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Canon 5D MkII DSLR
What could be better than a semi-pro DSLR with over 21 megapixels? How about adding true HD - 1080p at 30 frames per second!
By Robert Jensen

In case you haven't heard the news - a few months ago Canon introduced its new 5D Mark II digital SLR camera and it hit the market like the proverbial 600 pound gorilla. Everyone, and I mean everyone, sat up and took notice when they heard the specs. It wasn't just the 21 megapixel sensor it was packing that had everyone drooling at the mouth to get their hands on the camera. No, what caught everyone's attention (and imagination) was the camera's ability to take high definition 1080P video at 30 frames per second! The big red cherry on top was that all this could be had for a list price of $2699.

That's all well and good I know, but that bit about the 5D MkII's video capabilities didn't hit home to me until I saw a video on Canon's website, 'Reverie' by Vincent Laforet.  What's especially remarkable about this video is that it was literally thrown together at the last minute by Laforet. It was shot over a weekend on a camera he'd received hours before. He didn't even have time to read the camera's manual! The outcome was breathtaking. Canon and Laforet are still riding the crest of the wave of interest his video brought about.

What makes the 5D MkII so great for video?
Because it uses a full sized 35mm sensor for video capture the output of the 5D MkII surpasses that of even similar resolution 1080p consumer video cameras as well as a number of pro level video cams.


Canon 5D Mark II

There is a limitation on shooting video with the 5D MkII, but don't worry, its not much of one. You can 'only' film up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds in one gulp. I can't think of any Hollywood movie I've seen that ever had a continuous shot that lasted even a fraction of that time. One of the longest I'm aware of was in Children Of Men a couple years ago which had one continuous scene that lasted as long as 11 minutes I think, so don't let this limitation with the Canon will disappoint you.

Screen grab from video. Click for full view

Click to view video

Screen grab from video. Click for full view

Something more important that you should be aware of is that shooting long stretches of video with the 5D MkII will cause the camera's sensor to heat up. (The same holds true with other DSLR's with video or Live View capabilities) There's a built-in safety shut off in the camera if you try to overdo it. Heating up the sensor can also lead to noisier images so its a good idea to turn it off between shots to keep temperatures down. So this is a feature best used sparingly if you want the highest image quality.

Large, bright, LCD display. Click image for full view.


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