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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:26 PM   #1
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New Firmware - usability under changing light conditions

I'm wondering if the new manual controls will have a usability issue...

When I put the camera in Manual mode for photos, I can adjust shutter with the top dial, and I can adjust aperture with the big wheel. To adjust ISO, I have to press the ISO button and operate the menu. That might be fine for photos, but is that what we want for video?

In general, I'm going to fix my shutter speed (1/60 or so), and my aperture (as desired for the shot/light), and I will set the ISO between 100 and 1,000, as needed. If I'm smart, I'll add ND filters as needed, so I can shoot at 100 ISO outside and adjust to 1,000 ISO indoors. If I need more range, I'll increase shutter speed outdoors - to a point, or maybe I'll want to change the iris. In any case, ISO is the first on my list.

Not that we've seen the implementation yet, but will we face a situation where we have two knobs for three variables? Maybe the joystick can be used to control ISO. (Tramm?)

And maybe a variable ND setup is the way to go for such wide ranging situations.

Let's hope that Canon nailed the solution. And let's be confident that the 5D Mark Free effort will take care of any rough edges.

So, do others agree that ISO is the first control that you will want to grab to optimize the exposure?
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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So, do others agree that ISO is the first control that you will want to grab to optimize the exposure?
Can't say I would agree with that. Never in my 27 year history of filming have I ever dialed in more gain on the fly. And really that's pretty much what adding more ISO does.
It is always the last thing I would go for as messing with it will give you an inconsistent look to your footage.

To push one button and change the ISO is perfect IMHO. In fact I'd be more worried about accidentally changing Aperture or Shutter inadvertently. It's good that you can disable the wheel on the rear.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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Can't say I would agree with that. Never in my 27 year history of filming have I ever dialed in more gain on the fly.
Agreed. It's like putting a specific type of film in a film camera. I want my 100 for outdoors and 1000 for indoors (for example).
I'll use the right settings for the right condition, and don't feel I need to switch mid-thought.

I hope it's easily accessible for change, but I wouldn't mind it being in a menu or on the top dial or similar.

Shooting a bar or dance hall, for example (I shoot :30 sec. spots), I'd likely be at 400 at the bar itself and 1000 on the dance floor. I want to access both, but not frequently.

Edit: For news gathering and live event coverage, I can now see Jon's point.
For narrative, I don't think I'd change my ISO/ASA/GAIN, though.

Last edited by Matthew Roddy; May 27th, 2009 at 06:48 PM.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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So Sean,

When filming a documentary, and walking from indoors to outdoors, what knob would you grab first? Aperture? Shutter? Or are you saying that you'd just hit the AE Lock button and let it adjust the ISO (and other parameters) as needed?

I think in this situation, there's no problem with an inconsistent look - going from inside to out will be inconsistent by definition. The main thing we want is two good looks - and easy user control.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #5
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So Sean,

When filming a documentary, and walking from indoors to outdoors, what knob would you grab first? Aperture? Shutter? Or are you saying that you'd just hit the AE Lock button and let it adjust the ISO (and other parameters) as needed?

I think in this situation, there's no problem with an inconsistent look - going from inside to out will be inconsistent by definition. The main thing we want is two good looks - and easy user control.
Generally the only adjustment made during filming is your aperture.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #6
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First pick your ASA (film speed/gain setting), in video you usually only have 3 settings (more if you enter menus).
Pick frame rate, over/under crank. Still not possible other than in post on mk2.
Then decide aperture.
Shutter speed is usually 1/30-1/125 (for video or film) stills may make no difference or also be extremely important (stop action or blur for effect).
Use a ND FX polarizer etc (pro vid cams usually have 3 ND settings on a dial).
Then make small adjustment to aperture to get exposure perfect or more frequently change the lighting.

There are lots of different shutter angle/speed, filters we can use for effects. But his is how I usually work anyway. I think the new firmware will take some getting used to but it will give us more control and that is what it is all about.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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I am with Jon.

I want to set shutter speed first at 1/60, use my Lenses to manually set Aperature for effect I want ( I use Nikons at this point) then adjust light levels using the ISO and/or NDs. I think rulling out using higher ISO loses the hole point of this camera, it screems in low light situations if you are willing to use higher ISO.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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The good news is that there are a lot of ways to skin this cat.

I generally do narrative work, so I don't plan to touch any controls in the middle of a shot. And when I do another take, I want the settings that I had last time.

But for documentaries, you might be following your subject, and you can't predict what lighting conditions they might walk into. The operator needs to respond on the fly.

So far, I hear votes for aperture, variable ND and ISO. With standard manual control and a couple of filters, I know how to do the first two. Adjusting ISO might not be an easy option with the new firmware. We will see...

In any case, I can hardly wait until June 2nd!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #9
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where exactly did the June 2nd date come from?
The Canon site doesnt mention a specific date.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #10
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This source lists June 2nd...
Canon announces update for EOS 5D Mark II: Digital Photography Review
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #11
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Adjusting ISO might not be an easy option with the new firmware. We will see...

In any case, I can hardly wait until June 2nd!
Adjusting ISO will be done only before hitting record, but won't be adjustable while recording. You can use a Singh-Ray 8stop Vari-ND to accomplish what you need with variable lighting conditions.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #12
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Adjusting ISO will be done only before hitting record, but won't be adjustable while recording.
Are you sure about that? According to the Canon site posting, it states:

"...firmware update that enables manual exposure controls while shooting video including: ISO, aperture and shutter speed."
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Old May 27th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #13
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"...firmware update that enables manual exposure controls while shooting video including: ISO, aperture and shutter speed."
Ahh. Sixteen beautiful words. :)
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:05 PM   #14
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It seems it would be smoother and less noticeable to adjust the iris via the ND filter vs. a hard jump by changing ISO.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #15
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Know that adjusting aperture on the fly whilst filming is not ideal on the 5D2. The indents of the top wheel is loud and takes significant effort to turn. The lens aperture blades will also change in predetermined stops instead of smooth continuous incremental change, and the blades will make noise as well.. Not sure if you will want to ever adjust aperture on the fly unless it's event or journalism purposes and you have to use the whole footage without breaks. If you want to preserve the same look and dof going from outdoor to indoor, simply hit the ISO button and dial up/down the ISO until you have a proper exposure..

The variable ND filter is not an ideal solution because it will change the shading in the sky depending on the location of the camera relative to the sun.
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