Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Someone once told me that the DSLR is simply another tool in your box, especially if you are filming weddings with them. Over the last two years I have developed a comfort zone with the Video DSLR though I do not use one outside the studio other than the odd pack shots and close up work of new camcorders etc.

This true story starts about 8 weeks ago the only change to the truth is the boys names to save their professional blushes. I was working at my desk when George came on the phone with an offer of a second hand Sony EX-3 a week later we shook hands and Prestons had their EX-3 and George was very happy with his four figure sum.

The boys, George and Scott were looking to beef up their DSLR kit as they use two Canon 60Ds for all their top end wedding work. About a week before the Glasgow open day I got a further call from George asking if we would be interested in their second EX-3, no problem and John Preston took the EX-3 at the Glasgow show and the boys now had a fair sum of money to spend.

I demonstrated the Sony FS100 to them and they were blown away by it’s exceptional noise free 21dB gain, so much so they put their name down for a new FS100. The Nikon to E mount adapters from MTF were just on their second production so it would be about a week till we took delivery of the boys adapter, I gave them my Sony 18-200 “E” lens to tide them over.

Last week I visited the boys in their plush offices in Glasgow city centre to hand over the MTF adapter. “How did you get on with the new FS100 boys” “It saved our bacon last weekend” was the sheepish reply.


The Report…”Last weekend the boys were filming a two camera wedding using the FS100 as a third camera for syncing sound and cutaways, the day went well till it came to the speeches, fortunately they were using the FS100 for sound so decided to record the speeches using all three cameras. The speeches were longer than anticipated, the day was one of Glasgow’s hottest and half way through both Canon 60Ds brought up a thermometer indication, indicators flashing and both cameras switched off within a minute of each other leaving both boys shocked to the core.

Over the last year they had gradually gone from using two Sony EX-3s switching over to two Canon DSLRs and till this moment in time with much success…this was a monumental disaster but for the luck of buying the Sony FS100 one week before that very wedding, they composed themselves, finished the speeches with the one camera that was preventing a major law suite and the demise of their wedding film business.

I don’t need to tell any of you how serious this could have been but I do think all of you filming weddings with DSLRs should take stalk and rethink your workflow.

Far to many of you poo poo the video camcorder these days in preference for the DSLR when it’s clear that you have a temperature time bomb waiting to happen…sometime in the future !

There is a place for both technologies, especially now we have cameras like the AF101 and the FS100, George and Scott still have a wedding video business thanks to having the Sony FS100 … but you may not be so lucky !

In my opinion the DSLRs are good for openers, musical montages and anything that does not require sound other than that you should be using a video camera like the Canon XF300, Sony NX70/NX5, Panasonic AF101 or the Sony FS100.

If you are being payed to produce a wedding video you are legally bound to make sure you have taken all precautions possible to make sure you produce the package the bride and groom have asked you to film for them, there is no excuse in law for ignorance or using equipment that is not fit for purpose. You take someones money off them…most of you get payed before the wedding you are entering a legal contract of work, if your DSLR shuts down because its too hot you better have a back up of some kind at the ready otherwise it becomes very expensive and you may loose you business.

My thanks to Bertoli for pointing out my D60 should read 60D.


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.

11 thoughts on “Two Canon 60Ds and a Sony FS100…”A ticking time bomb”

  1. Finished two years ago with my video business filming mostly weddings for eight years…. it’s nerve racking at the best of times trying to film everything the couple require, and always at the back of your mind is “is the equipment working ok” and especially, “this is something with no re-takes possible”. As said, decent video gear required!!

  2. NOT all DSLRs overheat! I use Panasonic Lumix GH1s and wouldn’t go back to ‘video cameras’

    Using that example to suggest that DSLR’s are generally not suitable is over reaching the point.

    Any camera has it’s strengths & weaknesses – I would hate to go back to a shoulder mount or using lights at a reception. I’m in awe of the image that comes out of old FD lenses on the GH1 and that’s all I use.

  3. I would have hoped everyone knew about the overheating issues with the Canon dslrs…

    The GH1s aren’t a whole lot better.
    I shot a wedding with 2 of them and a HMC151 recently. The 2 GH1s crashed during the ceremony. One was restarted by the operator, the other was locked off to the rear of the church so we didn’t know about it til after the ceremony.

    DSLRs are fabulous filmmaking tools but not really sorted for live video work, yet.

  4. My concern with DSLRs is that video is never it’s primary role. The form factor, mechanics and let’s face it firmware’s primary aim is for good stills capture and liveview monitoring to achieve that.
    Even some of the low end pro camcorders now also have stills functions as sensors hit HD and a meaningful number of pixels, but again it’s not thier principle role and I wouldn’t take a camcorder out instead of my Nikon, but it’s fine for grabbing still images if you don’t have anything else.
    DSLR video I’d be happy to use in situation where I was assembling a number of takes but I would be very wary of using it to record sustained video sequences from a live event, it just doesn’t seem the right tool for it.
    I’ve no doubt as the crossover between the two form factors evolves we will get better jack of all trades in the middle. Personally I always wonder when I look at DSLR rigs with all the rail, mount and viewfinder systems added to make them a functional video system if it wouldn’t have been better to go for a AF101/FS100 and just mount the lenses on that.

  5. My usual wedding approach is to shoot with DSLRs (Canon 7Ds) but always have a ‘real’ video camera (Sony Z7) for the long haul stuff like the ceremony & speeches. Reliability is far more important than beauty shots in both those events.

  6. 60d’s are bloody dangerous! was shooting a wedding on one a few months back and, kind of, accidentally erased a most of the days footage; the only way to see how much card space you have left is to go into the format menu, and from there its only a couple of fumbled button presses and hey presto, “where the f**k did all my footage go”
    luckily it was a multi cam shoot and the other operator was using the more sensible option of an ex1 and had enough coverage to save the day, but still, that little ordeal scared me enough to never use a glorified stills camera on a paid job again (and now that you mention it, that thing was staring to feel hotter than the sun after a few hours continuous use) but the frustrating thing is, that daft little machine still produced images better than most real video cameras that cost thousnds and thousands of pounds more!

  7. You can do the same with FS100.
    Canons have much better ORGANIC look anyway if you nail it….but it is hard to use. Sold MTF adaptor for FS100 today-might buy F3.

  8. Dear Paul,

    I think you should read Richy’s post before extalling the GH1s virtues ! DSLRs are not suited to live events mainly due to their restrictive filming times and poor sound capabilities.
    The AF101 and FS100 are far better suited to live events, have dual XLR sound inputs and going by my FS100 has a cinematic look and the ability to produce SDoF.
    I think a lot of this is down to getting away with as little expense on equipment as possible, rather than buying a camera that’s fit for the job in hand.
    The AF101 would give you the exact same look but with proper professional features more suited for live event work. Personally I think you are kidding not only yourself but your clients as well.

  9. For Live Events-Concerts-Sports, standard 3 CCD or Cmos camera with decent ENG lens is far more practical.

  10. I had a canon 7d Fail on me at a wedding last weekend! Error code 30. Do not pass go do not collect £100. Had to send it back to Canon and still waiting for it back!

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