Nature Notes

January 2, 2009

Canon 5D Mark II: First video efforts

Filed under: Equipment,Waterfalls — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 8:33 pm

Webster’s Falls, Ontario, Canada
from Harold Stiver on Vimeo.

I have loved the Canon 5D, and when I saw the specs for the Mark II version, I decided it was the upgrade I was looking for. I was especially interested in the ability to make video, and to use my lens lineup doing so.

The video above is a series of clips from the Canon 5D Mark II. I used Canon 24-70mm and 17-24mm lens. I wanted to try some basic zooms, pans, etc. The lack of smoothness is from the user and the tripod head rather than the camera operation. The initial test shot I took showed the results would have a heavy blue cast, not unexpected with shots of snow. I preset the White Balance at 6000Deg.K and this turned out to be a good choice. I set the exposure at +2/3 by eying it in on Liveview.

Webster’s Falls is Ontario’s second largest waterfall, after Niagara. It is a gem and worth a visit in any season.

Waterfalls can be dangerous places, especially in winter. Be careful!

American Black Duck
from Harold Stiver on Vimeo.

This video of American Black Ducks is the earliest of my efforts, with the 500mm lens on a tripod with a Sidekick mount. I found that the heavy lens made moving with the subject less smooth than I would like. Hopefully this will improve. I had been concerned about the ease of moving back and forth from video to still, but, once the video had been enabled, it turned out to be a simple manner. After going to Liveview by pressing the otherwise useless Direct Print button, it was just a matter of pressing the Set button to start or stop recording. At any time I could fully press the shutter if I wished to take a still image. I feel the focus needs improving, certainly user error.

Common Goldeneye pair
from Harold Stiver on Vimeo.

The last video is of a pair of Common Goldeneye and was shot with the 500mm and a 1.4 TC. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it stood up. The first of the two clips shows a pair in display and a couple of times another female approaches them. Due to the light conditions, I set the exposure at plus1+ 1/3. The exposure adjustments are easy in Liveview.

The videos come out of camera in the MOV format and had a jerkiness when played that was unacceptable. Happily this disappeared when I converted them to WMV format.

Check back as I will post some impressions on other aspects of the 5D Mark II shortly.

All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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  1. hi great to see some personal footage shot with the 5D mark 2. I myself have owned the camera for just over a week now and still have not had a chance to really test it out. But wow what an update i too am very pleased with it.

    many thanks for taking the time to share


    Comment by nick — January 2, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  2. Harold, thanks for posting these. I remain fairly eager to get a 5D Mk II myself, in part because the video capability is appealing. Lots of folks won’t care about it but I think video will be a valuable addition to the arsenal for some photographers… whether commercially, or just for enjoyment.

    I’m guessing the jerkiness on playback is probably just a symptom of the high bandwidth required to support the full 1080p / 30 fps video this camera captures. I’ve examined numerous original 5D Mk II samples that different folks have posted for download. On my ~2.5 year old dual core system with 4GB and Windows XP, I can’t play any of them back without the video stuttering. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s simply too taxing for a machine of my workstation’s era. So my next upgrade will have to account for video of this level, on top of the massive pano stills I work with. But for distributing versions over the Internet or other situations where top quality isn’t required, compressing, downsampling and/or converting to other formats should produce useful results as you found with WMV.

    I look forward to what else you come up with using this new piece of kit. 🙂

    Comment by Royce Howland — January 2, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  3. Thanks Nick:

    I agree it was a great update, really all the things I could have wished for.

    Cheers, Harold

    Comment by Harold — January 3, 2009 @ 12:31 am

  4. Thanks Royce:

    I suspected the problem lay with my computer which is getting long in the tooth, even the larger 5d2 files are causing PS to sputter.

    I think you would be an ideal person for this camera, the good news is that the image quality is at least as good as the original, with,of course, much more resolution.

    I’ll post up some still images in the next few days.

    Cheers, Harold

    Comment by Harold — January 3, 2009 @ 12:36 am

  5. Hi Harold,

    Nice videos and very interesting notes. The most outstanding thing I noticed however was the Black Ducks and the Mallards all looking into the water for food (I presume). I cannot recall ever seeing this before.

    Thanks again for all the great pics on the internet.


    Comment by Bill Baerg — January 3, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

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