Canon DSLR Questions

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the January, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Michael writes:

I was looking at getting an HD Pro/Prosumer video camera. I quickly figured out that interchangeable lenses on a 1920x1080p capable camera is about a jillion dollars. I was wondering what your experience was in using the Canon 5D Mark II as a main video camera. The kind of work that I was looking at doing is things like wedding videography, which would require long (about an hour) shots.


I was wondering, not only about the practicality of the camera for this type of work, but also if there were options for storage of video that long. CF cards are not ideal for shots that long, so is there a rig that will off-load the video to some sort of Solid-State drive or something like that? Curious about your thoughts.

Larry replies: Michael, this is a great question.

Keep in mind that a DSLR camera was designed for capturing still image, not long video recording. It isn’t designed to emulate what a traditional video camera can do, in terms of output gear or continuous recording.

Here’s an article I wrote that goes into more detail.

Also, take a look at the DSLR blog in Passing Thoughts, earlier in this issue.

UPDATE — MARCH 23, 2009

Adam Connell writes from Australia:

Great newsletter. One comment of the Canon 5/7d for video. I have not tested other SLRs for this: when the canon SLR cams take a still shot, they lift the mirror, and capture all pixels at the same time. In the case of video, the mirror is raised continuously, but for each frame, or 1/24th or 1/25th or 1/30th a second pixels are captures in scanning method of line 1,2,3,4….etc. Obviously your shutter speed for video is taken into account but the shutter in these for video is 100% electronic, and just affects the time the sensor is on. So, for fast moving objects you might have issues. Imagine a strait stick, held vertically moving very fast from one side of the frame to the next. The resulting image will look like the stick is horizontal. Similar effect as a ‘rolling’ or electronic simulated shutter. YouTube “hv20 jello effect” you’ll se what I mean. Canon and Sony use this system on all slrs, and consumer video with CMOS/exmor sensors. One of the reasons why I still love my xha1s with a real shutter and 3ccds.

Larry replies: Thanks, Adam, for this additional information.

Bryce Bennet writes:

I thought you would be interested in this PDF file I created last week.


This schematic shows a few simple equipment configurations for using an external recorder (like the Marantz PMD661) with a HD-DSLR (like the Canon 5D Mark II). It’s all based on my particular equipment, but should be fairly straightforward to adapt to other brands/models.


Yes, the PDM661 is a great recorder – form factor and price point! The rebuilt preamps (from really increase its low signal level sensitivity. For my location recording I use it with a Rode NTG-3 (short shotgun) and Blimp windshield, an AKG C535EB (cardioid), and a lav for my Sony wireless system.

Larry replies: Thanks, Bryce, for the note and the PDF.

Matt Gottshalk writes:

The Canon 5d Mark II records for 12 minutes and then stops because of the 4 gig file system limit on the CF cards.


[While you do need to convert the video to ProRes] with the latest plugin from Canon, [which released yesterday] you can do this within FCPro by usinfg the Log and Transfer window, just like other tapeless workflows.


[However, lens “zoom-in”] is only true for the Canon 7D, which has a cropped sensor. The Canon 5d Mark II is a full frame camera, so an 85mm lens is 85mm.

Larry replies: Matt, thanks for adding this!

UPDATE — MARCH 24, 2009

Tim Barksdale adds:

As [Matt mentioned,] the 5D mII is a full frame sensor. Lens are matched with the chip at 1:1.


Sensor overheating is not a big issue either. Although, I hesitate to “correct” you on this point, as I am an outdoor cameraman.

Larry replies: Thanks, Tim. I’m always happy to correct places where I’m wrong.


Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.