Gear: Cameras

The canon 5dmrk iii is at the top here because this is the nicest camera I have been fortunate to use. I recently shot a wedding on this cameras and my god did that full frame come in handy. This camera shares many of the features found in the 5d mrk ii below but with improved moire (its virtually gone), ALL I compression and in camera audio metering (this is a blessing). This camera can literally see better than me its incredible, the resolution is a little soft like the mrk ii but with some slight sharpening in post this is not a problem (still annoying to do this).  My biggest problem with this camera is the resolution and no clean hdmi but Canon clearly don’t want to be cannibalistic to there Pro cameras. Here are some of its features broke down:

  • 22MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102,800 expanded
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • Shutter rated to 150,000 frames
  • 1080p video recording exchangeable frame rates
  • H.264 recording full HD up to 30mins (29:30)
  • Stereo sound via external mic (in camera audio metering)
  • 61 point AF system
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 100% viewfinder coverage
  • 1040k dot 3:2 LCD
  • Dual card slots for CF and SD

 The Canon 5d mrk ii is the camera that kicked this whole HDSLR movement off. The camera features the full frame sensor with brilliant low light capabilities and shoots full HD with varied frame rates like the Mrk iii however, its CF card only and you cannot meter your audio, in fact you cannot adjust your audio manually at all which is the cameras biggest draw back (unless yo hack it with magic lantern). If this is something that doesn’t effects your film making then this camera would probably be a better choice over the mrkiii due to price savings now found on this camera. Its missing a lot of features from the mrk iii and its auto focus is terrible but I have  shot on a music video with this camera and the images where beautiful so weigh up the pro’s and cons. It may be old but it defiantly still packs a punch. Key features:

  • 21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1Ds Mark III)
  • Sensor dust reduction by vibration of filter
  • ISO 100 – 6400 calibrated range, ISO 50 – 25600 expansion (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)
  • Auto ISO (100 – 3200) in all modes except manual
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • 98% coverage viewfinder (0.71x magnification)
  • 3.0″ 920,000 dot LCD monitor with ‘Clear View’ cover / coatings, 170° viewing angle
  • Movie recording in live view (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)
  • Two mode silent shooting (in live view)

The canon 7D is a camera that I would personally never buy because the Magic Lantern Hack will not work on it. The camera its self is brilliantly machined, fully weather proofed like the 5d’s but it has a smaller APS-C sized sensor and thus less low light capabilities and unless you buy the lenses built for this size sensor you with get a crop factor of x1.6. Here are its key features:

  • 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 8 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video recording with manual controls
  • 3.0 inch Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dots
  • 19-point AF system (all cross-type)
  • 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage viewfinder
  • Environmental sealing
  • Full HD recording up to 12mins, H.264 and variable frame rates

The Canon 550d is amazing, for the price you really can’t fault this camera, it has all the video functions of the 5dmrk ii but without that full frame sensor (its APS-C like the 7D). It feels cheap but it is cheap and it carries some impressive specs with it,  especially as its exactly the same as the camera above in terms of video features and sensor. Thus if you don’t mind a cheaper body and worse photography features buy this instead, and remember this camera combine with the Magic Lantern hack is very very impressive (higher bit rates, focus peaking, no recording time restrictions e.t.c). Key Features:

  • 18 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor with ISO 100-6400 (Expansion to 12800)
  • Continuous shooting at 3.7fps
  • Full HD movie recording with manual control and selectable frame rates (H.264 same as above with 12min restriction – magic lantern removes this))
  • 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 Clear View LCD with 1,040k dots
  • iFCL metering System with 63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor
  • Quick Control screen to change shooting settings
  • Exposure compensation +/-5 stops (although viewfinder scale is still +/-2 stops)
  • Select maximum value for Auto ISO
  • External Microphone socket
  • Movie crop function
  • Eye-Fi connected functions compatibility

The Panasonic gh2 has a lot of annoying down sides but I have put this in here because the resolution of this camera is incredible. With the Driftwood 176mbit hack this camera is being compared to the C300 in detail.  So if an amazingly sharp image is more important to you than low light capability this is the camera for you. The micro four thirds sensor will annoy you massively as it is even smaller than the APS-C sensor so it will crop at x1.9 (its hard to get wide on this camera with out using a lens built for this sensor which is a waste of money because the lens will not work on any of the cameras above or with a larger sensor). Of course you can still get the shallow DOF with this camera but the Audio is automatic and horrible and the mic input is tiny (1.5mm) and flimsy so don’t buy this for recording audio to. All of this will go out of your head once you see the price of this camera (£700) and the images that come of it.  Here are its specs:

  • New sensor – multi-aspect Live MOS with 18.3 million total pixels
  • ISO range 160 – 12800 (vs 100-3200)
  • Sensor capable of 1080p video at 60 or 50 fps (rather than 24 or 25 fps), still output as 60i/50i
  • AVCHD codec at 17mb per second (get the Driftwood hack– changed to 176mb)
  • Faster sensor read-out promises faster AF and smoother viewfinder image (less tearing)
  • Larger EVF coverage to match multi-aspect shooting (852 x 600 rather than 800 x 600 pixels)
  • Touch-sensitive LCD screen (same as G2)
  • New, more modern looking menu screens
  • G2-style combined AF mode/pattern control on top plate
  • Dedicated metering and ‘film mode’ buttons replaced by highly customizable Fn buttons
  • Q menu button moved from top plate to rear of camera
  • New battery (DMW-BLC12E) with fractionally smaller capacity (1200mAh vs 1250mAh)
  • Tiny form factor

This sensor chart shows the difference between these cameras :

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