Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I think so.

As an answer on my last article VDSLR – R.I.P. Phillip Bloom wrote an interesting response:

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.

Since Philip is THE GO TO guy when it comes down to VDSLRs – and there is probably no one out there, who knows more about shooting video on still cameras – I looked at my article again and at his commend, to see if I was on the wrong track.
I also checked Philip´s article “The future of video DSLRs” again.

Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I still think so.
Not for the mass market but for the filmmakers.

Philip, nobody preached the gospel of VDSLR more than you and god knows, I really love, admire and respect your work. But – as I said – I believe it was only the beginning, like the beginning of the revolution was the DVX. Sure it´s still around, but who would buy a new one today (if you can find one) when you get a much better tool for the same price.

As some guy on Stu´s Prolost blog said:

“The problem we feel: Canon doesn’t seem to target film/video makers (like Us) with its stills camera, nor listen to Our expectations (i trully share the frustration)… but why should they listen? People easily forget that the video mode of the DSLR is just an option. Canon is not selling 5Ds saying: “The camera you need for your pro-video work”…Instead, they’d better come up with a real pro-video-camera…..via their well established video/broadcast department dedicated to TV & video professionals.”

Of course there will be more HD VDSLRs in the future. (The new GH2 is a good example) In 5 years probably every still camera will be able to do what the 5D does today. But they will not be used by filmmakers. Why should they?

Moire will still be a problem because of OLP Filters made for stills. Same goes to aliasing (thou maybe they can fix that with faster processing and real downscaling in the future). But at the same time there will be tons of real video cameras, with the same or even better imagers, better quality (Panasonic is only the first) and with all the bells and whistles you have to ether add (like extra boxes for decent sound,) or have to work around on DSLRs.

Barry Green is not working with the DVX anymore and so will Shane Hurlbut not be working with a 5D (or the next, better DSLR mouse trap) n 5 years.

The AF-100 is officially listed at $4,995. In a year from now you can get it for a street price of $4500 or even less. This is way cheaper as the original DVX or HVX200 was.
For that you get a camera with XLR, phantom power, ND-Filters, SDI, full HD HDMI out for monitoring (while recording), Zebras, viewfinder, andwhatnot.

So $1500 for a 5D body
+BeachTek DXA SLR $400
+three ND filters $300
+Black Magic HDMI to SDI converter $500
+Viewfinder/Loupe $300
+Full HD HDMI out (priceless)

Almost $3000 – and you come not close to the features of a AF-100

Focus in red Assist – while recording
Line/Mic selectable
Variable frame rates in 20 steps,
P2/AVCCAM Metadata
Two card slots
Professional image controls
Filmlike Cinegamma gamma curves
Color-matched with other Panasonic professional cameras, such as the VariCams
Continuous recording capacity of over 12 hours in economy mode, and continuous recording of six hours in best-quality mode on a single card
Complete freedom from overheating
Colored Focus Assist that can be used while recording
Face-detection autofocus that can track focus on a moving face
Peaking/EVF DTL
Waveform Monitor
aspect ratio markings – 16:9, 4:3, 14:9, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1
Film-style variable shutter angles from 1 to 360 degrees, which track automatically with the variable frame rates to always provide consistent motion blur
SMPTE color bar generator
A much more robust recording format (AVCCAM PH mode) which is more resilient and better than the h.264 on the DSLRs
Greatly improved rolling shutter performance
Ability to take any PL-mount lens
Ability to take c-mount cinema lenses
Remote iris/focus/start/stop controller sockets
manual black balance

And this is only the AF-100 – others will follow.

This market is changing faster than we are able to save money for our gear. In 5 years there will be a new generation of cameras at Scarlet form factor – something between a DSLR and a HVX. Fast and light wight like a DSLR, but without all the workarounds and limitations. So why on earth should someone still use a limited DSLR (besides of money or stealth reasons)?

One doesn´t need a crystal ball to see that coming.

Having said that – I´m gonna shooting a commercial tomorrow – with a 5D.

Frank Glencairn


9 thoughts on “Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I think so.

  1. The main negative factor I see in the further development of VDSLR’s is the form factor.
    Yes, it’s morfology is not suited for real “active” filmmaking ..

    And more … why are factories of digital cameras continuing to look for inspiration in the traditional “filmroll-morfology”????

    Why are the designers not looking for a more practical and adapted form … like in some camcorders???

    Why did designers not continue on the thinking-track of the first Canon digital camcorder, the MV1, an example in its kind?


  2. …and why do they design most cars, that they look like out of a Japanese toy nightmare and not like 1950s Corvette?

    I don´t know.

    The MV1 had a very nice housing (ahead of its time), the Scarlet and Epic are made that way. Especially the modularity is a great thing. Add what you need when you really need it.


  3. You’re not taking in to account that the reason we all love the 5d and 7d is the form factor. Small is king. It adapts to any situation. As long as Canon keeps upping the feature set I will use a dslr any day.

    The AF100 is a stop gap camera and will be outdated in several months. No one will use this cam except student filmmakers.

    Barry Green has proven himself to be a shill for Panasonic. He tried to bad mouth the EX1 and but thank god no one listened to him . he now uses the ex1 as the standard for video quality. What a hypocrite. I never listen to what he has to say about camera purchasing. He loves Panasonic. Barry bad mouthed AVCHD when other camera manufactures were using it. PanasonIc saw how much money they were losing not joing the crappy avchd bandwagon and now use it but does Barry say what a crap video format it is. No The Af100 is the second coming buy it now you all easily manipulated hicks.

    Be patient theres new stuff coming soon thaT WILL SMOKE THE AF100.

  4. The form factor doesn’t mean anything to a filmmaker. You got a gazillion of heavy and bulky stuff on the set. Lights, dolly, rails andwhatnot. So who cares the form factor? I tell you. People without a set and without a crew.

    One man show filmers that have to carry around everything by themselves. I was talking about narrative film making, not run&gun, EB, documentary stuff.

    And yeah, guys like Shane Hurlbut using DSLRs on big sets with big crews – in the moment, but that will change.

    Can you imagine a guy like Shane fighting moire and aliasing for ever, when he can have a dedicated video tool for a few bucks more?

    I guess the answer is no.


  5. You know Barry Greeen may have started the whole moire thing but you know what, professional or amateurs don’t care because the image is downright gorgeous. The af100 is twice as big and twice as heavy. No one in the pro world cares about the af100 trust me I know.

    Would I like to see the moire gone sure but it really doesn’t affect the fact that the canons shoot great video and only the pixel peepers really care.

    Anyone who has seen video from the canons on screen or on monitors can’t deny that it gives a great image thats why the hurlburts, the House finale, and the rest don’t give a shit. Because those that want to watch a story don’t care about pixel peeping. Long live DSLR’s

  6. Pingback: Are you a VDSLR-Wimp? « Frank Glencairn

  7. Moire and aliasing will be soon things of the past on HD-DSLR…

    And the form factor will move around video and photo mix concepts…

    Everyone will chose as he needs…

    No more…. No less…

  8. Frank,

    This would be a great post to re-assess five years later. So much has changed in technology, and with NAB so soon I would love to hear your perspective on the next 5 years.


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