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Registered: ‎06-14-2019
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Extracting stills from4K video

I'm considering getting a 4K video camcorder rather than a new dslr. I need high frames per second for shooting sports, and I read that you can extract stills from 4K video and get good prints from them.

Is anyone doing this and if so hows it working out?

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Posts: 1,152
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Extracting stills from4K video

[ Edited ]

If you primarily are after still images, then a good quality DSLR is going to be the best choice. To optimize individual frames from a 4K video device you will be shooting with a much faster shutter speed than normal for video so you won't be simultaneously optimizing video and stills. For video, too fast of a shutter speed creates a look of unnatural movement while the blur that results from the proper shutter speed is basically unnoticeable at normal playback speed but is what provides the look of normal motion in a video where frame rate and shutter speed are properly matched but this proper video combo setting will provide very poor individual frame extraction.

 

The reduced initial resolution of 4K compared to a typical DSLR image also means cropping will far more quickly result in a noticeable loss of image quality.  It is also likely that the camcorder you will select will have far worse low light performance than a comparably priced DSLR, something you will notice very quickly in low light sports venues when you are trying to use a fast shutter speed to provide sharp images of fast moving players.  There are plenty of times using my 1DX Mark II with F2.8 telephoto primes that I wish for more light and trying to capture fast shutter speed individual images from a typical mid priced camcorder under those conditions will be disappointing at best.  The same camcorder that provides decent video footage in low light will fail miserably if you start examining individual frames of fast moving sports under those same lighting conditions.

 

Unless you go with a very expensive camcorder that is past the pro-sumer and into the true professional series you are stuck with the lens that is permanently part of the camcorder without the option for the fast glass that is often used for sports with a DSLR.

 

And you will find that the overall shape/style and control layout of most camcorders isn't optimal for a lot of the typical camera handling styles used with a DSLR while shooting sports.

 

I have a 1DX Mark II that will shoot 4K but I picked up a Canon XF-400 for dedicated video use because I didn't find the 1DX M2 to fit my preferences for shooting sports video.  Basically a DSLR with 4K video will provide great still images with the ability to shoot video while a 4K video cam will do excellent video work with the ability to extract decent quality stills while losing much of what a true DSLR can provide. 

 

Shooting sports stretches the capability of any image capture device and a DSLR plus a couple of decent lenses is going to do a better job under typical trying sports shooting conditions compared to a camcorder.  Weather resistance of camcorders is also typically far worse because they are designed to keep their cool when shooting very long videos which means they will have open vents and often forced ventilation that will pull in moisture. You can certainly extract some decent quality images from a carefully shot 4K video but the overall result (quality and number of "keepers") isn't going to compare favorably with a properly set up and operated DSLR.

 

Rodger

 

 

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎06-14-2019

Re: Extracting stills from4K video

Rodger,

 

  My two granddaughters compete in Horse Eventing, and I need a camera that will capture the horse at that perfect moment when it goes over the jumps. I've tried timing my shots, and that method only works sometimes. I want better than sometimes. Doesn't everybody? LOL I'm currently using a Rebel T5 with a 55-250 lens, which I have good luck with, but neither are really sports photo quality. I like APS-C because it makes the lens longer, but there aren't many APS-C cameras that give me the FPS that I need, and the cost of good glass is shocking.

    I have been waiting for Canon to come out with the 7D MK III, but I don't think it is going to happen and I need to upgrade now.

    I was considering the Nikon D500 and the mirrorless Fuji XT-3,  and of course a good telephoto zoom lens. Then I thought that if I were to buy a good 4K camcorder, I could shoot the jump (30FPS)  and then grab the single frame out of it.

    I'm not looking for pro quality, but I do want people to look at the prints and say "wow." However having read your response, I guessing that I won't be happy with the quality of the frame therefore the print.

    Figures, the one year they aren't having a camera show in Boston, would be the year I need to upgrade.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Thanks for your response.

John

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Posts: 1,152
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Extracting stills from4K video

[ Edited ]

John,

 

Tomorrow I will shoot some 4K video of my daughter practicing soccer with it set up for best still quality and post a couple of frames to give you a better idea of what you can expect. 

 

Even shooting at 14 FPS with the 1DX M2 during a fast moving sport you will miss the perfect timing more often than you like.  I shoot a lot of soccer and catching the perfectly timed header is difficult as are a lot of other captures and it would be nice to be able to use video and get perfect frames but if it worked really well that is what all of the pro shooters at NFL games would be doing Smiley Happy

 

You have to accept that you can't catch it all but as you get more experience in anticipating your granddaughters and the horses behavior along with your camera performance then you will find your keeper rate goes up.  You have to be just as focused at that point as a pro athlete with nothing on your mind except following the action and letting training, experience, and instinct take over when it is time to fire off a sequence.  If you are trying to over-think it, your timing will usually be off just enough to have missed that perfect moment.

 

There is not a game that I have shot where I don't have regrets over missing some good captures but that is the nature of the beast. Other times you will get the well timed shot and in the one below I only depressed the release long enough to fire two frames (a very short time at 14 FPS) but caught the keeper making a game winning save on a penalty kick.

 

Rodger

 

AQ9I6114.JPG

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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