When the Nikon D90 was first announced, I was particularly interested in its video capabilities. Shortly thereafter, I bought one so that I could become familiar with a feature that will soon become a part of other new DSLRs as well.
The D90 is an excellent still photography camera. I am more than satisfied with the top notch images that I’ve taken with it under a wide variety of lighting conditions. I can’t say the same about its video capabilities, but not because it isn’t a capable video camera. Instead, it’s due to my lack of familiarity with shooting video. Over the past four months, I’ve taken enough “sample videos” to convince myself that the quality of the video from the D90 is quite good. However, I am still quite the novice when it comes to shooting real videos (not samples). There’s no disputing that the quality of video is quite good, but discovering the new camera’s video features has been a deliberate learning experience for me.
With such mixed results from the the D90’s video, why would I want to add the new Canon 5D Mk II to my equipment collection? First is my the stash of full-frame Canon lenses - I’ve been using the older 5D for a few years and have accumlated more than a few lenses. Next is the low-light capabilities of the new 5D Mk II. Finally is the chance to compare the 1080p video resolution with Nikon’s 768p. When my friendly salesman from Norman Camera called just before Christmas to say that he had a 5D Mk II in stock, I felt compelled to buy one so ran over to the local branch to pick it up.
During this busy time of the year, I didn’t have a lot of free time to play around with the new camera. The few shots that I did take were mainly to check out the camera’s high ISO settings to determine how it performed in low light. Here is a night time shot that I took at ISO 3200. Based on two dozen or so test shots, I am satisfied with the resulting images - with excellent exposure, high sharpness, and acceptable noise level. You can view a full-size enlargment by clicking on the image to the left.
For my first video attempt, I filmed one of my granddaughter’s Chistmas present. It won’t win any awards, but it does demonstrate the excellent sharpness and focus as well as good sound.
I just returned from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While walking the aisles to see the new technology that will be making its way to the marketplace in the next few months, I stopped at the Microsoft booth to view a presentations of the new Windows 7.
What was interesting to me was that a photographer was filming the demonstration with a Canon 5D Mk II setup. Reporter Marius Arnesen mounted a 5D Mk II on a monopod with a Rode VideoMic on the flash shoe. Using a 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, he recorded Michelle Haven’s presentation of Windows 7. His video is comparable to others that I’ve seen recorded with $8,000 to $10,000 setups and weighing significantly more than this one. You can see the results of his recording session at Norwegian Broadcasting. Thanks to Marius for permission to use his video.
I plan to take several more sample videos in the near future. In the mean time, I’ll continue to use the new 5D Mk II for lots of stills.