Michaels Impressions of the 7D in Video Mode

7d pic

Hi all

I had the opportunity to road test the new Canon 7D DSLR courtesy of
Ben from Team Digital in Perth and I would like to share some of my
thoughts on the camera in video mode.

Firstly can I say that Christian arrived at work on Monday last week
and said “Ben has given us the 7D to have a play with”…… “I’m
taking it back on Wednesday” Great. I’ve got two days to come up with
a review which will be worth reading. The pressure was on and the
conditions here at home were pretty ordinary. No clouds and windy. But
in essence I wasn’t there to dazzle anyone with amazing footage, my
main objective was to have a play and see if I liked it. I certainly
didn’t have a good crack with the camera so I apologise for the lack
of in depth analysis.

My first impressions were that it looked like a 5D but seemed a little
more solid. The menu function and most of the buttons seemed similar
with the exception of the on off button, live view button and the
record button. I found myself constantly pressing the quick control
button on the back of the camera to start recording only to realise I
hadn’t started anything and missed the shot. I’m a bit slow on the
uptake but I eventually got it together.

I was excited to try out the 50fps option and shot a number of scenes
with this option and couldn’t wait to get back to the office to
download the footage and watch beautiful smooth slow motion footage.
If you bought this camera primarily for this option you would probably
be pretty annoyed by this time. The 50fps option was complete rubbish.
Ok thats a bit harsh. The raw footage plays in fast mo when it is
played back in quicktime. You have to convert the footage using Cinema
Tools to 30fps, 25fps, 24fps to get it playing how you would expect it
to play. The footage is recorded in the lower quality 1280 x 720 which
looks average along side the full HD footage. I cant see the point of
this option when you should always been wanting to shoot in the
highest resolution possible depending I guess where your footage will
be displayed. The slow mo it produces is cool but at the expense of
quality. I prefer to slow down my high res footage by a small amount
using Optical Flow retiming in Compressor.

After deciding the 50fps option was not exactly a brilliant option I
decide to shoot using the 25fps and 24fps mode. I must say I had a bit
more luck in these mode and without the time to shoot a 5D along side
the 7D, the footage looked remarkably like the 5D’s and I could not
really identify any differences in the absence of a proper set up
test. I was also interested to compare the footage between the 24fps
and 25fps mode. I was under the impression that the 24fps frame rate
would give a more filmic look to the footage as it’s the frame rate of
film. I imagined the footage would be a lot softer in 24fps but the
opposite occurred which blew me away. Once again my footage didn’t
give me a great chance to make a definitive observation on this but
this is how it appeared. The depth of field seemed greater on the 7D
which would make sense due to the APS-C sensor being a lot smaller
than the full frame sensor of the 5D.

Most of the footage I shoot is generally landscapes and I generally
require the widest lens I can find. With the 7D and it’s 1.6x crop
sensor you find that you cant get a very wide field of view which is
the biggest issue for me with what I do. This however is a great
option for people such as wildlife photographers who can always do
with a little extra zoom with their footage. Too much Zoom can also
be a real problem for these cameras as they are so light and are
effected by the wind and handshake quite dramatically.

In summary the 7D was not ground breaking for me as I already have a
5D. If I didn’t have a 5D I would consider the 7D as it is only
marginally lower in quality to the 5D with the added bonus of the
50fps Slow Mo option and lets face it, most of the work produced these
days is viewed on a computer so who really needs large format quality.
The frame rates of 24p and 25p give you a bit more flexibility as you
don’t have to convert the footage to PAL broadcast rate of 25fps like
you have to from the 5D’s 30fps. An upgrade for the 5D in the future
will fix this problem also so the 5D will have 24fps and 25fps.

I think the only determining factor between the two cameras is price.
If you don’t want to or cant afford to spend the coin on a 5D then get
a 7D. If moneys not the issue get a 5D as I don’t believe the 50fps,
24fps and 25fps is a deal breaker and I’m sure with future 5d upgrades
these options will become available. The cameras are so similar and
both worth the investment and if I had my choice I’d get the NEW
1DMK4!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha…… Nah not really I’m happy with my 5D.

Mike Fletcher


~ by christianfletcher on November 10, 2009.

10 Responses to “Michaels Impressions of the 7D in Video Mode”

  1. The more I hear about this camera the more I want it. The funny thing is, its the same for every other camera. Eventually I will upgrade from the 50D, to either the 7D or the 5D, but note sure which one yet. I would love the 1D but one can only dream. Thanks for the review Mike, its good to see what you think about the camera.

  2. Go the MK 4 son! Join the dark side!

  3. Nice work Mike , A+.

    I’m not a video fella ( yet ) but I’d use my 5d if I was.

    This camera would make a nice second body for sport work given the 8 fps and the crop factor.

    Did Christian give it a run ?

  4. Nice read Mike ,
    Cant keep up with all these new camera models coming out seem to be a new model released every few month now .
    But Im happy with my 5DMKII so not looking at upgrading any time soon

  5. Nice post Mike, sometimes the quick reviews are the best as you get right down to the nuts and bolts of what you are looking for in a similar camera or to upgrade. The issues you made are what people would be looking for in a 7D compared to a 5D and with the 5D firmware upgrade it seams only price between the two is a deciding point for those with a budget.

    The 5D certainly seams like a camera that’s going to be hard to beat especially at its price point of around $4 grand. Will be interesting to see what the 5D Mk III will have under the hood.

  6. […] Canon 7D. Here is a summary of that review , to check out the full review go the link listed below. Christian Fletcher Blog Link In summary the Canon 7D was not ground breaking for me as I already have a Canon 5DMk2. If I […]

  7. I reckon a 5D2 and a 7D is almost a perfect combination – both have their good and bad points. I’m taking a 7D down to Macquarie Island in a couple of weeks, along with a 400/4, 300.2.8 and my 5D2. I acquired a Rode VideoMic and so it will be interesting to see how they all perform. I’d like to take a 1D4 but I don’t think there will be one available in time. I’ll certainly be looking at one soon.

  8. Hey Nick, I believe that trip to the Antarctic can be pretty rough, go to u-tube and type in rogue waves, that will give you some idea of what you are in for. Looks like it might be just me at Bunker Bay.


  9. Well thanks for that, not sure I want to go now. Luckily I’m not going all the way south, just to the sub-antarctic, but the ship beds have straps on them so they are evidently prepared for the worst!

  10. […] here, here, here, and here […]

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