The search for the perfect DSLR…

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With the release of cameras like the Nikon D3s and the Canon 5D Mark II, I was pretty sure that I would find a new camera body that would kill two birds with one stone.  I wanted a high quality full-frame camera that could shoot 7-8 fps and had really good light sensitivity for shooting in low light as well as the added bonus of shooting HD video!

I decided to start with a “sky is the limit” budget in order to see what all my options were without the constraints of a limited budget.  Armed with a few weeks worth of reviews from magazines and websites, I went to Vistek for some advice.  I spent an hour or 3 (haha) with Geoffry in the camara dept. and left with a wealth of practical information and some clarity… the clarity being that I couldn’t find a camera that would meet all my needs!

Nikon D3s

The Nikon D3s felt awesome in my hands and extremely well built.  Because I’m not in a studio environment with even ground, a predictable set-up, and a stationary tripod, I always consider how the camera “feels”.  What’s it going to be like holding it for hours on end from every angle?  The D3s has a continuous shooting speed of 9fps ideal for multiple successive shots when a climber is throwing for a hard move.  The bright LCD and live view shooting would be great for awkward positions where I can’t use the viewfinder.   Two allotted spaces for memory cards means I don’t have to change cards as often.

It fell short on the metering and only shot video in 720p.  If I was to ever use this camera as a secondary video camcorder, the quality just wouldn’t suffice.  Playing around with the functions of the camera, I discovered that it seemed to need two hands to operate some of the functions, something that I can’t really do hanging 50ft off the ground swinging from ropes.

Canon 5D Mark II

The Canon 5D Mark II was physically lighter, the controls were easier to use, more accurate in low light, and it shot video at 1080p.  This is exactly what I was looking!  On the downside, it is only 4.5fps but I could live with that.

A day or two later it occurred to me that if I was out in the desert on a shoot and had a Canon 5D Mark II with the full Redrock Systems matte box and follow focus there was no way in hell I could use that camera to shoot stills!  I just couldn’t risk dropping it while shooting from a cliff.  My ideas of having a camera that could easily switch from photo stills to video in an instant was slowly disintegrating.

Back to Vistek for more advice…