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Noob deciding on DSLR


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#1 Ian Conrey

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

Hi my name is Ian and I am currently in the market for a DSLR (used primarily for filming). I have been doing photography on a Canon 350d for years, but have recently been able to work with video on DSLR's, and I fell in love. I understand that this is a question that is well below the league of anyone on here, but I cannot find any help, so any advice whatsoever would be great. I am looking at an intro/midrange dslr best suited for video. I have been set on the Canon 60D (crop factor doesn't bother me and the price is excellent, plus several of the other features it has for video) and a 50mm 1.8 EF lens as a starter kit. However recently I have heard many good things about the Panasonic GH2, and have seen the footage and have been really impressed. However I still like to do photography, which the canon I hear is better, and I like the build of the 60d and reputation I have heard. I am not sure of the quality build of the gh2 or the fact that I have yet to find a sufficent adapter so that I can mount other lenses to it and still adjust aperature; such as on the 50mm 1.8 EF. Plus I have also heard that you should hack the gh2 for best results, which I don't know enough about and really dont feel comfortable with.

My biggest issue however is the alaising on the 60d. Is this a deal breaker? Is there a work around on this without having to buy a $300 anti-alaising filter? Please help me understand my best route to take.

Again I want to mostly shoot video with the best quality I can, under the $1000 for the body.

 

Thanks!


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 03:44 PM

Firstly, forget crop factor when you're talking about video. The 60D, being an APS-C camera is just about the same size as 35mm motion picture cameras are; and will have a similar depth of field as shooting a movie. That's good.

It's funny, as I've shot both 60D and GH2. I bought a GH2, but only because you could hack it (easy to do btw) and I have a lot of nikon glass. I love that I can put whatever lenses I want on the GH2 with cheap(er) adapters. Not Canon glass mind you, but a Nikon E-Series 50mm F1.8 is something like $50, in great condition. I like the older lenses anyway on vDSLRs. I normally used Leica type R primes on the 60D

Ok, let's talk video quality, from my stand point. The GH2 is generally better in properly exposed settings. However, due to it's smaller sensor it's not as good in low light as the canons are. I see much more detail on a GH2 and tend to get better results more easily with it than I have gotten on the 60D. That said, the 60D isn't 1/2 bad either. My biggest concern on the Canons is banding, which isn't as bad on my GH-- which by the by has flowmotion 2.02 on it, if memory serves.

Stills glass is really a dog to work with or video work-- and I strongly dislike the canon lenses-- this is mostly personal preference.

From a build standpoint, the 60D is much more solidly built and you can attach battery grips to it, more easily than with a GH2. The gh2, however is substantially lighter and smaller, for fitting into small areas. Of course, since it's a vDSLR, you'll quickly start building a rig around it, so overall the sizes are just about the same. The GH2 feels more plasticy; however, it hasn't given me grief yet. the 60D never gave me greif. The biggest build quality issue on the GH is the lack of material on the bottom of the camera for friction. So when it's mounted on a tripod plate with a heavy-ish lens on it, can torque the body and start to unscrew it. I solved this with some glue and a little bit of rubber.

Dynamic range on the both is about comparable.

Aliasing and macroblockingThe GH2, in my experience has had less aliasing and macroblocking than i've seen on the canons-- the images, properly exposed, looked cleaner, and the noise on the camera isn't as video-ey as I see on the canons.

The GH2 is meh for stills. If you want to do stills professionally, you should be looking at a Full Frame camera. however, if you're doing stills just for fun/hobbylike, I see no real reason why either camera would matter as much. Granted, I haven't shot many stills on either.

Codec; I much prefer the AVCHD of the GH2 to the h.264 mov of the canon. I can use FCP log and transferr to the footage and then edit in real time just that which I want-- like a normal camera-- as opposed to the Canons, where going into FCP would first necessitate converting to ProRes-- normally as a batch. With the GH2, I can mark ins and outs for editorial. Again, I don't edit much; but when I have those low budget quick shoots, this is great.

Colors, I like the Panasonic colors, personally; but in truth for video you'll be using some form of a flat profile (cinestyle on the canon, or smooth-- slightly tweaked-- on the GH2) so color correction will come later on.

Lenses can be a slight more of a pain in the ass on the GH2 because it's a smaller sensor. This means, essentially, that your widest lenses for full frame are only medium lenses for the GH2. This can be very limiting, and is the biggest issue I have. I live on a 24mm on my GH2 which is something akin to a 35mm on the 60D. Again not horrible; but there are few really good wide and affordable lenses out there. the Tonika 11~16 will be a good friend, generally.

However, the fact that you can use basically any lens in existience, so long as it covers the sensor, on the GH2 made it really attractive to me, and is partially why I went with it. the actual M4rds lenses are ok; some of them are really fantastic; but they are almost all too sharp for my own liking. The Rokinon Cine-lenses, I think would be a good bet on both cameras, for budget optics, primarily because, well you have a mostly full set which can go right onto a follow focus. I don't know how well matched they are, but again, it'll be better than the situation you can run into when you're going between say a Tonkia, and a Nikon, and a Sigma or what have you .

 

 

BUT!
Both of these, i you're looking for video, will very quickly fade away, I think, when the Black magic Pocket Camera comes out which is also $1000 but records right to Pro Res at substantially higher data rates than both of those cameras, with a build in Film-Log mode, and still to SD Cards. It too has an odd sensor size, S16mm, but that is in many ways easier to deal with than the M4rds sensor on the GH2, and should really be on your radar.

 

Hope that helps.


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#3 Ian Conrey

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:31 PM

Thank you very much. This does help a lot in my decision.


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#4 Ian Conrey

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:06 PM

Thats is interesting about the black magic. Im tempted to just wait. But if i were to not and i went with the gh2 what adapter would you recommend for nikon lens? And does the nikon lens (50mm 1.8) have manual aperature or can i set it digitally through the body itself? Likwise if i went with the 60d is the ML firmware worth installing and does it fix any of its issues? And lastly, then i'll leave you alone! If i get the 60d is the aliasing really bad and should i spend the money to get an anti-aliasing filter?
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:19 PM

I find myself in agreement with Mr. Sierkowski. The GH2 is a technically better video camera, although it doesn't quite have that Canon DSLR look that everyone seems to like so much. Personally I find the aliasing on the Canon stuff pretty offputting. Wish we could get raw off the GH2/3. Frankly it'd do Panasonic good to look into it as it'd affect my purchasing decision.

 

The other nice thing about the GH series is that you can put broadast TV lenses on them and shoot documentary on a nice comfortable zoom, by engaging the sensor windowing mode. This may not interest you too much but it's nice to have a deeper depth of field available at the touch of a button if you need it for more prosaic material.

 

Nikon lenses, universally I believe, will provide mechanical iris control. The main advantages of the GH series are low aliasing and the enormous lens compatibility offered by the very shallow mount.

 

You can't really filter the Canon stuff for antialiasing without reducing the resolution below the level where it's really still HD. There isn't any reliable way for anyone to understand what your definition of "really bad" is, so I'd look into renting one, or even just trying one out in a store, and shoot some pages of text and zone plate charts (you can print those at home).

 

P


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:43 AM

Exactly what Mr Rhodes says. The best bet for the 60D is to shoot with a bit of a diffusion filter. I have never shot any canon lens naked. I almost always throw on at least a 1/8 black Pro mist, though often I use a cokin filter holder and this plastic hasselblad "soft light" filter which I happen to like, personally.

Magic Lantern is... well I can go either way with it. I am more accustomed to not using it, then to using it, personally. But it's preference. I believe you can uninstall it if you don't like it. I do mostly double system (separate audio) so anything in camera is just for reference and as I understand it ML offers a lot of audio controls and other things, none of which I've much needed to play with. But it's pretty well documented if you want to try it out.

ENG lenses are nice, and the windowing is ok. I will say there is a noise increase to my eye on my GH2 with windowing for ENG lenses. But keep your ISO reasonable, and it shoudln't be a problem. I rarely have need to go above 400asa anyway.

 

Novoflex makes really good adapters, but they're costly. I personally went with an off-brand Nikon adapter. It's good enough. Sadly, the witness marks on it do not match all the witness marks on my lenses; but I can't fault the adapter fully for that. For pulling the ACs and I work something out normally, and they're pretty good, especially with a monitor. Also on the GH, on the HDMI output, which can be clean, I don't think there is the same resolution hit when recording that you get with the Canons (it goes to 480p). Don't 100% quote me on that as I haven't checked in awhile, but this is very nice for monitors for AC/myself when shooting. Also I love that I can use the EVF on the camera when I need to go really small on the GH (there's no mirror to lock up) The Nikon lenses, for the most part, are all manual. As a rule, any Manual Focus nikon lens will also be manual iris. The E-Series which are cheap but still my personal favorite lens set from nikon are all manual.

 

As for waiting, if you don't need it now, it's always better to wait. You can certainly rent vDSLRs, and I'm sure make friends with a few owners, for peanuts, really. So rent when you need them, but only buy on what you need. It's why I held off on buying a vDSLR until only a few months ago. I finally had a shoot which would go long enough (and a few others lined up on the same camera package) to make sense for me to buy the thing as the kit fees for it would pay it off very quickly. I did the same thing before I bought my EX1-- waited until something came along where financially it made more sense for me to buy the camera -v- renting it for the day.


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#7 Ian Conrey

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:17 PM

Thanks again for all of the input. I have been doing a lot of research but there are just so many aspects, it's hard to get answers to a lot of areas. Now when you suggest the 1/8 black pro mist, is that for the aliasing, or for personal preference of look? I've also been researching these forums a bit and I have read that some people have had good luck with anti-aliasing filters such as Caprock or VAF-60D. Mr. Rhodes said that it lowers the resolution so that it is not truly hd, So I am guessing if I want to hold onto the hd quality getting one of these two filters would not be a good idea. I am leaning toward the h2g over 60d, but I also read the black magic is coming out in July? So either way I am going to wait and see how that turns out, I think.

 

I use to never notice moire in films and now that is all I can see when I watch shorts shot on dslr! Really kind of bummed me out, cause I don't know if I can get past that. 

 

Thanks for all the advice!


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:27 PM

Well the reason why Morie is happening is fine detail is falling between the lines of picture elements on the sensor (what is mistakenly called pixels). So an Anti-aliasing filter is similar to a diffusion filter inasmuch as it "spreads" the light out so it better falls. Yes, it softens the image. But, does that really matter? If there is one thing which many people find un-pleasing, it's seeing every pore on the skin, hence why we use diffusion filters often (especially on women), and hence why I, personally put something on all digital systems, normally a 1/8th black pro mist or Warm Black pro mist. That's personal preference, of course, for that specific filter, and there are many others. The other option I'll do, on occasion is using older lenses; but that is often to get a certain kind of flare or "feeling," out of the image. It's hard to put into words aside from saying that it's what I personally like and find interesting and fun which helps the dslr stuff look less like dslr stuff.

 

here's 2 quick examples of these 2 dslrs which I've shot:

 

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 1.24.26 PM.png

 

 

this is GH2 with just an old c-mount lens on it, to take the HD edge off of it

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 1.23.45 PM.png

 

this is 60D with Leica type R primes and I believe i netted it in this instance, also to take the edge off.

 

Now is it still HD? Well, does it really matter? It looks nice, or at least I think so.

 

 


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#9 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:09 AM

Hmm..very good, Adrian. I find your knowledge accessibly clear.


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 02:11 PM

Just glad I can help Christopher.


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