Putting my money where my mouth is

Putting my money where my mouth is

Meet the new addition to the Not Afraid! family, the Canon 7D DSLR.  I first mentioned these hybrid HD video/still camera’s in my post Don’t Wait, where I espoused the virtue of shooting with what you’ve got and can afford, and not waiting for the next amazing camera or firmware that may or may not ever see the light of day. (Yes I’m hinting about Scarlet.)  As the old saying goes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade when the timing is right.

Up until now, for our smaller or personal projects Not Afraid! has been relying on the venerable Canon XL2 which has never let us down.  It’s an amazing standard definition camera, that creates excellent results and continues to hold it’s value pretty well, which is what actually helped make the decision to switch to the 7D ironically.  You see for what I sold my XL2 for, I was able to step up to a High-Definition 7D with money left over to buy Zoom H4n or a Tascam DR100 (Jury’s still out on that purchase), and no longer needed to fiddle with my clunky old LetusXL depth of field adapter (which I also sold), to get that film look.

I also had the luxury of knowing I didn’t have a serious project booked to shoot until after I finish work on Universal’s new King Kong 360 3D attraction, giving me plenty of time to learn, play, and test the camera before shooting the next Not Afraid! short film,  The Specimen.  (More details on that soon.)

Many of you who have been following the video DSLR movement may be asking, “Why buy the 7D, when the new Rebel T2i has come out for half the price, with all the video features of the 7D?”  Others may also be thinking, “Why not the 5D Mark II, getting the benefit of a full frame sensor now that the new firmware has been released adding 24P?”

The reasoning came down to the fact that the 7D hits the sweet spot for me in price, ergonomics, and functionality.  While the 5D has the full frame sensor and the new 24P features, it’s missing 60P for slow motion, that dedicated video button, and costs nearly a $1000 more.  In addition I already own a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens APS-c only lens, which I can’t use with the 5D.  So in addition to the up front cost of the camera, I’d also have to invest in new lenses.   While the Rebel T2i is about $900 less than the 7D, and has an APS-c sensor compatible with my existing lenses,  it’s made of plastic, lacks the quick control wheel and other ergonomics of the 7D, making you have to dive through menus to get to all the controls. That time lost can be a deal-breaker on a set. There’s also early reports show the T2i overheating more quickly than the 7D, not to mention that it’s still not available in a body only configuration yet.  Finally, I got a screaming deal on the 7D by buying it refurbished from Adorama camera halving the cost differential with the T2i. A no brainer.

I’ve had the 7D for about a week now. The imagery from the camera looks great, and I’m enjoying the flexibility of lens choices and the sensitivity to light that I couldn’t get with the light sucking 35mm Depth of Field adapter. I plan on continuing to blog about my experiences getting to know the cameras tricks, quirks, and issues, as well as examining the required accessories like the audio recorders I mention above.  I shot some tests over the weekend trying out different methodologies for getting a flat or Raw look out the camera that gives me the most latitude in post for color correction.  I’ll be posting those theories and results in a subsequent post in the next few days, but so far so good.

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