Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canon EOS 7D

This will likely be the first Canon still camera I ever own. Had plenty of Canon video cameras, but I've been a Pentax guy for years (my lens collection has kept me there,) but the video features of the Canon 7D will change that. While the 5D Mk-II produces some awesome looking motion images, the 30.0fps has been a complete pain. We competed against several 5D movies for San Diego's last 48 Hour Film Project, and some of those teams didn't follows the rules and submitted 30.0 masters (we had to convert them all to 29.97 for presentation.) For the 50 teams that submitted, everything was presented at 1080p23.976 except the 5DmkII films -- I'm sure none of those filmmakers wanted to shoot 30p. So the big fix for the 7D, the camera also supports 29.97 and 23.976 -- these frame rates make much more sense for the filmmaker.

Now the 7D is still a heavily compressed I-frame H.264 4:2:0 8-bit, so like the 5D, we will see a huge attach-rate to our Neo product lines (Mac and PC.) The decoder speed of H.264 is poor, so many convert to CineForm just for the improved editing speed.

Now for some speculation, we're hoping the Live View is now full 1080i/p over HDMI, and that the burn-ins can be turned off, as then you would able to capture directly, bypassing the H.264 compression. Fingers crossed! If this came true, the 23.976p mode will likely go out as 60i, with pulldown (for wider display compatibility), fortunately we can remove that on the fly. In addition to removing compression issues, the HDMI preview may be 4:2:2, rather than just 4:2:0, so it will be nicer for keying. It will still be 8-bit -- but for a $1700 camera, with tethering recording with much lighter compression (via BM Instensity or AJA Xena/IOexpress) -- you can't beat it.

We look forward to testing and optimizing our workflow for this new camera.


Axel Mertes said...


a better live view would be welcomed. We need it for Stop Motion work. The previous models were all a bit of crap there, more promises that they hold to.

Anyhow, a new toy and tool for what it ever belongs too. And for the first time I would not need to carry a movie camera AND a DSLR when making family trips.

We'll see how well it performs compared to a good camcorder which does now 8 MPixel photos as well...

Bypassing the compression is the key with those cameras.


Eugenia said...

I am so getting one. :D

David said...

I put name email on the amazon list. Doesn't seem available for pre-order yet.

Shooter Steve said...

I looked at the Cineform Neo product just for this purpose, a different edit format for my 5D but the Cineform codec isn't supported in Final Cut Pro in the realtime RT playback. I mean it is but it's not realtime anything, you have to render every effect, transition, title etc .... right?

If that's the case I want to do to ProRes and can do than in Compressor which I already own. What's the advantage in this case with Neo and Cineform.

David said...

Apple has created barriers to third party accelerating FCP, sad yes. Neo is likely a better/faster conversion tool than Compressor, even to ProRES. But the main advantages to using CineForm over ProRes (even in FCP) comes with projects that require heavy grading work, effects, or if you get into using First Light. We are generally considered a more robust compression than ProRES.

deadfish said...

neoscene is now broken with snow leopard. :( hope they get it fixed ASAP

David said...

We aren't the only thing Snow Leopard broke. Fix will be out shortly.

Anonymous said...

"We aren't the only thing Snow Leopard broke. Fix will be out shortly."

Meh, forget Apple - CS4/Win7 users are wanting fixes! There hasn't been one for us since 12Aug.

David said...

Don't we spoil our customers with short release cycles? Aug 12, that is a very short time ago. Stuff is pending, although IBC prepartions are slowing down releases.

Anonymous said...

"Don't we spoil our customers with short release cycles?"

Yeah, you do, which is why I'm wanting another release already. Part of me is hoping that since it's been so long (comparatively speaking) since a release you are going to give us the CS4 RT in the next update...

sarmour said...

Exactly our thoughts! I hope you get one and wring it out ASAP, 'cause we'll be watching closely...

IF that live output is like you said, Canon will get us as a customer too!

sarmour said...

If it's true, we can concentrate on where the REAL investments really should go:
good glass and a good codec. Rest is pretty much easy. Looks like CF is still on a roll.

Next step is two of them for 3D stuff

Matt Moses said...

Philip Bloom confirms 480P only out of the HDMI port while recording... and not sure if full frame or still has the burn-ins... either way... sucks for monitoring with an LCD attached... bummer.. I am $1600 into my little HV20 rig.. so still waiting for RED to "shock the world".

Matt Moses said...

Should add that I do NOT have any good Canon glass either.. which is the other main reason I am waiting.. the ultimate reason is I do not have time and money to shoot.... the camera is easily the cheapest part of the process.

DavidNJ said...

There are two issues: the HDMI out and whether all rows are scanned.

It doesn't matter if it full HDMI during recording...it matters if it is when not recording. And if it is, if the auto turn off can be turned off. That would be a great feature, but remember this is already 45Mb/s H.264 GOP, equal to nearly any other recording out there (including AVC Intra) and not that far behind the MPEG2 I-frame options. Direct to Cineform would be better.

The second BIG issue is are all the rows scanned. The 5DM2 skips two of three rows. The result is Moire patterns as the scan effectively disables the optical low pass filter. This sensor is 15Mp and would have to be processed at 60p for the 720p mode. That would be a very tall order.

David, do you think they did it?

David said...

45Mb/s is I-frame not long GOP, so it is still pretty heavily compressed (13.5:1 compared to 4:2:0 8-bit) -- long GOP could be better, although none of the current long GOP H.264 cameras have had any real success getting high quality below HDV rates (old MPEG2 is still holding up, just like at XDCAM-EX at 35Mb/s.) So I-frame 45Mb/s is so-so, and we love to bypass that.

Yes, agreed the in preview, not capture, I haven't yet confirmed 1080 for preview (only confirmed 1080 on playback -- which doesn't help.)

We have to wait and see if the vertical is aliasing.

DavidNJ said...

Are you positive the Canon still cameras are I-frame? They have very high MTF at higher spatial frequencies, and it would be hard to imagine that surviving I-Frame compression at that rate (which would be no better than AVCHD). Also, PP CS4 seems to indicate a bump in the data rate every 12th frame.

David said...

Yes, for the 5D mk-II, but I haven't looked at the 7D bit-streams yet.

DavidNJ said...

However, you indicated that the Canon was I-frame only, and the indication I saw and the quality implies GOP. Which does it have?

oliew said...

Got my 7d last week after using hv20 with dof adapter for last year, cineform software has been great for me.
This has been a long wait for me after the 5d tempted me but so glad i didnt do the 30fps workrounds... now i have 24/25fps eos camera to use my lenses with!

hdmi outputs 480p

looking forward to the cineform workflows for the 7d.

Equipment Leasing said...

I own a Panasonic HMC150 and my brother just took delivery of the 7D a few weeks ago. After playing around with the 7D, we got the footage to match up pretty well with the HMC150. I would love to have the 7D as a B-camera for a tighter shot with a more shallow DOF.

I must say however, the files that come off the 7D (although still H.264) edit much easier on less powerful computers.

The RED ONE is a great camera... SCARLET will serve it's purpose well, but don't wait for technology that may never come to market. Get some tools in your hands and go out and SHOOT!

David said...

All of those camera edit easier still when converted to CineForm. ;)

Mauricio said...

Hi David, I'm really eager to know your findings about the 7D. I have been playing with mine for a while. The compression is not so bad actually as you can see in

However, being able to get 4:4:4 1080p would be marvelous for Greenscreen work.

BTW, I have yet to try keying with 7D footage transcoded to Prospect HD. Have you tried yourselves?

Mauricio said...

Forgot to include the link to the video with the following workflow:

a) Shot on a Canon 7D
b) Transcoded with Cineform Prospect HD
c) Color corrected on FirstLight
d) Edited on Premiere CS4
e) Additional tweaking using Magic Bullet Looks (I wish that First Light will someday do the same things that Magic Bullet Looks does).

You can barely see compression artifacts (aside from those that Vimeo added when transcoding again).

Here's the Link



David said...

Beware of tools claim to extract 4:4:4 from a 4:2:2 HDMI feed, you still only have 4:2:2 worth of information (which is still nice.) Keyers will work just as well on the 4:2:2 as upconverted 4:4:4, as keyers already have to upconvert 4:2:2 sources.

The compressed issue of the Canon 7D are more minor than many cameras, however if you set the camera up for more dynamic range, the compression eats into valuable texture that shows under pushed color correction. So they are reasons to bypass camera compression, it is a convenience vs quality balance.

Mauricio De la Orta said...

I'm all for bypassing compression as you recommend :), especially when you don't need to move the camera around (which suits most greenscreen shots) and you can have it plugged to a capture card.

Have you had any new findings about this?



Mauricio De la Orta said...

Hi David,

I didn't know how else to contact you, but you may want to illustrate the 7D community about Cineform in the following thread




The Photography Indonesia said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Emma Anderson said...

Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 is really for professional use and if you want to taste the beauty of graphic then you should use this camera. Now we talk about it's specification, 20.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors, 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Clear View II LCD Monitor, Full HD 1080p, Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Live View, ISO 16000, Extended to ISO 51200, 10 fps Shooting at Full Resolution.
Canon eos 7d Mark 2