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Old November 30th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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Building a High Quality 5DM2 Kit - Thoughts?

We're going to be using a 5DM2 as a "b-camera" along side our Sony EX3. The EX3 will be used for all the standard shots and Steadicam shots. The 5DM2 will be used for the shallow DOF shots and for still photography. We produce mainly local television commercials, and corporate videos. This stuff ain't cheap. Anybody have experience with this stuff on a 5DM2? Does it work well together?

VIDEO
Canon 5D M2 (body)
Canon LP-E6 (extra battery)
Canon lens 50mm f/1.4 USM (58mm filter size)
Canon lens 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM (82mm filter size)
Canon lens 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM (77mm filter size)
Singh-Ray Vari-ND 77mm (variable neutral density filter)
B+W #110 Neutral Density 3.0 filter (58mm)
B+W #102 Neutral Density 0.6 extra wide glass filter (82mm)
Zacuto Z-Finder
Zacuto Z-Bands (for Z-Finder)
Zacuto Cine Kit (mini-base plate, riser, Z-Focus Follow Focus, Zip Gear)
Zacuto 0.8-pitch 1-inch diameter gear (better gearing for 35mm lenses)
Zacuto ZipGear Prime Lens Kit
Sachtler 0775 FSB-8 tripod with speed lock 75 and side-load Snap & Go
Chrosziel AC-450 matte box
Chrosziel 110-105mm step-down ring
Zacuto universal donut (to fit matte box to a variety of 35mm lenses)
Lexar 16GB UDMA compact flash card (2 cards)
Lexar 16GB UDMA firewire800 card reader
Pelican 1610 hard case (pick n pluck foam) (hopefully it's big enough for the assembled rig with FF and matte box)

STILL PHOTOGRAPHY
Gitzo GT2541EX 6X tripod
Really Right Stuff BH-55 LR (ball head)
Really Right Stuff B5D2-L (camera plate)
Canon 580EXII Speedlight

Thanks in advance! (I'm really excited about learning to shoot with this new rig)
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:13 AM   #2
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I'd recommend the 50 1.2 over the 1.4, it's a much sharper lens with a better focus ring. Is there a reason you need the zooms? For commercials and corporate you'd be able to control your framing enough to use primes. Unless you really need IS, I'd highly recommend the Canon 135mm f/2.0 over the 70-200 2.8, much sharper and cheaper. The 16-35 is a great lens but not nearly as sharp or fast as the 24 1.4.

The z-gear looks mighty nice...
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Old December 1st, 2009, 09:29 AM   #3
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Also, you are wasting money on the Singh Ray. Get the Fader ND from Lightcraft Workshop instead at about 1/3 the price. I have owned both, very little difference.

The 70-200 F4 L is sharper than the 2.8 although if you need the speed. My thinking is that long lenses are mostly for exteriors so slow doesn't bother me but your needs may be different.

Have you shot with the 5D MKII yet? I would shoot with one first if you haven't already before dropping this kind of serious cash on this very complete and I am sure really expensive package. You may find that while the 5D MKII is excellent (I have one), it may not be everything you think it is for video. For stills, it's amazing, but for video, I find it rather limited, I only shoot occasional jobs with it, usually preferring to use my HPX170 for most video shoots because of the ergonomics, audio, etc.

Dan
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Old December 1st, 2009, 11:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis View Post
This stuff ain't cheap. Anybody have experience with this stuff on a 5DM2? Does it work well together?
Yes, I got a few of those parts myself;
Battery grip with Canon LP-E6's
Canon lens 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM
Canon lens 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM
Zacuto Z-Finder
Century matte box (not the Chrosziel)
Pelican 1510 case (not the 1610)
...plus some other stuff too:

This is my third camera rig I've built, and it's certainly the nicest one too. Besides, when we get 24fs next year, it gonna be almost perfect.

-- peer
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Old December 1st, 2009, 05:40 PM   #5
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Erik: I just prefer high-quality zooms versus prime lenses. I know I might be giving up a bit of sharpness, but I can live with that. But yes, I need the 2.8 f-stop even though I've heard the f4 is a bit sharper. Thanks! :)

Dan: What's a "Fader ND"? I haven't heard of that. But I'm all about saving money! :) I have shot with a 5DM2 and it's beautiful. But as I said in my original post, we're going to be using it as a secondary camera to a Sony EX3 which is a standard video camera with audio inputs, etc... Thanks! :)

Peer: Thanks! Sounds like I'm on the right track with my purchase? (you've obviously got a lot of experience building them)
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 12:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Also, you are wasting money on the Singh Ray. Get the Fader ND from Lightcraft Workshop instead at about 1/3 the price. I have owned both, very little difference.
** Interesting, thanks for sharing that; haven't heard of Fader ND myself...but I'll definitely check that out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
The 70-200 F4 L is sharper than the 2.8 although if you need the speed. My thinking is that long lenses are mostly for exteriors so slow doesn't bother me but your needs may be different.
** F/4 version; definitely lighter in weight. As for being sharper, maybe....but if the F2.8 is set at F4, you wouldn't notice the difference. With the 2.8 IS, you'll get better low light handheld usability.... and you'll definitely need it because of the weight of that lens!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Have you shot with the 5D MKII yet? I would shoot with one first if you haven't already before dropping this kind of serious cash on this very complete and I am sure really expensive package. You may find that while the 5D MKII is excellent (I have one), it may not be everything you think it is for video. For stills, it's amazing, but for video, I find it rather limited, I only shoot occasional jobs with it, usually preferring to use my HPX170 for most video shoots because of the ergonomics, audio, etc.
** A VERY understated point Dan!! It will take a whole new mindset to operate the 5D compared to operating a "regular" video camera. Also, you didn't mention what you'll be doing for audio. You can ML it or purchase (more $$!!) an external recorder (Edirol, Zoom, Sony, etc...). AND most important is workflow....Mac? Windows? Read up here and on other forums on how people are dealing with editing the 5D footage (hint: it ain't no walk in the park!!). Maybe renting one first could be an option for you, to see if you really like it for what you needs are. There is also the 7D w/the 720/60p (among other frame rates) option as well. It's great to have choices....albeit pricey ones!!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 01:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Andersen View Post
I'd recommend the 50 1.2 over the 1.4, it's a much sharper lens with a better focus ring. Is there a reason you need the zooms? For commercials and corporate you'd be able to control your framing enough to use primes. Unless you really need IS, I'd highly recommend the Canon 135mm f/2.0 over the 70-200 2.8, much sharper and cheaper. The 16-35 is a great lens but not nearly as sharp or fast as the 24 1.4.

The z-gear looks mighty nice...
actually the f1.4 is sharper than the f1.2

the only benefits to the 1.2 are the 1/3 stop speed advantage, better build quality, and more distinguished bokeh --thats it.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 03:47 AM   #8
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actually the f1.4 is sharper than the f1.2
Are you thinking of the 1.8? The 1.4 is very very soft even beyond f/2.0. The 1.8 is razor sharp but falls down in other aspects.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 08:25 AM   #9
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Erik: Hmmmm.....that's a lot of money to pay for a 50mm lens. When I bought our EX3 with Letus Ultimate 35mm adaptor, I purchased Nikon lenses (aperture ring). To learn about Nikon lenses I utilized Ken Rockwell's site and he was dead on about all his recommendations. Here's what he has to say about the 50mm f/1.4 vs the f/1.2
Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

Andrew: I've shot with a Letus Ultimate on the front of a Sony EX3, so I'm some what used to using non-standard gear for shooting. But I am leaving myself plenty of time to get familiar with the 5DM2 rig. Thanks!

I addition we''ll be using a Sony EX3 for recording video and audio. In the future I might buy the Beachtek unit or the JuiceLink unit, but I'm going to wait on those and see how the technology washes out. For now we can live with out audio on the 5DM2.

We'll be using a brand new MacPro Quad with Final Cut Studio 2, so I'll be using Apple Compressor to convert the footage over. Might try MPEG Stream Clip as well to see if it converts a lot faster.

I was really looking for advice on things like the Zacuto stuff. Maybe there's a better follow focus for the 5DM2 than the Zacuto Z-Focus? Dunno. Are 2 x 16GB memory cards too big (waste of money) and 2 x 8GB cards would be plenty? Dunno.

I really appreciate all the great advice though. You guys really know your stuff! Thanks! :)
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 08:58 AM   #10
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DO NOT BUY THE BEACHTEK for the 5D it is not worth the cash!! I have one and if I could do it over this would not be the unit I would pick. Noisy is an extreme understatement. Does it work? Yes. Does it work well? NO!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 09:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post

This is my third camera rig I've built, and it's certainly the nicest one too. Besides, when we get 24fs next year, it gonna be almost perfect.

-- peer
Hmmm rather front heavy, I'd dump that one, a hand held camera should balance nicely (if possible) with just one hand. Unfortunately the basic DSLR layout means that everything can get further away from the body and you do begin to feel this after a long day's filming. Using the V/F on the LCD makes this worse than you'd find on even a very old film camera. It'll also effect the steadiness of your shots, especially if you mount zoom lenses, which will make everything even more front heavy.

One of the rules of a hand held rig is that the balance is more important than the weight.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:16 AM   #12
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First off if you are looking for a B cam to an EX3 then the 7D is currently your best bet if you want frame rates to match. The 5DmkII currently only offers 30p until Canon update the firmware sometime in the new year, even then it seems unlikely it will get 50 and 60p modes. You can of course convert your footage from 30p to 24p or 25p but it will take time and the results vary depending on subject.

Given that you are going to do stills as well personally would go for the Canon 50mm f1.2L if you can, or a manual focus Zeiss 50mm ZE lens, both are better than the Canon 50mm f1.4 in sharpness and have lower distortion. On a budget a used Contax Zeiss 50mm or the new Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 in EF fit are also good.

I'd agree about the Fader filters and they are available in 82mm if you do go for the Canon 16-35 f2.8L

if you are getting a Mattebox don't forget you want 4x4 filters especially ND in high values, I have 0.9 and 1.5 and 1.8. I use the Genus wide angle mattebox because its the only one I tested that can do 16mm for video on a 5DmkII, all my previous matteboxes vignetted.

I'd take a look at the new Genus follow focus or the Redrockmicro one as well as the Zacuto.

Also before going for really right stuff plates for stills think about using the Manfrotto 357 plate that is used in Zacuto kits otherwise you'll be swapping plates all day long when going from video to stills.

Hope that helps

Dan
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:38 AM   #13
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Light Craft Workshop - Fader ND adjustable ND filter (ND2~400)
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:58 AM   #14
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Since you are looking at Really Right Stuff ball heads (for stills), you might consider their new CF tripod as an upgrade to the Gitzo for stills.

I will likely do this myself, and am also considering their new tripod and soon-to-be 75mm bowl for use with Sachtler FSB heads (for video, obviously) instead of the Gitzo Series 3 legs I was originally considering.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 12:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
Hmmm rather front heavy, I'd dump that one, a hand held camera should balance nicely (if possible) with just one hand. Unfortunately the basic DSLR layout means that everything can get further away from the body and you do begin to feel this after a long day's filming. Using the V/F on the LCD makes this worse than you'd find on even a very old film camera. It'll also effect the steadiness of your shots, especially if you mount zoom lenses, which will make everything even more front heavy.

One of the rules of a hand held rig is that the balance is more important than the weight.
Well said Brian. I thought the 1/3" cameras were awkward until I saw how folks were outfitting the DSLRs. Front heavy and top heavy--not a good combination!

I'm currently building a frame to accommodate the Canons that should open a few eyes to this concept.
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