Why do professional camera-people take single or rapid burst shots of the event they’re photographing, instead of using a high quality video camera and selecting the best frame later in edit?

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Why do professional camera-people take single or rapid burst shots of the event they’re photographing, instead of using a high quality video camera and selecting the best frame later in edit?

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Because you can better control the quality of a single photo on a photography camera compared to a single frame on a video camera. Additionally, to get a video camera that can record at the same quality as a still camera would cost much more and use huge amounts of memory to save the raw video file compared to even multiple single shots.

Video cameras still have lower resolution than still cameras of equivalent price & portability. Shooting in raw, uncompressed video would also require vastly more data processing capability & digital storage space.

The digital camera shooting quick single shots will produce far higher quality images than an equivalent camera shooting video.

The main issue is simply the amount of data that needs to be handled. A digital camera will have a memory buffer of limited size to which images can be captured when shooting in burst mode. They can be accumulated faster than they can actually be processed and written to long term storage, so this process can’t be continuous as video would require. A video then would need to be a lower resolution and quality.

8K video – pretty much the highest video standard out there – is the equivalent of 33.17 megapixels per frame.

A mid-range (~$2,000) mirrorless camera has a resolution of about 45 megapixels per shot – nearly a 30% increase in resolution.

You simply get higher resolution photos using burst photography than video.

Video cameras are built to take extremely rapid photos and will therefore have to do some compromises. The CCD needs to be built differently so they can transfer the data out fast enough, the shutters have to be electronic instead of mechanical, global shutters are harder to do at speeds, etc. And this have an impact on the image quality. So to get a high quality image they take single pictures with cameras designed for this. The shutter on these cameras are usually slower then the finger of a fast photographer. And taking images manually do give them the chance to do adjustments of the framing or focus between the shots instead of while the shutter is open.

However the cameras today are capable of helping a lot in these situations if they are set up correctly. They can be configured to take bursts automatically and even change the settings a bit between each shot themselves. So the cameraman presses the button once and the camera takes a short burst with varying settings as fast as it can. This usually ends when the image buffer becomes full and the camera needs some time to transfer the images to its storage.