Have you ever wished you could produce very good still pictures by using a video camera which means you can just grab any frames from your motion pictures when viewed on the monitor and turn them into still photographs that will grace the next day frontpage? Wishful thinking? Daydreaming? Unbelievable?
Have you ever wished you could capture any peak moments in fast action or sports without subjecting yourself to rigorous concentration and stressful wait instead, just let your video camera capture the whole event and you just grab a few frames as your still photos subsequently?
Sounds unbelievable? You’d better believe it. The technology is already there and its availability to the professional photojournalists especially is imminent.
According to an award winning Guardian photographer Dan Chung in his article published by The British Journal of Photography (date line 21 Feb 2007) the video camera with such capability does exist. It’s the Canon XH A1. It’s a video camera with resolution of only 1.67 million pixel but according to Dan Chung the US newspaper the San Jose News Mercury has been using grabbed video for web and print. It claims that the resulting images are good enough quality to use as five column-wide pictures. The great point is this camera has an excellent optical image stabilising function and a whopping 20x zoom range non-removable L lens, yes L lens that Canon is famous for. The 4.5-90mm f1.6-3.5 zoom coupled to the small sensor gives a 35mm equivalent of 32.-650mm. An additional Canon 0.8x wideangle converter can be fitted to give a 26mm equivalent view. On top of that it has a hotshoe that take Canon speedlights.
Nah, isn’t it a dream come true for most photographers? Yes the technology is still at its infancy before it is turned into a full-fledged 2-in-1 video camera-cum-still camera. But if you remember how far and how fast digital still camera technology has been advancing ever since they first rolled out of factory conveyor belt you will definitely have the same confidence in this technology.
Do you feel like throwing away your digital still camera and rushing to buy a video camera to practise your shots and learn how to shoot video camera instead? The answer lies only in you. Technology moves on as long as the demand is there.