424-385-8839 cris.b@me.com

Here’s a list of things this great camera can and can’t do. This list exists to provide information when deciding if this camera is the right tool for your particular project.

Can’t do:

  • HD Output whilst filming: the 5D outputs 480i , or standard definition whilst recording. It WILL playback HD through it’s HDMI port, but NOT when recording, only playback
  • It can record for 12minutes in HD, then recording will stop. (this restriction is due to a TAX reason; it is classed as a ‘still’ camera and not a ‘video’ camera, which have higher import taxes applied. However, this really only becomes an issue when filming documentaries, as the interviewee might only be warming up by then. Use a countdown timer (like the iPhone has built in)
  • What you see in the image is basically it: As the footage is compressed to fit onto the cards, it has to leave out subtle details in the highlights and the shadows, therefore it is more important to nail the exposure. (there are settings to help give you a broader range
  • The sensor is HUGE, but we get an HD image from ‘line skipping’. This can result in terrible aliasing, especially on wide shots, with lots of horizontal lines.. like the interior of a dashboard of a car DON’T DO IT !!
  • Shots of faces, portraits etc with a medium to shallow focus look great, but wide angle panning shots will start to suffer; this will be shows as a combination of aliasing and increased noise due to the codec / compression issues which really hurts the overall image quality.

Can do !  very well !!

  • Amazing image, and amazing shallow focus !!! : this is what really brought the camera to everyones attention. One of the problems with existing video cameras is the fact that the smaller the sensor, the closer you get to a pinhole, and the more EVERYTHING in the shot is in focus. This impairs the ability to let the director show the eye what to focus on.  This camera has a HUGE sensor, and so the images have a beautiful film like feeling to them
  • Amazing low light performance: It simply is amazing how this camera performs in low light, and again was one of the main reasons people starting using this camera.
  • small, almost unnoticeable footprint: I have seen situations where people get lavalier mic’s attached to them, go into a public place, and start filming.. an nobody is aware of it. Now this is not the norm for a lot of commercial filmmaking, but in terms of being able to put a camera where it was once impossible is very handy !
  • Hight contrast areas: when you look through the rear monitor, the image always looks far more contrasty than it actually is. I’m usually gobsmacked on how much detail is in the shadow areas. Using an external monitor can help you see this whilst filming.

Other issues

  • This camera has it’s roots in being a very good ‘still’ camera, and so the video component of this camera has issues; One of the most noticable issues is the ‘rolling shutter’ or ‘jello’ effect that one can see when panning quickly. It tends to make anything with vertical lines look like they are leaning to one side and another. However, there are plugins available for compositing programs that can dramatically reduce, if not completely remove this artifact.
  • It had got audio outputs, but this is only usable when you have an external monitor
  • Whilst the tiny onboard microphone is surprisingly usable, always feed in external audio, and if possible try to use a separate mixer and recorder.
  • HDMI cables are quite thick, the 5D has a MINI HDMI connector that is small and fragile, and easy to snap. Use the upcoming cage from ‘Viewfactor’ as I’ve seen instances of broken camera connectors. Usually what breaks is the converter plug (that goes from standard size HDMI to mini HDMI) it’s best to have some of those on hand.