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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:33 AM   #1
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7D worth the trade from a xl2?

Hi,

I shoot a mix of short films/indies and event/broadcast work, however I focus on the short film/indie side. That being said, I currently own and use an xl2 as my main camera. Looking at ebay, it seems that I can sell my xl2 (it's in great shape) for slightly more than I can buy a 7D brand new. Is it worth it?

I know that picture quality is incomparable, but is everything else? i have a mattebox and rails that will work with the 7D, but what about audio acquisition? I've come to rely on the xl2's xlr ports, phantom power, etc. What options are there? Will I need to purchase a separate audio recorder and sync the audio in post, or what?

I'm just not sure if the trouble of upgrading to a 7D is worth it or not. I would love to think it is, but I want to be sure before I sale away my trusty xl2.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #2
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Hi Conrad,

As a former XL2/XLH1 owner and current 5Dm2/7D owner... I would say... it depends. For the film/indie side of things, it's a no-brainer: switch.

But if you're doing corporate work / paid jobs that require fast set ups and you're working alone, I think you'll miss the XL2.

I tried to get by briefly without a "real" video camera, and ended up buying a Sony Z5 for bread and butter jobs, using the DSLRs for my personal projects and jobs with clients who have time to spare.

What you will gain: low light, punchy colour, DOF control

What you will miss: zoom range, auto focus, ergonomics, vf, built in NDs, quality on board audio, jello free shooting, the sheer presence of the XL cameras, and possibly tape.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 01:03 AM   #3
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Totally agree with Josh - while I absolutely love the 5d2 - I couldn't imagine not having a dedicated video cam for a lot of jobs, because while the dslr's create stunning images, they're pretty clunky sometimes. Most notably when capturing audio. Oh yeah, and form factor, and manual controls. But it does totally depend on what you're shooting most of the time.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #4
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Okay if I am only shooting low-budget indie. With an xlr adapter such as this: Camcorder XLR Audio Adapter/Preamp: Buy Direct and Save - CX231, is there anything else to miss that you can't get away with?

I'm going off to college next year and is the xl2 something I should hang on to through college, or knowing that if I'm in need to shoot some event for the school (mainly what I use the xl2 for when it comes to non-indie) that I can checkout a campus camera, is there a need for a great SD video camera, when I can get a darn good still camera that also functions pretty well as a HD video camera?

I have a plethora of nikon lenses sitting around the house. I can purchase a canon-nikon mount for $200 (I'm used to shooting in full manual anyways), the xlr adapter for $300, and the 7d for 1699 totaling about 2200, and looking at completed ebay listings I can get anywhere from 1800 to 2400 for my xl2. IMO, thats not a bad deal if the 7d is truly considered an "upgrade."

The idea of having a sensor that many times bigger, for that price, just blows my mind. And, the fact that shooting with a camera that will actually slow me down, I think, might make me, in the long run, a better cinematographer simply because it forces me to think about the way a shot is going to work, etc.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 06:36 AM   #5
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Conrad, my advice is to hold on to the XL2 for now. It is holding its price OK so you should be able to sell no problem if you need to after college. Prices for HDV cameras are actually falling faster than SD cameras, for example a like-new Canon XL-H1 with all accessories sold for only 2,100 yesterday on Ebay, whereas most mint XL2s are selling for 1,500-1,800. Prices in USA are much lower of course.

Like the others have mentioned, you would very much miss the functions and form factor of a camcorder like the XL2 if you completely moved over to a DSLR like the 7D. The best advice is to keep the XL2 and buy the 7D to work alongside it, or to use for certain personal projects outside your main work.

If you can't afford to keep both (because you need to use the money from the sales of the camcorder to buy the DSLR) then I'd definitely say keep the XL2 and wait a while longer before entering the DSLR world.
Another option is to sell the XL2 and look for a decent used XL-H1.

A large portion of my income is still from DVD sales (rather than Blue-Ray) so the XL2 and down-rezzed XL-H1 footage is OK for me.

However, mixing stills photography with video means that my camera baggage is doubled and that can be a huge burden when I'm working in remote locations without vehicle transport or where plenty of flights are involved.

This is why I too have been looking very closely at the hybrid DSLRs that have recently hit the market - such as the D90, 5D Mk2, D300s and 7D.
The big problem is that although they are great digital stills cameras and offer short-clip options for high-grade video, they do not yet offer enough for me to completely switch over to using a single DSLR for all my work.

Like you, I own Nikkor lenses (a complete range of expensive optics) and so am patiently waiting for the soon-to-be-announced Nikon D3s that will have full-frame video similar to the 5D Mk2 (but hopefully with a far wider range of video & sound options and manual control).

Two Nikon D3s bodies or a D700s as back-up would be perfect for my world travels and mean that I could ditch all the extra camcorder bags! I'll just need to be patient for a while longer and see if the next level of DSLR hybrids are good enough for me to make a total switch. :)
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Old October 6th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #6
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I think you will have more fun and learn more with a 7D. People with specific client or shooting requirements need to put more thought into the decision.

That said, in a year there will be a better choice. I don't know who will offer that better choice, but it will come.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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Conrad, the problem with the Juicedlink is that you'll be cursed with the camera's auto gain for audio recording until such time as Tramm gets Magic Lantern set up for the 7D. If I go with a 7D I'll probably get the Tascam DR-100 ($329 at B&H) or the Zoom H4N ($299). That means shooting double system sound.

I have an XH A1 and I won't sell it because as some of the above posts have mentioned, there are situations where it would be a more useable camera. However, I've been analyzing all that I do, both in the day job and for personal projects, and almost everything could be done with the 7D with a bit more hassle. The question is, is it worth the hassle for the quality? Probably. Assuming the heating issue can be worked around. Still, for long interviews, for run 'n gun type things, the XH A1 will be better.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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Like Bill and others, I couldn't survive without a dedicated video camera. Whether it's an event, or web video or commercial, I need to be able to move quickly and have easy access to my controls, audio, etc. I bought the Letus extreme thinking I would shoot with it more, but becaause of the size of the rig and it's terrible low light performance, I don't get to use it as much as I'd like. I use it for interviews when there is set up time, and personal projects.

I'm teetering on the verge ( is that a mixed metaphor?) of buying the 7d, but I don't have any illusions about it being a one cam subsritute. yes the footage looks awesome, but so many work arounds are needed that I know it's something that will require time.
I also have lots if expensive Nikon glass, and will be stuvk with the adapter, and unable to take advantage of shooting stills in af ( although I might get the 18-135 kit lens:)).
Good luck
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Old October 6th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #9
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It seems to me the kit lens is worth getting because it's $200 more. It lists for $400 if you buy it alone. I have a wide range of old Nikkor lenses that I could buy an adapter for, and I might do that but probably wouldn't use any but the longer ones. Back in my more active still photography days there were often two same focal length Nikkor lenses--a fast one and a slow one. The slow one was always the sharpest, so all my lenses are slow. My fastest is a 2.8 24mm. However, for the longer ones, they'd be used outside anyway, so an adapter would be a handy thing to have. I don't think the metering works with them either, does it? No big deal since I stll have at least two light meters.

Since I've been considering the 7D I've started to make note of how I might fare with it on the typical shoots I do. This morning I shot a short training sequence on some technical things at an industrial site. Part of a procedure I shot involved shooting with my tripod raised to maximum height so I could look down on a tall table at a good angle. With the tripod at that height, it wasn't possible to use the XH A1's viewfinder without something to stand on; so I had to use the LCD. I had been planning on getting the IDCPhotography LCD eyepiece, but for this shoot it would have to come off and that would be awkward to do quickly. That means an eyepiece that comes off easy or swings out is something I should consider. I like the Zacuto but don't like the idea of gluing something to the back of the camera, so I may go for the Cavision which has a swing-out bracket.

It's little things like that you need to think about if you plan to use the camera as your main one. I like the idea of the IDC bracket for an eyepiece that would stay on solid all the time, but from my shoot this morning I realized there are times I would want it off.

For this shoot, the non-flip LCD would be a slight disadvantage but useable. An advantage would have been that 28-135mm lens because it focuses down to just over one foot. The lens on my XH A1, when zoomed in pretty far, only focuses to a little over 3 feet. For one shot I really needed to be in closer. It was almost a macro shot...which made me think of the Nikkor Micro 50mm lens I have.

I also like the kit lens because it has IS. On occasion I shoot inside a vehicle, hand held, and there's usually some vibration. The OIS of the XH A1 is excellent for that kind of a shot. With OIS turned off, it can be pretty shaky. So that's the other reason I want at least one IS lens.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #10
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Bill,
I don't mean to hijack the thread....but after reading your post, I started thinking about the A1's inability to focus closer than a few feet. Then I remembered that the canon wide angle hd lens that I have with my H1 has a macro setting, which amazingly, I've never used! I took out the h1 , set the zoom to wide and the switch to "macro" and bingo- I was 2" from a box of cereal in perfect focus. I love that lens.
Now back to the thread...
I do plan to get the 18-135 kit lens with the 7d.
Bruce Yarock
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Old October 6th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #11
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There is a macro setting of sorts. If you zoom back to full wide, it will focus much closer. Problem is, I couldn't get in that close to what I needed to shoot and not block the light. Ideal distance was about 2 feet away; so even my Nikkor micro wouldn't have worked, but that 28-135 would have been ideal, I think.
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