Picture This: 4K times two

The Ion Air Pro 3 sits atop one of my Nikon D300S digital cameras recently. If you see it in the field, you’ll know I am probably making video.

I recently talked about a couple of cameras that were introduced last month that featured 8K video capability. I added that I generally believe what almost all of us need isn’t better cameras, but better scripts, or, in most cases, scripts at all.

One of my responsibilities at The Ada News is generating videos for our web site, and one of the best ways I can do this while still fulfilling my photographic duties is with an action camera.

Also sometimes called a POV (Point of View) camera, these devices have been around for a while. The most popular brand is GoPro, but there are other players in the market. These cameras don’t usually have viewfinders or monitors, but are either controlled by one or two switches, or, more recently, using a smartphone app.

For a lot of the web videos I make, I like to mount my action camera on the hot shoe of one of my cameras, usually the one with the wide angle lens on it, so I can turn it on and let it roll, freeing me up to make still images. The one and only downside to this is that the sound of the shutter firing on my cameras is picked up by the microphone in the action cam, and can be quite distracting.

With this in mind, let’s circle back to those new cameras with 8K video. That’s a lot of data, a lot of video, but in my particular situation, I’d love it if Sony or Canon or Nikon or Fuji would build a camera that will do both video and stills at the same time. My web searches found a Lumix camera that will do it, and I have a Fuji crossover camera from 2013 that will do it, although you have to pick which function, video or still, has priority. If you pick video, the stills you get are video frame grabs, and if you pick stills, the camera pauses the video while shooting the still frame.

In my work, the most significant moments are quite fleeting, so going back and forth between stills and video is a compromise that could easily backfire; was I shooting video at the moment I needed that once-in-a-lifetime still frame? Was I shooting stills when that once-in-a-lifetime video moment happened in front of me?

Thus, my solution, putting an action cam on top of my regular camera and letting it roll.

It’s possible that the newest batch of 4K, 6K, 8K cameras have large enough frame grabs while rolling video that we could get our still frames from that - I would love to try, but I don’t have access to these newest cameras.

What do you think? Is video a priority in recording the moments of your life, or would you rather have stills? Wouldn’t it be nice to have both?

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