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Photo for HD Video (D-SLR and others)
HD from Nikon D90, other still photo cams (except EOS 5D Mk. II, LUMIX GH1).

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Old December 30th, 2013, 04:05 PM   #1
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Which DSLR?

Can I hear you groaning Ö :)

Okey dokey, I have decided to get back into filmmaking once again. I donít see too well and despite that I have decided to complicate my life and shoot with a DSLR :o I know, I know Ö

I sold most of my gear, years ago but a few items remained. Such as:

Nikon D90

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S
Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D IF AF-S
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S

I am happy enough to part-exchange this for a better set-up. If I get a Nikon camera then Iíll keep it as a backup. Mind you Iíd like to keep some budget for other gear.

So here are the cameras I am considering:

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3

Nikon D5200
Nikon D800

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon EOS 7D

I am intending to shoot a documentary at my leisure.

The camera wonít be shoulder mounted as I use a long white cane to get around. Far too dangerousfor all concerned.

All my shots will be on a tripod, slider or crane.

Manual focus - NO! It is possible if I rig up a field monitor but itíll still be a hit and miss affair. So would it be best to avoid Full Frame Sensors as they have a shallower depth of field than the cropped sensors.

Any thoughts that would help a blind guy shoot would be greatly appreciated! :)
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Old December 30th, 2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Which DSLR?

If it's DSLR go get the Canon 70D with live auto focus that you can manage from the swiveling touch screen. In most light, the focus works wonderful. Literally the only thing I don't like is the extra button to get to custom white balance. I'd certainly choose it before the 7D and if you don't want a full frame, then I'd certainly get it over a mark iii. We use the 70D in conjunction with two 5d Mark ii's for their depth of field on low light at wedding dances.

You don't mention your budget, but if I was starting from scratch, I'd also get the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 which apparently works with the autofocus ($900-$1000) and has gotten good reviews, which seems like it would be a great walking around lens to leave on most of the time.

The a Canon 50mm or the 40mm STM for your portrait length lens. Maybe the Canon 100mm f/2.8 ($500) to get you some reach and a macro.
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Old December 30th, 2013, 10:18 PM   #3
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Re: Which DSLR?

can I ask what it is about filmmaking that still attracts you?

You dual conditions make actually operating more difficult but if that's what turns you on so to speak then you at least have some parameters to help you decide.

If you are rather attracted to the whole process then what about the option of using another operator whom you guide - taking on the role of DOP. Perhaps there is a student who you can coach and give them experience shooting.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that you're not capable - I'm trying to determine what part of the craft interests you in order to clarify the camera attributes that are most important.

If you want to be the shooter then good auto focus is essential however if you are comfortable with the role of DOP/director then you camera choices can be different. I think you need to start there.

In either event I would certainly look closely at the GH3, a good range of auto focus lenses, able to take your Nikon lenses with an adaptor.
Cheers - Paul M.
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Old January 1st, 2014, 08:38 PM   #4
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Re: Which DSLR?

The GH3 camera's overlay displays turn off after 10 seconds. I always feels like I'm shooting blind so it *may* be the perfect camera for you. ;-)

Seriously, the flip out screen is extremely helpful using a DSLR for video. Add to that a high quality image in a 35-50 MBS format and that limits the field quite a bit.
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 03:29 AM   #5
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Re: Which DSLR?

GH3, I have two of them as well as a XLH1 and a EX3 and a nanoFlash. Nikkor/Nikkor mount lenses via a Novoflex adapter which provides aperture control with the GH3 (and EX3) plus a "standard" Lumix 14-140. I also use a remote shutter release, cheapo one via Amazon UK and a Swit 1071C "Plus" monitor.

At 1080 50p, 50Mbps .mov settings on the GH3 the image quality is superior to my EX3 with nanoFlash. Only 2x crop, at those settings. Can get a crop of 4.5x which still good but not at 50p.

Can do very good slo mo, again with the crop limited to 2x and 24p.

Brilliant little cameras!

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Old January 2nd, 2014, 06:20 AM   #6
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Re: Which DSLR?

@Robert – Thanks for the recommendation. Having read more about the Canon 70D it certain does appear to have superb auto-focus capabilities.

@Paul – I used to really enjoy the hands on and problem solving of shooting before my blindness. My last camera was an EX-3 with nanoFlash. It was that feeling that has urged me back into filmmaking. You do make a valid point and my disabilities will certain cause some frustrations. As a documentarian I’ve had plenty of thst this past year and a half. If it all becomes a little too much, taking on the role of director / DOP may actually but an excellent solution. Thanks for making me consider that :)

The GH3 certain does look like a fabulous camera.

@Les – Thanks! Les :) Good to know that shooting blind with a GH3 actually works!

I have been deliberating since I made this post and as Paul pointed out it is going to be tough for me to shoot as it is without adding unnecessary complications that come with shooting a DSLR.

After another ponder I though the Canon XA-20 will probably be much easier for me to shoot with and I can take care of the audio easier with that as well! I am part-exchanging what is left of my Nikon gear to fund it. Hopefully :)

I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts! Very much appreciated and has helped me further on the path :)

Happy New Year!
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 06:42 AM   #7
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Re: Which DSLR?

I've been looking at the specs of the Canon 70D it looks good.

what I have is a 5 D Mark III and i use a 7" Lilliput 663 HDMI Monitor which has peaking and zebras, histogram etc. this would be very useful to anyone that has problems with their sight, a three inch monitor which is on most cameras is not going to be good enough i think.
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Old January 5th, 2014, 09:38 PM   #8
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Re: Which DSLR?

+1 for GH3 with Novoflex. The adapter has an aperture control on it and your lenses will now be 'de-clicked'...
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Old January 6th, 2014, 02:58 PM   #9
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Re: Which DSLR?

With the enthusiasm for GH3 expressed here, I'll mention I am selling my kit here on DVINFO before going to eBay this weekend:
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Old January 7th, 2014, 07:13 PM   #10
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Re: Which DSLR?

I would go with the XA-20. It will take care of most of your issues that occur with DSLR shooting. Plus it has way better audio controls. and a bigger than average screen size of any of the listed DSLR's. 70D would be my 2nd pick due to its auto focus capabilities, however audio monitoring sucks.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 07:26 AM   #11
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Re: Which DSLR?

@Rob Iíve been looking at those Liliput monitors on Amazon and wondered how they fared. Good to know some who is shooting with one. The oonly thing Iíll be using it for is composition and even then a 7-inch is going to be a struggled.

@Phil Thanks Phil :)

@Les Tempting but I have decided to go with a Canon XA20 :)

@Craig Thanks! Thatís what I was thinking. With being deaf as well I need something that is better at taking care of the audio than a DSLR is. Iíve not tried the XA20 so donít know if the monitor is big enough for me to see, but I am getting a 7-inch field monitor anyhow as itíll make life easier.
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