Though autofocus is not possible with live video in any current true DSLR (the Panasonic GH1 promises this) it is possible to use pull-focus effects with a little planning. We now have a Nikon D5000 – it won the competition for best fine image detail when comparing results frame by frame with Canon’s nominally higher resolution rival. It was also a very good deal, £629 inc VAT with an 18-55mm VR kit lens and a SanDisk Ultra II 8GB SDHC card plus Crumpler Messenger Boy 2500 bag thrown in free (from Jacobs). You Tube sample –
This short sequence was shot after unpacking the camera, revisiting a location which is always windy. For some of the takes, three of four tries were needed to avoid severe wind noise from the built-in mic disrupting the sound recording – others had to be edited tightly, and the iMovie transitions mask some noise. This includes, on the camera now in use, a button click sound at the start of the every take which I did not notice on the loan review sample D5000. About 1 second had to be edited off each clip to remove this.
Here is a short experiment using macro bellows and the built-in mic:
Some still frames taken from HD movies on the D5000 and the Canon 500D, including examples enlarged to 1080p size from the D5000, can be viewed in a pBase gallery with captions, set up to explain why we chose the D5000 over the 500D despite the lack of 1080p recording: