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Best HD Camcorder for $2500 or less?

Posted: Thu, 18th Feb 2010, 11:16pm

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JUIDAR

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Hello all I'm in the market for an "HD Camcorder" NTSC and want the best bang for my buck.

I've been looking online at a few places like:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

Wanted the local FXHome filmmakers opinions I really don't want to spend more than $2500 for the camera.

Thanks appreciate links and any info.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 12:48am

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Fxhome Dude

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The Canon 7D. It may look like a photography camera but is widely regarded as a top notch HD camera as well.
Link
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 1:09am

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JUIDAR

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This looks good but I don't know if I would use it for a 10 hour day use.

What do you think about this camcorder:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/384527-REG/Sony_HVRA1U_HVRA1U_HDV_Camcorder.html#specifications

Is the CMOS really better than 3CCD for film look?
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 2:09am

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Tim L

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The HVR-A1U is a fairly old camera. It is basically the "pro" / step-up version of the old Sony HC1. It has a single imager (CMOS) but includes direct support for XLR mic inputs. But I see a lot of pros who use it as a third cam or a "crash cam", or use it in tight spaces, etc.

You might also consider the Sony FX7, which comes in at just under $2000.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/459129-REG/Sony_HDRFX7_HDR_FX7_3CMOS_HDV_1080i.html

Three 1/4" cmos imagers with a 20x zoom. It has an 1/8" stereo jack for an external mic (no XLR's). Mic volume is by a menu adjustment -- not by dedicated volume knobs. However, the FX7 does have six user-definable buttons, manual exposure adjustments, etc. It does have focus and zoom rings, but they are servo controls (not direct lens controls like on an SLR lens).

The A1U is a fairly small "handycam" size camera, while the FX7 is a bigger, prosumer size camera -- similar in size to a GL2 or a Sony VX2000.

I guess a lot will depend on how you will use this camera. A bigger cam like the FX7 has a lot of advantages, but I wouldn't want to carry it to Disney World or on vacation, etc. I think the XLR block on the A1U is removeable if you want to stick with the internal mics and use it as a simple handycam.

I'm sure others will chime in here with lots of other choices. I guess you might start by saying what you want out of it. Are you okay with tape and HDV (1440x1080) or do you want tapeless (memory card) and full HD, etc. If you like to film handheld "shaky cam" style movies, CMOS imagers might pose problems with rolling shutter, though most people don't really have such problems. I this mainly for making movies? Used mainly on a tripod?

Tim L
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 3:19am

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ben3308

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You'd be foolish to get anything less than the Canon 7D these days. Bang for the buck just blows everything else out of the water.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 3:29am

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Bryce007

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Absolutely the Canon 7D.

As a sidenote: You'll have to buy a nice shotgun mic to compliment it. Also, buy a monopod for it, and add at least 5 lbs to the bottom of it, otherwise you'll get crazy shake/jellocam.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 5:31am

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Thrawn

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Yeah, going with the Canon 7D or maybe a Canon HV40 with a nice little 35mm adapter. It'll leave you an extra thousand dollars for lighting, sound, etc. But hey, do your research for yourself, see what would work best for you personally.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 6:48am

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JUIDAR

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I'm shooting a movie and it's going to be at least an hour long which probably means 10 - 12 hours total of video shooting.

I notice the Canon 7D only saves things in .mov that would probably not be best for editing I would think.

So sorry for not being specific I'm shooting a film and want the camera that's going to give me the highest quality film like/style image for under $2500 that will work well with Adobe Premiere CS4 and I want to burn it to blueray when it's all said and done as well.

The camcorder will be on a tripod 90 percent of the time.

Does anyone else have any other suggestions or even different ones now that they know more of what I'm going for?

Thank you
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 6:59am

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Serpent

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It honestly sounds like the 7D is right up your alley, and you just don't know it. I've heard few complaints about the editing workflow with the 7D.

But it'll be on a tripod most of the time, it will shoot for Bluray output, it's in your price range, it creates a more film-like look than any camcorder in that price range without a 35mm adapter, and it even shoots 24p.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:01am

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JUIDAR

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What about the "Canon GL2 Mini DV 3CCD Camcorder"

It looks like a really nice piece of equipment?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/255811-REG/Canon_7920A001_GL2_Mini_DV_3CCD.html#specifications
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:06am

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sfbmovieco

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JUIDAR wrote:

What about the "Canon GL2 Mini DV 3CCD Camcorder"

It looks like a really nice piece of equipment?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/255811-REG/Canon_7920A001_GL2_Mini_DV_3CCD.html#specifications
You have got to figure out what you want. The GL2 is not HD for starters....Take some time to really, really look into the 7D. Inspect it inside and out. I don't think you've done that at all. Then come back to the forum with a better grasp on what exactly you want/need.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:08am

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Bryce007

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The GL2 is quite old at this point, and the image quality won't even be in a slightly similar league to the 7D. Also, the 7D shoots to cards, so you can stick a 16GB card in there and shoot all day, then just drag and drop the footage onto your Hard drive. It's really simple.

The answer to your question with the price range IS the Canon 7D.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:19am

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JUIDAR

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7D
A/V Recording

Video Recording
Yes

Video Resolution
1920 x 1080 @ 24fps, 25fps, or 30fps, 1280 x 720 @ 50fps or 60fps, 640 x 480 @ 50fps or 60fps

Video Clip Length
Up to 4GB (about 12 min HD, 24 min SD)

Audio Recording
Audio with Video Only

I don't think this is realistic for the serious editor.
For one I don't want to be stuck only able to edit with .mov files they are already compressed I'll probably have to decompress the files into a format that works with my other effects editing programs which shatters some of the quality then re-encoding the video with the effects and encoding yet again for the final format just seems like a lot of extra time and I'm deluding the quality a lot in that time.

The other is the whole 12 min HD which is a joke when I'm shooting 10 hour days come on now I know there are bigger cards but still.

I was looking at this one here though I am more of a Canon fan for what I'm paying this looked like a pretty good camcorder.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/625605-REG/Panasonic_AG_HMC40PJU_AG_HMC40_AVCCAM_HD_Camcorder.html#specifications
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:22am

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Pooky

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I think it's pretty clear that he doesn't want the 7D guys, even if it is perfect for him...
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 9:17am

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Atom

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This guy's been an active member on here for 4 good years and he's acting as if he's never even heard of the GL2? Come on, someone's gotta be Shutter Islanding this. Seriously, how much more coy or obtuse can you get? 'Have you guys ever heard of this H-V-twenty camcorder, by chance?' smile

Buddy, either you take the advice or you don't. Pretty unequivocally the Canon 7D is the best option given your pricerange. Hell, it's basically the best option for any non-Hollywood pricerange. Go with it or ignore everyone here into oblivion.

I've gotta GL2, I know for a fact I've talked several times in very long spurts about the pro and cons and power of it for many years; and I see no point in retreading those statements here, as I'm more than certain you've seen them in your time here. Either you know what you want or you don't. If your answer is the latter then I see no reason to refuse the advice of others.

Let me put it this way: I'm a 'serious editor'. Editing is most of what I do in filmmaking, and I do some of that for pay- and I see no reason not to work with a Canon 7D. In fact, I would love to work with one- because I know how unparalleled even the raw image is in regards to filmic depth and resolution for the price; and how that transfers with very few hiccups to digital editing in an NLE. Take this for whatever it's worth, but don't condescend a pretty obviously 'good choice' because you think it might be too contrived or amateur by what specs you see at first glance.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 9:53am

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pdrg

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I can understand not wanting to buy a camera optimised for stills when you primarily want video. And I think the points about recompression are really sensible to consider, even if they are surmountable.

The 7D and its family are going to help the file-based market, but they are not a perfect hybrid device yet. Autofocussing IIRC is still optimised for stills, and with that many pixels you want to stay sharp! Again, that's not terminal, but the next generation once the still/video formats converge more fully will be interesting - will the jack-of-all-trades cameras be masters of none? There will certainly still be a place for studio-format cameras I'lm sure.

Long shooting days? Long sequences? Tape has advantages. You can add an hour of storage in 20 seconds and it costs you a few quid. No messing around with file transfers to empty cards, etc. Click a tab and you can be sure not to overwrite what you recorded earlier.

That said, the quality difference will not come with the camera, for any real purposes. Yes you will have more pixels, but that will just give you a harder image and show up the weaknesses in your makeup/lighting/smoothness of panning, etc. It may be a good plan, as suggested above, to invest in some decent grip and lighting kit, etc. I talk to industry DoP's a fair bit, they have mixed opinions over the fetishisation of cameras. The market is *incredibly* fashion-led, especially at the prosumer end. A few years ago the Red was the saviour of all our souls and the only thing anyone should use, ect (usually without having used it in earnest rhemselves), currently it's the 7D it seems, and it will be great for some jobs and users - just not all jobs and users.

So, don't necessarily discount convergence models out-of-hand, but remember to consider what you really want, which sounds like a fairly decent prosumer HDV unit. In which case as mentioned above, if you take a step back, go for an HV40 instead, and get yourself some extra kit (mics, lamps, etc?), you may find you get what you need. The choice is as personal as your choice of girlfriend. And waaaaaay cheaper.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 10:17am

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Atom

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No, pdrg. I think you're wrong. I think you're trying to turn this into some existential or personal thing when it really isn't. Every once in a while there's a cut-and-dry choice that works for a large number of people and is therefore a reliable bet to mention. Unlike the unfounded (and, well, some founded) hype and mentioning of the RED- which was and is still most-undoubtedly a product of popularity in saying- the 7D is known here and around the web because of peoples practical use of it, and because for someone who simply wants to make a movie that looks like a movie it really and truthfully isn't paralleled on a raw cam level. Especially not for the price.

There's no this or that or 'be wary of hype' business here, it's simply a 'dollars-and-cents' matter. The camera has the capability, it has the image, it has the resolution, and it has the price. Given its only potentially fatal flaw for some is its jello-cam and this guy says he's shooting 90% tripod to begin with- the erros that are neglible become almost 100%.

Maybe I'm wrong in positing this, as you do often know what you're talking about and offer sound technical or market advice- but I think to chalk this universal recommendation up to bandwagon hype, or at least infer that, is shortsighted and foolish, and I'm therefore negative rating you on it. You talk a lot about extraneous information that I think really only serves to confuse or make you sound more knowledgeable without intending to- which I often find in your posts and never knock you for because, hey, you do know what you're talking about. And it's not my place to guess that, because I sometimes don't.

So talking about the semantics of pixels and light is all well and good, but I just feel like what you're saying isn't practical talk and here I don't wanna see this guy led down the wrong path because someone threw a buncha facts at him. Look: I'm a filmmaker. I too wanna make a feature project. And feel like I know what the guy wants. As I get the same feeling from most of the other people in here. In saying that: Really great cameras at really great prices come around. People like them and recommend them. That's what happens. This is one of those instances.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 12:04pm

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swintonmaximilian

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As as been said, the 7d would be a great choice, I have one.

It has it's limitations, aliasing, rolling shutter, heavy compression, but if you shoot around these things they won't be a problem.

The fact is that the image looks very film like right out the box, the image sensor, while not full frame, is roughly the same size as the red one's. You can get great, shallow depth of field, without the need for an adapter. It has very good low light capabilities, far outclassing any video camera at a similar price point, and the option of interchangeable lenses gives you so much more flexibility than a fixed lens.

Editing isn't a problem at all, all you need is something like cineform's neoscene, which transcodes the mov files into avi's, or whatever it is for a mac. It's $99.00-ish, and it's simple and effective.

One thing to think about is that in actual terms the 7d's resolution isn't truly what it seems to be. Have a look at this article for more on that: http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/article.php/20

But, at the end of the day, if you pixel peep and focus purely on technicals and filming resolution charts, you'll find that every camera on the market, even exceeding your budget by many thousands, has it's problems. And articles like the one above tend to suggest that cameras like the 7d are unusable, which is far from the case.

In a real world, practical situation, the 7d can give you amazingly film like HD images, that look beautiful. For your budget I would say that if you want the best film like image possible as of now, then the 7d is the logical choice. Or, you could look at this one, the EOS Rebel T2i:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/digitalcameras/?p=2664

It's out in March.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 12:33pm

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Tim L

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"The other is the whole 12 min HD which is a joke when I'm shooting 10 hour days come on now I know there are bigger cards but still. "

The 12 minute restriction is per take or clip. Since it is file-based, recording to memory card in FAT format (I'm guessing), the maximum size of any one file is about 12 minutes (4 GB). But you can have lots of files/clips on a memory card. I'm guessing a 16 GB card would then hold about 48 minutes of HD?

If you are filming concerts, the 12-minute max per clip would be an issue. But if you are filming movies it shouldn't get in the way of things -- I can't imagine you'd have single takes that were > 12 minutes long.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 1:17pm

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Simon K Jones

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JUIDAR wrote:

I don't think this is realistic for the serious editor.
For one I don't want to be stuck only able to edit with .mov files
You've said several times in this topic that you don't want to use .mov files, and I just thought I should point out that .mov is a perfectly valid and high quality format. As with AVI, you have to make sure you use the right codecs.

The other is the whole 12 min HD which is a joke when I'm shooting 10 hour days come on now I know there are bigger cards but still.
As Tim pointed out, this is per take, not total storage space. Not useful for documentary purposes, sure, but for dramatic filming it's fine. If you're shooting takes that are over 12 minutes in duration then you're either doing something experimental or you have a very, very strange shooting style. smile

I'd absolutely love a 7D, but can't really justify the price, alas. Then again, I can't really justify the price of any decent video camera.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 1:24pm

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Sollthar

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Every single film and especially TV production I have ever worked with uses Quicktime for uncompressed or Highquality editing.

Clearly, you must be misinformed.


As for the 7D, it's an awesome little camera with some downsides. For one, the sound recording, which is unusable, the rather high compression rate and use of a codec that breaks apart easily when doing vfx work on it and then of course the fact it's a light photo camera which has it's ups (like the small weight etc) and lots of downs (hardly usable on a professional set as people will give you odd looks as well as smooth panning is very, very tough).

But if you shoot right and plan your shoots well, it's a good tip.


But then again. The camera doesn't really matter much. What you do with it counts.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 1:29pm

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Fxhome Dude

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If your looking for some footage done with the 7D here is a movie done entirely with it. After Midnight.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 3:18pm

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pdrg

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Atom wrote:

No, pdrg. I think you're wrong. I think you're trying to turn this into some existential or personal thing when it really isn't.
Oh dear - existential? Really? Saying one camera may or may not be the ultimate device for all occasions?
Given its only potentially fatal flaw for some is its jello-cam
plus some of the points Sollthar raises mean the camera still *is* a compromise.
I think to chalk this universal recommendation up to bandwagon hype,
...which wasn't what I was doing. Read my post again. I was warning that the sector is very fashion-led. And that this is certainly an interesting development, but is still bedding in. Do I dismiss the 7D out of hand anywhere? Nope.
I'm therefore negative rating you on it.
Dude?!? For not agreeing? :-$
You talk a lot about extraneous information that I think really only serves to confuse or make you sound more knowledgeable without intending to-
I'm not sure what was 'a lot of extraneous information'? Suggesting that for the average user that a 1080p vs 1080i image is not the be all and end all? That extra mics and lamps may be useful? Hardly seems worth negging me for it. Seems a bit extreme.
Really great cameras at really great prices come around. People like them and recommend them. That's what happens. This is one of those instances.
Yep, the landscape changes the whole time. The 5D was the cause celebre before the 7D, and before that the RED, and HV20. I have no doubt that the 7D is a great camera, but has everybody here saying the only choice is the 7D bought and used it in anger on a real set for a real shoot? Or are there a few 'me too's' on here?

I'm saying simply that these SLR-format cameras are not the solution for all people at all times - so suggesting other possibilities. Especially when the poster has already stated that he doesn't want the 7D and was asking what the options are.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 3:21pm

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Sollthar

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I removed the ratings for being unjustified pdrg. Atom's always had a bit of a problem seperating his opinion from fact or accepting other viewpoints.

You might as well argue with an AI that's programmed to disagree with everything you say in lengthy algorithms and put on "repeat". wink
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 3:53pm

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JUIDAR

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ATOM I think you are gravely misunderstanding me. It's not that I am telling you guys that you are wrong it's why would I go with this camcorder. I keep asking you guys the question and all you do is beat my down with insults that I don't know what I am talking about or that I don't know what I want. I know what I want I don't necessarily know what tool I'm needing but I know that when it comes to editing working with RAW avi seems to generally be the preferred medium and the only perk I've heard about this camcorder so far is it's price.

You mentioned the camcorder and I went and looked it up and did a little research on it.

Came back with what I thought about the camcorder and all I got back from you guys was "no your wrong you don't know what your talking about you should buy it"

Can I get a little more feedback then that I mean come on if it's that good other than the price?

Could I get a little bit more constructive criticism please I'm a fellow growing amateur filmmaker asking for advice?
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 5:18pm

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Axeman

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Rating: +2

I've got a 7D. Some of the advantages of it are thus:

The image sensor is far larger than any camcorder in the price range. This translates to better detail and image quality, even when comparing images of the same resolution. The colors are superb, and the picture quality is fantastic.

Its low light sensitivity is much better than any camcorder in the price range. This is related to the sensor size; the more area you have to capture light info, the less light you need to do so effectively. Also, recent advances in camera technology have greatly improved the high-ISO settings found in the 7D. With low-budget and amateur filmmakers, low-light ability is always worth factoring in.

It has interchangeable lenses. There is no camcorder in the price range that offers this option. Though you can add an after-market converter to a camcorder to allow you to mount SLR lenses on it, the 7D allows for this functionality directly. This allows you to use autofocus on the camera, if you desire. The assortment of lens options is enormous, allowing near-infinite creative control (if you have the budget). Canon has a 50mm f1.8 prime lens for around $100 new, which allows for excellent shallow DOF.

It doesn't shoot interlaced footage. Anyone who has messed with interlacing knows it for the antiquated hassle that it is. The 7D doesn't let you shoot interlaced even if you wanted, effectively preventing the issue from even coming up, which I call an advantage. It also offers both 24p and 30p framerates at full HD resolution. And since 24p is the framerate of film, you can't get any more filmlike in your camera than shooting 24p through interchangeable lenses (for those of you who think the camera is what makes films look filmlike).

Accessories. If you are ever in the market to upgrade your kit later, there are an assortment of after-market accessories, including stabilizers of various sorts, follow-focus rigs, eyepieces, and other stuff to make it look and behave more like a proper film camera.

Potential disadvantages include the following:

Rolling shutter. Due to the way the CMOS sensor works, vertical lines will at times become diagonal and wobble around a bit, if the camera is panning quickly. This is true of any camera using a CMOS sensor though, which is what the RED uses. In typical use, the issue isn't noticeable, but if you intend to pan around very quickly, you should be aware of this. It has the potential to wreak havoc with motion tracking, if you intend to track effects into the footage.

Audio. Onboard audio is less than fantastic. The 7D does have a stereo input jack though, and since any decent filmmaker is going to get the mic off the camera anyway, adding a Beachtek adaptor or something similar to jack proper mics into the cam is a logical solution to this problem.

Autofocus. The autofocus is still not quite perfect in video mode, though for the most part it works fine. Again, most proper filmmakers are going to rely on manual focus anyway, so this isn't a big issue from my persepective.

Limited recording time. Not an issue for actual filmmaking. If you intend to film events, this will be a problem. But if you are filming takes for a movie that are 12 minutes long, you are a very rare exception. And possibly a loony.

Video compression. As with all HD camcorders in the price range, the footage is highly compressed on capture, even moreso than with tape-based cameras. You can't find a camera that records uncompressed HD in a consumer price range. Converting the 7D's H.264 compressed .mov files to an intermediate codec when importing to your computer nips the problem in the bud, and allows you to edit the footage without impacting quality. MPEG Streamclip is a free utility that can handle this conversion nicely.

I'm sure there are more points on both sides of the ledger, but those are the ones that come to mind at present. I find that all of the disadvantages can be worked around or avoided, and the advantages are really tremendous when it comes to image quality. Saturday Night Live has taken to using a 7D to film their promo spots recently, and there are several pro DP's in Hollywood that are promoting it as well, including Shane Hurlbut (who shot Terminator Salvation), who is using it regularly to film commercials, and used it for several scenes in Terminator Salvation.

EDIT: The scenes I referred to in Terminator Salvation were apparently recorded with a different Canon SLR, not the 7D. They all use the same recording format though, so for questions of footage quality it shouldn't be relevant. If he used the 1D it has a bigger image sensor, but records using the same format and compression, onto the same cards.

Last edited Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 9:17pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 5:57pm

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Atom

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I don't mean to be insulting, pdrg. Sorry about that- I just think sometimes you offer advice that kind of pulls a red herring- on the surface you've got specs and facts that sound important- but ultimately don't serve to explain anything practically except to confuse the person.

It's not a common occurance, and it's not on purpose. But yeah. No need to pick apart my post line-for-line, I just don't agree with you. As for the rating; I thought I explained that fairly clearly- it's not a matter of disagreement, it's that I think your advice is misleading. I thought I outlined this pretty clearly when I explicitly said I was negative rating you...

No hard feelings either way, I hope though.

And Juidar: Yeah, man- maybe I do misunderstand what you're trying to ask- it just looked/looks like you're blindly ignoring what we're recommending. If such isn't the case, then yeah by all means I'm willing to help ya out.

Although to be honest, for that pricepoint, there isn't much range for selection with really good, robust cameras. Even the GL2, my prized baby gem of a camera, isn't worth the cost of admission these days. Also, Axeman and Sollthar both posit very great points about your worries- read them carefully.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 7:36pm

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pdrg

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Atom, not so much picking your post apart, just wanting to address your points and concerns where I thought clarification was justified. I disagree that my post is misleading just because it wasn't 'on message' for 'buy a 7D', I don't think it was inaccurate or irrelevant, but there we go, we're all different.

I don't hate you any the more because of it wink (It's a joke guys, I love Atom really) (It's a joke guys, he drives me nuts really)

Juidar, I hope the bunfight hasn't distracted you from your search too much, hope you find what you need.
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 9:44pm

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JUIDAR

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I really appreacite all the advice so there are really only 2 things that seem to be bothering me about the 7D:

1. Sollthar mentioned this would be a bad deal for motion tracking which I am going to have scenes with fields of large robots and wars going on so being able to do (good) motion tracking is a must.

2. The 12 min limit would not be a huge problem now but I would like to be able to use this camera to continue other work I do like Weddings and Football games to which the camcorder does run for very much longer than 12 minutes.

And not that it's a huge problem but Sollthar is right about when I'm on a set with 30 people and they look at me with this tiny thing they are less likely to take the film seriously regardless of it's abilities which again I'm not knocking it looks and sounds like a very nice item.

The "EOS Rebel T2i"

http://blogs.zdnet.com/digitalcameras/?p=2664

That swintonmaximilian mentioned looks like a good deal as well but recording times are not much better than 18 mins but if I did decide to swallow that min prob and go with a camera would many of you agree it would be wise to hold out for this than the 7D?
Posted: Fri, 19th Feb 2010, 10:10pm

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Axeman

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The 7D is a better camera than the Digital Rebel. The body is magnesium instead of plastic, so its a lot more rugged and much more weather roof. That being said, I used a Digital Rebel for ears without problems, so its not like the T2i is a poor camera. The 7D also has a much more advanced autofocus and exposure metering system, and a lot of other minor features absent from the Rebel. But for straight quality comparisons, the results should be very similar between the two, as they use the same image sensor. So the T2i is definitely worth considering.

http://www.gadgetvenue.com/canon-eos-7d-hd-video-test-09285940/

Look at that page, then tell me again how the camera rig doesn't look professional. smile

Of course, that rig also includes a healthy assortment of accessories, but if you pull those same accessories off of a RED ONE or a Panavision, they don't look all that impressive either. And the 7D with a lens and nothing else is comparable in size to the Canon HV40. Its easily 30-50% larger in body size than the Digital Rebel.
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 12:29am

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JUIDAR

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Wow that looks nice I like that!
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 12:59am

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Axeman

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Just to be clear, since I didn't exactly specify before, you won't get a kit quite like that for under $2500, but yeah, when its tricked out, the 7D looks, behaves and performs much like a proper movie camera. RedRock Micro and Zacuto both make very nice accessories for hybrid SLR's, and they both charge handsomely for them. Also, you need fast CompactFlash cards to keep up with video recording (preferably UDMA cards), which means not the cheap ones, so storage media will cost more that a tape-based system like the HV40.

If you intend to shot events such as weddings, sports, performances or whatever, then you will need a different camera. In fact, I regularly shoot plays for the school drama class, and I need multiple cameras, preferably 3 or more. I therefore treat the two cases (events and film projects) completely separately, and use different gear for each. I'm still using DV for filming plays, but am considering upgrading to a couple of used HV20's or 30's, since they are getting so inexpensive.
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 1:46am

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doppelganger

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I dont know if this has already been posted so forgive me if it has but this video was the deal breaker for me. A while back George Lucas invited this guy to Skywalker Ranch to shoot some footage on dslrs, its an intresting read to... by the way this guy didnt have all the overpriced accessories for the camera either smile

http://philipbloom.co.uk/2009/12/12/the-tale-of-lucasfilm-skywalker-ranch-red-tails-star-wars-and-canon-dslrs/

the video is at the bottom of the page but I would advise reading the whole thing
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 3:43am

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JUIDAR

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So like this card here would be a good choice for the 7D?


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/646880-REG/SanDisk_SDCFXP_064G_A91_64GB_Extreme_Pro_CompactFlash.html


Is that the best brand to and would you consider that over priced?

Also have another question for those of you that have used the 7D how is the sound quality when recording with a boom mic?
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 5:37am

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CX3

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I just got my 7D about 2 weeks ago. I'm in love with this camera. The best part? Being able to film WHEREVER YOU WANT. The public just thinks you're taking pictures.

I'll be posting a fight sequence we shot last week, hopefully on Sunday. Seriously, this camera is the truth and it's blowing up everywhere. If anyone laughs at you for shooting with the 7D, trust that you'll have the last one.

F.U. and your permits Los Angeles! Muwhahahahah!!!!! mad
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 6:47am

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Axeman

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I'd recommend getting a couple of these instead:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/646870-REG/SanDisk_SDCFX_032G_A61_32GB_Extreme_CompactFlash_Memory.html

Same card, basically, but by getting two 32s instead of a 64, you save a bundle. And since you can literally swap the cards out in 3 seconds, its not a big deal to have it spread over two cards.

Sandisk and Lexar are both major brands who make excellent cards, and as long as the speed of the card is 30MB/sec or better, you should be fine. Extra speed can never hurt though, except when it comes to the price tag.
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 6:54am

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JUIDAR

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Thanks for all the great advice guys!

CX3 I hope you post that fight here on this forum so that I don't miss the chance to see what you shot with the camcorder!

Thanks again!
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 6:20pm

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Garrison

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JUIDAR,

Here is a clip from a guy who shot these scenes with a 7D.
http://vimeo.com/8987991

He used 25, 50, 85, 100mm prime lenses and a 24 - 105 zoom lens. He also used an H4N for sound.
http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h4n/

Windscreens for the H4N
http://www.redheadwindscreens.com/
Posted: Sat, 20th Feb 2010, 7:21pm

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JUIDAR

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Garrison wrote:


Here is a clip from a guy who shot these scenes with a 7D.
http://vimeo.com/8987991
Wow I'm totally sold on this thing now! lol
Posted: Wed, 24th Feb 2010, 9:52am

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Simon K Jones

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Here's some info on the T2i that might be of interest, from The Stu:

http://prolost.com/blog/2010/2/8/the-revenge-of-no-more-excuses.html
Posted: Wed, 24th Feb 2010, 9:57pm

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JUIDAR

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This looks good to and the video features seem about the same but I'm waiting to see some more comparison shots because I still don't understand why the T2i is so much cheaper than the 7D?
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 12:10am

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Horcruxes88

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Ive owned the 7d for months now and i have several friends who own it. Its a pain to edit becau seo fteh H264 but my new imac can handle it fine. I wouldnt go with teh lower end canon modles such as the t1i or any of teh Nikons. Just from using them and comparing, the 7d is the best for the buck.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 2:58am

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JUIDAR

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Horcruxes88 wrote:

Ive owned the 7d for months now and i have several friends who own it. Its a pain to edit becau seo fteh H264 but my new imac can handle it fine. I wouldnt go with teh lower end canon modles such as the t1i or any of teh Nikons. Just from using them and comparing, the 7d is the best for the buck.
I am a little bit concern about the format that the camera automatically encodes the video into.

Does anyone use CS4 for editing video with this camera?
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 3:46am

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Serpent

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Rating: +1

I mean, I can't say anything from personal experience, but others have elsewhere. This might help:

http://tinyurl.com/ydpjbbt
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 4:01am

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Pooky

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Heh, for some reason I half expected that to be a RickRoll smile

Speaking of which, did you guys see that YouTube took down the original 30-million-hit RickRoll video? The link now just points to a "Violation of Terms of Service" page!
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 4:47am

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Garrison

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JUIDAR wrote:

This looks good to and the video features seem about the same but I'm waiting to see some more comparison shots because I still don't understand why the T2i is so much cheaper than the 7D?
http://philipbloom.co.uk/2010/02/08/the-new-canon-550d-t2i-very-powerful-entry-level-hd-dslr/#more-7591
You can check this blog. I think one of things they say that makes the T2i cheaper is that it uses the Canon Rebel body which seems to be not as strong a body as the 7D.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 4:51am

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Thrawn

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Pooky wrote:

Heh, for some reason I half expected that to be a RickRoll smile

Speaking of which, did you guys see that YouTube took down the original 30-million-hit RickRoll video? The link now just points to a "Violation of Terms of Service" page!
Haha, you just RickRolled me.. Probably on accident. smile If not, then well played my friend. Well played indeed.


EDIT: And just to be topical, I found this video, which was filmed with the T2i. Amazing.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 9:16am

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Serpent

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Something tells me that wasn't an accident Thrawn...
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 9:50am

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CX3

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Horcruxes88 wrote:

Ive owned the 7d for months now and i have several friends who own it. Its a pain to edit becau seo fteh H264 but my new imac can handle it fine. I wouldnt go with teh lower end canon modles such as the t1i or any of teh Nikons. Just from using them and comparing, the 7d is the best for the buck.
The h264 codec isn't really meant to be cut with. Run that through quicktime and export as Apple ProRes 422. FCP reads it much better.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 3:31pm

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Rockfilmers

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It's a pain for Vegas though. I've had mine since November and I still haven't found a good codec to edit with.

I think one of things they say that makes the T2i cheaper is that it uses the Canon Rebel body which seems to be not as strong a body as the 7D.
There are also other things like the ISO can't go as high. Remember, these cameras where still meant for still photography, so that is more than half of what you are paying for. The features are probably timipcal of a Rebel camera and a little less pro
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 5:08pm

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pdrg

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The price is right on the 550D though - currently £899 in the UK including a basic zoom lens and (according to the guys in the shop who just got one in this morning!) will likely have the first discounts applied in 2 weeks and be priced 'about right' (£650-ish) in a month or so. At that price-point, wow, basically. Not perfect for everything, but I may have the ideal use coming up within the month...

I had a fiddle with one today - it feels a bit lightweight, you'd certainly want to tripod it for shooting video.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 6:27pm

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Axeman

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Garrison wrote:


http://philipbloom.co.uk/2010/02/08/the-new-canon-550d-t2i-very-powerful-entry-level-hd-dslr/#more-7591
You can check this blog. I think one of things they say that makes the T2i cheaper is that it uses the Canon Rebel body which seems to be not as strong a body as the 7D.
Yeah, The body construction is significantly more solid on the 7D. I've had two models of the digital rebel in the past, and still have one, so I can compare it side-by-side with my 7D. Where the digital rebels use plastic for the housing, the 7D uses magnesium. So it is much more solid, much tougher, and much more resistant to weather and dust. that being said, I never had an issue with either of my rebels not being though enough. They are still good solid cameras.

The other differences are primarily in the inner workings; the 7D has much more advanced autofocus and exposure metering capabilities, and other advanced features that aren't found in the Digital Rebel. They are nearly all targeted at still photography though, the video capabilities are essentially the same at this point.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 7:11pm

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Rockfilmers

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One thing I would love to see is a 720p24 and 30 option. Right now, the 7d only shoots 720p video at 60p. You do get 1080p24 and 30, but 720p24 and 30 would be nice also.
Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 10:01pm

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EED

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I was literally a few hours from ordering a 7d, however I found out about the moire/aliasing problem and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Apparently it's a big problem, especially in 720p. Now I'm scratching my head on whether to go ahead and buy this with the extreme pro sandisk card, or for a few bucks less buy a HV40 (now on sale for $649 at B&H) with a Focus Enhancements FS-5 Portable DTE Recorder. The reason for the recorder and why I looked at the 7d is because Im looking to go tapeless with out going the very poor choiced HDD way.

This mind you is my upgrade from a PV-GS150, and I would like to enter the modern HD age with confidence and something that will last. The 7d had me freaking pumped, however I don't think I am willing to deal with the moire/aliasing problem. I don't know though, some can tolerate it, others try and hide it. Anyone who owns one have these problems? If so, to what extent?

I am open to suggestions, so please feel free to let me know what is best, and if I have my facts straight on this. Thank you.

Last edited Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 11:06pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 25th Feb 2010, 10:02pm

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Garrison

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Rockfilmers wrote:

One thing I would love to see is a 720p24 and 30 option. Right now, the 7d only shoots 720p video at 60p. You do get 1080p24 and 30, but 720p24 and 30 would be nice also.
You can always down convert though.
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 3:23am

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Rockfilmers

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You can always down convert though.
Yeah, but I mean to save space on the CF card. I have two 8 gig cards and I can store about 16 minutes of 1080p24 on one card.

I was literally a few hours from ordering a 7d, however I found out about the moire/aliasing problem and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Apparently it's a big problem, especially in 720p.
I have actually never once encountered this problem. I've heard about it, but never seen it.

Here is the only reason I chose to buy a 7d; A camcorder that allows DOF to be as shallow as 35mm film with interchangeable lenses with variable frame rates and with the added bonus of it being excellent DSLR (I was planning on buying a Rebel sooner or later anyways)all for under $2000. Before I heard about this camera, I was planning on buying the Sony HVR-FX7 hdv camcorder that retails at $2000. I have no buyers remorse what so ever. The camera has meet %99 of my expectations.

Of course, there are a few down sides. The camera does not allow TV or AV auto modes, just program. While the auto focus is amazing in still mode, the video auto focus is next to useless. The will also over heat sometimes, especially in 60p. All you have to do is turn the camera off for a few seconds and you can come back to it. The camera also doesn't have professional monitoring options like zebra stripes or sound levels, but I don't think that is really big deal.

All in all, the good VASTLY out weighs the bad with this camera. As with all CMOS cameras, there is a bit of distortion on fast moving objects because of the rolling shutter, but it's not nearly as bad as what I've seen in other cameras like the HV20-30-40. The only time I have noticed it is with a long lens panning at an unreasonable speed or running along side of people shaking the camera on purpose.

My advise to you... go with the 7D instead of the HV40. It is more expensive, but it is well worth the cost. You might even want to wait for the t2i.
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 3:44am

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ben3308

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Just an FYI, there's a third-party open source firmware patch/hack called 'Magic Lantern' that adds things like different variable framerate, zebra stripes, and a whole other plethora of features to the Canon D-line.

It's shaky/unstable for the 7D now (mostly for the 5D Mark II) but should be ready in the next month or two - or you can test a buggy version now.
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 7:10am

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EED

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Thanks guys. I started looking at 7d footage again and I tell ya it just screams "BUY ME!". The main problems that kept being mentioned were the overheating and the moire/aliasing problem. The overheating came up as not such a big deal, just let it cool as you said Rockfilmers. Also with the moire/aliasing problem, most complaining came from people who only had it for a short while and/or trying it out. My guess is as with everything, you need to learn the equipment your using in and out.

Yes as far as firmware goes, hopefully 'Magic Lantern' will be up and running on the 7d soon as well. I've seen it on the mark ii and it is pretty awesome. My only question now is if the SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash Card is overkill? I know it may be a silly question as there are many cards but I really want to know if the 90MB/sec (600x) Speed is really going to improve anything for this cam. Just wondering if anyone has used it or not.

Link
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/646880-REG/SanDisk_SDCFXP_064G_A91_64GB_Extreme_Pro_CompactFlash.html
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 9:11am

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Simon K Jones

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Being someone that's only ever used camcorders, the interchangeable lenses on these babies both excite and terrify me. The only lens stuff I've ever properly dabbled with is sticking a wide lens onto an XM2, which doesn't really count. smile

Does anybody have any good resources in their bookmarks that would help get me up to speed? They're kinda the unknown factor for me, particularly in terms of additional cost.
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 1:13pm

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Rockfilmers

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Sorry, Tarn. Most of my info comes from magazines like HDvideo pro. I have done a few internet searches and found a few good reviews. And I think I my have a good explanation about the moire/aliasing problem; some users may bump up the sharpness where as I lower it. I Have everything on my camera set lower so I don't give the footage any attentional artifacts.

EDIT: Actually, I am in the middle of editing a trailer that includes footage from within a week of getting my camera. I shot one scene of a guy bench pressing in 60p for slow motion and guess what, there is a little bit of aliasing on his shirt. This was before I ever new how to turn down sharpness, so It was being sharpened in camera the whole time, and I haven't seen it since! So if you get this camera, be sure to turn the sharpness down.

Just an FYI, there's a third-party open source firmware patch/hack called 'Magic Lantern' that adds things like different variable framerate, zebra stripes, and a whole other plethora of features to the Canon D-line.
Sounds awesome, but I don't think I would ever trust myself giving my own camera a firmware update.
Posted: Fri, 26th Feb 2010, 7:13pm

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pdrg

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Rating: +1

Lenses, they're a large part of what a DoP is all about. In a nutshell, the numbers in mm refer to the focal length. Small numbers are wide angles, big numbers are telephoto. Single focal length lenses are often referred to as 'primes'. Primes are generally of higher quality than zoom lenses as they have fewer compromises. In a 35mm camera, a 50mm lens is most similar to your eye, but DSLR's have smaller sensors, so have a 'focal length multiplier' of maybe 1.6-ish, meaning ~30mm is most natural, eye-like on a DSLR.

Zoom lenses have a range of focal lengths, and are expressed as number - number ranges. In the DSLR world, a good basic DSLR zoom would be, say 18-55mm (say 30-90mm 35mm equivalent). Wide-angles show shake less, but really wide angles distort the image.

The other important numbers on a lens are the f-numbers, which is basically how much light the lens can transfer - a low f-number represents a wider aperture (more light getting through) where a high f-number means the image is dimmer but sharper.

It all comes down to physics. If you want to demonstrate the effect, make a pinhole camera with a small cardboard box - make a small greaseproof paper screen on one end, and a pinhole in the other end, and look out of the window - you get a dim, but very crisp image. poke in some more holes (maybe 4-5) and you get a brighter, but softer image, etc.

Now, a lens also has an f-rating which is how much light it can transmit - the better the lens the lower the f-rating. A crappier lens may be rated f4, a good one may be rated f1.4.

That's lenses as quick as I can do them, but you can dedicate your whole life to lenses - as Joe Dunton did. The man's a bit of a hero, really. But if you want to understand lenses, a GCSE Physics textbook should give you enough to get you going.
Posted: Mon, 1st Mar 2010, 11:29pm

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Axeman

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Speaking of lenses, Oh, baby!
Posted: Mon, 1st Mar 2010, 11:44pm

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Garrison

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And here are some mounts
Posted: Tue, 2nd Mar 2010, 3:21am

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Rockfilmers

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Speaking of lenses, Oh, baby!
I saw those the other day, Imagine the flexibility of image those lenses would give you.