In the Field: 5D Mark 2

Recently, my production company took on a small production for a local school district and when it was all said and done, the DP and I opted to use the Canon 5D Mark 2 for image capture.  The DP brought along his set of Mamiya primes (with adaptor) as well as three of his own Canon zooms.

In addition, we used sync sound with a DVX100B for audio capture, running two channels of audio (a shotgun mic on a boom, as well as a Sennheiser wireless lav).  We slated each take to allow for proper sync and kept the 5D’s audio running to help.  The shot list consisted of primarily talking heads, with minimal lighting (usually just a 1K w/ softbox for Key and a 650 as an edge light – fill was handled with a bounce card or through the diffused natural light that was present), as well as b-roll in a variety of natural settings, such as classrooms, hallways and other academic settings.

I was immediately taken with the images… being a RED One house, we had been exposed to breathtaking imagery thus far, but from a sub-$5,000 camera, it was just beautiful.  Of course, I’ve been around the 5D and have been aware of the numerous pieces shot with it since before it came out, but for us, it was a new experience.

Aside from the images, the versatility was a big plus as well.  Shooting with a wide variety of lenses, as well as a small camera body – even with baseplate, rails and follow-focus – is a dream.  No more back-breaking 40 pound cine rigs… just a quick moving, lightweight camera package.  It was perfect for the job in that regard.

Price-point is always nice, however, by the time you tabulate the Zacuto support, the Manfrotto sticks and head, the Mamiya lenses and any monitoring solutions, plus the Canon stuff as well, you’re back up at close to $10,000 again.

As total solutions go, it did lack in some instances… audio, of course, remains a huge detractor for this camera.  I know the issue has been beaten to death on the forums, so I won’t go into details, but that continues to be a hindrance in the field.  And the solutions, such as Beachtek’s 5D adaptor or going with sync sound can limit a small crew and/or provide less than desirable results.

All in all, though it was an interesting experience and I look forward to using the same rig on additional shoots in the future.


~ by Carlos Tovar on December 4, 2009.

3 Responses to “In the Field: 5D Mark 2”

  1. This is a good camera for the price. It is simple to use and takes clear, crisp pictures. Also, the battery life is good. And the price makes it affordable to take good pictures.

  2. Yeah, I thought it went pretty well overall. We’re posting the project this week and thus far, as long as the editor has some knowledge of the potential hiccups from the format and compression, then it goes pretty smoothly.

  3. I love my 5D Mark II it is a great camera. My only beef with the camera is the white balance indoors.

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