Where is Nikon’s answer to the Canon 7D?

September 25, 2009 - By 

I came across this wonderful short over at Prolost that was shot with the new Canon 7D. It got me wondering, Where is Nikon’s version of a camera that shoots 1080P? Full frame and a mic input would be nice too.

They are starting to try out video with the new D5000 and the D90, but those don’t shoot 1080P and have very limited video and audio capabilities (11 kHz, Mono? come on!). Seems like Canon realized that video on a DSLR isn’t just a gimmick. When will Nikon do the same?

Posted In:  Digital Cameras Tech
  • Is it the only difference between 5D Mk II and 7D the fps or the full frame on the 5D makes its point in image quality?
    Talking only about video capabilities…

  • If I needed true HD footage for a commercial project there’s no way I’d use a DSLR to record it, even though it’s probably easier on some level / more convenient. There are some fantastic HD video recorders out there (that cost about the same amount of money as a medium-range DSLR) which are tapeless and record directly to Final Cut format. JVC makes a couple of them, and Canon themselves make some good HD video cameras (which take stills too). If my needs were primarily footage for a project and some stills, I wouldn’t look to a DSLR, no matter how convenient it is. The quality -for now- won’t be the same, meanwhile the HD stills from the video camera are going to be very good (though not in raw format obviously).

    • But what about all this Nikon Glass I have sitting around? Is there a “real” video camera that can use my existing lenses?

      • That’s definitely a good point, and as noted by another posted I think you’d have to get specific cameras which offer special adapters. Obviously balance would be an issue there for some video cameras as well. DOF is the one area where I think I’d prefer to work with a DSLR. And for cameras with the kick-butt ISO performance (say up in the 1600 range), that might be a real kicker. I guess the new Sandisk CF cards could help the data transfer issue (60MB/s and 90MB/s series now available from B&H). Central might have some too, Nick.

      • Nikon’s F Lens to Canon EOS Camera Mount Adapter is out there…a ebay search for ‘Adapter Fits Canon EOS Body To Nikon lens’ has tons of results. There might be a f/dof conversion difference for switching over.

      • if you don’t want to spend a ton of money, there isn’t an option.. but the RED Scarlet coming out in the next couple months will have mount options including nikon and canon..

        but it’s going to cost you close to $10k

        • Whatever happened to the $3k Scarlett? Will this version the shoot 3k(+)res? The last version had a fixed lens also…same w/ the new one?

        • that one will have a built in lens, and be somewhere around $3000-$5000. the version with interchangeable lenses that will take nikon or PL or what not will shoot 5k. there’s also a planned full frame 6k sensor.

        • The fixed is 5K
          Non-fixed 3k – but only body. With all you’ll need to shoot, record, transfer, save… that’s up to $15+K

          Sorry guys! Dreams are for kids.
          Still if you have/had the RED camera, you can use almost every acces from it

        • Dealing with (or without)a budget is one of the unfortunate universal traits all filmmakers & artist have in common & struggle with.

          For anyone working on a project minus a sizeable budget, the dslr’s could be the way go.

          (speaking of Nikon..)Mate Steinforth shot this short film with an N90 // http://www.vimeo.com/5665869

    • The whole reason that the video Dslr’s are so creating such a buzz is because of the shallow depth of field and the low light performance you get from the big sensors. Prosumer video cameras have tiny sensors in comparison so you wont get those benefits.

    • true, it’s nothing to do with convenience. like whats been said, the sensor is about the same size as super 35mm film so it can get very shallow DOF. it also has 60p in 720 mode. DSLRs are tapeless as those other cameras are. the data rate for the 7d is also as good or better than most of the other HD cameras. it’s not intended to shoot a full length film on though. people often forget a camera is just there to capture images, its not magic box thats makes your film better because there are tons of barely useful features

      and Nick, you would need to get a 35mm lens adapter (they work awesome with an hvx) or use the Red cameras (including the scarlets and epics) have the option of using a Nikon mount. those cameras are designed similar but opposite the 7d, to be a video camera that can easily be used as a high quality DSLR. their modular design is there to be used however you want. no if they’d freaking release it

      • I’m intrigued by all this scarlet talk but not seen anything solid. Aswell as wanting to use my nikon glass like Nick… the biggest benefit to having an SLR that would capture really nice video (not perfect, nothing’s going to replace a pro quality video camera for a shoot) is the size. When you get your first SLR, you feel quite conspicuous taking photos when you’re used to a compact. When you use a full size video camera you don’t just blend into the crowd. For street, travel etc. wouldn’t it be great to be able to capture lovely footage on something as small as a dslr that you can fit in your hand luggage?

    • Well i would like to know a HD video recorder that cost the same as 7D? and also i can change lens ?? if so i need that , im really looking into buying the 7D just for shooting HD .. i looked at brands like JVC and other HD video recorders need adapter and tons of $$$ which i dont have.. while with the Canon its a cheaper route and looks good..

  • I’d love to stick with nikon but the 7D is just too tempting… think it might be my christmas present to myself.

  • I love these cameras and I’m tempted to buy one, but until they fix the rolling shutter issues I’ll just have to keep saving for the Panasonic HMC-150.

  • Is this camera really good enough to shoot a feature on, lets say? You can just get 35mm adapters for HD video camera. and hows the workflow for editing? It can’t be that easy.

    • If you’re serious about your feature, why invest all that time and skimp on the camera? Just rent what you need. I don’t think feature-length pictures are the market for these cameras, at least not yet. That’s not to say you couldn’t make it work.

      As far as workflow, it’s actually no more difficult than that of the HVX. Very easy.

  • Hey Nick,
    Just saw this presentation at the DV Expo on Liam Finn making a whole feature on a Panasonic GH1. I was a bit skeptical, but given the footage he demonstrated I thought was incredible impressive. He used an adapter to hook up PN lens to it (OK a bit out of control but he said the stuff they shot with a Nikon lens looked great as well). I thought it was pretty impressive (1080 @ 24p with a low price point. Here are some Vimeo links to check out on it.

    Red One, Canon 5d, GH1 comparison

    GH1 feature film

  • rumored “that the new Nikon D3s will have 14fps and full 1080p HD video. Expected in stores on November 3rd, 2009.”


  • also, i love the idea of DSLRs with video, but they need to shoot a better codec than h.264 or motion jpeg. i’ve edited a music video shot on the 5D and had a lot of issues color grading… there’s just not a lot of latitude..

    • That’s the biggest problem with DSLRs. They’re too much downgraded and cannot be in a lot of work. YOU can not CC them a lot. If you want to work on the footage it’s better to have the EX XDCAMS with a dof adapter /like sgblade/

  • I’ll be getting one as soon as they’re available. I’ve been holding off on purchasing a dslr until the perfect one was released, and I’m thinking this one’s pretty close. To be honest, I’ll probably not be outputting anything at 1080p. 720p’s big enough for my needs and 1080p is just a beast to work with. I think the only negative that’s strong enough to feel the need to discuss is the compression. While h264 definitely reduces the file size, it’s not the best production codec. I’d much prefer the motion jpeg used by Nikon, though with a much higher bitrate than that on the d90. I think Nikon released a bummer with the d300s. You have to believe, with all of the recent advances Nikon has made with their dslr’s, the next release will be a huge advancement. Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

  • The D300s is getting close, I guess.

  • Using a still camera to shoot video is kind of like…using a video camera to shoot stills, don’t ya think.

    • well stills have a much higher resolution so i think a still camera that shoots video doesn’t sound as bad as vice versa

    • I don’t think so at all. a dslr will give you some benefits over a video camera with regards to video (dof, low light, lens selection, etc.), while i can’t think of any that come with choosing a video camera over a dslr for stills.

  • I know, my D90’s video capabilities are pretty disappointing, but I didn’t expect otherwise. It’s a nice feature to have, but the audio is a joke, and it’s not the only issue. Fast panning completely skews the image and shooting under neon lights gives you scan lines. I don’t mind being forced to manually focus, since I do it anyway almost all the time, but not being able to record from the viewfinder really sucks. You’re completely dependent on a tripod, and it’s difficult to focus accurately while looking in the screen.

    At the very best, I can play around with the DOF, add some sort of background music and call it a vid. I didn’t expect any more from it, so I still very much enjoy my dslr.

    One thing’s for sure. If you keep waiting for the perfect camera, you’re never going to buy one. And I sure don’t regret my pick, since I’m still very much an amateur.

    While I’m at it, Nick, mind if I ask you somethin’? I see you’re a fan of prime lenses too. I love my Nikkor 50 mm F1.4D and have seen what you’ve done with your 85mm. It looks like a stunning lens. If given a second choice, would you have picked a different one from the same range, or gone a bit over/under. My issue is that the D-90 has 1.5 crop factor, so I’m having a tough time deciding on a second, longer range lens than the 50, but with a good “f”.

  • I have a GH1 and I’m loving it. The GH1 and more so the 7D and 5DmarkII, give new options and opportunities to indie film makers and hobbyists that they’ve never had before.

  • Good old dublin city, born here, lived here all my live, still live here! great city to be from 🙂 pop over some time nick!

  • I don’t see the rolling shutter issue and much when I look at sample video from the 7d and the 5d. It may just be my eyes though. I am looking at getting the 7d for vfx shots and what not. Plus the 7d is a lot cheaper than most HD pro cameras, so its really a no brainer for me. I am sure they will come out with the ultimate VDSLR in a year or so but I don’t want to wait that long.

    • I would give a try to this little baby on your canon hv10 and your DSLR lenses http://www.jag35.com

      i wanna buy a hv40 and try to use one of these 35mm adapter, there’s a lot of people out there, doing some awesome shots with this setup.

  • Really.
    Nikon has been No1. Photographic equipment for decades. Canons are for engineers and Nikons are for Photographers. Most of my friends don’t want video in their DSLRs. Most of them are with D700, D3, D3x /skipped the d300s etc. and won’t go there if there’s d3s, d700s/
    If you want nice video, you buy a nice video camera. or the problem of the iPhone will occur. Phone MP3 camera notebook…… in 1. And nothing is as good as it should be. Yes, it’s comfortable. But not professional.

    Nikon will produce in 3 to 6 months the desirable VDSLR. /till now D90 was a WINNNER. now after the 500d, 5dm2 and now 7d they will come with the new Winner. Bummer…
    and yet. the Rolling Shutter will be there for a long time. Hope so, there’s the new plug-ins and so, and we can take our time in PP correcting that gamage /if we like it that way/…

    • wow, those are incredibly biased and un-objective opinions

      • un-objective?
        I have used canon for a couple of years.
        Still am buying now the 7d /just for the test video and have the m2/ And I REALLY DON’T LIKE the images taken with them. /I mean photographic/ I don’t like canon glasses /FD are very nice, but you need an adapter and glass correction to put them correctly to an EOS system/
        and I am still using Ais Nikkors /mainly the best lenses out there – check it out. not my words/ even with Canons. /yes, i’ve paid ~300$ for a nice adapter/
        Currently I’m sellimg my m2. Trying out the 7d and probably will sell it too.
        stick to my film cameras and one Nikon DSLR. /great colors – f* PS CC. I’m still an oldschool Developer :D/

        • If you can’t get good images with a 5Dm2 and L glass, the problem is not with the camera…you need to get with the times and start studying the new technology…invest some time in it, its worth it…it wont be long you’ll ditch the film camreas and your old crappy FD lenses…

  • nikonrumors.com

    The 7D was aimed to compete with the D300, but there is little competition. I think that like many photographer purists out there Nikon isn’t entirely sold on this video thing yet. The new Nikon D3s is believed to have a very nice video suite for all the journalists that can justify the price.

    Canon are also rumored to have a new product line coming out next year, many believe is is going to be based around the 5D MKII’s video advancements.

  • Hi everyone,

    this is a hot topic. I am a nikon d700 user, I love it, I have a bunch of lenses and I dont want to switch to canon. Guess what? Two days ago I spoke with a nikon representative and he said to me that nikon should have a video capable version of the d700 latest by christmas time…so the battle is still full throtle…I advise those with extensive nikon accessories to stick with the nikon family coz full hd nikon is coming in a big m….. way

  • I hear that Nikon is working with a new product design(digital, of course), that mimics the old film design. Was this just juicy gossip or has anyone heard the same?

    ^ obviously film, not the new product

  • DLSRs are the future — the fact that anyone now can shoot great quality HD footage with practically a $2000 camera and a $1000 lens i think is brilliant. First the introduction of RED, a cheaper alternative to film production for big movie/tvc directors. Now DLSR is here for the amateur/low budget end of the scale.

    • looks cool and I like the idea of the vdslr especially from nikon, but for probably just over the £3000 that will cost you could buy a decent HD video camera that would serve better apart from the desirable shallow DOF

  • Yep. Agreed. I’ve got the 5d Mk2 and was almost about to buy a Nikon lens mount adapter to give me manual control over aperture and then Pow! Canon updates the firmware and give the 5D2 full manual control – With stunning results. I’ve shot a TV pilot and two commercials on mine and the results are farken amazing. It’ll be nice if Canon bring the 24p, 60p frame rates from the 7D to the 5d2 via a firmware. I’m curious to see how Nikon responds, as Canon probably doesn’t want to cannibalise its high-end HD video cameras too much. If they bring out a better video SLR camera at the same price, I’ll buy it.

  • Haven’t done this in awhile. Here you go Nick.


    Didn’t have a ton of time. But I like the feel of it. Perhaps I’ll flesh it out a little more.

  • Rude but simple answer: The Product managers at Nikon are morons, period.

    Anytime i wrote Nikon about the drawbacks of they DSLR they flatly denied just everything and i gave serious advices (who am i?) to push the development because people will ran their doors an buy their cameras like warm bread rolls if the improve the functions.

    This is just a good example that a too strict hierarchy inside a company where no one will listen to each other nor to the community outside is just a rollercoaster ride into nowhere.

    fact is, canon did listen and developed a tripple times better DSLR than before.

    Rolling shutter of course is still a really bad issue, and if you read some blogs and tech sites it’s proven that CCD chips are not more expensive than CMOS, so the argument about that is not true.

  • I guess you just need to give Nikon some time…all that stuff is bleeding edge…Personally, my glass is Canon…so I got a Mk2 a couple of months ago…very sweet. With the 7d out, I guess I now know what I will be buying as a replacement for my backup body…

    A big change this film dslr stuff, at least it is for me…we must keep an open mind with it…Naturally I would like to have access to the raw footage and 24p…but considering the features and the price…man…I am amazed that there are so many crying babies out there…

    If we start taking those tools for what they are, that is a new way to shoot video and stop comparing them to the good old days then you can start using them in places where they enhance your abilities…another blade in the swiss knife…like in some specific situations such as in low light. I am just amazed at what I was able to do with the mk2 and a few candles!…Just play with it, you will be flabergasted…each camera has a specific image texture…those new babies have alot of interesting textures we can exploit…

    To me these are just new tools in the arsenal, just another color on the palet of our creative means…It does not have to replace anything…why not see them as adding to the offering…why either or…why not see them as augmenting our tool set. Who said that you can’t shoot with both pro video cams AND a DSLR or two…

    And Thomas, its not only the Nikon folks that are morons…you should try to get through at Canon…man…talk about frustrating…

    Personally, I just love those wars…it just makes our lives interesting (and our walets thinner…). Lets see what they come out with to make the gear we just bought obsolete again…And Nikonists, not to worry…odds are that Nikon will get to your walet soon enough….Thank god for credit cards!…

  • Everyone loves it when folks come together and share ideas. Great site, continue the good work!

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