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Photojojo is inciting a debate on whether they should buy a Canon or Nikon DSLR for HD video. Now I can’t give an unbaised answer, since I’ve only had experience with one brand, but as an avid Nikon user, I would recommend a Canon. I’ve never tried HD video on one, but I bought the Nikon D90 when it first came out and although it can make some awesome videos, there are several SERIOUS shortcomings:

  1. No autofocus while recording. I’m not sure if the Canon can quite pull this off either from reviews I’ve read, but at least it TRIES! Nikon doesn’t do anything!
  2. The scanline problem: If you make any fast pans, the image pans in chunks down the screen because the image sensor can’t update fast enough to get the same shot in one frame. Interesting effect sometimes but usually it just ruins your videos.
  3. No manual exposure control (besides a slider that you can “suggest” to the camera to under/overexpose about 1 stop). If you have a manual aperture ring then you may be able to control it a little, but the camera automatically adjusts ISO to keep the exposure in range. There’s (almost) no way to disable it.
  4. Consequentially, if you’re in anything besides daylight conditions, the ISO goes up and the graininess can get really bad.
  5. Video aside, Canon also uses a more-or-less standard RAW format. Nikon actually ENCRYPTS their RAW files which makes it a PAIN to get into Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Adobe is usually a little slow on updating their Camera RAW drivers to decrypt Nikon’s files, especially if you have an older version of PS or LR. Who ever heard of DRM on YOUR OWN PHOTOS!?!? (insert information-wants-to-be-free rant here)
  6. Another thing with DRM: Canon’s shutter-release cord is a standard 1/8 inch headphone jack, which makes it extremely easy to hack and make your own intervalometer (something I wanted to do with my Nikon), but Nikon’s is a crazy proprietary plug! Doh!

Note: I’m not sure if Nikon has fixed these faults in their new HDDSLRs after the D90, or if Canon has the same faults, so just try them out to see if they’ve gotten better!

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