In 2023, we don’t need to shoot video the same way we did with cameras like the Canon 5D Mk II. But somehow or another, we connect a ton of accessories to cameras primarily meant for still shoots. And then, we proceed to shoot tons of videos with them. Why? More specifically, why haven’t we advanced past this? If you’re wondering what’s wrong with it, you probably haven’t shot for very long. So allow us to enlighten you on the beauty that is dedicated camcorders.
There’s a fundamental ergonomic difference when it comes to shooting with a camcorder vs shooting with a still camera. Arguably, I’d say that the natural ergonomics of a camcorder are superior to dedicated still cameras these days.
With a dedicated still camera, a photographer needs to lift the camera to their face and then bend their wrist to shoot. But with camcorders, photographers don’t bend their wrist at all. Instead, the shutter button is on their thumb typically. It’s a far more natural way of holding an imaging-making device overall.
This truly makes me wonder why video camcorders using the Sony E, Leica L, Nikon Z, or Canon RF mount haven’t really appeared. Specifically, I’m referencing the idea of small, handheld camcorders to record video akin to what companies used to make around 10 years ago or so. This makes me ever so sad that the Sony VG-900 didn’t survive. A camcorder like that would’ve been incredibly capable of making great video for documentary-style shoots. Lots of those are on YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, HBOMax, etc. To be even a little more blunt, it would mean that a series like those narrated by David Attenborough wouldn’t always need to make recreations. The reason for this is because the camcorder would be so much smaller.
Camera manufacturers say that 90% of the market is with video shooters. To that end, I truly wonder why they don’t make something like this. Why can’t Canon make something with RF mount within the VIXIA lineup of camcorders? It would make handheld shooting simple when using the company’s L lenses or their smaller lenses.
If you consider all that we’re saying here, then one can make a similar argument for dedicated still cameras. And here’s the bigger problem: all the cameras are good. None of them are exceptional and truly unique except for a few from Leica, Canon, and Sony. They’ve got variations that differentiate them. However, photographers have long figured out that cameras are all more or less made by the same folks. Sony provides nearly all the sensors. Tamron and Sigma make most of the glass for everyone. And it’s only really Canon that stands apart from everyone else.
Because all of them are so similar, there is no major competition, and instead, it’s often falsely done. It all stems back from when tsunamis destroyed tons of factories many years ago, and economic hardships made others close their lens factories. So what’s maybe 7 or 8 camera companies is actually more like four or so.
Eventually, this problem will catch up in the video world too. In fact, when talking to DPs, it already has. So the manufacturers instead need to start making more competitive splits and not trying to work with one another behind closed doors. It’s time for real, actual competition. It probably won’t happen, though.