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Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?

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Wes Browning
Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 29, 2011 at 2:32:33 am

I currently own a Sony PWM-EX1 and am thinking about upgrading to the Canon 5D Mark II. I'm interested in obtaining greater DOF and would like a lighter kit for when I have to travel internationally. In general, I think its a good move, but I'm interested in hearing from current DSLR users what's the switch like.I'd like to approach the upgrade in two phases. First, I want to get up and running with a configuration that gives me many of the same features and options I have with the EX-1. The second phase would move past the basic setup, and probably include additional lens, matte box, etc. The 5D will be replacing my EX1, so its important that the feature set be comparable.

I do a lot of interviews, but also shoot a lot of b-roll for clients too. What should I purchase in order to get up and running for my first phase?


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Steve Crow
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 29, 2011 at 2:57:06 pm

The two shooting styles (DSLR versus traditional video camera formats) are not really comparable. For instance, you can't film more than 12 minutes at a time, DSLRs can overheat and you have to go through a lot more trouble with sound. Post is also different. That said, I think all the hassles are very much worth it but don't go into it expecting things to be the same...

Here's a link to more information on the equipment side:

http://www.crowdigitalmedia.com/display/Search?searchQuery=DSLR+kit&moduleI...


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Chip Thome
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 6:45:50 am

Steve is right, you are going to be comparing apples and baseball bats trying to think you are going to put them side by side in a comparison. The shooting of a DSLR takes more photography knowledge than a camcorder does and acts more like a camera than camcorder too. But.....that's what also gives it the great footage, so as Steve said, well worth it.

The 5d, by video DSLR standards, really is a pretty old piece of gear now. There's been lots of talk about its replacement coming sometime this year. If you are hellbent on the high end Canon, wait for it. But that's not your only choice and with DSLR you really should be open to which works best for you. Right now the Panasonic GH2 is the one to beat, even at less than half the cost of the 5d. But with so many new offerings in the wings, that could change twice before lunchtime next Monday.

I just bought the Nikon D5100, but for lots of different reasons that wouldn't apply to you. But, the one thing that could apply, I picked the D5100 over the D7000 because the D5100 just came out in April. The D7000 came out last fall, and already there's some rumors of it being replaced. If I were looking to the higher end, I'd try to hold off till at least Oct. 1 to see what gets announced for this Christmas season. Another option, buy a lower end DSLR, dive in with it for now and see if it fits your style. If you then find DSLR to be a PITA, you found that out for lots less than a 5d and lenses.


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Wes Browning
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 1:48:29 pm

Thanks Steve for the link. Lots of good info.

I fully expect it to be a a major switch, and taking my photography knowledge in to this is part of why I want to make the switch. With my current setup, I'm just not getting the look I really want.

I think I may hold off until the Canon line sees another update. Any thoughts on how the T3i would compare to the 5D? I know its a consumer model, but what are the major differences?

I think I could probably work around the 12 minute limitation just by altering my habits. If I had to do an hour interview, I could probably stop/start between each question. Would that sort of activity over an hour overheat it? Could I use an external unit to record, rather than utilizing the on-board memory?

Lastly, is there a configuration that works well for the run & gun operator? In some cases, I really just need to pull out the camera quick and start filming. However, I don't want to be fiddling with lots of add-ons.


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Steve Crow
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 3:49:51 pm

I film with the T2i which has the same video functionality as the Canon 7D. The major advantage the 5D Mark II has is that it is a FULL frame sensor which means it will give even BETTER low light performance and the overall build quality is better.

To answer your questions - yes starting and stopping is the way to go. I mostly experience overheating when working outdoors, I think a good habit is to turn the camera off when you are not filming but otherwise I don't have many tips for combating the overheating problem.

You mentioned "pull out and run and gun" - errr....not so much. First of all, if you want any kind of decent sound you are going to have to first set up mics and an external recording device. Then you are going to need to do all the basics like set focus, aperture, ISO and shutter speed (well you always leave the shutter speed at 1/50th)

Think of this like a Hollywood style movie camera....is it fast or even convenient to film video with DSLRs....I'd have to say no. But then again if you want the kind of quality a DSLR gives you then it's very much worth it to take your time with it....but that means it's not a great solution for just pulling out and starting to film...I don't find it works great for News type operations where you are filming things live that you don't have any control over..."Ma'am would you mind crying and clutching your baby one more time, I didn't quite get the focus nailed"

On the other hand there ARE news shooters working with DSLRs even in War Zones (Dan Chung)

For sit down interviews you generally have much more control of the overall situation so it's a good camera for that...I use it for documentaries and it's a pretty good solution for that too but then again if something unexpected happens, (a UFO suddenly lands in front of me) I probably won't get the shot ....or the sound.....

See if you can hang out with an experienced shooter or maybe do some free PA work for them in order to learn the realities before you invest thousands into a rig that you may find too cumbersome for you. I always tell myself when filming, "Steve, slow your roll" - otherwise you are going to make mistakes.


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Wes Browning
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 3:55:15 pm

Great - thanks for the advice! I think I have all I need now to make an informed decision.


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Richard Cardonna
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 31, 2011 at 11:10:00 am

Before you decide check the panasoniv AF 100. it has the best of both worlds the camcorder and the dslr. With all the extras you need to make your dslr workable you can probably get the af100.
Among other things the claim is better video than the ex1 camera and more.

That said a good dslr can be handy to have in the tool kit.

Richard


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Chuck Purnell
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Sep 10, 2011 at 4:42:48 am

If your going to look at the AF100 you may as well look at Sony's new FS100 which is said to have the same image quality of their higher end F3 camera.

Cre8tive Minds Entertainment, LLC


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Chuck Purnell
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Sep 10, 2011 at 4:40:26 am

I can shoot up to 20 minutes with my Nikon D7000 which makes it perfect for shooting Music videos or projects where you will be starting and stopping a lot. As for the audio I run a dual audio system via a Zoom H4N. I run wireless audio to the Zoom then sync it up with the video using Pluraleyes in Final Cut Pro.

Cre8tive Minds Entertainment, LLC


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Brent Dunn
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Aug 31, 2011 at 7:49:19 pm

I have the EX-1, 7D, & 5D Mk II. If I were to buy another camera, I would purchase the Panasonic AF 100, expecially if you're trying to replace your EX-1. It has the video camera settings and features you need with the DSLR look and ability to change lenses.

With the amount you'll invest in a 5D MkII to give it the film camera look and features, you could buy the AF-100.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Faran Saberi
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Sep 4, 2011 at 8:19:34 am

it's like night and day. it'll take some adjusting. and A LOT of spending (lenses, sound gear, rig to get it stable) but it'll be worth it in the end.

it won't be easy, but the picture quality is amazing and once you crack it, you'll be happy with the decision.

but don't for a second think that because a dslr is smaller it is more practical. the amount of gear you'll have to take with you for it to match the capabilities of a comcorder will negate the size advantage that it has.


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Wes Browning
Re: Switching to DSLR - what's the basic kit to get up and running?
on Sep 12, 2011 at 6:26:36 am

I'm looking at the FS100 for sure. I notice that it out performs the AF100 in low light, which is really important to me. However, as a point of comparison, how much better is the AF100 in low light vs the EX1?


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