The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II may be a flagship stills camera, but it also has some very decent video capabilities, such as 4k up to 60fps, 1080p up to 120fps and dual pixel autofocus. How good is it when it comes to shooting with it? I had to give it a try and conclude my own opinion. (Make sure to read Johnnie’s initial hands-on and Sebastian’s lab test, too)! The Setup Canon was kind enough to provide me with their flagship photography DSLR camera, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, for a trip to the Balkans. Although earlier vacation plans had vaporised due to work and personal reasons, this last-minute spontaneous trip somehow managed to work out, as did the delivery of the camera. It came in a rather modest setup, and since I didn’t have the CFast card or a fast CF card necessary for shooting 4K, I was limited to Full HD for this trip, but that was OK. In terms of usability and workflow, this was the better choice anyway. So in total, my whole kit added up to: – Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body – Canon 24-105mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS STM – 1x battery & charger – 1x 32GB CF card – 1x MacBook Pro, card reader, 2TB USB 3.0 hard drive – 1x voltage converter in order to charge laptop and camera battery in the car – LENSKIRT (used just once in the first shot) – 1x iPhone with SunSeeker app I must admit, this initial situation was a little odd, but I was willing to rise up to the challenge. Actually, just to see what would happen, I restricted the rules of the game even further: No tripod. In order to achieve usable stable footage, I set the camera to 100fps (I’m located in Germany). Everything set to automatic: auto-white, auto-iso, auto-iris, auto-focus. Wait, autofocus? Yes, indeed. Throughout the whole shoot, I never touched the focus ring, not even once. And it worked out surprisingly well! As we were traveling by car and (sadly) did not sleep in a fancy hotel suite every night, I had to come up with a portable power strategy. my humble DIT station in the back of the car. In order to add a cinematic touch, I added a 1:1.35 mask to the edit. The piece was graded with just a little Lumetri tweaking in Adobe Premiere Pro, nothing else. Keep it simple, remember? Canon’s color science does a really nice job out of the box already. In terms of camera settings, everything was shot in the “neutral” profile. The route we planned involved 6 countries and about 4600km (2.860 miles) by car. We went from Berlin (Germany) to Lubjilana (Slovenia) via Austria, and then further south through Croatia until we finally reached Montenegro. The 6th and last country in that list was Bosnia-Herzegovina on our way back. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II – What a (stills camera) workhorse! If you ever have the chance to shoot some stills with this beast, do yourself a favor and switch to continuous mode. Its DSLR-style mirror really sounds like a machine gun at 15 stills per second! Clearly, this camera is made for still photography professionals who demand guaranteed performance in any situation. But the Canon 1D X Mark II has more to offer than just stills. It is capable of shooting 4K resolution up to 60 (59,94) fps and 1080p at up to 120fps. The secret weapon! The LensSkirt helps to get rid of (most of) the windshield reflections. As my aim was to put the camera to the test, I only did the framing and let the camera do everything else. I think this could be a realistic work scenario for cameras like these. The form factor, which has evolved over many years for the purpose of still photography, is obviously not ideal for capturing moving images. But if you happen to be a pro photographer and own this camera, it’s nice to have the ability of shooting decent video as well. Here is a summary of my findings while working with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II: Pros: (in no particular order) Autofocus works really well! From time to time I had to frame the shot in order to make the autofocus work the way I intended it to work, but in general it really gets the job done. You can control it by just pointing the camera at your given subject or you can use the touchscreen to tap the area of choice. No idea if it works that well when following a subject through a crowded area, though. Pleasing color science and nice highlight roll off, with a very organic and beautiful look straight out of the box. Relatively high bitrate (approx. 360 Mbps @ 100 fps Full HD) Cons: (in no particular order) The overall ergonomics are not ideal for shooting video. Not only does it not have a viewfinder or ND filters, its screen also doesn’t swivel. The start/stop button for shooting is sometimes hard to push. Several times, I ended up pushing it and framing a shoot and then noticing that the camera wasn’t recording. But I must admit, after almost two weeks I discovered the option to map the start/stop control to the main shutter button. That will help, for sure. a (very) remote basketball court somewhere in Montenegro. Conclusion The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is certainly not a movie making machine. It is a genuine professional still photographer’s working tool, but it does the job when it comes to capturing some b-roll or shooting a behind the scenes while out on a job, for example. The autofocus in particular was really a pleasure to work with. If I had to choose, though, I wouldn’t use this as an A cam for my video related work since this camera lacks most of the functions I’m used to relying on like focus peaking, ND filters, a dedicated viewfinder, a high quality codec and C-log. Although again, it CAN get the job done, and quite well at that! At the end of the day, it was more than enough for my trip as I wouldn’t have brought a full sized video camera up these mountains anyway. There are other cameras out there, of course, to which the same would also apply. But this one has autofocus capabilities that work like a charm, and I hope we’ll see more and more cameras in the coming years with this feature built in!Read more
Angenieux have just announced their new EZ series zoom lenses, which feature user switchable mounts and user switchable formats. EF on s35, E mount on FF, and anything in between. Your choice. Now that’s something worth exploring! The Angenieux Type EZ series So many choices… Which lens kit should I buy (or rent)? What are the requirements for the next job? These choices aren’t always easy ones to make, and we still can’t predict the future in terms of what the next camera will require. The new Angenieux Type EZ series zoom lenses could be the solution, as they not only offer user interchangable mounts but also another very neat feature: you can switch out the whole rear optical blocks to have the lens fit a s35 sensor or a full frame one. With a massive 46mm image circle in full frame mode, you can put this thing on whatever you like. Even a Red Dragon 8K sensor won’t be a problem for these zoom lenses. In fact, any Red camera recording at resolutions higher than 5.5K, ARRI Alexa Open Gate, ARRI Alexa 65 with VistaVision crop and also Full Frame DSLR cameras such as the Sony A7s Mark II, Canon EOS 5D mk 4, 5DS, 1DX Mark II. Again: your choice. In s35 mode, the diagonal of the image circle is up to 30mm. While the process of switching mounts is rather easy, switching out the rear optical block is a little bit trickier, and certainly shouldn’t be done on a busy set on the side of the road. But it is possible and that is the real point here! It’s also worth mentioning that when switching the rear optical block from FF to s35, it acts a little bit like a Speed Booster, increasing the aperture from T3 to T2. Not having to choose between either version when investing in glass certainly can bring great peace of mind, especially in a time when new cameras are coming out every few months. With the EZ Series, Angenieux is filling a wide open gap between their highly acclaimed (and very expensive) Optimo cine zooms and standard ENG style zoom lenses which often lack the distinct cine look. Two Versions, Multiple Choices There are two versions of the EZ series zoom lenses, the EZ-1 and the EZ-2. As mentioned above, both of them can be configured as either s35 or full frame versions. Here are the differences between them: The Angenieux Type EZ-1 is a standard zoom lens with a zoom factor of 3x. When configured for S35mm cameras, the focal range and aperture are set to 30-90mm F1.9 / T2. By exchanging the rear lens group, the lens becomes a 45-135mm F2.8 / T3 covering an image circle up to 46mm diagonal. The EZ-1 in s35 mode The Angenieux Type EZ-2 is a wide zoom lens with a zoom factor of 2.7x. When configured for S35mm cameras, the focal range and aperture are set to 15-40mm F1.9 / T2. By exchanging the rear lens group, the lens becomes a 22-60mm F2.8 / T3 covering an image circle up to 46mm diagonal. the EZ-2 in FF mode On top of that, every version is compatible with either PL, EF, or Sony E mounts. Your choice, remember? Another nice thing are detachable ENG style zoom servo grips and other accessories which will be made available by MOVCAM in the near future. Specifications of the EZ Series: EZ-1 FF mode 45-135mm T3 / f2.8, image coverage up to 46mm diagonal Lightweight (2,050g / 4.5 pounds) EZ-1 s35 mode 30-90mm T2 / f1.9, image coverage up to 30mm diagonal Extremely fast T2 across zoom range with no ramping Lightweight (2,150g / 4.7 pounds) EZ-2 in FF mode 22-60mm T3 / f2.8, image coverage up to 46mm diagonal Lightweight (2,070g / 4.6 pounds) Extremely wide coverage with minimal distortion EZ-2 in s35 mode 15-40mm T2 / f1.9, image coverage up to 30mm diagonal Extremely fast T2 across zoom range with no ramping Lightweight (2,120g / 4.6 pounds) Extremely wide coverage with minimal distortion Also, all EZ zoom lens share the following features: Internal focusing & zooming, lens size remains constant throughout zooming & focusing range. Traditional Angenieux look: colorimetry matches those of Optimo & OPTIMO STYLE series. Short MOD 0.6m / 2 feet In-lens thermal compensation, significantly reduces temperature drift. Precise and ergonomic focus ring with scale rotation of 300 degrees Luminescent FTZ markings, easy reading in dark Available with PL lens mount, easy conversion to EF or E mount by users Front diameter 114mm, matte boxes compatible with those used on OPTIMO & OPTIMO STYLE compact zooms Detachable ENG style zoom grip available from MOVCAM Conclusion What do you think? Are we seeing the start of a revolution? Depending on the price that’s yet to be announced, this developement could be a real investment saver for many of us. With the shorter lifespans of cameras it’s nice to have some peace of mind when it comes to the often very expensive lenses we use with them. Deliveries are expected to start from the 1st quarter of 2017. If you happen to be around for IBC, stop by at the Angenieux booth as some prototype lenses will be shown there. Booth #12.E33 For more information, please head over to Angenieux’s website.Read more
The Canon 1D X mark II is Canon’s latest flagship DSLR and it also shoots video. We were curious to find out how good its 4K capabilities really are: after all, it shoots up to 60p in full resolution. Johnnie reviewed the camera a few days ago, and here’s our Canon 1D X mark II vs. Canon 1D C lab test. It is Canon’s first official “photo camera” that shoots 4K video. The company has been quite reluctant to offer high quality video in their photo products since they separated the professional cinema video segment a few years ago. Ever since then, we have seen Canon’s cinema line cameras like the Canon C300 mark II popping up at very high prices, making many entry level enthusiasts switch to Sony. Comparison: Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C From the outside these two cameras look very much alike, and basically all buttons are in the same position. You might wonder: why does the 1D C (“C” as in Cinema Line) have the same layout as the 1D X (a stills camera). But this article is about the X, a photo camera that might, yet again, take the place of a video camera. On its own, we know by now that the Canon 1D X mark II produces some very nice 4K video. But how good is it really? With the 1D C as a benchmark, let’s put it to the test. We will also throw the popular Sony a7S II into the mix as a second reference. Dynamic Range This is an attribute that is often overlooked, and that is difficult to measure properly. A good dynamic range rating allows us to capture more shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes. We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart and the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro (more on how we test HERE). Our software measured about 11 stops of usable dynamic range on the Canon 1D X mark II. This is very similar to the rating of the Canon 1D C, and just under the 12 stops of the Sony a7S II. You can observe the two Canon shots side by side in the image below. Dynamic Range of Canon 1D X mark II vs Canon 1D C 11 stops is a good rating for a camera. Most professional cinema cameras nowadays get between 10-13 stops in our tests. For example, the Canon C300 mark II is a camera that, in addition to us pointing out the horizontal strip that appears on overexposed portions of images, we rated at about 12 stops of usable dynamic range. This is about 2 stops weaker than the Arri ALEXA, which we rated at about 14 stops, as does the manufacturer. Lowlight Directly related to dynamic range is lowlight performance. The Canon 1D C performs quite well in that regard, and we could see that the Canon 1D X mark II did not keep up at the same ISO speeds. However, if you look at the image above, you will see that in order to film the test chart the Canon 1D C had to be set to F/5.6, while the 1D X mark II needed F/11.0. In other words, the ISO rating is in favour of the 1D X mark II. Everything taken into consideration I would say the lowlight performance is quite similar. The Canon 1D X mark II should be used with caution beyond ISO 6400 and produces a bit more colour noise than the 1D C. Image is 1 stop underexposed, to see the difference The image above is about 1 stop underexposed. Notice how the different ISOs give us more or less the same results. This might also be due to the picture profile I used. I used C log on the Canon 1D C, which Canon decided to leave out of the 1D X mark II. In order to get a good flat image for better colour grading, I installed the Technicolor Cinestyle on the 1DX. Lowlight performance is very similar, but the 1D C seems to have a slight edge over the 1D X. In comparison, the Sony a7S II has better lowlight performance. Image Quality Here is a blown-up shot of a tube test chart, in which the fine lines get closer and closer together to show when aliasing kicks in. In other words, it serves to analyse the point where sensors can no longer resolve detail correctly on the vertical and horizontal axis. What we see is that the Canon 1DX mark II resolves similar fine detail as the Canon 1D C, possibly slightly better and is also very close to the Sony aS7 II. In terms of compression, the Canon cameras are much better than the Sony. The Sony a6300 would be more in line with Canon in terms of compression artefacts. Unfortunately, the HD mode of the Canon 1D X mark II is really disappointing. Aliasing is strong and the image is very soft. It can hardly be considered an HD image and is barely suitable for an old tube television. The Canon 1D C, on the other hand had a S35 crop mode that delivered a very nice HD image. There is not much more to be said: the image of the 1D X and 1D C look very much alike. But with a proper Cfast card, the Canon 1D X mark II supports up to 60p 4K video, which probably makes it the only usable DSLR capable of 4K video in 50p or 60p. Other cameras that support higher frame rates are the Sony FS7 or Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K. The 60p video of the 1D X has no quality loss over normal frame rates. Rolling Shutter The Canon 1D C suffered from a very severe rolling shutter effect (A phenomenon also referred to as “jello”). Fortunately, the Canon 1D X mark II performs better here. Twice as good, in fact, making the 1D X mark II’s 14ms of rolling shutter performance one of the best among 4K DSLRs, alongside the Panasonic GH4. Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C: Conclusion If you thought that the Canon 1D X mark II was Canon’s next big failure in terms of video, then you would be wrong. With a beautiful image, good quality codec, good lowlight performance and good rolling shutter performance, as well as 50p and 60p video modes in 4K and good autofocus, the 1D X mark II is surely a camera to consider for the video and film enthusiast. However, if you thought the Canon 1D X mark II was the next step in video evolution after the Canon 1D C, then you’d be disappointed. It looks as though the video features of the 1D C have been carried over to the 1D X mark II, the valuable log gamma was left behind and HD mode is now useless (Why, Canon, why???). At the end of the day there is little difference between the two cameras. In summary, the Canon 1D X mark II is a good video shooting camera and considering its current price tag of $6000, it is certainly more affordable than the 1D C priced at $8000. So if you want 60p video at 4K, or good rolling shutter performance with overall great image quality in an APS-C sensor (crop of the camera’s full-frame sensor), then this camera might be worth the money. Photographers who are also into video will certainly appreciate the Canon 1D X mark II. However if you just want a great 4K camera, then those $6000 might be better spent elsewhere. Maybe on a more ergonomic, video oriented camera that also offers HD, or even the Sony a6300 (review here), which can get you to 4K wonderland for under $1000. For more on the 1DX check out: Johnnie’s hands-on Canon 1DX 2 reviewRead more
Update: My colleague Sebastian has published his “Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C – Which One Shoots Better Video?” Article. Please click here for his full lab review. Once upon a time, there was a company by the name of Canon who revolutionized the filming industry by introducing a large sensor stills camera that could shoot full High Definition video. Then, as time moved on, that same company decided to conquer Hollywood by introducing their “EOS C” line, and literally abandoned their loyal DSLR customers to the mercy of other brands. From the outside, it looked like an attempt to make people spend more money on that expensive line as there was simply no innovation or keeping up with modern filming resolutions (AKA “4K”) when it came to DSLRs. And then came the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II. Canon 1D X mark II Review We are a little bit late to the party in reviewing this camera and I must admit that one of the reasons to conduct that review (besides my genuine curiosity to see how different this camera is from my ageing Canon EOS 1D C), is the amount of email requests we got from fellow cameramen to test it. Judging by the amount of interest from our readers, it is no surprise that there is a big back order for the camera. People who follow my reviews know that I had already moved on, leaving my Canon EOS 1D C on the shelf as alternative cameras better suited for my documentary filming work started coming out. Although the 4K video quality was fine and the C-log picture profile was a useful feature to have, the Canon 1D C had too many obstacles for documentary work. For me, using a camera is not all about the final picture quality but also about its ease of use and ergonomics. No firmware updates meant there was no peaking or ability to magnify the picture while shooting, and the sound quality when recorded directly to the camera was average. The solution for me was to start working with the Sony a7X because it was simply a better working tool for my needs. I always regarded what Sony did as a “system” rather then a “camera” only. Unlike any Canon DSLR camera, what Sony offers is an overall filming solution combining the XLR K1/2M, the proprietary hot shoe and 28-135mm zoom lens. That argument is still very much valid today, but a single feature that Canon currently offers may be enough to consider changing back again….or maybe not. Spot the difference Canon 1D X Mark II vs 1D C Autofocus Mode Makes the Difference So I took a camera that looks 99% identical to the Canon EOS 1D C (yes, only 1 button is different, the switch mode between stills and video) and honestly I didn’t have very high expectations. But, that single key feature that I’m talking about is the dual pixel AF. If you are like me, tired and frustrated from using photo lenses with endless focus rotation on your camera no matter what brand you get, here comes Canon with a solution which was first introduced in their lower end DSLRs and higher priced EOS C line and changes the user experience forever. That AF system and the way it is implemented in the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II works mostly like a treat. Working with a responsive touch-screen LCD and changing focus points has never been this easy. Alternatively, if you are an old man like me who prefers to have the Kinotehnik LCDVF on the LCD, (for easier viewing and extra contact), then the little joystick on the right side becomes your best friend. One thing left for me to discover is how to momentary pause the servo AF when using the loupe. When wanting to do so with the touch screen it is as simple as pressing that function. As a side note, I tested the AF system with normal Canon photo zoom lenses and the Tokina 11-16mm. Operation was NOT silent and was at rare times a bit hesitant, but all in all, it worked wonderfully, to the point that I shot the entirety of the video review I produced as part of my test in autofocus mode. What Else is New? If you ask yourself what else is new besides the dual pixel AF, then I’m happy to report that the Canon 1D X MarK II can now shoot 50/60 fps in 4K mode. No other DSLR can currently do that. Also, in full HD 100/120p was added. I did not, however, test those during my review. (Those resolutions were tested in our lab. Full lab test review is coming soon). The camera itself has a CF and a CFast card slot. A good, fast CF card will allow you to record at 4K/25p without a hitch (the camera did not shut down on me due to overheating either), but if you would like to explore the world in 4K/50/60p, you will need a good, reliable CFast card. Canon chose to use the same encoding system (MJPG) used in the Canon 1D C and the result are huge files that will eat through your card’s memory. I really wanted to restore my faith in Canon DSLRs with the EOS 1D X Mark II, but there is still much that has to be done, as you’ll see below. Last but not least: Canon, take my free advice and put that 4K image quality and various frame rates into your upcoming 5D Mark IV. Add a C-log for the filming crowd and enable 4K external HDMI recording. You have a lovely colour science that is waiting to be explored once again. Come back to the DSLR user community with a working tool we can afford and proudly use for our creative work. Canon EOS 1D X Mark II Pros: (in no particular order) World camera with no need to format the card after switching standards Dual Pixel AF is a treat to use Dual DIGIC 6+ processors Nice 4K video image quality Good preamps and clear built-in audio Very responsive touch-screen Good low light performance (up to ISO 6400) Headphone and mic sockets Improved rolling shutter effect over the Canon 1D C Shooting 50/60p in 4K mode is possible Canon EOS 1D X Mark II Cons: (in no particular order) Ancient internal encoding system. Easy to edit on fast computers (and grab individual shots) but eats valuable card space fast No C log picture profile No 4K external recording No zoom magnification during filming No swivel LCD screen Crop factor when recording in 4K is now narrower the APS-H and closer to APS-C No screen layouts for simulating different aspect ratios. Unusable HD mode Conclusion: The new Canon EOS 1D X Mark II is first and foremost a professional photo camera that can shoot high quality video too. Like all previous 1D cameras, this one is also built like a tank. When it comes to pricing, the new Canon is $2000 cheaper then Canon EOS 1D C with no significant difference in picture quality. The added dual pixel AF makes the overall working experience easier and more pleasant to start with, but you have to ask yourself if there are more cost-effective cameras for the money. As for myself, I won’t hesitate using this camera in upcoming creative projects, as I’m anxious to test that dual pixel AF system again. Furthermore, I hope to use it together with Canon’s new compact servo 18-80mm zoom lens as together they seem to be an interesting combo. Camera settings for this video: .MOV file format, 4K 25p recording settings. Mostly shot between ISO 300 to 1000-1250. Picture Profile: Neutral. All audio was recorded in camera with an external microphone. Light set-up for the interview: Kinotehnik Practilite 602. Edited in Adobe Premiere CC latest edition and graded with Filmconvert (Canon 1D C Neutral preset). Music: Art-List. Used themes: “Other Scenario by Lana Inspired“ A special thank you to Sandra Haischberger, Lilith, Silvie and Rosie from feinedinge. To learn more about their work, please click here. NOTE: B&H, CVP and Canon are currently running a special promotion of adding a 64GB CFast 2.0 card and reader at the same price of a body only when buying the camera. For Sebastian’s lab review “Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C – Which One Shoots Better Video?” Article. Please click here.Read more
Edit: Camera is now officially announced and available for pre order. It has been a while since we last heard from Canon’s DSLR division—especially regarding anything new regarding a DSLR that can shoot video. This morning, in what looks like a solid piece of information, both canonrumors and the Japanese site digicame-info.com, reported on the upcoming Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. This is certainly exciting news for all Canon lovers out there although the price of this camera might not be for everyone. As a Canon 1DC user who has been patiently waiting for some firmware updates to make the video shooting experience a little better, it is still too early to know if any of my wishes have been fulfilled. However, if the reported specifications of the new camera are correct, then it is certainly something to look forward to. It a nutshell, it sounds like the codec hasn’t been changed (Motion JPEG), but now you can record continuously in true 4K (4096 x 2160), without any file split, and up to 60 fps thanks to the faster Dual DIGIC6 + processor and CFast cards. Also, recording in full HD up to 120 fps is possible. According to Canon, continuous autofocus during video shooting is now possible and the company’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is compatible with all Canon EF lenses. Focus points can be selected automatically, or specified on the camera’s new touch panel LCD screen Here are more relevant points from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR spec sheet regarding shooting video with this new camera: Image Format: Video:MOV (4K Movie: Motion JPEG, Full HD Movie: MPEG4 AVC/H.264; Audio: Linear PCM), MP4 (Movie: MPEG4 AVC/H.264; Audio: AAC) Recording Media: CF Card (Type I; compatible with UDMA 7 CF cards) and CFast™ Card (CFast 2.0™ supported) Frame Rates: [4096 x 2160]: 59.94fps / 50.00fps / 29.97 fps/ 25.00fps / 24.00fps / 23.98fps [1920 x 1080]: 119.9fps / 100.0fps / 59.94fps / 50.00fps / 29.97fps / 25.00fps / 24.00fps / 23.98fps Auto focus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF is possible with all EF lenses. Maximum ISO settings: In 4K up to 12800. In full HD up to 25600. LCD monitor: 3.2-inches, Approx. 1.62 million dots Video Out Terminal: HDMI mini OUT terminal is Type C. (Uncompressed HDMI output for Full HD videos). Price: $5999 USD It is yet to be seen how the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR will perform—or how it will compete in the 4K DSLR/mirrorless market. It’ll be exciting to see if Canon is getting serious again in providing filming tools—especially for those who still like to shoot their video projects in DSLR form factors cameras. Source: canonrumors.com/ digicame-info.comRead more
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