Making the Movie

2Sep/095

Is Canon’s 7D a Scarlet-Killer?

Soon, for one-tenth the price of a RED One, $1700, you can get a 24p DSLR camera -- a traditional digital photo camera that also shoots HD video -- from Canon. RED's announced competitor to the DSLR encroachment is the Scarlet, expected to retail around $3k.

Well, guess what, Canon's 7D is almost here. Where is the Scarlet?

I find the 7D very tempting, although Stu's reality check has given me pause:

What’s missing from the 7D?

* Autofocus.
* Focus-assist while recording, in the form of an edge-detection display overlay.
* Gentle compression (although it seems the 7D’s video bitrate might be a little higher than the 5D’s).
* Funky frame rates. Even Jackie Chan shoots his fight scenes at 22 fps. After a big lunch, he might call for 21 or even 20fps.
* Decoupling shooting frame rate from playback. I’ll probably shoot a ton of stuff at 60p for slow-mo, adding more fun to the workflow puzzle posed by these cameras that crash the video party without a SMPTE invite.
* Video ergonomics. The 7D lacks a flip-out LCD. They call it that because if the 7D had included one, I would have seriously flipped out. I’d like to lose the double chin.
* Quality. The 7D still skips lines to make its HD images, resulting in aliasing and color artifacts. And it still has rolling shutter issues.
* Recordable HD HDMI output.
* Full-frame.

So it's no god-camera. But lack of 24p and price were the two main things putting me off Canon's 5DMkII and Panasonic's DMC-GH1. The 7D specs go a long way to addressing that. I could make some very nice images with that body and lenses I already use on my EOS Digital Rebel. Unfortunately, I'll be saving that $1700 to shell out for sound equipment rental on my no-budget #2wkfilm -- so no 7D for me, at the moment. But when it comes to the next film, RED better have an answer?

MORE:
Amazon Listing for Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-inch LCD (Body Only)
HD Camera's Comparison - Updated with DLSR Options!



About J. Ott

John Ott is a writer, filmmaker and technology geek. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I'm not buying a hybrid DSLR (or a Micro 4/3) that doesn't have stereo sound. Also, I think AVCHD is better since I don't need to re-encode it in order to play in a hi-def device (bluray player).

  2. I don't know what's the big deal about not having a stereo. Just buy a Zoom H4 to record your sound. At just $300 it's small change for the addition.

  3. Agreed. If your working on a professional film, your soundie should have a Recorder with them so no stereo sound isnt an issue.
    Just record it seperatly and sync it later.

  4. I think that the 7d, is a gift from god to poor filmmakers.

  5. 7D also (coincidence?) has sensor dimensions almost identical to 35mm Academy motion picture gate. Focal lengths equal, depth of field equal, making this camera an ideal digital Eyemo to match Genesis/D21/RED One origination projects. That is no small consideration.

    Rolling shutter is unavoidable with this type of image capture. It’s the same issue that RED will never be able to escape. It’s how these sensors work, and there is no solution. This is RED and all DSLR’s achilles’ heel.

    The 5D/II is great-looking, but woefully unforgiving for focus pullers if you’re shooting with a traditional movie on-set workflow. Incompatibility in lensing and depth of field notwithstanding, I’d pick 7D for the sake of focus pullers alone. I can’t think of the last time we had the luxury of going again for focus over and over without someone losing their job.

    Just my 2¢


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