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Old July 28th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

For those shooting primarily with DSLRs, tell me what model(s) you are using and why you chose them. If you are limited to 12 minute clips, how are you dealing with that? Also, please explain your audio setup (what mics you use, how you monitor them, etc). Thanks!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 01:28 PM   #2
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Bill, besides the answers you recieve here, you might also write down the make/model of the commonly used cameras, then start googling for reviews of each. You also should be specific in what you want to do with the camera, rather than just throw out this general question. Each camera has it's strengths in certain situations, and some are much better suited for some kinds of work. The expensive Canons are used a lot for commercial and fashion work for example. T3i and 600d are used a lot for weddings and hobbyists, as are the GH2s.

You also need to decide what features you need. 60P? 1080 24P not in a wrapper? etc. Audio capabilities? They vary from camera to camera, though the GH2 is the only one (I know of) that has audio levels you can set manually but I could be dead wrong, whichis why you need to read up on these yourself. There are too many cameras, too many features.

Canon T3i
Canon 60D
Canon 600D
Nikon D60
Canon Mark V and VII I beleive
Panasonic GH2

Those are the ones I can think of and I might have gotten them wrong. But you definitely need a list, and you should work from that, listing features, qualities, etc. so you can decide yourself.

More importantly check out Phillip Bloom reviews (google will bring it up) and he breaks down the various cameras in a single article, and he lists his favorite also, which I forget. I think it is the Mark V, but I'm not sure.

Also visit the Canon forum here and just read, and check out the Panasonic GH2 forum as well. I suggest rather than post in each forum, just start by reading and absorbing. That is what you should do to start.

For some samples that show why people shoot with DSLRs, and what so many are striving for go here: and be sure to turn off the HD feature, so the videos will play smoothly.

weddings PACIFIC PICTURES | The Official Blog | 800.677.7206 | info@pacificpictures.net

These samples are not as far fetched as you might think, and while the production values are quite ridiculous, the quality of the images shown are achievable by most anyone with the willingness to learn. I'm still working on it, but I know I too can achieve great results with enought practice.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #3
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Hi Bill,

Last October I sold a pair of DVXs and several consumer grade Panny camcorders and bought my first GH1. For a bunch of various reasons, that got sold as did a couple GH2s I had purchased around the first of the year. About 3 months ago I was at decision time when Panny began to close out the remaining GH1 inventory. There were two basic reasons I went with the GH1s, the first being lowball prices. The second and more compelling reason FOR ME was I was still very early into the learning curve and I knew I could shoot crappy footage on a $400 camera or crappy footage on a $3000 one, the camera wasn't going to make much difference. I needed to get my knowledge base up to speed first and either camera was going to accomplish that. So went cheap with intentions of upgrade when my skill set is ready.

I picked the first GH1 out of Panny loyalty and reviews I read online. I stuck with it because there is no 12 minutes limit and with the hack the footage has insane potential to get that "wow" factor, if you know what you are doing. The close cams are all gone now, but the GH2 does offer a lot of improvements over the GH1 justifying it's value.

Audio recording, I am set up to record everything externally as the GH1 has a pretty good on board mic, for an on board mic. There is also an issue with a limiter which will compress audio so it doesn't peak that could cause some havoc.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Panasonic GH2. Swivel lcd screen, no 12 minute time limit, no overheating, lightweight, small, good on board audio. The main things I don't like about it is that I don't think the picture is quite as nice as the Canons. I also don't like the fact that there aren't any great/affordable fast zooms with IS and/or AF. All but one of my lenses is fully manually controlled 3rd party. Throwing on a 100mm (200mm effective) lens without IS is damn near impossible to deal with unless on a tripod. I really hope the awaited Canon 6D is going to be all that and a bag of chips. If it is there's a good chance I'll switch systems.

For audio I use a Zoom H4n and sync with PluralEyes. I use a couple of Sony UWP-V1 wireless lapel mics and a Rode NTG-2 shotgun. I also capture the GH2's audio, which can be blended with the Zoom.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

I went with 550D's because they were the first APS-C Canon DSLR's to get the Magic Lantern Hack. I'll probably add a 600D as well now that they have the hack available as well. These models share batteries, and were it not for the different sized batteries I would've got a 60D when Magic Lantern was released for it. But I want to keep everything simple and have everything match well.

I originally had a GH1 but I sold it becuase (a) there was only 1 good native lens - the 20mm f/1.7, (b) The GH2's release with no 25p left me without an upgrade path, (c) although it could adapt almost any lens, the GH1 felt like it was going to break every time I mounted a lens that didn't have a support collar. This was extremely important because I also shoot a lot of surfing and need to use long lenses.

For audio I use a Zoom H4n which I treat just like the XLR's on my old prosumer camcorders - 1x wirelss and 1x shotgun, always monitoring with headphones. I have a Rode Videomic on my b-camera and use Magic Lantern to set the levels using the onscreen meters. This is mainly for reference audio and as a last resort back-up source.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #6
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Forgive my ignorance... what is the Magic Lantern hack?
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Old July 28th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #7
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Bill, Magic Lanterns allow the DSLR to re-record automatically after 12 mins, shows record time left during recording, shows dB level of the audio, allow monitoring of the audio through the A/V output line, etc etc. I haven't tried it myself but I've heard reviews that they turn your DSLR into an Autobots.

I used to use 7D, but it doesn't have the Magic Lantern hack. I'm now upgrading to 5DMk2, so I can hack it and also to access the high ISO without the noise.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 01:54 AM   #8
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Canon 60D. As I still have a need for the standard video camera from time to time, I have my Sony V1U which I use to capture my wireless audio (as well as a second camera). It can be a bit risky in some instances, such as when I'm on the run with the DSLR and am not actively monitoring the audio. However I test all my equipment prior to, making sure there won't be any hiccups. (If I do lose my audio for whatever reason, I have the shotgun mic pointed to the action and will use that.) I then marry it to the DSLR footage in post which is typically not that big a deal.

The 12-minute max recording time has not really been an issue; you just have to be cognizant of it during your shoots. During a wedding, for example, I'll quickly STOP and START during a quick breath. It's become as part of the routine as checking my focus. In the rare instance that I'll be shooting a clip that I know will last longer than 12 minutes, I may revert back to my V1U.

I didn't necessarily choose the 60D for a particular reason, though looking back I'm perfectly content with my choice. I like the size and build (better than a T2i), the price was much more doable compared to the 7D and the 5D MkII, and the rotating screen is real nice for shooting different angles. I will say, though, that it would be wise to get a larger monitor for monitoring (7-in screen). LCD picture changes to standard def when you are recording, so it's tough to get a good focus. In this instance a 7D would be a good choice because the picture stays in high def even after you hit record. I still recommend getting a larger monitor though; it makes monitoring much easier.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

For those using the Zoom h4n (or something similar), are you plugging a lavaliere mic into it and stowing it in the groom's inside jacket pocket?
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Old July 31st, 2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
For those using the Zoom h4n (or something similar), are you plugging a lavaliere mic into it and stowing it in the groom's inside jacket pocket?
I use an Olympus DS40 inside the groom's pocket with an Olympus lav. The sound is fantastic, and has never let me down. I also use a DM420, which is the same physical size, for other external audio recording. Yesterday I taped it to one of the pillars inside the church, and ran a lav (a very cheap one, I don't even know where it came from) up to one of the speakers mounted to the pillar, to capture priest/reader audio. Audio came out incredible.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 12:48 PM   #11
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

I know a lot of guys use the zoom instead of wireless, but I still don't get it, but don't get me wrong. A lot of guys that use this method are better videographer's than me.

Nevertheless, it seems like unnecessary trouble to me. A dependable wireless can be hooked up to any inexpensive videocamera for near perfect sound, and you can sync it up by sight on the timeline in less than 60 seconds. If you are not shooting with a rear camera you probably should anyway, am I right? That's where you hook up a wireless, I'm thinking.

I have an HV30 for just this purpose, but admit I don't even bother with it anymore. A gh2 has input levels and a meter, works just fine.

I've put a sample here from a hightlight clip where I used a wireless on the groom. The preacher was 5 feet BEHIND the groom, and this was outdoors, and the people saying Yayyy! were much farther away. I personally don't need much better quality.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 03:31 PM   #12
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Re: DSLR users: what model(s) are you using?

Canon 5dmk2
Canon 7d (my personal fav)

Audio is handled by on camera shotgun mics like the sennheiser mke400
Lav mic goes into a zoom h4n via a wireless unit, h4 is too big for anyones pockets

12 minutes not an issue at all. Take a church ceremony, bit of speaking, hymns, more speaking, vows, hymns and so on. After the hymns you always get a moment where people adjust themselves, it takes 0.7 seconds (less than one) to stop and start recording. We always shoot multi cam so have no gaps. Our edit style also lends itself to having the ceremony edited. If your used to giving them the entire ceremony from start to finish. Dslrs may not be your cup of tea.
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