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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 February 16th, 2011, 05:27 AM   #1
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what equipment do i need to start using the 7D?

Hi, I'm looking at purchasing the 7D. I don't have a huge budget and this camera seems affordable. ($1699) with 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens.

I shoot alot of live gigs, studio recordings and music videos.

What i would like to know is:

Is it imperative that i purchase a rig before i shoot anything?

What lenses (for the future) would you recommend for this camera?

I currently own the Canon XHA1.

i'd appreciate any advice on this!
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Old February 16th, 2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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The lens is your main upgrade - in fact, once you own a body its all about the lens. Do not get caught up in the 'accessory-fever' as I call it.

So having said that, I recommend you do not buy the stock lens - it is useless for what you are shooting. You will regret it within a few weeks (or days). It is too slow, not fixed aperture and wrong focal lengths!
Buy the body only for $1450 and put the money you saved toward a fast wide angle lens. Concerts and studios need fast lenses - unfortunately, they are much more expensive. Also you need min 24mm wide for interiors and especially live gigs to get establishing shots. I would go much wider myself. You also need at least F2.8 or lower.

If there is only one lens to do all this I would get the efs 17-55mm F2.8. I have a lot of lenses and I am lucky to afford L Glass, but this one lens is my stock lens for the 7D. It is not an L lens but its very close to the same quality. It will cover all your needs from interiors to band member close-ups.
For the future look at an ultra-wide, yes, the favorite - Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 and a 70-200mm 2.8 Canon L lens.
If you went with primes, then its the Canon 24mm and 85mm - just these two would be fine for 90% of your work. 24mm is the work-horse of focal lengths!! Try and get the F1.4 (expensive but worth it) if not the F2.8 is around $330.

I can see for music videos a rig or steady cam is a good idea - so I would look at around $400 to $600 for an Indie style shoulder rig. There are loads of threads on these. I have a Zacuto but this may be way out of budget for now.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #3
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Also, don't forget your audio considerations. Most people use the Zoom H4n but there are other options. The pre-amps on these cameras are generally pretty bad, so on-cam audio is really only a last resort. As you get more comfortable with the camera, your lens collection will grow. As stated in the previous post, forget about the kit lens, it's a piece of junk and not nearly fast enough for video work.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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Tajette i would really look into the Sigma 30mm 1.4 a great fast lens for the money and pin sharp. i would also go for the canon 85mm 1.8. These are cheaper then the L Glass equivalent but are two great lens. I know a couple of really good photographers that have the 85mm 1.8 in there bags along with the more expensive L lens. Maby spend the extra money on getting the 70-200 2.8 with IS. The mk1 version should be fine.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #5
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Also, look into the 60D and t2i. Then read up on magic lantern. This camera hack adds so much value to your camera, and its not available for the 7D.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:47 AM   #6
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IMHO the 7D is a waste of money for video. Actualy I'm surprised that noone mentioned it yet.

The 7D is the obvious choice if you want a stills camera as it has better auto focus but for video any other camera in the range will be equal or better.

The 60D offers an articulating LCD and manual audio levels, it is also the only Canon DSLR that does not overheat (o.k. the 1D MkIV doesn't overheat either but that's in a different class) and costs much less. The 550D with the Magic lantern firmware is the most feature packed DSLR in the market (and all that at less than half the price of a 7D). Just check out the related thread.

And last but not least you should also take a look at the Panasonic GH2 that adds a longer rec limit, better IQ, and more features than most Canon DSLRs.

Last edited by Spiros Zaharakis; February 16th, 2011 at 05:36 PM. Reason: misspelled words
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #7
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Despite what Spiro says, the 7D and other Canon DSLRs are being used world wide for event, music video, and narrative film making. I just don't get where a rational thinking person comes up with such a blanket statement.

For event work (which I assume you mean by gigs). Combining you current camera with the 7D footage should go well together.

However, if I was looking at this today, I would be considering the 60 d with the reticulating screen, or the upcoming T3i, which also has a reticulating screen. The T3i will also sport a pretty clean digital zoom. Both will sell for less than the 7D.

On the modding end, if you went with the T2i (550d) and if you have any technical ability at all, you can have access to Magic Lantern. This is an open sources program that has added a lot of feature to the camera, and there is an agressive development community out there that is changing the camera's capabilities daily. Current version of Magic Lantern for the T2i have professional features such as false colors (for exposur control), zebras, audio manipulation, headphone monitoring, and editable crop marks. Also being worked on is an in camera follow focus.and many other features. There is hope that these features will port to the T3i.

As far a rigging up, the form factor of these cameras requires that they be stabilized to reduce some nasty problems. A shoulder mount or a steady rig like the Blackbird will do wonders. Of course, there is nothing prettier (and more expensive) than one of those Redrock or Zacutto rigs, but initiatlly, the concepts are so simple that you can rig something from about $ 20.00 in materials. I am attaching a pic of what I have devised for a few more dollars than that, but this is doing the work and give a rock steady shoulder platform.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 03:45 PM   #8
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While I think a 35mm adapter might be a waste of money at this point, I don't know if a DSLR for video is.

Magic Lantern isn't an option for the 7D, however, I believe the 7D is the only camera that allows HD out via HDMI while recording. The others drop down to 480p which doesn't help me—although you might only need to look at the swivel display on the 60d?

I agree that lens is first followed by a way to record audio (H4N). Third might be PluralEyes to sync up the video/audio in post.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #9
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If it will help you, this is a combination of what I have and a wishlist:

For ENG/ Event work:
- Shoulder mount/monopod/tripod - shoulder mount doesn't need to be expensive
- lenses (in order of priority) : 17-50/55 2.8, could add 11-16 2.8, 70-200+
- video mic
- small portable monitor (i use lilliput 7")
- Nd filters for harsh light
- Polarizing for protecting your lenses
- A solid bag, but bubblewrap and any backpack works
- maybe a small LED light
- for more money, maybe a mixer/ and a sound kit (transmitting mic/reciever)

For more controlled shoots (note, you can always rent instead of buy!)
- Some sort of dolly track
- fast primes: for 7d 28-30 and 1.4 then a 50 1.4 or so will do the trick
- external audio equipment like the zoom, lavs, directional mics
- more rig, support, rods, barn doors, lighting kits and whatever you consider necessary for your budget


Extras, both fun and necessity:
-more batteries! might even want to consider a battery pack
- more CF cards, keep it at 8-16gb so you don't get any problems with more footage in case something happens
- and intervalometer, for timelapses
- more and more lenses, if you are on a budget, there are some good vintage primes cheap
- a m42 adapter, like 30 $ on ebay, will help you mount your vintage lenses
- if you have the budget, some sort of follow focus would be nice to have as well.

Software:
- good computer, 4gb of Ram and professional software.
- some good plugins and programs: Mpeg Streamclip (free), Neat Video, Plural Eyes for synching sound, and maybe Magic Bullet for grading
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Old February 16th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Despite what Spiro says, the 7D and other Canon DSLRs are being used world wide for event, music video, and narrative film making. I just don't get where a rational thinking person comes up with such a blanket statement.
To be honest I don't understand excactly what you mean by that and I'm not sure if what I meant to say came out right. (English is not my mother language).

What I wanted to say is not that the 7D is a bad camera. It is just too expensive for what it has to offer for video compare to the 60D the 550D and the 600D.

It's much better to go for a 60D or a 550D and spend the rest of the money on lenses.

BTW at my studio we have a 5D (mostly for stills) a 7D, a 550D (without ML yet) and I have borrowed a 60D a few times from a friend.
My conclusion is that if I was buying new right now my first choice would be a GH2 and my second the 60D. No way I was going to buy a 7D right now unless it was much cheaper than the 60D.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 07:24 PM   #11
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I have the 5D and the T2i (550d) and except for one very hot 110 degree summer day where I was shooting in open sun, and I had a brief warning on the 5D, I have not experience an overheat issue. In fact, on that same shoot, our second operator had a 7D, and he wasn't having an issue. Of course, I am shooting narrative stuff mainly, so I don't have long runs.

But point is many users are getting along fine with the 7D, and it was the early choice of many over the 5 D due to cost, and its less shallow depth of field.

I wouldn't buy one either, but there are features that make it desireable to some. Like full time HD out.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #12
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I by no means am an expert...

...But I do agree with the lenses factor.

Personally I went the vintage route and purchase all manual Pentax, Nikon and Sigma lenses with chipped adapters ($15-$20 each). I have a Pentax 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and 135mm 2.0. Granted I'm only shooting narratives but those are primes and the glass is way sweet. My Sigma I just acquired, is a 3.5 but it's 14mm that I got on a great deal so while it might suck for live shooting, it might be quite effective for narrative. Lastly you can get some really sweet nikon vintage glass on the cheap (compared to canon EF lenses IMHO).

I will also add to the mix that I did buy the kit lens. While I don't use this lens to shoot video, I do use it as a walking around lens for still photography. I think it's worth the purchase. I would never dare to use any of my primes out and about. Case in point, friends and I did kereoke 2-3 months back and I used the 7D to capture the light hearted fun. I suppose I could have just used an iPhone 4 but I haven't upgraded just yet. Plus there's tons of behind the scenes footage captured to video from music video shoots using the kit lens and some of that footage is good enough so I wouldn't totally discount it.

On another note, the feature we shot last June-July, over heating was a huge issue on my set as we shot some long scenes on some very hot days. 12 hours. But at the end of it all, I love the 7D. Yes it was a critical issue but he had a cooling fan and heat blanket. It was a pain. I'm not familiar with the 60D or the 550d so I can't comment on the technology.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
I wouldn't buy one either, but there are features that make it desireable to some. Like full time HD out.
HD output on HDMI is probably the only benefit a 7D has over the other 3. If one has to use an external monitor then the 7D could be a logical choice, otherwise the other 3 offer much better value for money.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #14
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There is a another reason why i would use the 7d over the 550. i have both ( btw) Its the weight. I have a steadicam merlin and theres no way that i could get it ballanced solid. The 7d was no problem. Maby theres guys that have it flying perfect but couldnt get it rock solid, its just to light.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 10:47 AM   #15
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Adding a couple weights on top will cost much less (I know you already have both and I don't mean that for you, but choosing to buy the 7D over the 550D because of the weight is... hmmm... well... you know, don't make me say it,)
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