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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 June 4th, 2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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How is my 7D 'starter kit' looking?

Hello, I am thinking about getting the 7D kit below? I don't have any special shooting requirements, so I'm just looking for a kit that is reasonably flexible and takes advantage of the cool features of the camera. This comes out to about $6500. Any thoughts are much appreciated!

Canon 7D Body
Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.2L
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
juicedLink DT454 4-CH DSLR PREAMP/AGC DISABLER
Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic + shockmount
Manfrotto 501HDV tripod 420
Gorillapod Focus
Cavision RS5DM2SET-S DSLR Shoulder Mount Package
Cavision Spacer Plate for Canon 7D
2 x Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack
2 x Transcend Flash memory card - 16 GB CompactFlash Card
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Old June 4th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #2
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Your list of gear looks good. I only have one sugestion. The manfrotto tripod and head you have listed is not even close to the quallity of the camera and lenses in your list. Go for Miller or Satchler if you can.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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Unless you're going to to video, you might want to wait on the shoulder mount, mic, and preamp. Probably get something for the wider range, like a 16-35L lens first for shooting purposes.

Now, if you were doing video, then other than what Onar suggested, everything else looks good.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #4
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I would take a look at the Redrock Micro stuff before I would decide to go with the Cavision. Also Zeiss has got some really nice Canon primes out. hard stops and a very smooth, long focus travel. Great if you are going without a follow focus (and also great with a follow focus).
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Old June 4th, 2010, 04:32 PM   #5
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You need to rethink your lenses. You can get way more coverage for the same money.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 04:37 PM   #6
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7D is for video

Thanks for the responses so far. Ed, I'm definitely using the 7D for video. Photo is great, but relatively unimportant in this case.

Liam and others, I definitely would be interested in any thoughts on lenses.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #7
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If I were to get the 7D, I would get the EF 17-55 IS without hesitation. It gives you f/12.8 performance over the "money range" of wide to portrait. And, you get IS, though you don't get water sealing.

If you will also shoot in low light, the 50/1.2L would be a killer portrait lens (moderate telephoto). It's not a bad choice if you shoot interviews. Most people go for a normal prime. That would be a 35/1.4L on the 7D, if not the 24/1.4L (wide-normal). It really depends on what you like to shoot. On the 5D, I really like the 35mm view for all around use, which is similar to a 22mm on the 7D.

The other lens to consider would be a Zeiss ZE 50/1.4. It's not as fast as the 50/1.2L, but it has a great focus ring with hard stops. I have other Zeiss lenses, but not that one, so I can't compare the ZE to the L - except for on price, where the Zeiss wins.

But all this depends on what you shoot. If you do skateboard films, get a fisheye. If you shoot steeplechase, get a long telephoto. But for narrative film with people, the 17-55 range is your meat and potatoes. You might get that first, shoot with it for a while, and then figure out which fast prime is the right one for your style.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #8
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My current thoughts on lenses...

Zeiss 28mm, 50mm & 85mm

Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L

Tokina 11-16 2.8

Those are the lenses I would like to have in my kit as of today....

I've been renting a ton of different lenses lately, trying them all out. In my opinion they mostly look pretty darn good. i really like the Canon 85mm 1.8 and it's not spendy. I've got the cheap Canon 50mm 1.4 and I love that thing. Right now i'm trying out the Canon 70-200 2.8 L and so far it looks nice. All the L series Canon glass looks great in my experience.

For video my current favorite is the Zeiss series because they have a very smooth and consistent feeling focus ring and the hard stops are a big plus. They also seem to breathe less than my 50mm 1.4 and some of the other Canon lenses. I also like the fact that they just feel SO GOOD in your hand - I know it's a purely tactile thing but they just feel so precise and solid with all that metal. I handed one to a client on a shoot a few days ago and he said "No wonder these cameras look so good, isn't this what they shoot movies with?"

Hope this helps and have fun trying out lenses.


Oh - and one more thing. I would add a Zoom H4n to your kit. Relying on the 7D and it's poor little cheap A/D converters for your hero audio might be an iffy proposition. I've had good luck with the Rode Videomic on the 7D if that helps.

Last edited by Burk Webb; June 4th, 2010 at 09:01 PM. Reason: additional thought
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #9
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Burke,

I like the approach of the 28, 50, and 85 primes for the 5D (I personally own the EF 28/1.8, 50/1.4, and 85/1.8), but they might be a bit tight for the 7D. And then, when you grab your wide f/2.8 zoom lens, you find that you don't have enough light. That's why I like the 17-55 approach. It's all matched at f/2.8 with a single lens. Faster primes are a specialty lens in that setup, rather than the default.

At work, we have the ZE 21/2.8, 35/2, and 85/1.4 (again, for the 5D2). And no. They're definitely not matched. But we're not typically shooting drama. The 21 is the "get it all in" lens for times that we need to shoot big equipment in a small space. The 35 is the "normal" workhorse. The 85 is for interviews. We also have an EF 100/2.8 Macro for close work. Because, we're not typically trying to get multiple views of the same scene that intercut (aside from normal and tight shots in a well-lit interview), we don't really need matched lenses.

By contrast, if you're shooting a drama at night, you're pretty much constrained by the slowest lens that you will use within a given scene.

One nice approach (more for the 5D2 than the 7D) would be to get the ZE 28/2, 50/2, and 100/2 lenses. Not only are they matched, but they give you close focusing capabilities. Furthermore, the 28/2 glass is known as the "Hollywood Lens", and the 50/2 and 100/2 are as straight as an arrow with virtually no curvilinear distortion. For the 7D, you'd want to add some wider glass, like the 21/2.8, if not the Tokina 11-17. That f/2 Zeiss set isn't ego-stroking fast, but it's about as close to "removing the lens from the picture" as you're going to get.

On the audio question, I've tested the DT454 with the 5D2 in auto and manual (with and without Magic Lantern) modes, as well as the H4n and DR-100 recorders. The signal to noise of the DT454 with the camera in auto isn't quite as clean as the standalone recorders, but it's in the same ballpark. With the camera in manual mode, the DT454 wins slightly. With Magic Lantern, the DT454 gets the noise below the 16-bit threshold. The H4n and DR-100 may be able to record 24-bit files, but they hit the noise floor at about 14-bits.

Anyway, the DT454 solution is good enough with auto gain that it all depends on your desired workflow. Personally, I've found that with a dedicated audio person, having a double system is nice. They can work independently and reliably. The only hassle is sync'ing. And you can't review your stuff with clean audio on the set.

But for single person shooting, I believe in recording into the camera. As long as you're monitoring the signal, when you hit REC, you can be confident that you're getting both audio and video. With two machines, it's too easy to get out of sync - start recording on one device when stopping another. And, when the "Battery Low" indicator comes on the audio recorder, you won't see it, because you're looking at the video box. Just last week I shot 76 people saying their names. I lost one take because of getting out of sync. I lost two to a dying battery in the DR-100. (Hint: when the DR-100 says, "Low Battery", it really means, "I threw away the end of that take, sucker.")

If you really want "hero" audio, get a separate audio person and higher-end gear than the H4n or DR-100. For really good audio for the web and indie work, either the DT454 or a mid-priced recorder will do the trick. Which way you go should depend more on workflow than sound quality - they're just not all that far apart.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:24 AM   #10
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While I think the 50/1.2 is a killer lens for photography, it does not make much sense for video. You will not be able to focus properly wide open unless you use an external monitor. And I think the DOF is just too shallow to use in real life unless for very special occasions. I donīt know what you are planning to shoot, but my experience with the T2i and a 50mm is that I stop down to at least f4.0 for interviews for example, because otherwise people will be out of focus as soon as they move the smallest bit - which they will. In my experience lenses with f 2.8 are more than adequate for most purpuses. And if you really have too much money, get a Marshall monitor and a 35/1.4 and you are all set. If you want to shoot outside you are also missing ND filters as well as a LCD loupe. And donīt go for the Manfrotto tripod, it is not up to the job. Get a Miller DS10.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 06:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Spitzer View Post
Hello, I am thinking about getting the 7D kit below? I don't have any special shooting requirements, so I'm just looking for a kit that is reasonably flexible and takes advantage of the cool features of the camera. This comes out to about $6500. Any thoughts are much appreciated!

Canon 7D Body
Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.2L
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
juicedLink DT454 4-CH DSLR PREAMP/AGC DISABLER
Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic + shockmount
Manfrotto 501HDV tripod 420
Gorillapod Focus
Cavision RS5DM2SET-S DSLR Shoulder Mount Package
Cavision Spacer Plate for Canon 7D
2 x Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack
2 x Transcend Flash memory card - 16 GB CompactFlash Card

My thoughts... $6500 is a good chunk of change to spend on something for "no special shooting requirements".

My suggestion...
7D kit of your choice with IS lens
extended battery grip
4 batteries
2 memory cards
77mm variable ND Filter with step down ring
77mm screw-on rubber shade hood, 1 long, 1 wide
The best tripod/head you can afford, You can thank me in 25 years.

This will give you a solid start without blowing your wad at the opening gate.
Play with the camera and get a feel for shooting handheld with an IS lens and shooting on a tripod.
The 77mm variable ND filter should be large enough to accommodate any future lenses you get.
Any lenses you own with fronts smaller than 77mm, just use a XXmm to 77mm step down ring.
A pair of 77mm screw-on rubber lens shades will not look as cool as a matte box, but should work in most cases and weigh almost nothing compared to a matte box and rails system.
Once you get your head wrapped around the camera you will have a better feel of what direction you need to go, and which if any accessories and lenses you might need. Who knows, the 7D may not be your cup of tea. In any event, a high quality professional tripod/head will far outlast any camera you would buy in the future. As opposed to the Manfrotto 501HDV tripod 420 you have listed, which you will more than likely want to replace when you replace the 7D with the next great camera you buy in 14 months.



All the Best!
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #12
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David makes a good point about not "blowing your wad at the opening gate". There's the stuff you think you will need - and then there's the stuff you will actually use.

I think there are two approaches: 1) buy everything, figure out what you like and sell the rest on ebay or craigslist, and 2) buy a little at a time and figure out what one thing you feel you are missing.

The best approach depends on how comfortable you are selling stuff. If you buy and sell used (aside from the body), you can trade gear, only losing shipping costs. If you are skilled, patient and use craigslist, you can actually make money when swapping things out.

On the other hand, if you buy things new and don't like to part with stuff, buy a little at a time. For instance, you might start with the kit lens and find that the minimum focal distance is too long. In that case, your second lens might be a macro, rather than a fast prime. You might even start with a cheap photo tripod and no rig. Before long, you'll find out if you always tend to shoot locked down, or if that's too static for your tastes. That will tell you if you need a nice shoulder rig, or a great tripod.

Regarding focus, this also really depends on your style. Some shooters have a straight-ahead style where they want critical focus 100% of the time. (Most Hollywood films rely on a straight-ahead style.) For that f/4 and tighter are the way to go. Others capitalize on poor focus effects for a more artistic style. The House finale used f/1 and f/1.2 lenses really well for a hybrid style approach.

Unless you have a project already planned out, you will probably need to own the camera for a few months to figure out your style. And that will help you decide which equipment you will rely on the most.
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Last edited by Jon Fairhurst; June 5th, 2010 at 02:43 PM.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Spitzer View Post
Hello, I am thinking about getting the 7D kit below?*** I don't have any special shooting requirements,*** so I'm just looking for a kit that is reasonably flexible and takes advantage of the cool features of the camera. This comes out to about $6500. Any thoughts are much appreciated!
If you don't have any special shooting requirements, why are you buying all this stuff???

What do you want to do with this gear? What kind of shooting do you want to do?

I would buy equipment only when you need it for a specific purpose. Buying a load of stuff **in case** you might need it is a bad idea.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 05:38 AM   #14
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You might want to add a LCD loupe of some kind to your setup. Something like the LCDVF or Zacuto Z-finder.
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