Possibly the Future of DSLRs: Capturing Stills from Video

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Back in 2008, the first DSLR with HD video recording capability was released as the Nikon D90. This added a whole new twist to the world of photography as still photographers made the leap to video, and cinematographers transitioned to using DSLRs. But as exciting as it was, photographers were faced with a new dilemma. Do I shoot video or stills? Both have distinct advantages, and in certain situations it can be really hard to choose between the two. Well in the future, we may not have to decide. The video below gives you a sneak peek at the new Canon EOS-1DC, its ability to capture stills from video, and the opinions of several pro photographers on the quality of this feature:

I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way that stills from video can produce high-quality images. And it is true that video stills are not as high quality as regular stills. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re unusable. In fact, many of the pro photographers in the video are blown away by just how good the video stills are. Even in large prints, there is a high level of detail. High enough that they are suitable for the photographer’s clients.

Of course, there are some disadvantages:

  • Video stills are not in RAW format – this means much less control over exposure and white balance in post-processing
  • Vertical shooting – Video is always shot horizontally, so no vertical stills unless you crop heavily
  • Motion blur – Video is often recorded at lower shutter speeds (typically 1/60 to 1/125) so stills may contain motion blur
capturing still photos from video

Exporting a TIFF image from the video timeline

But the fact that you have the ability to capture high-quality stills while shooting video is incredible. And since you’re recording at 24 fps, it means you have 24 frames to choose from for every single second you shoot. Even shooting with your camera on burst mode there’s always a chance that you will miss something – those split second expressions or that moment right when a bird takes flight.

Maybe some aren’t ready to accept this way of shooting stills a satisfactory option. After all, the beginning of any new technology leaves for many things to be ironed out. But capturing stills from video could very soon be the future of photography.

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