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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 20th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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What camera to buy for full-length movie making?

Suppose I want to buy one of these new D-SLR cameras in the sole purpose of making movies. Not web material, not wedding videos, but movies. Suppose I want to make these movies in 24 or 25 fps.

Now, I looked at some comparisons of 5D and 7D, but I'd like to hear it from some of the experienced people on this forum. What camera should I go for? 5D, 7D, or is there newer stuff on the market?

Grateful for any input here.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 10:27 PM   #2
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Personally, I believe that the choice between the two depends on if you want a set of fast primes. With the 5D2, you could get an EF 28/1.8, an EF24/1.4L or a Zeiss ZE 28/2. You can build up matching - or faster - medium and telephoto primes from there.

On the other hand, there are no wides for the 7D that are faster than f/2.8. That is a limiting factor. If you set up a shot and your medium lens is faster than f/2.8, you can't then shoot the wide shot without changing your lighting. In addition, when running an f/1.8 lens at f/2.8, the lens is getting into its sweet spot. When running a zoom at full aperture, it's at its worst performance.

So, if you want to shoot in natural or low light, the 5D2 is a good choice. Of course, maintaining focus is critical. Zeiss lenses are a good choice due to their smooth, long-throw focus rings. If you want the narrowest of focus, the 28/2, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4 are a nice choice. If you will stop down a bit, the 28/2, 50/2 Makro and 100/2 Macro make a nice, matched set and they provide a close focus ability if you want to rack from infinity to a small, close clue. Those lenses are as close as you can get to simply removing the glass from the view.

On the other hand, if you want a deeper focus for a straight-ahead style (say f/4 and above), the 7D and some f/2.8 zooms will do the trick. And you get HD out of the HDMI output when shooting, so you get superior monitoring. I'd go with the EF 17-55/2.8 IS as the core lens and go from there.

Of course, if you get the 7D upgraded to a PL mount, now you can mount most any cine lens. Then again, the Zeiss CP.2 primes can work on the 5D2 without modification.

It really comes down to the style you want to shoot. For a gossier, shallow DOF or low light thing, the 5D2 is the ticket. For deeper, never-miss focus, the 7D is the way to go. It all depends on the style you want to produce and the lens choice available for creating that style.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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My guess is that if you are looking into a V-DSLR instead of something like a Red Camera it is because you are trying to do more with less money, so in this case, If I were to choose between the 7D and the 5D, I would go for the 7D for two main reasons:

1. Due to having a smaller sensor, you have less DOF (though still similar to super35mm), and thus you can better control focus, which is very useful in certain situations like steadycam work.

2. You have a bigger variety of lenses at better prices.

The 5D has better light sensitivity, but the 7D is still wonderful in that area when compared with prosumer cameras like those of JVC/Panasonic/Sony and even Canon.

Just my 3 cents :)

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Old June 20th, 2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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2. You have a bigger variety of lenses at better prices.
True... except for fast, wide primes. For instance, you can get the EF 28/1.8 for about $400 used. That's a wide on the 5D2. The equivalent wide lens on the 7D with an EF/EF-S mount simply doesn't exist.

Again, if you plan to shoot at moderate to small apertures, the 7D is the right choice. If your style requires a full range of focal lengths and larger apertures, go for the 5D2. It all comes down to your shooting goals and the style you want to achieve.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 02:15 AM   #5
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I'd say go for the 7D. Its a camera that canon made with video in mind.

Convenience of a dedicated movie rec button.-though this is minor.

Advantage of having the ability to overcrank for "special" slow mo scenes, the 5D can't do 60P.
I use it a lot. For vehicles, water movement, glamour shots. etc.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 02:43 AM   #6
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Jon,
What about the 24mm f 1.4 on the 7d? It's crazy expensive, but sounds like a great lens for wider low light.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 03:05 AM   #7
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The 24/1.4 is a very nice lens, but it's a 38.4mm equivalent on the 7D, which is well into the "normal" range, rather than a wide.

And Ted is right. If slow motion is a need, the 7D offers 720p60. Alternatively, you can go with Twixtor on 1080p30 material from the 5D2. The key is to shoot with a fast shutter speed if you will slow it down in post. In my experience, tweening software can do well, but it consistently messes up on motion blur. 720p60 is the lower risk, faster turnaround solution.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 04:16 AM   #8
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You can get the 7D modified to take PL mount cine lenses if you want to go that route.

For narrative film making you tend not to go wider than 18mm on a 7D sized sensor that often and the 24mm is one of those useful focal lengths. The workhorse focal length range is 18mm to 100mm - the same as a Cooke zoom and the common cine prime lens sets. There are feature films that have been mostly shot using just the 28mm or 32mm lenses.

The problem with the stills camera lenses is that they tend not to have a wide aperture when you do go wider than 24mm. Having said that, a 35mm film camera zoom often goes no wider than T3.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
The 24/1.4 is a very nice lens, but it's a 38.4mm equivalent on the 7D, which is well into the "normal" range, rather than a wide.

And Ted is right. If slow motion is a need, the 7D offers 720p60. Alternatively, you can go with Twixtor on 1080p30 material from the 5D2. The key is to shoot with a fast shutter speed if you will slow it down in post. In my experience, tweening software can do well, but it consistently messes up on motion blur. 720p60 is the lower risk, faster turnaround solution.
I have a Tokina 11-16 f 2.8, and even when it costs 599, it solves almost any wide situation nicely. It's an EF-S
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Old June 29th, 2010, 09:12 AM   #10
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Might be a good idea to look at some of Shane Hurlbut's posts on his blog. He's a bit of a lens fanatic, as I am (which is why I sold my 7D and got the 5DMKII). He thinks the high end zooms are good but not good enough for the big screen.I have to agree after my own shooting. Now I'm doing everything with primes, except for doc-style interviews.

My reason for going to the 5D was strictly because of lenses. As John pointed out, The available low light prime lenses that are really good lenses are not wide enough for the 7D, if you need wide angles. You can get the Tokina zoom, or the great 14mm L prime, but that 14mm comes out just better than 24mm on the 7D. I was set to buy that lens, but suddenly realized that for not much more money I could get the 5D and use my old Nikkors, and I have a great 24mm Nikkor. With my 24, 35 and 105 Nikkors, and the 50mm Zeiss 1.4, I could pretty much shoot a movie. For all my day job commercial work, I am now using the 24, 35 and 50 for about 80% of everything, with the 70-200 zoom for interviews.

As far as image quality, if you look at the last round of Zacuto testing, the 5D and 7D are close enough so they are easily interchangeable. For me, it's about lenses, not image quality. Having shot with both cameras, I prefer the 7D but accept the tradeoffs to the 5D. You lose a bit in ergonomics of the camera itself and you have to deal with the shallow depth of field, meaning you need a follow focus and on occasion may have to boost the ISO to get enough depth of field if you can't ride focus on the action. But that's a non-issue if you're shooting a movie because you'd have a follow focus person.

I would not have got the 5D if I had not already had my Nikkor lenses. What I would recommend is that you look at the 7D and try to figure out what lenses you are going to want to shoot with and what they will cost, then go from there. If you get cheap lenses you will hate them in short order. There's more to a lens than just sharpness--ie., color and contrast. My old Nikkors, for example, look even better than the new Zeiss ZE 50 that i got, and it is a great lens. There's also the build quality and focusing mechanism to consider. I tried out Tokina and Tamron, and the short focus throw focus rings and flimsiness drove me nuts. The old NIkkors and the new Zeiss are solid but silky smooth, better than any of the L lenses I've tried (but the L lenses are still excellent).

I've said it before but here I go again: it's about lenses. Either camera body is great. Find your lenses first, then the camera.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolaj Marquez von Hage View Post
Suppose I want to buy one of these new D-SLR cameras in the sole purpose of making movies. Not web material, not wedding videos, but movies. Suppose I want to make these movies in 24 or 25 fps.

Now, I looked at some comparisons of 5D and 7D, but I'd like to hear it from some of the experienced people on this forum. What camera should I go for? 5D, 7D, or is there newer stuff on the market?

Grateful for any input here.
As everybody is saying, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish and your shooting style. I can give you some opinions on the 7D based on my experience using it. A while ago we shot an all indoor video (see sample at the bottom sif this post) of a fiber artist, using the cheap Tamron 17-50 without VC. Just a softbox 1000W used only sometimes and most of the clips were shot at full open (2.8) and sometimes even cranking the ISO up to 1000. We may all forget sometimes about how "clean" this camera is at relatively high ISOs. We obtained the desired DOF in every shot (whether shallow or deep). The camera is simply amazing, and even on a budget you can accomplish pretty good results. I recently got the super cheap Tamron 18-200 with a $60 rebate (B&H, final cost was $229!) and I used to shoot all day in an indoor SPA in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As lighting we just had a small led and 1000W usually dimmed down quite a bit. Footage turned out GREAT ( I will post a sample as soon as I can). The 7D in my opinion can give you the creative freedom you need if you want to shoot a feature in a budget. Lens choice is good, and the DOF will make easire than the 5D when you use it on a steadycam (unless you can afford a Focus Puller all the time...).


Best regards.

Carlo Zanella
The Santa Fe TV Show
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Old June 29th, 2010, 01:48 PM   #12
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Images look great!

Thanks for the very informative discussion. I now realize that for my style of shooting (not many camera movements, and storyboarding almost everything an a manner that gives almost no reason to pull the focus ring during a shot) I should have gone for the 5D. But a couple of days ago I bought the 7D. The final blow is that I have two Nikon primes (35 and 50 mm).

By the way, the style of imagery described above is, I think, a result of me using the Letus adapters for a couple of years. There we have extremely shallow depth of focus (on the old ones, with a lot of vignetting too). I guess the practical, technical circumstances determined my artistic ideal rather than the other way around...
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Old June 29th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #13
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The Nikon primes will still be very useful on the 7D, just a longer lens look that on the 5D. If you need wide angles, keep your eyes open for one of those older Nikkor 20mm lenses. That would look about like a 32mm, which is reasonably wide.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #14
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I have the 18-135mm lens that goes with the 7D package. Can you tell me what the difference will be between using this lens (at its shortest focal length) and a 20 mm prime? How many stops of light will I lose? What other drawbacks are there?

I digress, I know...
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Old June 30th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #15
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I think that lens is a 3.5 at the wide end. It won't be as sharp as a good prime lens, and you'll probably have to do some testing to see if it's sharp at that focal length wide open. Most of the cheaper lenses seem to do well in the mid-ranges but may get a little soft at the extremes. Learn the limitations of the lnes and work within them.
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