. It’s an empowering platform that allows even semi-pro and amateur enthusiasts to bring their creative visions into reality the way that cameras have not in the past. It’s an affordable solution to a lot of problems that we’ve faced for years.

    With the community of fans just now switching into high gear, I see a lot of momentum building behind this platform.

  7. You are making a fool of yourself. HDLSR is just starting! You are afraid and jealous that ordinary ppl can achieve the same look as you do with your large budget. out with the old, in with the new!!

  8. I would have to disagree as well. Indie filmmakers will continue to use DSLR’s for a long time. As far as I know that Panasonic can’t take 18-21 MP stills like the 7D or 5D. Sure the H.264 codec of DSLR’s sucks but AVCHD is also terrible IMO. So i don’t see how this can eliminate a cheaper camera that does amazing stills and better video. I won’t be throwing my DSLR’s away anytime soon.

  9. Your article reminds me of another one I read on LiveScience a few months back talking about 10 gadgets that would be gone from the market shortly because something better had replaced them. 5 of the gadgets were to be replaced by the iPad. My favorite being eInk eReaders. Which given the cost and size differences showed the author didn’t understand who that market was targeted at.

    I see the same here. If you’ve got $6-10K to spend on a “Pro” video camera plus another $6-20K on additional gear like Glass, Audio, and Storage, Great! But, that group does not overlap nearly as much with those that buy $1-2K VDSLRs >$1-2K Glass >$300 Audio and probably work with the Storage they have or spend only about $100+ as you would imply. There is an order of magnitude price and size difference that means the true market is far too varied to ever be overtaken by something that costs 3-6 times as much minimum; is much larger/heavier; and is very single use. Not to mention requires more skilled people to effectively utilize. Yes, you can end up with even greater professional results, but at a truly professional cost as well.

  10. dude, you seem pretty angry about this.
    The same companies that are making the DSLR’s, also make the camcorders you’re so boasting about. This isn’t football, with team loyalty.
    Something new comes out every month.
    DSLR’s are offering up options and access to high quality images, for a fraction of what this camera is costing. As much money as I’ve spent on building out my DLSR gear, I still won’t come close to what one of these fancy cameras cost. Even the not so fancy ones coming out in our near future, are still out of my price range. I’d rather shoot with a Flip.
    I’ve been shooting for 30 years. I have to say, DSLR’s are a challenge.. in a good way. and in a pain in the ass way.
    But it’s changed the game like nothing else in recent history. and it should be acknowledged as such.
    I look forward to the next wave of camcorders that will offer up some of the features, DSLR’s are showing us is possible.
    Kids out of college can make stunning movies. This is a grand thing to witness mister sour grapes.
    The people you mentioned in your rant make beautiful images. That’s all any of us want to do. Be it in the conceptual or experimental or in the commercial linear world.
    you gotta check yourself before you wreck yourself.

  11. The Panny looks fantastic and if it comes in for around the 6000 mark its going to be some thing that I will consider getting.
    Am I going to give up my DSLR no way!!!
    The problems that you are going on about for me have not been a big issue, know what you are doing and the results are, as we all know, unbelievable.
    One point the audio, I use a separate filed recorder with my DSLRs with 4 xlr inputs dsp and lots of other useful stuff that just gives much more control with audio, sinking in post takes no time at all, and at the end of the day I have got much better results with audio than I have with it built in to the cam.
    All so I love my mat-box much more control than just an ND.
    I think there is room for both types of camera
    The DSLR video revolution has just begun .

  12. How fast can it sync with my flashes? Will I be stopped trying to use this in places that require a permit? I think there will be a place for DSLR’s for a long long time.

  13. SO VDSLR is already dead? It is only in his infant development. And yes the big company are seeing how it is taking over regular cameras, but the price tag on The Panny (around 10K) is not going to fly with many event filmmaker like myself. I’m extremely happy with my 5D and my 7D, and those short comings you are talking about is just like learning how to ride a bike: you deal with it, and once you know how to do it, then it becomes second nature.
    Off course if you Read Jim Jannard’s comment regarding DSLR which he obviously despise, for obvious reason (i.e: taking market share out of his budget) then yes the DSLR will be dead. But if DSLR is dead, can you explain why FOX is filming some of his series with the DSLR such as House final, or use them for car stunts in series such as human target. Why the NFL Network hire some very talented event filmmakers to shoot on DSLR.
    The form factor of the DSLR although not ideal, is a lot less conspicuous than a bigger camera. It is easier to interact with crowd, and it’s is far much easier to work with IMO.
    Thanks for your article and allowing this discussion, but I’m pretty sure you will have more cons than pro.

  14. Me, as from the still world, has to disagree completely. What I have been able to do with my 7D recently is amazing. I have never though of doing moving pictures but I am able to do that now. Yes, there are limitations and yes there is stuff we do not like, but we live with and around it.

    These VDSLRs will stick with us a long time.

  15. Pingback: Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I think so. « Frank Glencairn

  16. I welcome the AF101. I think its the first well considered response to the VDSLR’s inherent problems whilst incorporating many of its virtues. However, not all its virtues, especially small form factor and price. Their dual purpose and sheer sales volume give them means this is likely to continue to be the case.

    I think Panasonic would agree with me because otherwise they have really wasted their time making the GH2 such an interesting new edition to the VDSLR ranks.

    The weakness in both cameras is the low bit-rate codec compared to competitors. That is more acceptable on the GH2 than the AF101. Now PAnasonic look like they are going to be the first to make it easy to do off-board which is great but you are back into the “needing extra stuff” trap

    One last point, if you had a an AF101 & a nice big case full of 4/3 mountable glass. You would have a GH2 body tucked in the corner wouldn’t you? Almost rude not to. Maybe a GF1 in your your jacket or maybe a Pen.

  17. I agree, serious film makers will definitely be moving toward a new generation of cameras. This price tag is not so obnoxious to turn away even Indy film makers looking for a dedicated rig.
    There will definitely still be a place for VDSLR’s no doubt, but eventually it will be for the moderate hobbyists and obviously the still shooters looking to add a bit of video but not calling themselves film makers or cinematographers.
    I will also disagree with Mr. Bloom the form factor of the DSLR is not conducive to film making without the inclusion of additional accessories. The new generation of cameras like this Panasonic and the Sony will be a much more appealing and comfortable to work with right out of the box, and they will evolve.
    Well that’s all just my opinion, but we’ll see.

  18. disagree disagree disagree

    -I don’t have 6000 $
    -I don’t want hudge and heavy backpack to carry my stuff
    -Do you remember 16mm, wich allowed film camera going out the studio to the street ?
    -Big stuff does not mean “professional”, we’re note only male !
    -VDSLR are improving, let’s test the upcoming GH2 !
    – I want to shot where I want, when I want, and who I want
    – discretion is a must for film documentary, people does not have the same reaction in front of DSLR than conventional camcorder

    VIVA VDSLR !!!!!! 🙂

  19. I have a Sony EX-3 and a Canon 550D, they’re both amazingly versatile cameras with wholly different applications.
    DSLR’s have opened up a whole new world to film makers who previously couldn’t afford it before.

    Much like Digital did a few years ago, I seem to remember people having the same discussion about the Digital fad fading out.

    People seem to also forget that cameras like the AF100 and Red Scarlett designs come from the innovation of DSLR’s. At NAB, they’re selling point was “they’re like a better DSLR with all the features of the prosumers”.

  20. I don’t think so Franky boy.
    It’s a numbers game. Economies of scale if you will.
    Everyone can afford a DSLR. Zacuto et al know this and will generate endless accessories to make the gear hounds frothy at the mouth.

    The sales boy Bloom has already convinced the minions that pretty films that say nothing are worthy… and that you’ll look so much better shooting in one of his t-shirts.

    The Yanks especially love that British schtick, just look at the fresh faced cook Jamie Oliver.

    Clever really.


    • Ash, all your slams are pointless and reek of jealousy. Why slam Bloom on this thread? You have some major bitterness and envy issues to deal with Bucko.

  21. WRONG. Sounds like you need to deal with it instead of hate it. You seem to forget that the best is never the most-used or the most popular. Convenience always wins over quality. Mp3’s are a perfect example, they sound like garbage yet are the most convenient and widespread. Only you pros will avoid the VDSLR… The other 1,000,000 using them will not. We aren’t going to change to some proprietary format. Those new cams that were announced, those are the ones that won’t last. Nice idea but too limited. Just like the netbook.

  22. I never put any faith in the format to begin with. Sure the element and the glass are superior but the ergonomics of the camera are barely useable as a still camera. I saw too many people running around NAB with a DSLR build up that looked riduculous. Sleds with handles, Hoods and filters, LED lighting elements and audio is an after thought in these cameras. Can you even mount a decent microphone without having to buy and rig to carry it? Yes putting DSLR elements in cameras designed for moving picture production is the next logical step. Perhaps the price point on the first genration of these cameras is not competitive with the DSLR market but time will solve that problem. I never want to buy the first genration of a new camera line anyway. Give R&D a few generations to work out the bugs. In the meantime there are many cameras designed for high end video production are available at reasonable prices. DSLR was never the be all and end all of digital video production. Why mourn it’s demise.

  23. Pingback: The Panasonic AF100… The Assassin of HDSLR?- rampantdesigntools.com

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