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Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?

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Josh Williams
Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 25, 2011 at 5:04:32 am

I am looking to pick up a DSLR to add to my growing equipment collection and use on my commercial work. I have been doing a lot of research and am almost 100% sold on the 60D but I wanted to check the COW before I make my purchase. So my question to everyone is of the three listed in the forum title with is the best for DSLR video, I plan on using it primarily for video.

The 60D has a flip out screen, which will be handy until I get an external monitor for it, and has audio controls which are also very important. And it is only around $1200 bucks with the standard lens.

Or I could get a 7D for about $1900, but I am not sure what the benefit of that would be for shooting video.

Or I could plop down like $4000 bucks for a 5D Mark II but again, I am not sure why I would want to do that. The 5D Mark II is the oldest of the three, it doesn't have a flip out screen of audio controls so I am wondering why it is used in more professional situations than the 7D or even the 60D?

What are everyone's thoughts?


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David Jones
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 25, 2011 at 2:37:52 pm

I don't see much difference between the 7D and the 60D other than one records 17.9 MP and the other 18. They both have the same size sensor. The 5D on the other hand, has a bigger sensor and records 21MP. The compression on all is the same: 44Mbps.

Dave J


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Brent Dunn
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 25, 2011 at 3:57:33 pm

5D MkII Has a full sensor. Better in low light, more color space, less video noise, more shallow depth of field. No video switch, or swivel screen. 12 minute limit on recording (4 Gig)

7D great camera w/ switch for video / still. Cropped Sensor than the 5D. Multiformat recording options Heavy duty body / water resistant
12 minute limit on recording (4 Gig)

60D Plastic body, swivel LCD screen. same cropped sensor as 7D. Less options for ISO and other settings.12 minute limit on recording (4 Gig)

If I were to buy a camera now, and I had the budget, I wouldn't waste my money on a DSLR. Now Panasonic has the AF 100, with a better sensor and full video camera / film camera options. You can mount any lenses, still, primes, etc. with an adapter Better sensor that the DSLR's. Better contorls. No problems with Moire, jello effects, etc. No time limit on recording. (a problem with DSLR's)
Sony also has a camera in this category, but it doesn't have a swivel LCD or built in ND filter, which is a big issue for me.

There ya go. Good luck.

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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David Jones
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 26, 2011 at 12:44:20 am

I'm not sure I'd go with the AF-100, at least in terms of image quality. The compression rate is only 24Mbps compared to 44Mbps with the Canon eos series cameras. Of course, you can run uncompressed out to another HD recorder but, that's more cost. The AF-100 is still a CMOS sensor as is the DSLR. Ergonomics are better in some respects but, I guess it really depends on what you're shooting.

Dave J


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Josh Williams
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 26, 2011 at 1:01:31 am

Yeah I'm definetly going to be getting a DSLR probably the 60D at this point. I have an XH-A1 which I still use for a lot of shoots but I'm pretty unhappy with it's lack of DOF and the overal image quality in some areas. True I could get a DOF adapter for it but that would be a couple thousand and then another couple thousand for a lens. I think it's going to be the 60D


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Gary Huff
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Sep 3, 2011 at 9:45:50 pm

[David Jones]I'm not sure I'd go with the AF-100, at least in terms of image quality. The compression rate is only 24Mbps compared to 44Mbps with the Canon eos series cameras

The AF-100 image is better than the DSLR image in almost every way, save for a bit deeper depth of field overall. The AF-100 uses AVCHD, a "professional" version of H.264, the Canon's use a much-less efficient version, hence the need for the higher data rate.


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David Jones
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Sep 4, 2011 at 3:52:28 am

[Gary Huff] "The AF-100 uses AVCHD, a "professional" version of H.264, the Canon's use a much-less efficient version, hence the need for the higher data rate."

I'm not sure that means the overall image quality is better, thou it could. I would really need to see a side-by-side comparison.

Dave J


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Gary Huff
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Sep 4, 2011 at 8:50:40 pm

You are right it's not simply from AVCHD. The AF-100's sensor is primarily designed for video (unlike HDSLR) so there is no moire or aliasing like the Canons, plus a bit better on the resolution side.


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Dave Haynie
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Sep 20, 2011 at 7:26:47 pm

[Gary Huff] "You are right it's not simply from AVCHD. The AF-100's sensor is primarily designed for video (unlike HDSLR) so there is no moire or aliasing like the Canons, plus a bit better on the resolution side"

I wouldn't read too much into the "designed for video" idea. Yeah, the camera as a whole, like any video camera, is nicely adapted for video, versus any HDSLR, which is optimized for SLR use. Things like the variable frame rate help push it into real pro territory. Keep in mind, the video feature in the 5DMkII was originally kind of a "because we can" thing... they didn't even bother doing 24p until, based on the huge response to the camera, they dropped that into an upgrade. DSLRs haven't exactly remained frozen since the initial release of the 5DMkII. Though Canon's still locked into the stupid 12 minute/4GB limit, even on exFAT cards. This is the primary reason I could never use an HDSLR as my primary video camera. But hey, if you're used to 35mm film reels...

The sensor, though... same sensor used in the Panasonic GH1, I believe... it's a 12Mpixel 1/2 frame Four-Thirds sensor (Micro-FourThirds configuration, but that's only the lens mount... sensors on four thirds cameras are all the same size). If you're after that cinematic depth of field, this won't be quite as good as the Canons. The new Sony NEX-FS100, on the other hand, slightly larger sensor than the Canons. With that said, I'll admit all my current camcorders are Pannys, and my SLRs are Canons, going back to film. So I'm unlikely to care. Much.

The big win in the AF100, in theory anyway, is that, in front of that sensor, it sports an optical anti-aliasing filter, which you don't have in an HDSLR. That helps to reduce resolution, sure, but also aliasing noise... which, worse-case, is the moire pattern noise that's sometimes visible in HDSLR video. The HDSLR is designed to shoot stills at full resolution, so it can't have the anti-aliasing filter, unless you swapped one in... you're going to see the aliasing, at the very least, when the original 18Mpixel is resized to 2Mpixel. Most normal smaller-sensor pro video cameras don't have this issue, since they'll just have sensors that exactly match the video resolution.

The other issue is that, even with the filter, there's still money business going on. You want at least 8Mpixel of sensor detail to allow for pixel bucketing rather than Bayer interpolation. Given the 12Mpixel and original aspect ratio, I bet it's just about 8Mpixel when masked to 16:9. That color interpolation, while not as bad as going from the 18-21Mpixel sensors on the Canon, will lead to some anti-aliasing evil you wouldn't have on a normal 2Mpixel 3-chipper.

They don't do anything to deal with the "jello" effect, other than the differences between cameras in general (faster CMOS processing of the image, less time for movement, less jello). The problem isn't specifically CCD vs. CMOS, but the fact that CMOS sensors built so far use a rolling electronic shutter, rather than a global shutter. A CMOS sensor designed specifically for video could support a global shutter. CCDs do, largely as a means of reducing other problems -- they effectively buffer the whole image. The problem with that is that there are actually twice as many charge coupling devices as you'd need for the sensor alone, so it gets expensive. And it would, for a CMOS sensor too. Another option would be to use a mechanical rather than electronic shutter, though CMOS sensors pretty need an electronic shutter anyway to do noise cancellation (the entire sensor gets a zero light exposure, which eliminates all patterned noise inherent in the sensor).

AVCHD is not a higher-end version of H.264, not even slightly. Like most MPEG specs, H.264 (aka AVC, aka MPEG-4 Part 10) is simply a compression scheme, not a whole spec. AVCHD was defined specifically for consumer cameras, to fully specify the rest of the format, for easy editing support. AVCHD 1.x is limited to 24Mb/s encoding, 1080/60i, 1080/24p, 720/60p, 720/24p... curiously, 1080/30p isn't actually supported... if you have that in your camera, you're actually getting 1080/60i encoding. The AVCHD spec was drawn as a proper subset of the Blu-ray spec. Since it was originally for recording on DVDs (as I said, it was for consumers), the original version allowed only 18Mb/s video, and that's still the limit on DVD. The other characteristics -- you get a whole BDMV style file system as part of the spec, though it's technically not exactly BDMV, there are a few trivial differences. The video of course is stored in an MPEG-2 transport stream, and audio must be encoded in AC-3, video in H.264 (Blu-ray, obviously, allows other video and audio options).

Most HDSLRs encode H.264 in a Quicktime wrapper, which is also very standardized, but not limited in the rates supported by AVCHD. There's nothing intrinsically different about the H.264 that's encoded... it depends on the camera. Many AVCHD camcorders only encode at H.264 Main Profile, some do encode at High Profile, which can be ever so slightly more efficient. Another constraint of AVCHD... it had to work with Class 4 SDHC cards... even the new version, AVCHD 2.0, which officially supports Panasonic's 28Mb/s 1080/60p mode (and some goofy 3D stuff too) still maintains that Class 4 support.

There are a few quirks in dealing with Canon, anyhow, while I think Panasonic, in HDSLRs and Camcorders, pretty much goes by the book. For example, Canon is using full swing YUV in their H.264 encoding, but many if not most decoders assume that any YUV encoding is automatically studio swing. What you're looking for in the Canon's (and some other HDSLRs, including Panasonic's) is a limit in the types of Intraframes the encoder will create. H.264 supports three kinds of frames: I (independent), P (predictive), and B (bidirectional). If you've seen camcorders that record in AVC-Intra, they use I-Frames only, usually recording 4:2:0 at 50Mb/s or 4:2:2 at 100Mb/s.... it's kind of a glorified version of DV or Motion JPEG... each frame is separately encoded.

Predictive frames encode a set of motion vectors that can be applied to the previous frame to mostly encode that P frame. They then store just the differences, which is usually very small. B frames work the same way, but can be based on either prior or next frame, so they can be a little smaller still. The Canons all use only P and B frames. Some HDSLRs did this at 17Mb/s (some of the early Pannys, I think) and yeah, poor quality video. But the 44Mb/s (average) of the Canon, this produces better quality video than 50Mb/s AVC Intra. You're not going to better that with IPB encoding at 24Mb/s. Thing is, both of these are superior to HDV and other forms most of us are used to, so we tend to be pretty happy with either one. Though the Canon HDSLR video is a bit computationally easier to edit native than full IPB video.

There's also no requirement that AVCHD encoders produce IPB video, either... that's entirely up to the implementation. IPB, IP, and I-only video are all legal H.264 video streams. It's also the case that H.264 encoders have been improving yearly. I've been playing with H.264 cameras for six years or so, and until about 2009, they didn't compete with MPEG-2 cameras. It's not the spec, it's the ability of the on-camera signal processor to do this encoding for about 3W of power. It's the manufacturer's experience with the algorithm. It's even the video you're shooting... AVC and MPEG suffer with fast motion, but higher bitrate cameras may deal better with high detail, low motion scenes that stymie a lower bitrate encoder. And it's still pretty true that this year's model does a better job than last year's, though it's settling down.

I think the AF100 is a fine model, but it's not the last word in video. And I think there was a great deal of disappointment that Panasonic didn't go further... like, why not an AVC Intra 50 output option. Seems like "a simple matter of software". That'll work just dandy to a Class 8 or Class 10 SDHC card... but I guess that might eat into Panasonic's P2 market. Can't have that :-)

-Dave


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Mike Horan
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 25, 2011 at 4:16:12 pm

If you don't need full frame then the 5D is out, i am sure you already know that. I have a 60D and would not trade it for a 7D. for me the only advantage the 7d has is the burst rate. my 60D never fails me. it meters well and the 5.3 fps is good enough for just about any actions stopping. the video i am pretty sure is the same on both. i thought the flip/swivel screen would not impress me. i was dead wrong. i use it on just about every shoot. great for video and awesome for low or high angle work. best for low angle work. you can even shoot around a corner with it. so my vote is for the 60D. you will save a ton. it is not built as heavy as the 7d but if you take care of it then the build is plenty strong. good luck.


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Brent Dunn
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 29, 2011 at 5:32:50 pm

60D is amazing bang for the buck.

5D will give you deeper color image.


As for the Panasonic AF100, I saw a test shoot in person, and was impressed. Enough to know I won't buy another DSLR (I already have one) One big issue on DSLR images is the Moire pattern you get when you have things with stipes, or lines, ie: fences, bricks. Another is the Jello effect that can blow a live continuous shot. You also have a NF filter wheel that you can just dial in.

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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Josh Williams
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Aug 29, 2011 at 6:19:57 pm

The AF100 is indeed impressive but I don't really want to spend 5 grand right now and I do think it would be good to have a DSLR in my arsenal


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Fred Dorsett
Re: Buying a Canon DSLR. 60D, 7D, or 5D Mark II?
on Sep 1, 2011 at 5:47:46 pm

Hi Josh,
I think you have made the right descision, and I am a happy 7d owner!
I went for the 7d over the 60d in the beleif that the construction of the shutter mechanism is slightly more rugged. That is somthing I have to consider, with the number of shutter acctuations required for Stop Motion work.
I have to amortise the cost of the 7d body over the production of content; a five minute short for instance is upward of 6000 shutter acctuations ! The series of 45 second cinema commercials I am currently working on will be another 12000 or so. It adds up over not very much time !
Best of luck with the 60d
Regards,
Fred

Stop Motion Animation.
Canon DSLR, and Zeiss glass.
StopMotion Pro software.
Adobe Production Suite software.
Autodesk Entertainment Suite software.


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