I am on record as a skeptic of the video capabilities of still cameras (and digital SLRs) when compared to a camcorder (on their own, they're quite good). Obviously I'm not, ahem, a disinterested observer of this trend but I strive to give you the full picture. So in the interest of good faith, I bring you this USA Today piece which shows how some film-makers are using D-SLRs to shoot video:
The image sensor on these [d-SLR] cameras is much bigger than those found on video cameras. So it can produce images with shallow depth of field (blurry backgrounds) on a multitude of lenses.
"You've got sensors that are six to eight times the size of what you'll find in video cameras," says Syl Arena, a California photographer who recently used the 5D Mark II to shoot footage for a TV reality show pilot. "You get a cinematic look that is just amazing."'
Nikon introduced video to SLRs in 2008 with the D90. But video really took off for advanced amateurs, pros and indie productions with Canon's 5D Mark II and 7D, which both shoot full 1080p high-definition video.
Besides Saturday Night Live, the Fox series 24 has shot scenes with the 5D. And the recent Terminator Salvation movie ran a series of Internet episodes promoting it that were all done with the 5D.
Shane Hurlbut, director of photography for Salvation, just finished making a feature film about the Navy SEALs using 5Ds, with Redrock gear to mount cameras for handheld use.