The technical bits
In Europe and the UK we use the PAL TV standard (Phase Alternating Line), which plays at 25 frames per second. In North America they use the NTSC standard (National Television System Committee) which plays at 29.97 frames per second. You can play NTSC DVDs on most PAL TV sets, but you can’t play PAL DVDs on NTSC TVs.
If you want to produce high quality movies, then there really isn’t any substitute for the right tools. The Sony PMW-EX3 (£6000) will capture full HD – 1920×1080 or HDV – 1440×1080, or 1280×720, you can select to shoot in PAL or NTSC. Sony uses SXS solid state memory cards which are expensive (£488 for a 16gb card). However, you can use Class 6 or 10 SD cards with a Card adaptor, this will reduce the cost down to £25 per SD card and £15 for the adaptor. With some video camera models (Sony & Canon) you can use your still camera lenses. The Adaptimax adaptor enables you to fit Nikon lenses on the EX3, this modestly priced adaptor (£119) increases the focal length of any lens by a factor of x 5.4 which is great for long distance shots. The adaptor is available from www.cameraadaptors.com
Stills cameras may be able to shoot video, but with this Sony video camera I can use all my Nikkor lenses
Moon shot with 500mm Nikkor effective focal length 2700mm on Sony EX3,
top shot is full frame, bottom shot is a 1:1 detail
The popular Canon XH A1 (£3000) camera which uses mini DV tape, offers both HDV – (1440×1080) and SD (720×576) shooting and also has the ability to capture still images to a memory card, albeit only a 2 megabyte file. Canon’s latest cameras the XF 300/305 series uses CF memory cards and can record at 50 mbps. Another camera worth looking at is the JVC EVERIO X, this is a full HD camera that also shoots a 9 megapixel still image, or can simultaneously capture 5 megapixel images whilst shooting in movie mode.
This article is just an introduction to HDSLR cameras, we will be expanding and going into greater detail on the various sections over the next few months. Use our forums to ask any questions.