Canon’s new flagship DSLR, the 1D X, can shoot 18.1 megapixel JPEG photographs at a staggering 14 frames per second in burst mode. This is nearly at the 16 frames per second needed to hide jerkiness from the human eye — the flicker fusion threshold for moving images. Though the frame rate falls short of the 24fps used for Hollywood movies and by many video cameras, 18.1 megapixels per frame translates to 5K resolution in video lingo, while the video feature of the 1D X only shoots at 1080p (~2 megapixels per frame).
Gizmodo’s Michael Hession realized that the camera’s burst mode could still be used to produce reasonably smooth video. The clip above shows Hession’s experiments with using the 1D X as a relatively cheap 5K video camera. 2,000 separate JPEG stills went into creating the two-minute-long video.
The video is certainly more choppy than what you’d get from an actual video camera, but the fact that the camera’s burst mode is fast enough to create this kind of video is impressive in itself.
Our resulting videos were super detailed and crisp. Actually, viewing them on a regular HDTV or monitor won’t do them justice, and until a 4K monitor hits our doorstep, we won’t even get to see them play at full size.
Of course, there are vast limitations to using the 1DX’s still mode to make movies. Aside from settling for a choppy 14 fps, you can only shoot in bursts of between 5-10 seconds (this might increase with faster CF cards), there is no sound recorded, and you can’t even see through the viewfinder while shooting.
But for all the downsides, it was surprisingly, incredibly fun shooting in this manner. It felt like shooting with an old 16mm Bolex camera. That loud shutter, the short bursts, composing your shot through a viewfinder rather than an LCD, it was quite a joy.
HD video cameras have already gotten to the point where you can extract stills from the footage and pass them off as photos taken with a high-res still camera.
It seems like it’s only a matter of time until you can take photos from a still camera, string them together, and pass them off as footage shot using a HD video camera.