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Old September 16th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #16
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Jonathan,

A problem with the 7D is that you can't get as much focal length with it as you can with the XL2, XLH1 or other camcorders with interchangeable lens systems.
The 7D with 600mm lens and 1.4x extender is about 1,300mm and with a 2x extender about 1,900mm but if you put a 300mm lens with no extender on an XL2 or XLH1 you get about 2,100mm, and its much cheaper. Just something to consider.

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Old September 16th, 2009, 10:41 PM   #17
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Just a question about lenses:

I'm still not quite sold on the idea of a DSLR for video, but I'm considering it along with other cameras like the XL2. Anyway I'm just wondering if I could indeed purchase relatively cheap lenses and get good results.

With a 7D, do you think this type of lens quality would be sufficient, for example?

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 70-300mm f/4-f/5.6

Is f/4-f/5.6 too slow to get good quality images in low-light/medium-light situations, such as in a forest, at sunset, etc?

Also, I have read that for a basic wildlife film setup a good lens kit would include something like a 75mm lens, a 120-300mm zoom, and a 600mm lens. Any ideas?

What focal lengths would I need to achieve (after crop factor) in order to match the magnification of the 20x zoom on the XL2?
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Old September 16th, 2009, 11:12 PM   #18
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Jonathan,

I'm afraid I can't answer the top three questions because I don't have any experience with any of that. The only thing I have used is my XL2 for about a month with the 20x lens, but I plan on getting the Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS lens in the near future. I can answer the 4th question. The standard 20x lens is about 840mm, so you need a 500mm lens on the 7D to match that. Sorry I could not be more helpful.

By the way, Welcome to DVI! :)
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Old September 17th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
Just a question about lenses:

I'm still not quite sold on the idea of a DSLR for video, but I'm considering it along with other cameras like the XL2. Anyway I'm just wondering if I could indeed purchase relatively cheap lenses and get good results.

With a 7D, do you think this type of lens quality would be sufficient, for example?

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 70-300mm f/4-f/5.6

Is f/4-f/5.6 too slow to get good quality images in low-light/medium-light situations, such as in a forest, at sunset, etc?

Also, I have read that for a basic wildlife film setup a good lens kit would include something like a 75mm lens, a 120-300mm zoom, and a 600mm lens. Any ideas?

What focal lengths would I need to achieve (after crop factor) in order to match the magnification of the 20x zoom on the XL2?
Depending on what sort of wildlife you want to shoot, the 20x on the XL-2 is pretty short. Focal length aound 300mm is pretty decent.
In Super 16 and now 2/3" realms wildlife users have always tended to go for about 600mm as the regular long end, which in 35mm terms equates to about 1500mm. The 300 on the XL-2 would equal about 2000mm.
Don't expect the quality of the cheaper zooms to be anywhere near as good as the more pricey options on a small chip camra though.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:35 AM   #20
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Unless the 7D can offer longer video clips of 12-minutes without stopping, then I'd advise you to wait a bit longer until that problem is overcome before you part with your money on a DSLR.
In wildlife filming there is often periods where you need to film the subject for long periods waiting for something special to happen. Most camcorders offer at least 1-hour continuous filming at full resolution.
There is also the added problem of recording serious quality stereo sound using DSLRs, but you'll find that almost all the camcorders so far mentioned offer very good options to obtain high quality sound recording and footage for long uninterrupted periods.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #21
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Don't expect the quality of the cheaper zooms to be anywhere near as good as the more pricey options on a small chip camra though.
Steve
Are you just referring to the differences in speed between cheaper and more expensive lenses? Besides not being as bright due to this, what other quality issues might I face with more inexpensive lenses?

So to compare the XL2 to the 7D:

Assuming I want to achieve the FOV equivalent to between 1000-2000mm on 35mm, I would need:

XL2 ($2500-$3000) + 300mm EF lens (times 7.8x crop factor; $700-$1000) = 2340mm
total $3200-$4000

7D ($1700) + Canon 2x II extender ($300) + 300mm EF lens (times 1.6x crop factor; $700-$1000) = 960mm
total $2700-$3000

I think this is all right, but I am wondering, would 1000mm be good enough on the 7D?

The reason I am considering the 7D is because, although there are obvious disadvantages and limitations to using a DSLR for videography, it will always be a great still camera as well, and because it is top of the line I believe I would have an easier time and fetch a higher price if I did decide to sell it in order to purchase something more expensive later. Whereas the XL2 seems to be a great camera and good choice for wildlife, I would be buying it knowing that I probably could not make any money from the footage and would simply be able to use it to update my reel. I would buy the 7D as a still camera, and use it's video function for a few years while I save up enough to buy a HD solid-state camcorder or some other more expensive camera. It is appealing because of the multiple frame rates and full HD resolution.

So I guess one question is, do I need that extra reach (2000mm vs 1000mm)? And are DSLRs really that bad for my situation, supplying me with an intermediate camera that would still potentially yield professional-quality salable footage? I just hate to buy an XL2 knowing that it's an old piece of equipment that I will need to fully replace, and probably won't be able to make much of my money back by re-selling.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #22
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Whether or not you need the reach depends on what you'll be filming. If you're doing birds (especially small ones) you never seem to have enough focal length (unless they're tame). Same may be true of lions and bears unless you want to walk right up to them!
As I said, the benchmark for general wildlife has always been around 600mm (in Super 16 days the Canon 300 with 2x converter and the Canon 150-600 were the standard lenses), and that's a good guideline I think, so on the XL-2 a 300mm would be about right.
With the cheaper lenses you not only lose light but also the quality of the glass used is inferior, so for instance a Sigma 400mm f5.6 would not be even on the same planet as a Canon 400mm f2.8 for quality, but then it does cost about a tenth of the price.
The diffference in lens quality seems particularly important when using 35mm lenses on small chip video cameras, probably because the small chips need lenses to resolve vastly more detail as the pixels are so small, and the high quality stills lenses can just about cope with it but the cheap ones fall well short.
All this is much more important in HD cameras than SD though, so again for showreel use on an SD camera the cheaper lenses may be adequate. If you do have to go for cheaper lenses another idea would be to go for primes rather than zooms, less flexible I know but definitely will give better image.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #23
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Thanks Steve. I'm a bit confused though. When you say 600mm, do you mean after considering the crop factor, in other words "35mm equivalent?" What type of 300mm lens are you suggesting for the XL2? An EF lens where the full 7.8x crop factor would apply, and if so am I wrong in calculating that this would result in a "35mm equivalent" FOV of more than 2000mm?
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Old September 17th, 2009, 08:26 AM   #24
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I mean 600mm actual focal length, so on a 2/3" Varicam etc., this would equate to about 1600mm, so on an XL-2 which is 1/3" you'd need half that, ie 300mm. There is a trend today towards using slightly longer focal lengths in fact (instead of fieldcraft some might say!), with 800 and 1000mm (HJ18x28 and HJ40x10) focal lengths being used quite a bit, so for that you'd want a 400 or 500mm on the XL-2. Once you get over 300 on the XL-2 though you'll have to start being really careful about shake, and your tripod weight will need to increase.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #25
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Steve's remark about the need for heavy good quality tripod legs and heads is VERY important when using the longer telephoto lenses (where even the slightest breeze or tremble can ruin footage)...and of course a large dose of special handling techniques for added measure.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:01 AM   #26
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Ok, so basically I wouldn't be able to achieve this magnification on a 7D DSLR without spending a tremendous amount of money on a huge heavy lens? Just for the sake of comparison, does anyone see a way to make the DSLR setup work using Steve's suggestions about focal length?
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:31 AM   #27
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Most of your wildlife will be filmed at equivalent magnification of 300mm-600mm on a 35mm SLR.
The extreme magnifications of those same lenses on a 7X mag camcorder such as the XL2/XL-H1 or approx 2X mag on partial frame sensor DSLR such as the Canon 7D and Nikon D300s will allow you to get very close to your subject, but loss of image quality from heatwave ripples, tremor and other distance-related factors will mean that filming at those magnifications becomes only a smaller part of your main work.

To be honest, I think it maybe wiser for you to test a few DSLR & camcorder plus lens options before you actually buy. Also try not to forget all the added costs involved of extra photo equipment, computer and hardware needed other than a basic camera body and lens kit - because often it can add substantially to your initial outlay.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #28
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Ok, so if there are affordable lens options for both the XL2 and 7D, I guess I'll just have to keep considering the pros and cons of both and see what happens in the market in the coming months. It seems like for me there are benefits to both setups. Thanks again for all the advice. You have all been quite helpful.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #29
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For what it's worth, I've owned many XL2s over the years and still keep one for professional use.
The coming months will be active in the DSLR arena for the launch of new cameras. Non of the recent DSLRs have impressed me so far (and is why I still use Nikon F5 & Nikonos RS systems a lot for my digital images via scans), although I may buy the new Nikon D700x(s) and Nikon D4 full frame bodies for dual stills/video back-up work when they are released (due in November 2009 & 2010 respectively).
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Old September 17th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #30
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What are the options for selling SD wildlife footage or using it professionally?
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