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Old 01-09-07
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Arrow Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

The DPNow Editor's saturday soap box column is back, this time: Casio's remarkable 60 pictures a second still camera development announced yesterday. DPNow's Ian Burley controversially believes the future of popular digital stills camera lies in the complete convergence of stills and movie recording functionality in future-generation hybrid cameras. He argues that Casio is trying to do just that.

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Old 01-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

OK I'm gonna bite I know I'll regret it, but what the hell.
Surely we are talking about two different camera technologies here. I mean of course movie camera/compact camera shutter technology and dSLR camera shutter technology.

I can just about take on board and accept the concept in a compact camera. I don't think a compact is that far removed from a video camera anyway. However the dSLR shutter technology is at present far removed from what Casio are doing. At present with the likes of Canon and Nikon producing super fast burst rates of between 10-12 fps there are still conditions when the camera still has to literally slow down, because the camera iris can't open and close fast enough to keep up with the shutter.

I agree with what you say however about the problem of losing things like expression because shutters don't go fast enough. However I wouldn't want to be going through 60+ shots to find the 'one' all the time An over simplification maybe but you get what I mean no doubt.

Essentially then the technology Casio are developing is surely intended for a compact style camera, do you ever see it transferring to the dSLR, cos if so there are some massive changes in store for that genre of camera.
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Old 01-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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OK I'm gonna bite I know I'll regret it, but what the hell.
Surely we are talking about two different camera technologies here. I mean of course movie camera/compact camera shutter technology and dSLR camera shutter technology.

I can just about take on board and accept the concept in a compact camera. I don't think a compact is that far removed from a video camera anyway. However the dSLR shutter technology is at present far removed from what Casio are doing. At present with the likes of Canon and Nikon producing super fast burst rates of between 10-12 fps there are still conditions when the camera still has to literally slow down, because the camera iris can't open and close fast enough to keep up with the shutter.

I agree with what you say however about the problem of losing things like expression because shutters don't go fast enough. However I wouldn't want to be going through 60+ shots to find the 'one' all the time An over simplification maybe but you get what I mean no doubt.

Essentially then the technology Casio are developing is surely intended for a compact style camera, do you ever see it transferring to the dSLR, cos if so there are some massive changes in store for that genre of camera.
I'm thinking mainly of every day personal photography, but I don't see why press and sports photographers wouldn't want to use it. Naturally, it probably doesn't have much appeal to studio photographers, though some do use a technique of fast shooting while making the model move around and change expression in a continuous and fast moving manner.

Think about flicking through a picture book or even watching a movie clip at a reduced frame rate - you do have the capacity to glance at several frames a second this way and that very special frame would certainly stand out.

Some cameras already have a best shot mode, where a sequence is taken continuously, saving the last x number of frames, so you can go back a little in time, reasonably sure that you haven't missed too much.

Does that help?

Ian
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Old 01-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I'm thinking mainly of every day personal photography, but I don't see why press and sports photographers wouldn't want to use it. Naturally, it probably doesn't have much appeal to studio photographers, though some do use a technique of fast shooting while making the model move around and change expression in a continuous and fast moving manner.
Yes I can see that, though not with a dSLR as they would today, with their long lenses with built in irises. Surely they wouldn't be able to keep up with the frame rate. If this is accepted then what one assumes is that a new type of camera will develop to fill this niche for such photographers.

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Think about flicking through a picture book or even watching a movie clip at a reduced frame rate - you do have the capacity to glance at several frames a second this way and that very special frame would certainly stand out.
Yes this is the scenario I had invisaged, as I said my comment was an over simplification.

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Originally Posted by Ian
Some cameras already have a best shot mode, where a sequence is taken continuously, saving the last x number of frames, so you can go back a little in time, reasonably sure that you haven't missed too much.
Yes when I use 8.5fps on my camera, it usually gets exposures before and after the one I want, so no difference there
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Old 01-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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Yes I can see that, though not with a dSLR as they would today, with their long lenses with built in irises. Surely they wouldn't be able to keep up with the frame rate. If this is accepted then what one assumes is that a new type of camera will develop to fill this niche for such photographers.
DSLRs are a problem for the idea of converging still and video. The noise of the AF (and even the aperture actuator, as I found out when testing a lens recently!) are not going to make it easy to make video movie mode a useful addition to DSLRs - even though lots of people seem to aspire to this functionality. Put rather bluntly, DSLRs are a 70-odd year old concept. Something is going to have to give.

The versatility of interchangeable lenses lies at the heart of the attraction of DSLRs, but that doesn't mean the fundamental design of a camera that uses interchangeable lenses can't be modernised - so let's see what happens

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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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DSLRs are a problem for the idea of converging still and video. The noise of the AF (and even the aperture actuator, as I found out when testing a lens recently!) are not going to make it easy to make video movie mode a useful addition to DSLRs - even though lots of people seem to aspire to this functionality. Put rather bluntly, DSLRs are a 70-odd year old concept. Something is going to have to give.

The versatility of interchangeable lenses lies at the heart of the attraction of DSLRs, but that doesn't mean the fundamental design of a camera that uses interchangeable lenses can't be modernised - so let's see what happens

Ian
Well you have no argument from me there and I'd say Amen to that
Interesting and thought provoking piece though Ian, you should do it much more regularly
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Old 03-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

Hello Gentlemen!

I am not sure if I am missing a point or not so please be patient with me. My Question is When does it stop being a camera and start to become something else? I am all for keeping up with todays Technology and the evolution of the camera but to me the video should be kept OFF the DSLR's. Improve the technology on the point & shoots make special memory card's OR JUST BUY A VIDEO CAMERA!! I understand that it is cumbersome to carry both, but can't a person just Make up their mind and decide if they want still pictures or video? If they want both set up a tripod and set the record button & go.There are many ways to do both that I won't even mention. But for crying out loud Why can't they just let a camera be a camera?
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Old 04-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

I think the issue is more of what is an acceptable quality varies between video and stills. Lower resolution and higher compression is more acceptable on a moving image as each picture is only displayed for a short period of time.

lower resolution and higher compression is need for video to keep storage requirements to an acceptable level.

While there is some movement to increase the quality of the moving image with the move to HD, even the highest resolution is only 1920x1080. The compression used like the current still camera movie mode only records a complete image periodically and subsequent images are recorded as a set differences to the previous image. This compression has to be undone to get back the original picture which will be subjected to further compression artifacts if it is saved as a still image.

Having said that, I have used still images from my DV video camera together with still images in video slideshows. The lower resolution limits what you can do with them plus the fact that it is a video slideshow makes the images acceptable (with limits). I have also printed out video stills as 6x4 prints and with a bit of photoshopping they are OK snaps. DV unlike mpeg compression store a full compressed image for each movie frame.

I notice Japanese broadcasted NHK has demonstrated a 7680x4320 moving picture earlier this year. so maybe in future, resolution will not be an issue, but we will still need some method to store all these images.

A lot of professional video cameras have interchangable lenses so I don't think that is an issue. Shutter function? I'm not sure how dSLRs work (is it the same flipping mirror mechanisim from SLRs?) but I'm sure a mechanisim can be devised to allow the photographer to view the lense image that is being recorded at the same time it is being recorded.
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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I think the issue is more of what is an acceptable quality varies between video and stills. Lower resolution and higher compression is more acceptable on a moving image as each picture is only displayed for a short period of time.

lower resolution and higher compression is need for video to keep storage requirements to an acceptable level.

While there is some movement to increase the quality of the moving image with the move to HD, even the highest resolution is only 1920x1080. The compression used like the current still camera movie mode only records a complete image periodically and subsequent images are recorded as a set differences to the previous image. This compression has to be undone to get back the original picture which will be subjected to further compression artifacts if it is saved as a still image.

Having said that, I have used still images from my DV video camera together with still images in video slideshows. The lower resolution limits what you can do with them plus the fact that it is a video slideshow makes the images acceptable (with limits). I have also printed out video stills as 6x4 prints and with a bit of photoshopping they are OK snaps. DV unlike mpeg compression store a full compressed image for each movie frame.

I notice Japanese broadcasted NHK has demonstrated a 7680x4320 moving picture earlier this year. so maybe in future, resolution will not be an issue, but we will still need some method to store all these images.

A lot of professional video cameras have interchangable lenses so I don't think that is an issue. Shutter function? I'm not sure how dSLRs work (is it the same flipping mirror mechanisim from SLRs?) but I'm sure a mechanisim can be devised to allow the photographer to view the lense image that is being recorded at the same time it is being recorded.
Toshiba has announced 16 and 32GB SD cards Storage is no longer really an issue any more. I can't easily see how a conventional reflex DSLR would be adapted to the kind of camera I envisage, so the mirror and focal plane shutter may have to go. At present, HD video cameras are producing about 2 megapixel resolution frames. With time, the digtal processing will be able to cope with 10 or megapixel throughputs and return results at a quality we have come to expect from good quality DSLRs.

Ian
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Old 04-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

Unfortunately such memory cards are not affordable yet and not widely available but I'm sure they will come down. My first 128k card cost me 150. My last 4G one was under 20.

I remember at least one SLR camera coming out years ago that had a fixed mirror design so it is possible.

The shutter blind mechanism is probably what is limiting the current pictures per second speed of the current dSLR models. I'm surprised to hear it is still used.

I'm sure something could be done using digital mirror chips like those used in DLP projectors to feed light to the sensor.
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Old 21-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

I'm surprised this thread has not had more comments on it. I cetrainly think it is an interesting topic.

One aspect that hasn't been discussed is the differences in shooting stypes between stills and movies.

Movies for the most part depend on motion and stills taken from them are obviously such.

Stills are composed to convey as much essence of the subject as possible in to a single picture.

Could this be a reason that the two won't converge?
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Old 21-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeBee View Post
I'm surprised this thread has not had more comments on it. I cetrainly think it is an interesting topic.

One aspect that hasn't been discussed is the differences in shooting stypes between stills and movies.

Movies for the most part depend on motion and stills taken from them are obviously such.

Stills are composed to convey as much essence of the subject as possible in to a single picture.

Could this be a reason that the two won't converge?
I'm not saying that a hybrid high quality stills and movie camera won't require one's shooting style to be adapted

But from a camera technology point of view, it's a perfectly possible proposition.

Ian
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Old 21-09-07
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Re: Manual Focus: The digital camera of tomorrow, today?

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I'm not saying that a hybrid high quality stills and movie camera won't require one's shooting style to be adapted

But from a camera technology point of view, it's a perfectly possible proposition.

Ian
No argument from me. I agree, technologically it is possible, but is the desire there to do it.

I believe we will see specialist cameras that will go part way to your vision but untess there is a shift in the market I don't see such a device becomming common. While quite a few people want megapixel still images in the belief that that is the sole measure of image quality, not many need cinema resolution video.

I have met many people that spend their money getting the highest megapixel camera they can, then set the recorded resolution down to a fraction of that because 'the memory card filled up too quickly'. That however is a different subject.
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