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To Switch or Not

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Richard Walton
To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:08:16 am

Like many others I'm trying to decide whether my next camera should be a DSLR. Richard & Robbie's podcast is very helpful and now I'd like some opinions on my specific situation. See present shooting
and production description at bottom.

I shoot mostly close-up insect and spider video. Here is an example:

http://www.rkwalton.com/jump/haag.mp4

Many of my subjects are small - 5 mm to 20mm

I always shoot off a fairly heavy tripod

Light is usually not a problem as I often shoot in full sun.

Things I have pondered - 1) depth of field seems to be a factor with DSLR
2) loss of magnification (I believe there is a 7x jump when I put the Canon
100mm on my XLH1?).

So . . . my interest in making the switch is motivated by reducing the overall weight
I have to carry in the field (lots of walking sometimes up steep hills . . groan),
reduced cost when I buy my next camera, and overall portability - as when travelling
by commercial air carriers.

Thanks for your ideas!


Canon XLH1 24P HDV 3CCD CAMCORDER
Canon EF Adapter for EOS Lenses
Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens
MacPro 2.66 Quad-Core / 8 GB DDR3 /NVIDIA GeForce GT 120
FCP 6.0.6
Matrox CompressHD 1.8.1.0009
Telestream Episode 5.3.1

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Richard Harrington
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 2:05:45 pm

The use of macro lenses are quite nice for subject and much sharper

You can control depth of field by adjusting f-stop. Doesn't have to be shallow

Magnification is not 7x. Ranges from 1, 1.3,1.5,1.7,or2

But you won't really lose sharpness.

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 2:55:37 pm

Thanks Richard:

Did the magnification numbers you mentioned refer to
DSLR with prime or HLX1 plus lens?

Will I loose magnification with DSLR vs X1 given same lens?

Thanks Again!

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Richard Harrington
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 3:38:49 pm

Not familiar with X1

but it is a larger image with DSLR.. not reduction

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques


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Michael Sacci
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 5:59:13 pm

Poster Richard is right, on a small camera the crop factor is huge. But if your 100mm gives you as 700mm field of view and you are looking at matching that you may want to look into the Panasonic GH2, it has a 2x crop factor so if you used a 300mm lens you are at least at 600mm field of view. You maybe able to find a f5.6 400mm lens but you are getting really up there price wise.

Don't know your budget but a better 3/4" video camera might be the way to go.

But spider videos are SO CREEPY. Do see how you stay in focus with those things jumping around.


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:06:02 pm

Thanks for your ideas!

I think we all have some genetic fear of spiders but jumping spiders
are definitely not the creepy kind. In fact some of us think of them as cute and cuddly :)

Creepy is what I see on the evening news :)

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Jason Jenkins
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 25, 2011 at 5:45:59 pm

[Richard Walton] "I think we all have some genetic fear of spiders but jumping spiders
are definitely not the creepy kind. In fact some of us think of them as cute and cuddly :)
"


I agree! In general, I don't like spiders, but I like watching jumping spiders and I've even been known to try to get them to jump onto my hand.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 25, 2011 at 8:27:07 pm

Here you go Jason:

http://www.rkwalton.com/jump.html

Enjoy!

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Chip Thome
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 19, 2011 at 6:35:19 pm

"my interest in making the switch is motivated by reducing the overall weight I have to carry in the field"

I can not comment on the other aspects of the post, but this one, I can. You are going to be SHOCKED at the weight and overall size difference between carrying your Canon and a DSLR set up. I went from a pair of DVX100Bs, each in their own Kata bag, to a pair of GH1s. The camera bag that fit both cams and lens, SD cards, batteries etc that I needed was half the size of ONE DVX and Kata bag, and probably half the weight as well. I have Manfrotto 3246s that are fantasitc tripods and handled the DVXs with no problems, but are such OVERKILL for the GH models, I am seriously looking at something less "industrial strength" now.

The tech aspects of your decision I don't know about. But this aspect, been here and done this and love it, love it, LOOOOOOVVVE ITTTTTTTT !!! :-)

Good luck !


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Andy Pauquette
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:22:29 pm

"You are going to be SHOCKED at the weight and overall size difference between carrying your Canon and a DSLR set up."

I shoot weddings, and I work with a guy who also has his own video production company and is used to the size of "real" video gear. The first time I handed him a GH1 it reminded me of the scene in Men In Black in which Will Smith gets his first (very small but powerful) weapon. At the end of the day his back was thanking us, though!

There are tons of old manual focus lenses out there that can be mounted to the micro 4/3 mount. My current favorite on the GH1 is an old Pentax screw mount 50/1.4. For your application there are a lot of macro options, extension tubes, and adapters to reverse-mount lenses. It should be said that I came into DSLR video mostly from still photography (although I did own an XL1 for a few years), so I'm comfortable with the form factor and basic operation of these cameras.


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:56:03 pm

Thanks!

My back feels better already.

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:07:43 pm

Good suggestions and yea my tripod is a killer.

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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Malcolm Matusky
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 21, 2011 at 5:41:57 pm

If you already own Canon lenses and use an adapter with your video camera, just add a 60D and see if it works with your shooting style! If you already have the lenses your investment is small and you will always have a great still camera if you prefer shooting with a traditional video camera.

I think the DSLR/video camera combination is the best way to go, you have the flexibility of choosing the right rig for the job.

Good luck.

Malcolm


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Richard Walton
Re: To Switch or Not
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:16:12 pm

Yes - I have the adapter and will look into the lenses.

Thanks

Dick Walton
Natural History Services
http://www.rkwalton.com


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