HDSLR is dead, long live HDSLR! (Sold my Canon 7D… part II)

You all might come to the conclusion – after reading this post – that i am full of contradictions… 😉 But, hey, that’s life! The filmmaking world is changing more rapidly than i can change my underwear, and technologies AND the mindset of producers and directors seem to be able to make a 360 degree turn overnight.

After posting my previous post “Sold my Canon 7d…”,  i received mail from people wanting to know if i’ve abandoned DSLR filming for good and if i’d also stop publishing picture profiles for the Canon DSLR cameras.  I have also received encouraging mail from one guy you all know, but who has asked not to publish his name or comments, that i should absolutely give HDSLR another chance by using the Canon 5D MKII, different lenses and a better minimal DSLR rig. He also stressed on listening to his advise this time… 😉

The director of an upcoming documentary production i was asked to do the camerawork for, was alarmed after reading my tweet and article because he “sold” the use of a DSLR camera as a feature of the project; something the producer agreed with and was enthused by. So, after much debate and consideration i have agreed on using a Canon 5D MKII for aforesaid production. I am responsible for part of the budget, so i will be looking into finding a comfy rig, screenloupe, followfocus and choice of lens(es).

Drawing to a conclusion while broadly answering the emails i have received..:

  • The Red Scarlet is in fact also a HDSLR camera, and i am still set on obtaining one as soon as it becomes available. I truly believe that (the specs of) the Scarlet is the future. Alas, for now it still remains a “future product”…;-)
  • I will continue to shoot HDSLR, although with some more consideration and probably B-camera
  • I will (try) not be triggered, inspired or drawn into gadget hypes, such as full production camera rigs with matteboxes , dollies, tracks and the such as a part of HDSLR filming – just a plain simple kit that i can carry in a bag, instead of a wheelbarrow
  • I will – as promised – publish a number of new picture profiles for the Canon vDSLR camera range, together with Bart Keimen who is an ex-colleague and a brilliant colorist, sometime next month, as they are needed for the documentary and other work mentioned. We were planning to do some Kodak, Fuji and other footage stock simulations and also some specific in-camera looks such as “Tony Scott look” – that kind of thing.
  • I will continue to shoot HD+DOF adapter, no worries.
  • I am considering buying Canon 24-70 L series or 24-105 f/4 IS L series lens for the 5D, to be used together with the Zeiss primes i already own. Please respond to this article if you want to share your lens experiences.

I am now off to find a sponsor who can help me out with a DSLR rig with followfocus… Or rob a bank…


8 Responses to “HDSLR is dead, long live HDSLR! (Sold my Canon 7D… part II)”

  1. September 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Love you third point:
    “I will (try) not be triggered, inspired or drawn into gadget hypes, such as full production camera rigs with matteboxes , dollies, tracks and the such as a part of HDSLR filming – just a plain simple kit that i can carry in a bag, instead of a wheelbarrow”

    one can let that become an excuse.
    I for one will be entering the HDSLR world by dropping my DV camera for a Canon 550D. No need for me to go big – the body can be replaced; and if I am lucky enough to go RED Scarlet in 2 yrs time then I should have a collection of lenses and necessary rig components that can be carried over.



  2. 2 marvelsfilm
    September 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Phill. You are totally right there. I admit to being too easily attracted to gadgety stuff and the outside look of things. I know and i learn – sometimes the hard (expensive) way. Also, wanting to be an early adopter costs money.
    Weird if you think that i have worked for over 15 years with one and the same s16 camera!
    Back to basics – more or less – for me; stick with the things i have that and update with prudence…

    Martin Beek

  3. September 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Martin, my pref is fast lenses. I think the 24-105 is f4.0 but the zoom range is good. I have the 24-70 and 70-200 both at 2.8. Not perfect but I do like shooting nearly wide open.

  4. December 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I’m not surprised. I am amazed that the DSLRs have become so popular for video. I have just bought myself (or rather my company) a Canon 60D, and in the small tests I have done so far the colour moire (worse than the aliasing IMO) is atrocious. It can be suppressed with FCP filters though in an emergency.

    I have long been a vocal critic of DSLRs for video. Or at least for A cam work. So why have I bought one? Simple. For specialist application. My main camera is an EX3 at the moment, but I do a lot of outdoor shooting in places that involve long treks to get to, as well as shooting from small boats, and the need to be able to get video camera gear into the back of a kayak. Quite often the only way to get to a certain place is in the kayak, and even an EX3 or AF100 would be too big.

    So for those purposes a DSLR is the right tool for the right job. It packs down very small, works off lightweight sticks, and water sealed housings are inexpensive compared to video camera versions.

    I haven’t fallen for the hype, and knew very well the limitations before I purchased the 60D. I considered it very carefully, and it came down to a tossup between the Sony VG10 and the 60D. The 60D won, just. Although the CG would still suffer from aliasing, the colour moire probably wouldn’t have been as bad. But for the budget I had the 60D was on offer and I could use some of the saved money to get an H4N audio recorder, which of course is useful no matter what camera is being used.

    Other people should do the same, and consider what they really want a DSLR for. You won’t find me using the 60D as a main camera. Not in a million years. I might break it out for interviews in small rooms occasionally. But 99% of the time it will be used where the EX simply isn’t practical.

    Although, Martin, I would have kept the 7D. Useful for holidays! 🙂

  5. January 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    The 7D is weather sealed and retails for not that much more than the 60D. A much better prospect if you’re going anywhere near water. Also useful for holidays! And if you need simplicity for audio get the H1. A two step recording system that sounds as good as the H4n. Regarding your point about gear, I reckon it all comes down to context. Optics and audio are the two standouts. Have a look at how DigitalRevTV make their videos.
    Not a rig or follow focus to be seen. A Z-Finder or loupe does a good enough job in most cases and provides that point of contact you need. A rig can actually get in the way, especially if you’re a one person show.
    And as far as moire and aliasing is concerned it is possible to avoid these artifacts with certain combinations of settings and lenses. I am going to document the settings I have found that work in this regard. And ultimately it really comes down to what you can do with the gear you have to express the ideas you want to express. Have a look at this example if you haven’t already seen it: http://vimeo.com/18280328

  6. 6 marvelsfilm
    January 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Hi Bo.

    We switched to the 5D MKII and it’s a huge improvement. For our specific work and the looks we require it’s a bit better than the 7D. But also more expensive…

    Thanks for the links; very nice and instructive!


  7. 7 Marcus
    January 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I would say, forget the 24 – 105. It is a waste of money. The 24-70L is a more common lens for prosumer photographers. Curious to know what primes you will be using though.

  8. 8 marvelsfilm
    January 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Hey Marcus.

    I have already traded the 24-70 in for the 24-105! I think that the first is much too sharp for video, and I like the stabilization of the 24-105. A pity that it loses much more light.
    Apart from that I have three Carl Zeiss lenses; the 28mm 2.0, the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm 2.8.
    The 50mm is pretty old, but gorgeous.

    I still have a set of Nikon prime lenses, but apart from a 135mm, the set is identical to the Zeiss lenses.

    Kind regards,
    Martin Beek

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