Canon and Nikon now offer cameras that combine HD Video capture with high-end stills in a 35MM SLR form factor. The Canon EOS 5D MKII and the Nikon D90 cost 2900 and 1000 dollars respectively. More models are sure to come from others as well as the two camera biggies in the next few months.
Could these be the beginning of a new generation of hybrid tools suited to the photojournalistic and documentary missions? It's hard not to overstate the promise here: a tool that costs under a grand (the Nikon, anyway) but offers production values unheard of at over twenty times that price just a few years ago.
The first widely-seen work on this new device is a thrill to look at:
The audio capability is very limited on the Nikon camera, but better with the Canon. There's a rudimentary on-body mic on the former, but no provision for external input from your higher-end audio gear, forcing one to use a dual system record setup for now. That's gonna change.
I know my "tipping point" to a purchase: the next Nikon DSLR +HD Cam that comes along with pro audio hookups and >30minute clip limit.
The question is, who will use these and how?