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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 12th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #1
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Why persist with a 'video camera'?

I've noticed that sites such as Vimeo are now becoming increasingly populated by videos shot on the 7d or 5dmk2 which show great quality footage (seemingly as good as high end video cameras) and great dof etc. As such, I was wondering what the main advantages to continuing to own a large bulky camera and heavy dof adaptor still are over such a small camera such as the 7d/5d(other than the time you can record on the memory card)?
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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....and the COMPLETE flexibility, that you can record for hours on end (without it overheating), better audio set-up, impresses the corporate clients more....

Sure 5D II and 7D have their advantages and place - but we are a long way from replacing pro grade video cameras in my opinion (but I would say that as I have one!)

BTW, I see you've posted this question in more than one Forum area. Just so you know Chris really discourages that.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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I've noticed that sites such as Vimeo are now becoming increasingly populated by videos shot on the 7d or 5dmk2 which show great quality footage
Assessing anything as "great quality" by looking at it on Vimeo is like trying to determine the worth of a painting by looking at it through a store window. You are looking at a rough approximation of the video at best.

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Originally Posted by Tim Davison View Post
(seemingly as good as high end video cameras) and great dof etc.
The idea that the 5d or 7d is competing with "high end" video cameras is a fallacy. At this point, they are standing in for prosumer cameras with DOF adapters, and doing a credible job. They are nowhere close to standing in for high end video cams. Maybe once they are able to record with a reasonable codec, fix the skew issues, offer timecode sync, live HD monitoring, and other things available on pro-level cameras this might change.

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Originally Posted by Tim Davison View Post
As such, I was wondering what the main advantages to continuing to own a large bulky camera and heavy dof adaptor still are over such a small camera such as the 7d/5d(other than the time you can record on the memory card)?
Better quality codecs, audio if you are confined to recording it in the camera, the ability to monitor in HD, the ability to operate with more than one person (try pulling focus on a wide lens on the 5d or 7d), the ability to rig for common camera moves (steadicam, dolly, crane, etc.), the ability to operate in for long periods of time (like my having to record 4 continuous hours for conferences).

The 5d and the 7d certainly have their place, and are doing wonderful things. But they are still quite some way from displacing even moderate video cameras, much less high end ones.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #4
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The audio isn't a big concern for me, what do you mean by the 'complete flexibility'? Apologies if this is a ridiculously open-ended question! Are there any articles on this point?
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #5
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Plenty of reasons: Audio, (XLR's, live monitoring, Manual gain control, meters) form factor/ergonomics, better manual controls, Live output, better codecs/formats (5D had an awesome codec but because it was 30p not 29.97p it was still not perfect, although the 7d offers plenty of options), proper rotating LCD and EVF, zebras, etc.

Plenty of people are working through these issues to make content for TV/films, but HDSLR's have a long way to go and until they catch up to video cameras in the areas I listed above, I think most 5dmkII videos will not go much further than vimeo. That said, I have massive respect for those videos that DO go further, because they are working against the odds and paving the way for the rest of us.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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I think it depends what you are doing, and what your needs/expectations are. I do a lot of interviews and shooting for documentary work, and though I'm thinking seriously of using the 7D for some of that, the extra work involved (i.e. the sound limitations, the 12 minute time limit, the shape of the camera making it harder to hand hold, the differences in stabilization, need for external monitoring if shooting from very high or very low, the lens limitations, the possible overheating issues, etc., etc) all make me think that for most of the stuff it will be quicker and simpler to use a real video camera.

If anything, I intend to use it as a camera for creating great B-roll, rather than as the primary shooter. But that's just for what I'm doing; I can see other people might have completely different attitudes based on what they are creating.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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If you were shooting at 720 60P, is it still only 12 mins duration? The biggest issue I am finding (currently using an Sony FX1 and Letus adaptor) is the sheer weight and inconvenience of having to carry so much equipment etc)
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #8
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I agree with the above points. A hybrid HDSLR isn't a "real" video camera, although you can get footage that looks great and will intercut just fine from cameras costing much more. That doesn't mean it is a replacement for such cameras. I'm not going to sell my XH A1 when I get the 7D. There are too many things I'll still shoot with it. Long interviews, for example, and Steadicam work are both much easier with it, not to mention the convenience of a 20:1 zoom for grabbing a wide angle and then an ECU without having to carry around a bag with lenses.

There's one thing I think is a truism that seems to be etched in stone: If something costs less, it's going to be more difficult to use than the same item that costs much more. I think a person could go out and make a feature film with the 7D and make it look good, or do a documentary--after all, back in the 16mm days we did lots of documentaries and only had 10 minute magazines. Michael Moore did "Roger & Me" in 16mm, and with double system sound. Doing the same thing with a 7D and a separate recorder will be more hassle than with a "real" video camera but not as much of a hassle as with 16mm. But a person can do it. The real question is, I think, is the quality you get from the 7D worth the hassle over shooting with something like an XH A1 or an EX1?

If I didn't own any cameras now and had to buy just one video camera for what I do (corporate work as well as documentary), I don't think I'd feel comfortable with any HDSLR for that purpose. On the other hand, If I only had $2K to spend and needed a camera and wanted the best quality I could get for that price, then the 7D might be my first choice.

I don't see any big problem with the H.264 codec. When HDV came out people said it was difficult to edit, difficult to key, had artifacts, etc. Yet people have done very nice feature films with HDV cameras, and I use one for all I do now, including chroma keying. You have to light more precisely, you have to work within the limitations of the camera; but they all have some limitations.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
Plenty of reasons: Audio, (XLR's, live monitoring, Manual gain control, meters)
The 5D can do live monitoring, has manual audio gain and onscreen meters with extra software (that will hopefully soon also be on the 7D). XLRs can be easily added with an inexpensive preamp.
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form factor/ergonomics,
Once you've put it on a nice rails system, the DSLR form-factor is no longer an issue. Any DOF adapter will require them, too.
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better manual controls,
Both the 5D and 7D have full manual control. What do you mean?
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Live output,
The 7D has live HD on the HDMI port, and the 5D might have it as well.
Quote:
better codecs/formats (5D had an awesome codec but because it was 30p not 29.97p it was still not perfect, although the 7d offers plenty of options),
The codec and colorspace are definitely limiting for some applications.
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proper rotating LCD and EVF, zebras, etc.
Zebras are taken care of. If I'm shooting with a field monitor the fixed LCD doesn't really bother me, and high-end cameras like the Red One don't even have one built in.

Timecode is also coming to the 5D, to address one of Perrone Ford's concern.

The biggest problems that I see in the current crop of DSLR cameras are the rolling shutter, the aliasing of the down-sampling algorithm and the overheating (although this also affects Red). And I don't see an easy way to fix them, either, without some internal hardware changes.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post

If I didn't own any cameras now and had to buy just one video camera for what I do (corporate work as well as documentary), I don't think I'd feel comfortable with any HDSLR for that purpose. On the other hand, If I only had $2K to spend and needed a camera and wanted the best quality I could get for that price, then the 7D might be my first choice.
So if you didn't already have a dedicated video camera you would purchase a 7d ?
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #11
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the overheating (although this also affects Red). And I don't see an easy way to fix them, either, without some internal hardware changes.
I keep reading about the overheating issue. Just how bad is this? Is it like a laptop overheating (i.e. it does get very hot but doesn't impair the use of the laptop or does it have more of an impact of the quality of image etc)?
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #12
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For us 7D and 5D are good for some weddings situations. When the clients is asking us for a full traditional coverage of the wedding day we sometimes prefer to bring our Canon XHa1s.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #13
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1) You can record for hours, or in some cases, days.
2) Autofocus is so slow on many VDSLRs that it's usually easier just to manually focus, which means risking jostling the lens.
3) You have much more control over file formats with a videocam.
4) You can monitor at full HD resolution with a videocam.
5) No VDSLR on the market allows you to monitor audio in cam as you record.
6) No VDSLR, without hacks, allows you to lock the gain levels in audio.

There are certain times when the 7D does very well, but these are mostly cases when you can *control the action* - interviews, stuff you can reshoot. Since I mostly shoot documentaries, to me, having something that I can pick up and go with is more important than something that looks good.

While I own a 7D, there's no question that I would not have picked it up if I didn't first own a more traditional camera - the HG20.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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Once you've put it on a nice rails system, the DSLR form-factor is no longer an issue.
Some of the nice rail systems I've seen cost as much as the camera, but make the whole thing larger and more unwieldy than many video cameras...

...but as others have said, pretty much everything can be overcome one way or the other, and if you want to use the 7D, I think you can use it for virtually anything. Whether to get the 7D in place of or as well as a video camera becomes a personal decision as much as anything.

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Originally Posted by Tim Davison
I keep reading about the overheating issue. Just how bad is this?
There's a thread for that already (though it's now locked.) It seems a little early to make a conclusive statement from what's currently known, but check it out...

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...peratures.html
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Old October 12th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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The 5D can do live monitoring, has manual audio gain and onscreen meters with extra software (that will hopefully soon also be on the 7D).

Once you've put it on a nice rails system, the DSLR form-factor is no longer an issue.
This is exactly what I meant when I said "people are working around these issues." Also I don't think a rails + shouldermount system is anywhere near as convenient as a proper shouldermounted camera (I'm not talking about with a DOF adapter here). I'm curious... are you able to use a remote shutter to start recording on the 5dmkII when shooting on a shoulder mount?


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Originally Posted by Tramm Hudson View Post
Both the 5D and 7D have full manual control. What do you mean?
I mean that the controls are better layed out for video work, especially when handheld or shoulder-mounted. I never said the 5dmkII didn't have manual control, but perhaps I should've said that video cameras give you "easier" manual control because thats why they are designed the way they, rather than like an SLR.

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The 7D has live HD on the HDMI port, and the 5D might have it as well.
Yes, but can you get a clean signal to send into a switcher or external recorder?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramm Hudson View Post
The biggest problems that I see in the current crop of DSLR cameras are the rolling shutter, the aliasing of the down-sampling algorithm and the overheating (although this also affects Red). And I don't see an easy way to fix them, either, without some internal hardware changes.
The Foundry - Overview have got a plugin for AE which looks fairly effective at correcting rolling shutter but it's pretty expensive.
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