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Old March 22nd, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

Hello...I'm soliciting comments on this proposed startup system for my daughter, a film and TV major who
will be graduating from college in May. It will be her graduation gift and I put it together after a lot
of internet research but I am no expert (nor even an accomplished novice) in the area. Any preferred
substitutions and required additions are welcome, but I would like to keep the total cost about the same
as for the items listed. She will pick her own lenses but would like some input from experienced 5D HD
videographers before deciding. Her main area of interest at the moment is documentaries. Thanks.

EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera (body only)
Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Manual Focus Lens
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 Manual Focus Lens
Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 Manual Focus Lens
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L Lens
Adapters for the Nikkor lenses
Zacuto Target Shooter
Ikan - ELE-FGK Follow Focus Cine-Kit
Genus GL GMKDSLR Matte Box DSLR Kit (No Adapter Ring)
Genus GARD-NK Universal Donut "Nun's Knickers" Adapter Ring
Zacuto - Z-Finder Pro 2.5x
Rode NTG-2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone Kit
Manfrotto - 501HDV Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod System
Konova K3B2 50KG Camera Camcord slider dolly track 5D2 7D D800
HDV-Z96 LED Photo/Video Light Kit
Lilliput 5dii-ho 1080p 7" TFT LED Field Monitor
Zoom - H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder
77mm Fader Vari ND Mark II Filter
Lowepro Fastpack 350 Camera Backpack
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

That is a wonderful gift, Steve, you've certainly done your homework...more than a lot of seasoned film makers. :) I'm sure that she would be able to produce superb films from that list of items, and certainly a perfect starter kit for well into the future.
Possibly the addition of a wireless lav set-up would be the only major extra item needed, although she'd get by with the NTG-2 and H4n for most of her work.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

Pura Vida Steve!

You may want to look into the Canon 5D-MKIII as it has the ability to record proper audio and be monitored with head phones @ the same time. This would allow for in camera audio recording and nixing the Zoom-H4n.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

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Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick View Post
That is a wonderful gift, Steve, you've certainly done your homework...more than a lot of seasoned film makers. :) I'm sure that she would be able to produce superb films from that list of items, and certainly a perfect starter kit for well into the future.
Possibly the addition of a wireless lav set-up would be the only major extra item needed, although she'd get by with the NTG-2 and H4n for most of her work.
Thanks, Tony. I thought about a lav mic. I'll see what my daughter thinks.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

Does sound like quite the grad gift!
I will point out a few things that could be swapped...

First, as much as I like Zacuto and Genus gear, I think you could find much less expensive stuff that will perform the same function. RedRock micro is one to look at. The reason I mention this is your choice of tripod (501) is very weak in comparison. I'd try pushing money towards a Sachtler, Vinten or similar.
Second, if you're going with Nikor lenses why not go D800 for the body? (or go Canon for lenses)
Next, why not combine the monitor and zfinder into the evf? Or SmallHD dp4 evf? You can't use both the monitor and the camera LCD at the same time and the evf options both flip up to use as a monitor.
Lenses....as you mentioned, it's personal preference BUT...for me, I'd swap the 24-70 for the 70-200 f2.8 IS (v1) and pick up a Canon 16-35L v1 used or a 28 f1.8 to cover wide. To me the 70-200 is essential. You could then nix the 85 and 135 primes.
At least one Sennheiser wireless lav is a must.
Just some thoughts based on my experiences shooting DSLR.
Any way you slice it, it's a kick arse gift that will be useable for a long time. You ROCK!
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

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Originally Posted by Matthew Hurley View Post
Pura Vida Steve!

You may want to look into the Canon 5D-MKIII as it has the ability to record proper audio and be monitored with head phones @ the same time. This would allow for in camera audio recording and nixing the Zoom-H4n.
Thanks, Matthew. I investigated the MKIII and it looks like it's about $1400 more than I can buy the MKII for and I want to stay within budget and not scrimp on the lenses and accessories. I would consider the MKIII if there are less expensive suitable alternatives to the other items that might make up the difference. But from what I have read, she should be able to produce quality work with the MKII and once she gets her career going I assume she will upgrade as she wishes.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 12:14 PM   #7
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

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Does sound like quite the grad gift!
I will point out a few things that could be swapped...

First, as much as I like Zacuto and Genus gear, I think you could find much less expensive stuff that will perform the same function. RedRock micro is one to look at. The reason I mention this is your choice of tripod (501) is very weak in comparison. I'd try pushing money towards a Sachtler, Vinten or similar.
Second, if you're going with Nikor lenses why not go D800 for the body? (or go Canon for lenses)
Next, why not combine the monitor and zfinder into the evf? Or SmallHD dp4 evf? You can't use both the monitor and the camera LCD at the same time and the evf options both flip up to use as a monitor.
Lenses....as you mentioned, it's personal preference BUT...for me, I'd swap the 24-70 for the 70-200 f2.8 IS (v1) and pick up a Canon 16-35L v1 used or a 28 f1.8 to cover wide. To me the 70-200 is essential.
Just some thoughts based on my experiences shooting DSLR.
Any way you slice it, it's a kick arse gift that will be useable for a long time. You ROCK!
Thanks, Robert. I see that the SmallHD DP4+EVF bundle with all the goodies is selling for $699 which is about $100 more than the present viewfinder/monitor setup on the list. I can live with that. There is a $599 bundle without some of the add-ons (like a diopter kit, for example). Is it a much preferred way to go than a separate viewfinder and monitor?

Do you have any specific recommendations for a tripod and mattebox in a similar price range as those on the list?

And I'll talk to her about your lens suggestions.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

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Originally Posted by Steve Roman View Post
Thanks, Robert. I see that the SmallHD DP4+EVF bundle with all the goodies is selling for $699 which is about $100 more than the present viewfinder/monitor setup on the list. I can live with that. There is a $599 bundle without some of the add-ons (like a diopter kit, for example). Is it a much preferred way to go than a separate viewfinder and monitor?

Do you have any specific recommendations for a tripod and mattebox in a similar price range as those on the list?

And I'll talk to her about your lens suggestions.
The evf is useable on any camera. I like that it is adjustable position-wise where the straight zfinder limits you to being right behind the camera.

I have a Sachtler Fsb-6 which is fantastic. It gets used for my xf300 too. I think the Fsb-4 would work too.
I've not used Vinten but people like the Vision Blue which is cheaper.
I also own a 501hdv, 503hdv, and 701. For working in HD, they are not up to the task. Except for static lockdowns.

My buddy has a complete RedRock shoulder rig with FF and matte box. It is very nice stuff. I have a mix of Zacuto and RedRock parts for my shoulder rig but no matte box. Never felt the need for the extra weight and complexity of setup when you change lenses. I prefer a faster run/gun lightweight rig to my buddy's very impressive looking cinema style rig.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 12:48 PM   #9
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

The lenses (along with sound equipment) are THE most important aspects of photographic equipment, so I agree with Steve that the Mk2 will be the best choice to fit his budget.

I do prefer the 17-35mm L and 16-35mm L for my type of work, but I feel that the 24-70mm will be a wiser choice for the documentaries. But there is still some overlap with the primes in his list. So...

My choice would be:

List 1)

18mm or 20mm Ais Nikkor
24-70mm f/2.8 L zoom
70-200mm f/2.8 or f/4 L zoom (depending on budget)

List 2)

Canon 16-35mm L or 17-35mm L
50mm f/1.4 Ais Nikkor (No need for the 1.2)
85mm f/2 Nikkor or Canon 85mm f/1.8 or 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor
180mm f/2.8 Ais Nikkor or Canon 200mm f/2.8 L

List 3)

18mm f/2.8 Nikkor, or 20mm Nikkor or 21mm Yashica/Contax f/2.8 (Canon 20mm is not very good).
Canon 24-105mm L IS
Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS (or 2.8 version if within budget. Image quality is similar. The f/4 version would be lighter to carry for your daughter).

Each list would do the job! :)
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:06 PM   #10
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

As someone who has owned a 5D2 for over three years & now owns a 5D3 I would unhesitatingly say that you should drop some of the extras & buy the 5D3. It is a significantly better camera both for stills & video. She can live without the shoulder rig, matte box & all that other junk. It's a great temptation to buy a load of gear all at once for the complete setup but as one who has been down that route I recommend against it. You don't need a monitor, you don't need an EVF, you don't need a follow focus. All you need is a loupe, variable ND filter, monopod & a tripod.

Get her the 5D3 with the 24-105mm kit lens plus loupe, variable ND filter, monopod & a tripod. Give her the rest of your budget in cash to spend herself as & when items are required.

BTW Don't mix Canon & Nikon lenses as the Nikons focus the wrong way & confuse the hell out of you.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:42 PM   #11
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

"...BTW Don't mix Canon & Nikon lenses as the Nikons focus the wrong way & confuse the hell out of you."

I would have to disagree with that statement. I use Nikkors, Pentax and Canon lenses and quickly get used to the MF rings on each during a shoot (The MF rings on the Nikon & Pentax lenses are always easier to use than MF with the Canon EF lenses, but I have no problem switching optics during a shoot).

The AF on the Canon lenses can be handy for use of the AF-On button at start of some video sequences (albeit painfully slow) when the LCD loupe is not in place.
More importantly, it allows fast AF for when she will be taking stills (I doubt if she will ONLY be using the 5D for video, because if so, then Steve would be better off buying a camcorder).

What I do agree on, is that a seperate Monitor, Follow-focus, Matte Box etc is not needed for most work, especially run-n-gun (although all of these could be bought at a later date, depending on his daughter's chosen subjects and MF focussing abilities and eye sight, etc).
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 05:25 PM   #12
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

Geez guys, do you really think this is the best way to go for a soon to graduate film student who wants to do documentaries and just so happens to be a girl? Matte boxes, follow focuses, shoulder rigs, on camera monitors, separate sound, lenses and on and on…..

Let her first learn to tell a story and be able to capture it fairly easily without all the headaches of using a digital camera that just happens to shoot good video. A DSLR is a good 2nd camera for documentaries and would be a great addition later on but why deal with that 12 minute limit while trying to shoot your first one? Would you?

This is a great case of “where less is more” and I can guarantee she would rather haul around an XF100 with nice mic attached, a tripod and a few odds and ends than these “I’m gonna need a crew” suggestions showing up here. Hell, half the time she won’t take the tripod, guaranteed.

Let her kit grow as her experience and vision does and she will have a greater chance of success, which is really the gift you are trying to give.

Just saying......
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

I agree David, as mentioned earlier, if stills shooting isn't an important criteria in her future filming, then a decent camcorder for the same budget would probably be a far better choice.

I think it is also important to know which type of cameras that she has been using so far. If it is mainly DSLRs, and she likes the form factor and functions of DSLRs for video (and I take it that she has already indicated to her father that this is what she would prefer) then the 5D would be a great choice.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 07:09 PM   #14
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

I own a 5dm2 and a proper camcorder. Putting my total agreement with David Chilson aside, my two cents:

The 501 tripod is probably the most frequent tripod people upgrade from... judging from reading For Sale postings.... the Sachtler ACE is a DSLR designed tripod from a great company in tripods:
Sachtler ACE M MS Tripod System 1001 - Filmtools

One 77mm vari-ND won't serve well. Each lens needs one unless the 24-70mm L is the only lens you'll use without the mattbox.

Zacuto stuff is awesome and worth every penny. You'll get much of the money back when you sell it. That isn't necessarily true of other gear.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 07:17 PM   #15
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Re: Soliciting Comments on Startup 5D System

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Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick View Post
I agree David, as mentioned earlier, if stills shooting isn't an important criteria in her future filming, then a decent camcorder for the same budget would probably be a far better choice.

I think it is also important to know which type of cameras that she has been using so far. If it is mainly DSLRs, and she likes the form factor and functions of DSLRs for video (and I take it that she has already indicated to her father that this is what she would prefer) then the 5D would be a great choice.
While in school, she co-wrote and produced several videos using a 7D and she has been a still photographer for several years. She will be coming home to Costa Rica in September with a Film & TV schoolmate whose main area of interest is sound engineering. They are planning on doing a short documentary about a famous (here in Costa Rica) animal rescue operation called (The Toucan Rescue Ranch).
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