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Jim Giberti January 31st, 2009 04:27 PM

A Good Conversation With Canon
 
I had a long and congenial talk with Canon Tech on friday.

Here's what came from it:

They (Canon US) are very aware of the situation and frustration of those of us who got the camera for HD work, and are getting constant calls about it.

He was literally amazed to learn that Nikon lenses give aperture control with a simple $15 adapter.

He was also surprised and concerned that people were rotating their "L" lenses off of the mount to trick their cameras into some form of control.

He didn't realize (and now does) the importance of a fixed shutter when shooting any project, and also now understands the importance of the 180 degree shutter angle. But most importantly the effect of arbitrary and varying shutter speeds on the essential look of any clip. He (understandably as a still camera tech) really didn't realize that, unlike still work, shutter speed can make or ruin an image

He didn't seem to think that my suggestion of a fixed 30/60/120 speed selection, or a "shutter priority" auto mode was an unreasonable request or my suggestion for the ability to hold the settings you get even if you have to trick the camera to get them.

Again, at his request we talked for at least a half hour with him asking lots of questions. He took notes and personal info about me and my company and my history with Canon.

He said he was going to deliver my concerns and ideas up the chain.

I at least felt like I got my points across and he understood that most of us are not asking for Canon to redo or add features to the camera.

As I said, most of the professional users are grown ups and got into this with our eyes open - but I think most of us were shocked to find that even essential controls like shutter speed were disabled.

I reinforced that no one was reasonably expecting 24p, peaking, XLR inputs or audio monitoring, but he was very understanding when I told him that a two day shoot in perfect snowy conditions at one of Americas top winter resorts was ruined when we got back to the studio with the footage and virtually every clip differed from the next because the shutter speed ruined the effect of the falling snow.

At 60 to 80 it was exactly what we were going for (with a two camera shoot) but much of the footage was shot at absurd shutter speeds in the hundreds, and the perfect falling snow was ruined as was the new TV commercial and next years DVD marketing piece.

That's hardly a feather In Canon's cap and is frankly intolerable from a professional standpoint.

So, my suggestions:

Allow for basic control of a simple range of shutter speeds. Allow the shooter to "know" what settings he's actually shooting at, and allow those settings to hold until the shooter wants to change them. Other than that it's still a full auto Movie mode and audio mode. It's then up to us whether we want to use Nikons and the Beachtek pre-amp to make it more professional and controllable. But why punish your users with arbitrary automation that can literally ruin their best efforts?

He was great to talk to and genuinely concerned over the issues that he hadn't previously understood and suggested that at least Canon saw this as a problem but he didn't know how they might address it.

I'd suggest more people call and have cordial and reasonable conversations with them in order to reinforce our concerns.

Julian Frost January 31st, 2009 04:52 PM

I think a letter-writing campaign to Canon might prove beneficial, if we keep the requests down to "Please upgrade the firmware in the 5D mk II to allow the user to manually set both the aperture and shutter speed." The letters could also briefly explain why this is necessary, and that many people are buying Nikon lenses and an adapter, instead of Canon lenses, to get manual aperture control.

What we need is the mailing address of a few contacts at Canon who have some power to make such decisions. Any suggestions?

Julian

Josh Dahlberg January 31st, 2009 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Giberti (Post 1004650)
I had a long and congenial talk with Canon Tech on friday

Thanks for sharing Jim.

As a Pal user I am reasonably expecting 25p (though not holding my breath).

Mark Moreve February 1st, 2009 01:57 AM

A Good conversation with Canon
 
I recently had the same sort of conversation with Nick Millen from Canon UK & asked if there was a possibility of manual control when using video mode. The reply was that they were aware that a lot of people want this but he could not tell me if something was going to be done about it. I think we have to keep asking and writing letters. I could post his email address but I'm not sure if this is a bit unethical.

Mugurel Dragusin February 1st, 2009 06:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Moreve (Post 1004747)
I could post his email address but I'm not sure if this is a bit unethical.

TIP: Search for his address using a search engine. If you find the said address publicly available on a Canon website then you could post the link to the page :) If the address is private, better ask for permission or set-up a dedicated e-mail account to which you provide him with the username and password (and us the address so we can write to) :)

Paul Cascio February 1st, 2009 08:23 AM

You might also contact the photography, tech and video magazines and ask them to put write about this matter.

Mark Moreve February 1st, 2009 08:23 AM

A Good conversation with Canon
 
Ok here is a link to the Canon professional network website on here are loads of email address's to different Canon reps all over the world so I suggest we all ask & keep asking.
Canon Professional Network - Index

Elizabeth Lowrey February 1st, 2009 01:29 PM

Great work, Jim. I hope these efforts actually produce some results.

I've mainly chimed in on public message boards about these issues in hope or expectation that Canon reps (like those of other major brands) actually monitor feedback on their products. But if actual letter-writing to specific Canon folks is going to get the job done, I'll certainly make it a point to compose one and get it off this week.

Jim Giberti February 1st, 2009 04:10 PM

They do monitor them to some extent Elizabeth and one of the reasons I think they pay attention to places like this is because of the way it's run with real life contributors without aliases, and with a professional environment. Hey, I've been edited if I've been too opinionated here.

Anyway, I think that reasonable people respond most readily to other reasonable people and reasonable requests - especially when it's in both party's interests, short term and long term. As I've said, I don't know nor is it my business what Canon's business strategy may be between the video and still divisions or future DSLR evolution. And I don't think they made the decisions with the 5DII to be punitive. But I do think they may not have realized how many people would adopt this system specifically for HD not as an add on feature and how restrictive it would be for them.

That's why I've been clear about not asking for things that change the basic concept or add features. To begin with, given it's extremely limited audio capabilities at every level, form factor, clip length, and general features, it will never threaten a dedicated HD production camera.

The things I've discussed would maintain the concept of the camera while making it a real creative tool for all of the professionals who are buying it, and allow them to get the quality of image it's capable of in a creative manner; rather than fighting and tricking it and guessing about it's basic settings, using other manufacturer's lenses or uncoupling Canon's.

Ed Kukla February 1st, 2009 06:18 PM

full manual control
 
If they change this camera to a full manual control, I will probably buy one; selling my Nikon equipment along the way. Without this feature, I'll stick to traditional video cameras.

Wacharapong Chiowanich February 1st, 2009 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed Kukla (Post 1005035)
If they change this camera to a full manual control, I will probably buy one;

I suspect that is precisely why the camera is crippled with the full auto video mode that requires burdensome and otherwise unnecessary workarounds in order to perform up to the standards of most capable videographers. I'm quite convinced the lack of manual shutter speed and iris (aperture) controls is intentional by Canon to protect its camcorder markets. Can't think of another reason, to be honest. Same with the provision of a mic jack but lack of mic level control which is available in several far cheaper camcorders and is such a very basic requirement for having good audio.

All of the above will be corrected once Nikon, who has no camcorder market to protect, comes up with a better version of the D90.

Wacharapong

Tim Polster February 1st, 2009 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Giberti (Post 1004650)
I reinforced that no one was reasonably expecting 24p, peaking, XLR inputs or audio monitoring, but he was very understanding when I told him that a two day shoot in perfect snowy conditions at one of Americas top winter resorts was ruined when we got back to the studio with the footage and virtually every clip differed from the next because the shutter speed ruined the effect of the falling snow.

At 60 to 80 it was exactly what we were going for (with a two camera shoot) but much of the footage was shot at absurd shutter speeds in the hundreds, and the perfect falling snow was ruined as was the new TV commercial and next years DVD marketing piece.

That's hardly a feather In Canon's cap and is frankly intolerable from a professional standpoint.


In Canon's defense, the 5DII IS a professional instrument, a still camera.

If the two day shoot was a professional video shoot, I would have to make the point of why was an un-proven still camera used?

Canon added this as a feature, not as the main purpose of the camera.

I am very excited about the direction we are heading, and improvements need to be made, but I don't think it is fair to hold Canon's feet to the fire.

Jon Fairhurst February 2nd, 2009 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim Polster (Post 1005099)
Canon added this as a feature, not as the main purpose of the camera.

The 5D can definitely work on the shoot described, but I would do it with ND filters and Nikon lenses. With practice, the camera does its job.

The lack of manual features didn't stop me from buying it. I'd buy it all over again. Unfortunately the lack of manual features irritate users on every single take. This isn't a matter of "not being professional." It's more like an amazingly beautiful pair of shoes that gives you blisters. Amateurs don't like irritants any more than pros do.

That the feature hobbles Canon lenses makes the decision unfathomable. None of the other limitations (audio, aliasing, form factor, frame rate, etc, etc) turn EF lenses into second class citizens. Only the lack of manual mode does.

I really hope Canon sees the light on this one. It would be good for all involved.

Mark Moreve February 2nd, 2009 07:37 AM

A Good conversation with Canon
 
I wrote an email to the Canon UK rep yesterday asking for more control and if that was not possible just the fact that we could lock the exposure settings until we want them unlocked here is the reply I got.

"Thank you for your feedback and taking the time to forward me your observations and suggestions. I have forwarded your email to the relevant parties and I appreciate that your thoughts echo a number of photographers who share similar ideas, I know Canon is working on improving the camera through firmware updates and I am hopeful that some of your suggestions will materialise in future updates."

I think that it sounds quite promising but I really also think we all need to send them as many emails as we can. I don't think it matters if this camera in it's video mode is used professionally or not it just matters that as a "feature" on the camera its works properly otherwise what's the point of having the feature ! I also sent him and one of his colleagues links to this site so they can see what people are saying. So keep writing !

Paul Cascio February 2nd, 2009 07:44 AM

I believe that much of the 5D's success has been because of its video capabilities. As a still camera, it's evolutionary, it's the video that makes it revolutionary.


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