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Old May 1st, 2009, 07:23 PM   #1
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new Canon 500D in video mode

I just tried out my wife's new 500D in video mode. The footage is clean, so the codec is much better than the D90's, but there is frustratingly little control possible over the aperture. Even the exposure lock function doesn't really work all the time, because the aperture, shutter and ISO change when you adjust the focal length of a zoom lens.

In bright sunlight, I was getting apertures of f22 and f16, so tried opening it up by adding ND filters. This worked up to a point, but I could not get amything wider than f5.6, even with a 50mm f1.4 lens. If I added more ND beyond this point, the camera would slow the shutter to 1/20s, and increase ISO to 1600 rather than open the lens any further. I think this must be using the proprietary Canon CrippleVideoMode algorithm.

So my conclusion is that for anybody interested prinarily in shallow DOF shooting, this camera is no solution at all. Unless some kind soul can tell me about the special function key setting I missed that allows you to adjust the aperture directly and then lock it.

Richard
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 06:16 AM   #2
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Here's some of the footage:

Canon 500D in Singapore on Vimeo
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Richard.
When are they gonna give us what we want?
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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Certainly not before the 5D Mk2 is decrippled and that's probably not before the Panasonic GH1 is widely available in the markets.

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 12:00 PM   #5
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With the 50MM 1.4 you should be able to force the camera into 1.4 by simply putting
your hand over the lens to block the light and allow the lens to open up to 1.4 then
lockdown the exposure by hitting the * button... after you half press the shutter button
of course
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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I myself am a d90 owner living in hope of either a firmware update for this existing camera (rumoured) or the d400 to have manual controls.
Personally I cant see the d90 getting an upgrade of that nature. at best a slightly higher bitrate could be involved.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 02:10 PM   #7
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Hmm, I'm not sure I could see a difference between the Singapore footage and what I can get out of a Vixia series camera.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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well this it. these cameras offer us nothing if they dont offer shallow dof and good lowlight performance. Even now at the moment its hard to get shallow dof outside on a bright day without getting too high a shutter speed (randomly). ND filters are a must.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
With the 50MM 1.4 you should be able to force the camera into 1.4 by simply putting
your hand over the lens to block the light and allow the lens to open up to 1.4 then
lockdown the exposure by hitting the * button... after you half press the shutter button
of course

Errrhm, wouldn't that just give me a very over-exposed shot when I remove my hand and let the camera see the sunlit scene?

And I don't know about half pressing the shutter button, it doesn't seem to be active in video mode.

Richard
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Old May 7th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ger Griffin View Post
well this it. these cameras offer us nothing if they dont offer shallow dof and good lowlight performance. Even now at the moment its hard to get shallow dof outside on a bright day without getting too high a shutter speed (randomly). ND filters are a must.
And on the other hand, those of us who want the deepest possible DOF, don't get much from this type of camera, either.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Hunter View Post
I just tried out my wife's new 500D in video mode. The footage is clean, so the codec is much better than the D90's
That's an interesting claim, can anyone confirm his suspicions?
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Old May 7th, 2009, 07:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
That's an interesting claim, can anyone confirm his suspicions?
Hi Ethan. I tested the D90 video mode when it came out, and noticed straight away that fine details such as water ripples had terrible blocking artifacts. The 500D footage does not obviously show any of this, which is why I believe the Canon codec is much better.

I posted a D90 video at the time, Nikon D90 at Singapore Riverside on Vimeo but this does not include the worst of the footage that I edited out. I will check if I still have it. BTW I thought that the D90 video had very natural colours and I really loved the image that you could get from it in controlled conditions. There are a few workarounds needed to get the most from the D90, and I would probably have been prepared to live with these for the sake of the image if it wasn't for all the artifacts on fine details.

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Old May 8th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #13
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Here's the rest of the footage I shot with the 500D.

Canon 500D in Singapore - Part 2 on Vimeo

Richard
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Old May 9th, 2009, 12:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Hunter View Post
Here's the rest of the footage I shot with the 500D.

Canon 500D in Singapore - Part 2 on Vimeo

Richard
I downloaded it for better quality from Vimeo. This reduced the rolling-shutter flutter to a minimum and this aspect was better than with any other digital camera video I've seen, that had a CMOS. It looked good and smooth. The ND filter you used caused it to be a bit too dark and have a high contrast. Since you couldn't force the aperture any wider, an ND filter would have to cause some darkening. I wouldn't want a tourism video to necessarily have a shallow DOF. I think we need to see some more from this camera.

I just looked at Part 1 and I liked its looks better without the filter. On the downloaded video, the only CMOS flutter that was significant, was on a sharp pan. Those who watch it on Vimeo directly, should realize that much of what may be mistaken for sensor artifacts, is actually the result of Vimeo's heavy compression. Have you used the 1920 X 1080 @20 FPS? Would the purpose of this be mainly to gather footage for vid-caps?

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; May 9th, 2009 at 12:47 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
I downloaded it for better quality from Vimeo. This reduced the rolling-shutter flutter to a minimum and this aspect was better than with any other digital camera video I've seen, that had a CMOS. It looked good and smooth.
Hi. All this footage is slowed down to 24p, so if you want to get the true effect you should put the downloaded clip into an NLE and speed it up to 30fps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
The ND filter you used caused it to be a bit too dark and have a high contrast.
The exposure level being wrong is mainly my fault, at least for the shots where I remembered to lock the exposure before shooting. I basically aimed the camera at various backgrounds until the aperture and shutter showed reasonable readings. Sometimes the exposure required for the actual shot might have been slightly different, which is why there was a discrepancy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
Since you couldn't force the aperture any wider, an ND filter would have to cause some darkening.
The ND filter reduces the light entering the lens, but this should not cause darkening unless the camera runs out of options to compensate. As I mentioned before, this camera prefers to increase the ISO and reduce the shutter speed to maintain the exposure, rather than open the lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
I wouldn't want a tourism video to necessarily have a shallow DOF.
I agree that not all shots need shallow depth of field. In this case though, I was particularly trying to evaluate the 500D's ability to control DOF in outdoor shots, which is why I mentioned it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
Have you used the 1920 X 1080 @20 FPS? Would the purpose of this be mainly to gather footage for vid-caps?
I didn't even try any 20fps shots. I find 25p is already enough to manage without getting stuttering video, I don't see 20fps as being useful to me at all. Also, most of my output is either SD or 720p, so 1280x720 is fine for me. 30fps is not so good though (I would prefer 25p) and the lack of shallow DOF mean that I have no reason to shoot video with this camera again. I will stick with my Canon XH-A1 for the time being. :)

Richard
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