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I Switched!

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Richard Walton
I Switched!
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:03:51 am

I am in the process of moving from an XL H1 camcorder based system to a DSLR video setup using Canon's 60D. My initial testing / learning has confirmed much of what I had expected in terms of the benefits and the bumps. At this point I'm trying to determine the best way to deal with the focusing challenges.

Most of my work involves macro with relatively small insects and arachnids. The "bugs" range in size from approximately 5 - 25mm. (examples at: http://www.rkwalton.com/jump.html). I will be using Canon's 100mm/2.8 MACRO USM and 180mm/3.5L MACRO USM.

While the 60D's movable LCD is a plus I am often shooting in bright (sometimes full sunlight) situations. I have done some testing with a Zacuto Z-Finder Pro and the magnified image does seem helpful. The downside is that with the Zacuto attached the advantages of the swivel LCD are negated. This in turn leaves only one "viewing" angle. So . . . I'm still investigating ways to give me the best chance to get sharp, in focus footage.

I have looked at the specs for the various EVFs that are in the pipeline as well as some of the small external monitors that are available. I'd appreciate hearing forum participant's recommendations and or suggestions given the specifics of my application. Perhaps there are solutions I am not even aware of - in any case thanks for your ideas!

BTW - For those of you who may be considering "the switch" - Richard and Robbie's podcast is very helpful with the basics as well as with the details that are useful when you are trying to decide which of the numerous accessories will be best suited to your shooting style.

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


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Jason Myres
Re: I Switched!
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:17:50 am

I've found that the 60D LCD holds up really well in direct sunlight. If you don't need magnification, something like this might be helpful, while still allowing you a lot of adjustment:

http://www.lcd4video.com/products/Viewfinder-Sunhood-for-Canon-60D.html

JM


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Richard Walton
Re: I Switched!
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:43:27 pm

Hi Jason:

Thanks for the info on the sunhood. It looks like it is at least part of the answer. I also "discovered" that the 60D has a "focus assist" for manual (critical for macro) focus (see, p.167 in 60D instruction manual). The focus assist activates a 5x and 10x magnification boost on a portion of the LCD screen. I haven't tested this yet but my indoor focus tests I did without magnification (using 180mm f/3.5L Macro) indicated fairly good results. Your sunhood suggestion should provide better visibility in the field.

As I mentioned the Zakuto Z-Finder Pro ($325.00) negates the benefits of the 60D swivel LCD and it may be that your$10.00 solution along with the in-camera focus assist will not only save a bunch of money but also increase the camera's user friendly quotient.

As everyone who has made the "switch" recognizes the image quality and portability of DSLR need to be balanced against the workarounds. If I can eliminate the bulky and restricting viewfinder that will be a big plus! Now on to the audio.

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


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Malcolm Matusky
Re: I Switched!
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:05:25 pm

I bought a "cheap" 7" monitor with HDMI inputs, $200 or so, works well. I also have the okii follow focus, not cheap, but very useful, controls lens focus motors through the USB port and has stop/start button and 5x/10x switch, and many other functions.

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Richard Walton
Re: I Switched!
on Mar 7, 2011 at 2:12:31 pm

The follow fucus looks interesting - thanks!

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


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