A russian site recently released a program that allows Canon Liveview owners to record video with their digital camera. Not too long after, Nikon hacker Olivier Giroux posted a few tests of his own that do the same with a Nikon D700.
The next day I noticed a wave of news about updated remote-control software by a 3rd party (i.e. not Nikon). That got me thinking… clearly there is an SDK for Nikon cameras. How hard is it to get? I wondered.
Not hard at all. Basic form-filling skills is all you need. Last night I downloaded out the D700 SDK. Minutes later I had built the sample remote program and was pulling my D700′s strings over USB. That includes control of the Live View feed.
Good news: it is a viable video source. It’s fast enough, and the quality is sufficient.
Bad news: it’s a bit too low-quality to be really exciting. It’s roughly 30% below 480p resolution. The most unfortunate thing is they create the Live-View image by decimating the sensor data rather than downsampling it – as a result it aliases, moirÃ©s and looks terrible in low light.
Olivier hasn’t yet released his code, but the Nikon SDK is available for download and you can take a hack at it yourself while you’re waiting.
It seems like it shouldn’t be too long before there’s a more official convergence between digital camera and digital video technology. It’s all roughly the same optical technology. Why do we need two separate devices, with all their separate lenses and add-on equipment to record both still and moving images?