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July 1st 2009 9:44 pm

So how do you like it?

It's been amazing so far, and I'm eager for some new firmware for 24p (I hope and wait!)

How are your impressions?

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17 replies

I absolutely love mine. I was a huge fan of the previous 5D and the Mark II is a wonderful upgrade. I do recommend other Mark II owners stick to L glass for this camera. The improved IQ really requires it. I was glad to discover that my cheap 133x CF cards ARE fast enough for full 1080p video as well as full quality RAW images. That was one part of my work flow I was sure I was going to have to upgrade...

I'm not nearly as skilled when it comes to handling video (shooting and editing), but so far the few clips I've put together in iMovie 09 are jaw dropping too, even rendered down to 720p - that was some nice "icing on the cake". Something magical happens when you are able to capture a nice DOF and bokeh on video.
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How long can you shoot video with this...Standard & HD
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I really like it. They fixed some of the annoyances of the mark I: the menus, the screen, ISO settings in the viewfinder... Video is definitely a killer feature, but it takes some time to get used to it. The live view is useful in some tight shooting positions.
Of course if you splurged on this, you should really think getting one or two prime "L" lenses. The 17-40mm f/4L and 75-200mm f/2.8L are two great "entry level" lenses. The 85mm f/1.2L is an amazing piece of glass, but if the price tag scares you, start with a 85mm f/1.8 USM: it's the best non-prime Canon lens you can buy in my opinion.
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Canon doesn't make a 75-200 f2.8L (at least not anymore)

17-40 f4L and 70(?)-200 f2.8L are good lenses, but they are not prime lenses. They're zoom lenses. Prime is another way to say fixed focal length; the opposite of a zoom-lens.

The 85 f/1.8 is not the "best non-prime Canon lens," because it is a prime lens. Perhaps you might be mistaking prime and L. L is Canon's designation for their high quality, "professional" grade lenses.
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Indeed, Canon makes a 70-200mm, not 75-200mm: my bad.
I've often heard "L" lenses referred to as "prime" lenses, whether they are zoom or fixed focal. It feels kinda weird to hear the $80 50mm f/1.8 referred to as a "prime" lens :) But why not.
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The definition of a prime lens is a fixed focal length (non zoom) lens. It has nothing to do with the quality. (though prime lenses generally have good image quality) So "L" lenses are not always prime lenses.
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I love this camera.

Photogs say the camera isn't nearly important. I don't think they've shot with the 5D2.

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I love it. I moved up from the 10D and it's a world of difference. It just works. I point it and art comes out. The contrast range from lights to darks is astounding, it's just rich with color and depth like nothing I've ever seen. And I love being back in full frame (it's been since my Minolta Maxxum in 2000). I used to shoot about a half a stop under to preserve the darks and now I don't bother. I'm saving a ton of time in post processing with how good things look out of the camera.

And the low-light! I handhold shots at ISO 3200 I would have left my camera in my bag for earlier. It's not the best 3200, but I find it useful and has less grain than the old tungsten slide film I used to use. Add Lightroom or Aperture to the mix to gain post processing control and you'll push this camera more than any one you have used in the past.

The new firmware fixes most of my video concerns. Sound is still an issue, but should I be shooting a run and gun doc instead of my daughter playing with her feet, I'll get a preamp with XLRs. Battery life is fantastic, I get about 6-700 shots on one charge. Live view is brilliant and has been a help in several situations already.

If I could change anything, I wish the framerate was a little faster (8+fps would be nice) and that the extra batteries weren't eighty bucks, but I would buy it again with no hesitation.

Word on the street is that there is another firmware upgrade on the way with 24p/25p as well. If this is a big concern however, I would hold off.
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I am absolutely thrilled to bits with mine. I've shot loads of video and am currently planning a documentary film with it as my main camera. it performs amazingly in low light and is like a natural extension of myself to operate.
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Have loved it. I had a 20d before this and an EOS650 before that, so had a bit of Canon kit to reuse. My main excuse wad getting the full frame sensor so my wide angles actually did what they were designed for. But I've found the camera also forces you to think a lot more to get good results....not a bad thing but potentially frustrating for some

Have not used the video features much, although I understand that this camera is a real gamechanger for videographers. Interested parties might want to check out the Magic Lantern firmware which does some interesting improvements (but not 24p)

now I just need to trade the children for some more L lenses...
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Be careful with Magic Lantern though - not Canon authorized. My camera is part of my livelihood, so I don't want to risk it, especially since I just don't use the video feature that much. YET. Heehee! I LOVE mine. Had a lot of Canon glass already, but that's no the only reason I got it. Full-frame, HD video, Super-fast shutter speed, NO noise. . .love it. Get it. Now.
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Haha, I had a 20D as well before you and wanted to jump to Full frame for similar reasons. Every time I looked at the 40/50D I said to myself "Why should I spent $1000 to get a camera so similar to my own?" and the price point for the 5D2 was unbeatable.

You're also right about thinking about your shots, in particular with poorer lenses. I rarely ever stopped down my lenses on the 20D because of the large pixels and center lens sharpness, but I almost always stop down at least 1 stop now, often 2, unless I'm looking for clean bokeh.

At times though, I like the look of cheap lenses shot wide open on this camera, particularly the 50/1.8, as it reminds me of shooting film on old cameras, with lots of corner darkness and internal reflections. If you make it B&W, or color match it to some famous films like Velvia, it can be a lot of fun.
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I hope Canon comes up with an easy way to map out bad pixels in Video. Bad/Bright Pixels can be easly mapped out for photos, but mapping pixels out in video is much more of a chore. I can't find any way to do it. Does anyone here have any suggestions?
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Dougal, have you tried to do it with the sensor clean method? When you do a manual sensor clean - apparently it rechecks for dead pixels.

# Remove lens, and place body cap on camera.
# Select "Clean manually".
# Leave it in this mode for 30-60 seconds.
# Shut the camera off directly without doing anything else.

Let me know if it works - It did for me.

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This works well for photos, and should probably be better documented by Canon as it would save them alot of in-warranty returns for bad pixels, but it appears that the mapping isn't applied to videos. Mabye the processing is too intensive for the mapping to be applied to videos?

Another thing to consider is that my brights usually show up after ~3-5 Minutes of shooting at higher ISOs. If you leave the camera sitting in live view for 5 minutes the sensor will heat up, and you can see them in videos. I haven't yet talked to anyone who has a "pristine" sensor for video.

The best way to navigate around it at the current time seems to be to avoid shooting for long periods of time and letting the camera cool off frequently.

I was looking for software that could reduce or remove these bad pixels since it may be impossible to do in camera given the limited processing power, but I wasn't able to dig anything up.

(Edit: I should probably point at that in virtually every other aspect the camera is fantastic and is currently unmatched by anything else on the market for versatility and price. If you're considering this camera, buy it.)
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Thanks for the tip. I just noticed a hot pixel in mine, I'll try this.
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That's a shame, it worked for my 1 dead pixel - which I only noticed in Video mode.

How many pixels are we talking about? I am sure that Canon would issue a replacement if it is affecting Video. I know they were very helpful with my first 5D Mk II - although that decided to die completely half way through a commissioned shoot.

The trouble was it took them a month to finally issue a direct replacement instead of constantly replace parts of the camera because the Technicians were so new to the camera and they couldn't pinpoint the cause of the issue.

A bit of a tangent, sorry!
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