Sunset PhotographyI can have real difficulty making some of the most simple decisions…

When out and about and I come across an amazing site I can take a while deciding whether I should try and photograph the subject or get the video camera out instead. Hopefully the subject is still around when I have finally made my decision!

I like both mediums but for completely different reasons. I think video makes it much easier to capture an event, especially if it involves some kind of action. Sometimes though a great photo is worth hours of average video recordings…

Luckily I can make my decision before I venture out by only taking my DSLR or my video camera. But for how much longer is this going to be the case…

The Problem

Most compact cameras now have the ability to capture short video clips. These can be a bit rough and ready but the quality is always improving.

Now the latest digital SLR cameras also have this ability and they can capture some amazing high definition quality video. This means that even if you don’t have the video camera with me there is still an option to create some kind of video.

As I do not have one of the latest DSLR cameras, yet, my options are still fairly restricted. My current video camera doesn’t record in high definition, either, and so the results can sometimes be disappointing. I definitely prefer the process of photographing a subject as it usually takes a bit more time and effort to get what you want, although sometimes even after this extra effort you can still be let down by the end result…

Overall though my choice is a fairly easy one for the time being. Photo wins 9 times out of 10.

There is one little caveat to all this though and that is how to display my work. I love photos and have a huge collection that I haven’t really sorted out properly yet, but this is on my list of task for this year. I occasionally want to show someone some snaps from our travels so I get them up on the Apple TV.

No matter how interesting the subject matter a photo slideshow can soon get a bit boring. Video on the other hand seems to keep the interest for a bit longer! Simply adding movement and effects to static photos can keep the viewer interested but can also take away some of the impact of the photos.

This has left me with a bit of a dilemma trying to decide which medium to use…

Going Forward

As I am thinking of upgrading my camera in the not too distant future then this choice will become even harder as this would give me a viable option to record video in full high definition. I have also recently been tempted with the Sanyo VPC-SH1 Xacti Full HD Camcorder which looks great…

I have been trying to hold off from getting either of these as I know that the added choice it would give me would lead to more indecision when it comes to recording events. Sooner or later though I am going to have to face up to the reality that extra choice is not always a bad thing.

There are some things that make the choice easier for you. Static scenery shots or sunsets for example seem much better as a photo as the lack of action makes a video pretty useless. On the other hand though if you pan around with a video camera this can capture more of the environment than even a panoramic photograph…

Videoing wildlife can bring the action to life and you can get a real sense of what is going on. Sometimes though animals don’t tend to do a lot and a static photo may be more appropriate. Even if they do decide to play up for the camera this may be the opportunity to create a stunning action photo…

The choice never seems to be an easy one!

Do you have this same dilemma? Or do you just stick to one or the other for every circumstance? Leave a comment below and maybe we can get a discussion going…

[SignOff copyright=”Shirley O’Shea”]



Very good like the photo ;0)

    Pete O'Shea

    Yeah I like the photo too. Notice that I credited you for it at the bottom…

Gary Crompton

Hi Pete, interesting Blog as usual. Looking to upgrade my camera(s) in the near future as they’re getting a bit dated now! They’ll do for the time being as the photos are good enough for me. I’m like you, I usually find that a photo is the best choice in the majority of cases although I’m more the point-and-click photographer rather than adjusting settings etc.
PS: Nice photo Shirley, didn’t know Pete could walk on water!!!

    Pete O'Shea

    Hi Gary,
    I find myself slowly getting more interested in video but I tend to find that I either have hours of boring footage or so little that it is pretty pointless. So I tend to stick to what I know and take mainly photos. I do like playing with the settings on the camera though so I can be there a while sometimes…
    I still do the point-and-click thing though especially when I’m with family or friends or just generally holiday snaps.

Michael Ludgate

Hmm boys toys, brother has a similar spec camcorder, but calling them HD is a bit of a joke, it makes us think of HD TV; forgetting that it takes tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and a qualified professional operator and support crew to capture basic TV footage.

My take is that the art of photography is about isolating and exploring a subject though the use of framing, lighting, focus, filters/effects, etc. Without a production crew to stop people/animals wandering into frame, holding up signs telling everyone to laugh or smile, your left with thousands of low-res shaky images indiscriminately capturing everything chained together as video.

I agree video will hold attention longer, but counter that you’ll have a harder time getting the initial interest, especially translated to ‘shall I download for 5mins this 1min video clip, is it even going to contain something I want to see?’.

    Pete O'Shea

    Hi Michael,

    I like your view of photography! The problem is it takes time to explore a subject. There are times when whipping out the video camera for 5 minutes makes more sense then getting all set up to take a proper photo. I cannot see me trying to create a TV programme but the end result is likely to be more useful than a few quick snapshots with a compact camera.

    Not sure I really need a new HD camcorder at the moment but like you said though ‘Boys Toys’. It is always nice to have your eye on a new gadget or two…

Michael Ludgate

Really nice photo Shirley, your not just carrying the camera bag!

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