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I have a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR. It looks like it can do 30 fps in HD video mode. However, I'd like to capture still images at 30 fps—is this possible somehow? Would I have to resort to some special programs to extract the images from the video file?

Other equipment suggestions would be also be appreciated.

  • Are you asking about being able to grab still images from recorded HD video (as answered by Caleb), or are you asking about being able to take full resolution DSLR images at 30 fps? – scottbb Feb 9 '16 at 2:45
  • Both actually - because I'm essentially interested in 30 fps images. Is any device, DSLR or otherwise, capable of taking high-res images at 30fps? – J. Sanders Feb 9 '16 at 3:01
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    At full resolution the AW1 is limited to 5 fps. At 30 fps no resolution higher than HD video (1920x1080) is available. – Michael C Feb 9 '16 at 4:16
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    RED's EPIC series of cameras are capable of what you want. With a lens mount adapter and SSD holder module included they only run around $30K. Lens and SSD drive to record the video not included. – Michael C Feb 9 '16 at 4:20
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Would I have to resort to some special programs to extract the images from the video file?

Yes, you can grab frames from the movie file, but they'll have much lower resolution than a full-sized photo. A 1080p frame is a 2.1 megapixel image, whereas the camera is capable of taking 18 megapixel photos. If the lower resolution doesn't bother you, there's plenty of software that'll do it on whatever platform you use.

  • Hmm that's kind of a bummer. I'm trying to determine the burst mode fps (for 18 megapixel images) on here:shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/…. But strangely it doesn't seem to say. I would guess it's no more than 5 fps? – J. Sanders Feb 9 '16 at 3:03
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    The number you want is "continuous shooting speed," listed in the specs under the "Drive System" heading. For this camera, the frame rate is 3.7 frames per second. There are DSLR's that can go a lot faster than that -- Canon's flagship 1Dx Mark II (not yet shipping) can do 16 frames per second at full resolution, and can shoot 4K video (about 8Mpx per frame) at 60 fps. But it also costs $6K. Full resolution stills at video rates are bound to require capabilities outside the typical DLSR feature set; you'll need to compromise on frame rate, resolution, or price. – Caleb Feb 9 '16 at 3:32
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Answering this question from the comments,

I'm essentially interested in 30 fps images. Is any device, DSLR or otherwise, capable of taking high-res images at 30fps?

Yes, there are devices that can record high resolution video or video stills. Red makes a range of high resolution / high-fps (or both) video cameras. Their current (as of Feb 2016) highest resolution cameras are the Epic Dragon and Weapon Dragon, each capable of 6K video (5760 x 3240, about 19 MP), up to 100 fps. They are not cheap, by any means.

  • Thanks, I'll look into those. I happened to see that GoPro's have a very high frame rate: shop.gopro.com/compare?category=cameras. Though I don't know what the difference is between Burst Rates and Continuous Photo Rates. – J. Sanders Feb 9 '16 at 3:24
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    Just as with most DSLRs, the higher the frame rate on the GoPro, the lower the resolution. That is due to the data rate the camera's internal processor can maintain. – Michael C Feb 9 '16 at 4:11
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I read, that newest Panasonic Lumix G series models offer very high continuous shooting speed, up to 40 fps (at reduced resolution).

The limitations of burst mode are typically:

  • Resolution - video is usually recorded with smaller resolution than still images
  • Card write speed - video stream is compressed before being written to card
  • Other factors: if camera needs to focus between shots, recharge flash, etc. - this will limit maximum burst speed

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