Canon 550D or 7D

Hello there,

I am very, very new to the whole film making area, and given that, thought I should get out there are shoot some stuff - you only learn by your mistakes right? In terms of future investments, I just wanted some opinions on the 550D v.s 7D - what you think of both of them and whether it's the right investment to make with either of them. Although they're relatively cheap, I'm only a poor student, so a camera like that would be a massive buy for me!

Thanks for any help!

Jennie
 
The 5D does 60 fps as well since the firmware update earlier this year.

I have a 7D and love it, it's a stellar camera. Looking at the stats and what the networks and studios choose when they DSLR (ie: "House" last season) though and even the comparisons, the 5D is a better camera.

As far as sensor size, the crop sensor is smaller/closer to standard 35mm movie film, but not 35mm still film. The bigger sensor has better low-light sensitivity and shallower DOF, and a 50mm lens is a 50 mm lens instead of closer to 80.

SensorFormats.jpg
 
The 5D does 60 fps as well since the firmware update earlier this year.

I have a 7D and love it, it's a stellar camera. Looking at the stats and what the networks and studios choose when they DSLR (ie: "House" last season) though and even the comparisons, the 5D is a better camera.

As far as sensor size, the crop sensor is smaller/closer to standard 35mm movie film, but not 35mm still film. The bigger sensor has better low-light sensitivity and shallower DOF, and a 50mm lens is a 50 mm lens instead of closer to 80.

SensorFormats.jpg

I didnt know the 5D did 60fps as well. Thats news to me. I had not been following any updates on it and i guess i missed it on the boards. When buying my camera my choice had been between the 7D and the 5D as well and i was looking at the trade offs. And my main trade off was the frame rate vs dynamic range considering the end target But the 5D would win now bc i do photography as well.

And yes, you're right about the rest. I know all that.

PS

Be careful when you start talking about the crop factor. A whole lot of confusion comes in between the fov and the actual perspective of a focal length :lol:
 
heh...

Crop doesn't seem to be as big an issue with people who aren't photographers. I know what a 50mm is SUPPOSED to look like, and I would hate a crop sensor where it looked like an 80MM, plus you'd have to buy an expensive 17mm to get anything approaching a wide angle lens.

Very true.

So, it seems like we're pretty much all in unison in saying that the T2i is basically the same camera as the 7D, as far as shooting video is concerned. There is one thing, though, that rockerrockstar mentioned, that we've kinda glossed over, and is definitely worth considering.

If you want an external HD monitor, the T2i ain't your camera. Does anybody know if the 60D will monitor in HD?
 
Lol. She was being sarcastic.

So was I ;)

As far as the strength of the housing, I don't see why that should be an issue for a filmmaker. Photographers are on the go, and they need a hefty, strong camera (or so I've been told). Filmmakers -- even when we're "run-and-gun" we're still moving deliberately enough to not break our freaking cameras.

Well I´ve seen camera assistants falling 3 meters down with the camera in their hands from a traverse (the Red was fine, he is too by now). These things can happen and especially low or no budget projects tend to have lots of first timers and less experienced people on the set who still need to learn when and where to move.

Point being: When you don´t intend to use the camera in such an environment, may it be because you simply don´t do narrative films, or work mostly in controllable environments with little time pressure or you are only going to work with people you really trust, the 550d is the way to go.
If that is not the case however, the extra money for the 7d might spare you the extra money for a second 550d .... or a third ...

Don´t get me wrong, it is an awesome camera but it is not the indestructible (attention: exaggeration) workhorse the 7d (or 5d or the 1d, which by the way is the real photographers 1st choice from Canon) is.
 
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A few years ago we had a JVC gy500 (or whatever the big shoulder mini-dv model is) roll down the stairs in an unzipped port a-brace bag. It survived, curteousy of the bag haha.

On Dark Knight, the steady cam for the massive IMAX camera snapped in two under the weight and the camera took a fall during the bank scene. It was ok... Then one of the four IMAX cameras they had bit the dust in the tunnel scene. It was on a crane mounted on an suv. The arm hit a pillar as they drove by, which rammed the camera into ane of the cars. Deestroyed the camera, which made everyone sad because that meant there were (what i heard) only 3 IMAX cameras left in the world after that haha. Fortunately, it was a cool shot and actually made it unto the cut.

Edit: IMAX was somehow "imam" in one sentence haha :lol:
 
Just for general audience reference...there is going to be no noticiable difference shooting on the T2i, the 7D or the 5D...they will all look equal in terms of quality in pro hands.

If you have a solid team, the difference is negligable.

Have you all seen Romero's newest picture shot on Red? It looks just as good as 35mm to me, and I look for it...certainly the audience isn't going to notice or care.

And when we are talking about movies being played on HDTVs and computer monitors...no one is going to notice a huge difference between a T2i and a Red (again, in qualified hands).

If you guys need proof that a DSLR can look as good as Red or 35...I can post some links...but I'm sure most of you have seen enough proof to agree.

These slight differences are for film folk and snobs...not the audience (again, I'm not talking about blowing DSLR up to the big screen, I'm talking about television and computer monitors).


ps. The difference in the sensors between the T2i and the 5D are minimal...they are pretty darn close.
 
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Very true.

So, it seems like we're pretty much all in unison in saying that the T2i is basically the same camera as the 7D, as far as shooting video is concerned. There is one thing, though, that rockerrockstar mentioned, that we've kinda glossed over, and is definitely worth considering.

If you want an external HD monitor, the T2i ain't your camera. Does anybody know if the 60D will monitor in HD?

Apparently it downsamples to 480 during record. Samples from hdmi out 60D, photos of a 22" monitor iirc, not mine:

Paused Live View:

http://www.lingodingo.com/60dOutput/LiveViewPaused.jpg

Record Live View:

http://www.lingodingo.com/60dOutput/LiveViewRecording.jpg

Boo.

I could also be wrong in believing what I see on the internet, but that's what a short search turns up. :huh:
 
Well, I mostly agree Michael, but two things.

1. I am shooting my films to be seen on a motion pictue screen in a theatre. Will most people see it somewhere else (on a TV or computer), probably, but if it doesn't look good blown up 35'' wide, then it doesn't loook good enough for me. I've shot my last film on the HVX200A, it's just not good enough anymore.

2. The full frame sensor on the 5D is a pretty significant upgrade (worth another $1K over 7D, eh, that's debateable), if for no other reason than the lack of crop.
 
If you're not happy with your movie unless it looks good on a big screen, I'd say you're focusing on the wrong things.

You may premiere your film on a big screen, or have limited theatrical release...but most people will be watching it at home. Once your films have a large enough budget to get a good theatrical release, you won't be shootin on DSLR probably, and the issue will be moot.

And let's be clear, blowing a DSLR up to a big screen isn't going to look like dog shit, it just won't look as crisp as 4K+ or 35mm...but it looks fine. I've seen a bunch of films (fesivals, 48hr festivals, etc) shot on DSLR blown up, and they look totally fine...
 
Just for general audience reference...there is going to be no noticiable difference shooting on the T2i, the 7D or the 5D...they will all look equal in terms of quality in pro hands.

If you have a solid team, the difference is negligable.

Have you all seen Romero's newest picture shot on Red? It looks just as good as 35mm to me, and I look for it...certainly the audience isn't going to notice or care.

And when we are talking about movies being played on HDTVs and computer monitors...no one is going to notice a huge difference between a T2i and a Red (again, in qualified hands).

If you guys need proof that a DSLR can look as good as Red or 35...I can post some links...but I'm sure most of you have seen enough proof to agree.

These slight differences are for film folk and snobs...not the audience (again, I'm not talking about blowing DSLR up to the big screen, I'm talking about television and computer monitors).


ps. The difference in the sensors between the T2i and the 5D are minimal...they are pretty darn close.

If by "in the right hands" you mean people who are willing and capable to somehow work around the limitations/flaws of dslrs (aliasing, moire, jello issues just to name a few) you are correct.

But from a workflow standpoint h.264 footage is a nightmare in post compared to redcode or even xdcam which are way more pushable for cc and keying work, let alone the value of timecode for editing and vfx. Not saying h.264 can´t be pushed to look awesome and well worked with if processed correctly but there are lots of hoops to jump through and after you shot something you simply have considerably less options.

It´s not picture quality alone what makes cinematic pro-gear so expensive, workflow is also a huge factor.
 
Well, I'm not making TV shows, I'm making motion pictures, meant to be seen in a theatre, on a big screen.

HD from a DSLR projected as HD (not down rendered to SD), does look fine.

It's one aspect like anything else. I don't want the costumes to look crappy, I don't want the acting to be bad, I don't want the sound to be noisey, and I don't want the picture to look marginal either. With ALL those things you do the best you can within your budget, but you never "settle" for "eh, this is good enough" if there is ANY way you can make it better.
 
If by "in the right hands" you mean people who are willing and capable to somehow work around the limitations/flaws of dslrs (aliasing, moire, jello issues just to name a few) you are correct.

But from a workflow standpoint h.264 footage is a nightmare in post compared to redcode or even xdcam which are way more pushable for cc and keying work, let alone the value of timecode for editing and vfx. Not saying h.264 can´t be pushed to look awesome and well worked with if processed correctly but there are lots of hoops to jump through and after you shot something you simply have considerably less options.

It´s not picture quality alone what makes cinematic pro-gear so expensive, workflow is also a huge factor.

When I say 'in the right hands', I mean a lighting designer that knows what they are doing, a DP and/or cam op that knows how to compose and shoot. A post guy or gal that can grade and/or correct...a solid editor. A well rounded team of talent or at least a few wizzes.

As far as workflow...let's remember the difference in price between a 7D and a Red...I'd say it's worth it, especially when you're a broke filmmaker just trying to make it.
 
Well, I'm not making TV shows, I'm making motion pictures, meant to be seen in a theatre, on a big screen.

HD from a DSLR projected as HD (not down rendered to SD), does look fine.

It's one aspect like anything else. I don't want the costumes to look crappy, I don't want the acting to be bad, I don't want the sound to be noisey, and I don't want the picture to look marginal either. With ALL those things you do the best you can within your budget, but you never "settle" for "eh, this is good enough" if there is ANY way you can make it better.


I didn't say TV shows...that's a bit extreme. I can watch Blade Runner on my 42" 1080p TV and enjoy it JUST as much as in the theater...it looks just as good. Films only remain in the theater for a very very limited amount of time. Cinematic history isn't in the theater...it's on your TV.

And I think it's interesting that so many filmmakers have your attitude about visual 'resolution' and then you watch their film...and the sound sucks. If you're going to do it right, you have to do ALL of it right, you know? I don't care if you shot on Red if you don't properly light, or have quality sound design, or bad acting...it all has to work.

Cheers.
 
That's exactly what I just said.

I want every aspect to be as good as it can possibly be. I don't want to look at a 35mm quality perfectly lit shot, and hear an HVAC unit or echo filled dialogue, but I also don't want to watch a wonderfully acted, beautifully sound recorded scene where it's full of digital noise, and all the detail in the shadows is lost. The goal is for every aspect from the acting to the makeup, to the sound, to the image to be absolutely without flaw. That's not possible, especially on a limited budget, but it's what you strive for.
Maybe seeing Blade Runner on a 50" screen in your house is the same experience for you as seeing it from the 6th row on a 35' screen, with a group of other people, but it isn't for me, so to each his own.
 
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