Since the Canon 5D Mark II was released in 2008, video shooters have been a part of the photography camera landscape. Regardless of how the manufacturer's view their products, if it can shoot video, it will be used to create video. There are many new cameras created every year for photographers, but for low-budget or small crew filmmakers, these are the backbone of their production tool set. These tools have been key to being able to create great looking stories without big funding. Because videographers and filmmakers alike use these photography-first tools, eventually we will be a viable growth segment in the marketplace.
Right now, we are at a time when photographers have just about everything they need. Because of this, the time is now for brands to add video features to their photo-first cameras, pivoting to making their competitive differences based in video performance. Lets face it, manufacturers will eventually need to look to capitalize on the video side of their cameras if they require growth year over year.
I know what you’re saying: If you require more video features, get a video camera. Sure, that's an easy answer, but what happens when you want to take a picture? I want my cake, and I want to eat it too. The segment of hybrid shooters that take advantage of both photo and video features is only going to grow. And, since I am speculating about the future, I want to dream of a perfect tomorrow.
This gets me to thinking — what features would I want? What do I need? Because I tend to think practically, I’d start with built in variable ND filters. Get exposure control that doesn't force you to record with a high shutter speed. Shooting with a variable ND allows you to keep your depth of field without having to settle for staccato movement from a high shutter speed to get correct exposure. The next video feature that needs to be improved is dynamic range. How nice would it be to be able to shoot outside without the worry of super dark shadows or the the balancing act of proper exposure and blown out sky. Photographers get 15 stops of dynamic range; let's bring that to the video world. Since we’re dreaming, how about internal 12-bit RAW? You just can’t get enough color depth, right?
We might be a long way from internal 12-bit RAW and 15 stops of dynamic range in an ILC, but just having the manufactures focus on substantial new video features would be enough. Focus peaking, zebras and a histogram should be standard. Another standard should be the same resolution and bit depth from the HDMI output as the camera can record internally, if not better. How about offering a mic and headphone jack on all cameras? Better yet, let’s put decent mic preamps in the cameras so you might consider recording internal audio.
Sure this is a wish list for the future, but as we see photo cameras getting better year over year, the photo changes between model years will become increasingly incremental, and we will see the dawn of a new video-centric era for ILCs. Are you ready for the video revolution? I know we are.