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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 April 3rd, 2010, 05:57 PM   #1
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7D For Video Nature Photography

Anyone shooting video with long lenses?

I see lots of great advice to use ND filters and understand why. I have polarizers and ND filters for smaller lenses (EF100-400 and smaller) but not for the EF500 f4 and wonder if there's a workaround?

The 500 f4 with the 1.6 multiplier gives a standard 800 mm on the 7D. Can still add a X2 and X1.4, so that should be enough to shoot the knee cap on an ant. Been using a Wimberly head to shoot birds in flight, which is coming in useful for shooting video.

Spent several hours on a canoe with a tripod yesterday, shooting with 17-40, 28-135 & 8mm fisheye. Got some nice footage of a kayaker splashing a small basking gator with his paddle, grrr. A great learning experience but after several hours in the sun a flashing red light came on, so stopped for lunch to let the camera cool down. Took about 4 hours to download 14 Gigs from a 16 Gig card. Not sure if a faster hard drive would solve this.

Is it possible to shoot video through the viewfinder? Trying to track a moving object on the LCD screen in the sun is more than a bit lame. Looks like I can't auto focus while shooting video, but that's just part of the learning curve.

Absolutely love this new camera. I was shooting out to sea from the beach recently with the 500 f4 and heard the sound of a very low flying plane to my left. Spun the lens 90 degrees and shot four perfectly focussed shots from point blank range. Amazed that it could focus that quickly. No way could my 10D or 5D have done that.

Nowhere near sorting the workflow out yet. Bought NeoScene and Premeire 8, so a big learning curve ahead. Quite a big jump for this stills photog and loving it.

Last edited by Doug Bailey; April 3rd, 2010 at 06:19 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:43 PM   #2
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Hi Doug,

I have a 32GB card that I've never filled it completely but I routinely go above 20GBs and although I never really pay attention to it while copying the files to my hard drive it generally takes about 20 minutes to transfer, nowhere near 4 hours.

Somethings doesn't sound right there unless your encoding to whatever codec your using with Premiere, then 4 hours might not be too long. I just encoded about 10GBs to ProRes for FCP in less than an hour, I think. I grabbed some breakfast and it was done when I got back...

Sorry, can't help you with your lens question, wish I could, but I have not been fortunate enough to use that type of lens.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 09:08 PM   #3
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You are probably using USB 1, USB 2 will speed up the transfer by 4x or more.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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I routinely do wildlife video with a 7D for stock footage, though I am not fully set up to process and produce anything with it at the moment. I've been sending it out to an editor/producer friend of mine for that.
Anyways, I really do enjoy using this body for work. I wish I had a longer lens though, as for right now I am using a 200mm Nikkor with a 1.4x Tele. giving me about 450mm FOV.

Most of the time, outdoor conditions allow me to shoot under ISO800 so noise is never an issue. I'm still working with profile settings to get a sweet spot.

The only issues I've ever had involved rolling shutter effects on fast movement. I was following a group of whitetail deer running, and upon reviewing the footage I could see the background doing its "Jello" dance. Live and learn. I wouldn't put my life on this camera for shooting the next planet earth series, but it never leaves my side either. Once you know its limitations, it's very useful and provides beautiful footage surpassing the other gear available to me.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:31 AM   #5
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I think the jello thing would be the main problem. Wildlife is usually moving!
It's why "the next Planet Earth series" is using Varicams, because they have CCDs and so no rolling shutter issues.
In terms of lens power too, you'd be better off using something with a 1/2" or 1/3" chip as your 500mm lens would then equate to a 2500mm or 3500mm respectively!
Tried it very briefly with my Nikond D300s in the back garden, stuck on a 400 2.8 and boy was it useless!
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bailey View Post


Is it possible to shoot video through the viewfinder? Trying to track a moving object on the LCD screen in the sun is more than a bit lame. Looks like I can't auto focus while shooting video, but that's just part of the learning curve.
You'll need some form of loupe/hood to be able to focus effectively in Live View Mode. Check out the Zacuto Z Finder, Hoodman HoodLoupe and others. I don't have one yet (hoping to get one at NAB next week) but I find that I cannot nail focus handheld by relying on the LCD screen.

If you're locked down on a tripod, your other option is a small monitor like a Marshall, SmallHD or the like. You focus and compose off the monitor rather than the camera's LCD.

Cheers,
Bob
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tony Reidsma View Post
You are probably using USB 1, USB 2 will speed up the transfer by 4x or more.
Hopefully 40X faster as USB 1.x is 12 Mbit/s & USB 2.0 is 480 Mbit/s.

I use one of these Lexar - Flash memory card readers - Pro FW800 CF Reader which is much faster than than any USB 2.0 CF reader that I have used.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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I use the 100-400L for outdoor nature shots a lot. A downfall of that lens is the lack of smooth manual focus - at least with my copy. And as you noticed, no auto focus / tracking focus with the 7D (or any other HDSLR). But - with high enough aperture most will be in focus so you can track outdoors. I filmed body boarders at a local shore break the other day and after an hour of practice I finally got a smooth motion to track boarders moving in the barrel. But then you look back at the footage and the rolling shutter becomes an issue.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #9
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Tried it very briefly with my Nikond D300s in the back garden, stuck on a 400 2.8 and boy was it useless!
Steve
I don't quite understand that remark, Steve?

On another note, most of my distance wild photography and filming with DSLRs is with telephoto lenses in the 300mm - 600mm range. They may not provide the extreme magnification provided by fitting the same lenses to a Canon XL camcorder, but they do tend to provide the very best quality stills and footage. It just means that you need to get a lot closer to the wildlife...or wait a lot longer, although the results tend to be well worth the effort.
However, there are of course times when you'd like the same extreme magnification when filming with a DSLR as a camcorder + SLR telephoto lens, especially for example to obtain tightly framed crisp footage of the moon and craters etc.

One option for DSLRs may be the Fieldscopes. Most of the fieldscopes of the past did not provide good enough enough quality when a camera was attached, but one of the latest reviews in Outdoor Photography magazine has made me closer at that option.

The review was of the Nikon EDG Fieldscope 85 attached to a DSLR via a Nikon FSA-L2. This turns the scope into a 500mm-1750 f/5.9-F/21 zoom lens. Yes, it may be lacking in the available light compartment, but it does seem to deliver sharpness and colour contrast equal to a lot of pro-grade DSLR zoom lenses. I prefer to use fast telephoto lenses, but to have the possibility of using a 500mm-1750 zoom for video with a DSLR is a good option to have when you need it...especially considering the quality of the images it is capable of.

These figures are with the full frame camera like the D3/D3s/D3x/D700 (or on a Canon 5D Mark II + adapter). Attached to the Canon 7D or D300s the Nikon EDG 85 would turn into a DX lens covering 750-2625mm.

Obviously it would need a good tripod and correct technique to obtain the best footage, but the same can be said about using extreme telephoto lenses on camcorders.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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It's quite straightforward Tony, pan with anything moving (as wildlife often does) and it skews like crazy. The codecs are dreadful too of course.
And what use is 24P for wildlife? You want to slow things down rather than having to speed it up to 25P in post.
I do agree with you re lens power, people do rely on it too much these days. In Super 16 days we always used to think of 600mm as being the longest you'd generally like to use (like most others I'd use Canon 300 2.8 2x or Canon 150-600), but now on the Varicams our standards are HJ40 and HJ18x28, both of which will go to 1000mm or more, and yet 2/3" already gives slightly more magnification than Super 16!
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Old April 4th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #11
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Oh, sorry, I thought your were talking about the actual quality and use of a 400mm f/2.8 on a D300s, not what it was like for panning. For locked shooting it should be OK, although the crop factor obviously increases the jello affect compared to on the D3s, especially when you begin moving that tripod head from side to side...

Yes, I'm with you on the crappy 30P & 24P for filming. It's been so nice to use the 5D with 25P! I think the next Nikon is inline for 25P though.

The 7D seems to be very slightly better than the D300s in regard to 'wobbly' jello, but of course those increased telephoto affects don't help matters.

In fact if you pan very slowly with a full frame camera such as the 5D the jello is almost non-existant and definitely not a big problem with most nature subjects. I try not to follow or pan much with wildlife anyway.

Probably the worse case scenario would be following a cheetah at full pace during a hunt... :)
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #12
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We must shoot very differently Tony because I'm always panning when I film wildlife.
I know one thing for sure, next time the NHU book me for a shoot if I suggest using a 7D or 5D for it they'll think I've gone insane. I don't know what the future holds for DSLR movies, but they're not even close to being chosen for broadcast wildlife except for special circumstances - just finished on a series on which underwater stuff was on a 5D. Topside was all HDCam, Varicam and PDW700 - don't even like EX cams etc., due to CMOS issues, let alone DSLRs.
Steve
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #13
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Yeah, horses for courses, Steve, and why we don't have the same wife and probably would prefer our steaks cooked entirely differently. :)

It's just nice to know that we all have so many choices provided to meet our own requirements, goals and desires.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #14
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Yes, choice is good. But I just can see very few situations where DSLRs would be a preferred choice for wildlife shooting. Very limited budget? Maybe, though you'll get better results with a Canon XL-H1 and standard lens for the same cost. Portability? Maybe, but if you need big magnifications and so are using 400 2.8, 600 f4 etc, you lose that advantae immediately. The only thing in its favour I think is if you need to put it in a small housing, or hidden somewhere maybe as a remote.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #15
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7D For Video Nature Photography

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for all the great replies, you're very kind.

I shot boats running at high speed out of the inlet today using an EF100-400 lens. The weather was bright and sunny with some rough water caused by wind and tide. As the boats were coming towards me I had the sun to my back, panned and then shot almost straight into the early morning sun. I was using a low end ball head.

Even with small apertures F5/F8 the boats stayed in focus, and as I turned into the sun I cranked the aperture down. I left ISO at 100. Overall not bad and see that practice is helping. Shooting with 1080 and 30P, tried shutter speed of 60 and 125 which didn't seem to make any difference.

I do see what looks like each frame playing when playing back in Zoombrowser. My card is not UDMA, could that be the cause? There's no buffering delay. After running it through Neoscene it smooths out and is worth watching without feeling sea sick. Overall amazed at the clarity and sharpness of the video, playing it back on a 24" monitor.

If I understand correctly "Jello Effect" is the stuttering background when panning or is that called rolling?

Another 4 hour download. I'm shooting with a Kingston 16G 133X card and downloading with an old card reader from 10D days to an external drive. Great tips on getting a faster card reader, special thanks for that.
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