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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #16
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T2i

Thanks guys. This has been fantastic information. Just starting out here I think I will go with the T2i. I think it gives me all of the features I need for the kind of shots I want to take, and at a price point that I can use to purchase accessories, etc. The only reason I was considering the 5DMkII is for it’s improved image quality and DOF capabilities. I would imagine after shooting stills and video with the T2i for a while I will probably be able to appreciate the improved image quality of the 5DMkII even more when I get that one.

I did notice a new (non-refrub, never opened) T2i with two EF-S Image Stabilization zoom lenses (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS & 55-250mm IS) on Ebay. What would a very aggressive price be for this kit? I was thinking somewhere around $900-$1,000?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #17
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I'd like to draw your attention to something.

Please look at this photo I took Saturday:

http://i666.photobucket.com/albums/v...G_1706_out.jpg


That is from a T2i set to I believe F2.8 on a 55mm lens. That signature is about 10" long. Not the falloff of sharpness in about 2".

I show this to help you understand something. On a normal lens, at a reasonable aperture, like F2.8, the APS-C sensor has a DOF that will not allow you to put an eye and an ear in focus at the same time. If your subject leans back in their chair, they will no longer be in focus. If your subject turns their head to respond to dialog, they will no longer be in focus.

How shallow do you need to be? If you are moving the camera and/or the subject is moving, trying to stay in focus (with that SD output) is going to be an absolute BEAR! And you are going to want to shoot at F8 or F11... if you can find the light. Or you are going to end up shooting on much wider lenses which inherently have deeper DOF.

The fact of the matter is that the 5D gives SUCH shallow depth, it's often problematic. Similar to IMAX. Read Chris Nolan's account of shooting the IMAX sequences in the Dark Knight. Where he was horrified when he realized that on 1-shots, he couldn't get the eyes and nose in focus at the same time. Shooting common shots on the 5D requires MORE light than shooting the 7D/T2i in many instances because you NEED to stop down to get the focus depth. I prefer not to spend an extra $1500 to fight those battles. If I shot in scenarios where I couldn't get more light, I'd probably think about it differently.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 04:36 PM   #18
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On a normal lens, at a reasonable aperture, like F2.8, the APS-C sensor has a DOF that will not allow you to put an eye and an ear in focus at the same time.
There are two factors here that you seem to overlook: distance and type of lens. For example, a fullframe 85mm f/1.4 at one yard will yield 10mm of DOF, while at 5 yards it has three times the DOF. Hence, if you use a macro lens (as I assume you did?) as close as this shot shows, there will be very shallow DOF, also for a non-fullframe camera as the T2i.

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Old October 27th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #19
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Edit -- I misspoke: it should be THIRTY times, (not three times) the DOF.

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Old October 28th, 2010, 07:57 AM   #20
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Dof

Thanks, Peer. That's a good point on the lens choice and distances. I'm still learning my optics basics here, and found this website (Online Depth of Field Calculator) which I think would be useful in determining the DOF of a particular lens on a particular camera from a certain distance at a specific f-stop. It even tells you how much will be in focus in front of and behind the subject. Very neat. I could see how having a certain lens at the wrong distance range would cause some serious focusing issues (especially at unplanned event shooting).

The dilemma I'm having now is trying to determine which lenses to use with the camera. Canon has many lenses and apparently some are considered "kit" lenses of lower quality and some are considered mid-range or even higher quality, and then you have thier L-series. For example, the EF-S 18-55mm IS, EF-S 55-200mm IS, and EF-S 18-135mm IS lenses that come with the T2i kit are considered acceptable, but not high quality lenses. Although, once you look at the EF-S 15-85mm IS lens it is considered to be optically superior, but there is nothing on the lens that specifies this (it's labelled as just another EF-S lens) . I've also watched some You Tube video tests with the T2i camera and it seems as if the prime lenses (even the basic 50mm f1.4 lens) have a much better look to them versus the zoom lenses. Let me know if I'm on the right track, but it seems like zoom lenses should be used for taking photography still shots in situations where you can't carry around extra lenses, and filming nice cinema quality video in well planned out shots should be left to higer quality prime lenses.

With that being said, is there a primary resource somewhere on the web that goes thorough all of the Canon lenses and actually shows which lenses are lower quality "kit type" lenses, and which are upgrades to mid-range or higher quality. Also, are there different levels within the L-series group of lenses, or are they all considered to be equally great? I've searched around and it seems like everyone has thier own review of what they think of a lens, but I'm I need something more authoritative.

Thanks.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 09:19 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post
There are two factors here that you seem to overlook: distance and type of lens. For example, a fullframe 85mm f/1.4 at one yard will yield 10mm of DOF, while at 5 yards it has three times the DOF. Hence, if you use a macro lens (as I assume you did?) as close as this shot shows, there will be very shallow DOF, also for a non-fullframe camera as the T2i.

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No, I did not use a Macro lens. I used a 55mm lens circa 1965, and I used it from the drivers seat of a pickup truck shooting at the passenger side dashboard. No Macro, no 5 yards. I was at a normal inside the vehicle filming distance.

Calculate here for yourself:

Online Depth of Field Calculator

F2.8 at 5ft gives about .26ft of depth on the 550D.

12" = 1ft so .26ft = 3.1" at F1.8 (which I might have used) that drops to .16ft or 1.92".

My point still stands. Standing 5ft from a subject with a ~50mm lens at F2.8, or more open will not allow the eyes and the ear to be in focus at the same time.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
Thanks, Peer. That's a good point on the lens choice and distances. I'm still learning my optics basics here, and found this website (Online Depth of Field Calculator) which I think would be useful in determining the DOF of a particular lens on a particular camera from a certain distance at a specific f-stop. It even tells you how much will be in focus in front of and behind the subject. Very neat. I could see how having a certain lens at the wrong distance range would cause some serious focusing issues (especially at unplanned event shooting).

The dilemma I'm having now is trying to determine which lenses to use with the camera. Canon has many lenses and apparently some are considered "kit" lenses of lower quality and some are considered mid-range or even higher quality, and then you have thier L-series. For example, the EF-S 18-55mm IS, EF-S 55-200mm IS, and EF-S 18-135mm IS lenses that come with the T2i kit are considered acceptable, but not high quality lenses. Although, once you look at the EF-S 15-85mm IS lens it is considered to be optically superior, but there is nothing on the lens that specifies this (it's labelled as just another EF-S lens) . I've also watched some You Tube video tests with the T2i camera and it seems as if the prime lenses (even the basic 50mm f1.4 lens) have a much better look to them versus the zoom lenses. Let me know if I'm on the right track, but it seems like zoom lenses should be used for taking photography still shots in situations where you can't carry around extra lenses, and filming nice cinema quality video in well planned out shots should be left to higer quality prime lenses.

With that being said, is there a primary resource somewhere on the web that goes thorough all of the Canon lenses and actually shows which lenses are lower quality "kit type" lenses, and which are upgrades to mid-range or higher quality. Also, are there different levels within the L-series group of lenses, or are they all considered to be equally great? I've searched around and it seems like everyone has thier own review of what they think of a lens, but I'm I need something more authoritative.

Thanks.
I'll save you some time and effort.

Many recent feature films are using glass that is 20 years old or more. Some use glass that is over 50 years old. The current crop of Canon DSLRs (in video mode) cannot resolve more detail that a good 50 year old lens can deliver. The Canon 18-55 kit lens is built with cheaper plastics and materials. Optically, it supports 5k capture. It has to as that is what the camera shoots in STILLS mode. All of this glass you are looking at is designed to work well for shooting in 3K to 5k capture or beyond. These are still cameras and still lenses. At BEST you are shooting 1080p, but in reality, these cameras are not resolving more than 800 lines if that. So the fact of the matter is, you could put a piece of glass on these cameras from the 1960s and it will deliver all the detail the camera is capable of. I've done it, I've tested it, and it's fine. Barry Green (Panasonic test shooter) has done the same comparisons with basic Canon glass and his Zeiss Compact primes and come to exactly the same conclusion. In video mode, these camera simply cannot use the resolving power of that kind of glass.

Now that said, good glass brings less chromatic aberration, less barrel distortion, more contrast, perhaps better color rendition, maybe less flare, etc. But it terms of sheer optical quality, it's a waste. In fact, REALLY sharp glass like the Canon "L" glass or other, actually create some problems with these cameras.

There's a lot to learn about glass getting into this game, but you absolutely do NOT need to spend a boatload on glass to get nice video. At least not getting started. The basic kit lens is probably optically as good my EX1's lens.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
With that being said, is there a primary resource somewhere on the web that goes thorough all of the Canon lenses and actually shows which lenses are lower quality "kit type" lenses, and which are upgrades to mid-range or higher quality.
If you are looking for Canon only, their own lens site on "Canon Camera Museum" is a pretty good source: Canon Camera Museum | Camera Hall - EF Mount (pick the lens category at the top).

Keep in mind though, there's a myriad of vintage non-Canon lenses out there that will work perfectly on a Canon body (using a converter ring). Sure, you'll lose the auto focus, but if the lens is mostly used for video work, who cares? One thing to look for though, is that the focus pull ring goes the same direction as Canon's lenses. This is the reason why I now stopped using my Nikkor lenses -- they spin the opposite direction (feels like driving on the left side of the road).

Although I have a few L lenses that I mostly use on boring corporate gigs, I always tend to end up using my quirky vintage Carl Zeiss' et al. for more artistic/private work. Also remember that a good lens will most likely last you a lifetime, at least outlive the camera itself -- hence, I suggest that you pick wisely among the robust & higher end lenses, not necessarily Canon. If I would've thought of this a few years ago, I would have saved myself a chunk of money by avoiding all those cheap plastic lenses that I ended up buying back then. Live and learn, I guess.

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Old October 29th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #24
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Perrone,

Thanks for boiling that down for me and saving me some time on lenses. So, if the better glass and sensor will resolve for stills in RAW, then is it the video processing on these DSLRs that doesn’t allow for the better lens to resolve completely on video? Now, when you say “resolve”, are we mainly talking about the improved sharpness of the higher quality lenses (enabling you to get complete glass-like sharpness on someone’s eyes, for example)? You did mention that the better lenses would possibly provide “improved chromatic aberration, less barrel distortion, contrast, color rendition, and flare reduction”, but not enough to validate the price increase (at least for someone starting out like me). Very good information to know.

I’ve been watching more video (limited to YouTube – not ideal), but every time I see the 5DMkII clips, I just get that feeling or “mojo” when watching (and I’m talking about clips of someone just testing it out at an outside café at night without any processing, in addition to well made short films). The image it produces in low light conditions is quite striking versus what I’ve seen from the 7D or T2i. Do others see this too? It just creates a very distinct mood in low light, and I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence of the clips I’ve watched or whether it really is the difference in the camera sensor. As much as the T2i makes sense with regards to its value, the 5DMkII is still pulling me in. What’s up with that? 

The other thing I’ve noticed when watching these clips is how much more I enjoy clips shot on Prime lenses (I think this is obvious to most reading this). Again, likely due to nicer prime lenses being faster than most zoom lenses, and working better in low light. To my untrained eye, it seems as if cameras and lenses that work better in low light and create a mood capture my attention much more than anything else (I call it the Kubrick mood, which is apparent in many of the low-light shots in his films).

Thanks for everyone’s input.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
Perrone,

Thanks for boiling that down for me and saving me some time on lenses. So, if the better glass and sensor will resolve for stills in RAW, then is it the video processing on these DSLRs that doesn’t allow for the better lens to resolve completely on video?
Yes, it's the video processing. The small cameras are not powerful enough to use the entire sensor, then process that on the fly down to 1080p or 720p. If they were, these cameras would be a match for the RED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
Now, when you say “resolve”, are we mainly talking about the improved sharpness of the higher quality lenses (enabling you to get complete glass-like sharpness on someone’s eyes, for example)?
Yes, I mean resolve detail. Like eyelashes, or other very fine details. In stills mode, the camera can easily resolve it. In video mode.. no. But the glass is the same. It's not the fault of the glass, that's for sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
You did mention that the better lenses would possibly provide “improved chromatic aberration, less barrel distortion, contrast, color rendition, and flare reduction”, but not enough to validate the price increase (at least for someone starting out like me). Very good information to know.
For some people it's MORE than enough to validate the costs. Real Cinema glass is in the 5-figures range. Clearly, they feel it's worth it. And cinema zooms are in the upper 5-figures range.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
I’ve been watching more video (limited to YouTube – not ideal), but every time I see the 5DMkII clips, I just get that feeling or “mojo” when watching (and I’m talking about clips of someone just testing it out at an outside café at night without any processing, in addition to well made short films).
I've seen well shot work on a variety of cams. And honestly, they just all look like well shot work to me!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
The image it produces in low light conditions is quite striking versus what I’ve seen from the 7D or T2i. Do others see this too? It just creates a very distinct mood in low light, and I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence of the clips I’ve watched or whether it really is the difference in the camera sensor. As much as the T2i makes sense with regards to its value, the 5DMkII is still pulling me in. What’s up with that? 
The 5D is clearly superior in low light conditions. I don't really consider that much for narrative work, because the light levels are being strictly controlled in most cases. Frankly, I think you just want a 5D, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
The other thing I’ve noticed when watching these clips is how much more I enjoy clips shot on Prime lenses (I think this is obvious to most reading this).
How do you know it's a prime? If you've watched any major movies recently, you've likely seen a mix of both primes and zooms. Even most good shorts, music videos, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
Again, likely due to nicer prime lenses being faster than most zoom lenses, and working better in low light.
While primes are often faster than zooms, most primes in films are used at F-Stops that zooms can reach. Occasionally this is not true, but for daylight work, it's nearly always true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiro Kalogeropoulos View Post
To my untrained eye, it seems as if cameras and lenses that work better in low light and create a mood capture my attention much more than anything else (I call it the Kubrick mood, which is apparent in many of the low-light shots in his films).
Cool.. well keep looking at stuff you like. And try to find out how it's lensed. I'm sure you'll learn a lot from that.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 06:45 PM   #26
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I think there are advantages to both chip sizes. I started out with a 7D but moved to the 5D because of the availability of high quality wide angle and fast primes. The downside to a fast prime is that if you are shooting in low light wide open, your depth of field is so shallow on the 5D that it's very difficult to shoot without a focus puller who is good.

While i shot for almost a year with the 7D with nothing but a rails system for handheld work and a 3X Hoodman, the first time I did a dolly shot with the 5D i ordered a follow focus system that night. Of course with the 5D you can boost ISO higher than with the 7D before noticing it, and often you have to do that to maintain enough DOF for the shot, unless you can light it properly. I've found that an f4-5.6 on the 5D is about the same DOF as f2.8 with the 7D, all other things being equal.

So in that regard the 7D is definitely easier to use. On the other hand, if you want a really shallow DOF, you are always going to be working wide open with zoom lenses (if you want wide angle), and wide open is where most lenses seem to show up problems. (Canon does have a nice 14mm f2.8 L lens, and I would have bought that had I kept the 7D, and it is supposed to be decent.) Point is, both cameras have advantages and disadvantages. The 5D gives you better resolution, but it's not enough better to make that the reason for spending more money. For me, HDSLR shooting is all about lenses. If you saw the Zacuto tests, in comparison to 35mm film I thought the 5D looked a lot like Kodak stock, while the 7D looked a lot like Fuji stock, and in their chroma key tests, I thought the 7D came out just a tiny bit better.

While it's true the 7D chip is very close to Adademy 4-perf motion picture film, it's also true that people shooting 35mm film usually use very fast primes for many cases, and those fast primes aren't readily available for HDSLRs (although it's just a matter of time, probably, before you'll be able to get PL mounts for the 7D at big rental houses).

I know one person here who is shooting with both a 7D and a 5D and intercutting them at will. He has only two lenses, an f1.4 35mm L and an f1.2 85mm L. But with both cameras he can switch bodies and, in effect, have the equivalent of four lenses. In looking at his footage, I can't tell which shots were 5D and which 7D. In my own footage, I have used 7D footage from previous films intercut with new 5D stuff and nobody sees any differences. Sure, the differences are there, but you have to be one of those high end cinematographers sitting in the theater watching the Zacuto tests to really tell any serious difference.

A friend of mine shoots with a 7D but he prefers to use Twixtor for slomo because the 7D's slomo is only 720p. I never shot any slomo when I had mine, so I haven't seen the difference in person. I think it would probably be acceptable because generally when you go to a slomo shot it's so different from what comes before and after that you can get by with a different look.

As far as ergonomics, the 7D has the on/off switch up on top where it should be, and I like the way the grip is moulded better. I think the 5D is just a tiny bit heavier, but the 7D feels heavier because it is smaller. Some people were talking about focus...I never had any focus problems with the 7D and don't with the 5D, in terms of getting critical focus quickly. I rarely use a monitor. And most of the times if there's a focus pull, I'm doing it myself, watching the grease pencil marks on the Cavision.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 07:57 PM   #27
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Always enjoy your well reasoned posts Bill. I am loving shooting with my 5dM2 for interviews and b roll - both at super shallow depth of field. 85mm 1.2 and 35mm 1.4 are so pretty. Use their bright 24mm fairly often as well, 14mm once in a while.

I don't have 15 years video experience to comment on all video lenses but at least with regard to photography no other non-prime Canon lenses come close to those above. All I know is that with video they give my pieces a unique bright and shallow look that everyone really likes, me included.

As far as focusing during shooting, my DP1x is so crazy sharp that its a breeze. Granted my subjects are relatively stationary, no cars chases for me, but that monitor is amazing. I would never rely on the lcd on back of the 5d but the DP1x, wow, even at 1.2 no gimicks required, just look and focus.

Miss true slow mo with my 5d though and shooting it with my EX1 gives such a radically different look that its not much of an alternative. Your friends 5d + 7d combo with slow mo and double your lenses idea has me thinking.

Call when you are coming thru St Louis and we'll do lunch :)
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