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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Got My Hands on the New Canon Mark II 5D Last Night

I got lucky at the last second, finding out that a Canon Rep was speaking to the Waco Photographer's Guild last night, and that he would have a Canon 5D Mark II in tow. I couldn't wait to get my grubby little fingers on it.

The most impressive moment of the night was when the Canon Rep, not knowing that I, a videographer, was in the room, told all the photographers that they better start learning how to shoot video because it will be easier for videographers to start taking their business away rather than the other way around!

I got to play with the video features a bit, but I didn't have someone tutoring me, so I wasn't able to completely get the feel of it. This two things I know from my brief experience - (1) the low light performance is far above any HD videocamera I've tested, and (2) the shallow DOF is going to be incredible for creating detail shots, title shots, specialty shots - and doing so with a much more lightweight unit than a videocamera with a 35mm adapter.

I only got to use it with a 50mm 1.2 lens, so in the low light, it was quite difficult to keep moving subjects in focus considering the the shallow DOF. I imagine there's a better lens to accomplish more documentary shooting where more DOF would be required.

Despite it's limitations, I still believe it will change the industries (photo and video) in the ways I put forth in this blog entry, written one week before getting hands on experience.

Anyone ready to start making photo albums?

jones
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:34 PM   #2
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The 1.2 lens is probably a stop or more faster than the video lenses you are used to. Each extra stop doubles the amount of light reaching the CCD. Likewise the 1.2 lens will give a shallower depth of field on any camera. For all that it is an impressive camera to be sure.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #3
 
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The very fact that this camera is fully automatic exposure, only, rules it out as a tool I could use. It's a step in the right direction, tho'. As any videographer knows, if you can't control the shutter speed, it's relegated to the status of a very hi tech toy.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #4
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I think it's going to be very interesting to see how this type of camera actually impacts the industry.

Most photographers (my wife included) already recognize that weddings are the lowest profit margin service they provide .. and weddings typically bring more stress than any other type of shoot. With video being an afterthought for most brides still, and with videography in general not bringing in the kind of money most videographers feel they are worth ... it kind of doesn't make sense for photographers to try and incorporate this service into their own arsenal. Basically, they would be adding a service that pays an even lower profit margin and requires them to learn a new discipline and shoot in two different mediums on the wedding day.

I'm not saying photographers won't do this, because I'm sure they will. I just have a feeling that many of them will jump into it quickly to try and add some extra revenue to their weddings .. and then quickly discover it's not worth the effort for them. I could be totally wrong, but how many photographers have stated on here that they've tried video and would never pursue it again? Until video starts getting a greater demand and starts bringing in better rates, I don't see the average photographer adding this new service.

I could be completely wrong, but that's my guess.

I also think there's a chance that photographers pushing video services could help give our industry more exposure and more appeal. It could also totally backfire if you have a lot of photographers showing off bad video. It would almost be like taking our industry a few steps backwards. Who knows what will happen.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bill Ravens View Post
The very fact that this camera is fully automatic exposure, only...
That's not entirely accurate. In video mode it is indeed AE, but there are two ways to work around it: first, you can lock exposure so that it's no longer changing, and second, you can trick it into whatever exposure value you want prior to setting AE lock.

Quote:
if you can't control the shutter speed, it's relegated to the status of a very hi tech toy.
Shutter speed in video mode is limited to a narrow range from 1/30th to 1/125th. It can be "controlled" to the extent that it can be locked off using the method described above.

The camera's AE mode when recording video is an unfortunate limitation which calls for work-arounds, but it is most definitely not a show-stopper. Anyone wanting to use it for video will be able to do so; all that is required of the shooter is some determination and know-how.

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a Canon Rep was speaking to the Waco Photographer's Guild last night...
Was it Bob, from Dallas? He's awesome.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #6
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[Chuckles] Sounds a lot like the Canon HV20 exposure (DOF) hacks. These two concepts, Still Cams that shoot HD vids and Consumer HD cams that are missing lens interchangeability and higher than 3MP still res, will be resolved soon. No knowing how soon though. I wouldn't bank on the separation of powers for too much longer though. Still/Vid convergence in nigh. And high time too! Sick of buying two systems.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris P. Jones View Post
told all the photographers that they better start learning how to shoot video because it will be easier for videographers to start taking their business away rather than the other way around!

I bet they say same thing in videographer's group. Though in my biased opinion, its much harder to learn all intricacies of video and audio, with all the formats, codecs, motions, conversions, etc. than to learn high quality photography.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
Most photographers (my wife included) already recognize that weddings are the lowest profit margin service they provide .. and weddings typically bring more stress than any other type of shoot. With video being an afterthought for most brides still, and with videography in general not bringing in the kind of money most videographers feel they are worth ... it kind of doesn't make sense for photographers to try and incorporate this service into their own arsenal.
Good point Travis.

With increased competition in the photo market, and with an economic slowdown, though, photographers might look for additional ways in which they can make a buck.

jones
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Old November 12th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #9
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Was it Bob, from Dallas? He's awesome.
Not Bob! Jerry Ward. But I bet they're buddies.

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Old November 13th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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These are the things a photographer would have to learn to compete with videographers:

Using a tripod, holding a shot, steady motion, lighting without a flash, wireless audio, wired audio, mic selection, mic placement, video editing, audio editing, video compression, DVD authoring, web video, ... I could go on, not to mention a lack of experience. I think for photographers, they'll find the complexity (and software/equipment cost) increasing exponentially.

For clients who primarily want photos but figure why not capture a little video too, there would be a market there for photographers. For those primarily interested in video but why not get a few photos, that's the market for videographers. I don't see this as much of a game changer since those are the markets we already work in respectively.

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Old November 13th, 2008, 11:00 AM   #11
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Brent,

As a photographer first and foremost I don't really agree. These cameras will make some (certainly not all) photographers change the way they think, some will turn out to be naturally good at video, the rest won't. But if only 1 percent of all professional photographers doing press, weddings, corporate work etc turn out to have real aptitude for video then this really is a game changer. Why? because the are so many more of them than professional videographers. That would change the 'game' certainly in terms of the economics of both professions.

I won't pretend to know everything about video, but I think the technical side is not much of a hurdle to photographers (they are a pretty technical bunch by and large). The real challenge is in more creative side of video and appreciating how the moving image differs to stills. You can judge for yourself if photographers like me are 'good enough'.

Dan
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Old November 13th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #12
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Not Bob! Jerry Ward. But I bet they're buddies.
Ah-hah. Yes, I know Jerry well... we've hoisted one or two steins together. I had forgotten that he moved to Dallas after Katrina. For a real hoot, sit in with Bob and Jerry at dinner sometime. Thanks a bunch, Chris...
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Old November 13th, 2008, 11:09 AM   #13
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Still VS Video 'Complexity' skill-set mastery? It's all in the mind friends.

And it all depends on where you are on the chronological time-line and are we talking just camera operation or the gamut of 'Indy' skills?.
Before the advent of auto-everything digital paradigm in still photography, the apprenticeship and learning curve was MUCH steeper and longer for the still professional, commercial shooters, particularly studio- than for video of the Mid '80's.

I practice both with roughly equal competence, but having back-burner'd video till Firewire was mature and Mac NLE's were a reality there's a 10 year gap in my video resume. I earned my NLE stripes editing with Discrete Logic apps on SGI's for broadcast. It's all in the mind.

Technology oriented brains can grasp and master almost anything technological. The aesthetic and narrative skills, not to mention the larger production workload of movie making are another matter. Still shoots require smaller crews for sure. Generally, It boils down to dedication to the discipline.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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Yes. The production of a movie, short or long is MUCH greater than of a still picture story. They are not comparable media past discussions of the 'Camera' work.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #15
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But if only 1 percent of all professional photographers doing press, weddings, corporate work etc turn out to have real aptitude for video then this really is a game changer. Dan
My question would then be, why are they not already in the market for video? Only because they would have to buy a video camera? The cost of say a Canon XH A1 is not that great compared to the cost of all the other accessories required for good video - lights, mics, tripods, software, etc.

The way the 5D Mark II might be a game changer is in raw image quality at the lower professional level, regardless of whether it is a photographer or videographer. Of course until it's out, it's hard to know how it will perform in the real world.

Brett
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