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Kirk Anderson

Sony F900 Vs Canon7D

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So we've been planning a commercial shoot that will be shown on television.

We planned on shooting two DSLR 7D's with nice glass.

 

The producer is a little worried about the new technology and has faith in the trusty Sony F900 that has been used in the past.

 

What do you think?

 

Indoor living room type shoot. One day, small crew.

 

What do you choose F900 or DSLR?

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What do you choose F900 or DSLR?

Hi Kirk,

 

A few questions:

 

1. What lenses can you afford to rent if you go with the F900? If you can't get good glass for it, then what's the point?

2. Do you have the budget for a good DIT on the F900 shoot? If not, then what's the point?

3. What are you more comfortable shooting with? If you think you can do a better job with the 7D, then use that.

4. Is your G&E budget the same, regardless of the camera? If not, then what are the trade-offs and is it still worth it?

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1. What lenses can you afford to rent if you go with the F900? If you can't get good glass for it, then what's the point?

2. Do you have the budget for a good DIT on the F900 shoot? If not, then what's the point?

 

I love the new DSLR world but seriously are you saying if you don't have a DIT there is no point using this camera??? Or if you don't have the newest DIGIPRIMES dont use this camera?

 

I have shot some great stuff on the F900 with a set of Fugi zooms and no DIT and a lot of the TV series down here don't have DIT's on set ever.

 

Kirk,

 

Practically - for shooting drama, the F900 is a better alternative IMO. For Commercials, your project - only projecting on Television, i would go the 7D's. Is it possible to shoot some tests and show your editor, or if the budget doesn't allow grab a 7D and shoot a little mood piece to calm his nerves.

 

 

Regards, James

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The F900 is certainly capable of technically better results, whether it will produce better results in your application is down to exactly the sorts of specifics that are being mentioned.

 

People forget how soft the DSLRs are. How bad the compression codecs are. How appallingly they alias. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to admit that the 5D and 7D have a generous helping of that certain something that makes them look good; whether it's the nice Canon glass they generally end up using, the shallow depth of field, fine, subjectively it does look good. Strictly subjectively.

 

But it's hard to get away from the critical technical failings.

 

P

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What about the completely unsuitable controls on a DSLR as opposed the the F900, which is designed for exactly the product you're attempting to produce?

 

I would say the 7D CAN produce better images, but its unwieldiness is working against you at every step. I'm with Phil on all of the technical problems with these cameras. There are a lot of problems that can, essentially, be ignored in the stills world that become glaringly obvious at 24FPS.

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2. Do you have the budget for a good DIT on the F900 shoot? If not, then what's the point?

 

Wouldn't dumping data be more of an issue with the 7D?

 

 

I'd be highly skeptical of some of the automated software that dumps it to a laptop. I'd want that data backed up immediately, in multiple spots.

 

I've heard horror stories about having diodes just popping on some of the solid state media cards too. You can *usually* get the data back, but it costs a fortune and could take weeks. In some extreme cases, they are reading off data almost by hand one bit at a time.

 

 

Solid state still really scares me. I'd almost prefer tape still (never thought I'd hear myself utter this sentence)!

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Wouldn't dumping data be more of an issue with the 7D?

 

 

I'd be highly skeptical of some of the automated software that dumps it to a laptop. I'd want that data backed up immediately, in multiple spots.

 

I've heard horror stories about having diodes just popping on some of the solid state media cards too. You can *usually* get the data back, but it costs a fortune and could take weeks. In some extreme cases, they are reading off data almost by hand one bit at a time.

 

 

Solid state still really scares me. I'd almost prefer tape still (never thought I'd hear myself utter this sentence)!

 

Solid State is more reliable than tape. all formats have issues. but tape can disintegrate, get chewed up, condensation on the tape will cause break up, It's bulky compared to solid state, you can only reliability use it once. Solid state is the future(Sorry i meant present) and I have been recording on it for quite a while, and tape even longer before hand. you can play back strait away to see if you have it, you can back it up faster than tape. and as you said alot of the time the data can be recovered should it get corrupted, which almost never happens. I bet mirrored solid state isn't that far off.

 

To answer the question

 

The cannon is a stills camera that happens to shoot video. you can get some good results out of it. but at the end of the day it has lots of issues with recording video. It's a great camera and it defanlty has it's applications. But the 900 is by far the better camera, as far as the output quality of the footage.

 

but youhave to ask your slelf which is better to work with?

 

The cannon has some serious rolling shutter issues, It used line skipping witch means it dosnt handle the fine details in the image very well. being light you going to need a solution so that hand held doesn't feel like a pocket cam, and it shoots to a delivery codex that is very highly compressed. etc etc

 

all that aside if its for youtube then whats the point to shooting with a top of the range camera if you going to compress the hell out of it. if you can't aford it, if it doesn't produce the look you going for? then whats the point?

 

I not going to make the choice for you, your the DOP that your job, but rather I'm just giving you few things to think about.

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Besides the compression issues i think the two biggest downsides with the DSLR world is the "small camera, throw anywhere, it'l do" philosophy that is coming back to play which reminds me of when mini DV cameras first came out AND the fact that more and more stuff is coming out soft. You throw away the whole camera team infrastructure (it's pretty damn hard to have a focus puller on those stills lenses) and people are starting to think it's "ok" to have all these soft shots because it's a DOF "look" that comes with these cameras.

 

I'm just seeing more and more beautifully shot low budget stuff on Vimeo and it seems to be a look evolving that 1/4 of the film is out of focus.

 

Regards, James.

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I love the new DSLR world but seriously are you saying if you don't have a DIT there is no point using this camera??? Or if you don't have the newest DIGIPRIMES dont use this camera?

I didn't say anything about Digiprimes, though they are very nice. There are lots of good lens options for 2/3" out there. For drama, something like the Canon cine zooms would be great. I think some of the various video zooms out there are capable of making nice pictures, but are obviously not suited for drama. So if that's all you can afford to rent, then that's a point against the F900. Maybe "no point" was a little harsh, but I was trying to be pithy. ;)

 

I have shot some great stuff on the F900 with a set of Fugi zooms and no DIT and a lot of the TV series down here don't have DIT's on set ever.

As for the DIT, I think it depends on how well you know the camera. If you are familiar with the menus and can set up your own look for it and don't need more than that, then of course you don't need a DIT. I'm operating under the assumption that Kirk is unfamiliar with the camera - I wanted him to know that he's not going to get the best out of it just by turning it on, setting the WB, and pressing the record button.

 

Karl, there's definitely no need for a DIT with the 7D. You just need someone to dump cards, not a trained tech.

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Karl, there's definitely no need for a DIT with the 7D. You just need someone to dump cards, not a trained tech.

 

I guess our terminology just differs then; I'd consider having a person on set with duties dedicated to dumping cards a DIT. Likewises, the guy that slaps in a 50-foot cartridge on a S8 camera is technically a "film loader." ;)

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Amazing and funny how much resistance and prejudice there seemed to be against DSLRs a mere 4 years ago, which ironically mirrors the exact same attitudes you saw from film enthusiasts against digital filmmaking in years prior, and that we're seeing now with adopters of 4K toward mere HD cameras that are only months old.

It truly seems that the more technology improves the less it becomes about what you're trying to shoot, and more about what you're shooting it on.

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4 years ago DSLRs had issues and compromises which had them less than ideal video cameras. The main selling points were shallow DOF and cost.

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I don't think of it as prejudice, just an acknowledgement of the design differences between a pro ENG/EFP camcorder and a still camera that can shoot video.

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shoot with the F900 and go uncompressed out to and off board recorder in addition to the tape. Despite the chip size, it is going to look better.

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Holy thread resurrection, Batman!

 

I tend to think the results speak more about the person behind the camera than the camera itself. Last year, I filled in for a DP friend on a product test shoot. The client wanted to see the difference between the DP's top of the line Varicam 3700 and a 5D Mark 3. Since it was supposed to be a simple moire test shot in the production office, I had to set up both cameras and light it myself. I ended up making the 5D look better because I was much more familiar with it. It all turned out fine, my friend kept the client and shot the commercial on the 3700, looked great. But it really made the point that you have to know the system inside and out in order to get the best out of it.

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Having owned an f900 for the past ten years I can tell you that I have compared the image quality with a host of other camera systems including DSLRs. One of the reasons I still have it is that the images produced by the f900 are in many ways superior to lower cost newer systems, most of them with full format bayer pattern sensors. Color reproduction on a bayer pattern sensor is not as advanced as a 3CCD camera, and the moire issues can be a real killer. Shooting with a DSLR is like brushing your teeth with a hair brush- it was never designed for that purpose. What clients are really looking for when they request DSLR is a thin depth of field. Shooting at a 1.7 in the 2/3 format has the same depth of field attributes as shooting full format at a 2.8-4.0 split. Add a little more distance from the subject and a longer lens and you can match that beloved DSLR depth without the hassle of operation.

When I used to shoot 35mm film we would tend to shoot at 2.8-4.0 split anyway, because it was impossible to keep moving subjects in focus wide open. These days it seems to be all the rage to have a large amount of shots out of focus- just watch some of those new Discovery shows, it will drive you crazy! I might be an old timer but I would choose the f900 over just about anything ( except 35mm or an Arri Alexa).

The bottom line is this, cameras are just tools. The real image quality comes from you. No one asked Van Gogh what kind of paintbrush he used, they just look in awe at his pictures. Use the camera that you are most comfortable with. I Hope to have helped!

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Hi David

 

Interesting insight - I keep seeing F900s for sale for silly money, but of course the cost is the lenses. You can get the bodies for $6k - but then it needs $30k of glass.

 

Do you record it straight to ProRes on a flash recorder, or something like that? Technically the worst thing about F900 is the recorder.

 

P

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Glass really seems to never be all that cheap ever. Least of all when it can be adapted in any way. Granted, still cheaper than when it came out, no doubt, but...

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B4 mount glass isn't readily adapted to formats other than 2/3". The nearest digital format is Micro 4/3 and it generally doesn't cover the image circle. There are an awful lot of 2/3" shooters still out there, on reality shows and news/sports, but increasingly those shows are changing over to s35 chip cameras and PL glass.

 

You can buy older SD ENG lenses now for hundreds, not thousands of dollars.

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This is very true; though it also doesn't stop people from adapting them to almost any MFT system. Even I have an old SD zoom which works on my pocket. I find this keeps things rather inflated. Plus; if you add "HD" to it, then...

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