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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 July 14th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #1
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Bye bye XHA1, Hello 5D MKii?

I've just parted company with my XHA1 camcorder, a fantastic piece of kit that has served me well. For "commercial" video work i shall continue to rent similar cameras, but have pretty much decided to take the plunge and buy a 5d MK2. I say "pretty much" because there are a few lingering doubts, and I have a few queries before i get my wallet out.

How significant is the 30 fps for us folks in PAL land?

Anything i need to be aware of?

I can only afford one lens to start and am leaning towards the 24 - 105 l series lens which is packaged at a very reasonable price. It's got a bit of zoom and is nice and wide. Is this a good lens for me?

I shall be using the camera for both stills and video, and will be traveling in countries where i'd be advised to have a filming permit should i have a "proper" video camera. Last year i was filming in Iran with my xha1 and was frequently paranoid about getting it out. Had i taken a camera like the MK2 i'd have shot 5 times as much footage. I don't want to get caught out like that again and feel the MK2 will give me a lot more freedom. I realise it's not too hot for panning or any other movement in its current state, and can live with that.

Finally, do i need to travel with a laptop, or can i put these files on to a HD of some kind.
It also occurs to me that Internet Cafe's are somewhat ubiquitous pretty much anywhere you go, and that i could carry my mini lacie with me? I'm a mac man but can format the drive for windows.
I'm not sure i want to travel with my macbook. Does the HD and internet cafe option sound feasible?

I'm also aware that these camera's capture rubbish audio and am looking at the Olympus LS10 digital recorder.

So why am i still wavering?

I've been taking note of the interesting new small camcorder from JVC, and the up and coming Panasonic baby brother to the hmc 151 ( i also have a Canon G9 for stills) but the MK2 looks like something else so i'm ready to go for it. A friend has recently bought one, and while i realise its a very different beast to a regular video camera, i feel i'm up to the challenge.
I also want a sh*t-hot stills camera, which by all accounts it is.

Sorry, i didn't realise i'd written so much, but hopefully enough to get some feedback before i buy.
Any advice much appreciated, including a recommended and trusted retailer in the UK.

Thanks

Dom
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Old July 14th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #2
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Also, reports that a mysterious camera, called "700 X" is supposed to come out this fall in response to the Mark II.

Personally, four things have kept from selling my JVC100 - one, it's selling for about half of what I paid for it - which I understand, but it's still a tough pill to swallow.

Two, from everything I've read the ease of use on the Mark II is tough at best. Not the kind of camera for run & gun shooting, which I do a lot of.

Three, no 24P/23.976.

Four, you're only getting about a quarter of the available info the sensor picks up by the time it gets to you computer, which kinda defeats the purpose of having that big ass sensor in the first place.

I'd jump on the Mark II if it had 24p, but the lack of that feature plus the other stuff is a deal breaker for me. I'm taking a wait & see outlook for now.

john
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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Four, you're only getting about a quarter of the available info the sensor picks up by the time it gets to you computer, which kinda defeats the purpose of having that big ass sensor in the first place.
Just to be clear, it doesn't crop the sensor, but skips two out of three lines or so. Because the sensor is so big, it's tough to read all that data - and also tough to process it.

If the camera could read all the lines, the low light noise would be even better than it is today(!)

The only practical problem with skipping the lines is that you'll get aliasing on some content, if you don't use a softening filter. Fortunately, with a shallow DOF, aliasing is only a problem in the in-focus areas.

Personally, I think the biggest problem for PAL users is the lack of 25p. If there's no dialog, you can slow the content down to 83.33% speed, but who here never shoots dialog?
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Old July 14th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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I want the 5D to get 25p just so European users can get the benefits the U.S. is seeing with this camera. 30p looks just fine as it is the optics, sensor, and relative lack of compression artifacts that are really important.

I'm guessing that the 24-105L is a good choice to make the 5D work more smoothly like a video camera. I felt I needed more reach so I went with a Tamron 28-300mm lens with IS/VC but many situations will be just fine for the 24-105L. Now that the new firmware allows manual control during video, Canon lenses are just fine for video. Magic Lantern is going to be very helpful for audio once it has the glitches worked out. I'm thinking that even before then that the Juicedlink 231 will be handy to connect XLR mics and bring up the levels to keep the audio gain from coming up. A separate audio recorder might still be wise for some scenarios but it really does seem with the right setup that the 5D can perform well as a video camera. I think the only work I won't be able to do is to record someone at a podium talking on an on and on about something nobody wants to hear that much about anymore. Boo hoo to not having long recording times. Long record times might be nice, but I just don't have that as a desire anymore. With the speed which Tramm is working with Magic Lantern issues, I'm very confident it will be a useful and reliable product in the near future.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #5
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Another thought that entered my head was a cheaper dslr like the new canon 50d that shoots 30 fps in 720.
Yeah, i know it's not full frame, but it might be a wise stop-gap camera until canon sort this problem out.

I really want the MKii, but the no 25 fps is a bit of a headache for me. However, if i thought this problem could be solved by a firmware update in the not too distant future i could live with it.

I'm just concerned i'm going to buy the thing only to find that in 3 months time its superseded by a new camera that has what i really want.

Would it be better to buy a cheaper camera - like the 50d - and spend the money on lenses until Canon get their act together.

Of course i'm well aware that the illusive "perfect camera" is usually a mirage.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #6
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If you need 25p and can wait, I'd wait. Clearly, there will be a 1080p25 solution available before long.

My personal prediction is that The 5D2 will get 25p (and probably 24p) before the holiday sales season begins in November. But it costs me nothing to make such a call. For you to buy a camera takes real money, so that's a serious bet. I have no inside information from Canon...

With Magic Lantern shoring up the audio and usability issues, 24/25p would make this camera solid.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #7
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Lack of PAL 25p is not an issue unless you are either going to produce a DVD (which will not be HD of course) or video for broadcast. If your outlet/distribution is the web then 30p is fine although 24/25p would be nice to lower the bandwidth requirements for HD.

The 24-105mm F4L IS kit lens is the best single lens for general video use. IS even at the wide end is really useful for the sort of guerilla hand held work you are looking to do. The low light performance of the 5DII is so great that the fact the lens is only F4 isn't the limitation that it might appear as there is little grain even with quite high ISO values.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #8
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Thanks for the posts.

Is there any chance of 25p being achieved via a firmware update in the future, or would this require a new model of camera?

I can see it now. I've just opened my fabulous new 30 fps mkii and Canon announce a 25p version.

Argh!
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Old July 15th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #9
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Is there any chance of 25p being achieved via a firmware update in the future, or would this require a new model of camera?
There's a chance that it will come in firmware (and that's my prediction), but who knows what Canon (and Nikon, for that matter) will actually do. There have been some statements that different frame rates aren't possible in firmware, but I don't believe them. After all, the new Rebel shoots at 20 fps with the same Digic IV chip.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #10
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Thanks for that Jon.

I'm definitely interested in investing in Canon as opposed to another camera manufacturer. I've had good experiences with their products and think the lenses i invest in will ultimately be good for both the stills cameras and any future video cameras, and if 25p is a possibility as a firmware upgrade it makes the MKii a lot more appealing to me.

Of course there's also the possibility of going for the cheaper 50d as a stop-gap camera and shooting in 720p instead, but im somewhat hooked on the idea of having a full-frame stills camera too.

Decisions, decisions? Of course i'm very lucky to have any options at all given the lousy economic state we find ourselves in on both sides of the pond.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 03:25 PM   #11
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If you need 25p and can wait, I'd wait. Clearly, there will be a 1080p25 solution available before long.

My personal prediction is that The 5D2 will get 25p (and probably 24p) before the holiday sales season begins in November.
I tend to believe that as well - and even if they don't some other camera company (perhaps Nikon, who has no high end camera division to protect) will.

All that said, if you always wait for the best camera to come out, you'll always be waiting. I suppose it depends on what exactly it is you're using the camera for and how fast you need it.

Personally, the wait and see (while using the JVC until then) approach seems best. It means my camera will have almost no re-sale value when I do dell it, but I just can't pull the trigger on the Mark II... yet.

john
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Old July 15th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #12
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I understand you've parted company with your XH A1. I still have mine along with my 5DII and here's why.

Important to me. What the XH A1 has the 5D2 doesn't:

(1) Longer continuous recording times. I did a retirement party tonight. I needed at least 30 minutes continuous recording.

(2) Better sound. I just bought and am experimenting with a Sennheiser MKE400 for the 5D2. However, a good boom mike on the XH A1 still sounds a lot better than the 5D2 and you have manual control of sound on the A1.

(3) Manual Iris. You can make similar changes on the 5D2 in manual mode but they look pretty abrupt on the video.

(4) Long zoom. I think the 35mm equivalent is something like 35mm to 650mm. A similar zoom for my 5D2 doesn't exist and to get out to that 600mm range with a lens will cost you $6 grand or better.

(5) I.S. Image stabilization works pretty good on my 5D2 with lenses that have IS. But the A-1 is better.

(6) Video is easier to edit although I'm coming along o.k. with my 5D2's h.264 format. It just may take some time to get work flow going.


What the 5D2 has that the XH A1 doesn't.

(1) Extroardinary image. The XH A1 is good but nothing like my 5D2 with my lens line up. The depth of field of my 5D2 is not something my A-1 can give me without a Letus or Brevis converter on my A-1 to use with my lenses.

(2) Use of my Canon L lenses and I have a few. By the way, I have the 24-105 L and it is just the best video lens with the 5D2....great still shot lens too.

(3) Portability...big deal. The 5D2 is light and contrary to what I read, is pretty easy to use run and gun. Once you set up the Live View and movie mode, it's a piece of cake to go back and forth between stills and video.

(4) Still camera....for portraits, landscape and some birding...it is by far the best and I have a 1DIIn as well for comparison.

(5) One more. Low light. I've done videos on my 5D2 in ISO 6400 and they looked pretty good....at the least, very useable.

However, it's a good idea to have a light monopod or tripod along with the 5D2. The good news is the 5D2 is so small and light, it doesn't take much of a monopod or tripod to stabilize it.

I use my 5D2 for short video clips and it works great...it's a wonderful piece of equipment.

My XH A1 is reserved for graduations, parties and concerts and the like. Sound is still pretty damn good on tape..with a good boom condenser mike.

You had mentioned some other concerns with the transition to the 5DMKII, but I thought I might share a few issues that I have experienced.

Best of luck.

Rog
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Old July 16th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #13
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Roger, have you mixed the A1 and 5D2 footage together? Do they match up fine? I know 5D2 shoot in 30p and A1 in HDV 60i... what would be the work flow to combine footages between the 2 cameras?
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Old July 16th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #14
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Thanks for your input Roger.

In a perfect world i'd have kept both of course, however i can't justify it at the moment, and it is easy to rent an EX1, Z1 etc for work that requires it. I'm not busy enough with the XHA1 to make it worthwhile having at home, and i suspect Canon will upgrade soon and bring the second hand value down, so it seemed like a good time to let it go. I do work fro schools, and have recently completed a job, so i know there will be nothing more for the summer at least. I shall buy another camcorder when i have a run of work to justify it. In the meantime, the 5dMKii is going to see a lot more action than the XHA1 did, as i have some interesting travel projects in the future.

Eric
I have tried putting footage from my friends MKii into an XHA1 timeline and it seemed to work ok, though i only did a very quick test. The MKii produced much nicer pictures in most respects, but will take a lot of practice to be a useful video tool. I'm looking forward to learning a new approach and feel it will enhance my skills.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #15
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Roger, have you mixed the A1 and 5D2 footage together? Do they match up fine? I know 5D2 shoot in 30p and A1 in HDV 60i... what would be the work flow to combine footages between the 2 cameras?
Generally the 5DII footage makes the XHA1 stuff look like crap. Not because it is intrinsically bad but because the look especially the fantastic clarity & sharpness of the 5DII is so different to that of the XHA1. We have found it impossible to mix footage in the same scene as the 'look' is utterly different. It is possible to shoot e.g. exteriors with the XHA1 & interiors with the 5DII & then mix the footage but not a 2 camera shoot of the same scene.
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