Popular Digital Cameras For The Indie Filmmaker: The Canon 5D Series

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The DSLR’s

DSLR’s have proved increasingly popular with filmmakers since with the right lenses, you can achieve near film-like quality from its video capabilities. Even professional productions have been known to use them as number two cameras to film tricky stunts or even whole television episodes. As they are still relatively inexpensive compared to the next level of Cine Camera’s like the C300, it becomes a very real entry-level camera for the low-budget filmmaker.

Canon Digital SLR Camera EOS 5D Mark II

This is a brilliant camera for the low-budget filmmaker. Using good lenses you can achieve very impressive results and since the 5D Mark III  was released the price for this camera has dropped which is more good news. We used this camera to shoot most of the scenes for our short Ledbetter Blue. If you look at the Ledbetter Blue Trailer, most of what you see was shot using this camera. It’s small enough to use for those often tricky in-car scenes, and easy enough to carry around for guerrilla filming. When we set off to do the pickups for Ledbetter we were able to get some very cool looking shots with minimal equipment, and I mean minimal, no lights, no soundman, no focus puller. Just this camera hooked up to a mic on a stand and honestly after the grading no one would know the difference.

The Mark II brother Mark III has slightly better features and fixes some of the problems that befell the older model. See some comparisons below:

Canon EOS Mark II         Canon EOS Mark III
21.1 megapixel full frame 22.3 megapixel full frame 
DIGIC 4 14bit DIGIC 5+
3inch 920k dots 3.2inch 1,040k dots
Live view 100% Live view 100%
98% coverage pentaprism 100% coverage pentaprism
9 point AF 61 point AF, AF cases
35 zone metering 63 zone iFCL metering system
3.9fps 6fps continuous shooting
N/A Silent / Quiet shutter mode
ISO50 – 25600 ISO50 – 102400
Full HD Video, 30fps Full HD Video, 30, 25, 24fps
Environment protection Enhanced weather sealing
N/A (AEB) HDR mode
Microphone socket Microphone / headphone socket
N/A Electronic level
Peripheral Illumination Correction Peripheral Illumination Correction
N/A Chromatic Aberration Correction, and Distortion Correction
CompactFlash CompactFlash and SD / SDHC / SDXC slots
150,000 shutter rating 150,000 shutter rating
Self-cleaning sensor Self-cleaning sensor
Magnesium alloy body Magnesium alloy body
850 shot battery rating 950 shot battery life
152×113.5x75mm 152×116.4×76.4mm
810g body only 950g body only


This video compares the two cameras and tests moiré, high ISO, and dynamic range


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