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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:48 AM   #1
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What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

I have 30 days before a 3 week documentary filming trip. I need to take stills in addition to video and since I'm already invested in Canon glass from my 20D, I've decided to sell my tm-700 b-camera and go with the "venerable" 5dm2 to compliment my main squeeze EX1R footage with sDOF cutaways, wides and b-camera safety shots. The 5dm2 gets the nod for it's FF lowlight and sDOF performance.

I've read a years worth of this thread and need some advice on assembling a minimalist starter kit (remember, the 5dm2 is NOT my main video camera). For this project, I'm a one man band with only minimal "mule" help from others.

Unless convinced otherwise, I intend to take only my 24-70 f2.8 L lens and 85 1.8 prime. Audio and long DOF and run and gun shots will all be on the EX1R.

Some questions:
1) Is a viewfinder really necessary to achieve focus with these lenses?
2) Is a focus puller really needed for basic tripod mounted focus racking (remember this is for cutaways and boutique shots)?
3) I've found it daunting to weed through the ND filter market. I have a nice B+W polarizer. Any recommendations on a starter Vari-ND?
4) Any critical accessory you'd recommend for a minimalist starter kit?

TIA
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 12:13 PM   #2
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

I think you'll be fine with the 24-70, I think the 85 is a great lens for the buck but perhaps not the key lens for this project. If I could only take two lenses somewhere, I would take the 24-70 and the 70-200. There is a Sigma and Tamron 70-200 if the Canon version is out of your budget.

For what you describe, I don't think you would have to have a loupe, but they're around $100 now (LCDVF knockoffs) and I personally would take one. But an autofocus before every shot (of things that don't move a lot) should be fine for your purposes.

I don't use a follow focus, and I shoot basically everything with the 5D.

I use the vari-ND available on Amazon for ~$70 and I am happy with it. A year ago when I bought it the competition was a $400 alternative that folks spoke very highly of. I personally can't see it being 6x better to justify the 6x price increase, but we all have our own standards, you should judge for yourself.

I would personally not make this trip without SOMETHING to get audio in the 5D, even if it were as basic as a Sennheiser G3 plugged straight into the mic jack. You will fall in love with the 5D images (IMHO) and want to use it more and more.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 02:38 PM   #3
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

A good value LCD viewer is the Hoodman. Under $200, 3X magnifier, adjustable diopter.
I use B+W ND filters, don't use the variable ones so I can't help there. I have a .9 and a .6 and often stack them.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

@ Bill, I read up on the viewers and had settled on the Digi Finder. There's a great thread including a review here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...omparison.html

This is the Digi Finder
Digi Finder Pro | Jag35.com

Would you say some kind of viewer is pretty much a "must have" then?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

If its for outdoor work, it would be pretty frustrating without one. The lcd screen does not hold up to well with the sun shinning on it.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 01:38 AM   #6
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

I agree that the 24-70 and 70-200 combo is an excellent choice. I know many wedding photogs and photojournalists who work exclusively with these two lenses - even though they have plenty of other lenses at their disposal. I'd see you getting much more use out of that combo than the 85mm f/1.8.

Maybe you could also throw in the super cheap 50mm f/1.8 for extreme shallow DOF stuff - not the greatest lens ergonomically, but a very economical lens with excellent optics which won't take up much space or weight in your bags.

I'd say get a hood definitely - you'll be kicking yourself if you don't at least get a cheap eBay one. A follow focus is not essential and if you're working alone would actually be more of a hassle than anything. For filters, I'd skip the fader ND and just get a 0.6 (2 stop) and/or a 0.9 (3-stop) ND filter.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:19 AM   #7
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

@ John. Thanks. I was just researching the Canon 50mm lenses. I notice many listings on eBay for the 50mm 1.4 saying the owners don't use it enough. I like the idea of a light compact lens for sDOF and portraits. I'll look at the 50mm 1.8. Thanks for the tip.

FOr others who come across this thread with the same question:

I spoke with Olof from Westside AV who uses the 5dm2 to augment EX cameras. He reminded me of the $.15 cent follow focus: A zip tie and paper tape. Also, based on his experience, I ordered the LCDVF viewer. Even tho it lacks a diopter for those of us with eyes no longer young, he says it works with glasses and is well engineered. He also confirms the recommendation of going with .6 and .9 ND instead of a variable.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

My guess is that 50/1.4 owners who don't use it enough are zoom owners who don't tend to use primes. Just set the camera to auto everything and shoot. ;)

Personally, I prefer the 50/1.4 to the 50/1.8. The mechanical build is better. The falloff is less at large apertures. The 50/1.4 isn't the newest lens, so mechanically it doesn't feel as nice as a newer Canon prime. That said, it has a longer focus travel than, say, the 28/1.8 or 85/1.8.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #9
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
I ordered the LCDVF viewer. Even tho it lacks a diopter for those of us with eyes no longer young, he says it works with glasses and is well engineered. He also confirms the recommendation of going with .6 and .9 ND instead of a variable.
I can confirm that a version of the LCDVF sold on ebay works as inticated above. It will be great.

In addition, I would consider following needs (I haven't read through other reponses, so pardon if it repeats):

1. Sound: Consider a Juiece link powered preamp for better sound. Jon Fairhurst above did considerable testing and posted recommendations a couple of years back that still are important and true today, though equipment available has changed a bit.

2. Consider learning about and adapting your 5D to filming needs by going to Magic Lantern override operating system. I would recommend Anthony Newman's AJ 5.6 version. It will give you more control over sound quality. In addition, more importantly, it gives the user exposure aids. False colors provides a zone exposure system allowing you to place your subject in the proper exposure zone, while working to avoid loss of detail in shadow and highlights. This version of ML also has focusing aids that are quite interesting and well though out.

3. Monitor: Still important, despite what you may carry in viewfinders, etc, a monitor like a Marshall will be invaluable at times.

4. Lenses: Sounds like you are stuck on modern automatic Canon lenses, but consider low older Nikon and Pentax lenses too, for specialty situations. These can be adapted nicely and effectively.

5. I have to disagree to some extent with others on variable ND. I would not consider for still, but they may be adequate or even preferrable for video. You should test the idea. Manual set up is a breeze, using false colors. You select shutter speed, aperature for depth of field desired, ISO for the conditions, and then, using false colors spin the variable ND to get the false colors on your screen (ML) or monitor to match exposure requirements of the shot.

6. Get a simple shoulder rig for run and gun shots that will work comfortably with your LCD veiw.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

I've replaced my Juicelink with the new rode video mic pro. From my test the sound is comparable, and I no longer carry the bulky juicelink around.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #11
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

Chris....thanks for bringing up Magic Lantern. I saw some threads on it indicating False Colors had been developed but not integrated. As of right now, best I can tell there's a Beta that has false colors and some other exposure and focus tools that works with FW 2.0.8. However, the non-beta version lacks those features and only works on 2.0.4. Is that basically right?

I get that the vari-nd operationally acts like an iris control but it seems for some, there are situations where they add artifacts or go soft.

I've watched the Bloom DSLR videos on Vimeo College and some others by Zacuto. I'm presently slogging thru Canon's knowledge videos...I got up and running on the EX1R real fast with the Vortex training DVD....recommendations on equivalent training material is welcome.

All: Thanks for your years of posts on the 5dm2. It's been very helpful.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #12
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

The dvd include in the book below is a pretty good primer, and its concise.

From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR (Voices That Matter)

creative live has some overly thorough tutorials from laforett. 3 day's vs 1 day.

Shane hurlbut has free tutorials that are worth watching on b&h.

B&H HDSLR Hub: Learn With A Pro
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Old May 24th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #13
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

Les:

The AJ 5.6 is the best version in my opinion. The developer is A J Newman who has been doing some beautiful work on it as his own private project, but he is working in 2.04. You will merely have to reinstall 2.04. He calls it Beta, and it does have a quirk here and there, but for using false colors, and some of the other basic stuff, it is pretty solid. This is coming from someone who was one of the original testers of Magic Lantern now two years ago.

You get 2.04 for retrograde here: Cork Photographer - Moira O'Brien Photography

Here is a video on AJ's version. Just remember things are changing regularly, so latest version may have additional features or changes.

MAGIC LANTERN AJ5.0 - Magic Lantern User Group on Vimeo

On the email list, he has propagated 5.6 which is latest version I am using, calling it a test program. I can get it to you if interested.


Trammel Hudson updated the basic ML in November 2010 so it works operates in 2.08. But it does not have the bells and whistles, that AJ
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:58 AM   #14
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

Lee, I read that long review of all the viewfinders. Most of his points are well taken, but he's way obsolete on the Hoodman criticism. It does have a 3X magnifier and diopter and has had for a long time. I got the Hoodcrane version, which mounts the device in a "crane" type arrangement off the hotshoe, with a flipup mechanism. I like the mounting, but the flipup part sucks. It's so difficult to use I just don't use it. Instead I slip the finder out of the mount on top It goes in and out easily. Now that Zacuto as the bottom mounting plate, I like it much better. However, my next purchase is going to probably be the Cineroid EVF. I'm holding off to see what Redrock will bring to the table.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #15
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Re: What would recommend for a minimalist 5dm2 kit?

I wouldn't bother with Magic Lantern at all. The menus look fantastic but as soon as you start using it then it falls apart in a horrible coloured mess. After a bit of use becomes impossible to change items in the menus & you wind up having to reboot the camera to regain control. Neither the zebras nor the false colours are useful. I really cannot see what all the fuss is about. I have tried several times over the years to love Magic Lantern as obviously an awful lot of work has been put into it but each time I try a new version after a few minutes frustration I remove it & revert to the Canon firmware.
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