Canon 7D low light wildlife clip - first impression at DVinfo.net

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Old October 10th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #1
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Canon 7D low light wildlife clip - first impression

Hi all,
My EX3 is still being repaired after having major problems with it.
Not having the camera for 3 weeks was too depressing for me so I bought the new SLR Canon 7D. I heard it should work much better than the EX3 in low light due to the bigger sensor. Gave it a go in the last few nights filming the Grey-headed Flying Foxes feeding on a fig tree not far from my place in Sydney.
I am quite impressed with this camera. Very easy to operate, focusing in total darkness made very easy by the x10 magnification of the LCD which is awesome. Noise in 1250 ISO is acceptable to my eyes.
I am not sure I could do any filming with the EX3 in such conditions but will try it as soon as I get it back.
Please check out this clip - shot with the Canon 7D, 1920x1080, 25p, iso 1250, f4, 1/50, WB - 6000K, Canon EF 300 f2.8 IS with x1.4 teleconverter.
The only light source is one powerful HID torch which looks like a great device so far.
I have ordered another one as I feel working with two torches will eliminate more of the shadows and improve the overall image.

Your comments and suggestions are very welcomed and appreciated.

Video Gallery

Cheers,
Ofer
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Last edited by Ofer Levy; October 10th, 2009 at 07:37 PM.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 02:08 AM   #2
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Nice clean images. Please to see the fruit bat point the appropriate apertures downwards when it relieved itself. I reared a Lesser long-eared bat that never got the hang of that ; very messy.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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Yes, like Alastair said, nice clean footage and very good colours from only a single torch at distance.
The 5D & 7D generally produce nice footage when the camera is static but problems creep in when the camera is moving. I noticed some shake creeping in at the start of the adjusted framing when the bat moved (which can be expected to some extent using 300mm + converter on plus lightweight DSLR). I'd like to view more footage where the lens is slowly following the bat for longer sequences as it moves during a slow pan, or in-flight footage at fairly close range.

I'd like to see some more wildlife footage showing pans, slides, different perspectives etc., using wide lenses, mid-range and long-range telephoto lenses combined with slow zooms or pull-backs, so as to access just how well it works for similar films compared to using camcorders like the EX1, Red, or XL-H1.

A note regarding slow creeping smooth zooms or pull-backs: I think this would be very difficult to accomplish using any lens bayoneted onto the 7D without some sort of zoom power control.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 04:31 PM   #4
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Hi Ofer

Just one word Whaooooh.


Gilles
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Old October 12th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #5
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Thank you for your comments and kind words guys!

As much as I enjoy using the 7D especially in low light where it really does a fantastic job, I won't consider it as a main camera for wildlife.
The EX3 is much more suitable for this IMO because of number of reasons that I can think of:
Reach - much longer with the EX3 when using lenses of the same focal length. Depth of field is too shallow when using long lenses on the 7D. It is not possible to use the Flash XDR/NanoFlash with the 7D. Issues with the codec, factors mentioned in the BBC's white paper, aliasing, banding etc.
Having said that, as a backup camera and for low light the 7D looks like a miracle to me.

I would love to hear what other think as I am going to use this camera quite often.

Cheers,
Ofer
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Last edited by Ofer Levy; October 12th, 2009 at 10:27 PM.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 02:14 AM   #6
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Hi Ofer


Just a question before buying it, could you remote it in video mode with EOS utility?

like to start and stop the video, focus the subject in photo mode and after turn it on video mode?

What are the possibility with the WIFI grip?


Regards

Gilles
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Old October 14th, 2009, 04:59 AM   #7
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Hi Gilles,
I am afraid I don't know the answers to your questions. I only got the camera about a week ago and haven't managed to go through all the things it can do.
Sorry mate,
Ofer
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Old October 14th, 2009, 05:09 AM   #8
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Thanks Ofer

If you have time could you try it, i read on the English manual, loaded on Canon Canada web site "that may be eventualy possible" but my English is to bad to understand very well.

If you have 20' why not to try.

Regards and thanks for the first answer.

Gilles
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Old October 14th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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Best detail of batlife I've seen, Ofer. Variety might be improved with a few stills of close-up. I'm very impressed and delighted by the nonchalance of an upside down creature looking at the camera. The possibilities for originality if you included snippets of the bat, face front, but flipped 180degrees, are also intriguing. Well done and thanks for sharing.

(I am wondering how the 1DMk III would have performed in this situation, but that's beside the point, unless someone cares to comment.)
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Old October 14th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for your comment Brenden! I have been filming these bats every night for the last week or so and got a lot of footage. Today I even used the Canon 7D with a Nikon 500 ED f4 P, which I mounted on the Canon using an adapter. I am very happy with the results although colours aren't as nice and vivid as the colours I get with the Canon 300 f2.8 IS + X1.4 teleconverter.
I own the Canon 1D Mark III but it doesn't do video so I guess commenting about this camera doesn't belong to this forum or this thread for that matter.

Cheers,
Ofer
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Old October 16th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #11
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Great shots Ofer! Really impressive stuff. I'm definitely interested in more of what the 7D can do. I understand you don't want to use it as your primary camera, but any chance you could post a short reel of 7D footage that includes pans and other camera movements? I'm considering purchasing a 7D as I await RED's Scarlet release, and I'm wondering whether I would be able to follow animal movements, bird flight, etc, without jellocam kicking in. Also, have you had serious problems with the aliasing issues? Again, great clips. Keep up the good work.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #12
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Hi Jonathan, thank you for your comment and kind words. I am afraid I won't be able to help you much as I am not going to use the 7D in situations where the EX3 is far superiour IMO (which is for most of my wildlife work.) I will only use the 7D where it has a significant advantage over the EX3 which is night work. I will not try filming birds in flight, nor any other action with the 7D as I am certain it won't be as good as the EX3 for this purpose.
I am sure there is plenty footage on the web that can show you exactly what you need to know.

I feel that the major disadvantages of the 7D for wildlife work are the relatively limited reach when compared with the EX3 and the way too shallow DOF.
Cheers,

Ofer
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #13
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I definitely understand choosing the EX3 over the 7D for your shoots. I have watched many example videos taken with the 7D, and the problem is that some seem to indicate that the rolling shutter and aliasing would be a huge issue, while others indicate that patterns can be filmed without aliasing and even quick camera movements are possible without seeing inducing the jellocam effect.

The 7D is obviously not a perfect camera for shooting video, but I'm trying to decide if it is good enough (I recently graduated college and lost access to the XHA1 and FX1 I had been using, and now have no camera to work with to improve my reel and practice technique, etc.), if I should wait for Scarlet or if I should just save up for something like the EX3. I guess I'll wait for more 7D wildlife examples to show up. Thanks for your response and enjoy having two really cool cameras!
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Old October 18th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #14
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DSLRs do have lots of disadvantages for filming wildlife, but so do pro-level camcorders. Both also have big advantages, so it can be a difficult choice at the moment.

To give you an example of a DSLR filming wildlife in extreme-low-light levels where most camcorders would struggle or give very grainy images, in this 'Summer Variations' video the digital FX sensor of the D3s provides great footage considering the conditions.
Obviously this is filmed at the extremes (pushed to 12,800 ISO instead of normal 200 ISO when used in average light), so with more light the D3 provides extremely clean footage and stills. The D7 and D5 Mark II also provide really nice clean footage at low to meadium ISO and any 'jello' affect is easily masked in most outdoors nature subjects.

YouTube - Vincent Munier - Summer Variations - Nikon D3s

However, it might be better advice to go for the XL-H1 or EX1/EX3 instead, as both can be used with a wide selection of lenses. The footage from both camcorders is at professional broadcast level in eaither SD or HD, so would be usuable well into the future, plus the added fact that you've used the FX1 & XHA1 means that you are already used to handling similar camcorders.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 07:39 AM   #15
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As we discussed recently in the HD for wildlife thread, there is a big price difference. For someone on a budget, the question could easily be (as it is for me) buy a DSLR now and start shooting or buy a camcorder later and wait for funds to build up.

If aliasing and rolling shutter might not be a problem for wildlife work, what are the biggest problems with DSLRs that make them a poor choice for a primary camera? Is it just the smaller crop factor and limited clip length?
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