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I was thinking about purchasing a camera - Help please?


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#1 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 01:26 PM

Hello everybody,
so I have been reading in the past few days all of the comments everybody has written on the 7d, which was suggested to me by a director I know, and I was still evaluating the options I had. A lot of the things I read were very helpful, but others made little sense, because I lack a bit of technical knowledge in regards to cameras, so a few things are a bit out of my league.
As a bit of background information, I have for the past few years always shot with a Panasonic AG-DVX100, and I always found the final product satisfying to work with. Of course times are changing, and an HD camera is the best investment.
Jean Dodge made a small list of questions to somebody to better help them in the purchase, so here they are with my answers:
-What are your intentions, who is your audience and what presentation format are you hoping for?
My intentions are to start shooting music videos, my audience is probably the mtv generation or something around that, and I would probably present in HD.
-What is your budget/ experience level and artistic intentions?
Probably pretty low budgets, I've had experience with non controllable settings, not much with studio settings, and my artistic intentions are still in an experimental phase.
-What will the size/ breakdown of your crew be?
I will probably work alone or with another person tops. I would try to have somebody to assist me with the camera work. An operator/DOP combo would be ideal.
-What lenses do you already own?
I own Canon EF 75-300 and 15-55.
So probably the Canon part is ideal, and pricewise, since I'm still young at this profession, I think the 7D is great, I just wonder if anybody else has other options or suggestions.
Also, I was wondering what plug I would need for articulated lcd, since the 7D doesn't have it, and it's probably something I'll need.
Thanks to anybody who'll be able to help.

Edited by Anna Clara Casapollo, 25 November 2009 - 01:28 PM.

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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 02:13 PM

A couple of quick points: As posted on these boards, the 5D and 7D aren't true 1080 cameras. Also, they shoot H.264 video, so depending on your editing software, you may have issues there. IRC you can only shoot in 15 minute increments on these DSLRs. And some get very hot in hot weather and shut down before you can shoot anything. Focusing issues will be a problem, especially for people moving up from 1/3" chip video cameras, like yourself. Trying to get good focus off of a larger sensor by looking at a 3 inch monitor can be challenging at best.

I try not to think of these cameras as replacing true video cameras. They are really hybrids --and they are great at that, despite serious limitations-- but they weren't designed to replace video cameras.

I wouldn't get a 7D and expect it to replace a HPX 170 or EX1, say. They are more complimentary systems to each other, IMHO.
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#3 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:33 PM

So you think the only acceptable options are those? Because I did take a look at them, but the price range is really completely out of my league... Is there any camera you would suggest that is more into that price range?
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#4 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:53 PM

Saul makes excellent points.

It's a little off the beaten track, but there has been interesting chatter on the www.Konvas.org Russian camera site about the 7D, whose sensor is about the size of a 35mm motion picture frame (unlike the 5D which is larger).

Several members have been buying the 7D and coming up with Russian OCT19 mount adapters to the Canon, enabling the use of Lomo professional cine lenses on the body. PL mount lenses don't work so well because their flange depth is 55mm (too short) but the OCT19 Lomos are 61mm. The rolling shutter issues can be corrected with a nifty plugin here

Double system sound recording is needed (unless you're working to playback of course), the stereo xlr mic input Zoom recorders are popular.

As a primary video camera they are still probably a bit too much of a kludge, but things are changing fast.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:34 PM

So you think the only acceptable options are those? Because I did take a look at them... Is there any camera you would suggest that is more into that price range?


I am sorry. I didn't mean to imply that the EX1 or HVX170 were the only alternatives. Panasonic has the new AG-HMC40, which retails for about or under US $2,000. It uses AVCHD compression (which Premiere handles natively, BTW), so if you edit on FCP, I would stay away from it. Canon, JVC and Sony all have pretty decent HDV cameras in that price range.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what you want to do with the camera. Stealth, versatility (great stills, OK HD video), ability to use existent still photo lenses and a larger sensor for super shallow depth of field are the pros of the 7D. It's cons would be the somewhat exotic codec (at least for editing), the fact that it was not designed to be (or replace) a primary video camera, focus-pulling issues, smaller recording intervals and the fact that the image is not "true" 1080
. If you can live with the trade offs, then go ahead.

Here are some comparison 5DmkII, 7D and Red One tests shot by Adrian Cranage, so you can get an idea of what this camera looks like in a controlled environment:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=43077
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:44 PM

As a primary video camera they are still probably a bit too much of a kludge, but things are changing fast.


They sure are Bruce, I am expecting an XL1 style camera with a larger sensor anytime now. Apparently, Red (among others) have been caught by surprise by the advent and popularity (and price point) of these DSLRs, so much so that it looks like the Scarlet is gonna be radically different once (and if) it is released to counter that threat. Talk about stealing one's thunder.

Also, there is a Canon to Panavision lens adapter floating about, for those feeling the Panavision lens love:

http://www.cinema5d....1...739&p=25635
http://blog.planet5d...non-5d-mark-ii/
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#7 Patrizio De Sica

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 03:39 AM

>> I was thinking about purchasing a camera - Help please? , 7D yes or no? <<

Wrong forum! :lol: haha
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 04:40 AM

so I have been reading in the past few days all of the comments everybody has written on the 7d, ...


One other thing to consider about the 7D is how much you'll use it before they release something significantly better.




-- J.S.
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#9 Adrian Cranage

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:30 AM

Greetings

After spending several days testing (comparing) the 7D to the 5D, my first reaction is.......well.......its really difficult to pick 1 over the other.
Because......

First impressions......the 5D is clearly sharper (because of the larger chip) and seems to have better colour rendition than the 7D.
The 7D can shoot 24p,25p,30p and 50p (albeit in lower rez 720x1280)
The 5D can only shoot 30p (at the moment).
Transfering from 30p to 24/25p is possible, but no matter which way it is done, it is never as good as originating in 24/25p. Of course it can be done, but using expensive machines/software which usually are very time/processor intensive.
Both use H264 compression, which in my opinion only gives results (quality) slightly better than HDV.

Decent (fast) lenses (for movie/video) are a must. Most of the cheaper zooms and primes have F5.6, which makes it very difficult to shoot in low light environments.
According to the results from my ASA test, above 800asa, both the 7D and 5D start to become 'noisy'. So shooting at 800asa with a 5.6 lens, is very difficult.
If you have faster lens, (more expensive) that open up to 1.2, sure you have more light, but then you have extremely limited (shallow) depth of field which presents its own set of problems (ie.focus....or lack of). And pulling focus at 1.2 whilst looking at a 3" monitor is very difficult even at the best of times. Sure, you can buy an external 7" monitor, you could buy a follow focus rig, a mattbox, an eyepiece/viewfinder adapter...the list goes on, but at the end of the day, you have a stills camera that (if handled correctly and carefully and used in the right circumstances) can produce pretty darn good movies. For the web ABSOLUTELY, for onair TV, only in certain circumstances. For documentaries.....maybe, probably not, but i still would prefer to have an Ex1 or Ex3 as my main camera and have the 5D or 7D as my second/special circumstance/CU beauty camera.

Of course all of the above is only a refection upon my own opinion/experience based on having shot 2 music videos and 2 commercials with the 5D, 1 commercial with the 7D and currently shooting a documentary for theater release on the Ex1

Hope this somehow helped, if you wish to know any more info, please dont hesitate to ask.

Adrian Cranage
Cinematographer/EU/Germany
www.cranage-dop.com
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#10 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:03 PM

Decent (fast) lenses (for movie/video) are a must. Most of the cheaper zooms and primes have F5.6, which makes it very difficult to shoot in low light environments.
According to the results from my ASA test, above 800asa, both the 7D and 5D start to become 'noisy'. So shooting at 800asa with a 5.6 lens, is very difficult.
If you have faster lens, (more expensive) that open up to 1.2, sure you have more light, but then you have extremely limited (shallow) depth of field which presents its own set of problems (ie.focus....or lack of). And pulling focus at 1.2 whilst looking at a 3" monitor is very difficult even at the best of times.


Ok, so, this is where I find myself out of my league, I really didn't understand any of that... I checkend the lenses I have and the 15-55 has 3.5 to 5.6 F, while the 75-300 has 4 to 5.6 F... Would that be a problem? If I understood correctly, this is bad for low light conditions, which are really not something I expect to be shooting day in and day out, so I'm not sure if it could be a problem. Also, I understand noisy, but as you mention later on, this is possibly only going to appear on web and on tv, so, to the untrained eye, depending on the noise level, it might not be an issue. The shallow depth of field could absolutely be a problem, and I already plan to buy an external monitor, but then again, so far, I have been pulling focus on a 3" monitor, so it's not really a difference, I mean, since I still have a lot of stuff to learn, I think I can be flexible enough, but being a bit unexperienced, maybe I don't really understand the limitations. Then again there are other things to consider. Weight and ease with which a camera can be carried are very appealing, I wouldn't dream of randomly going out with a video camera, whereas the simple camera is easier to carry... You had the experience of shooting a commercial with the 7d... how was it?
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#11 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:05 PM

One other thing to consider about the 7D is how much you'll use it before they release something significantly better.




-- J.S.



Well, right now I'm having a very light workflow, so I have the free time to experiment and to feel like doing something on my own, so unless something better comes out before christmas, I think this is the time...
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#12 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:16 PM

I am sorry. I didn't mean to imply that the EX1 or HVX170 were the only alternatives. Panasonic has the new AG-HMC40, which retails for about or under US $2,000. It uses AVCHD compression (which Premiere handles natively, BTW), so if you edit on FCP, I would stay away from it. Canon, JVC and Sony all have pretty decent HDV cameras in that price range.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what you want to do with the camera. Stealth, versatility (great stills, OK HD video), ability to use existent still photo lenses and a larger sensor for super shallow depth of field are the pros of the 7D. It's cons would be the somewhat exotic codec (at least for editing), the fact that it was not designed to be (or replace) a primary video camera, focus-pulling issues, smaller recording intervals and the fact that the image is not "true" 1080
. If you can live with the trade offs, then go ahead.

Here are some comparison 5DmkII, 7D and Red One tests shot by Adrian Cranage, so you can get an idea of what this camera looks like in a controlled environment:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=43077


You said before that that H264 can be complicated to handle, but for which OS?
I like how you summarized what I have to ask myself, and I think, in a nutshell, I'm ok with everything you said, I mean the small recording intervals are not even and issue, since I don't shoot documentaries, and also I think true 1080 won't probably be a standard format for at least for a few more years. The other issue is that I think that the upgrading possibilities of a still camera vs a video camera like the panasonic (which I'm now also looking up, thank you for the suggestion), are a huge factor to consider. And another, on a more personal note, is that once this becomes obsolete for me, it can still be a great still camera for my parents, whereas when I stop using a videocamera I can throw it away, because no one else would benefit from it...
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#13 Anna Clara Casapollo

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:19 PM

And by the way thank you again to everybody for the patience and the helpful thoughts
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#14 Daniel Russel

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:29 AM

And by the way thank you again to everybody for the patience and the helpful thoughts



As all previous mentions and raves about the pictures produced and the possible nittpicking with codec compatibility, there's also the OPERATING side to the camera... It becomes a very different experience compared to.. well all other motion picture cameras - film, video and digital.

Also, as mentioned, with shallower depth of field and reliance on previous 1/3" techniques (hell, even 2/3"!) you might find you have to adapt your shooting style quite a bit.

Then, the mention of the sensor overheating.... quite annoying matter to be honest...

But - credit to some very interesting and "en vogue" shallow depth of field shots being produced with these fellas and grande bang for bucks here...

Bon Auguri!
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