Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


z-finderNEW1Having just bought a Canon 5D MkII for photographic use, I decided to see what all the fuss was about using the 5D as a film camera. My friend Philip Bloom has embraced the 5D to such an extent he has filmed 2 television commercials with it.

So firstly I went to order a Zacuto Z finder to discover they are not shipping till August the 10th 2009 this was possibly a blessing as I then plumbed for the 3″ Hoodman loop which is 1/3rd the price of the Zacuto.

One major problem for me is the lack of choice this leaves you attaching a loop to the LCD of the camera. As a photographer I like the old fashioned TTL viewfinder for taking photographs and the loop destroys this feature unless you are willing to use the live view for taking photographs as well !

let’s face it a 35mm Digital SLR is for taking photographs with not for filming television programs !…so why are so many people embracing this dual technology camera…simple they want the shallow depth of field that only a film camera gives you but at a price…the on board sound is naff as is the RAW codec although it’s a Quicktime it uses H264 compression so you can’t bring it onto your timeline without converting it first.

HoodmanI don’t know if Canon can change this H264 as a firmware update but you only have to look at JVCs HM700/100 to question why Canon did not go down the same road.

My findings were less than encouraging, this is not a replacement for a Sony EX-3 etc, it’s very cumbersome to use and let’s face it we are looking at a 35mm stills camera as it’s prime use and 1080i HD filming as an after thought, although Canon give you a 3.5mm mic input the sound is very basic and AGC switched on with no availability to switch it off.

In order to get good sound you are forced to use an external digital audio recorder which adds to the time in the edit suite syncing it all up, between syncing external sound and converting the files you are doubling your editing time before you kick a ball.

I am sorry to be so negative about the Canon’s HD video mode but the only reason people like Philip Bloom are using this camera at all is because at this moment in time their is no alternative without costing a fortune or making a video camera look like something out of Madd Eye Moodys sneekerscope (Harry Potter).

Canon have been clever dipping their toe into this market but they would be pure genius if they would bring out a solid state video camera which took their 35mm lenses.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

3 thoughts on “Canon 5D MkII dual purpose camera…”Is it a good film camera ?”

  1. I love the contradictions of “film” camera when referring to a poor, low-end, bastardised “video” function on a digital STILLS camera. So in keeping with use of the word “loop” – no doubt a simplified phonetic version of “loupe”.

    Yet very appropriate to the Philip Bloom factor – Dilettante, Racont… err Promoter and Professional Amateur [caps intended].

    Let’s face it the only reason PB is “using this camera at all” is because he has no budget – aka – the client is a cheapskate. Much as the Scottish ethos of Canary Tweed – cheap cheap cheap. Other inexpensive professional solutions exist.

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