I’ve been dead chuffed with the performance of my Canon 550D but I have to admit to something – I’ve been suffering from ‘Sensor Envy’. With so many of my comrades shooting on full-frame sensor cameras I always felt a little shy at the stools with my 550D’s cropped sensor in hand. It’s not that my video production clients have had any complaints, but I have to admit that size does matter when in comes to a man’s sensor! So – I’ve been shopping and bought myself a rather tidy Canon 5DMkII.
I’d obviously weighed up a number of other options (including the 5D MkIII and Nikon D800) but there are other near future “investments” afoot here at Video Artisan so I opted for something that was going to get me into a full-frame sensor at a less than full-frame cost. My only challenge was finding someone looking to rid of theirs who hadn’t raced or rallied it – and local IOV member Dave Bass of Pro-motion Video Productions of Hadleigh, Essex came up with a corker. He’s just bought a shiny new MkIII so the MkII was up for grabs – and I grabbed it.
The first task on getting it back to the studio was to install the Unified version of Magic Lantern. I’ve got this installed on my 550D and have to admit that I’d have not given the 5D a second thought if it wasn’t possible to install this hack on it. It turns the camera into something usable and more akin to a proper video production tool.
It’s especially helpful in addressing the shortcomings of the audio side to DSLRs enabling you to control digital and audio gain levels, assign channels to external and internal inputs and allows you to send audio out through the USB port for monitoring. There are also a range of facilities and tools for controlling and tweaking the video – including live histograms, waveform monitors, ISO range changes, bitrate control…. in fact far too many to list here. There’s even a HDR video and stills utility – yet to be understood and tried by me!
The full install and firmware update process was a bit of a rigmarole (nothing to do with Magic Lantern) which I’ll not go into here – so email me if you are thinking of going down this route. It is well worth the leg work and the stress of the warnings all over the Magic Lantern site saying that you might “brick” your camera if you don’t install things correctly.
So – the 5D MkII is now part of the team. Don’t bother asking about whether I want to get rid of the 550D as its not going anywhere. There are still some jobs where that little beauty works best.
If you are in need of a 5D shooter you know where I am!