Which DSLR Camera is the Best for Video?

Oh I know there have been many of these camera topics and I know I've been asking around about these cameras quite a bit but I'm not sure which one shoots the best video.
I read the T3I is better at video than the 60D and the 7D? Is that true? Why would the 7D be more expensive?
I knew you guys would have allot of experience on these different cameras. I love this site by the way. Thanks allot for the help and have a great day everyone.
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Comments

  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    edited December 2011
    The Canon 5D MK II is the best. And significantly more expensive than any of the ones you mention, but the 5D has a full-frame sensor, which will give better image quality and shallower depth of field. I'm not counting the announced-but-not-actually available-yet Canon 1Dx, which will be the new 'Best HD DSLR" when it arrives, but costs $7k or something.
    As to why the 7D is more expensive, its mainly due to aspects that relate to stills photography, as it is primarily a stills camera. The 7D has a much faster, more accurate, and otherwise advanced focusing system, more customizable functionality in the menu system, and a much more weatherproof housing. Primarily, they are the sort of features that mean a lot to the professional who is making his living of the images he is capturing, but aren't going to make a huge difference to the amateur. The video systems are all pretty much the same, although its likely that they could have introduced an improvement or two in the latest model. I think the most significant difference is the pivot added to the LCD, so you can change the angle of the screen, if your camera is in a weird spot.
  • I read a review on the 7D and the 5D Mark II and the 7d sounded almost better for video the the 5D Mark II. Why? What is the Advantage of the 5D Mark II?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    edited December 2011
    The 5D has a larger sensor, which gives better image quality, much better low-light performance, and shallower depth of field. All of canon's video-capable cameras other than the 5D use crop sensors. The 5D uses a true 35mm sensor.
    In every case where people have used DSLR's to film all or portions of Hollywood productions (Shale Hurlbut on Terminator Salvation, Gale Tattersol for that episode of House, etc.) they are always using the 5D.
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    The only reason I chose the 7D over the 5D was the overcrank 60p (albeit in 720 mode) so I can get nicer slomo when converting it to 23.98fps. So that may be the reason you read the 7D is better than the 5D.
    Image-wise, the 5D is superior due to the full-frame sensor Axel mentions.
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2011

    The 5D has a larger sensor, which gives better image quality, much better low-light performance, and shallower depth of field. All of canon's video-capable cameras other than the 5D use crop sensors. The 5D uses a true 35mm sensor.
    In every case where people have used DSLR's to film all or portions of Hollywood productions (Shale Hurlbut on Terminator Salvation, Gale Tattersol for that episode of House, etc.) they are always using the 5D.
    The 7D has hugely improved video framerate than the 5D. Canon has created the new king of SLR video with the 7D. The new framerate options allow for better syncing with external sound, and the 60fps/720p mode allows for much smoother action shots and more creativity with slow-motion, again, very handy for sports and wedding shooters that want to cross over.
    American productions will use the 5d for the image quality. European AND UK Independent/studio productions, will use the 7d production. For the AF point grouping methods and spot focus possibility and the fact that the 7D has custom button functions.
    A 7d was also used to shoot some scenes of Black Swan.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    edited December 2011
    I've got a 7D, and it is indeed an excellent camera. I wouldn't say the framerate issue is hugely improved, as you have to use half-resolution to shoot faster than 30p. Certainly a bonus in some areas, but not so much on the professional front. And the autofocus abilities, while excellent, aren't really relevant, as you have to manual focus while shooting video.
    Don't get me wrong, the 7D is fantastic, for a crop-sensor camera. But the sensor in the 5D has more than double the area of the APS-C sensor on the 7D, and the difference in image detail is dramatic.
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2011
    If you believe the image sensor in the 5d mark ii is similar in size to a frame of film from a 35mm motion picture camera like a Panavison or Arricam, you are wrong! Since Canon and Nikon are primarily coming from the still photography world, their understanding of “full frame” and “1.6x cropped” need to be understood in motion picture terms.
    “Full frame” when translated to motion pictures should be defined along the lines of VistaVision. Shane Hurlbut, (great DOP) is the first person Iv heard of who equated the 5d mark ii’s sensor in this fashion. I can not think of a better way of describing this sensor as it relates to size. (please note I am referring to size, not resolution)
    What you will discover about VistaVision is that the size of the frame is 36mm x 24mm and has a diagonal of about 43.8mm. These dimensions are the same as a “full frame” digital single-lens reflex sensor. All the lens characteristics associated with this sized imager apply to both the stills world and the motion picture world.
    The transport mechanism in VistaVision moves the film horizontally through the gate as opposed to vertically. The movement in an analog still camera also moves horizontally. This form of image capture and movement is eight perforations wide or the dimensions listed above. Those dimensions are the basis for the “full frame” sensor. The imager is significantly larger than the standard 35mm motion picture camera.
    “1.6x cropped” is a term used by the still photography companies for describing some of their products that have a smaller image sensor than their “full frame” models. What this means then is that the sensor on the Canon 7d is 1.6 times smaller than a full frame digital slr sensor. What we get then is a sensor that is 22.3mm x 14.9mm and with a diagonal of about 26.8mm. (As a side note there are other cropped sensor sizes: APS-C, 4/3rds, etc etc as well as larger ones like medium format, but this is beyond the scope of this specific discussion.)
    As a filmmaker you may be thinking to yourself, these measurements look familiar. They should. The size of a 1.85 frame in 35mm format is 21.95mm x 18.6mm with a diagonal of about 28.77mm. While not dimensionally precise, the “1.6x cropped” sensor in essence IS the size of a 35mm motion picture frame. What this means for the filmmaker is that a 50mm lens on a canon 7d will be very similar to a 50mm spherical lens on a Panavision or Arricam and feel absolutely familiar. In essence a “1.6x cropped” dslr IS your motion picture caera replacement when wanting a one to one translation, NOT a full frame DSLR.
    Abel Cine is has a great FOV comparator here, http://www.abelcine.com/articles/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=548:field-of-view-comparator&catid=24&Itemid=45
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    edited December 2011
    Yes, 44.1 audio isn't useable, but using the on-board audio from any DSLR isn't even going to be considered in any professional arena, they are going to record audio separately on separate gear.
    My remarks regarding the relative size of the sensor are strictly comparing the APS-C sensor (7D) vs. the Full Frame sensor (5D Mk. II). If you calculate the area of the APS-C sensor, at 22.3mm x 14.9mm, you get an area of 332.27 square millimeters. Compare that to the area of the 36x24mm Full Frame sensor in the 5D Mk II, which has an area of 864 square millimeters.
    333mm vs. 864mm - the 7D's sensor has less than 40% of the area that the 5D has. More than double the area translates to much larger photosites, which means better detail in each pixel, vastly better response in low light, and depth of field so shallow that even traditional movie camera's can't touch it. That's all I was trying to say.
    The 5D is definitely getting a bit antiquated at this point, comparing the features in included to the new models that have been released in the 3 years since its release. But as the only full-frame option out there right now, it has a HUGE advantage in quality over any other options. If they ever release a Mark V version, with the rest of the features up to date, it will be stellar.
    Thanks for all the tech info explaining the comparisons of the various film/digital formats, that's good stuff. And of course, as with any gear, the best option is the one that works best for YOU, so if faster framerates are more important for the applications you use your camera for, then the 7D will be better. If image quality is the main concern, the 5D wins, and there are other criteria which people will value to varying degrees as well. And I didn't know they used a 7D on Black Swan.
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    Always good to have a tech debate Axel :)
  • Wow great responses. Thanks guys. Would the 7D capture action shots of people running and fighting better that the 5D? What would the same action sequence look like with the 5D?
    And one more thing. What is the difference between these two cameras with the audio. One of you said that you would have to record the audio separate? Thanks for the help you've been great
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    The 7D and 5D both suffer from rolling shutter, so depending on how the action is shot, they both will have the same result - but one maybe less than the other.
    Best way IMO is to keep the lens as wide as possible (if on a zoom) and keep the focus on infinity. Use some kind of stabilizing unit to help minimize the wobbling.
    You don't HAVE to record the audio separate, BUT I would never use the audio on either cams - You have to remember that those cams bodies limit a lot of what traditional video cams offer. The audio in the cam is what I use for reference and match up the separate audio (via Zoom H4N) for the final cut.
  • pscamm
    pscamm Posts: 136
    I have heard rumours over the WWW that in the not TOOooo distant future a new breed of DSLR's will roll out with another system employed as an alternative to the good old rolling shutter.

    The rolling shutter 'Problems' have always been a plague with CMOS sensor based kit (including camcorders) which is why i still stick to my trusty 3 CCD cam, but the DSLR revolution for film still niggles at me.
    One things for sure, when the rolling shutter issue is solved for good i will then be in the market for my very first DSLR.
    @-)
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out

    Wow great responses. Thanks guys. Would the 7D capture action shots of people running and fighting better that the 5D? What would the same action sequence look like with the 5D?
    And one more thing. What is the difference between these two cameras with the audio. One of you said that you would have to record the audio separate? Thanks for the help you've been great
    Well, the 5d shoots audio at 44.1 khz. When you try to sync this up with the video, the video will have to be at 30 FPS. Its basically the American way of shooting. However the 7D shoots 44.1KHZ and 48 KHZ. Meaning it will sync if you shoot at 30 or 25 fps. Another way of looking at it is like this.
    UK/Europe uses 25fps/PAL - meaning audio must be 48KHZ in order to sync properly.
    US/Some other countries uses 30FPS(On the whole)- Meaning audio must be at 44.1KHZ in order to sync properly.
    Hope this helps.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    edited December 2011
    The far majority of NTSC (US) cameras shoot audio at 48Khz. All MiniDV, for example, is 48KHz, and 30fps (well, 29.97). I was under the impression that framerate and sample rate were entirely different things, and could be changed around independently of each other. I mean, you can sync 44.1 KHZ audio with 48 KHz audio, so I'd think you could sync either one with various framerates of video as well. There must be something more involved in the issues you refer to. Can you explain further please?
    Back to recording audio separately, Neither camera has a good system for connecting headphones, which are pretty important for using external mics, and in reality, the audio capabilities that are there feel like a bit of an afterthought, like they added video to the camera and then right before release realized, "Oh, wait, we're gonna need audio, huh?" There's also an issue with auto-gain, where when the camera hears quiet, it boosts the gain thinking its not hearing what's going on, and as a result you get hiss rather than silence, because it has boosted the noise floor so high.
  • In theory will the new Canon HDSLR shoot without rolling shutter issues, since it's shooting 24 frame jpegs? That would be pretty awesome if that's the case, but I can't tell if they've directly addressed that.
  • That explained everything. Thanks for the great discussion.
  • Not saying by any means that I have the money right now but how about the Sony NEX-FS 100? Looks amazing. Would that be something worth saving up for or would it be out of date in like two or three years by the time I have the money saved up? One question. Would the canon lenses be able to interchange with this camera or does Sony make it's own?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    I believe the FXhome crew used an NEX FS-100 on their recent shoots, for the batman short and the upcoming cyberpunk short. So they can probably give some hands-on review. But the lenses will definitely not be interchangeable with Canon lenses. It uses Sony's E-mount system.
    It is sort of the first generation of proper video cameras taking advantage of the large sensors found in the HD DSLR's. I'm sure over the next few years, we will see more options comparable to this, and likely at slightly lower prices as well. You do need a load of additional accessories to actually turn it into a well-useable camera though, so there is some hidden costs involved with it. But the same is kinda true of the HD DSLR's.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506
    I looked up the Cannon 5 and 7d slr and the 7d is only 1300.00 in the US and the 5D cost a little more? What is that all about?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    If you are looking at the body only, with no lens, then yeah, the 7D is around $1300-1400 and the 5D Mk. II is around $2200-2300. What is that all about? I don't understand your question.
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    I found a link for a 5D WITH 16GB card, shoulder bag, and some software from Red Giant for $1999
    Quite the deal considering the 7D body only (no card, bag or software) went for $1700 a year ago. :D
  • Max
    Max Posts: 53
    I would recommend the Panasonic GH2. It produces much better video than the Canons, less aliasing, moire, and the image is a lot sharper. It's about the same in terms of rolling shutter.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador

    I believe the FXhome crew used an NEX FS-100 on their recent shoots, for the batman short and the upcoming cyberpunk short. So they can probably give some hands-on review. But the lenses will definitely not be interchangeable with Canon lenses. It uses Sony's E-mount system.
    There is an adaptor available to use Canon lenses:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/B4-2-3-CANON-FUJINON-SONY-NEX-7-NEX-5N-NEX-3-NEX-FS100-NEX-VG20-VG10-adapter-/200688704297?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb9fa9b29
  • TomMc
    TomMc Posts: 112 Just Starting Out
    We did indeed use the Sony NEX FS-100 on our shoots in the summer, and it is a great camera to work with - great low light performance and fantastically crisp images.
    In terms of lenses, we used a set of Leica R Series Primes and we had to get an adaptor mount to allow us to fit to the Sony E-Mount on the camera. You can find adaptors for most of the mount types, but just be aware it is an extra cost, and they can be expensive - it is worth going for quality here as they will be supporting potentially thousands of dollars worth of ground glass.
    When it comes to higher end cameras I would always consider the rental market - technology moves so fast that a $10K camera one year could be a $3K camera the next, and that's a big drop if you invested your own cash. If you weigh up the daily hire costs against the total value of the camera and then the number of days you may shoot with it, you can try and figure out if it is value for money.
    The other good then about renting is that you get to play with loads of different cameras, or at least choose different cameras for different jobs.
  • At this stage of filmmaking I would be broke if I rented a camera. But in the future if you know you're going to make some money on the project it would be a possibility. Who knows maybe i have a rich uncle somewhere who is about to die and I'm the closest person to him. You never know...
  • 3dmus
    3dmus Posts: 117
    edited December 2011

    I would recommend the Panasonic GH2. It produces much better video than the Canons, less aliasing, moire, and the image is a lot sharper. It's about the same in terms of rolling shutter.
    Not that I have one myself, but, yes, on a lot of video forums people rave about the GH2 and a lot of folks indeed favour it over the Canon offerings.
    In the mean time I'm using my Nikon D7000, but am aware that Canon & Panasonic offer more control (frame rate, audio) and as such are more suitable for video.
    EDIT: Ah, and before I forget, not a DSLR as such (more like CSC), but the new Sony NEX-5n and 7n are getting good reviews too. Worth looking into.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    I wish this was still FXhome so I'd have the energy and enthusiasm to defend and rationalize how and why, at this present time, looking at anything but Canon is foolish. And no one having yet mentioned the camera that bests the 7D, the Canon 60D, is even more redonkulous.
    But alas, this isn't FXhome anymore.
  • What are you saying? That nothing can beet the 7D and the 60D or that something can?
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited January 2012
    Andrew is saying two things. 1) Every DSLR other than a Canon is not worth buying. 2) The Canon 60D is better than the 7D.
    [size=1]These are not my opinions, just what I interpreted Andrew to mean, as I lack the knowledge and experience to have an opinion one way or the other[/size]
  • What does Andrew use? Anything that is around fifteen hundred dollars?