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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #1
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Using the 5D Mark II as your main "camcorder"?

I know that this topic was indirectly covered in other threads. But please bare with me... As I wait for my 5D Mark II to arrive, I am wondering about what kind of successes (or failures) people have had with using this camera as their sole "home camcorder." The reason is because I would LOVE to NOT have to deal with multiple formats when I am editing. Right now I have a good HDV camcorder and it would be nice to NOT have to deal with importing tape! Or try to cut multiple formats on a single timeline.

Could someone comment specifically about how feasible it is to use this camera as your main vacation and home informal camcorder? Does the noise from IS lenses annoying you enough to ruin informal home videos? Do you find yourself having to decrease the aperture to get a wider DOF? Is focusing a real pain? Is the jitter and shake from non-IS lenses horrible?

I know that I will eventually be able to answer all these questions on my own once my 5D Mark II arrives... BUT the curiosity is KILLING ME! ;-)
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by David Koo View Post
I know that this topic was indirectly covered in other threads. But please bare with me... As I wait for my 5D Mark II to arrive, I am wondering about what kind of successes (or failures) people have had with using this camera as their sole "home camcorder." The reason is because I would LOVE to NOT have to deal with multiple formats when I am editing. Right now I have a good HDV camcorder and it would be nice to NOT have to deal with importing tape! Or try to cut multiple formats on a single timeline.

Could someone comment specifically about how feasible it is to use this camera as your main vacation and home informal camcorder? Does the noise from IS lenses annoying you enough to ruin informal home videos? Do you find yourself having to decrease the aperture to get a wider DOF? Is focusing a real pain? Is the jitter and shake from non-IS lenses horrible?

I know that I will eventually be able to answer all these questions on my own once my 5D Mark II arrives... BUT the curiosity is KILLING ME! ;-)
for quick, candid shots around the house it's probably not the best tool. "Jitter and shake" from non-IS lenses isn't much of a problem unless maybe you're looking at big focal lengths. For basic stuff it's decent and I even used mine to shoot a youth indoor soccer game a few weeks ago. Quickly and accurately focusing manually can be a challenge - I will see when the outdoor season starts up how much it helps to shoot at small apertures.

basically I prefer using a "typical" camcorder for that type of work. But for the types of shots where I have a lot more control over what I'm shooting, I think it's difficult to top what the 5D can do.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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just Mark 2 it!

David, I've only had the cam for 4 days now, and I'm probably still in that 'new gear honeymoon phase,' but I think once you get your hands on it and see what it can do just with minimal available light, (making even drab locations look vibrant and interesting), you are not going to want to use anything else.

The fact that it's original purpose was to be a 21MP still cam that also shoots HD video, makes it even more practical for use on your family vacations. Now you won't have to lug around both a digital SLR and your camcorder. Just don't try and walk and shoot with it without a stabilizing device or even an unextended tripod/monopod to weigh it down.

I can't really comment on the IS noise issue as I've not done any sync sound experiments with it yet (and my lens is the non-IS 24-70mm f/2.8 L). Good luck... Enjoy the mkII.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Thanks you Keith and Krishna for the positive reports!

WHERE'S THE UPS GUY!!!!!
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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I think it depends on your definition of "every day camcorder."

If you expect to hand it to a novice, tell them to hit record, and see what happens, you'll be disappointed. If nothing else, make sure they have a wide lens and they know where the focus ring is.

On the other hand, if you get a separate mic, operate it yourself, and take care to stabilize it and focus, you'll get shots that you'll actually want to look at over and over in the future.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #6
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I think it depends on your definition of "every day camcorder."

If you expect to hand it to a novice, tell them to hit record, and see what happens, you'll be disappointed. If nothing else, make sure they have a wide lens and they know where the focus ring is.

On the other hand, if you get a separate mic, operate it yourself, and take care to stabilize it and focus, you'll get shots that you'll actually want to look at over and over in the future.
good point - I was actually going to come back here and add that it's probably not something you would hand off to your wife, child, friend, etc... and just expect them to get decent footage. Well, some folks are like that with a regular camcorder too, I suppose.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #7
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Well, some folks are like that with a regular camcorder too, I suppose.
True. But with regular, modern camcorders, they can't blame the camera. With the 5D, one risk their wives saying, "this camera stinks. How much did it cost again?"
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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True. But with regular, modern camcorders, they can't blame the camera. With the 5D, one risk their wives saying, "this camera stinks. How much did it cost again?"
That's dangerous!

That settles it... My wife MUST stay away from this camera!

;-)
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #9
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The solution is to take beautiful pictures at Christmas, birthdays and other events. Quickly upload the photos to an Apple TV or other device and gather around to look at them. "Oooh. Ahhh."

You might capture some video too, but if you spend all day at the computer editing the thing, the camera will be right back in the doghouse! Edit the videos to view at the *next* event.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #10
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The solution is to take beautiful pictures at Christmas, birthdays and other events. Quickly upload the photos to an Apple TV or other device and gather around to look at them. "Oooh. Ahhh."

You might capture some video too, but if you spend all day at the computer editing the thing, the camera will be right back in the doghouse! Edit the videos to view at the *next* event.
Oooooooo... An excuse to buy an Apple TV!

YOU ARE A GENIUS!

Seriously, will the Apple TV play the video directly from the 5D Mark II without transcoding? Or are you just talking about photos?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #11
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Seriously, will the Apple TV play the video directly from the 5D Mark II without transcoding? Or are you just talking about photos?
I've got the 720p version. I need to transcode for it. And, yeah, I was talking about photos.

The Apple TV format encodes pretty quickly though. Besides, I'm not a fan of showing raw video. If it hasn't been edited, it's rarely worth watching.

That said, doesn't the Western Digital box show the MOV files directly? The problem with the Apple TV box to me is that it's handcuffed to iTunes. The box would rock if the hard drive was just available as a straight network drive.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #12
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(and my lens is the non-IS 24-70mm f/2.8 L). Good luck... Enjoy the mkII.
I got my 5D2 before XMAS. I was taking my normal shots with the 17-40 (well, not so "normal" since I'm using FF for the first time), when I decided to try video on a lark. I wasn't expecting much. I opened the lens wide to 17mm and let it roll. To my surprise the video was quite nice and the family loved it. The 17mm minimized my shake and even my zooms looked decent. The UWA capturing the whole family, combined with the great HD, made a video that I could never get with my HDV camcorder (which I'm selling).

I am planning on using the 5D2 video for serious work and then there will always be a tripod with fluid head, lens twisting, etc. But I was pleasantly surprised it was OK for home use. Now that I think about it, the problems with the 5D2, and it's uncontrollable nature, are actually OK for home movies where quality matters less.

It doesn't hurt that it is free (assuming you got the 5D2 for pics).
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Old January 27th, 2009, 08:09 PM   #13
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Thanks for the feedback Mark...

On my Sony A1U camcorder, I rely on IS so much that I was concerned about the non-IS video from the 5D Mark II (all my lenses are non-IS and I cannot afford new lenses right now). Thanks for the feedback...

And maybe that's the solution for the noisy IS lenses—use WIDE ANGLE non-IS lenses... Less jitter, no IS noise...
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Old January 28th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #14
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All about using the Canon 5D Mk. II D-SLR for HD video recording.

I'll be honest, I sold ALL my video stuff .. well the Canon XH A1 and the XL H1 just keeping the HV20 to playback hdv tapes. The EOS 5D MkII gives such gorgeous video albeit 30P not 25 or 24 ....and once you're used to the idiosyncracies of using a camera that performs much in the same way as a FILM camera ... and relearn the art of photography / filmography ... manual focus, adjust for depth of field, choose lens for subject fov etc.... it's just an amazing bit of gear. I just took delivery of a used Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens off ebay and fixed it with the Canon-Nikon adaptor which is PERFECT. Now I can shoot either low light noise free .. or bright light huge DOF .. or adjust anywhere between by letting the ISO auto adjust try to expose correctly for the FIXED manual iris and focus of the lens. Great amounts of control. My standard shoot present is to go for max latitude .. i.e. reduce the contrast and sharpness to minimum and set the color down two or 3 steps. I've found that the VLC player is the most accurate to use for watching the 'real' capabilities of the camera on playback. The speed is better, but it cracks up when the hard drive can't keep up. The great thing is that you're getting un-crushed pictures as intended. I've asked Cineform to produce a fix for NeoHD to get us working with NLE. We'll see how David and his team respond? In the meantime, help yourself to an ever updating list of zipped .mov files straight from the camera .. not artistic, but a wide range of lighting and subjects continually being added.

Untitled Document

This is my favourite camera and video camera of all time - so far ;-)

ENJOY IT!
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Old January 28th, 2009, 03:53 AM   #15
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All about using the Canon 5D Mk. II D-SLR for HD video recording.

Oh .. I forgot .. I use an external microphone ... Sony type with a bracket that fits in the hot shoe ... most of the time you don't hear the IS and micro motor clacks ... but I've used the internal mic alone for shoots with the 'manual' lens (Nikon). The focus issue is not that bad once you're used to it ... and I use a side 'handle' for stability doing handheld shots .. makes a huge difference. The 70-300mm IS zoom lens gives me around about the same zoom capabilities as the Canon XH A1 did .. and IMHO the IS is better than the XH A1 stabiliser. I can do pretty darned good handheld shots on full 300mm zoom ...see the football match video on the website (link in previous post)

I've also got a 'domestic' Sony lavalier stereo mike for doing interview stuff ...and I use my Sony PCM recorder for doing 'wild sound' to sync up later in the edit suite ... much as I used to do with the XH A1. Of course the earlier XL H1 had full 4ch audio which let me do both on one camera !
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