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Canon EOS Full Frame for HD
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 March 9th, 2009, 04:38 AM   #1
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Snags & shortcomings..?

Before I commit taking the plunge for a 5D, I'd really appreciate if someone could give me a concise (and hopefully complete) write-up of its snags & shortcomings.

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Old March 9th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Browning View Post
  • Completely ignore 2 out of 3 lines on the sensor.
  • Worst aliasing artifacts (including moire) ever known to mankind.
  • Ergonomics that make grown men cry after just a few minutes.
  • No manual control. Resets after every run-record.
  • Applies heavy noise reduction if when NR is "disabled".
  • Compression engine adds many artifacts despite a high bitrate.
  • Moderately bad skew/wobble/jello (slow read-reset).
  • No control over the audio gain (noise pumps up during quiet spots).
  • 30P only, no 24p, 25p, or other frame rates.
  • Shutter speed that changes when you zoom even if exposure is locked.
  • Recording stops at 12 minutes for no good reason.
  • Zero live video outputs (instead of the normal 2 or 3 simultaneous).
  • No tilt/swivel LCD.
  • No lenses with good focus ring throw, breathing, or electronic zoom.
  • 1/8" mini stereo input only (no XLR).
  • No built-in ND filters.
  • Image stabilization doesn't work well with panning or tilting.
  • No useful information during shooting (zebra, histogram, you name it).
  • No focus aids while the camera is rolling (peaking, zoom, etc.)
That's an extract from a very thoughtful post by Daniel Browning found on this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-eos...1-vs-mkii.html

Please read his post in full as Daniel makes an excellent summation of all the pros and cons of the camera. I concur with all his observations.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #3
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There are plenty of things that suck about the 5d in terms of the video mode, but to get a clear idea of how good/bad the camera you should compare it to the cheapest camera that will get the same images. A 1080p camera is more expensive that a 1080i and cost somewhere along the lines of 5k on the low end, then this camera will have a 1/3 inch chip so to get the depth of field on the 5d you will need a DOF adapter. A good DOF adapter will cost $1000 or so but will require rails and lenses. You are easily at $7000 dollars and still don't have a follow focus or matte box. This super camera will be waaay better in terms of functionality, but in image quality the same, possibly worse because of the depth of field adapter. Lets say you manage to put together something for the same price, a depth of field adapter is by no means perfect, you can shoot at the wrong speed and see the wiggling ground glass, you need more light and the ergonomics are funky. The 5d is nice and compact and doesn't need a wiggling chunk of glass and another lens to get really great shots. There are caveats but the 5d is the cheapest way to get video of that kind of quality.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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Thank you Josh for that link -- somehow that entire thread got caught in my blind spot.

I'm debating to get a 5D in lieu of my big rig XL-2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bjyiuqKV6Y
But even after tally up all the shortcomings that Daniel listed, I wonder if someone still could talk me into getting the 5D instead of further building onto the XL-2 -- i.e., getting a DOF adapter, rails, and follow focus for it. Since I'm more into artistic film stuff than "normal" broadcast video, Daniel's post got me to think even more about going in the 5D direction. Hence further convincing/persuasion appreciated.

By the way, there were some items from the other thread that I didn't really get:
"Completely ignore 2 out of 3 lines on the sensor" and "if you zoom during your shots, use Nikon glass, or cut yourself a mylar ring to decouple your Canon lenses."
Perhaps someone can explain what this actually mean.

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Old March 9th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #5
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Peer,

What kind of images do you shoot?

I think the best applications of this camera are 1) photos!, 2) video "impressions", and 3) narrative work.

By "impressions", I mean situations where you want to give the overall feel of an event or location, but you don't need to capture that once-in-a-lifetime moment. Sure, you can get the "moment", but you might not have time to optimize settings, so you might have to live with what the camera gives you in auto mode.

Manual focus also makes things tough. With an "impression" piece, you can throw away the clips with bad focus. As they say, a great photographer never shows you all of their pictures.

With narrative work, there's always "Take 2." And there's time to get the settings right.

And, of course, avoid the 5D MkII if your shots include strobes as well as fast motion or handheld work with anything but the widest of lenses.

If your work falls within the 5D MkII's capabilities, it's the best thing out there for the buck, by a long shot.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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On the flip side, if you can tame it, it will put out an image that will make you fall to your knees and weep with joy... for a fraction of the price of the next camera up in that image range.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 02:01 PM   #7
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Peer:

And the sky is falling too, so run for your life.....

In response to the horrible things Josh put up, I have to say the following to be fair to this camera:

Josh: Completely ignore 2 out of 3 lines on the sensor.

Whether that is true or no, doesn't make a difference. The video camera still delivers outstanding 1920X 1080 30p resolution. It blows away Z1, FX1, HVX200, HV20, and many others, in my opinion, assuming you have the grit to take control of the camera.

Josh: Worst aliasing artifacts (including moire) ever known to mankind.

The camera does produce moire and aliasing. It is controlable and filterable in our final product.

Josh: Ergonomics that make grown men cry after just a few minutes.

The camera has the ergonomic of a 35mm still camera, a form that has been around 80 years or so.... For video, it is new. But you need to fix outfit it to meet your needs. Here is my vimeo film on a how I have made a shoulder rest rig for a few bucks, that works well. Prototype Shoulder Brace for 5D Mark II on Vimeo

All you have to have is a bit of willingness to adapt to make this camera work for you.

Josh: No manual control. Resets after every run-record.

This is not exactly true. Josh just can't adopt to other means of control, other than a dial. With Nikon or other lenses, you gain full control of Iris. And with use of a contant light source like a cell phone screen, you can lock settings you need for initial shot, and then adjust click up or down on the exosure adjustment as needed. A PITA, for sure, but something the images this camera give makes worth it.

Josh: Applies heavy noise reduction if when NR is "disabled".

Can't tell you scientifically what happens, but the images are the proof of the pudding.

Josh: Compression engine adds many artifacts despite a high bitrate.

Not noticing compression artifacts. I am wondering whether Josh is handling his footage properly. You definitely need to convert footage to an intermediate codec for editing, and even viewing. I am wondering whether the stutter cause by the 1920 x 1080 play back in many players is what Josh is having trouble with.

Josh: Moderately bad skew/wobble/jello (slow read-reset).

I have had this camera about 10 days, and I am just not seeing this issue yet.

Josh: No control over the audio gain (noise pumps up during quiet spots).

Jury is out for me on this one. I am starting testing with a basic XLR adapter. First tests sounded good, except for clipping at the beginning of voice. This is caused by automatic gain catching up. I will be setting different levels on the XLR adapter to see if this can be eliminated. Since my game is primarily narrative productions, I am set up to go double system if needed. In that case, the camera mic will provide a fine track to match double system files.

Josh: 30P only, no 24p, 25p, or other frame rates.

30p is not bad. Its smooth and handle motion with less stutter. I wonder if the early film developers had made projectors and cameras running at 30fps for second, wether we would be having an issue at this point.

Josh: Shutter speed that changes when you zoom even if exposure is locked.

This doesn't seem to be a problem if you are using no Canon lenses.

Josh: Recording stops at 12 minutes for no good reason.

There is good reason. There is a 4 gig file size limitation on disk system. I think 12 minutes is when it reaches that size.

Josh: Zero live video outputs (instead of the normal 2 or 3 simultaneous).

Misleading: There are live out puts of video. Just not in HD, as HDMI output resizes at roll of camera. Dumb, I agree. In fact it appears to be in 4:3, and even on an SD 16:9 monitor, you have to set the monitor to show 4:3. Hope Canon fixes this in future firmware update, camera may just not have the computing power to output HD and encode to .mpg4 at same tim.

Josh: No tilt/swivel LCD.

Yes, I hate this fact, and it would be nice to have a swivel LCD. You need to add a 4:3 lcd to work at different angles. Of course, you have to do the same thing with a $ 15,000 RED, too.

Josh: No lenses with good focus ring throw, breathing, or electronic zoom.

I have noted that I can keep focus with the Nikon lenses I use, and throw does not seem to be a big issue.

Josh: 1/8" mini stereo input only (no XLR).

As with many cameras, need to adapt with an XLR adapter.

Josh: No built-in ND filters.

Screw on NDs are not that expensive.

Josh: Image stabilization doesn't work well with panning or tilting.

Image stabilization is never recommended for any tripod mounted motion on any camera. Turn it off.

Josh: No useful information during shooting (zebra, histogram, you name it).

Displays, many settings, at your choice. I would love to have zebras, though the live view does give a fairly accurate rendition of your final shot.

Josh: No focus aids while the camera is rolling (peaking, zoom, etc.)

Before shooting, the magnify button provide a great way to set initial focus (I am always using manual focus) It also helps extablsh your focus travel for follow focus purposes.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Dahlberg View Post
That's an extract from a very thoughtful post by Daniel Browning found on this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-eos...1-vs-mkii.html

Please read his post in full as Daniel makes an excellent summation of all the pros and cons of the camera. I concur with all his observations.

All these points are very valid, but that's comparing it to a video camera. If you look at the 5D is a $5000 (w/glass) tool that happens to shoot video, and have the time to work around the limitations, its the best size/quality/price device out there. Coming off a z7+letus monster, the 5D is a joy to shoot with. I'll take the manual control workarounds over the inherent issues with the lens adaptor + video camera setup. The form factor just opens it up to so many possibilities. Throw an HDMI monitor and a remote follow focus on it, and you've got a somewhat viable gorilla filmmaking tool.

That said... if you are lighting a scene, there is no option in my opinion, you need to go with something you can actually achieve consistent ISO/shutter.

Run and Gun/Gorilla filmmaking = 5D all the way
Anything serious = Give me a camera + letus
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Old March 9th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jordan Oplinger View Post
Run and Gun/Gorilla filmmaking = 5D all the way
Anything serious = Give me a camera + letus
With an appropriate firmware update and a small rig (mattebox, FF, etc), this camera could be awesome for both.
Oh, so close!
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Old March 9th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #10
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(Applies heavy noise reduction if when NR is "disabled". )

I had not heard this. So if I enable NR it won't apply NR in video mode? It works the opposite for video?
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Old March 9th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Peer:

And the sky is falling too, so run for your life.....

In response to the horrible things Josh put up, I have to say the following to be fair to this camera:
Chris you have decontextualised my post and misquoted me.

I didn't write any of the points you attribute to me. While I agree with them, they're not my words - you're putting my name next to text from Daniel Browning's very thoughtful contribution in this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-eos...1-vs-mkii.html

Once more I can only say, please read Daniel's post in full as he makes an excellent summation of all the pros and cons of the camera. I only listed the cons here as this is what the thread starter asked "snags and shortcomings".... he's clearly well aware of the advantages the 5D mkII offers.

If you read Daniel's post in full, you will see that (despite these shortcomings), he loves the images produced by the 5D mkII and provides a stack of reasons why it's a great camera.

I also have a 5D mkII and while I agree with all the problems listed, have found ways around most of them - the primary one being the use of Nikkors and an adaptor. Nevertheless, Canon could make our lives a lot easier by addressing some of the issues mentioned - the camera most certainly does have snags and shortcomings.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post
I'm debating to get a 5D in lieu of my big rig XL-2... But even after tally up all the shortcomings that Daniel listed, I wonder if someone still could talk me into getting the 5D instead of further building onto the XL-2 -- i.e., getting a DOF adapter, rails, and follow focus for it.
Peer you asked for shortcomings, that's why I pointed you to Daniel's post. But in spite of those problems, you'll see Daniel is still amazed by the 5D... I used to own an XL-2 (and an XH-L1 and XH-A1) with a Letus EX kit, rods and follow focus. I would never turn back after switching to the 5D mkII. The 5D is a pain in the neck for many reasons (the primary ones being lack of easily repeatable manual exposure control and, being in Pal land, 30p only) but for me the big advantages over the kit you're thinking of are:

*size - it's very liberating having a small kit you can take anywhere with ease and set up on a cafe table in 30 seconds. An XL2 with rods/adaptor is onerous, believe me.
* clean low light images
* colour (much better than your XL2)
* resolution (no comparison there)
* lens flexibility
* still ability (you'll find yourself taking more stills... because you always have a high quality still cam on you)
* VF - compared to the XL2, I prefer the LCD on the 5D

I actually think the 5D mkII is better suited to the kind of work you describe, where you have time to work on exposure and set up audio. Where I've been caught out with the 5D is in run-and-gun work, where the audio is not up to the task, the picture turns to Jelly when hand held, there's no auto focus, and I don't have the right lens in place when I need it (for run-and-gun, life is much easier with a camera like the XH-A1 which does it right with ease).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post
By the way, there were some items from the other thread that I didn't really get:
"Completely ignore 2 out of 3 lines on the sensor" and "if you zoom during your shots, use Nikon glass, or cut yourself a mylar ring to decouple your Canon lenses."
Perhaps someone can explain what this actually mean.
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In video mode, the camera apparently only reads every third line of the sensor, which results in pretty bad moire effect when sharp horizontal lines/patterns are in frame. I've struck some nasty examples, you just have to be aware of certain subjects to avoid (like finely patterned shirts with high contrast).

If you use Nikkor lenses (with cheap adaptors) as I do, you solve to of the camera's biggest shortcomings in video mode. First, you get aperture control as you can set it on the lens and the camera is unable to change it. Second (because the camera can't communicate with the lens), the camera allows you to lock the shutter at a particular speed (1/50th is generally desirable) irrespective of focal length. In contrast, if you use a Canon lens, the camera will adjust shutter speed automatically to match focal length as you zoom in or out (not desirable!).

So anyway, despite the shortcomings, I say go for it. The XL2 + 35mm Adaptor has even more shortcomings IMO, the biggest being that because it's cumbersome you simple won't find yourself using it as much as the 5D
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Old March 9th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #13
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Josh:

You post an entire list of shortcoming and said "I concur with all his observations". I don't think that list, posted bare, represents the truth about this camera and required qualification, and I responded with my observations, and disagreement.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 02:17 AM   #14
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Chris,

Thanks for your response to my critique of the 5D2. You pointed out a lot of great workarounds (some that you came up with yourself!) and points of view. I have comments about a few of them. I replaced "Josh:" with quotation marks, hopefully it's still clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Completely ignore 2 out of 3 lines on the sensor."

Whether that is true or no, doesn't make a difference.
Agreed. I don't really mind what's under the hood as long as it gives me the horsepower I need! Even so, I still think it's worth calling out as a negative since in this case it does have consequences that we should be aware of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
The video camera still delivers outstanding 1920X 1080 30p resolution. It blows away Z1, FX1, HVX200, HV20, and many others, in my opinion

"Worst aliasing artifacts (including moire) ever known to mankind."

The camera does produce moire and aliasing. It is controllable and filterable in our final product.
As far as thin DOF and low light, I agree that the 5D2 blows away those cameras. But when it comes to resolution, I find all the cameras you listed to be superior to the 5D2.

A truckload of beer with a little poison added is worse than a single drink with no poison. In the same way, To me, a truckload resolution with bad aliasing is worse than low resolution with no aliasing.

As you pointed out, the photographer can reduce aliasing by blurring the image with optical filters, but by then the resolution is lower than the other cameras.

Again, many other photographers and viewers do not notice aliasing artifacts; some, in fact, like them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Ergonomics that make grown men cry after just a few minutes."

The camera has the ergonomic of a 35mm still camera, a form that has been around 80 years or so.... For video, it is new.
I don't see it that way. When used for video, the ergonomics are not at all like 35mm still cameras, which would be held to the eye and actually not that bad to use. Instead, it is like a digicam with fixed LCD and a video function, which is held out in front of the face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
But you need to fix outfit it to meet your needs.
Agreed. With the right outfit the ergonomics can be improved greatly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"No manual control. Resets after every run-record."

With Nikon or other lenses, you gain full control of Iris. And with use of a constant light source like a cell phone screen, you can lock settings you need for initial shot, and then adjust click up or down on the exposure adjustment as needed. A PITA, for sure, but something the images this camera give makes worth it.
Agreed, but as you said, it's a colossal pain. One should also be aware that the indicated shutter speed is false:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-eos...r-exposed.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Applies heavy noise reduction if when NR is 'disabled'."

Can't tell you scientifically what happens, but the images are the proof of the pudding.
Agreed. As with aliasing, this is an area of personal taste. Some don't notice the noise reduction at all, but I find it objectionable. The noise reduction might be scientifically quantified by shooting an evenly-lit uniform test target and comparing it with similar output from a DSS-processed still, perhaps examining the Fourier transform of each. (Not that I'm volunteering.) :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Compression engine adds many artifacts despite a high bitrate."

Not noticing compression artifacts
I see it compression artifacts any image with high detail and movement. Thin DOF is generally OK, as there is not enough detail to give the codec any problems. This is again related to the aliasing artifacts: they are the worst possible thing for the encoder. In particular, they move in the opposite direction of subject motion, which wreaks havoc on motion-estimation codecs like the 5D2 uses. Take care of the aliasing with optical filtration and the compression artifacts go away. Cameras with much lower bitrates and simpler codecs have even fewer artifacts because they are given to less aliasing (or perhaps it is also related to an issue with the encoder used by Canon, I don't know.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Recording stops at 12 minutes for no good reason."

There is good reason. There is a 4 gig file size limitation on disk system.
In this matter we disagree on what constitutes a good reason. My position is that it's not a good reason because of how simple it is to start writing a new file at 4 GB. To me, a good reason would be a full card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Zero live video outputs (instead of the normal 2 or 3 simultaneous)."

Misleading: ...on an SD 16:9 monitor, you have to set the monitor to show 4:3.
Thanks for the correction; it does have SD 4:3 embedded in HDMI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"No lenses with good focus ring throw, breathing, or electronic zoom."

I have noted that I can keep focus with the Nikon lenses I use, and throw does not seem to be a big issue.
You and I might be able to make do with the limited focus ring, sure, but you do agree that the difference is tremendous, right? There many photographers out there for whom it's very important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"Image stabilization doesn't work well with panning or tilting."

Image stabilization is never recommended for any tripod mounted motion on any camera. Turn it off.
I was referring to handheld camera movement. I have experienced unwanted sticking and jumps in the IS.

As far as tripods go, many IS systems work great on tripods. My XH A1 auto-detects the presence of a tripod and does a lot to dampen unwanted vibrations without negatively affecting the image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
"No useful information during shooting (zebra, histogram, you name it)."

Displays, many settings, at your choice.
Compared to other cameras in its price class, the options are so few and limited that I rounded it down to nothing. But that's not correct and you have made a good point.

Although this thread is about the snags and shortcomings, I would repeat that I am happy with the color, DOF, low light, dynamic range, 30p, inexpensive media, small, lightweight, lens availability, stills mode, control over in-camera processing, LCD, 5X and 10X zoom, and price. It's worth it to me.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Browning View Post
As far as thin DOF and low light, I agree that the 5D2 blows away those cameras. But when it comes to resolution, I find all the cameras you listed to be superior to the 5D2.
Funny you bring that up, I was just looking at old footage from my HVX200, HV20, and HD100, and was impressed by how much more resolution the 5D2 had... although the HV20 was too close to call. (Edit, retraction: just realized I was shooting the HVX in 720p and the HD100 is 720 as well.)

Quote:
A truckload of beer with a little poison added is worse than a single drink with no poison. In the same way,
Hah, obviously you've never been on a 3 day ski trip with a bunch of Newfies and ran out of beer.
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