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  1. #1
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    Compact System with the best video quality.

    Hi everyone,

    I typically shoot stills with my Nikon D700. Lately I've been wanting to shoot good quality videos.

    I'm in the market for a smaller Compact System camera. I really want an outdoor/ family-friendly camera I can take everywhere that shoots really good video.

    You might suggest, I get a video camera instead. I simply don't want to buy a video camera and lug a still camera separately. I also can't afford to upgrade to the Nikon D800 as much as I'd like to.

    If you were to choose a Compact System with the best video quality, which would you recommend?

    Thank you very much!
    ES
    you ever take it off any sweet jumps?

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Wow - been a long time since you've checked in here, buddy! Good to see you

    I have the most experience with the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras and I think they're pretty good for video. One thing that really makes a difference is having an electronic viewfinder so you have a third point-of-contact. That makes a very noticeable difference in keeping the camera steady. So if video is your main priority, then I would recommend a camera that has a built-in EVF, like the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 or the Panasonic GH2. The Panasonic GH2 is getting a little long in the tooth but it is the standard for compact system camera video. I am comfortable with the Olympus cameras but I believe the Panasonic has better video quality.

    Another alternative is one of the Sony Alpha SLT cameras. They're not actually compact system cameras since they have a mirror. But they have electronic viewfinders instead of optical viewfinders so they're not quite a standard SLR, either. The benefit of the Sony SLT cameras is they use the same phase detect auto focus as a digital SLR and in my experience they're the only camera that you can really use continuous auto focus for movies and get decent results. The top of the line Sony SLT camera now is the A77: Sony Alpha SLT-A77 – Prosumer DSLR Crusher | Camera News & Reviews

    I haven't reviewed any of the recent Sony SLT cameras but here's my review for the SLT-A55 - it was my 2010 camera of the year. The A77 is a lot faster and more expensive but both cameras basically work the same way: Sony Alpha SLT-A55 Review | Camera News & Reviews
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    The only draw back I have to using video on the compacts is it hard to hold them for extended times due to their size. I am with John the bigger SLTs would be a good option.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  4. #4
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary View Post
    The only draw back I have to using video on the compacts is it hard to hold them for extended times due to their size. I am with John the bigger SLTs would be a good option.
    I don't know how much video Greg shoots, but I trust his opinion on this. He's used a lot of cameras including the Olympus Pen Micro Four Thirds and he's also used the Sony SLT-A77 if I remember correctly.
    Photo-John

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  5. #5
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    John just imagine holding it up to your eye for 10-15 minutes. It is uncomfortable unlike a camcorder. I think it would work better with a monopod. Or some kind of handle screwed into the tripod mount. Maybe we should invent a handle grip that screws into the bottom and market it.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  6. #6
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary View Post
    John just imagine holding it up to your eye for 10-15 minutes. It is uncomfortable unlike a camcorder. I think it would work better with a monopod. Or some kind of handle screwed into the tripod mount. Maybe we should invent a handle grip that screws into the bottom and market it.
    There's already a whole bunch of companies marketing video rigs for DSLRs and compact system cameras, Greg. Check it out: DSLR Video Supports & Rigs | B&H Photo Video
    Photo-John

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  7. #7
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    Thanks John, thanks Greg. I hadn't even thought of the continuous auto-focus. I guess I assumed this was an available feature. I seem to forget that it's a still camera with video capability. The Sony SLT sounds like the right choice on the expensive side. If you were to choose a sub $1,000 camera which would you go with? I appreciate the thoughtful responses!

    Edit, just occurred to me John's other recommendations for Olympus and Panasonic. I'll check those out too for a cheaper alternative.
    you ever take it off any sweet jumps?

  8. #8
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    The Sony a55, a33. Sony has really nice image quality. I think for a consumer based camera Sony are the best.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  9. #9
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Compact System with the best video quality.

    Here is a recent review of Sony's current entry level DSLR the A37 - $600 with kit lens.

    Sony A37 Review | PhotographyBLOG

    Terry
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    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

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