Canon 7D video test

Looking at video quality from out point-and-shoot from the trip to Hawaii got us thinking that we need a video camera, but then we considered that whatever video we might be ocasionally shooting would most likely be in poorly-lit conditions anyway and videocameras do pretty poorly in that case too.

So we decided to take a look at modern DSLRs for our video needs. Sure, we already knew it was not very convenient to shoot video with a DSLR, there is a lot of shake and you need to focus manually most of the time too, yet the low-light performance is pretty cool and we can also use it as a second camera for Ksusha to shoot with.

We set our sights on recent Canon offerings naturally since we already own another Canon DSLR and can share lenses. Choosing between 5Dmk2 and 7D modes is much more tough. 5D is a full frame camera which naturally means it has better low-light performance, 7D on the other hand has better focusing system and more flexible video modes selection and it's also $650 cheaper. To further complicate matters there is Magic Lanterns firmware hack for Canon 5Dmk2 to make it better at video taking, such features as audio monitoring, AGC (auto volume control) disabling and so on.

In the end we decided to try 7D first and our body arrived last Friday. Day-time testing (the second video in this test) did not impress me too much. Indeed as I expected shooting video is pretty hard and requires a lot of practice and tripod is almost required too. Night-time performance was pretty impressive, though. The only light available is that from 3 small candles. You can see some noise in ISO3200 (have not tried ISO6400), but ISO3200 was only really required with a single candle. With 3 candles we more or less comfortably switched to ISO1600 that is much more cleaner. No camcorder has a chance in such conditions. The color reproduction is pretty good for such conditions too.

Video on youtube is 720p if you watch in HQ.

Here is a daylight video, almost entirely handheld (except food-preparation at the end) that demonstrates a lot of deficiencies that one needs to get used to.

On youtube, also 720p in HQ.

So in the end, while low-light performance is quite decent, 5Dmk2 can do better and I am in heavy thinking if perhaps I need to return the 7D. The fact that Magic Lantern is not yet available for 7D does not help either.

Here is the pointand shoot vide in those same conditions for completeness: