Nikon DSLR with video – the best thing since sliced bread?

This post contains videos taken with a Nikon DSLR - skip it if you don't care about this feature.

The latest Nikon D3s rumors (D3+video) triggered me to do this controversial post - I just wanted to give some example on how videographers are using the video feature from the latest Nikon DSLR cameras:

The movie "Gadget" claims to be the first shot with a Nikon DSLR (don't know happened to "Reverie"):


Heineken - Keep the Change Commercial (shot with Nikon D90):

Music video shot with the Nikon D90 (and some RED for the slo-mo):

videographer shoots news reports with a Nikon D300s:

Chase Jarvis used the Nikon D300s in the his latest SanDisk Extreme Pro campaign:

Few more Nikon D90 movies:

HENKELL HOTEL (Nikon D90 D-movie) from Martin Crespo on Vimeo.

Trifonic/Musicvideo from on Vimeo.

And the last video is from Nikon France (ad for the D300s, shot with the D300s):

I had few readers asked me about the mic on top of the Nikon D300s press-release pictures - it's the Rode Stereo Video On-Camera Microphone:


Update: a web series that is shot entirely on two Nikon D90.

And few more sent in by readers:

NYC Spring Day: Nikon D90 from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

This entry was posted in Nikon D300s, Nikon D90. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Gary

    Video is a viable art form, to say the least, and all one has to do is look at the work being done using dslr’s for video to see the artistic potential.

    If one reads up on all of the people who’ve used the canon 5dmkii for video, and what they’ve been able to achieve, one realizes that this cannot be dismissed.

    For purists who want only still photos…fine, just take those photos. But it’s naive to think that video is not here to stay on dslrs, or to seek to deprive others of the use of video. Adding video does not diminish still photography; it just gives another creative outlet for those using the device.

    • AS

      Totally agree!

      • jbl

        Gary is right.

        Those purists are naive.

        Here’s a quote I got from DPReview:

        “Get a sony HD recorder, Do you know how stupid you will look doing video on a DSLR HAHAHA laughing already.

        A stand alone recorder is the way to go on a serious note, cant beat the quality and the prices are reasonable.

        P.S i can imagine some photographers doing weddings with a DSLR haha.”


        • C Benson

          I prefer Nikon would improve on their sensors instead of producing video for their exciting cameras. Canon is way a head of Nikon when it comes to improving the sensor quality. People think that video is here to stay, but I think video is fad. Here today gone tomorrow. The problem is people are not willing to tell Nikon that they need to improve their sensors. Thats the biggest crunch, people see a new trend and go with it.

        • Cris

          “Pathetic”???? you got to be kidding me, nikon if for sure not up to standards with video but go and see this wedding clip shot on the new canon 7d…

          who is laughing now?

    • Well stated. There’s no law saying that every feature on a camera must be utilized.

      Not a videophile myself, I do appreciate the capability. Video helps me out when I assess a shooting location, and now I don’t have to take 2 cameras in order to do it.

  • steve

    I’ll be honest, I enjoyed that Snob Scrilla Video. Watching the others right now. Not too bad.

  • Ronan

    Video in DSLR are becoming a must for wedding photographers. It’s another way to charge more 😉

  • Jurno

    Thanks for posting these! I for one would love to see you do this more often, or at least when you find terrific, accomplished examples like this. Except for that French ad, which I don’t think is available online in full 720p resolution, I have yet to see the D300s put to the artistic use of the D90, and it seems to me the D300s video should be able to better it.

    There is something unique about the quality of the Nikon video. Some people, enamored with sharpness, complain that it’s merely soft. But there are other more experienced video shooters who see something valuable in the look coming from the Nikon cams. I really can’t wait to see some stellar film-like work from the D300s.

  • We have a website shot entirely on two Nikon D90s. Check it out here:

    • Jurno

      Very funny. Well done!

  • For me, as a blogger, video is a must. Here is a why:

    The above were all shot with Leica D-Lux4 (I could not bring my D90 to Best Buy). I have also a D300s on order (with kit lens – not yet available). The next set of videos will be from PhotoPlusExpo in New York – I will be there and hopefully there will be a new Nikon camera to report on…

    I do understand why some photographers don’t care about the video part, but for many others the video feature is very helpful.

    • C Benson

      Do you want to know why some photographer don’t want video because they want better quality in a photograph. That is the most important aspects in being a photographer. When you look at D300s vs. D300 do you see any difference sensor quality, not video or any other bells a whistles . Yes or no?

      I prefer Nikon would improve their sensors and lower their prices on their cameras. Sony that makes sensors for Nikon, has their cameras at lower price and higher mega pixel. Why is Nikon not doing the same?

      • Anonymous

        given that Nikon does better things with identical sensors in a Sony, and that all new Nikons have superior high ISO to all new Canons, I’m not sure what ur on about. You want a new sensor, wait for the D400. U want 25mp, go get a Sony.

        • C Benson

          The problem with Nikon they are going backwards instead of going forwards on improving their sensors quality. For example: better sensor, reduce noise reduction and better ISO settings. When you look at what they are producing right now, you have to question their motives. Just resonantly Nikon Rumors posted a sales graph of all major camera manufactures. Sony is leading the pack on digital camera sales.

          Why is Sony leading the pack? What makes their cameras more special then Nikon or Canon cameras? Do you feel that Sony has a better marketing plain when it comes to selling their cameras? These are some questions you have to ask yourself. When you answer these questions, you come to the same conclusion that I see. Nikon is going backwards instead of going forwards on how to improve their cameras.

  • NikoDoby

    You don’t have to convince me Admin. I’ve been enjoying video with my still cameras since I bought a Sony 717 back in 2002 🙂

  • Human

    Hopefully video in DSLRs continues to evolve quickly. It feels like we’re only a couple of iterations away from extremely capable video DSLRs.

    I just hope we see the audio features evolve too. Proper mic jacks (XLR or mini XLR) and decent manual monitoring are a must.

    • PHB

      The complaints from folk who don’t want support for any feature that they don’t use personally are pretty self-centered. I suspect that their real fear is that they have limited technical and creative skills and they think that video on DSLR will reduce demand for their product.

      We see the same in the computer industry, pretty much every group of system administrators will tell you how superior (and secure) their platform is and how the upstart is rubbish. It used to be MVS admins yacking on about VMS, then the VMS people about UNIX and now its UNIX about Windows. It has nothing to do with the merits of the system they know, it is all about the fear that their skills will become obsolete.

      I would like to see either XLR connectors on the camera or a box that you connect up the mics to that plugs into the camera.

      I think that in addition to putting video on the basic DSLR, there is a huge opportunity for a video-optimized body that takes F-mount lenses. A video optimized body would have an electronic viewfinder instead of the mirror and an electronic shutter.

      The big potential gain for still photographers is an electronic shutter. I would much rather have the ability to sync flash at any shutter speed than a third of an ISO stop.

      Having used pro-video equipment costing $5000, I am unimpressed. I do not think that any of the current generation of pro-video is worth buying at the moment. For $500 you can buy a Canon HD-Video camcorder that records to solid state media. Virtually all the pro recorders are still based on obsolete tape transport. That is a huge disadvantage as the transport noise forces you to use off-camera mics and messing around with tapes.

      It is obvious that within a couple of years, all those $5000 models will be in the skip along with the tape transport and the Betamax tapes. But at the moment you don’t have a viable alternative at a realistic price.

      The one thing you get with pro-video that you can’t get at the moment in the DSLR world is the ability to do focus pulling. That really should not take long to fix.

      • getanalogue

        PHP, I think your comment sounds pretty arrogant. The Nikon’s of this world are adding video to still cameras, and we still photraphers have to pay them for even though we don’t want to have it – no choice. One near day, the world will be full of video rubbish as we have still photo rubbish already. Camera manufacturers should offer a still and a video version of a same sensor/body combination. Actually, Nikons, Canons and Sonys are preparing the playing field for Red, where you have the choice of being a movie artist or a photo artist, and using the same body and the same (Nikon) lenses for both – fair enough. And have a look at the possible sensor resolutions and formats. Will be hard to find appropriate glass for them.

      • C Benson

        To PHB,

        It’s not about technology vs. hard core photographers. It’s about Nikon improving their sensors on their DSLR’s. You feel that video would improve photographers skills an abilities on day to day bases. You are wrong. Improving the sensor by increasing the mega pixel rate, noise reduction and increase ISO settings would be the most important aspects in DSLR camera.

        I also want to tell you, that you are tech. guy and you don’t understand what professional photographer wants in a camera. For example do you think a wedding photographer needs video in a poorly light church, say Roman Catholic yes or no?

  • Anonymous

    Can the Admin post some porn videos shot with a Nikon. Wonder if the skin tones look natural.

  • C Benson

    Well, to be honest Nikon needs to improve on their image quality and noise reduction. I’m not a videographer, I am photographer 1st. So I would like to tell Nikon, that image quality is the most important not video.


  • Anonymous

    Here’s a good example on DSLR video

  • Optical Indulgences

    I’ve had my d300s for about 2 weeks now and love it! I used it to shoot some video at a wedding last week and am really impressed with how it handles and the short clips I got out of it. I really think wedding photographers and photojournalists will have to master the use of video in their work to stay relevant as photographers. I already have brides requesting photo/video montages as part of their wedding package. I don’t believe that photography will be displaced by video but creative use of video will be an essential tool that successful photographers will have to master to stay at the top of their field. I’m still figuring out how to work it into my normal wedding workflow and probably need to find some sort of quick release stabilization set up but at least it keeps things challenging which is why I enjoy wedding photography.

    • A friend of mine just shoots B roll stuff – the flower and candle arrangements on the tables, some church interiors, the bows on the pews, the cake, the flower bouquets, some dancing clips etc. He then uses the clips as backgrounds and motion transitions in the little photo slideshow thing he does for the couple. Even a half dozen clips that are well done add a lot of viewing value when combined with the great stills he does.

  • Adam

    I think as far as competing with Canon goes, they have lost big time in regards to video. Even if the d3s comes out with full manual 1080p video, the video guys are still going to buy the far less expensive 7d. I realize this is first and foremost a still camera….and it will be an amazing one at that, but if you going to put video as a feature, do it right.

  • Thuan Nguyen

    In term of IQ and Noise control! IMO, Nikon already leaded Canon and sony. What i am begging them to do is now stop making Pro grade zoom len and upgrade their Pro prime lines such 135DC, 105DC, 85afd, 28f1.4 35 f1.4 … They are now 15 years old already.

    • Just a Thought

      “They are now 15 years old already.”

      I didn’t realize that Nikkors came with a “Best Before Date”, like baked goods.

      The lenses you mentioned are just teenagers, full of lots of life and capability. If memory serves me, I believe they were all designed for Full Frame AF FIlm Cameras. A new design might improve what exactly? Ok, nano coating could increase contrast and reduce flare (a better-longer lens hood could do the same). Would your customers notice any difference? Resolution will likely be unchanged (and is limited by the in-camera AA filter and Bayer filter intropolation). An f1.4 lens will remain at f1.4 even after any upgrade. The “upgraded” lenses might weight less due to less robust build – ie more plastic. Wonder if the upgraded lens wonder will last 15 years?

      Will slightly improved contrast and less potential to flare make much difference to the quality of photographs one is “capable” of taking. Some books on technique would serve most far more than “upgraded” lenses. Just my opinion.

  • NikoDoby

    Snob Scrilla, that guy in the first Henkell Hotel room, and I have soooo much in common 🙂

    How did the model in the last video manage to steal the D300S with a 24-70mm lens attached ?!

    The name of the Trifonic song is “Parks On Fire”.

  • Ragnar

    Well, sliced bread isn’t that good. I don’t recommend it to anyone. DSLR video on the other hand is a great thing 🙂

  • Altought I haven’t shot video like the above samples. I have shot vedio clips with my Nikon D90. And I think of them as video art clips in that they are a moving still shot. How many times have we all shot streams, rivers. or waterfalls and wish we had a video camera to duplicate that monent.
    In fact on my FlickeR photostream. Of the almost 600 views the two top items are videos with 145 & 95 views each.
    I don’t think I would shoot a wedding with my D90 (D300s comeing soon). But maybe some more advance video shooting not out of the question.
    Also if the D700s/x had 1080 HD video that would be a possable addition
    to stable.
    Link to my videos >

  • 2beers

    I stopped shooting video in 2003, because i found it was simply too much work to produce a presentable short film. I found photography much more rewarding in that aspect. Video is not just about getting the video footage, you need to record the sound as well. And do the editing. And add music, eventually. Showing off your video work has become much easier with videos on the web and in every mobile device, but putting the thing together is probably still the same amount of work.

    Making a movie – even if its only 45 Seconds long – and producing photographs a two very different things. That won’t change.

    • C Benson

      This message is for 2beers,

      Thank you have reinforce my statement. I believe that video is a fad, here today gone tomorrow. But photography will be here for a very long time. Nikon needs to improve their sensors and image quality before they tackling video. I find Nikon is lacking in judgement when it comes to video.


    • ebf

      While sound can be important in shooting an slr video or video/photo montage for a wedding or other event, I have found it less than essential. Adding background music to the final product means that poor sound on some of them really doesn’t matter. Having a few clips with sound is nice to transition from the music to some nice words or comments. And yes, it is a bit of work to get the final product, but it looks really nice when all put together.

  • ZoetMB

    Thanks for presenting these videos – some of them really do show the potential of what’s possible: I thought the music video clip was done quite well, although you can see that there was a lot of set and lighting preparation and in some shots the “performers” were obviously standing on a dolly or truck of sorts.

    As I understand it, YouTube does a lot of compression, so I don’t think we’re seeing the full quality level even in YouTube’s HQ mode. Anyone want to comment on that if they think I’m incorrect?

    In terms of the quality, if I were buying a version of the D3 with video and it was $5000+ and video was all that it did, I would consider that poor value. I would certainly probably go with a dedicated video camera. But as a byproduct of a new D3 model or the D300s or D90 or whatever, I think it’s spectacular, even with some of the inherent limitations.

    Those who say that Nikon should instead concentrate on expanding their lens line are misguided – one doesn’t preclude the other. The design resources and manufacturing facilities dedicated to video features has nothing to do with those dedicated to lenses.

    I love seeing these and I would propose a separate section of the site (or maybe even a new site) devoted only to examples of DSLR video, especially because this is a relatively new area for many of us and it’s very helpful to see what other people are accomplishing. If a new site, I wouldn’t limit it to Nikon — I would show videos from all brands of still cameras.

  • Rob

    Don’t forget “Vengeance Rides a Train”. This is one of my favorite D90 movies. Absolutely incredible. The soundtrack is awesome too. I think the guy in that Heineken commercial is the same guy (Akira Wing).

  • 2beers

    What i’d like to read about is how photographers, especially those doing weddings or a PJ-style of work are including video in their work. How do they mix taking photos and video during their assigments? As far as i know, you can’t take video AND photos at the same time – so is it video or photo for that first kiss? And what would be the deciding factor for one or the other? How do they handle the lightning, after all – that’s what make a great picture? My speedlights are probably not the best choice for video – but what would be the best choice of lightning technique if i shoot video and photos combined?

    Video in a dslr obivously gives the videographers an exiting new tool. But i’m not so sure about how practical the combination of taking videos and photos will be.

  • shivas

    i don’t think it’ll replace my 720p camcorder, BUT, I think it’s a nice addition. . .there are certain things I feel that I could capture with video that are lost with a picture:

    sunset at the southern tip of portugal, the breeze rustling the grass in the background, sound of children playing in the distance, and the roar of the Atlantic slapping against the rock formations below. . .

    • 2beers

      What you want is called audio. Get yourself a digital audio recorder (very good ones start at 200 EUR) and a good mikrophone and you’re already there. If you take your time and concentrate on collecting the sounds you’ll probably have even better results than with a video dslr.

      • C Benson

        Thank you you have reinforce my statement. I believe that Nikon needs to improve their sensors and image quality before they tackling video. I also feel that video is fad, here today gone tomorrow in DSLR’s. But photography will be here for very long time.


        • 2beers

          @ cbenson: i’m not against putting video into a dslr. It seems to help the camera makers sell their gear to a new group of customers, the videographers, and maybe it’ll make some photographers start with videography.

          But i’m sceptical over the benefit video brings to the photographer, aside from being a nice-to-have and it’ll-come-in-handy-sometimes.

  • Daniel

    Well, “Reverie” was a short. Well even shorter than a short movie.
    Perhaps this “Gadjet” will be a full length movie?

  • Mike again

    What ever makes Nikon sell is also a PLUS for still photographers, if Nikon’s market share decrease because of leaving out this new trend any one can make the simple math…

    I for one don’t care too much about the video future, but it’s a nice little plus in the edge when it now appears on DSLR and starts t give some quality we couldn’t by far see on any still camera for just some year ago.

  • It is nice to have video in the camera. It adds lots of fun. But what is not so nice is Nikon refurbishing 18 months old cameras and selling them as new. Many prosumers are waiting for a good full frame at a more affordable price. What about a D700 price drop? Well, I’m afraid we are not going to see that very soon. We will get a D700s soon after the D700 stock is almost exhausted. Not that much exciting, indeed…

  • ZoetMB

    >>>But what is not so nice is Nikon refurbishing 18 months old cameras and selling them as new.
    What are you talking about? That would be illegal. Or are you referring to Nikon releasing a D300s? That is not a refurbished camera. It’s an upgrade to an existing camera. Not the same thing.

    >>>What about a D700 price drop? Well, I’m afraid we are not going to see that very soon.
    Not with a weak US Dollar you’re not. You might have if the dollar hadn’t kept falling. The dollar is down to 91.44 Yen. Even Nikon thought it was going to be 96 Yen at the end of this fiscal year. It 2007 it was 120 Yen to the dollar. Don’t blame Nikon – blame the U.S. economy.

    >>>Not that much exciting,
    What would make you excited? Do you want it to make a pizza? It already does far more than we ever could have imagined a few years ago.

    • Gary

      I agree that sometimes we get so spoiled that it seems that we want a new camera every month. We also get so spoiled that we even sometimes feel that the amazing models already available are absolutely irrelevant and boring.

      The reality is that for the vast majority of us, the existing models have more capability than we’ll probably ever need or use.

      Video on dslr’s represents an amazing advancement that is already changing the face of camera technology. Videographers find in dslr’s a way to get larger imaging sensors and interchangeable lens in a package far more affordable than pro video outfits.

      Nikon needs to jump on this train even more agressively than they have; they debuted the video dslr in the D-90, but since then Canon has surpassed them. And the Canon 7D will be a huge seller and favorite of the video crowd.

  • Thanks for linking two of our videos, VRT and Heineken. We’ve used the D90 many times for projects and love the quality of the picture it produced. The camera would be perfect with manual control and a way to stop the sensor from overheating.

    • oh wow, I did not even realize they were made by the same team (person?) – very cool. Are all of the videos shot with a D90?

      Here is the link for everybody else:

      • Thanks again for the link. Not all of the videos are shot on the D90, but we have lots of videos that are shot on the D90 . There are two of us that shoot videos for the channel,

  • 3space

    lets hope nikon gets this right

  • dnoonie

    Some day maybe dslr video quality will be okay, just not yet. A professional dslr that does video isn’t replacing a professional video camera any time soon.

  • TC

    @NR admin: great post, nothing controversial about it all. And it has
    prompted a very interesting discussion in this thread. Certainly a lot more interesting than the 2 yr old Photoshop job you posted 😉 and the quality of the comments here is far superior to those at canonrumors – the posts there are just embarrasing.

    • thanks, you can still see that 1/2 of the readers still did not like it – video is still not well accepted

      • Anonymous

        i think it is pretty obvious that video in DSLR’s is here to stay and will be a feature in all new Nikon DSLR’s so just ignore if you don’t like

        i personally think it is a good thing

        there are some things that just lend themselves better to video

        what has videophiles slobbering at the mouth is the access to large sensors and interchangeable quality lenses – at an affordable price

        the problem with the DSLR video is that it is only using a subset of the sensors to produce the video and is thus not reaching its full potential – not to mention the problem with ergonomics

        what i continue to lobby for is a dedicated F mount video camera – with APS-C and/or FF 16:9 dedicated HD sensor with 4K phtotosites (2K G 1K R 1K B)

        give it a raw output capability, dual memory cards, and all of the doodads and manual controls you would expect from a quality video camera

        and then price it competively – $1500 APS-C, $2500 FF body only

        add a couple of pins for a motorized zoom but keep it compatible with existing F mount lenses

        unlike Sony and Canon, this would not cut into existing camcorder business – but on the other hand – it very likely would cut into those camera companies businesses and steal a lot of thunder away from the 5D mk II

        • Moxie

          i’m on the fence, only in the hopes that Nikon isn’t sacrificing still photography research and development for video.

          if they were to put out a serious video-first camera, that would be something completely different. get another crew for the R&D, it might even be something i would want to buy, but if a camera body can only hold so much, all preferences goes to a better still, not for more “doodads”.

          however, i suspect the market will disagree with me, since so many amateurs are into those cheap extraneous items, which made so many switch to Canon’s 5DmkII.

          • Gustav

            There’s a couple of misconceptions here:
            – there’s only one person doing R&D at Nikon. Seriously, do you think they can’t do still photo R&D at the same time as video R&D? And putting all your people onto one project doesn’t necessarily speed up development. “Too many cooks spoil the broth”
            – video takes up more space inside the camera. Video doesn’t use more physical parts – it’s just more code in the firmware.

  • James

    Isn’t Reverie the first feature film shot on the D90?

  • James

    Edit: I just read what you said at the top. Maybe they didn’t look into what was already out there.

  • ihatetv

    i personally am a photographer and not a videographer…so when i buy a camera i would like the money i am spending to go towards a camera…. sure it is a feature and you do not have to use it…. but it is not a free bonus feature. i also prefer that r&d goes into developing a better still camera.

    i do not have anything against video but i spend enough time trying to master photography. i honestly think that people feel that video and still photography is more closely linked to eachother than it is….

    the last thing i want to see is inexperienced photographers/videographers advertising their paid services , spreading themselves too thin and doing a poor job at it. in the end it hurts the professionals and i don’t think merging the two is a great idea….

  • Richard

    I think the new Wes Anderson film ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ has been at least partly shot with Nikon cameras. He obviously didn’t feel a need to wait for a D3s though as he used a plain old D3. Stop motion of course.

  • hero


  • Cute, Smart, and thinking of the future…….Thanks for providing the videos.

  • After viewing that Canon 7D video, I know this is the route I want to go. Too bad Nikon is so far behind the curve on this. We really need a D700 with video, 1080p resolution, that uses the AVI or Quick Time movie format. I recently sruveyed all the available video cameras and the offerings are really pathetic for the the person with only $3,000 to invest. Most still use tape and most have 1/4-inch sensors. Nikon could grab a wide-open market with a DSLR that is primarily a video camera with still capabilities. What a great complement that would be to a D700 straight stills body.

    I am so tired of Nikon rolling out DX cameras with video and ignoring FX. I’ll never go back to DX after using the FX, but it came out two years too late. Nikon is still trying to catch to Canon on full-frame, low noise bodies and fast primes.

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