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Old May 8th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #1
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Advice Needed - Which to Buy, 5D2 or A1s?

Ok, so I was always planning on buying a 3rd XH-A1 to add to my 2 other A1’s for wedding day coverage. Two cameras are fine but I like 3 sometimes when covering the ceremony. Anyway, I also do some same-day wedding highlights at some of the weddings I have. I think I have 3 or 4 same-day edits this year. Would the 5D2 (Canon 5D Mark II) be better for same-day-edits than the A1?

I have been impressed with what I have seen with the 5D2 and I do not know what direction to go. Stay with the A1 lineup (XH-A1s) or go with a new technology with the 5D2?

Do the 5D2 and the A1 mix together very well? If I get the 5D2 I would probably use it for everything but the main camera at the ceremony and covering the toasts at the reception. The rest of the time it would be the main camera.

Here some other factors:
I edit with Premiere CS3 with the Matrox Rt.x2 card Matrox RT.X2 - Overview
I do a little photography; I have a Canon 30D with a couple of lenses.
My editing laptop (used for same-day edits) just has Premiere Pro 2 on it; can I edit D2 stuff with that?
Budget, This is flexible, but no more then $5000.

Main Questions: Which make more sense to buy? What would you do in my situation?

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #2
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There's a thread here about mixing the images from both cams. Maybe something there will help you Jeffrey.

The only thing I was thinking is for SDE's if you have to convert the native 5D2 footage to ProRes before editing, it adds time into the equation that you might not have. Having said that Stillmotion StillMotion's videos on Vimeo do SDEs with the 5D2 I think.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #3
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Personally, I like the idea of running the 5D MkII as the third cam - but only if you intentionally want another style with those shots. For instance, you could run a ProMist filter and slow the 5D clips down to 24p from 30. You could also do hi-res stills and do a Ken Burns effect here and there.

On the other hand, if you just want a third perspective and want to intercut without problems, go with the A1s. Trying to conform the different cams will just make things harder and risks making the A1s shots look pedestrian, compared to the shallow DOF shots of the 5DII.

Either push the differences with the cameras, or eliminate the differences with a single model. It all depends on your artistic vision - and what your customers will want. I'd imagine that some want to capture the emotional experience (5D MkII) and others want to simply document the event (A1s).
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Old May 9th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Personally, I like the idea of running the 5D MkII as the third cam - but only if you intentionally want another style with those shots. For instance, you could run a ProMist filter and slow the 5D clips down to 24p from 30. You could also do hi-res stills and do a Ken Burns effect here and there.

On the other hand, if you just want a third perspective and want to intercut without problems, go with the A1s. Trying to conform the different cams will just make things harder and risks making the A1s shots look pedestrian, compared to the shallow DOF shots of the 5DII.

Either push the differences with the cameras, or eliminate the differences with a single model. It all depends on your artistic vision - and what your customers will want. I'd imagine that some want to capture the emotional experience (5D MkII) and others want to simply document the event (A1s).

Exactly what I was thinking when I read the OP as well. For purely business and simplicity, an A1s would be the best choice. For breaking it up and adding variety into the footage, the 5D2 is the way to go.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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I have 2 A1s and a 5DmkII. I mixed them in one shoot (bridal prep only- A1's the rest of the day) and Jon is right. Not only does the format difference cause difficulty mixing them- the 5D stuff stands out like a sore thumb. It's not a subtle mix at all. It's easier to mix, say, a Z1 with A1 vs the mkII.

Additionally the quirky nature of the 5D doesn't lend itself to event shooting. You can get some stellar imagery from it, usually best when you have the time to 'trick' the camera into doing so (ie Open iris tricks). I'm sure you can get away with shooting on all auto run n' gun style with the 5D but it'll often stop down past f5 if there is a good deal of available light. f5 negates some of the large benefits of shooting with the 5D to begin with. However at that f-stop it may have more of an A1 dof, but keep in mind it's still full-raster 1080 and is still gong to be noticeably sharper in post.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the great advice so far. I thought you were all going to say get the 5D2, so I am a little surprised. I am seriously considering a XH-A1s

Here are some more thoughts & questions.

If I use the 5D2 as the 3rd camera at the ceremony, could I use it as the “wide” shot camera with a shallow depth-of-field? This way it will not be noticed as much when I switch to it from my 2 A1’s. Would this work better? Less noticeable?
I plan to add photography to my business soon. I am not sure how much I will be the “photographer” but it is possible. Then, of course, the D52 would be my main camera to take the photos, again, how often this will happen, no idea.

Is there anyone that is using the 5D2 for a complete wedding day? It looks like Still Motion is. Currently I am mixing my HV20 with my 2 A1’s when a 3rd camera is needed. I hate it because there is a big difference in quality. Would the 5D2 be a closer then the HV20 to my 2 A1’s?
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Old May 12th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #7
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Using a wide lens on the 5D MkII isn't a bad idea. You can save up to three custom picture styles in the camera, so you might be able to get it to be somewhat close to the A1 right onto the card. (I don't know for sure, I've never used the A1.)

The Picture Styles look powerful at first glance, but it can be tough to edit them. Key features are the luma curve, saturation, color tone, contrast, and sharpness. You can also do some limited secondary color correction of specific colors.

Assuming that you get things to match reasonably well without too much color correction in post, and that you use wide lenses stopped down just enough to deepen your field of focus, there are still a few issues:

* You'll probably want a shoulder rig and hoodloupe, if not a tripod, for stability - even with the wide lens.

* You can only shoot 12 minutes at a time. You can re-start shooting fairly quickly, given a large enough CF card, but you risk missing "the big moment."

* You have to mess with the camera a bit before each shot to get consistent settings. We all do this, but again, it can affect you capturing the moment NOW.

* The camera shoots at 30p. If sync'ing with audio and the other cams, you have to work out how to match things up in post. It's no deal breaker, but another little headache.

The good news is:

* If you stay wide, one lens will do the trick. The 16-35mm or 28-70mm zoom might be the right choice, given that you are avoiding shallow DOF.

* If you'd be buying a DSLR anyway, this is a money saver.

* It would give you other options. For instance, you could film an additional quick vignette with shallow DOF that would be a quick, romantic short. It could contain video and moving stills that would go through the high points in a minute or two. This edit would be done with 5D MkII video and stills only.

It's not as simple as just getting another A1, but if you know what you're getting into, are flexible, and want to spice things up, it could be a good way to go.

Besides, I get the feeling that you want the answer to be the 5D MkII. :)
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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey Fuchs View Post
Currently I am mixing my HV20 with my 2 A1’s when a 3rd camera is needed. I hate it because there is a big difference in quality. Would the 5D2 be a closer then the HV20 to my 2 A1’s?
I am surprised that you find the quality of the HV20 so much worse than that of the XH-A1. We have used an HV30 as a 3rd camera & were amazed at how good the quality is. You must either tone down the HV30 or punch up the colour on the XH-A1 but once matched the quality is very similar.

The 5DII however is totally different in look & makes the XH-A1 footage look pretty crappy in comparison. Not that it's really that crappy just that the difference in look is so different. My wife who does the editing found it all but impossible to match up the footage from the two different cameras.

As we found we could not use the two cameras together for our work we have now retired the HDV cameras to concentrate on using the 5DIIs as when you can overcome the limitations the results are so impressive. However we are not filming weddings & I would hate to have to struggle with shooting video on a 5DII under that sort of pressure. If I mess up the exposure or focus then I can just take the shot again.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #9
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XH-A1s

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I am surprised that you find the quality of the HV20 so much worse than that of the XH-A1. We have used an HV30 as a 3rd camera & were amazed at how good the quality is. You must either tone down the HV30 or punch up the colour on the XH-A1 but once matched the quality is very similar.

Thanks for your input. To be fair to the HV20, most of the time I have used the HV20 in dark places like cathedrals. The one time I used it at an outside wedding I was impressed with the picture. Very nice! No problems mixing that wedding. For the cost of a HV20, it is still a great camera! Most often it seems I am in dark churches and the HV20 just falls apart. In a more controlled environment “more light” it would be no problem to mix the HV20 and the A1’s picture.

If the 5D2 and the XH-A1 do not mix well together it really puts a big check mark in the negative column.

Question: is it true that there is no auto focus on the 5D2 in video mode. This also would be a big negative in the world of wedding video, at least for me, as I live on the XH-A1 auto focus and depend on it all the time.

It looks like I will be buying a XH-A1s!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #10
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If the 5D2 and the XH-A1 do not mix well together it really puts a big check mark in the negative column.
Again, if you want to mix them, I think some work needs to be done to develop a picture profile to get it close. There's a big difference between Standard and Faithful modes, let alone custom profiles.

If you can get your hands on the Picture Profile Editor software and some RAW stills, you can experiment with the profiles.

Quote:
Question: is it true that there is no auto focus on the 5D2 in video mode. This also would be a big negative in the world of wedding video, at least for me, as I live on the XH-A1 auto focus and depend on it all the time.
This is true. You can autofocus before shooting, but not during the recording. We complain about a lack of manual controls and 24/25p, but in the real world, the biggest challenges with the camera are good stabilization (solvable with budget) and maintaining focus.

Also, we can do a 5x or 10x magnification before shooting, but not during recording.

The two solutions are to pre-focus and stick to safe shots, or to run a wide lens and narrow aperture, wing it, and live with the results. Using a hoodloupe or larger monitor can really help.

The bottom line is that the 5D is a high-risk, high-reward camera. And risk is probably not what you want at live events.
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