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Old November 8th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #1
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Some 5D Mk. II notes on AE, and images of the camera and box

Found out yesterday how the Canon 5D Mk. II handles exposure during its video recording mode: exposure is auto when recording HD video, and is adjusted by the camera in a particular order which is based on creating as little audible camera noise as possible so as not to affect the sound that's also being recorded.

The AE adjustment order is ISO (gain), followed by shutter speed, followed by aperture.

The idea behind this is that changing the ISO is an electronic function which does not generate audible camera noise, so it is prioritized as the first parameter to be adjusted by the AE function. Shutter speed is next, but HD video recording in the 5D Mk. II is limited to a narrow shutter speed range of just 1/30th sec. to 1/125th sec. Finally, the aperture is changed only as a last resort due to the physical noise generated by the camera's mechanical iris blades (heard as a series of clicking sounds).

Exposure can be locked, of course, which freezes all of the AE adjustment parameters (ISO, shutter, aperture) into their current positions. You'd have to use the manual exposure "trick" described in our Canon HV Series forum, using a bounce card or some other source to force your desired exposure, and then lock that exposure which will prevent the AE from working, and then compose your shot before starting the recording.

In the photos below (click to see 'em big), a Sennheiser MKE400 stereo mini-shotgun mic is attached to the 5D Mk. II's hot shoe and is plugged in via the 1/8th-inch stereo mini jack on the left side of the camera (thanks Mike). This or most any other external mic will be highly preferable to using the camera's built-in mic; however there is no provision for manual audio level adjustment, and worse, no way to externally monitor live audio recording through headphones. The camera has a standard AV output jack, which on Canon digital video camcorders (such as the current VIXIA line) can be reconfigured via menu to function as a headphone output -- unfortunately that critical feature has not been included in the Canon 5D Mk. II's menu system.

Also shown below is the retail packaging which hopefully we will all be seeing very soon.
Attached Thumbnails
Some 5D Mk. II notes on AE, and images of the camera and box-5dsenn400mic1.jpg   Some 5D Mk. II notes on AE, and images of the camera and box-5dsenn400mic2.jpg  

Some 5D Mk. II notes on AE, and images of the camera and box-5dbackmic.jpg   Some 5D Mk. II notes on AE, and images of the camera and box-5dbox1.jpg  

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Old November 8th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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If it only adjusts aperture as a last resort, what aperture does it keep the camera at until that last resort?

I thought I had heard you could use exposure compensation and then lock the AE, true?

I guess the use of a light meter could come in handy again to establish what to "trick" the camera to. Ya think?

Thanks for posting this info!
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Old November 8th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #3
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1. The aperture value that it sets in the first place is going to depend on how fast the lens is that's mounted on the camera. For example, you might have a fast f/1.6 prime lens or you might be using a slower variable-aperture zoom lens, one that might be f/3.5 at the wide end and f/5.6 at the telephoto end. So the answer is that it all depends, on what the maximum aperture value is for a given lens at a given focal length. If f/4.8 is the fastest the lens can go, then that's what the camera will use.

2. Yes, you can use Exp. Comp. with AE.

3. The camera already has a built-in light meter; it'll tell you what to expose for based on what it's pointed at, and which metering mode you've chosen. But sure, a handheld light meter is always a useful thing to keep nearby.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 03:16 PM   #4
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Thanks Chris. That is interesting to know because that could effect lens choices. Since some folks may not WANT to shoot anymore wide open than f/2.8 or so, they may not want to purchase a lens that will do f/1.2 or the camera may force you into using it, giving you too little depth of field.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #5
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In the Canon line of lenses there are the "Magic" Lenses.... those will make this camera earn its money....

Some of the magic...

35mm
50mm
85mm
100mm
200mm 1.8 ( if you can find one )
300mm

I can't wait to put a tilt/shift on this cam... :-)

just remember, if you get a fast lens... 2.8 or faster you can always dial in a slower number... (greater f stop) but you can't get a slow lens to go faster....

A lens faster than 2.8 will have to have some form of filter ( polarizer, ND filter ) on the front if you plan on using it full open in bright light...
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Old November 8th, 2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
just remember, if you get a fast lens... 2.8 or faster you can always dial in a slower number... (greater f stop) but you can't get a slow lens to go faster....

A lens faster than 2.8 will have to have some form of filter ( polarizer, ND filter ) on the front if you plan on using it full open in bright light...
From what I understand, I don't think this is the case. You have no manual control over the aperture (in video mode). I'd love to use the 50mm f/1.2 L series lens. However, if in low light the camera is going to force me to use f/1.2 I won't like it. I'd rather use f/2.8 and bump the ISO up a bit more. So I may go with the 24-70mm f/2.8 L series zoom lens instead.

I completely agree that having a nice selection of ND filters in the bag is going to be needed to continue maintaining the desired depth of field on bright sunny days.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #7
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Seems like it would be very worthwhile to get lenses that have built in aperture rings for manual control over aperture. from what i understand, no canon ef lenses have this? I am more familiar with Nikon F and Canon FD lenses, so someone will have to confirm this for me. Perhaps 3rd party EF lenses have an aperture ring? otherwise it might be worthwhile to put some nikon lenses on this. Still will be a pain that you'll pretty much be stuck always shooting with an open shutter (1/30th)... Sounds like it would be in iso 6400 before it closes the shutter down from 1/30th at all. It will be its own look. It'll be like all those people who shoot with spinning ground glass 35mm lens adapters that have to shoot at 1/24th or 1/30th shutter all the time because they cant get enough light into the lens otherwise... only this will look so much cleaner and not still be underexposed.

If someone who knows more about what lenses would offer manual aperture rings, it would be great if you could share your knowledge. My understanding is that all the old old lenses have them, most of the new new lenses do not (especially certain lens mounts), and in between its sort of all over the place. Fortunately EF mount has a relatively short registration distance so it should be quite easy to adapt most other lenses to work on the 5dmk2, except for old canon FD lenses, that is. A lot of video guys ive met who use 35mm adapters dont seem to care that much about registration distance or infinity focus (then again, DPs dont, ACs do), in which case adapting any lens would be easy. If anyone knows of any great lenses that definitely have aperture rings, please share.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #8
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There are converters for Canon FD lens to Canon EF body. I will probably pick one up just because it may be useful and cheap. FD lenses cost a lot less, are more common, and have manual controls. Besides, I already have a set :)

The adapter is about $35 on ebay, and has some corrective optics to restore infinity focus.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler Franco View Post
From what I understand, I don't think this is the case. You have no manual control over the aperture (in video mode). I'd love to use the 50mm f/1.2 L series lens. However, if in low light the camera is going to force me to use f/1.2 I won't like it. I'd rather use f/2.8 and bump the ISO up a bit more. So I may go with the 24-70mm f/2.8 L series zoom lens instead.

I completely agree that having a nice selection of ND filters in the bag is going to be needed to continue maintaining the desired depth of field on bright sunny days.

The manual says you can use AE lock in movie mode... I'm taking this as choose exposure,
choose aperture and lock them down... what I also see in the manual is that you do not
have control over the ISO... ???
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Old November 9th, 2008, 12:50 PM   #10
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Really? an adapter with optics that fixes the registration distance incompatibility between EF and FD? i know they exist but i thought it would be more expensive. i wonder how it affects the quality of the lens. Of course just know that some canon FD lenses dont close the aperture when you turn the ring unless you have a way of pushing down the mechanical lever on the back of the lens. you can shove something in there, or use a part that comes with FD macro extension tubes (had one of these but cant seem to find it). I believe canon lens focus rings turn the correct way as opposed to nikon lenses which turn the other way, for those of us that are used to video/cine lenses.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Yuan-Vogel View Post
Really? an adapter with optics that fixes the registration distance incompatibility between EF and FD? i know they exist but i thought it would be more expensive. i wonder how it affects the quality of the lens. Of course just know that some canon FD lenses dont close the aperture when you turn the ring unless you have a way of pushing down the mechanical lever on the back of the lens. you can shove something in there, or use a part that comes with FD macro extension tubes (had one of these but cant seem to find it). I believe canon lens focus rings turn the correct way as opposed to nikon lenses which turn the other way, for those of us that are used to video/cine lenses.
I was using the FD lenses on a SGPro, to release the iris controls all I had to do is add a bit of hot glue on the back.

I'm not sure about the quality of the corrective optics used in the FD to EF adapter, or even if they work at all! I would not be surprised if it had some negative side effects, however, I think its worth a shot.

Here is the adapter I was talking about:
Canon FD Lens to EOS EF Body Mount Adapter made Japan - eBay (item 110306838150 end time Dec-01-08 17:28:32 PST)
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Old November 9th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #12
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Wow, that's a deal for using FD lenses on EF bodies if it works. If anyone has one of these or gets one, be sure to let us know how well they work.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #13
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Chris, thanks for the info!

Is it possible to see which aperture, shutter and ISO values are in use when in movie mode? I ask this because the manual says "The shutter speed and aperture displayed in the Live View screen when the shutter button is pressed halfway are for shooting still photos," so I'm inferring that they may not be identical to what's in use for the movie capture.

Does it make any difference whether you're in P. Tv, Av or M modes when shooting movies?

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Old November 9th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #14
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Forget the cheap FD to EF lens convertors, I tried one years ago and they are truely bad, very soft. They also cause a light loss if I remember correctly. Canon made a very good FD to EOS adapter for a short while, this worked as a teleconvertor and was only usable on long lenses like the 300 f2.8 and above.

If you want simple cheap lenses that work on an eos mount in manual mode try an old Tamron adaptall 2 lens (not the newer ones) with this Tamron adaptall-2 Lens to Canon EOS adapter+worth$6 cap - eBay (item 160285294659 end time Nov-19-08 17:02:27 PST) The old 180mm f2.5 and 90mm f2.5 were stunning.

Also any adapted Nikon lens. Even the latest G ones will work with this adapter Nikon G - Canon EOS Adapter

Also look at adapted Contax fit or Leica fit lenses. You can get Contax mount lenses from the likes of Sigma, Yashica and Tokina for low cost.

Try here Alternative Gear & Lenses - FM Forums for plenty more info.

A vari ND or stacked polarizers may be the best way to achieve the desired aperture whether you use EF lenses or adapted lenses.

Dan
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Old November 9th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #15
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You said its been a few years, do you think its possible they have improved? Do you know who manufactured the adapter you tried?

I don't really mind spending the extra cash on new Canon lenses, but it would be nice if I could just adapt the ones I already have and am happy with.
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