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Old January 19th, 2011, 12:38 PM   #61
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I'm pretty sure Canon lose sales with their 1.6x magnification factor (mf) chip to those manufacturers that have plonked for a 1.5x mf. Then Olympus and Panasonic come along with a 2x mf and I switch right off - as I did when half frame 35mm compacts and SLRs came along in the mid 60s.

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Old January 19th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #62
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I know what you mean Tom. Wait till Hasselblad offer RAW video from their digital cameras!!!! ( like thats ever gonna happen)
I think a lot of the indie filmmakers love the 1.6 crop. apparently its the same sensor size as a 35mm film frame would be.
For me the brighter while noise free the better. Thats what floats my boat too.

Jeff the magic lantern team are developing a focus peak type feature for the T2i. I have tried it and it does work. basically you get what looks like interference when things are in focus. Is it good enough? you'd have to judge that for yourself. I'll manage with it but Im not totally bllind yet :)
The only thing I would say is don't expect any camera at this point in time to have autofocus as good as you might be used to with smaller chip cameras. The dof is just to shallow to be able to track things accurately continuosly. Admittedly I havent used a GH2 so would be curious myself as to how good autofocus is on it. I just cant imagine any of them being very usueable in a professional capacity (including that new canon EIS 60).
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Old January 19th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #63
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I don't know Ger. Reviews on the GH2 autofocus is pretty positive, but again, I don't know.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:15 PM   #64
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Jeff, before you go the DSLR route make sure you try out the particular model of your interest before parting with your money. My impression with DSLRs as a commercial video tool is far from good. I'm not talking about the IQ issues as compared to the IQ we are more used to seeing from traditional 1/3"-2/3" video cameras. You can talk all day about it but I don't see it as the major issue with video DSLRs. My real gripe with using DSLRs to shoot video is the handling. I will point out the two major areas for you to concentrate on when you get your hands on testing a DSLR for your work.

First, the AF. Coming from the experience of constantly or even occasionally relying on the AF system in the likes of Sony FX1/Z1, newer Sony models like the Z5, NX5 up to the EX1/3 or similar Canon or Panasonic models, you will find the AF system on ALL the current video DSLRs simply useless for serious work. I've found the AF systems that come closest to being useful is the systems in the Sony A33/55 series and the Panasonic GH2. Closest here doesn't mean they are actually useable in the field like autofocusing with one of the handycam video cameras. The problem is the physics of DoF from the larger sensor sizes and the optimization of the AF algorithm to suit both still and video photography.

Second, think about how you could keep your footage stable while you have to manually focus the lens, still photography-style, with your left hand which you also need to prop up the camera for stability. Servo zooming with either your left or right hand? Sorry you're out of luck. I still haven't gotten past the use of riding the iris wheel or ring to control the exposure, the use of levels of ND filters to control excessive lighting or where to grab you camera for low-angle or tracking shots etc. and you get the picture.

You could practically overcome the above downsides and make video DSLRs a workable option but not until you have paid at least 2-3 times the cost of the camera for a quality rig and accessories to pimp your naked camera and lens up to the level that allows you to access and operate all the necessary controls without ruining your shots. Worst is, by the time you get there, your budget DSLR will become as (if not more) bloat as a badly-designed shoulder-mount 2/3" video cam.

Last edited by Wacharapong Chiowanich; January 20th, 2011 at 08:47 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #65
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Wacharapong, your words of caution are duly noted, thank you.

Are you using the GH2? I had thought it had autofocus that operated by touch screen (touch the point on the screen you want to focus on). So it sounds like you're saying that it doesn't focus accurately, and still needs to be manually focused?

Please clarify if you don't mind.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #66
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The touch screen AF works similar to the "Spot Focus" feature long included in most higher-end compact Sony Handycam models. What you do is touch on the subject you want to be in focus within the highlighted frame on the LCD screen and the camera will lock on that subject, keep it in focus while it moves around. This works OK to some extent but is not a substitute for manual focus for the following reasons:

-The touch area does not cover the whole LCD screen (roughly about 3/4 of the screen area judging from my brief experience with the camera).
-The system is good at maintaining focus on the chosen subject but not suitable for situations that require you to change focusing point frequently. The transition is not very smooth as it almost always is in the Sony's Spot Focus system though the focusing itself is reasonably quick. It's kind of jumpy. This may be because the depth of focus is far more limited compared to that of the compact Sony cams. Perhaps the lens on the camera I tried was not a lens optimized for shooting video (it's Panasonic Micro 4/3 14-42mm or maybe 14-45mm zoom, I can't remember).
-In wide shots with deep DoF it's often very hard to tell from what you see on the 3" LCD screen if the subject you've touched or something somewhere nearby is what the camera really is focusing on.

And focusing is not the only issue. Let's assume you can manage it. Now the thing to worry about is how to keep the shots steady, not classical Hollywood granite steady but steady enough to keep your clients' attention on the memorable once-in-a-lifetime moments instead of annoying everyone who watches the video with shaky cam movements. Even with the OIS in the always-on mode, I found the footage played back on the store's 46" LCD screen not really steady despite my careful movement of the camera. The stabilization system did help but was nowhere near the levels achieved by cheaper small handycams like the Panasonic TM/HS700 series, the Canon HFS series or the Sony CX/XR series.

Go to the store and try one to see for yourself. Ask the salesperson there if you could shoot some trial footage to your SD card so that you can bring it home and see how it looks on your monitor.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #67
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Jeff, Have you read this rewiew? Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 review: design, screen, viewfinder, AF, movie mode, continuous shooting, sensor | Cameralabs

It shows example video of touch focusing.

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Old February 9th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #68
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Hey Norm, good looking out, thank you!

I actually got my hands on one last week (to play with only for an hour).

The auto/touch focus is wonderful, I love it. I had planned to wait to see what canon is about to come up with. In the end, though, I decided the footage from this camera and most like it will match pretty well, so I'm waiting for one to come in locally.

I'm absolutely sold on it. I"m planning on buying a Cam Caddie with accessories and the Marshall monitor as well. I am super pumped.

I'll take a look at the review, but I think I might have seen it. I've read SO many!

Thanks Norm!
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Old February 20th, 2011, 08:28 AM   #69
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OK, time for an update. So much of the responses and conversation in the thread went right over my head, I couldn't fully appreciate everything that was said without actually having the camera.

Some of the cautions that were told regarding focus issues you just have to experience to appreciate.

I have the camera, and a last minute wedding, and I am concerned, to put it mildly. I sold my large cams, and am stuck with using the GH2 as a primary camera!

There's no need to worry about keeping things in focus. They won't stay in focus, period! So you have to adjust focus constantly. Auto focus is fine, when it's not changing contstantly!

I may borrow a friend's camera for insurance, as there is no way I can trust myself with this camera as a primary.

I should have three cams for the shoot, so in the end everything should be fine.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #70
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

Likely everyone reading this has been slammed with magic lantern talk and how great it is, but I didn't see any mention of it on here and didn't want anyone to be misinformed. I saw a ton of talk about the 12 minute 4 gig limit and overheating. With magic lantern this isn't really an issue. There is a setting that automatically restarts video. Sure there is a 1-2 second break, but aren't all wedding videos cut every few seconds anyway. Overheating isn't an issue either as there is a setting that allows you to turn off the lcd, and tests have shown it can run for over half an hour without overheating issues.

I heard many people talking about on the fly adjustments. With the most recent build you can adjust iso and kelvin white balance with the press of an arrow button, no menus necessary. White balancing with the beautiful 1000+k resolution lcd is great. Magic zoom, which places a picture within picture on the lcd puts up a 5 x picture of selected focus point for amazingly fine tuned manual focus. I could go on for days talking about the marvels of magic lantern and how it has made the 550d a full on professional rig, but you can just google it.

Call me a fool, but I like to have to manual focus. Once you get good at it you will wonder why you ever used autofocus.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #71
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

I got good at manual focus but auto focus beats me every time. It knows which way to turn the lens ring and doesn't need to rock 'n' roll when it gets there as mere mortals need to.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #72
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

I have to agree that I'm getting used to manual focus, and I'm liking it more and more. The 12 minute limit is what kept me waiting for the GH2 and I can't imagine having to sync up footage from three or four cameras in 12 minute increments, as I will be running three of these cams for weddings, and four. The hack sound nice. I just discovered the GH2 has a button for screen magnification which has made my life SO much easier, especially for long shots. Glad the 550 has it also.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #73
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

[QUOTE=Jeff Harper;1631152 I can't imagine having to sync up footage from three or four cameras in 12 minute increments, as I will be running three of these cams for weddings, and four.
[/QUOTE]

Jeff, have you heard about the Plural Eyes software? Check it out. It does the syncing for you automaticaly and very accurately.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #74
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

Thanks Spiros, I've heard of it, but not looked into it. My footage usually runs non-stop for ceremonies, and I leave the cameras on during the reception, so syncing is not "usually" an issue.

But what a helpful tool Plural Eyes sound like.

And now that I think about it, I'll want to limit my recording since I will have to transcode everything, so I might just need plural eys after all!
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Old March 25th, 2011, 12:48 PM   #75
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Re: Going DSLR for wedding videography

I am using Plural Eyes too. Let's say.. it's magically sync over 90% of the clips. Some will still fall here and there. I can live with that as it already save a lot of time in manual syncing.

However, it doesn't work all that well with Premiere. After reimport back to CS5, all the stereo tracks split into 2 mono tracks. Then the audio level yellow line disappear from the clip. That's annoying. But I learn to work around that issue.
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