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All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.


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Old December 18th, 2008, 05:08 AM   #1
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35mm adaptor > 5d convert initial thoughts

It's my first day with the 5d, having sold my Lestus EX/XH-A1 setup. I'd like to start by thanking James Miller, Dan Chung and Bunseng Chuor, whose discoveries and footage shared on this board convinced me to make the leap.

I don't have anything startling to add, but a few personal observations after an afternoon with the camera.

* The lack manual control is (as has been well documented) a severe pain in the neck and hindrance to doing serious work with this camera. My feeling is Canon simply protecting their camcorder market; they could easily provide a fix at least for audio monitoring, iso/aperture/shutter control, and framerate. If they don't, I will be switching to Nikon or Pentax or whoever budges first.

* The default video preset is unusable. Way too much saturation, horribly crushed blacks. Thanks again to James Miller for experimenting with the software and demonstrating a flat look can be achieved.

* While a step up from the XH-A1, the low light performance didn't blow me away. Satisfactory image quality is still going to require a decent light kit and a lot of careful planning. I won't be doing away with my Kinos/Dedos just yet.

Having said that...

* I love the size of the camera... this is the biggest plus for me, especially having come from a letus extreme system. I wandered downtown, shot up the cable car, sang carols with my three year old at day-care, shot back down the cable car carrying my boy in one arm and the 5D in the other, jumped on a bus, cruised home, intermittently grabbing shots all the way. Try that with a Letus, try that with Red! Walked in the door, pop out the CF card, instant gratification :-) This is a revolution for me. I know I'm going to be shooting a lot lot more.

* I love the fact bystanders see you as just another tourist with a camera! That was hard to do with the Letus.

* the LCD is very usable, and in fact much better than the HVX's or XH-A1s. The 10x magnification is sharp and crisp and makes focussing easy. It's just a pity you can't access it once recording has started. But overall the LCD has been a pleasant surprise.

* I have half a dozen Nikkors from my Letus days, and with a $20 adaptor they're working great. I was a little iffy about this before trying it out for myself, but Dan Chung's footage convinced me. By golly, the Nikkors on the 5D are a sure thing. [I believe this is the best way to pressure Canon to give us the firmware upgrades we need - promote Nikon lens sales until they give us control!!!]

One slightly OT note: as an enthusiast level photographer I was immediately struck by the different character of stills produced by this camera, having owned two Nikon DSLRs. Sure the photos are sharp and detailed (I've been using the kit lens for stills), but there is something "glassy" about them - I find myself missing the texture that comes out of the box with Nikons. But I'm sure get used to the Canon look!
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Old December 18th, 2008, 07:14 AM   #2
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..... My feeling is Canon simply protecting their camcorder market....
...or the 1080p implementation in the 1 series cameras, when it appears (in the mkiv maybe?). Canon are pretty good at giving us reasons to buy the flagship model...
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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i'm in the same boat... or soon to be. Glad to hear my Nikkors will be no problem. As a Nikon guy I am looking forward to Canon's skin tones. I personally like their color space very much. Granted I tweak most pix. Try the Leica and Contax lenses too!
What makes me super-excited is that Canon uses many different lenses. More to play with!
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #4
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Josh:

I have an older Nikkor 50mm F1.4 that has a bit of a flange extending from the rear element. Do you see any issues with that creating problems ?
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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about your initial thoughts on 5D

* While a step up from the XH-A1, the low light performance didn't blow me away. Satisfactory image quality is still going to require a decent light kit and a lot of careful planning. I won't be doing away with my Kinos/Dedos just yet.

How much difference and what lenses?

Thank you for your review Josh.
I work with a Sony A1u, so if the XH-A1 is better in low light than A1U then it will be 2 step up for me!
I shoot mostly available light, and light kit is not an option or prohibited(concerts).
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Old December 18th, 2008, 03:11 PM   #6
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Josh:

I have an older Nikkor 50mm F1.4 that has a bit of a flange extending from the rear element. Do you see any issues with that creating problems ?
Sorry Chris, I sold my F1.4 a while ago (during a moment of insanity) and I'm now trying to get hold of another. I've only tried the 1.8 and it's fine... in fact every Nikkor I've tried works great...

I know what you mean about the flange. I *think* it would be okay. The mirror looks a fair way back, and the adaptor provides a few mm of extra distance too.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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* While a step up from the XH-A1, the low light performance didn't blow me away. Satisfactory image quality is still going to require a decent light kit and a lot of careful planning. I won't be doing away with my Kinos/Dedos just yet.

How much difference and what lenses?

Thank you for your review Josh.
I work with a Sony A1u, so if the XH-A1 is better in low light than A1U then it will be 2 step up for me!
I shoot mostly available light, and light kit is not an option or prohibited(concerts).
I should have held back with that comment as I didn't do any serious testing, it was just an initial feeling, and I didn't have a superfast prime attached. I briefly shot in a couple of spaces I've shot with the XHA1 in low light (my dimly lit kitchen, and equally dimly lit local cafe), and my feeling was to get the ISO acceptably low I would have to set up my light kit. I think in a concert situation it would be a bit different, because areas of crushed black juxtaposed against the light would be desirable, right? With a 1.4 attached I'm sure you'll get killer results, and a world away from your A1u.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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* I love the size of the camera... This is a revolution for me. I know I'm going to be shooting a lot lot more.

I think this is oe of the biggest intangibles that a lot of people overlook Josh. Everyone seems to talk about thise things as if everyone expects to shoot day to day with a small crew, dollies etc. and do film transfers.

The truth is most people, be it with an EX or an HD100 with or without adapters, shoot by themselves...pro or not, most of the time. For any artist or wannabe or whatever, shooting more is how you become consistently better and have more great work offer.

That may sound, duh, but it's pretty essential in the real world.

I'm an amateur astronomer and I wrote a tune a while back called 4" Refractor about one of the truest, cross discipline quotes I've ever read. It was in an astronomy book and the gist of the quote was, "I saw more of the heavens when I had a simple four inch refractor than I ever did with my giant 16" Dobsonian".

If you have something that enables you to quickly and effortlessly capture creative ideas...or the perfect unscripted moment, you'lll have far more success and growth and product than the occasional opportunity to work with the whole nine yards.

It's one of the non-technical reasons that I've been totally jazzed since this whole D90, 5D thing broke. My day to day experience is with Canon and JVC cameras with the Mini35 and Letus systems.

I'm still really intrigued and hopeful about the new Panasonic G HD 4/3 DSLR...but that's a whole other thread.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #9
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What make the 5dm2 so attractive to me is the full frame 35mm sensor. The 4/3 system has a sensor that's only about 1/3 as large, so you won't have as much DOF control.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:37 PM   #10
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What make the 5dm2 so attractive to me is the full frame 35mm sensor. The 4/3 system has a sensor that's only about 1/3 as large, so you won't have as much DOF control.
Likewise, but there are plusses too, like a real hi res VF to shot through which is more of that hybrid photographer/cinematographer holy grail that I'm looking forward to. Panasonic has taken a direction that will allow for what neither Canon or Nikon ever will and that's framing, exposing and then shooting exactly as you would normally because they eliminated the optical VF and will allow WYSIWYG shooting and adjustments on the fly including auto focus on the fly.

I've seen some very shallow DOF from the G1 and that's exactly what the HD version will use for format. Of course I have no idea regarding actual image quality but believe it a 1080p/24p system based on the brief promo they had on their site.

They're predicting a spring '09 release which has certainly given them time to see the overwhelming response to the 5DII and the concerns/input re it and the D90, so maybe they'll make some of those big adjustments.

The size is crazy, the glass is silly small, price will be well below 5D...but the VF and a number of focus and tracking features could really be another level.

There's good reason to expect something good...especially because it's being developed and marketed specifically as an HD camera rather than an add-on to a DSLR.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #11
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Jim, what about lenses? Won't I need all new lenses for a 4/3 camera? With the Canon, I can use exisitng glass and even find used lenses. Thanks.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #12
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You can get an adapter to use 35mm glass on a 4/3rds camera, but it will turn your 50mm into a telephoto.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #13
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Jim, what about lenses? Won't I need all new lenses for a 4/3 camera? With the Canon, I can use exisitng glass and even find used lenses. Thanks.
Again, this is all preliminary, just based on early info from Panasonic, and there's no of way to know that they've continued their relationship with Leica with the new HD model but the thing that looks promising is the camera is being released with a dedicated HD lens covering a 35mm equivalent of 30mm-300mm.

So, assuming quality glass, that would make for a great all around production lens. Plus, of course it will allow for all of the full electronic controls including motion tracking, real time AF, etc.

Someone is going to get this really right in the next year or so, and maybe this will be the next serious step.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 05:02 PM   #14
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You can get an adapter to use 35mm glass on a 4/3rds camera, but it will turn your 50mm into a telephoto.
Well to be clear - a short tele....100mm to be precise.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #15
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Well to be clear - a short tele....100mm to be precise.
Exactly.

On the bright side, a cheap lens with vignetting will look pretty good on a 4/3rds camera. Sigma lenses would be a good match. They tend to make lenses with large apertures to sell on the spec numbers at a low price. But they sacrifice the corners to do it. With a 4/3rds camera and a 35mm adapter, the corners are no longer an issue. But you'll get a lot of light and shallow DOF on a budget.
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