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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 November 29th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #1
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Using 7D for narrative work.

I decided to post this question here, in the 7D forum, because I was more interested in the opinions of 7D owners.

I am looking to buy a camera in the next 45 to 60 days. I've tentatively decided on either the 7D or 5DmkII. I'm not a film/video professional, and my main goal isn't using this to get into the industry. But to teach myself filming, and lighting, for narrative work. 80% use will be for that, in controlled light setup situations. I know I could get less expensive camera, that could help me with the learning process, while saving me a few dollars. I have studied the pluses and minus of both cameras, and keep flip flopping my decision. This is why I am seeking advice here. I like the idea of the full sensor and incredible picture on the 5D, but the cheaper cost, and different feature set is appealing to me (video out over HDMI stays HD when recording, the 720p frame rates), all while maintaining a slightly less picture quality, but very impressive at the same time.

My other main goal, is learning editing, and grading. So I want the best possible picture I can get, to work with. I've watched a lot of the clips posted, for both cameras, and they are all pretty impressive. Of course I realize a lot of that comes down to who's behind the camera, more then the camera itself. Which is why I want the best tool to learn with.

My long term goal, is to shoot my own feature length film. I don't expect this to happen a month, 6 months down the road, but maybe in a few years, with a lot of practice. And by the time that does come around, I'm sure the technology will have changed a few times, and when my skill set becomes good enough, I will get the best tool, at that time, for what I want to do. I don't want to sit around, and worry if what I buy next months, is going to be replaced 15 days later by something better, that I should have waited to get. I want to be out there now, filming, and editing, and learning about something I've always had a passion inside myself for, but never have acted on.

I keep leaning back to the 7d, again because of price. For my budget, I think I can get the 7d body, and a few different lenses to start. Where if I go 5d, then I might be able to get 1 lens to start, and then could take me 3 or more months to get me a couple or 3 more lenses to work with. With the 7d, I have a couple of aps-c lenses I was going to get, but after them, I was going to stick with full frame lenses. Building up a collection of glass, that hopefully will be future proof.

After main use with the camera, I'm also interested in HDR, Time lapse, and still photography. Most, if anything I shot and edit, will be for up loading online. I don't know that what I'd be doing just yet, would make its way too far from youtube or something of the like.

So I guess what I'm wanting is impressions from people of 7d vs 5d the above mentioned situation.

Thank you, and I'm sorry if this is repetitive information. I've been going over, both, the 5d and 7d forums a lot, and ready many posts. It seemed there were a lot of people using, or considering using, these cameras for event work. I didn't see an overly great number of posts about narrative work, so here is this one.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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If the camera is going to live on sticks for perhaps 90% of a shoot. I'll take the 5D. But for ANY other use, if these are the two cameras I am choosing from, I'll take the 7D EVERY time. Easier to shoot, more flexible frame rates, HDMI out, less expensive.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #3
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In your case I'd go for the 7D. But I'd also try to buy good quality, full frame lenses. The camera body today is the part that's expendable. The lenses, support devices, viewer, etc., can be moved to the next camera you buy.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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Hey Jeff, I made a thread on here specifically for people like you:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/eos-7d-s...ifference.html

I have both cameras. They each have their benefits but the differences are negligible. The 5D is coming to the end of its life cycle and there could possibly be an update in march, so it might be worth waiting/renting for a month or two. The second-hand market could be worth a look too.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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I vote for the 7D, plus 3 - 5 old manual focus lenses from eBay (Pentax Takumar, Canon FD, Nikon, etc) Throw in a solid fluid head tripod - the Manfrotto 501HDV is one of the most popular, and a bare-bones shoulder mount rig and you're ready to go on the camera side.

My first hand experience with the 7D is shooting 25+ sit down interviews for a doc that I'm producing, as well as shooting several narrative shorts with friends. This is an incredible camera, and working with it is very much like working with a motion picture (arri, pannivision, etc) camera as opposed to a video camera.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old November 30th, 2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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but........ if you buy only full-frame lenses you won't have wide-angle covered on a 7D, so on the wide-angle end you should buy something like the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 or the Canon EF-S 10-22. I own the Canon and I just bought the Tokina for my son. Quality crop factor lenses like these can be sold if you move to exclusively full-frame bodies. Also, there is not a full-frame lens that provides what the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS zoom lens provides for a crop body. Again, you can sell a quality lens like this if you move to exclusively to full-frame bodies. The build quality is so-so but I have had good luck with lens servicing from Canon.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 08:11 PM   #7
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If one of your decision factors is the 720 60p mode, forget it. Aliasing in 720 mode is so bad it is virtually useless. If you do buy a 7D, buy only full frame lenses, so they will transfer to your next camera. Maybe one APS-C wide lens. But you don't want to be stuck with crop lenses, say, when the 5D Mk III comes out.

But all in all, based on what you said you are going to be doing, the 7D sounds perfect for you. Just don't forget all the ancillaries you'll need (lenses, sticks, monitor, matte box, follow focus, filters, audio recorder, microphone). And those are just to start.

Aliasing and moire are terrible on the 5D and 7D, but word is the next generation will fix these issues. If Canon doesn't, I don't see them keeping up with the competition. Panasonic and Sony have already fixed these issues with their new 4/3's and s35 cameras. The sucky part is that if the new generation of Canon DSLR's fix the aliasing and moire, no one will want to buy the old models. All our camera bodies will be worth nothing on the used market. Bummer... The decision to pay a little more for a brand new body that doesn't exhibit aliasing or moire is a no-brainer. Perhaps this was Canon's strategy all along (make the first generation good but flawed so that everyone has to keep buying new bodies every few years).

I really wish Canon would put out a dedicated video body with a true 1920 x 1080 sensor, or better yet, a 3K sensor, but keep it small and cheap, like the DSLR's are now. Sony's already done it, but they screwed the pooch on the price ($6,000). This is because they're new. In a few years, they will be going for $1500.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #8
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Jeff. Nowhere here have you mentiooned about learning audio.

It forms 50% of a picture's value. Mic placement, quality, gain, protection from wind noise, and many other factors will augment every single project you do. I would recomend a camera with manual audio controls for the learning process. Of course double system sound is always possible, but you have mentionned budget concerns. Also, no sense in going the external recording route at this stage.

Take a lok at the Sony NX-VG10. It has a large format sensor and interchangeable lenses so that you can experiment with DOF as part of your craft. It will accept external mics, but I believe they are not the pro XLR type. Also, it has a swiveling EVF like a proper camcorder.

7D with its crippled AGC ridden audio will not serve you well in your goal of learning all you will need to make films.

I am not down on DSLRs. I have a T2i and think it is a wonderful tool. However. I also own a large Panasonic camera with XLR inputs, phantom power for mics, audio gain control pots, and level meters onscreen.

Audio is a huge part of the puzzle.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #9
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Hmmm... Looking at that Sony. I don't think it has manual control of audio either.

Well at least the 5DII gives you that control. The Canon 60D also has manual audio gain but not onscreen meters. The Magic Lantern software for the 5DII offers that up for that camera.

Tough choice, I know. But I am sure you will enjoy the creative process, as everyone on this board does I am sure.

Good luck and have fun
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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thane Silliker View Post
Jeff. Nowhere here have you mentiooned about learning audio.

It forms 50% of a picture's value. Mic placement, quality, gain, protection from wind noise, and many other factors will augment every single project you do. I would recomend a camera with manual audio controls for the learning process. Of course double system sound is always possible, but you have mentionned budget concerns. Also, no sense in going the external recording route at this stage.
Yes, I did forget to mention audio. I had planned on separate audio system. Spent a bit of time, yesterday and today, over in the audio forum, and on different vendor sites, looking and trying to figure things out. As far as what I've read about audio, I'm planning on on a shotgun mic, for outdoor use, and a different mic for indoors, or more confined spaces. Then possible a 4 channel field mixer, and a digital recorder. I haven't put a budget on all that yet, cause I don't know much about the equipment just yet. about 10 years ago, I put together a 24 track digital studio, for some friends that have a band. I'm part investor in them, and we built our own studio. So when I started looking at field mixers, I was figuring it was going to be something along the lines of a traditional mixer looking thing, with sliders, and knobs.

My list kind of goes like this.

1. Pick camera, and buy, hopefully with a selection of at least 3 lens, to get started .Tonkia 11-16 was one of them, sigma 33mm f/1.4, and ef-s 17-55 f/2.8 IS, these are the 3 I hoped to start off with, if I went with 7D. I know 2 of them are for the crop camera, but I would go all full frame lenses from here out. Thinking new primes, as well as some ebay lenses. Thinking a good mix of old and new, to work up a look. If I go with 5D, I would probably get the kit lens, its an L series, and I've been told its pretty good for video. That would be the only one I'd be able to get, to start out, for the 5D. Then a good fluid head tripod, matte box, rode mic, for sync track. A good selection of filters. Follow focus.

2. Put together an editing box. I really want a MAC pro, either a book pro to start out, or the tower. Problem is, their both expensive. So I might have to start off with a PC based system, for now, and get the mac when i can afford it. I have own a copy of Vegas 5. I bought it a while back, to edit a quick promo piece for my band friends. I never even registered it, been in the box ever since. So I figure I can take advantage of the upgrade cost, and get the Vegas 10 suit. I'd like to get some adobe programs, and Red Giants magic bullet suit 10. I wouldn't mid trying Adobe CS5, but again, It would take me a bit to get the $1500 or what ever it is for the suit of programs. The Vegas option gives me something to work with for the time being. Now if anyone has an older version of FCP, or the Adobe products, and would let me install them, and then buy the upgrade. I don't know if I'm allowed to say that.

3. Sound equipment.

4. some basic lighting stuff, maybe a few lights, and stands, some reflectors and bounces.

5. Lots of toys!! Slider, jib. Stuff like that.

I totally keep flopping back and for on my camera choice. One day I'm set on 7D, then the next, I go back to 5D. I read reviews on picture quality, how the 5D edges out the 7D slightly. Look at different videos on here, and youtube. All the well produced ones, be them on 5D or 7D look incredible. Then I read, on Blooms website, he still prefers the 5D picture over the 7D. haha!! it is all making my head spin.

Thanks again.
Jeff

Last edited by Jeff Troiano; November 30th, 2010 at 11:34 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thane Silliker View Post
Take a lok at the Sony NX-VG10. It has a large format sensor and interchangeable lenses so that you can experiment with DOF as part of your craft. It will accept external mics, but I believe they are not the pro XLR type. Also, it has a swiveling EVF like a proper camcorder.
I started out looking at the Sony EX1, and then was sold on the EX3, with the Letus relay and 35mm adapter. But when your talking about 13k without lenses. I started looking into alternatives, but will allow me the ability to experiment with dov. So the HDSLRs came into play. For the price, I can get up and working. The lenses I buy will carry over to a future system. And since I will know have a very nice still camera as well, I'm looking forward to trying my hand at HDR photos, and time laps. So as much as I would like the Sony, It looks like DSLR is the way for me to go, and still allow me to budget the other above equipment, and get up and working.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #12
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If one of your decision factors is the 720 60p mode, forget it. Aliasing in 720 mode is so bad it is virtually useless.
Oddly, I've shot 720/60p for months without issue. I wonder why my experience is so different from yours...
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Old December 1st, 2010, 12:22 AM   #13
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Perrone, I would also like to know. Almost every time I shoot 720/60p I get aliasing or moire. I've pretty much given up on this mode. To me, it's worthless.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 12:38 AM   #14
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I'll see if I can find time to shoot some tomorrow...
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Old December 1st, 2010, 01:03 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gabe Spangler View Post
All our camera bodies will be worth nothing on the used market. Bummer...
Perhaps some clueless student/aspiring professional photographer will buy it?

Come on, be realistic. Used Canon 5d's (not mkII's) are going for decent money on ebay still, as is the 1dmkII (not mkIII or VI, but the 2004 dinosaur mkII). Even Canon 50d's are fetching good money on the used market here in Aus.

Jeff, have you considered the upcoming GH2? Solves alot of the problems of the 7d/5dmkII/550d such as overheating, proper viewfinder, moire, audio levels, as well as supposedly blowing the 7d away picture wise (though it's early days and there's not too much footage available yet). Plus it's a much cheaper initial investment, and the lenses will be perfect if you decide to move to the AF100 or whatever model Panasonic have out in a few years time.
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