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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 7th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #1
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Stabilized lens for 7D

Hi,

I just bought the 7D and for the next 5 months I'm going to be filming some sailing (boat to boat) so I'm wondering which will be the best stabilising system (if there's any!).

I'm not talking about the IS system from canon lens but a third party system like Kenyon's Gyros or something like that which can fit on a low budget (less than 4000$).

I have another camera with an old (and huge) stabilizing system that I use for this ocassions but I'll love to try with the 7D.

Any idea??

Thanks a lot!
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Old October 7th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #2
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The Kenyon gyro stabilizers are fantastic. They've been around for many years. I haven't seen one for a long time, but the old ones took a long time to recharge and didn't give you all that much run time. They used to be really expensive. The IS lenses work very well to absorb vibration, but in a sailboat there's more big motion than vibration.

I don't know if a Steadicam would be workable or not for you. I have a Merlin with the articulated arms and vest that I use with the XH A1. It was about $2500 so is within your budget. Nice thing about the Merlin for a lightweight camera is that you can pull the Merlin itself off the arm and use it hand held, which is nice for cramped situations. If budget permits, I think a Kenyon gyro stabilizer would be better for use on a boat (darn, I miss my old Catalina 34').
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Old October 7th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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For the pitch + roll you will encounter - you need a gyro. Kenyon KS4K is relatively light weight and relatively cheap at $2,000.

These are used regularly in radio controlled helicopter video applications. Full sized helicopters usually reguire larger, even mutiple units.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 10:00 AM   #4
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Thanks Bill,
I though about the steadicam also but I'm not sure if that will do the job since I've never had one. Is a nice gadget to have but I don't know how it will handle the boat's vibrations and jumps.
Kenyon has a big range of gyros starting at 1300$.
Ken-Lab: Gyro Stabilizers
The thing is that I don't know if that will work with a 7D (or 5D), in fact... I don't know if that's what I need.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jay Houser View Post
These are used regularly in radio controlled helicopter video applications. Full sized helicopters usually reguire larger, even mutiple units.
Jay, my concerns are:

1. Will the Kenyon stabilize enough on a boat (dinghy)? - the movement on a helicopter is much more steady.
2. Can the Kenyon be attached to the 7D?

Thanks for your help.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #6
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I have never encountered anything that contributes more to stability than a gyro. The only question is how large it needs to be.

My application is a radio controlled helicopter, electrically powered, 7ft blades. Weight is the limiting factor for me. Gyros prevent a sudden lift caused by a gust of wind, change of direction, etc.

The only question here, in my mind is how large a unit you need. Adding the weight of a steadycam will only increase the size of the gyro required.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 11:41 AM   #7
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I agree with Jay that a gyro stabilizer is the best if the affordable one is big enough. You'd have to check with Kenyon on the weight range. I think the camera is only a little over 2 pounds, but different lenses are going to weigh more. If you have a matte box and filters, that'll add weight too. Another thing about the Steadicam, for me anyway...I do great with it when moving, but coming to a stop and holding steady is still hard for me. The gyro will be a lot better in that regard.

Again, you'd have to check with Kenyon, but make sure they have one that works for your weight range. And, check into batteries and charge times. You might have to buy extra batteries. And on a sailboat, unless they're running their engine, if you're at sea a long time, how would you charge a battery? Solar charger, maybe...how long to do they take? Lots of things to consider.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Javier Salinas View Post
Jay, my concerns are:

1. Will the Kenyon stabilize enough on a boat (dinghy)? - the movement on a helicopter is much more steady.
2. Can the Kenyon be attached to the 7D?

Thanks for your help.
Even a good gyro wouldn't be of great use in waves that have sideways motion against a small boat or dinghy, although it would smooth out shakes if the boat/dinghy is moving forward with an outboard motor or electric motor across level or low turbulance (similar to shooting from a chopper).

I've seen some great gyro movies shot from a chopper of high speed boats, but rarely seen really good video shot from inside a badly rocking boat.

An IS lens can sometimes iron out some jerky movements but generally it is better to turn off the IS and move your body smoothly with the wave action, or if you need to include the actual boat it is often better to try to shoot from a firm platform using a telephoto lens from a distance - or film from a larger more stable boat close to the dinghy.
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Last edited by Tony Davies-Patrick; October 7th, 2009 at 01:42 PM.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #9
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Even a good gyro wouldn't be of great use in waves that have sideways motion against a small boat or dinghy, although it would smooth out shakes if the boat/dinghy is moving forward with an outboard motor or electric motor across level or low turbulance (similar to shooting from a chopper).

I've seen some great gyro movies shot from a chopper of high speed boats, but rarely seen really good video shot from inside a badly rocking boat.

An IS lens can sometimes iron out some jerky movements but generally it is better to turn off the IS and move your body smoothly with the wave action, or if you need to include the actual boat it is often better to try to shoot from a firm platform using a telephoto lens from a disstance - or film from a larger more stable boat close to the dinghy.
Well, it isn't really a dinghy, it's a pneumatic motorboat with a cabin. Actually is quite big.
Yes Tony, when it jumps there's no stabilizer in the world that stabilize the image.
It depends, of course, on the weather and sea conditions and you can film without it but you cannot even begin to compare them. When you're used to watch stabilized pictures in sailing, the rest is crap (depending on your purpose, of course).
I will shoot boat to boat since I can't do it from shore and the pictures are always better.
I'll probably clear up my questions contacting Kenyon as Bill says.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Again, you'd have to check with Kenyon, but make sure they have one that works for your weight range. And, check into batteries and charge times. You might have to buy extra batteries. And on a sailboat, unless they're running their engine, if you're at sea a long time, how would you charge a battery? Solar charger, maybe...how long to do they take? Lots of things to consider.
I use a KS-6 for aerial video; it would do a good job on a boat. You will probably want some kind of a shoulder rig as well. Also, one Kenyon gyro only stabilizes two axies and it is common to also use another gyro at right angles to the first. The KS-4 is a probably a little light as the primary gyro, but could be used as the second gyro. The Kenyon's come with a 12V charge adapter (should be available on the boat), as well as a 115/230V adapter (may be available on the boat). But a second battery is probably a good idea. The battery is good for about 2 hours but the charge time is very long (don't know, maybe 8 hours).

Last edited by Charles W. Hull; October 7th, 2009 at 09:42 PM. Reason: typo
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Old October 8th, 2009, 03:18 AM   #11
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That would be quite an extra cost Charles, with the KS-6 + KS-4 kit costing around $4,800 total, plus extra 12V batteries. Along with the shoulder rig, that would also be quite a lot of extra bulk and weight to move around if you need to be mobile.
The KS-8 or 12A would be stronger but I'm not sure if they would counter-act the wave action affect when holding a 7D in something like a large Zodiak - although they would all definitely improve any non-stabilised footage.

KS rent out kits for around $200-300 per week, so maybe that is a better option to see which of the rigs works best before you invest in the complete kit.
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