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DSLRs fair evaluation


The thing that I always keep in mind when I evaluate the trend towards using DSLRs or any new camera:
I don’t have a judgment about it one way or the other. It’s just another tool in the toolbox for certain kinds of shots.

I have done some testing with the Canon 5D Mark II, and I really enjoy shooting with it. As with any new camera,
I enjoy finding its unique characteristics.

What it really is, is an indicator of what cinematographers want. They want a camera that is smaller,
lighter and easier to use, and that produces better looking pictures. The Canon 5D Mark II is the size that people wish
the RED MX could be. If you could get that kind of performance in such a small package,
then the result becomes the cinematographer’s dream camera.

The codecs for handling material from DSLRs are pretty low in color bit depth, and fairly high in compression,
and there are not many options to derive higher quality for large screen use of the images.

There are also limitations for using DSLRs on set. For example, there is not much in terms of video tap output for monitoring while shooting.

They are also difficult to keep in focus unless you put cine lenses on them.

For the shooting itself, DSLRs are yielding good latitude — not as great as the highest-end digital cinema cameras, of course,
and certainly not as good as film. But there’s some very powerful image processing going on inside those cameras.

and whats good about DSLRs that i can use these cameras to get a shot that nobody has ever seen before. and i can use them as a crash camera
like ,, put it inside a car in accedents scenes .

There are also times when it helps to have stealth in your toolbox. You can get a shot that, if you were there with a film camera or with RED camera you might have problems.
If you are doing a wide shot in a public place, people might shy away from it, or they might just stare into it.
You might even attract the security of the place , whereas if you are just standing there with a still camera on a tripod,
you can gather an establishing shot of traffic going by for a movie or a TV show, fairly efficiently, without interference, and without attracting too much attention.
so you can shoot any where any time , To me, that’s extremely useful.

finaly we have to know that , the responsibility of a cinematographer is to know how to use all the tools available, so that you can let the script and the story and the circumstances tell you which camera to use, rather than just picking a camera that you have a comfort level with.


  • Nice write up. I agree with you totally. There is a series that was shot with a 5D MarkII, forgot which one. but that gives you an indication of how good and useful they are..


    November 10, 2010

  • I totally agree Aziz.. and creative talented people are so dragged away from the story,script and acting by the many technical tools available to them. You can do a brilliant film with a great story with a mobile phone, so cameras are just tools which help you create the art of craft that help support your story.


    November 10, 2010

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