What’s in a name?

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Short blog this one…

Well, after all this who-ha with DSLRs shooting extraordinary HD video people have been wrestling with what to call them. HD-DSLRs, VD-SLRS, V-DSLRs, DSLR-V, even Hybrids! I think it’s time we settled on a name for them and I propose something quite drastic. I say we call them…DSLRs!! After all eventually all DSLRs will shoot video surely?

That’s right! Just simply DSLRs. If you are filming say a music video and you say you will use a DSLR people will know what you mean. That is what they are. The term works, it’s simple and it makes sense!

What do you think? Vote below!

[poll id=”10″]


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  1. Sure Dslr works in the film world. But what about talking to common people about video/filming on a dslr. I think vdslr makes the point perfectly. That way people already know your talking about video and not just photos.
    Just my opinion though, I’m not all that fussed.

  2. “If you are filming say a music video and you say you will use a DSLR people will know what you mean.”

    Could even leave out the D, perhaps. Just SLR. Nobody will be shooting music videos on film-based SLRs.

  3. is “SLR” even going to be around much longer?

    As tech gets better, and the mirror (and maybe even optical viewfinder) get replaced with next-generation Live View, is that term still accurate? I thought the moving mirror was a big part of what makes a camera an “SLR.”

    As it is, the 7D can have the mirror removed and turned into a Live View only camera (for the PL Mount mod). The GH1 has no mirror and Panasonic just calls it a Digital Camera.

    So maybe we need something altogether new.

  4. The problem is… a 5D Mk II is a DSLR but a GH1 and future models are EVILs. They’re not DSLRs. So either the R changes it’s meaning or they need a new name!!

    The EOS cameras are traditional DSLRs with video bolted on. Amazing ones at that, but the climax of SLR technology. The mirror box is gonna get replaced… it’s not needed for video and it isn’t a benefit for video.

    DSLR is so widely accepted. I use HDSLR on my site… there you have the trendy HD bit but the H can also stand for Hybrid. However I think it’s got a few too many letters and I need Big Bird from Sesame St to help me to remember it.

    What about SLD? Single Lens Direct? That’s what the camera companies have recently been coining in interviews at PMA, etc.

    If Canon come out with a professional video camera with an EFS mount what the F*** are they going to call that? HD Large Sensor EF Video Camera?

    I think we should just keep on calling them video cameras and forget about a fancy acronym, it ain’t gonna cover all the bases!!

    The only thing they’ll all have in common is interchangeable lenses and large sensors. So a name based on those aspects might work!! HDSL?

    1. The mirror box *will not* be replaced, as, like you said, these are STILLS cameras with video tacked on. They wont CRIPPLE the stills feature for the sake of the tacked on, the next progression is to MOVE the video OUT of the DSLR and into PROPER video bodies, where there is no need for a mirror box and or optical viewfinder.

      1. Sure I agree Reubal but tech moves on from stuff like mirrors!!! I think once EVF technology gets to a certain stage, even photographers will prefer to use them over optical view finders, for advantages like depth of field preview and (as the sensors get better) a brighter image. I can also imagine things like night vision goggles at ISO 25,600 where you blink your eyelids to take a photo. It’d be great for being in the same room as Paris Hilton. I reckon all this amazing EVF stuff is still 3 or 4 years down the line and I prefer the view finder on the 5D over the EVF on the GH1 for photography right now in olde 2010, but I can see it happening in my crystal ball…. it just takes time for the new stuff to catch up with the old stuff and become better. Look at 35mm film, it is now soundly thrashed by HDSLRS 🙂

        Hopefully in 2040 I’ll still be looking through an object I hold in my hand rather than a robot’s visual cortex wired directly to my brainstem via a little USB cable down my ear hole, but if it has a EVF rather than a mirror box I’m sure by that stage of technical development I won’t loose much sleep over it’s passing.

  5. Don’t forget the wondeful GH1. It’s not an SLR (no mirror) but shoots great video so feels like it should be in the same category. I think more and more cameras that shoot video will lose the mirror and just use LCD viewfinder, so we need a term that will include them.

  6. Interesting poll. From now on photograph machines are not only photograp machines likewise mobile phones. By means of technologic improvement, brands are supporting their devices with various type of features and given a wide playing ground to consumers. Hereby, the most remarkable development of DSLR’s is being featued with video recording. Recording HD videos is not a primal utility. It’s only sub-title of video recording. In this context, I think an extension which tells the “video” will be resonable. Eventhough there ise reverse version of it my choise “V-DSLR” or “DSLR-V”

    Indeed “Hybrid” is also sounds well! 🙂

  7. i like DSLR too simply because it doesn’t require explaining. I always have to explain HDSLR to people. Plus that ambiguity is nice when you are shooting guerrilla style in public and want to be perceived as a still photographer, it makes things so much easier!

  8. I personally have called them “Video DSLR’s” and more recently, “HDSLR’s”

    But you make a good point here in that all DSLR’s will eventually shoot video. I’m pretty sure my iPhone is going to be able to shoot HD video in a couple years. But for now, it doesn’t. And neither do many DSLR’s.

    So, until all DSLR’s shoot video, or it’s more widely known that they do, I think it’s important to refer to them as something other than just “DSLR”.

  9. To use an acronym is not sexy.
    If we indicate this type of machine by an acronym, it would be the only ones next to the Compact and the other Reflex. It would be depreciating, as to indicate one under kind.

    I learnt that to indicate a thing we use a word, to indicate the other one we use another word, to remain clear. The Compact and other names have a precise sense and cannot be thus reused without confusion.
    If for the moment, these new devices have still a shape close to cameras, very fast they will have to innovate to take into account ergonomic needs of the video.

    It is for these reasons that I defends the term of Hybrid, which can decline according to needs in Hybrid-Compact ( E-P1), Hybrid-Reflex ( GH1), Hybrid-Scope why not for future models to the different ergonomics.

  10. I vote for VDSLR. No hyphen needed. Adding the “V” in front lets me, with just a single extra character, be clear that I’m speaking about shooting video with the camera rather than stills. In some contexts and conversations it would be ambiguous to say only DSLR.

  11. It deserves to be HDSLR. They need a new branding, and adding the H is the way to go. Regardless of what this voting scheme results, that’s how I will refer to them. Bottom line.

  12. DSLR makes perfect sense but I like the inclusion of the H (just HDSLR) since it illustrates the product isn’t a video recording SLRs of the SD variety.

  13. 5D and 7D are Reflex and there is no reason for calling them otherwise. Especially since in a few months all Reflex will have of the video, except Nikon apparently.

    The problem arises exclusively for GH1, GF1, E-P1, NX10 and future Sony.
    They are not Reflex, thus DSLR is not applicable for them.

  14. DSLR’s! Thats what they are for Christ’s sake.

    We don’t rename DSLR’s every time a new feature is added, so why should we this time?

    On another note, I find it funny when people call any of the micro 4/3’s DSLR’s. They aren’t at all, by definition alone.

  15. Dear Phil,

    I would go for the oldfashioned word camera since soon all stills camera´s will be equiped with motion picture capabilities of some kind and soon after all video camera´s will be able to shoot pictures of some kind.

    In fact I own a few digital devices. A humble Dimage Z3 wich can do video (not that great though). A video camera (JVC GZ-40-E) which can double as a still camera and small but cool Pana LX3 which is an excelent little travel companion and can both shoot great stills and video. These contraptions were produced and bought in the same amount of time the Nikon F3 was around in the 80 and it shows the rapid speed at which things are developing now. It’s like seeing the start of the computerage all over again. These tools empower people since they in a way democratise the use of media (be it stills or motion) and in my mind that (in combination with flickr, vimeo and youtube) is a good thing.

    Next step up is a GF1 or a GH1 (i’m not sure yet wether to sacrifice portability over quality since in stills the difference between them isn’t that great compared to the difference between the LX3 and the both of them).

    Greetings, Ed

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